Why Your Social Media Isn’t Working (Show This to Your Boss)

Rope

Courtesty of mopho.to

A few months back, I was on a coaching call with a Think Digital Academy member who was at the end of his rope.

Within seconds of starting, he frustratedly said, “My boss told me to ‘just go and get more likes.’ I have no idea how to do that. He doesn’t either.”

Turns out his boss was under the gun from his boss to get more likes because of corporate sponsorships. Apparently, one of the major vetting factors in this industry for serious sponsorship dough is how many Facebook likes an organization has.

The more likes, the more dough. It’s actually (and unfortunately) that simple.

In my mind, I was commiserating with him. I asked, “What are the goals beyond that? Like, what does he want you to do with those likes once you get them?”

The response was a quick (and expected), “I don’t know.” (I didn’t tell him he could do a quick Google search and buy thousands of likes for $20. That would only make the problem worse.)

Can you imagine how frustrating this would be? My friend had a vague order to “get more likes” without the means or resources to do it. (Fun fact: His boss wouldn’t approve funding for boosting posts, sponsored stories, etc.)

It would be like running a race without knowing where the finish line is. Or without having sneakers to run in!

Undeniable Social Media Truth

The following is an undeniable social media truth:

(Same holds true for nonprofits and churches, by the way. You’re not off the hook.)

  • Analytics won’t help. It won’t matter if you sign-up for every social analytics platform available.
  • Digital natives won’t help. It won’t matter if you get a “young person” to handle your social media.
  • Networks won’t help. It won’t matter what social network du jour your organization joins.
  • Timing won’t help. It won’t matter if you find the right “timing” for all of your posts. (Timing advice, by the way, is 90% crap. Yes, there are general rules to follow. But there are nuances to your specific audience. For this reason, it’s difficult to nail down useful times that work for everyone. Point? Study your analytics!)

The Unsexy Side of Social Media

Gary Vaynerchuk says social media is a marathon, not a sprint. Having worked with over three dozen organizations of various shapes and sizes in the last two years, I agree with him.

The people who do social well are those who already communicate well. Effective communication is a linchpin for a healthy organization. To modify a quote from Michael Hyatt, “good social media will make a bad organization fail faster.”

Ouch.

Fundamentally, the problem isn’t “why won’t anyone like our Facebook page?” The problem is, and always will be, we don’t know the answers to these questions:

  1. Why do we exist? What’s our purpose?
  2. What are our organizational goals? What do we want to do together?
  3. Who are we focused on? Who’s our target? What do they look like?
  4. What do I want to achieve with social media? (Hint: answers cannot include “get more likes” or “get more retweets” or “get more followers”)

There’s probably more, but these are the biggies. If you don’t have answers yet, social media isn’t going to help. In fact, in may only hurt.

Build the base. Get a foundation in place. Foundations aren’t sexy. It’s dirty work. But you can’t host a family dinner in your dining room without a strong, solid base setting firmly beneath your feet.

Do the work.


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3 comments
jacknorell
jacknorell

I think it gets especially hard to do good social media when 'branding' gets in the way of being humorous, personable, or surprising. All things that social media runs on.

And yeah, have to do the work!

Dave Shrein
Dave Shrein

Justin, This is by far my favorite post you've shared. I feel for the guy you were speaking with. There is a flip side to his problem which is upper management doesn't care about social media for any reason and thus the huge potential it offers to magnify even the best characteristics of your story goes unused.

I love looking at social media as a way to reach an astronomical amount of people who would otherwise never have heard about me, my business or my story.

Thanks for sharing and breaking it down so clearly.

sethhinz
sethhinz

Absolutely spot on!

Our execs spent considerable time on determining our critical targets and outcomes. That act alone has helped to lay the framework for everything we do on social. It gave us purpose and direction.