We’ve all sat by the phone, waiting for the next text to come in. Your last statement just hanging out there. It’s been three minutes, why aren’t they responding? Was the joke you made a turnoff?
This scenario—and the anxiety that comes with it—is common for the average dater but also for the average social media manager. Putting something out there, only to hear crickets from your audience. Why does it happen and how can we change it?
The truth is, maybe they’re just not that into your brand.
If you’ve been inundating your audience with mundane, self-promotional content while completely ignoring their interests, they’re bound to start ignoring and eventually resenting you. According to a U.K. study of 2,000 adults, 27 percent of respondents were frustrated that social content was either irrelevant or not personalized, and one in five found social content annoying when it was too trivial.
Today’s social interactions lack authenticity, and users are increasingly disinterested in what companies have to say online. In fact, 61 percent of people cite irrelevant content as a contributing factor to unfollowing brands on social. Simply put, you’re becoming annoying. People won’t care about you if you don’t care about them.
Sending out social messages with the inclusion of random hashtags does not define your brand as adept. People find value in and engage with content that is highly relevant to them.
The Three A’s of Social Media Marketing: Appreciate, Analyze, Act
To captivate social users, it’s essential for brands to create meaningful content and messaging that will have a positive effect in the long run and stand out amongst the competition.
Revamping your social media efforts begins with understanding and appreciating the complexity of the marketplace. People use social networks for varying reasons, and much like the dating scene, people have specific interests; some seek entertainment, others information or education.
When marketers recognize and respect why users are turning to social, they can develop strategies that leverage the intended outcomes of these digital intentions. Success cannot happen until brands acknowledge the changing demands that users have.
Many brands are already monitoring what users have to say online. However, this needs to be taken a step further with active listening practices that improve performance on social. It’s very easy for brands to insert themselves into just about any online topic or conversation (dating attention-seeker, anyone?), but marketers must be cautious of social’s deceivingly ubiquitous nature.
Users will feel indifferent to erratic interactions and find no value in content shared ad nauseam. With in-depth analysis, brands may see low performance rates, potential loss of long-term consumer relationships and off-putting content overload.
As marketers consistently analyze social data, it becomes easier to act upon campaign inferences. When brands recognize that they are posting too frequently, they can start to move away from the philosophy that every social interaction needs to be a winner – not every campaign has to be a viral success. Marketing teams need to be able to respond to user queries and comments in real time, and should be planning social media campaigns in months and quarters, not minutes and days.
The timeliness and speed of social can make long-term strategizing difficult, but a brand’s social media presence should never feel forced. Marketers can act upon their analysis and begin to create constant dialogue around conversations relevant to their products, services and industries. After every campaign, brands should repeat the sequence of analysis to maintain a fresh perspective.
No matter the platform, social media efforts need to be a two-way dialogue. Brands cannot simply let shoppers talk at them. Rather, they need to interact with users, and even seek out opportunities to initiate conversations. This should be happening company wide. From top to bottom, employee advocacy is a powerful social resource for brands. The best social campaigns should not be limited to the marketing department.
By looking at interaction and engagement data, marketers can learn how to deploy less content, but at the right time and in the right format. Brands should use the speed of social media to immediately engage with user queries or feedback. When continually monitoring audience responses, brands have the opportunity to pivot marketing strategies based on feedback and to further hone their voices to better resonate with their audience.
Marketers can modernize their social presence and engage users with valuable content by learning from the past. In 2016, brands should never be caught blindsided when consumers ignore their content online. Marketers cannot force users to care. However, they can certainly encourage interest with a more nuanced understanding of social networks and the audience who use them.
Darryl Villacorta is the social media manager at Sprout Social.