April 20, 2021

7 Reasons Why Your Social Media Posts Don’t Get Engagement

You’ve polished off what you consider to be one of your most engaging social media posts yet. It’s educational. It’s informative. It’s entertaining.  You’ve poured your heart and your research into it.

But even hours after hitting publish, it still stares back at you:  lifelessLike-less

Don’t worry, it’s not you. It is, however, a combination of things that could be creating a “perfect storm” of engagement killers. 

Let’s look at the top seven reasons why your social media posts aren’t getting engagement:

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1. There’s No Human Side or Personality to the Brand

The brands that consistently do well on social media across every industry are those that truly exemplify the social side of social media. 

When you think of a brand like Apple, certain terms immediately come to mind. But engaging isn’t one of them.

Compare that to a completely different brand like Red Bull or Hallmark and you’ll see just how much of an impact “humanizing” a brand can have on your social media engagement. 

Students of branding have even taken a leaf out of Carl Jung’s journal and tried to match different brands with his 12 archetypes. You can see how these brands in turn have worked hard to help cultivate their place on the archetype wheel: 

  • Volvo is known for being safety-centered. 
  • VW has positioned itself as the car for the “everyman.”

Where does your brand land on the outer ring of this archetype wheel? Now move inward to identify the primary reason consumers are motivated to engage with your brand: stability, belonging, freedom, or achievement. 

Oftentimes when brands’ social media posts go over like a lead balloon, it’s because they’re trying to fit into a personality that they aren’t, and it feels fake and forced. Another is that they haven’t chosen the archetype they want to convey, and their posts don’t mesh with that type of voice.

Your brand’s archetype or personality should be a natural evolution from your brand’s mission and philosophy. Your audience can pick up on that, and they’ll instinctively know if you’re trying too hard.

2. There’s a Mismatch Between Your Product and Your Users’ Needs

The second reason your social media posts might not be getting the traction they deserve is that you’re meeting the users’ needs some of the time, but not all of the time. This sometimes occurs when you haven’t chosen a brand personality. But it can also happen when you aren’t targeting the right people.

Your brand cannot be all things to all people. You need to hone in on your best customer. Focus on being precisely what your kind of customer needs. 

What kind of content will engage your best customer? How do they talk about your product and solutions? Not only should your content use the same phrases and words (their “language” if you will), you should speak to them on their level, at every stage of the buyer’s journey. 

Whether they’re just now learning about your brand, they’re deciding between you and a competitor, or they need just a bit more of a proverbial nudge to get them to take the next step, your content should fit those needs like the pieces of a puzzle. 

“Content Marketing is a commitment, not a campaign.” - Jon Buscall

3. The Social Media to Website Flow is Full of Problems

This is more of a technical issue than a content marketing one, but it’s nevertheless vitally important if you want to create engaging social media posts. 

As you direct users from social media to your website, make absolutely sure that all of the technical parts in between are working flawlessly:  on every device, in every browser, every time. 

There’s perhaps nothing more aggravating to your prospect than wanting to sign up for a trial, a demo, or a preview and running into obstacle after obstacle. 

Make sure that you have the bandwidth for the traffic you’re generating. And make sure everything has been fully tested before you publish your social media campaign.

Otherwise your incredible post will get buried beneath customer complaints, questions, and comments that things simply aren’t working — and that’s definitely not a first impression you want to make. 

4. Your Digital Marketing Strategy is Different for Every Platform

This common issue happens as companies spread themselves thinner and thinner across every new social media platform that crops up. Perhaps the voice you originally cultivated on Twitter doesn’t exactly match up with what you’ve been sharing on Facebook, and it definitely doesn’t sound like your persona on Instagram.

Sound familiar? It can happen to companies both large and small. 

This is where it can pay to develop not just a style guide, but a brand and voice guide to go along with it. That keeps your voice consistent and uniform, using the same language and style across each platform, no matter who’s writing or posting. 

“When we create something, we think, ‘Will our customers thank us for this?’ I think it’s important for all of us to be thinking about whatever marketing we’re creating; is it really useful to our customers? Will they thank us for it? I think if you think of things through that lens, it just clarifies what you’re doing in such a simple, elegant way.” - Ann Handley

5. Your Posts Don’t Exemplify Your Brand’s Mission and Philosophy

Imagine you’ve branded yourself as a company that’s user-centered and focused on the customer’s complete satisfaction. Now imagine that every time you run a social media ad or publish a post, you get comments and questions from users that remain unanswered. 

Not only is there a definite mismatch between what your brand claims to be, and what it actually is, but for many users, this is the first and perhaps only encounter they’ll have with your brand. No one’s saying that you need to man the helm 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. But social media is often peoples’ first (or last) attempt to reach you. If they can’t get support, you can bet they’ll try to connect with you through one of your posts. 

Here, it pays to be proactive and interact with users who ask questions, raise concerns or tag their friends. They don’t have to do any of that, but they chose to, and how you respond can make all the difference. 

Remember, engagement goes both ways!

“At Sales Hacker, one of the secrets to our success is being there for people. When someone replies to our newsletter, they get a human response. When someone comments on a LinkedIn post, we engage back. It really is that simple” - Colin Campbell

6. You’re Not Continually Collecting Data and Improving on What You’ve Learned 

If there’s one thing we know how to do well as social media marketers, it’s to connect with and collect audience demographics that tell us more about our ideal customer.

But are you really leveraging that information to the fullest? Or are you simply sitting on it? In fact, many social media campaigns start out by targeting a specific subgroup, but find that they get a much better response from a completely different group than they intended. 

Social media demographics are becoming more and more varied. It’s not just millennials anymore. The companies that engage with all of their followers at every level, while improving their message based on what they’ve learned, are the ones who continue to reap the highest engagement levels from every piece of content that they publish. 

“Content is anything that adds value to the reader’s life.” - Avinash Kaushik

7. You Haven’t Micro-Niched Your Social Media Strategy 

Out of all of the social networks out there, which one do you think boasts the highest levels of engagement with their audiences? Facebook? Instagram?  You may be surprised: 

Source: MarketingCharts

Not only does TikTok lead the pack, but it seems that the smaller the influencer’s audience, the higher their engagement levels. 

Perhaps this can be tied to the impression that the influencer is marketing to a small, close-knit group of fans and followers, and that the social network itself lends to the belief of “I’m broadcasting this specifically to you.” 

But a 17%+ engagement rate for an audience of less than 15,000 flies in the face of everything we’ve been told for years about content marketing.

The fact is, it’s not just who you’re marketing to. It’s how you’re marketing, what you’re marketing, and how well it meshes with what your customers need. 

Social networks themselves will come and go, and there will always be a more advanced platform with a more unique twist. The one constant that remains true throughout every marketing campaign should be your content: it’s what’s doing the heavy lifting for you. Get that right, and everything else will fall into place.

Back to You

After studying the social media posts of SaaS brands today, we’ve discovered that the biggest reason why social media posts don’t get engagement boils down to this: Social media is social. You can’t be a distant, formal brand and expect to earn human engagement. 

If your goal is engaging social media posts, follow the seven recommendations we’ve made in this article. Do it consistently, and you’ll greatly increase the chances of your content being seen, shared, and engaged with.

As a bonus, you can also be sure that every piece you publish is hitting all the right buttons for all the right people.