Consumer disenchantment with social media advertising is the problem. How are you going to fix it?
8 min read
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Facebook recently announced it would prioritize posts from friends and family over those from publishers. The implication? An already diminished organic reach will decline even further.
Related: How to Sell With Emotion
The only solution left for serious marketers may just be paid ads. But ads are not going to magically enchant your audience.
In fact, consumer disenchantment with social media advertising is not peculiar to Facebook alone. Across social media channels, consumers are seeking content that feels “human” and improves their sense of community. Small wonder, then, that the most shared ads are those that rely heavily on emotion.
If you’re a marketer hoping to be heard above the din, your best solution here is to run campaigns that satisfy consumer needs for friendship, family and community. And, one of the ways to do that is through emotional advertising.
Not that that’s something new: Psychological principles have long been used by marketers to elicit desired responses from consumers; and, here, emotional advertising is an all-time favorite strategy. A Nielson report, after all, found that ads which generated a high emotional response — as opposed to those that didn’t — also generated sales by up to 23 percent higher.
And a study by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising also found that ads with emotional content performed twice as well as those with only rational content, and delivered better profits.
What these findings show is that emotional advertising works. So, if you’re looking to revamp your social media campaigns by tugging at the sleeves of your audience’s emotions, here are suggestions for how to do it.
Identify the emotions you wish to associate your brand with.
According to findings from a 2014 research at the Glasgow Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, we humans have four basic emotions: happy, sad, afraid/surprised,and angry/disgusted.
To strike a chord, emotional ads need to speak directly to what your brand represents, matching the brand in tone and style. For instance, ads run by a local watch-seller would have an entirely different feel than those run by Rolex. Although both sellers may choose to target happiness as the response they want from their audience, the delivery will be different for each brand.
Your ad should also tie in with your brand’s goals for more effectiveness. An example is an anti-smoking campaign titled Smoking Kid, which was run by ThaiHealth. The message was so powerful that the ad went viral in 30 countries and coincided with a 40 percent increase in hotlines that help smokers quit.
Keep in mind that although emotional ads increase sales, they are often difficult to create. Many companies have tried and missed, like this one and this one. In addition, ads that run on social media can quickly get out of hand.
What’s more of a sure thing are the following five psychological hacks to help you launch compelling social campaigns.
Set the stage, with the right visual content.
This is by far the most important aspect of your ad. Human beings are wired to process images faster than they do text. In fact, 90 percent of the information transmitted to the human brain is visual. And it takes the human eye just 13 milliseconds to see an image.
But what has that got to do with emotion? Pictures affect our emotions in two ways: through how we relate to the colors in them and through the memories they evoke.
Red, for example, is an emotionally intense color and is often associated with energy, passion or desire, making it a favorite of energy brands. Contrast that with yellow, which often represents happiness, or with blue, which evokes feelings of calm.
A picture of a smiling child holding a gift can trigger memories of the gifts we received in our childhoods. Paired with the right words and colors (say, red and white at Christmas), this kind of image could, for instance, drive traffic to a gift shop.
Choosing the right visuals for your ads, therefore, is a must for a successful campaign. The right visuals will not only make the message more powerful, but the campaign more memorable.
Include a human face.
Ever heard of the fusiform face area? The fusiform face area (FFA) is a part of the human visual system that is specialized for facial recognition. Studies have found that humans are hard-wired to spot faces.
One of the many reasons for this is that facial expressions are universal and we read emotions in faces. Irrespective of tribe or background, a human is able to tell whether someone is sad, angry or happy in a picture. By leveraging faces in your ad, you can set the mood from the start, using the model’s facial expressions to trigger desired emotions in your audience.
Tell a great story.
Next to visuals, the other thing human beings love is a well-told story. Storytelling especially works with ads that aim to increase brand awareness. This primes your audience members, making them more receptive to ads that actually sell something.
An example is the Airbnb Facebook ad Wall and Chain, which was nominated for a Webby Award. By telling a story of a man trying to find his sense of place, Airbnb not only delivered an ad that resonated with its audience but aligned with the brand image.
Another way to tell great stories on social media is through sequenced messaging. Refinery29, a fashion and beauty website, partnered with Adaptly and Facebook, tried this out. It found that the test group which was told a story through the ads converted at the highest rate compared to other test groups.
