11 Reasons You’re Not Getting Traction on Social Media
Your business’s biggest problem is obscurity. If people don't know you, they won't do business with you. Your product could be amazing, your customer service could make clients shiver with glee, but if they don’t know you exist, you’ve got no chance of helping them. Zero.
Social media is one of the most effective tools out there for generating that awareness and catapulting your way out of obscurity. These amazing, free channels of communication are available for all of us to use, and most of us squander these opportunities day in and day out. For shame.
I know you’re not satisfied with the level of traction you’re earning on social media — that’s why you’re here. I’m not satisfied either. I’m always looking for those unique opportunities to skyrocket my clients’ social media followings and get more attention for their brands.
Last year I finally decided to take social media seriously for my own personal brand. In that time, I’ve gone from zero to roughly 15,000 authentic followers and learned a lot along the way. I’ve published an , written dozens of articles on and experimented with my own email marketing . And, I’ve completely dominated my Google search results in the process.
The attention I earned on social media has begun to snowball. Recently I landed interviews with industry experts, was featured on a , and earned myself in the news.
I’m not telling you this to brag, I’m telling you to give you a sense for what I’ve achieved in a relatively short period of time and what you can too.
If you’re not satisfied with the level of attention you’re getting on social media, then it’s time to do something about it. Here are 11 reasons why you may not be getting the traction you want on social media — and my suggestions for how to turn things around.
1. You’re not posting often enough.
When drafting a social media posting schedule, remember that you’re not looking to check off boxes, you’re looking to get attention for yourself and your brand.
There are plenty of out there, but really there is no right answer to the frequency question. The bottom line is this: the more you post, the more opportunities you have to engage with your fans.
I can say with almost 100 percent certainty that you’re not posting often enough. I used to tweet one or two times a day and got good engagement. Then I moved up to five to seven times a day and saw a bigger spike in engagement. If I was on’s level of dedication, I’d be tweeting 50 times a day.
If you’re looking for an easy way to get more attention for yourself, increase the number of times you post each day, period.
2. You’re posting at the wrong times.
If you like posting on social media at 2 a.m., but your audience doesn’t check their phone until lunch, then your posts will go largely unnoticed. Similarly, if you post on LinkedIn at the same times that you post on Facebook or Instagram, don’t be surprised if you get wildly different rates of engagement. Different platforms have different users and different behavioral patterns.
Using a social media scheduling tool like or is extremely helpful for testing out different types of content at various posting times. Feel free to inform your decisions based on existing data, but understand that what works for others may not necessarily work for you. As you continue to test, eventually you’ll notice patterns and identify the dead zones and which times are the magic moments when your fan base is really buzzing.
And remember, the more you post, the more opportunities you have to get that buzz you’re after. If you post once per day, you have just one opportunity to capture the attention of your audience. If you post 10 times per day, that’s 10 times the opportunity to test your content and cast a wider net.
3. You’re not memorable.
Memorability can come from a number of things. Consistency is certainly up there — the more often you see or hear something, the more memorable it is. I know Geico can save me 15 percent or more on car insurance because it’s been drilled into my psyche.
On average, it takes to remember a brand. Now just imagine how many more times it will take if you look and sound like everyone else.
So focus on standing out. Share your story and be personable. Look for ways to delight your fans, compliment people, collaborate and make your audience feel positive emotions when they see your name. All of that work will ensure that the next time they think of your industry, they’ll make the connection — ding — and think of you too.
4. You automate too much.
Automation is great. I rely on my Buffer queue to schedule out updates on social media. I’ve used recipes to share my articles as soon as they’re published. But social media is called “social” for a reason. It’s all about connection and humanity. If you put too much focus on automation to save time, you’ll lose out on the engagement and that’s where the real traction comes into play.
Look for opportunities to engage with your audience. If someone retweets your article, thank them. If you like someone’s article, tell them what you liked about it. Answer questions, ask questions back and get involved in conversations online. Put the “social” back in social media.
