For small brands, social media success can be hit or miss. And when the rules of engagement keep changing, it’s easy to get trapped in today’s humongous marketing web. But before you throw in the towel on social marketing, remember that it’s not the channel that’s broken, it’s your approach. More than half of small brands feel their social media efforts are not paying off. And it’s easy to understand why. They’re doing it wrong.
While some brands may simply lack the tools to measure the effectiveness of social media, many are still engaging in frivolous online activities that do little to move the brand needle.
Below are five ways small brands are undermining their social media efforts:

Not measuring social media effectively.

Before social media can be measured effectively, small brands need to understand what they’re measuring. Discontinuing efforts because sales have not increased since launching a brand’s social media efforts is entirely shortsighted. The campaign could in fact be creating armies of brand ambassadors and reaching potential customers in markets that are off the radar of brand marketing leaders. The problem is that marketers are not actively reaching out to these targets. Why? Because they really don’t know who or where they are.

Too busy making noise instead of building value.

If you knew that only 10 percent of all of your social media efforts resulted in solid customer leads, wouldn’t you tweak your strategy to focus the remaining 90 percent on the very tactics that made the 10 percent a success? It seems obvious. Yet, some brands think that blindly firing content from multiple social media platforms is just the right thing to do. So, it’s not about working harder, it’s about working smarter with more relevant content that builds value.

Not managing brand engagement.

As internal and external brand engagement becomes commonplace, the threat of scattered social media efforts can actually cause brand erosion. Employees, customers, stakeholders, family and friends all have roles to play in driving consumer behavior through social media. But it’s up to brand leaders to convert those engaged contacts into brand ambassadors.

Limiting efforts to certain social marketing channels.

Tweeting and sharing are not the only ways to reach your target audience through social media. I recently asked a company if it had a social media strategy. The response was: “Yes, we have a Facebook page.” Of course having a page is not a strategy. But there are hundreds of real marketing social strategies that can be implemented using channels like search engines, review sites, video/image platforms, and others.

Failing to make personal connections.

Some marketers are so bent on selling that they fail to connect with their target audience. Instead of building rapport, some brands actually create walls. For example, a company is launching a new product through social media. But instead of communicating what the product means for the consumer, the company addresses what it means for the company. And the more this message gets communicated, the more distance is created between the potential consumer and the brand.

When a bicyclist loses her balance after a few pedal strokes, it would be ludicrous to blame it solely on the road. And social media is no different. Sure there will be bumps along the way, but a successful ride starts with a thoughtful approach.