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  • Ashley Painter

3 Common Mistakes Businesses Make with Social Ads

When paid advertising feels like you're banging your head against the wall.

"I tried Facebook ads and they didn't work."

If I had a dollar for every time I heard a business owner mutter this sentence, you'd be reading this from a sponsored post. In my experience, business owners either try to run campaigns themselves and get frustrated when they don't see results or have an agency handle them but don't understand their performance metrics. Approaching paid ads on social media with no strategy, no experience, or the wrong mindset is sure to lead to burnout every time. Here are 3 common mistakes small business make when running paid ad campaigns on social media.

1. Set it and forget it

This is not an infomercial, and you cannot just set it and forget it. Setting an ad campaign up and then walking away from it is the equivalent of continuing to sign a paycheck for a guy who may or may not show up for work. Is he getting the job done or not? He's not going to tell you as long as you've got direct deposit set up!

Putting your ad spend on auto-pay but never going back to see if they are doing what you want them to do for you isn't much different. Are users fatigued by your ad? Are they even going to your website? Is it time to change your message? (OMG are you even still running that promotion?)

Don't sign that check until you check his timesheet. And do your quarterly reviews!

2. Managing your own ad campaigns

If I needed a roof done, I'd probably call a roofer. Sure, I've fixed some things around my house with my own two hands but I'm willing to bet they're not passing code any time soon.

My guess is that you are the expert on your business or industry which means you absolutely contain a wealth of knowledge on that topic. It has allowed you to market yourself up until this point, after all. But, does that get you to pass inspection? (Seriously, Meta has strict guidelines and rejects ads all the time).

Are you in a special ad category? Where are you targeting your campaigns? Did you set your age range? Geo-fence? Did you optimize the ad creative for every platform? Are you running in audience network? Do you want to be running in audience network?

If you need ad campaigns run, you should probably call a marketer.

3. Having unrealistic expectations

With any marketing strategy it’s difficult to draw a line from marketing dollars directly to a sale simply because it’s just hard to know where people came from. Our main source is consumer reporting and let’s face it, people aren’t always reliable sources.

If you’ve ever asked people to bring in a coupon, mention this ad, or had a verbal survey with them to ask how they found out about you, chances are it didn’t get much reliable data. But that's for another post.

It's better to think of social media marketing as you would a billboard.

The point of a billboard is to reach as many people as you can with your brand and your message. Very rarely does someone complete a sale and tell you that they came in because they saw your billboard; they were probably just “driving by” or “in the area” right?

Social Media is like a digital billboard, your brand and message shows up where the online traffic is. Sure, you can pay thousands of dollars a month for a right-hand read billboard on the side of I-95 that everyone and their mother will see. Or, you could use online advertising to target your specific audience and deliver them your message for a fraction of the cost. With social media advertising you get real data and metrics and you can change your creative whenever you want - without paying for new vinyl.

Bonus: Work with the wrong company.

The last mistake many small businesses make when it comes to social media advertising is working with a third-party vendor who "takes care" of their ads for them. These companies are contacted by a sales representative, sign a contract for a monthly fee, and then never know if the ads are working for them. And when it's time for the annual renewal? You renew because you're afraid of what might mean if you stopped at this point.

At APMD, all of our social media marketing services are data-backed. Campaign performance is tracked on a weekly and monthly basis and metrics are analyzed in accordance with client goals. Of course, this still doesn’t make it possible to always draw a line from marketing to sale, but it does give provide peace of mind that your money is invested wisely to support overall business goals.

If your small business is looking to change things up on social, head on over to the Ashley Painter Marketing + Design services page to learn more about how we help local, small businesses succeed.


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