5. You’ve put all your eggs in one basket.
You’ve done loads of demographics research. You know for sure which social media platforms your target audience is on and which they’re not. So you sign up confidently for one or two platforms and poo-poo the others. I’ve made this mistake before and I’ll tell you right now — you won’t know for certain where your audience will be most engaged until you test your theory out.
My initial research found Twitter to be my best bet, so I began to make my home there. It’s working well, but over the last year, as I’ve tracked the engagement metrics on my Entrepreneur articles, I discovered that Facebook is where I get the majority of my traction. It’s a platform I don’t even use regularly, but that’s where my articles get shared the most. Go figure.
Try your content out on different platforms to find the communities that are most engaged with your content. Test, rinse, repeat.
6. You’re expecting people to come to you.
You see people with amazing follower-to-following ratios on Twitter and figure you’ll get there if you just start sharing some great content, but that’s not how it works. Building an online audience is a grind.
When you’re looking to grow your business, you don’t just turn the lights on and wait for customers to come to you. You go after them. You experiment with marketing and advertising. You seek out PR opportunities. You set up a sales funnel and work your tail off getting referrals.
Growing your online audience is the same way. You may need to follow hundreds of people in order to get the valuable attention of a select few. You’ll want to engage with your biggest fans and figure out who your key influencers are. And yes, you’ll want to occasionally set up to help supplement your organic efforts.
7. You’re not adding any value.
Take a hard look at the content you’re sharing on social media. Are you just posting news articles from the same publication with no commentary? Are you adding anything original to the conversation?
If you’re not giving people a reason to share your content, they won’t. There is far too much competition on social media for you to stand out by being forgettable and unoriginal.
Sharing your own original content is a great way to provide unique value. So too is sharing a carefully selected mix of external news articles, blog posts, pictures, and videos. There’s nothing wrong with being a “content DJ,” as long as you’re doing your job well. Make your news feed visually appealing, share a variety of content and give your audience something valuable to come back to day after day.
8. It’s still too early.
The hard truth is that it takes time to build an authentic following and grow your engagement metrics. If you’ve only been steadily active on social media for a few months or just a few weeks, then it’s entirely possible that it’s too early for you to get the level of traction you’re after.
My social media growth didn’t happen overnight and unless you strike viral gold, yours won’t either. Have patience, as you would with any other part of your business, but don’t let yourself get complacent either.
Know that great social media traction requires consistency, lots of activity, and at the same time, supreme patience. So keep up the good work, test new posting times and new types of content, and see what fits best for your audience.
9. You’re streaky.
You’re hot and you’re cold. One day you’ll post 10 times on social media, the next day you’ll respond to a comment and then you’ll forget for three weeks straight.
At its core, social media is a way of engaging and interacting with other people. And just like any other form of communication, if it’s clear that you don’t really care about your audience, they’re not going to stick around for long.
There’s a lot at stake here, especially for businesses. If customers have a problem and they can’t get ahold of you via social media, they’re much more likely to leave a negative review. So make yourself a consistent schedule for posting updates and checking your notifications, and stick to it!
10. You’re forgetting visual content.
There’s an incredible amount of data out there on the power of visual media in encouraging engagement online. Tweets with images get than tweets without images. Content with relevant visual content gets than content without. YouTube has the longest session time of any social platform, averaging on mobile per user.
If you’re not taking advantage of videos, pictures, graphics and gifs, then you’re doing yourself a disservice. Make it your mission to make your social content as visually appealing as possible. It will look great and you’ll earn the engagement metrics to make it worth your while.
11. You’re just focusing on yourself.
If you share content that is interesting to you, but not to your audience, then you’re just being plain selfish. Nobody wants to engage with a page of spam, random thoughts or advertisements. Social media users want to be educated and entertained. They want value, not ads.
Instead of focusing on what you want — more sales or a larger audience — focus on what your audience wants — more value.
I recommend and determining who your target audience is. Whose attention are you trying to get? What do they most want to know that matches with your expertise? How can you provide value to them every time they find your profile?
Make the answers to those questions your driving thesis behind your social media activity. Do your absolute best to provide as much value as possible for your target audience, and you’ll reap the reward.