3 Powerful ways to fix your social media ad strategy

Is your social media ad strategy not getting you the results you wanted? Here's how to fix it.

By now, most of us have realized the huge potential of social media advertising. There are 3.03 billion people thumbing through social media feeds everyday.

Social media is a goldmine of potential customers.

But there’s a catch: social media advertising doesn’t work the same as other advertising.

Your social media ad strategy should fit into your overall marketing strategy. But the techniques that work in traditional advertising mediums generate abysmal results from social media.

If you’re trying to access the massive marketing potential of social media, but it’s not quite paying off for you, here are three ways to empower your social media ads and get the return you’re looking for:

1. Support your ads with your social media presence.

One of the biggest social media marketing mistakes is using paid social ads in isolation. Before you start paying for ads on any social media platform, it’s critical that your business is active on the platform first. This goes for all of them.

Here’s why:

If you use Facebook or Instagram, you may be familiar with scam accounts—accounts that send a friend request, but if you look at their profile, the account has two pictures and has been active since yesterday.

If you don’t have an active social media account, showing social media ads can actually give your brand a scammy feel. If a user takes interest in your ad and checks out your profile, only to find that you’ve got two pictures and haven’t posted anything in a year, it’s very unlikely that you’ll to get a sale from that person.

But wait, there’s more.

Algorithms are everywhere these days. Every social media platform uses them. For the most part, they’re good. However, algorithms need information to work properly. Creating social media content that users can engage with gives the algorithms more information for ad targeting.

A strong social media presence helps computers show your ads to the most relevant audience. Also, some social media platforms, like Instagram, grant extra functionality to accounts with a large number of followers.

Good social media engagement also has its own benefits: 93 percent of Twitter users plan to make a purchase from a brand they follow.

Avoid being just an advertiser on social media. Be a contributor.

How to use social media posts to fix your social media ad strategy:

  • Post content that’s entertaining, valuable and builds your brand persona without overtly selling.
  • Include a call to action in your posts. But not one intended to sell. Encourage people to comment (this one’s the easiest), share or tag you in posts, or use survey posts to increase engagement with your brand.
  • Give people free publicity. Occasionally tag people or other brands in your posts or share something they’ve posted. It costs you nothing, and they might tag you back and help expand your reach.

2. Create ads specifically for your social media ad strategy.

Since social media is a different advertising medium than any other platform, it stands to reason that your paid social ads should be different than ads for other platforms. Adding a picture to your Google search network ads and tossing them on Facebook will get disappointing results.

The reason for this is that people go to social media for different reasons than they go to Google. When people want to buy stuff, they ask Google where they can find it or search Amazon. When they want to relax and see videos of dogs reacting to magic tricks, they hop on Facebook or Instagram.

Even professional networking tools like LinkedIn aren’t all business.

If you’re familiar with the “See, Think, Do, Care” content marketing framework, social media users are in the “See” and “Think” stage of the customer journey.

Social media users aren’t in buy mode when they’re scrolling through their feeds.

Ads that look and feel like ads are invasive to the social media environment, and people react negatively to them, similar to the way people channel surf to avoid TV and radio commercials.

It’s even easier to skip ads on social media.

Ads that stop the thumb are those that add value to a person’s social media feed without trying to sell them anything. People look to social media for amusement, surprise and delight. Create ads that deliver things people want, and they’ll pay attention.

How to create ads that fix your social media ad strategy:

  • Offer value. Try starting your ad with, “Did you know…” to leverage your expertise and add value to your social media community.
  • Appeal to the key emotions of social media. These are the top three emotions connected with viral content: amusement, interest, surprise.
  • Take your own pictures. Social media is a mishmash of user-generated content. Professional stock photos seem strange in that environment.

3. Keep your social media ad strategy connected to the rest of your marketing.

Just because social media requires a different approach, doesn’t mean the overall attitude of your ads should be different on social media.

As a customer moves through your marketing funnel, the experience should be congruent. Yes, social media is a more relaxed atmosphere, but your social media brand persona should be the same as your email brand persona.

If your brand has a quiet, professional attitude, go easy on the whimsical emojis in your social media ads. Being consistent in your marketing does a couple things for you:

  • It ensures that you’re speaking to the right audience.
  • It builds the authenticity and trustworthiness of your brand.

If your social media attitude is fast and loose, but your website and emails are suit and tie, people will sense that your posing or fishing for attention. It’s not a good look. At worst, this could feel deceitful.

Don’t work for the social media platform. Make the platform work for you.

How to use consistency to fix your social media ad strategy:

  • Use your other marketing materials as a style guide for the tone and feel of your social media ads.
  • Understand the demographics of each social media platform. Focus your social media advertising efforts toward the platforms with the most receptive audience.
  • Pay attention to your metrics. If your social media ads are generating a ton of leads, but then customer interest plummets once they’ve clicked through on an ad, chances are they didn’t get what they expected.

Social media is an emerging advertising medium with huge potential. But it’s critical that your advertising strategy is designed for social media. One size does not fit all when it comes to digital marketing.

Take some time to craft a purpose-built social media ad strategy, and you’ll get your slice of the social media pie.

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