Now more than ever, more businesses are advertising on Facebook. More than one billion people use Facebook every day, which translates into a huge business opportunity. Can’t argue that, right? Because I’m immersed in social media 24/7 as part of my job, it’s hardened me into a critical judge of all things Facebook.
By now, you should be completely aware that to get in front of your audience you have to pay to play. During the first half of 2016, organic reach declined by 52 percent, which means it’s pretty hard to be seen by your audience without money. It’s a challenge but not impossible.
The beauty of Facebook ads compared to traditional mediums like television or radio is that it’s not as obvious when you’re being served an ad. When you’re watching Dancing with the Stars, you know when the show has stopped, commercials begin and then the program starts back up. With Facebook, as you’re scrolling through the news feed, you’re going to see the ad for a new book on sale right next to the photos of your cousin’s new baby. It’s fairly seamless.
Surprisingly, only three percent of posts in the Facebook desktop news feed are sponsored. In my own research, it took me about 30 posts before I saw my first ad, but when I see those ads, I begin the deconstruction process to see what they are really trying to accomplish.
I take mental notes of the ones I especially like and screenshot the ones that took a turn for the worst. You’re probably asking yourself, “Shouldn’t it be the other way around?” No. I want to remember the bad ones forever so I don’t make those same mistakes later.
The biggest oversight that is still being made by brands is when Facebook posts are boosted but they make no sense in regards to date and time. One of my favorite fails was a business who paid to promote a post that says, “Happy Independence Day.” I saw the ad on July 6.
This type of slip-up happens more now that all social media managers, no matter the level of experience, have access to the Facebook ad buying platform. Mistakes like these can start to chip away at your brand’s credibility, which in the long term can lead to decreases in traffic or revenue.
Here’s an easy litmus test that you can put your content through before you decide to launch an advertising campaign no matter the size or scale:
Social Copy With Dates
Let’s say that it was a beautiful day and you decided to post a lovely picture of a few customers standing outside of your store. Great idea! Your content says something like, “Today has been a busy Saturday morning at the store! Stop by to shop all of our latest looks.”
This is a great post, and Facebook even said you were getting great engagement, but the life of it doesn’t extend past Saturday because it is specific to one day. If you boost that post for longer than that day, it will look silly on Sunday. I mean you do know what day of the week it is, right?
Instead, try writing copy that doesn’t limit your timeframe to something like, “The early bird gets the worm! Stop by to shop all of our latest looks.”
CTAs for Limited-Time Promotions
Facebook is a great vehicle to drive traffic to your business, especially for limited time sales. There is a right and wrong way to do this. For example, on Thursday your repair shop is running a special for customers that gives them half-off an oil change that day only. Sweet! You can do an advertising build up to Thursday and advertise the day of the special, but continuing to advertise once your business has closed for the day makes zero sense. Customers can no longer get that deal and you’re wasting hard earned dollars with a now irrelevant CTA.
Try ending your campaign one to two hours before your business closes to ensure that your audience won’t see that deal once the doors are closed for the day.
Holiday Social Posts
This one is easy. Holidays have a very short shelf life, and while it’s an easy bandwagon to jump on it’s not necessarily advancing your brand. If you want to send a Merry Christmas message to your followers, that’s great, but it means that you should only advertise that message on December 25.
Always be sure to double-check the dates that your ad is running. Facebook will always default to running the campaign as long as possible and doesn’t take any other factors into the equation.
I can’t be the only one bothered by mistakes like this. What are your pet peeves when it comes to Facebook advertising? Let me know in the comments!
–Nicole Maul, Social Media Manager