For best results, then, pair your campaign with a great story. In a world of fast scrolls and short attention spans, you might get a chance to linger longer in the mind of your audience.
Sell the benefits, not the features.
The world’s most powerful brands are those that have mastered the benefits-versus-features hack. Coca-Cola has become a household name by selling the “feeling of drinking a Coke,” not the drink itself. It’s so effective that the sight of Coke’s iconic red can make some people thirsty for a drink. Who wouldn’t want to “open happiness”?
In other words, sell the result, not the product. Give some thought to the benefits that your products and services bring to your audience and sell that satisfaction.
What does home delivery actually mean to your consumer? It means: “You don’t need to visit our store. We will bring it to you so you won’t have to leave your kids.”
FOMO — or fear of missing out — officially became a thing way back in 2004 when Patrick McGinnis wrote about it in The Harbus, a magazine of the Harvard Business School.
One of the hallmarks of social media is that people want to be part of events as they unfold. FOMO refers to “a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent.”
This phenomenon is especially true for millennials; 69 percent of millennials, according to the Harris Poll, experience FOMO. So, if you’re targeting millennials, throwing in a bit of FOMO might give them the final nudge. FOMO marketing techniques use countdowns, show social proof and promote experiences.
Closely related to FOMO is exclusivity. By making your product somewhat unreachable (through limited editions or offers), you can increase the desire for it.
Address a social issue.
One of the surest ways of gaining traction with a campaign is to take on a social issue. However, this s also a dicey method because it requires careful execution. Done right, it can set your up your brand as thoughtful and sensitive.
An example is the Always Like a Girl campaign which addressed the self-esteem and confidence issues faced by teenage girls during puberty. The campaign won several awards and received over 65 million views on YouTube.
While brands like Always have excelled with this technique, other brands have also failed. The key here is to study your audience members thoroughly and understand their motivations, fears and passions.
An excellent emotional social campaign is a mix of many things done well: great visuals, excellent storytelling and copy that sells the specific benefits of the product or service. Promoting exclusivity can also trigger desired responses in your audience. More daring brands will take on a social problem for even more impact. Overall, the perfect campaign can be achieved only when brand goals are crystal clear and the audience is thoroughly understood.
Death by 280 Characters: How to Avoid Viral Social Media Blunders
The McDonald’s Twitter account hit a major bump in the road as it closed out 2017. On Black Friday, the fast food giant presumably wanted to tweet out a promo deal to shoppers but instead tweeted this: “Black Friday ****Need copy and link****.”
How does this sort of social media blunder happen at such a large and successful organization? Even with sophisticated software and multiple departments involved, companies still manage to miss obvious mistakes because of the rapid pace of social channels. The desire to be the first and funniest overtakes reasonable caution, leading to well-meaning missteps such as this one from New Zealand in which police unintentionally made light of car crash fatalities.
Now that social media has become the face of the company to many consumers, brands must rethink how they handle their social accounts. The problem doesn’t boil down to personnel alone, though. A combination of better training, processes and personnel can prevent unwanted social media attention.
Building a better social strategy.
Social accounts play an outsized role in establishing the public identities of brands. Companies must be cautious when selecting people to represent them online, but they also must tread carefully when training personnel and building the processes that guide social media communications.
By focusing on these three areas, smart companies can create a social media response culture that presents the best face of the brand:
1. Establish a clear social media process.
Follow the chain of creation, approval, distribution and analysis on every social media account to identify potential problem areas. Investigate your reactive content (including customer care), as well as your proactive content (marketing posts). How does a potential tweet or post make its way from internal team to agency to approval to published? This is particularly important for staged social — “set and forget” software makes it easy to assume everything is fine, but problems can still occur.
Develop concrete policies to interrupt regular social media schedules when necessary. If tragedy strikes — the death of a public figure, for instance — treat the event with respect, and don’t attempt to latch on inappropriately. Cinnabon learned this lesson the hard way. Following the death of Carrie Fisher, the company encountered fan backlash after posting a picture of Princess Leia with cinnamon rolls in place of her iconic hairstyle.
Design processes that also include PR disaster responses. If your company wakes up to a massive blunder, know who will be responsible for approving response content. Southwest Airlines got it right earlier this year, using Facebook Live to keep customers updated during a major service blackout. Southwest even involved its COO, adding weight to the response and making customers feel like their problems were heard.
