The Top 10 Social Media Advertising Mistakes

May 10, 2017

There are a lot of pieces on the web that tell what you should do when running an online media campaign in Facebook and Instagram. Very few give guidance in reverse. What are the common advertising mistakes made when running that paid media? Just call this a how-to, in reverse.

Today, we’re going to list the top 10 mistakes that kill the performance of your social media advertising:

  1.       Failing to Understand the Goals of the Ads. Why do you want to run this campaign/ad set? Do you need to increase awareness? Are you hoping to increase sales on a specific product? Are you building an email list? Do you want qualified leads? Take a deep understanding of why you want to run an ad, and understand the options available to you in the ad manager platform(s).
  2.       Spamming the World. A lot of folks tend to leave targeting in the de facto 18-65 U.S. targeting. Did you know you’re able to drill down and target the ads by interests, geography and in some cases, job title? In advanced cases, you can target a “lookalike” of your current customers, followers or email database. You can also use a Facebook pixel to remarket to web visitors of a specific product, cart abandonment or promotion.
  1.       Putting You before Me. Yes, if you’re spending media money, you want sales or at least something out of it. But, honestly, do you think Sally from Oklahoma City is on Facebook to find your promotion? Not likely. Social media advertising is about discovery. If you want to show up as a solution to your prospects, then search media is a better platform for that. When your Facebook paid ads come through Sally’s “roll,” it’s all about the moment for her. She likes to play or she wouldn’t be on the platform. Consider that your ads should engage or play with the audience. Even start with “Comment ‘yes’ if you love a good dessert” or “What’s your favorite creature comfort when traveling? Let us know in the comments!”  Ask them to do more than “like” it or “buy” it; make it collaborative, and that creates recognition that is absent with a simple “like and scroll.”
  1.       Not Utilizing Remarketing Properly—Or At All. So, you have a Facebook pixel installed on your website. What’s your strategy? Are you serving up generic Facebook ads to every single visitor on your website, hoping they come back and find a way to buy from you all on their own? Here’s a little secret sauce for you: Create two ad sets (a bait and a hook).

The bait set is geared toward getting people interested in a certain product or product line. Make sure to use the Facebook pixel in your tracking, and widen the audience to psychographics in line with your business.

The hook set is a deal sweetener. It’s a remarketing set aimed at just the people who clicked in the bait and didn’t buy. You know they didn’t buy, because if your pixel is installed correctly, you can suppress serving this set to anyone who didn’t visit the “thank you” page after purchase. This hook can be free shipping, discounts or other rewards to come back and buy that thing rightthisminute.

Track conversions on these sets (that’s your “goal” in Business Manager), and compare them to your own sales/system/volume

  1.       Under-Bidding. Like, OMG: Facebook says you can reach a MILLION people with this ad for $5 a day!  Think about how fleeting this can be. As in point #2, you want to target people. It’s about “Fishin’ in the right pond with the right gear.” Here’s another reason under-bidding is not smart: repetition. We see as many as 5,000-20,000 advertising messages a day. Time spent on Facebook alone is more than two hours a day, with the average session 20 minutes. There are 300 million photos uploaded every day on Facebook, and they’re in your target audience’s roll. Plan on each of your targets seeing your ad eight to 12 times before engaging. Keep your audience tight and keep knocking on their door until you get a date. ?
  1.       Boosting Without Strategy. If you’ve gotten this far, you know there is a LOT of science behind optimizing every single ad option on Facebook and Instagram. It’s so tempting to just hit that little boost button and click “next” until you have an ad. Sometimes this is a good thing, especially if your competition is way ahead of you in followers. But, do yourself a favor and slow down on that trigger finger. Alter the targeting past “people who like your page and their friends.” Be strategic about your boosts, because they’re ad spend, too.
  1.       Failing to Use Fan Content in Advertising. They’re taking pictures, giving you shout-outs and boosting your brand to their friends.  UGC (user generated content) is seen as more trustworthy than sales messages. Make sure to get permission first, but definitely look for unique ways to leverage that content in your paid media strategy.
  1.       Getting Lazy on your Carousel. Carousels, or multi-pic ads, take a little more work than uploading a pic and selecting the “learn more”  call to action (CTA) button. They tell a story (or should!). Successful carousels will have a polyptych approach—one beautiful piece divided into “panels.” This little design trick invites the user to swipe and is more likely to see a response. If this is not in your capability, then the “slides” should be individual products with an enticing (and super short!) CTA. One panel might promote free shipping on orders over $50 and another might be a product that’s 60 percent off for a short time period.  Each panel should be a siren song for the user.  Think of what types of carousels have made you respond lately.
  1.  Missing the Need for Brand Awareness. It’s very tempting to read these “get rich quick on Facebook” stories, and while it could happen, hope is not a strategy. Think about this: I bet you didn’t get married on the first date. Your ad is a first impression to a lot of users, unless you are already well-known in the industry. Too many times, companies think there should always be a 3:1 return on every ad. It’s a mistake not to look at your paid social media advertising as a holistic “campaign.” Leave plenty of room for paid brand awareness. Make them like you, and earn their buy. If 100 percent of your ads are “buy from me” without any “get to know and like me” content, you kill the click, your reputation and any chance that that ad will convert.
  1.   Mistaking “Likes” for “Intent.” I saved the best for last. It’s thrilling to see your likes, shares and “reactions” climb. But just because they tapped that button does not mean you have just made a sale. In fact, if your product is more than $75, statistics show that it may take eight to 10 months of “liking” you before they purchase. A like is brand awareness, confirmation of warmth and just what it purports to be: like. Remember why your audience is on Facebook and Instagram; it’s recreation. If you can masterfully entertain and convince them of your product and service, you’ve hit gold. Relish in your likes, because those vanity numbers actually mean something.  But until you plot the actual user journey, you will not be able to tap into valuable psychographics of intent.

In summary,  we hope this “what not to do” has given you insight into how complex and strategic social media advertising really is. Our media experts live and die by the click, the journey and the meaning of it all. We love our clients and we love their followers equally. We enjoy dancing to the music of H2H (Human to Human) connection, approval and commerce. If your social media advertising isn’t what it should be, give us a call for a truthful evaluation.