There is a big misconception out there when it comes to social media marketing: that it works instantly.

True, you can instantly share to your social media channels, but that doesn’t mean you will generate immediate results. It’s what we refer to as a “long-term play.” It can take anywhere from 1-3 months to see a tangible return on your efforts.

There are a number of reasons this is the case:

1. You have to TEST!

Even the very best digital marketers don’t have all the answers right away. I know, it’s shocking!

There are so many variables that exist within a social media campaign that it is extremely difficult to get it right with your first iteration. Simply breaking a campaign down into finding your audience and what to say presents a number of different paths to take that require testing to see what works.

How to reach your target audience. Do we use ads? Organic content? LinkedIn InMail or email? More than likely, the answer consists of a combination of tools that work together to get the job done.

What to say to your target audience. We may be in front of the right people, but what will cause them to act? Minor tweaks in copy, changing the image associated with an ad or content, and a difference in call to action can all impact results.

2. You are still vetting your sales funnel.

If a business already has an established sales funnel, early success of a social media campaign is much more likely. What does that mean?

Let’s say you are a business coach. Your method for generating quality leads is to acquire email sign-ups through your website. You already know your email content is effective in nurturing members of your target audience to becoming clients.

That means that once your social media campaign is reaching the right individuals and adequately leading them to your website, you will produce leads.

If, on the other hand, you don’t have that sales funnel established, we would not only be testing your social media campaign, but also the ways to lead your target audience toward becoming paying clients or customers.

That means your social media campaign could be effective in what it is supposed to be doing — reaching the right people and getting them to act — without generating leads.

3. You aren’t conveying your value.

This is a big one. I’ve seen a number of entrepreneurs who are doing great things, but there is a disconnect between what they are doing well and what they are saying about themselves.

One of the biggest indicators of this is if you have a successful local business with raving clients, but you aren’t pulling in online leads. More than likely, you aren’t properly articulating your “it factor.”

Let’s go back to our business coach example. A business coach may articulate through her social media campaign that she will “assess your business and coach you through necessary changes to increase revenue.”

That statement may be accurate, but it isn’t conveying this coach’s true value. After asking her clients why they work with her, she may find out that her “it factor” is pushing her clients outside their comfort zones.

Changing her social media campaign to articulate that she “will push you outside of your comfort zone to get you to do things you’ve been putting off” will resonate much better with her target audience.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are a number of variables in play when beginning a social media campaign. Each is directly associated with your campaign, but is also impacted by other areas of your business and factors outside of your control.

It is impossible to predict how an audience will respond to your efforts, even when you know that audience inside and out! Testing, refining your sales funnel, and properly conveying value are all elements of a social media campaign that require time and multiple iterations.

It’s why I set goals with my clients in month-by-month increments. What we are doing is building layers of a social media campaign and testing them along the way.

My next blog post will focus on that layering process – make sure you follow me on LinkedIn so you’ll be notified when it’s live!