You’re not imagining that drop in likes, comments, and shares — organic reach for branded Facebook pages is at an all-time low.
Researchers at Social@Ogilvy found brand posts only reached 2-6% of fans in 2014, and subsequent algorithm changes in 2016 caused it to dip even further — lower than an abysmal 2%. No wonder your social posts are garnering fewer interactions and clicks than ever before.
So what’s a depressed and overwhelmed social marketer to do? Most are turning to social advertising to alleviate the pain of diminishing returns on organic content. According to Forrester, social advertising spend has grown 185% since 2014 and is projected to grow another 57% by 2020.
But social advertising can be a complicated and challenging game, especially for smaller teams or those lacking technical social media advertising expertise. On top of the complexity involved with social advertising strategies, each platform has its own rules of engagement and idiosyncrasies. On Facebook and Instagram, for example, images and videos can make or break an ad. But on Twitter images or videos can sometimes distract from the main call-to-action, driving up cost-per-click.
10 Must-Know Social Media Advertising Tips for Instagram and Facebook
To help you stay on top of the ever-changing social advertising landscape, we just published a comprehensive guide to Facebook and Instagram advertising strategies. Here’s a sneak peek and summary of the top ten tips for putting a stellar Facebook/Instagram advertising strategy in place in 2017:
1. Laser-focus on your ideal audience.
With any advertising strategy, you have to know your audience. But with social media advertising, understanding them is even more crucial because of the two-way nature of social media. Remember #McDstories or, more recently, Total Beauty’s Oscar gaffe? As a brand on social media, you have to respect your audience to avoid coming off as tone-deaf.
Before you do anything, make sure you know who you are talking to. Do your research. Why guess the gender, age, and income of your audience, when you can know based on historical data? By tapping into the culture of your audience you are then able to create authentic stories that resonate with your audience. After all, marketers are storytellers.
2. Pinpoint your “Why.”
Before you create your ad, you should always ask yourself, why would anyone pause to read, engage, click, or even care about your ad? But in particular, why would your ideal audience care? User experience matters and thinking about this will help you save money and achieve better results in the long run.
3. Consider different ad formats.
There are numerous ad formats to consider: carousel, single image, slideshow, canvas, or single video. Decide which format will work best for your campaign and with your audience. Each format has its strengths and weakness, depending on your product, service, or industry. For example, if you’re an ecommerce company that sells clothing, a carousel ad might work best to showcase your products. If you’re a travel company, a video ad of different landscapes might perform better than the carousel.
4. Make creative feel organic.
Some of the best ads on Facebook and Instagram have a compelling concept tied to a distinct objective. Think about your objectives and try coming up with a storyboard for your ads. Once you’ve nailed your overall concept, don’t forget that photography skills still matter. Think about photography composition rules, lighting techniques, the little details, and the quality of the photo itself.
With that being said, sometimes the best ideas are generated from your earned social media. Don’t be afraid to look at the best-performing earned social media to gain some inspiration. Your audience knows what they like and reviewing these posts can’t hurt at all.
5. Test, test, and test some more.
Don’t be afraid to run multiple tests to determine which formats, targeting, creative, and copy perform best for your audience. Pick small details to test against each other and only change one variable at a time for best results. The more similarities you have between your ads, campaigns, or ad sets, the more helpful your data will be when it comes to guiding future campaigns. You have the option to create A/B versions, so why not use it?
6. Don’t set it and forget it.
Just because you launched your ad campaign doesn’t mean your work is done. Continue monitoring and engaging and be ready to pivot, if necessary. You never know what news story, trend, or competitor will pop up and cause the need to change your course of action. If you forget to monitor, you might miss out on something brand-making (or brand-ruining).
This also doesn’t mean you should let a campaign continue to run if it isn’t doing well. Don’t be afraid to turn it off and try something different. There is no need to spend your precious marketing dollars in the wrong place.
7. Use retargeting to your advantage.
One of the most fascinating and effective ways to target today is retargeting (also known as, remarketing). This is a great way to reach users in the consideration or conversion phases, because it tracks existing website visitors and resurfaces a product or landing page that they have already viewed to get them to convert. This elevates your brand to the top of the mind of the consumer you are retargeting, plus relevance is the key to social media. You need to remind your consumer that your brand and products exist and that they were interested in learning more about it at one time.
8. Boost your best content.
One of the best ways to test your ads is to post them as organic content and then put money behind posts that do well with your loyal following. This way you can show it to more of your fans and followers, as well as new audiences.
If your goal is to increase engagement to your Facebook/Instagram page or the content you’re posting, it’s smart to post organically first and boost that post later. Across more than 400 campaigns measured globally with Nielsen Brand Effect, ad recall from sponsored posts on Instagram was 2.8x higher than Nielsen’s norms for online advertising.
9. Analyze performance and optimize accordingly.
Facebook allows you to measure ad performance through Audience Insights, Ads Manager, Power Editor, and various partner integrations. The most effective way you can measure your ads, however, is through a holistic software solution that has context about all your social media activities and audience insights. Having all your data in one place will help you optimize your campaigns and make better decisions.
10. Track impact beyond your “brand bubble.”
Don’t forget to measure beyond your owned and paid social media. Measure how much earned media coverage you are receiving vs. your competitors. Put your paid ads up against your earned media and see where you are. It’s important to see a holistic picture of your brand and that includes your owned, earned, and paid social media.