Don’t give up on your social media marketing

As a small business owner, social media is your friend. It’s a cost-effective, accessible tool for promoting your business.

Yet it can also be your enemy.

You spend hours agonising over what to say, trying to post regularly and looking for that perfect image that will grab your ideal client’s attention.

And often your efforts seem wasted. You eagerly check your stats but no one seems to be out there; maybe a handful of likes and a couple of comments if you’re having a good day. But apart from that, nothing.

Tumbleweed through your Instagram or LinkedIn profile.

But there is hope!

Even if things seem pretty quiet, you can be sure that however many likes, comments or shares you have, it is never the full picture.

I recently read an article which stated that, for every 100 people following a social account, only around 5-10 of them will be highly active and visible. They’ll contribute to discussions and share new ideas themselves, becoming just as visible as you.

A second group is made up of those who engage from time to time. They’ll comment when they have something useful to contribute, and like most of your posts. In your group of 100 followers, there will be 15 – 20 of them.

And then there are the Lurkers!

If your maths is up to scratch, you’ll have worked out that this is the vast majority of your followers.

Up to 80% of your followers will never, ever like, comment or engage with your content.

These people are happy just watching, listening and quite literally lurking in the shadows.

It doesn’t mean they’re not interested in what you have to say (otherwise why would they follow you in the first place?).

And it doesn’t mean they’ll never buy from you.

They may even actually *talk* about what you’ve said to someone else. How many times have you said, in conversation, “I read something the other day….”.

The lurking habit just means these people are not the sort to actively engage on social media.

We can’t possibly engage with everything

Our lives our busy, and it’s easy to see why the number of people watching social media from the sidelines might be growing.

We‘re all aware of the impact of social media on our health. The hours spent comparing ourselves with others and their ‘perfect’ lives, or getting wound up by news content on multiple platforms, creates noise in our heads and stress in our bodies.

Indeed, why would you comment or like something when you’ll then be bombarded with more notifications every time someone else does the same on that post? Far better to just take note of what’s said, who said it, and watch from the sidelines.

I know from experience that lurkers are real. I’ve met people at networking events who’ve commented on something I’ve shared on Twitter, even though they didn’t respond at the time. People have joined my Facebook group – The Marketing PopIn – because they’ve seen my content on LinkedIn and found it useful. They’ve never commented, liked or even connected with me. They’ve just popped up in the PopIn!

Take heart, stay consistent, and don’t be put off

So, if you’re feeling discouraged by the apparent lack of engagement in your social media, take heart from these stats.

By all means, keep an eye on your engagement figures, because that’s the only evidence you have for tracking your social media marketing. But that’s only because you can’t track what isn’t there!

But don’t be disheartened if your numbers are low or slow to grow.

My advice to you is to stick with it. When you are consistent, relevant and helpful with your content, you will see results.

Your ideal client is out there, and if your content connects with them, they will get in touch when the time is right for them.

Good luck!

I’d love to know if you’ve had experience of lurkers making contact with you - get in touch or leave a comment.


If you’re struggling to know what to say in your social media marketing, it may be because you haven’t answered the Big Three questions clearly: Who do you help? How do you help them? Why are you different? Get in touch for a chat to find out how you can change this and create a marketing plan that works for you.