What to Do When Your Social Media Strategy Is Not Working



We all want perfection the first time around. It’s a natural human instinct.

Of course, things don’t always work out that way. Businesses rarely nail things directly on the head on their first try at social media. Whether because of changing goals, shifting audiences, reduced budgets, or some other confluence of factors, companies don’t always get their social media strategy totally correct on their first run. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that all hope is not lost. There are a number of steps you can take when things aren’t going your way to get started on turning your luck around. Here are a few of my recommendations on what to do when your social media strategy isn’t working: 

  1. Make small steps before big, sweeping changes.If you took a few wrong turns on a road trip, would you suddenly turn around and go back to where you came from? Probably not; you’d likely try another route that gets you to your goal. It’s possible (likely, even) that there are things that worked about your previous strategy. Small steps let you maintain what was working and tweak what wasn’t. With that in mind:
  2. Find out what was and was not working about your previous strategy.Were you not seeing any results, or were you not seeing the type of results you wanted with your social media strategy before? If the latter, look at the data to uncover what worked and what you should stick with. If the former, only then should you consider more drastic changes.
  3. Evaluate your tactics.In your strategy, you should’ve started with your goals for your company on social media. Assuming those goals haven’t changed (much), you should look at your tactics, too. Maybe Twitter wasn’t the right platform for the audience you were trying to target, or maybe you spent too much on Facebook ads and not enough on LinkedIn ads. Evaluate your tactics individually so that you can say with confidence which ones should stay, and which ones should go.
  4. Re-evaluate your goals.Are you measuring the success or failure of your social media strategy on the goals you outlined six months ago, or have your goals changed? If the goals are newer than your initial strategy, it’s possible that things are out of whack. It’s no big deal if your goals have changed—you just have to make sure you’re giving the tactics you’ve chosen a fair shake. Again, things generally don’t happen overnight.
  5. Crunch the data.None of this should be done without crunching the data and objectively evaluating your efforts. If you didn’t set criteria for evaluating your strategy when you created it, do that now. If you did, run through each stat individually. Have clicks grown over time? What about site traffic? Engagement? Calls and referrals from social media? Looking at data rather than gut instinct will give you a better idea of which of the above steps are most necessary for your business.
  6. Prepare to test again for several months before seeing what sticks.Quality social media takes time. Don’t expect that a change you make today will set off a light bulb and bring in thousands of leads tomorrow. Establish a reasonable timeframe for you to test the changes you make, and resist the urge to continue tweaking until you reach that milestone. If you continue tweaking too many things at once and then do find success, it will be hard to trace the exact change that got things turned in the right direction.
  7. Remember: your strategy is a living, breathing thing.Okay, it’s not human—but your strategy should not be set in stone. If your social media strategy didn’t bring you tremendous success on your first go-around, that’s okay. Was it a tremendous failure? Probably not. As long as you’re in the middle ground, you’re in a great place to continue tweaking and getting yourself closer to your goals every day.

Still having trouble perfecting your social media strategy? No problem. Get in touch with our team via this page on our website and we’d be happy to help get you going in the right direction.

Reprinted with permission.

Image Credit: CC by Sarah Ross

About the author: John Darwin

John is a recent college graduate from Creighton University. He earned his B.A. in English, specializing in British Literature, and is currently working as an editor at Social Media Contractors.

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