Social media advertising is one of the most powerful marketing mediums you can use. The adverts are easy to set up (Facebook and Twitter have got shareholders to keep happy, remember) and relatively low cost, so the barriers to someone placing a social media advert are pretty low. Which is good news, right?
Well, not necessarily.
The ease with which you can create a social media advert means that there are a lot of people who are running advertising for the first time – and some of them are making mistakes.
So, I have identified seven of the most popular mistakes so that you don’t have to make them.
The Right Network: Trying to find the right network is not as easy as you would think. For example, I work in higher education, so is that something that people regard as part of their personal life (in which case, Facebook would be a good network) or their professional life (LinkedIn), or is it both? Just because over a billion people are on Facebook doesn’t mean that is the best network for your organisation – do your research and find out where your audience are.
Audience Profile: In the first paragraph I said that social media is one of the most powerful marketing mediums you can use. I say that because of the level of audience segmentation that you can perform. Before online advertising, being able to create an audience profile by age, location and interests was very difficult and expensive. So, spend some time defining your audience and don’t define your audience too broadly if you can help it.
Copy: Your copy will need to be pretty snappy – you will probably only have 150 or so characters to communicate your message. And within that, you will need to include a compelling reason for someone to click as well as a call to action. Not an easy task, but spending some time getting this right will see your advert effectiveness soar.
Image: It is likely that the image will be the part of your advert which grabs the audience’s attention (or doesn’t). So you should steer well clear of cheesy and boring stock images, you can spot them a mile off. Your image should be exciting but also relevant – again, not easy but your image can make or break your campaign.
Manage Campaigns: One of the key advantages of social media advertising over print advertising is the fact that you can manage your campaign – if after running for a day the campaign feels like it is heading in the wrong direction, change something: bid, image, copy, audience, etc. Getting the campaign up and running and leaving it to run its course with no management while it is running is so 1990s.
Landing Page: Sending advertising traffic to a home page is the wrong thing to do 99% of the time. In an ideal world, you would have a specific landing page designed for that campaign, but in the absence of that, the landing page should be specific to the product / service / message which you are communicating to the advert. Sending traffic to the home page and expecting people to navigate to the right page will not work.
Track Success: Before you start your social media advertising campaign, you should define what success looks like. Is it driving traffic to your website? If so, will you be tracking the number of conversions, bounce rate and on-page engagement? Or is it to grow your social media audience across a particular demographic? Make sure you don’t do this stage retrospectively (that’s cheating!).
What are the common mistakes which you see? Or have you made a social media advertising mistake that you are prepared to admit to?!