Social Media Marketing Not Working? 5 Ways to Get Your Floundering Brand to Flourish

Is your business failing?

You hear about it all the time. Stories about how one Facebook ad brought in a quarter of a million dollars. How a single phrase was retweeted 15,000 times. How a new product was successfully launched using only social media channels.

If you use it right, social media can be a low cost marketing tool with an insane amount of reach. But it all seems like a myth if your own social media marketing efforts are falling flat. Before you give up on your followers, take another look at your campaign. If your brand is floundering, you might be doing these 5 things wrong. Fix them all, and you might just become one of those mythical brands other entrepreneurs wish they were.


You’re on the Wrong Platform


Who is your ideal customer? Is it 19 year old Kristin who rides horses and loves Taylor Swift? Or is your ideal customer Larry, a 42 year old hockey fan who one day hopes to retire in Florida? How about Canadian arts organizations in need of ticketing and donation services?

If you haven’t done the research on who’s buying your product (or should be), your marketing won’t be effective anywhere. Try building a website, designing a storefront sign, or advertising a sale in the local paper without knowing who you’re talking to, and your efforts will fail.

It’s the same with social media.

Part of knowing who your customers are is knowing where they are. Different platforms attract different users, so make sure you’re in the same space.

For example, Etsy, a web-based company where consumers can buy and sell handmade craft goods, thrives on Pinterest where 68% of users are female, their average annual income is above $100,000, and half of whom are between the ages of 25 and 44. Etsy’s 120 boards and 14 thousand pins reach 786.6 thousand followers.

If your customers are women, you need to be on Pinterest. If your business is B2B, you need to be on LinkedIn. And 71% of all internet users in America are on Facebook. So be on Facebook. Period.


You’re Not Engaging with Followers (on their terms)


Remember that infomercial about the rotisserie you could buy for your own kitchen? The one where you could fit two whole chickens in it? The Showtime Rotisserie and BBQ’s slogan was “Set it and forget it!”

If social media marketing was an As Seen on TV rotisserie, its slogan would actually be “Set it and continue rotating it by hand.”

If you set up a Facebook account, made a few posts, then sat back to watch the clicks come in, you’re setting yourself up to fail. It’s like walking into a networking event with potential customers, mumbling an introduction to the nearest human, and then walking out.

You have to keep the conversation going or there’s no point in starting it in the first place.

Anyone who knows anything about networking knows the easiest way to keep your target talking is to encourage them to talk about themselves. And that’s exactly how you do it on Social Media too.

During the 2013 Superbowl, Oreo struck a gold mine with Social Media campaigns. A TV commercial incited a Cookie vs. Cream debate and users were invited to post about it. Meanwhile, Oreo marketing staff were standing by to like, comment, and retweet right along with consumers to keep the conversation going. This enabled them to take advantage of an unexpected power outage at the game to tweet, “You can still dunk in the dark.” Nearly 15,000 retweets, 8,000 new followers, 20,000 likes on Facebook, and 34,000 more Instagram followers later, Oreo earned a place in the Social Media Marketing hall of fame.

The key was being available to engage, instead of just slapping up a few posts and walking away. Join in your own conversation. It’s silly not to.


Your Efforts Aren’t Measurable


One of the reasons some people believe social media marketing doesn’t work is that they don’t see any real results. But if you’re doing everything else right, chances are the problem is in the way you’re measuring your success.

ROI for social media isn’t always measurable. But then again, neither is a TV ad. Unless a customer walks into your store and tells you they came in because they saw your ad on TV, you won’t really know. But there are ways to set yourself up to get a better idea.

For starters, figure out what your goals are. If it’s brand awareness you’re after, followers, likes, and comments are key. Facebook and most other platforms have their own analytics tools, or you can use a third party tool like Hootsuite or Sprout Social

If you’re looking at the bottom line, then it’s online sales traffic from social media channels you’ll want to measure. Use Google Analytics to track traffic from social media to your website.

Then there are the sales you’ll earn from long term brand exposure.

Customers need to trust your brand and your products and services before they buy, and trust takes time. So maybe that Instagram post didn’t drive traffic to your website, but people saw it and liked it. They have a good impression of your brand and want another.

When a customer does finally buy, it’s impossible to know exactly how many contacts with your brand it took to get them there. Your customer doesn’t even know. They just know they like your brand. That makes it kind of hard to measure your ROI per post, doesn’t it?

The good news is you can set yourself up to make it easier. When you post, ask for engagement. Some companies offer deals that they’re not advertising anywhere else so if people take advantage of them, they know the business came from that one post. Tech giant Cisco went a step further and launched a new router only on social media. Anyone who bought it must have been influenced by their posts.

Measuring Social Media ROI is tough, but not impossible. Before you decide your strategy isn’t working, make sure you’re taking stock of your efforts.


You’re Not Paying to Play

Remember the early days of Facebook when there weren’t ads? When very few people understood its potential as a platform for marketing? Those were the good ol’ days, but alas, we’re never going back. Now, everyone and their brother is jumping on this gravy train, even the platforms themselves.

Did you know that not all of your followers see every one of your posts? It’s true. Facebook has a magic algorithm that shows any given post to just a fraction of your followers. How many is based on how much attention and engagement your post inspires in the group that does see it and a whole lot of other factors. Of course, for a little extra cash, you can promote your post so more followers see it.

Then there’s just the flat out ads. Facebook ads are powerful tools that allow you to reach more than just your current followers. In fact, you can choose who sees your ad by using Facebook’s demographics. Choose your reach by location, age, gender, and interests, so you can maximize your ad budget for reaching your ideal customers. One entrepreneur garnered over $250,000 in sales with just a single Facebook ad.

If you’re having trouble gaining followers, put up the cash and take out an ad. You can target customers and increase your reach inexpensively. Once you have the followers, promote your posts. Yes, social media marketing used to be a free marketing tool and it was great while it lasted. But this is the way things are moving for most platforms, so don’t get left behind.


Your Content Isn’t Great


The number one reason your social media marketing campaign isn’t working may be what you’re posting. If all you’re posting is ads for your products or services, discount coupons, or “Buy this,” you’re missing the point. Social media isn’t about closing the sale. It isn’t even about your product or service. It’s about your customers interacting with your brand.

You posts should be focused on getting people interested in your brand. Some of them can focus on getting customers onto your webpage. But it’s your webpage or your sales people who actually do the closing. Social media is more, well, social.

So post valuable content about your industry – something that makes people laugh or cry, or something that helps them connect with their friends. Because no one is on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Pinterest to marketed to. They’re here to share who they are with people like them. If you’re not helping them do that, you’ll be ignored, plain and simple.



Social media is a new technology for marketing, and many businesses are just starting to grasp that learning curve. Once you do, though, social media marketing does work. Don’t be afraid to experiment, and make sure you keep researching great strategies right here on 77 Lions. After all, that’s what we’re here for.

Is it time to take another look at your social media marketing strategy? Tell us about your experiences.