According to Hootsuite, American social media spending is expected to reach more than $17 billion by 2019. Use that budget to design easy-to-follow processes that will mitigate disasters.
2. Hire personnel who won’t burn you.
Social media skills are easier to learn than the subtleties of company culture. Instead of hunting for social media experts at prices up to $74,000 per year, according to PayScale, identify people who understand your brand best. Then, teach that group to use Twitter.
These individuals should have strong judgment, people skills and empathy. When brands pull together a team of young and trendy people to run their social media accounts, they fail to remember that those people will do more than craft humorous tweets — they’ll also field all customer questions. If team members lack the appropriate answers, they’ll bog down production by asking other employees. And responding without checking is even worse, as it can lead to costly mistakes.
Esteban Kolsky, social media expert and founder of thinkJar, spoke with me when I conducted research for my book “Hug Your Haters.” He believes skilled customer relations specialists make better social representatives than people who have a background in social media. Put people who have been on the front lines of customer support in your social media room to keep responses timely and on message.
3. Provide employees with extensive training.
Use practice exercises to train social media employees for every social media scenario. You might have workers participate in desktop walkthroughs to go through the motions when things are good, which will help them be prepared should the tides shift.
Per eMarketer, nearly 89 percent of American companies with 100 or more employees rely on social media for marketing. Don’t leave the teams responsible for these channels unprepared to handle adversity. Talk through real-world examples of other companies that have responded to social media missteps in the right way as well as the wrong way.
McDonald’s, for example, handled its Black Friday blunder perfectly. The company left the tweet up, adding a response that showed it wasn’t afraid to poke fun at the gaffe: “When you tweet before your first cup of McCafé… Nothing comes before coffee.” Combined with an image from its recent McCafé television commercial, the response felt genuine and funny, transforming a misstep into a self-aware bit of humor.
It takes minimal time for an ill-conceived post to go viral, so don’t leave your company’s social media strategy to chance. Follow these tips to implement better processes, conduct smarter training and hire the right people. Your customers will appreciate your dedication to smart social, and your investors will appreciate the absence of social media firestorms.
Stop Using Facebook Ads to Tell the World How Great You Are
We get it. You built a “system” to turn $100 in Facebook ad spend into $301,424.37 in monthly revenue (or something equally absurd.) And now you want to teach us how to do it too.
Congrats on your success, but sorry, no. You’re shouting it so loud that we don’t really believe you anymore.
If you fancy yourself an entrepreneur of sorts, your Facebook feed is littered with people you’ve never heard of that “cracked the code” of making money online, and they just can’t wait to show you how they did it. It was amazing at first. Then it became cool. Then “neat.” Now, its like you’re walking past a bunch of used car lots with some shady salesman shouting at you to come test drive their lowest priced, but somehow best, car.
Advertisers are getting so loud that it’s hard to take them seriously. It’s an understandable trap to get stuck in. Tons of people have figured out how to build million dollar businesses online, and they want to show you how too. After all, there’s an even bigger business in showing you the path they took.
The problem is how loud and absurd it’s gotten. I’m sure are there are legitimate opportunities hidden in the crowd, but it’s just so damn loud now. And the irony of it all is, making money online isn’t some DaVinci code to crack. It’s not an impossible task or secret only available to a select few. Everyone can do it. It just takes work — real, honest work. Anyone telling you to try some magic system, sit back and watch the cash flow in isn’t telling you the whole story. Yes, you can absolutely do that — after you put in the work to get there.
People are sick of advertisements selling their souls just to make a buck, and I’m sick of it too. It’s much more respectful, and I believe much more profitable, to be honest and humble with your success.
That’s where long term gains come in. And respect. People become life-long customers from companies they value and respect. They’ll buy the shiny new object, but it’s a fad, not a trend.
You don’t have to shut your ads down, but maybe tone them down. It’s not about being the loudest, it’s about being honest and connecting with your audience in a real and meaningful way. Unless, of course, you’re just looking to make a quick buck. Then, by all means, keep it up. But seriously, enough of the noise and shiny objects already. We’ve had enough. We want real value from real people. Keep the guru crap to yourself. Your modesty will get you farther than you can get by being a shameless huckster.
Full disclosure: I have ads running. People click it, join my free course to build their first app without learning to code, and turn it into a business from there.
