How to Avoid the Social Media Catch-22

One of the most frustrating moments for a marketers is being asked the question: ‘so why isn’t this social media thing working?’ from a company stakeholder. Companies hear the social media hype and want to see a return on investment. After trying social media, many companies and businesses wondering what all the hype is about.

Many companies have had success from Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, other companies not. There are of course several reasons why a social media campaign may be successful or not – but remember success or failure always starts with planning and strategy – or lack thereof.

Social Media Catch-22

The Social Media Catch-22 occurs when a company with no influence or presence in social media attempts a endorsement that requires influence, for example a company attempts to grow their following on Twitter or Facebook however their only promotional methods are Facebook and Twitter.

In order to achieve success from social media you need a large number of people to connect with, ie followers. 30 followers unfortunately cannot suddently become 3000. A company with a very small following cannot effectively interact and generate response from these users – the are effectively fishing from a very small pond, instead of a large lake.

Make Growth Intentional

Companies need to figure out, according to their niche, whats attracts Twitter followers, Facebook fans, blog readers, email newsletter subscribers etc. Sitting back and ‘seeing what happens’ probably won’t work.  As a marketing manager you cannot afford to take this route, as no doubt your boss will sit you down in 3 months time and want to see whats happened.

You can send 600 tweets a day to 30 followers, but most probably very little will happen. You social media marketing strategy needs to look at growing your following.

Plan Ahead to Spend Money

Remember, social media marketing is not free – even though from first glance it may well seem it. Like a typical marketing investments, your return will be proportionate to your direct investment.

Leverage Growth with Short, Medium and Long Term Goals

Don’t think with social media you have to wait a long time to see results. Sometimes they are instant, generally they do take some time to gain momentum.

Most important is proper planning. Make sure you create campaigns for the short term and the long term. To start with focus on campaigns that are designed to grow your followings in the various social channels. As your following grows, you can launch promotional campaigns and leverage the growth you have created. By this time, your small pond should be a large lake and you can go fishin!

David Correll : Editor and Founder of I also run a Social Media Agency where I do consulting work and Social Media Management. Connect with me: Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook or contact me here. Alternatively, you can send me an email at


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