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When I was a child, I loved to watch war films.

I know, it’s unusual.

I’m not talking about Platoon or The Deer Hunter, it was more old school. My favourite was The Great Escape, but I also loved Where Eagles Dare, especially the scene in which the cast jump from the cable car into a river to make their escape from the notoriously impenetrable Schloss Adler Castle. Despite this headlong plunge into the freezing waters below, Mary Ure’s false eyelashes and 60s eyeliner remain perfectly in place. Movie gold.

Once seen, there are two things about this movie that never leave you. 1) The music score – the incredible slow build of the brass and percussion brings all the drama. 2) The phrase: “Broadsword calling Danny boy” – the call handle that Richard Burton’s character frequently uses to make contact with mission control, often only getting static by way of a reply.


To me, “Broadsword calling Danny boy” is now shorthand for the experience of trying to blast a message out to the world, but getting no response.

When no one’s commenting

The ‘Broadsword Trap’ is also a social media issue we see businesses dealing with fairly regularly. In this context it looks like frequent posting, with no conversation, little interaction and no one commenting on the posts. Frequent, consistent, but one-way communication.

Why does this happen?

One of the services we provide is a marketing audit. This is how we help clients with established marketing processes to understand where things are going off track. It’s really useful to businesses that are doing lots and lots of work on their marketing, but not getting the results they want. Part of this involves looking at the social media pages to identify any issues.

During an audit, we often see The Broadsword Trap in action. There are SO many reasons why it could be happening, here are 8 of them:

  1. You’re posting on the wrong platform. Users of the platform you’ve chosen simply aren’t interested in your content. If you suspect this to be the problem, check out this post and use it to double check you’re using the right one to find your target market.
  2. The specific audience that you are trying to target just aren’t the kind of people who have time, or want to engage with social media. They’re a category of lurkers with no one commenting. This can happen. Not much you can do about it.
  3. When you post, you’re getting the timing wrong. Posting at times of day when your chosen audience isn’t available online. Try checking the insights to see when people from your target market are most likely to have the time to read and make comments, and adapt your posting schedule accordingly.
  4. When you post, you’re writing captions that don’t require a response, or are hard to comment on. (This can be evidenced by lots of likes, but no one commenting). Followers see them, but they find it hard to see how they can take part in the conversation. Check to see if you are making closed statements, rather than questions that need answering.
  5. Your service is one where your audience doesn’t necessarily want to be publicly outed as a potential client – we’ve seen this happen with some of our therapy clients. Again, there’s not much that you can do here. Try checking Google Analytics to see how many viewers your social media activity is delivering to your website. If it’s a good number (for your business), that’s a good result for you.
  6. You haven’t encouraged your audience to be sociable with you by taking the time to build relationships with others in your community and commenting on their posts. There really is a ‘tit-for-tat’ mentality at work here. Give it a try, I guarantee that if you start interacting with other people’s pages, they’ll return the favour.
  7. You simply don’t have a big enough following. Try some outreach activities, such as using high value hashtags, sharing other people’s content and building influencer relationships to grow your audience.
  8. Sorry, but, it could just be that your content isn’t very interesting. Get our free download: 3 Trade Secrets for Creating Truly Irresistible Content for instant ideas to improve your content.


It’s not the end of the world

At this stage, please don’t give up. There is still validity in maintaining a social media presence in this way. Lots of potential clients will use your social media posts to check you out, and find out more about you, and confirm that you are a viable business. So, even if it feels as though you aren’t getting the results, it may still be a very relevant marketing activity for your business.

Whatever the reason for this one-way communication. It can be very frustrating, and slow to change. But, don’t give up. Even one-way communication on a social media page has better optics than tumbleweeds and nothingness.

But, if you are ready to fix this situation, you can either use our 8 suggestions as a checklist for improvement. Or, if you need some more in-depth, experienced help, book a full marketing audit. We’ll look at possible reasons why your social media, and other marketing, isn’t serving you well and make a list of the best next steps you should take to fix the problems. Find out more here.

One simple tip for better engagement with potential clients

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