The “health” of a social media campaign is not an objective or easy thing to measure. There’s no one score that can tell you whether or not your efforts are breeding success. Some people use follower counts (or likes), but this is misleading; it’s better to have a small number of passionate followers than a large number of despondent ones. Others use total social media traffic, but again, this is misleading; if your social media presence vastly improves your brand recognition and consumer relationships, traffic can be a secondary priority.
Because of these and other subjective discrepancies, it can be hard to tell if your campaign is actually struggling. Fortunately, these seven warning signs can clue you in:
1. You don’t see many likes or comments. I’m not talking about page likes here, I’m talking about individual post likes. People engaging with your posts is a surefire indicator that they like what you’re publishing. The reverse, of course, means that your posts aren’t having much of an impact. This is why follower counts aren’t the be-all end-all metric that too many marketers believe them to be; you can have 100,000 followers, but if nobody likes what you’re posting, it doesn’t matter. Keep an eye on the number of engagements generated by your average post, and include likes, shares, comments, and retweets.
2. You’re spending a disproportionate amount of time on your campaigns. This one is up to you to figure out. You probably have a good feel for the amount of attention your social media campaign generates — it could be a little or a lot. If you notice yourself spending too much time on campaign management, or if you have an entire team of people working on it, you’re probably spending more money on managing the campaign than it’s worth.
3. Your strategy is an afterthought. Think about what your strategy is right now. What is your end goal? What are your short-term goals? What are your platforms of choice and why? How do you plan on building more engagement? These are basic questions that every social media manager should be able to answer. If you find you can’t answer them, it means you probably don’t have a strategy at all — instead, you have a mere token social media presence and you aren’t doing anything to enhance it. This is a sure warning sign that your campaign will fail — after all, how can you possibly hit a goal if the goal doesn’t exist?
4. You can’t explain why your campaign is different. Now, think about your social media strategy (or your brand voice), and list a handful of unique factors that distinguish it from your competition. For example, do you post more discussions and interactive elements? Do you spend more time on one platform, compared to another? If you can’t find a way that you stand out within the scope of your competition, chances are your customers can’t find one either, and that means you’ll lose tons of followers over the course of your campaign. Make yourself stand out any way you can (as long as you stay within the confines of your brand standards).
5. You can’t remember the last conversation you had with a follower. Conversations are what keep people coming back for more on your site. It isn’t enough to post a link to an article and be done with it. If someone asks you a question, you need to be there to answer it. If they make a comment, you need to acknowledge it. Without these acknowledgements and engagements, your followers will feel neglected, and they’ll go somewhere else where they can feel appreciated. If you can’t remember the last time you had a conversation with a fan, it’s been too long, and it’s a sign your strategy is failing.
6. You notice most of your posts are self-promotion. Take a scroll through your brand’s news feed and evaluate the types of posts you see. How many of them are informative, entertaining, or purely conversational? How many of them are self-promoting, such as featuring products or services from your brand? If more than a few of your posts are self-promotion material, you’re doing something wrong. People hate being advertised to, and an excessive number of these posts can make your brand seem alienating.
7. Your social strategy doesn’t fit in with your other channels. Hopefully, social media isn’t your only marketing or advertising platform. You might have an SEO campaign, a content marketing campaign, or a digital advertising campaign at least. Consider how your social media campaign fits into those other strategies — how is it integrated? How do they complement each other? If you can’t find a good explanation, it means your social strategy is independent — and that’s a bad thing here.
If you see more than one or two of these warning signs in your own campaign, it’s a sure sign that something is wrong. You’ve lost momentum, and you’ll need to seriously audit your current efforts if you want to survive. Try not to fret; most campaigns lose direction or momentum at one point or another. All that matters is that you pick up the pieces and start restoring your campaign to a more successful state.