I’m not screaming “make tons of money with this system without doing any work!” I’m being honest and letting the success of the free course speak for itself. The goal is to deliver long-term value that will pay me back ten-fold in the years to come — not to make a quick buck. Yes, there’s a paid program for sale at the end, and if people liked what they got for free, maybe they’ll buy.
But maybe not, and that’s ok too.
4 Powerful Lessons My Facebook Prank Taught Me About The Power Of Social Media Marketing
Two years ago, a Facebook prank made me stop underestimating the power of the social media. I had read a lot about the Social media’s marketing power at the time, but I still took it for granted and certainly didn’t exploit it as an entrepreneur, not to its fullest anyway.
A friend had tagged me under the comments in an update on Facebook, and she had said, “Chidike I didn’t know you had a twin”. The post was the pre-wedding shoot of a couple; the man bore a distinct resemblance to me, though I didn’t agree at the time. I and my elder had got into an argument as to whether or not the man in the picture resembled me enough to be mistaken for me.
So as a test, I posted the picture on my Facebook timeline, but I wasn’t prepared for the response I got, especially because everybody around me and everybody that knew me hadn’t even gotten a suggestion from me that I was getting married
The biggest lesson I learned that day was that social media wasn’t just making the world smaller, Social media is becoming the world as we know it. These personal Lessons will help you get just why it is important to do this just right.
1. Engagement requires you to be engaging.
I had a decent following on social media and a ton of friends and friends of friends, but I had no idea how many people actually saw my posts. We tend to rate the level of exposure our social media marketing efforts get by the number of conversions or at least, likes, comments and shares, but this experience taught me how inaccurate that assessment was.
In about 10 minutes after I posted that photo it showed up in all of Whatsapp groups with congratulatory messages, sandwiched in between rebukes of neglect. I received about 15 personal chats and my mother even heard that I was getting married! I was so alarmed that I had to call my fiancee to tell her before she got a call from someone else. The post itself plus my subsequent disclaimer got a deluge of likes and comments.
The lesson is simple — the social media is very capable of exposing your efforts. The question is, are your efforts engaging enough to precipitate engagement from the silent majority? It was a “eureka” moment for me in my personal business and my consulting for other businesses.
It matters how you say what you say, how it looks and what it sounds like. For instance, a captioned picture tends to do much more for you than a long product description in text format and an animated video with an amazing plot will do far better than a picture. Carefully crafted content from a professional copywriter will do way better than your boring mission statement.
The impotence in social media marketing that many businesses suffer from is not an indictment on social media, it is an indictment on the originator of the marketing effort. If it is engaging enough, it will find engagement. Who doesn’t like weddings?
2. All you need to succeed is a dedicated online audience.
I had already built a following that were curious about what I was going to post next, which was usually about a variety of things from business to faith. This is little wonder that when I did post something that many people had been waiting to hear it set off a social media bomb.
This experience taught me that one of the precursors for maximum engagement and subsequent conversions of our marketing efforts was building a dedicated audience that is interested in what you have to say. Businesses make the mistake of making every single post about their product and new innovations in their business. Such efforts are boring to say the least especially to millennials who incidentally are the bulk of social media users.
Social media followers are more likely to engage the marketing efforts of a business that has previously shared moving opinion pieces on the Trump administration’s business initiatives, than one who is all about themselves. The reason is clear, this way they feel you are one of them, a personality; which is what all businesses should aspire to be perceived as.
3. Social media’s herd mentality.
After my post, I received a lot of friend requests. They usually had a lot to say about my post and how hilarious it was when I posted a funny disclaimer about an hour later. They were thrilled that I had everyone played. Most of them said, “Well, I just came up against this post with hundreds of likes and a ton of comments and I decided to check it out”
Personally, I check out YouTube channels when I see the number of subscribers to it, and I watch YouTube videos when the number of views is impressive. This is the social-media herd mentality — people naturally go where many people have gone. They will likely trust a product on this basis as well.
This is why businesses have carved out a lucrative business selling instagram likes and followers. The concept of ”trending” or going “viral” is as much a business term today as it is just social media speak.
This may sound strange to many business owners, but the new rules of the game are simple — you have to look serious to be taken seriously.
4. Tailor marketing efforts to fit social media behavior.
After my prank and the flood of mixed responses I got, I became supersensitive to posts on social media that talked about weddings. I noticed that these posts always got people out of hiding and made them active.
