Social Media Marketing Fails: Why Are You Failing?

social media marketing

social media marketing strategySocial media marketing, also called social network marketing, social marketing, or SMM is the newest rage. Everyone who can set up a Facebook or Linkedin account says they can do it.  But, it’s not that easy. Doing good social marketing means you understand marketing and that’s why a lot of social media marketing fails.

Here are some examples of how social media marketing fails when it doesn’t involve core marketing principles. As a first step you must build a strategy where:

  • Social media marketing tactics need to FIT with the overall strategy of your firm
  • Just like firms need different strategies for reaching different customers, firms need different strategies across digital and traditional media
  • Without accurate measurement of your web presence, you lack the tools necessary to maximize your web strategies
  • It’s not enough to build it (a social profile) and hope they will come — you need to know what to say to get them there
  • Social media marketing improves SEO, but Increasing SEO just means you have more visitors — it doesn’t mean you have more buyers
  • Just because you have buyers doesn’t mean you have repeat buyers and loyal customers

Set your strategy

You need to start by building your marketing strategy, which means getting to know your customers, your goals, assessing your existing marketing, and your strategic capabilities. Based on this information, you can  develop a CUSTOMIZED strategy, which might include integrating the following into your social media marketing strategy:

  • Web design or re-design of an existing site to integrate social media marketing
  • Integrated marketing communications (advertising, pr, promotions to drive traffic) including Adwords, and offline outlets
  • SEO strategy
  • Create and monitor online metrics (creating a customized dashboard you get every morning)
  • Evaluation and testing of social profiles
  • Mobile marketing
  • Newsletters (electronic or paper)
  • Blogs
  • Database marketing – create a database from lists or mine your existing database
  • CRM ( customer relationship management)
  • Internal social marketing (to employees and other stakeholders)
  • Viral or guerilla marketing
  • Direct response programs
  • Video traffic attraction
  • Online reputation management

The key is to integrate not just social media marketing, but other digital strategies and develop analytics.  Without these 2 elements, your efforts can easily be a waste of money and certainly won’t give you the returns you hoped for.

Digital analytics

first year of business Pexels

A recent post discussed marketing ROI and some problems inherent in measuring marketing ROI. Without effective measurement and analysis, social media marketing fails. Today, let’s expand on effective ways to measure ROI.

Social media marketing ROI

Importance of goal setting

Marketing ROI should FIT with the goals of the organization.  Certainly, the ultimate goal of any organization is to make money — so tracking sales is important.  Recognizing that a number of marketing strategies support sales, many firms set goals tracking the success of these marketing strategies — such as customer satisfaction, brand image, brand awareness and recall, and market share, as well as newer measures such as numbers of fans or engagement in social media.

Setting the right marketing goals

In setting marketing goals, it’s important to recognize that the goals should lead to increased sales since this is the ultimate goal of the firm.  In other words, it’s important to have some support for the notion that increased brand image translates into increased sales, otherwise spending money to improve the brand image is a waste of firm resources.  Thus, if an improved brand image occurs among consumers who already have a pretty high image of the brand, incremental increases in brand image may have NO effect on sales. Similarly, if brand-building messages reach the wrong target market, improvements in brand image will have no effect on sales.

As a real-world example, I have a colleague who has done a phenomenal job of creating a network of organizations that agree to fan each other on Facebook to increase their fan base.  Her efforts have resulted in hundreds of new fans for firms collaborating in this effort.  However, many of the new fans for each collaborating firm are NOT part of the firm’s TARGET MARKET.  Also, many of the collaborating organizations are spammers, which detracts from the network.  More fans are only important to the extent they are viable members of the firm’s target market.

Measuring social media marketing ROI

The key to assessing Marketing ROI is being able to match cause and effect  — what efforts were expended in an effort to attain the organization’s marketing goals.  This requires a firm is able to measure both the inputs — such as advertising, whether traditional or social media advertising, sales promotion, service employees wages, costs of goods sold, etc — and outputs based on performance related to marketing goals.

You can go here to access a free calculator developed by Marketing Today to aid in calculating Marketing ROI.  While this calculator was developed to assess Marketing ROI in direct sales, it can be modified to calculate Marketing ROI in a variety of contexts.


As mentioned earlier, if the wrong goals are established, efforts to reach these goals are a waste of resources.  Also, increased Marketing ROI may not translate into increased sales if not tracked appropriately,

Other caveats were mentioned in an earlier post on Marketing ROI, however, some bear repetition here.

  1. Marketing ROI is often short term oriented and may stunt long term improvements in favor of short term results.
  2. Some very important things contributing to Marketing ROI are difficult to measure or directly connect with marketing goals.  For instance, customer service is an important aspect leading to positive brand associations and ultimately higher sales.  Not only is the impact of customer service on sales difficult to assess, but declines in customer service have a long lag time before negative results are likely to occur.