Social Advertising Overload: Marketers, Don’t Forget to be Social

  |  November 27, 2013   |  Comments

If new ad formats impede a user's experience within a social network without adding value, your brand should have buffers in place to soften any backlash that may occur against your social advertising.

shutterstock-138329495At times, I find myself looking at my smartphone, with a conference call on speaker, while also browsing through a completely different presentation on my computer. Today's marketers are trained to be "always on," constantly checking email, reading their favorite industry blogs and sifting through their social feeds so they don't miss a beat.

Guess what? Your customers are likely always on too.

Your business exists in a digital age where social media sites are trying to find a means to monetize on these connected users. At some points, they may take steps that could potentially deter users from what brought them to the network in the first place.

Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn were all created as a means for communication, but these networks aren't growing their ad platforms to be focused around truly bringing groups of people together for discussion. If new ad formats impede a user's experience within a social network without adding value, your brand should have buffers in place to soften any backlash that may occur against your social advertising.

1. Focus On The Conversation

Companies can easily hide behind pay-for-placement ads because it's a repeatable, low risk approach to social marketing. Many brands arbitrarily throw around the phrase "engagement," yet hesitate to fully execute campaigns that are not linked back to direct marketing KPIs.

The truth is, if you don't step outside of your corporate comfort zone, you're likely not going to gain the recognition you are searching for from your customers.

For example, one brand turned a one-on-one conversation with a customer on a social platform into a lively, humorous discussion by pulling in other companies who happily played along. The tone was far from robotic and clearly demonstrated that real people were behind the posts. The witty back and forth resulted in several news stories and thousands of brand mentions online.

2. Use Creative to Support the Story, Not Obstruct It

The ability to create images to support promoted posts comes with great responsibility. It's not a matter of if you do it, but how you do it. Advertisers need to continue to focus on how the ad fits in to the strategy of their social communication and then use the creative to appropriately support that story. If you're pushing products, try to do more than just post an image of the products. If you're running a sweepstakes, don't try and fit the same amount of words in the image as you would a brochure.

If a user sees a sponsored post with an image, they should find it relevant and not view it as spam, or it just becomes more noise in the social sphere.

3. Don't Run Social Advertisements "Without Consequence"

A lot of new ad platforms call for trial uses among a small business base. If you're lucky enough to be invited, understand how those ads tie back to the growth of your community or act as an extension of a marketing campaign. When there's a new and exciting way to pay to get in front of your audience, weigh the balance of targeting relevant content and engagement to a core group of users against trying to capture the attention of the anonymous masses with one post that attempts to win it all.

If social marketers don't take the necessary steps to keep our message tied to user interests, we may only be adding to the expanding heap of clutter that already exists in social newsfeeds today.

Title image courtesy of Shutterstock

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Andrea Fishman

Andrea Fishman, VP of strategy and a partner at BGT Partners, leads BGT's Chicago office and has extensive experience in marketing and management consulting. She and her team drive value to BGT's clients through the development of behavioral marketing programs, web analytics, measurement programs, industry benchmarking, competitive assessments, and the design of integrated marketing programs.

Andrea has been with BGT since 2003 and is credited with strengthening partnerships with such clients as ADT, Sony, ADP, and Avaya. Prior to joining BGT, she served as global vice president at divine, inc. She's also held strategic positions within marchFIRST, The Lewin Group, and the office of U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy.

A graduate of Brandeis University, Fishman was awarded the Wasserman Scholarship for academic achievement and was named a 2010 Stevie Awards Finalist as Best Executive in a Service Business. She is a frequent judge for the eHealthcare Leadership Awards and is involved with the Special Olympics and Chicago Cares, a community service organization.

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