By Melinda Emerson

10 reasons why social media campaigns fail


Social media is the great equalizer for small business owners. It used to be that large companies always won

business because they had big advertising budgets. Now, user generated content is more powerful because

the nature of business has changed. The power is now in the hands of the buyers, so sellers must work

harder to earn business. “If you are using social media marketing, and it’s not working for you, here are 10

reasons why social media marketing campaigns fail.


No Defined Goals: You must know what you are trying to

accomplish with your social media marketing campaign. Are

you trying to build a brand, demonstrate thought leadership,

provide customer service or lay the groundwork to launch a

new product? You need to know before you get started.


Making Assumptions About Social Media Culture:

A social media marketing strategy only works if you understand the tool you wish to use. Do not assume

that you know the culture of any social media site. Spend time listening first. Facebook people do not want

to be talked to like they are Twitter users. LinkedIn and Google+ give very different information about a

potential target. You need to connect with people based on the emotional perceptions people have toward

your online brand. This begins by spending time “friend-raising” first, before attempting to generate sales.


No Niche Focus: Before you start using social media, it is imperative that you know exactly who your

target audience is for your content. It should be obvious who your customer is by what you share online.

Remember, niche to get rich.


Inconsistent Activity: You must treat your social media marketing activities like a new job. Show up on

time, do great work and be the last one to leave. Develop a daily social media routine. Do not start blogging

if you are not going to do it consistently. Serious blogs are updated 2-3 times a week.


Spreading Yourself Too Thin: Newsflash; you do not need to be on every social media site. Start building

your online brand with the social media site that is most popular with your target customer. Focus your

efforts there, until you dominate, then move on.




Unfocused Content: All of your target customers listen to the same radio station -- What’s in it for

me-- WII-FM you need to make sure that your content is customer focused. Use the MAGIC formula

for developing content. Motivate your audience. Give them helpful action steps. Help them attain their

business goals. Create incentives for them to stay in touch with you. Show commitment to your customer’s



Selling Too Quickly: When it comes to social media, you need to go for the relationship first, not the

sale. No one wants to hear, “Buy my stuff, buy my stuff.” Traditional selling is dead. Successful social

media marketing will drive your target customer to beat a path to your door. Position your business as an

invaluable resource.


Not Knowing Your Keywords: Your keywords are the terms people use to search for your product or

service on search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. You should know your top 6 keywords so that you

can use them in your original content and social media feed. Your keywords should be reviewed every 6-8



Social Media is Not a One-Way System: You cannot take the “social” out of the social media

marketing campaign. Personal engagement is a key element in successful online branding. You can’t

automate your account without making sure you are also fostering personal interactions several times a

day. When you put out a message, encourage people to discuss that message, and then as you respond to

their responses, you will build a community online. Never push out content without considering what else

your audience might be responding to.


Outsourcing Your Social Media to a Newbie: Do not

hire a fresh-out-of-college employee or intern to run your

company’s social media marketing accounts. People do

business with people they like, know and trust. This level of

rapport can’t easily be reached by young employees who

can’t add any value to social media conversations due to

lack of experience. You must connect and communicate to

build community with contacts who can eventually be turned

into commerce. Your target audience will be able to tell

when a social media account is run by an uncaring or rookie


Melinda emerson | 3

10 reasons why social media campaigns fail


If you decide that you want to start using social media marketing to promote your small business, now is a great

time to get started. Before jumping on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter make sure that is where your best target

customer hangs out online. Get your game plan together so that you are strategic with time online. Keep in

mind that using social media is a long term marketing strategy. It will not start raining money in your business

the minute you start using LinkedIn or Google+. You only need to make your mark on one social media platform

to grow your business. Here are my 6 C’s of social media marketing for your small business.







6 C’s



Connect – You want to connect with your customers where they hang out online. One of the first things I

do when I make a new contact to connect with them through LinkedIn and Twitter. Get started by claiming

your profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest then dominate on one platform first.