What you make the center piece of your social media efforts should be somehow connected to what you discover from social media chatter. Luckily, today Sentiment Analysis is big and AI is doing wonders in monitoring social media chatter and what people are responding to. Sports, Love … these are popular issues and you can always use these to your advantage.
Truth is, the social media is like a wave and you are the surfer, you have to get on just right!
10 Essential Tools For Successful Social Media Marketing
Sharing – that’s just what social media is centered on. You may have the most enjoyable, informative and funny threads, infographics, videos, or articles within your business market.
However, if your content is not seen by the right people, all of your work is for nothing.
To make social media meet your needs, you must identify the right people in your target market. After that, maintain communication with them and then somehow encourage and motivate your audience to share with all of their networks. This is a challenge, to be certain, however, there are some tools which may just assist in big ways.
You know that great visuals, competitions, and surveys are generally appealing to social media subscribers. They discover a fantastic photo and like it, read a great story and are compelled to share; subscribers hear about a contest, enter it. And then share that information so that all of their friends can get in on it too; they take a survey and wonder how their friends would respond, so they share it. All of these things you can do through PageModo. It is so easy, the most unskilled novice can create great stuff!
Of all of the social media marketing tools, this has to be one of the most important for any business owner who’s trying to distribute his/her brand. We have all experienced this. We read a news article, for instance, and at the end, AddThis offers to share it with all of our friends on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Just by clicking a button, the article is shared and the user never has to leave the page s/he is on. AddThis allows you to do this with your blog posts, forum discussions, videos, infographics, and surveys/contests/announcements. The idea here is to make it really easy for a viewer to share, with no inconveniences involved.
If you are still trying to determine the needs, desires, pains, and issues of your target market, then you will want to use this great tool. Here’s how it works: you enter keywords or keyword phrases that are related to your business niche (e.g., home improvement, health of sportsmen, HR consulting, etc.). BuzzSumo combs the web and delivers to you all of the articles, blog posts, forums, videos, etc. that relate to your niche and, even more, tells you how popular they are. Think about what a great amount of information that is. You can read through all that has been delivered and know what is being discussed. What questions your market audience has; what your target market is talking about. This information will then drive the topics and content venues for all of your social media channels.
How cool is this? With this tool, you can publish anything you write, design or create on a set schedule ad to all of your social media channels from a single place! You also get some great analytics, such as who is viewing your stuff and at what time of day. You can then target your audience more specifically and arrange to publish when that audience is on social media.
You have come across a news article, blog post, video, image, or infographic that is compelling and really engaging. You share it on all of your social media channels and add some type of call to action and a link back to your site. Perhaps you have a related survey you want them to take; perhaps you have a free e-book you want to give them. The point is to get them engaged with what you have posted and then come and visit!
One of the biggest challenges facing any business is the generation of leads. Socedo is attempting to help somewhat. Here, you can enter keywords, and the tool will generate leads based upon those who are engaged in conversations or commenting on content that relates to our niche. You can then reach out to these potential customers with great content of your own!
Everyone wants a superhero once in a while, and you can create superheroes out of your customers with this tool. You develop a “fan club” from among your customers. In a bit of a competitive atmosphere, you encourage them to sign up for the fan club and earn points each time they share your content with their friends on social media. Those customers who become “superfans” by sharing your content with the largest audience earn specific rewards for doing so.
If you have great fresh content to share, you already know that getting a target market to actually read it is quite another thing. Share as Image allows you to create images that will present your content in visual ways, rather than just through text. Of all the tools listed here, this one is the easiest to use – no skills required at all – Share as Image does all the work.
If you have multiple Twitter accounts, you know that managing them all is really challenging. TweetDeck allows you to seem them all at once, to manage them, and to Tweet from any or all of your accounts at a specific time and/or schedule. This tool is limited to Twitter, and it does not support any other social media channels.
Statistics tell us that the majority of visitors to any given site leave without being converted to customers. Obviously, you would like not to be a part of this statistic, and here is one strategy you can use. Picreel allows you to grab a visitor before s/he leaves your site and make some type of special offer, in order to entice the visitor to stay a bit longer. Research also shows that the longer someone stays on a site, the more apt they are to purchase.
Learn the latest trends, insights and best practices from the brightest minds in media and technology. Sign up for SMW Insider to watch full-length sessions from official Social Media Week conferences live and on-demand.
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