Figure pushing a great big boulder up a hill

If you don’t have a social media strategy to guide your business, there’s a good chance you’ll be inconsistent with what you do. Especially if you have multiple accounts, you can end up having what I call a “messy mix” of posts and risk losing your brand voice.

If your business is active online, but you’re not seeing any results, here are nine reasons why your social media efforts may be stuck.

1. You haven’t created a social media campaign

What’s the difference between a social media strategy and a campaign? A social media strategy should come before you create a campaign.

A strategy should aim to assess your brand’s position, engage your audience, and evaluate your performance in social media channels. How can you help your audience? Your answer to this question will be a great start for a strategy that can help move you closer to your goal.

If you don’t know how to structure a strategy, follow the O-TA-SM-T shortcut: Objectives, Target Audience, Social Media, and Tools. Once you have identified these details, you can start analyzing and connecting with your audience without marketing in mind—yet.

This is when you get to know your audience, discover what they are looking for, and how your services or products can help them. Find out which social media channels the majority uses and engage with them there. Once you know what your audience wants, you can tailor a campaign to give them exactly what they need.

With a strategy in place, you can create a marketing-focused social media campaign. Because you’ll have already discovered what your target audience wants, you’ll be able to introduce your services or products in the best way possible. Make sure to support your campaign with boosters such as advertising or public relations.

Remember, you get to know your community through your strategy but you gain followers through your campaign. Putting effort into the proper execution of your campaign will help you get the most out of your marketing efforts.

2. You haven’t done a social media assessment

I actually studied nursing in college, and have done many assessments that ultimately helped me as a social media manager and consultant.

The first thing a nurse does is review a patient’s chart to see what’s happening. It should be the same with every business, and it’s an important step if you have accounts on different social media platforms but aren’t seeing any growth.

An assessment helps identify where a business stands in social media, why their strategy is not working, and the work that needs to be done to make improvements. If you do an assessment correctly, you’ll get to know the strengths and weaknesses of your social media efforts.

3. You don’t interact with your audience

One-sided relationships never work—and it’s the same in social media. If you’re not engaging with other users through your social media accounts, you will not be able to form a relationship with them. In business, one thing I’ve learned is that making great relationships is very important.

4. You don’t check your social media all the time

Businesses who actively respond to messages have a better chance of getting and holding onto customers or clients than those who don’t.

According to AdEspresso’s article, The Importance of Responding to Customers Quickly on Social Media: “Users of Facebook pages expect to be responded to within 24 hours and Twitter users within 2 hours.” If it takes you a long time to respond—a couple of hours is such a long time when you have a complaint!—you risk losing business.

That’s why it’s important to have an auto-responder when you’re out of the office or if your business is closed. It will give people who reach out an idea of when they can expect a response from you.

5. You skipped making a social media policy

Having a social media policy is very important, especially if you have a lot of people working for you. This is true not just for social media managers but for the entire company.

Here’s a scenario. Let’s say you’re the owner of a booming salon. One of your employees posts a degrading message to his or her social media account about one of your clients. This could hurt your business in a big way! Setting a policy of what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior in social media will help your business maintain its credibility online and offline.

6. Your posts are not engaging enough

This is perhaps one of the biggest reasons why your social media strategy may not be working.

People like awesome content. Who likes a monotonous post that oozes with promotion? That’s like watching a commercial over and over again and you don’t have a choice but to turn off the TV—or in this case, to unfollow the page or otherwise disengage. Add some variety to your posts.

From my experience, the funnier your post, the better the chance it will be shared and liked!

7. You don’t have a social media calendar

A social media calendar will help you be consistent with your social media campaigns. This is very handy when you have multiple social media channels—and even if you don’t, it will serve as a reminder for holidays and events each month.

8. Your content is hard to find

Having great content will not make much difference if no one can see it. If you want to engage and attract more users to your brand, make hashtags part of your content.

Hashtags have come a long way from being just a musical symbol! Most, if not all, social media channels use hashtags—they help users find specific posts about a topic they’re looking for. They can also be used to categorize your posts. For some, they can help content stand out or encourage a community around a unique hashtag, like #ThisIsWhyIWrite or #RJLynGoesSocial.

However, just as using hashtags gives you different opportunities to connect, using too many can start to look unprofessional. If half a post is made up of hashtags, it won’t be interesting and your audience might get the idea that you’re in dire need of likes or follows. “Too much of something is bad enough,” as the Spice Girls song says.

What’s the right balance? I suggest including a minimum of two hashtags, or a maximum of five if they’re short. And only use those that are related to your post.

9. You haven’t hired a social media manager yet

You can manage social media for your business if you don’t have the budget to hire community manager, but there are benefits to engaging one.

A social media manager, dedicated to your social media channels, will better understand what to do, what to post, and when to post it. While you can learn these things, if social media isn’t your thing, you’re probably better off focusing on the parts of your business you’re more interested in.