Communicate—You should first communicate what your brand is all about. Your profiles should tell

people what you sell and how to hire you. Resist the urge to add cute, but useless information to your

profile such as Cowboys fan or Swim dad. Your social media profiles are sales opportunities. What is your

brand statement? I am SmallBizLady and my mission is to end small business failure.



Compelling Content—Content is currency online. If you have the ability to generate valuable content

the world will beat a path to your door. Decide first whether you will write blogs, do audio interviews or

podcasts, or videos to build your thought leadership and your brand. If you can, start developing content,

2-3 months before your launch your blog presence.


Consistency – Before your launch your content online, it will be important to start building relationships

and position yourself as a resource. Spend a few months on your #1 social media platform sharing other

people’s content and answers questions. When you start generating content, keep in mind that professional

blogs are updated at least 2-3 times a week. Consistency is a key ingredient in social media success.


Community—Once you show up on a regular basis you will become a member of the social media

community. It could take up to 12 months for this to occur. Use the time to position yourself as a thought

leader among your peers and potential customers. Seek opportunities to build lasting relationships with

your new social media connections. One of my favorite things to do is to reach out to an online contact

offline to deepen the relationship. It typically takes 7 to 21 interactions before you have a solid relationship

with someone you met online. Do not try to sell too quickly, you can damage a relationship if a prospect

feels like you are not genuine or authentic.


Commerce—No one wants to be sold too. If you do your job well, your best target customer will flock to

buy from you. Use a 4:1 ratio of promoting other people’s content and event over your own. Obviously you

want to sell things, but don’t let that be your only agenda for participating in the conversation.

Melinda emerson |


10 reasons why social media campaigns fail


If you are still on the fence about how to use social media to grow your small business, now is a great time to

started. Keep in mind that it takes a long-term commitment to become a social media superstar, but it can be

done. Here’s an interview I gave on how I built the SmallBizLady brand and became a social media brand in


Why should a small business engage in social media?

Social media is the great equalizer for small business owners. It used to be that the business that could

purchase the most advertising won in business, now the power is in the hand of the customer. These days,

no one wants to be sold to; they are looking

for helpful information, and if you have some

to offer, you have the opportunity to build a

relationship that you can eventually monetize.

Quality content is the currency required to be

successful online, but everyone should keep in

mind that social media marketing is a long tail

strategy. When it comes to getting started online,

I suggest building a complete profile on LinkedIn

first. Why? Because it’s the first place a potential customer will look for information about you. Then,

develop a listening strategy to figure out where your best target customer hangs out online, and join that

site. Start with one social media site first, to build a following. Then move on to another site once you feel

that you have a dominant brand presence. Do not kill yourself trying to do everything.

How can a small business owner define their social media goals?

Here is a triple ROI of social media

All social media accounts are free, but you pay

with your time, which is extremely valuable and

your investment in social media.

If you are successful with social media, you will

build your influence, which you can eventually

leverage and monetize.

Ultimately, you are building your identity online, which is your brand. This is key because you can hurt your

brand as much as you can build it, which is why you must be strategic with how you use social media.



Help Others First: I was on Twitter a year before attempting

to sell anything.

Engage with People: Gone are the days of one way

communication, people want to get to know you.

Listen First: Don’t assume you know the culture of the different

social media sites. Facebook people are not like Twitter people.

Make sure you are communicating the way people are using the

specific social media site.

Promote Yourself with Care: Approach social media like you are serving your

target audience. Make a list of 5 websites you can go to everyday to find quality

content to share. Use a 4-to-1 ratio of sharing other people’s content over your


Melinda emerson |


10 reasons why social media campaigns fail


Is It worse to have no social media presence or one that isn’t updated regularly?

Do not start something you can’t maintain. It takes 12-18 months of daily work to build a social media

brand. Having a social media account that is not updated is worse than not having an account at all. You

can manage your social media presence one hour a day using tools like www.hootsuite.com or www.

sproutsocial.com to schedule your content in advance. Now, be sure to check in live three times a day to

engage with people who are trying to speak with you or are sharing your content. Do not just leave your

social media accounts on autopilot.

