Lets scan your branding checklist. Messaging? Check. Logo refresh? Check. Website? Check. Social media… not looking so good.

Maintaining your brands social media is like doing your makeup every day. Some days its a bit overdone, with lopsided eyeliner and excess blush. Other days, you say screw it” and forget it entirely. And sometimes…it might be time for a full-blown “Princess Diaries” makeover.

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How can you tell if your social presence needs a major redo? Aside from the classic mistake of 16-month breaks between posts, theres a handful of telltale signs your channels arent runway ready. If you identify with any of the four problems, it could be time for a long, hard look in the mirror.

Sign #1: You dont have a strategy

Natalia De la Peña is Organic Social Media Coordinator at The James Agency.

Random posts. Inconsistent designs. A weak tone of voice. These are big red flags that are only getting worse—especially if you ignore them.

When you think of social media, the word strategy” might not be the first word that comes to mind. Its just a casual place to post every few weeks, right? Wrong. The truth is, social media and strategy go together like contour and highlight, like eyeshadow and mascara—peanut butter and jelly, if you prefer food analogies.

We get it—social media is a blast. You get to interact with your followers, make fun content and reach all the right people! But theres a lot of work hidden behind the emojis and hashtags. Keeping all your channels high and tight with content thats both creative and engaging can be strenuous.

Having a consistent, tactical plan on what youre executing across your social channels is imperative to your digital success. Identifying your target audience, the most appropriate content and subtle differences in tone-of-voice on each platform will help your brand garner the results it deserves.

Sign #2: Its not what you envisioned…like, at all

Youve spent hours perfecting your brands look and feel on social media. Youve stared at the design and tweaked it 100 times. Youve re-read your cautiously crafted caption for the perfect balance of wit and expertise.

The result? You still kinda hate it. Your brand feels bland, boring and influenced by what others—a cheap imitation of what your competition is doing. Is being original” even possible? Youre not seeing the ROI you want and it feels like theres no real solution.

Heres the thing: if you love what youre posting about, your audience will notice. The positive feedback will flow in later. We know its overwhelming, but social media is all about sharing what you love, even from a brands perspective.

If youre not happy with your socials, do you start fresh—scrap everything and rebuild from the ground up? How do you truly showcase your brand identity on socials? Its worth asking yourself and your team these hard questions, even if the answer isnt readily apparent. A great social feed is all about intention. Some genuine content, a definitive brand identity, a few sprinkles of aesthetic is a great recipe for likable social media.

Sign #3: Your audience is disengaged

Engagement is everything on social media. Literally. The word engagement” is an umbrella term for likes, shares, comments and other things that your audience does to interact with your posts.

Its important to keep track of the engagement on our social media channels. It helps your brand know how its doing and—for better or worse—gives you a little dopamine hit every time you see one of those little notifications. If youre noticing a decrease in engagement, that might be a signal for some revamping.

Maybe its the posts themselves? That recent post with the 2013 era filter kinda flopped—remember the one with extreme saturation levels and unnecessary amounts of vignette (#nofilter?). Or maybe its your post copy. Maybe it comes off as self-serving or disingenuous. All that is to say: you gotta switch things up. Knowing who your audience is across platforms will make it easier to reach them. Dont do too much. Find a balance in communication that works for you.

Sign #4: Your competitive edge feels dull

We hate to break this to you, but your competition is looking real nice. You wanna rock your socials like them, but we dont want you to just blend into the crowd.

To sink your competition, first you need to identify them and see what makes them tick. What are their content pillars? Whats their messaging strategy? And finally: what makes you different from them? Leverage your own brand to outplay the competition.

Standing out” is a lot easier said than done—and there are a ton of ways to make that happen. Your brand can claim its own space by crafting unique visuals, entertaining campaigns, compelling copy, striking photography and more. If your competition is turning heads with something groundbreaking, dont be afraid to push your creative limits.

Flailing social media has a lot of symptoms, but the four we just covered are some of the big uns. If you want a little help refreshing your channels or even diving into the root of the problem with a brand refresh, give The James Agency a call. Wed love to get our hands on your Instagram and pull a couple strings to get that ROI singing like a canary.


Author: Natalia De la Peña is Organic Social Media Coordinator at The James Agency. To learn more, visit www.thejamesagency.com