Today’s post is all about why your social media isn’t growing. As in, why you can’t seem to grow your social media followers. It’s the second in a series called Why Your Audience Isn’t Growing. You can click to read the first post, Why Your Blog Isn’t Growing.
Social media can be one of the most valuable tools in your arsenal…but it can also be the most frustrating. It takes a lot of time, can feel like a part-time job, and sometimes doesn’t seem to bring in results.
If you are one of the many people stuck wondering why your social media isn’t growing, I’ve got some explanations and some tips for what you might do differently.
Listen to Episode 108 – Why Your Social Media Isn’t Growing
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WHY YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ISN’T GROWING
Here are three reasons why your social media isn’t growing.
You Aren’t Sharing Relevant Content
Back when I first started using Twitter and Facebook, I’d been blogging for a few years. But I NEVER shared my own blog posts.
Why? Because NO ONE DID. These social media platforms evolved to be a good place for promotion, but they didn’t start that way. Now many people use them ONLY for link-sharing. (More on that in the next point.)
Part of growing your blog IS utilizing the power of you social platforms. (But your blog still won’t grow without fixing the three mistakes we talked about in the first part of the series!) We should be sharing links on our Twitter profile, our Facebook page, on Instagram, and wherever you hang out online.
But if that’s ALL you are doing, you aren’t going to grow your followers on social media. Which means in turn that you won’t have as much traffic to your blog. You do NOT want someone to come to your profile and find that every post or even every other post is your own.
If you really want to grow your social media platforms, you need to be a curator of content, not just a creator. Being a good curator means that you are picking and choosing things to share as a kind of collection or gallery. People often talk about the 80/20 rule: 80% of what you share should be from other people and 20% from your own content.
Ask yourself what kind of content would COMPLEMENT your own.
- What links would add to the conversation you’re starting with what you write?
- What other people are creating quality content in your space?
- What words of encouragement or news do your people need?
Consider how you can curate a collection of links and posts that will reach your target audience. Share your own, but share links from other sources MORE.
You Aren’t Being Social
Social media isn’t always the best name for Facebook or Twitter or Google Plus or Instagram anymore. It’s often more like Self Media. You promote yourself. And, if you aren’t actually being social, you’re only talking to yourself.
If you aren’t having actual conversations with people on social media, you aren’t being social. This happens a lot when people automate their social shares. They use tools to send out links automatically so they never have to actually go ON Twitter or LinkedIn.
It also happens when people try the follow-unfollow method of growth. This looks like following a bunch of people and then unfollowing them the next day or week. (Um, that’s just smarmy, PERIOD.Stop.)
Clearly, if you are automating everything, you CANNOT be social. Without showing up and talking to other people, you will not grow your social following.
Automation is great (see this post on the difference between scheduling and automation), but you need to have conversations. You must be social.
This means that in addition to scheduling and automating content, you must actually show up on those platforms and engage. Here are a few ideas for how this can look:
- Reply personally to people who share, like, or comment on your posts.
- When you follow someone, check out their profile and comment to them about something in their profile that stood out to you. (If nothing stands out to you in their profile, why are you following them??)
- Instead of just dropping links on your Facebook page, go live and answer questions or engage with your fans.
- Join Twitter chats where you can talk to as many as a few hundred people in an hour.
- Try an Instagram hop where people on a particular day join in on a hashtag like #itssimplytuesday from Emily P. Freeman or #fridayintroductions from Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan.
This is not rocket science. It isn’t hard to do. But it also takes a bit more time and investment. Life would be wonderful if we could just step back and automate everything…but then we wouldn’t really make connections or increase engagement.
You Aren’t Laser Focused
One of the reasons your social media isn’t growing is that you are trying too many things at once. You are on five platforms, trying to manage all of them at the same time.
Each platform has its own quirks, social media sizes, audience, and best practices for how often to post. (See my post on Seriously Simple Social for more and a free guide!) Unless you’ve been doing this for years or have an assistant helping you out, it can be near impossible to manage all of the platforms well.
I also see people often having one post from a social platform automatically post to all the others. So if I’m following someone on Instagram, I might see their post there first. Then I see it on their Facebook page. Then I see it on Twitter. Then I see it on their Facebook profile.
Each platform has its own nuances. You aren’t going to get a ton of Instagram OR Facebook followers when you automate your Instagram images to post on Facebook. You’ll look silly when you have 11 hashtags on Facebook or you tag people and it doesn’t work because the original tag was on Twitter, not Facebook.
Don’t cross the streams! It is more work, but even changing a few things about your post (image size, hashtags or NO hashtags, description length, etc) can help it do well on EACH platform.
Start with a focus. You may want to make sure you secure your name on several of the big platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for sure) before someone else gets it, but you don’t have to be fully active on all of them.
Pick 1-2 platforms you really like where your ideal people also hang out. Consider an overarching strategy for the kind of content you’ll post and how often. Set an alarm or set aside time daily or weekly to engage with people on that platform. Master the kinds of images and posts that do well there. (Again, get my Seriously Simple Social Guide for that!)
When you are really rocking 1-2 platforms and are in your groove, consider adding another. But don’t try to be in all the places at one time. You will have a hard time posting quality content on many platforms and
You Are Participating in Too Many Share Groups
Wait– shouldn’t we be using Facebook groups to grow? Yes. Ish. Facebook groups are great for connecting with other bloggers and getting our content out there! But share groups may be holding back authentic growth.
The kinds of groups I mean are those where content creators can post their links in daily or weekly threads. Then they are required to follow or like or share or comment on the other links in the thread.
While this SEEMS like a good idea, it’s really not. It might boost your numbers a bit. It might give you some social proof when one post has 20 comments. (Note: whenever I see a post now with more than a handful of comments–ESPECIALLY if it’s a newer post–I always assume these are from one of these share threads.) The problem with these groups is that you aren’t actually finding your target audience.
Instead of connecting with that busy mom or that just-starting-out author, you are connecting with another blogger. Who, outside of the group requirements, is NOT likely to become a superfan. If you are trying to work with brands, they have grown wise to this (especially about Instagram pods) and they are NOT happy.
It’s one thing to have a small group where you support each other and share content. (Like the content curation I just wrote about.) Follow-for-follow threads are another thing altogether. Required follow and share groups do not result in authentic engagement from your target audience. Period.
Be wise in the kinds of groups you join and what kind of threads you participate in. Ask yourself what you are REALLY gaining from your participation.
- Is the group made up of your target audience?
- Will other people in the group help get your content IN FRONT OF your target audience?
- Is the content you are required to share relevant and good for curation?
These groups are popular because they give a FEELING of success. Doesn’t it feel nice when you have a bunch of comments on a post? Don’t you love seeing other people share your content? If the groups you are in result in real engagement from your idea people, that’s GREAT. If they don’t, or if they require that you share content you otherwise wouldn’t, it’s time to rethink.
Though many of these fixes are a bit more time intensive and require more of YOU, that’s the cost of real social media growth. A lot of the tactics people teach out there are just that: tactics. They are not a strategy. And they are not about engaged, authentic growth.
If you’re looking for the main reason why your social media isn’t growing, it’s likely because you aren’t investing enough of yourself. You are automating in order to create a Self Media that’s all about your links and not about real engagement or serving your audience.
What are YOUR struggles with social media? Have you seen some of these reasons in your own social media?