2015 will see a huge upsurge in the use of social media advertising by brands. The models offered by the likes of Facebook and Twitter offer an excellent way of getting to targeted audiences, and when done properly, can be very cost effective. However, social media advertising has a fundamental issue – the social part. Let me illustrate this with the below NSFW (if you work in a place that doesn’t allow bad words) image…


The irony of this ad is truly excellent. Do you see where the problem lies? Social media users, the vast majority of the time, don’t like seeing ads in their stream. This type of potty-mouthed response is something I see a lot of. The worst thing is, that often, the advertiser is completely non-responsive, which only leads to a bastion of negativity being left out there for all to see.

You can’t stop the rot

No matter how well targeted, people will always react negatively to social ads. The benefits have to be weighed up against this negativity – are your social ads returning what you hoped they would? If they are, then is it acceptable to have a certain level of negativity out there? It’s a brand Vs business question. Do you want your perception to be negatively effected in order to grab some app downloads, leads or whatever? If you do things properly, then you will see the benefits. One thing that you have to be is responsive. Look at this campaign from Chipotle UK…

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The response to this campaign is hugely positive. Granted, Chipotle is a brand that generally has strong sentiment, however that doesn’t always carry weight when it comes to nasty social ad responses. When scrolling through the many responses, one thing is very clear – the responsive approach from Chipotle is key to the good vibes coming from Twitter users. They answer questions, have a bit of banter and are just generally very sociable.  You cannot put social ads out there and just leave them, like you would have done back in the day with a banner ad, you’re leaving yourself open to a big, fat burrito load of hassle.

I bet Chipotle spent a lot of time ensuring their targeting was spot-on for this campaign. They’ve also given people something interesting and fun to do as part of the campaign, the very nature of it encourages participation. Of course, there is free food on offer, which helps. You really have to be smart to get social media advertising right.

The benefits of social media advertising can be huge, but you must be aware of the potential for a negative response – reduce that risk by following these tips.

Checklist for social media advertising success

  • Get your targeting right – think about your sector and choose the best platform for it. Learn how to shape your campaigns properly
  • Be responsive and get involved!
  • Make the campaign you’re promoting something that people will want to interact with
  • Your images have to be tailored for the ad-unit – I see too many images that aren’t suitable
  • Test and learn – been burned? Learn from it and move on. Shift your targeting and message
  • Make sure your non-paid social media work is excellent, the two work hand-in-hand

Hopefully that was helpful! What do you think about social media advertising? Want advice on social media advertising? Feel free to contact me.

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Image – header – https://www.flickr.com/photos/edouardv

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