7 Reasons Why Your Social Marketing Doesn’t Deliver ROI

Posted by Scott Mikus and Sheryl Roehl

Too many corporate marketers tell us that their social media initiatives haven’t delivered on expectations or ROI.  Based on our experience, we’re betting that there are many more of you out there who would say the same thing. Here’s our list of 7 reasons why social marketing programs fall short and what to do to fix these problems.


1. The Silo of Social Media. Many organizations treat their social programs as a one-off effort, rather than building an integrated digital strategy that encompasses social components. For example, an organization may increase their social media activity to help improve search engine optimization (SEO) but neglect to optimize the navigation, functionality, branding and content of their social media presence.  The SEO initiative might improve search rankings and increase traffic to your website, however, neglecting other social components will create a chain reaction breakdown in the process and can even drive incoming traffic to your competition.

How to Fix It: To achieve success, you need to integrate every component from the Social Media Value Wheel, including SEO, internal/external cross-linkage, thought leadership, engagement, inbound and outbound marketing and lead generation. In other words, social media works best when it’s embedded in all your marketing initiatives.


2. No Plan, Stan. As marketers, we plan the product launch. We plan the rebranding. We plan the demand generation campaign. However, in many companies, social media is a bolt-on effort or something that they do because everybody’s doing it. As a result, it becomes a reactive, not proactive initiative. We just try something and see if it sticks.

How to Fix It: Every other marketing initiative has a plan. Why shouldn’t your social programs, too? Start by building an integrated social brand strategy and plan. Your social marketing programs are more likely to succeed when they are consistent with the company’s business strategy and goals and embedded in every marketing campaign.


3. The Fatal Disconnect. Often, the success or failure of social media falls on one person’s shoulders. That individual may know how to use social media tools and platforms, but may not have much experience in marketing, sales and branding. Not surprisingly, many company’s social voice becomes little more than empty chatter and the results are often underwhelming.

How to Fix it: As marketers, we have to do a better job of educating executives and colleagues about the value and payoff from embracing social media. We can enlist the help of colleagues who are subject matter experts to serve as social brand ambassadors. When more employees understand the organizations business strategies and are participating on social media, your social programs are more likely to build external linkage, gain traction and ultimately drive lead generation.


4. Inconsistency. Infrequent posting and inconsistent interactions on social media are common reasons why businesses don’t get the most out of their investments in social marketing. If you don’t engage with you and your brand, people will follow and listen to your competitors instead.

How to Fix It: Get help from a marketing and public relations agency to help you build and grow your visibility, credibility and Klout gradually over time. Establish a regular editorial calendar to publish content on a consistent basis. Keep in mind that the timing of your posts is crucial. For example, did you know the best time to tweet to get the most traction on Twitter is on Mondays between 1-3 p.m. ET? Social media management tools like Hootsuite and Social Oomph make it simple to schedule a steady stream of posts to hit at the times when your target audience is more likely to be engaged.


5. Tool Rich, Content Poor. It’s easy to get caught up with the latest tweaks and enhancements to social media platforms and tools. They can help you perform publish, schedule, track and measure your social initiatives faster, better, easier. But let’s face it: There’s no shortage of tools. The real shortage is great content.

How to Fix It: Don’t just tweet corporate press releases and product announcements. Invest in great content that your buyers, prospects and other audiences will find valuable. If you lack the necessary in-house resources to develop thought leadership content, rely on outside content marketing agencies and designers who can help you create a steady stream of engaging content, including eBooks, infographics, online videos and blog posts.


6.  No Room on the To-Do List. Many companies’ social marketing programs fail because there’s simply not enough energy or resources invested in them. In many cases, marketers are already so overwhelmed by all the projects on their to-do list that they have little time left over to give to social media.

How to Fix It: Make a commitment to spend a realistic percentage of each workday or workweek on social media – and stick to it. Remember, you get out of social media what you put into it.


7. Expecting Overnight Success. It’s easy for our expectations to get ahead of our efforts. Building a social media presence takes time – months or even years.

How to Fix It: The best way to achieve results is to stay active and engaged over the long haul.  Remember, the more time you put in and the longer you participate in social media, the bigger the payoff is likely to be.


Why do you think your social marketing initiatives have succeeded or failed to hit the mark? What are you doing to improve the results of your social marketing programs?


Scott Mikus is a managing partner of Crawford/Mikus Creative Marketing & Design in Atlanta (@CrawfordMikus). Sheryl Roehl is president of Avenue L Marketing (@AvenueLMktg) in Atlanta

by Scott Mikus | Comments Off on 7 Reasons Why Your Social Marketing Doesn’t Deliver ROI