Should people share personal and professional content through their social media


I think you should share personal and professional information from your social media accounts. I don’t

think you need to have more that one account as a small business owner. It will help people get to know

you. Always be authentic online.

What are some basic questions that someone should ask

herself before posting?

She should ask herself if she wants to read it in the newspaper. Selfcensorship

is important in social media, you can hurt your brand by not

being appropriate.

Always think about what your target customer needs and wants when

developing or posting content. If you do that, your customers will beat a

path to your door or website.

You suggest users start “friend-raising” on social media.

What does that mean?

“Friend-raising” is what you must do first if you ever hope to do business

with a social media contact. People do business with people they like,

know and trust, especially online. It’s much harder to build relationships. You must put your time in to

become a part of the online community and make friends then, people will support your business.

How can you use social media to build a small business brand?

You should join in on the conversation where your best target customers are already online. Seek

opportunities to position yourself as an expert. Look for places to demonstrate your expertise. Start

blogging NOW. Serious business bloggers post new content 2-3 times per week.


What is #SmallBizChat?

Every Wednesday from 8-9 pm ET, I host a weekly live chat on Twitter for small

business owners called #Smallbizchat. The mission of #SmallBizChat is to end

small business failure. Each week, I interview a small business expert and fans

jump in with questions and a few answers too. We are the longest running chat

for small business owners on Twitter. Use tchat.io and our hashtag #Smallbizchat to join the conversation.

Here are details on how to participate in #SmallBizChat http://bit.ly/S797e.

What is best piece of advice you can give a business owner who’s getting started with

social media marketing?

Pick just one social media site to focus on. Don’t kill yourself trying to do five social media sites a day.

Dominate one! Make sure you have a helpful website, make sure you know where your target customer is

online and develop a content strategy. Start developing content 1-2 months before you launch your blog.

Have a specific point of view; nobody pays attention to a “me too” brand. Have something to say.

Melinda emerson |


How to Become a


Melinda F. Emerson, SmallBizLady, is America’s

#1 small business expert. Her expertise includes

small business start-up, business development

and social media marketing. As CEO of The

Quintessence Group, Melinda leads a consulting

company that helps Fortune 500 companies

develop effective strategies to engage small

business customers. She is a regular columnist

for the New York Times. She publishes a resource

blog, www.succeedasyourownboss.com which

is syndicated by the Huffington Post and hosts a

weekly talk show on Twitter called #SmallBizChat

for today’s entrepreneurs. She reaches 3 million

small business owners weekly online. Forbes

Magazine named Melinda Emerson #1 Woman

for Entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. She is

also the author of the bestselling book “Become

Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-

Month Guide to a Business That Works.” and the ebook How To Become a Social Media Ninja; 101 Ways

to Dominate Your Competition Online. In 2012, she founded the Melinda F. Emerson Foundation for

Small Business Success. www.melindafemersonfoundation.org Melinda is deeply committed to causes

that support minority and women business owners.

All Rights Reserved. ©2014 Melinda F. Emerson

First Edition January 2014

This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced, or transmitted, in any form by any means,

electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the


Published by Quintessence Multimedia

P.O. Box 280

Drexel Hill, PA 1902





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Join SmallBiz Chat

Every Wednesday from 8-9 pm ET, I host a weekly

live chat on Twitter for small business owners called

#Smallbizchat. The mission of #SmallBizChat is to end

small business failure. Each week, I interview a small

business expert and fans jump in with questions and a

few answers too. We are the longest running chat for

small business owners on Twitter. Use tchat.io and our

hashtag #Smallbizchat to join the conversation. Here

are details on how to participate in #SmallBizChat.



with Melinda Emerson

Join Smallbizchat every Wed 8-pm ET with America’s

#1 Small Business Expert Melinda F. Emerson


Use tchat.io and the hashtag #Smallbizchat to join in.

For details on how to become a guest on




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