Tagged: Marketing strategy

5 Common Facebook Ad Mistakes and How to Fix Them

- by Alyson Shane

Want better results from your Facebook ads? Then you’ve come to the right place! Today, we’re covering five Facebook Ads mistakes you may be making and how to fix them.

Why Advertise on Facebook

Facebook is still one of the most useful and cost-effective ways to reach your target audience. With 2 billion monthly active users and a powerful targeting system, Facebook Ads help businesses generate brand awareness, drive conversions, and increase sales.

Not only does Facebook offer sophisticated targeting, but a study by Wordstream found that the average cost per click for a Facebook Ad in 2019 was $1.72, meaning you can reach hundreds of thousands of potential customers without a huge budget.

Here are a few more reasons why you should be advertising on Facebook:

You don’t need to be a pro to get started

Facebook Ads can feel intimidating, especially once you start digging into Business Manager, Ads Manager, Creative Hub, and the wide range of targeting options available to you. That's normal, believe us.

Luckily, you can start experimenting with Facebook Ads right from your Page before jumping into all the options behind-the-scenes. Try clicking on a recent post and click on the "Boost Post" button to start running your first ad!

Facebook Ads offer high ROI

Facebook is one of the biggest advertising channels on the internet, with total spending from the United States, alone totalling almost 9.9 billion U.S. dollars. There's a good reason for it: the average Facebook user clicks on 11 ads per month, or a total of one ad every three days.

While this may not seem like a huge number, remember that not all ads need a click to be considered effective — some campaigns are designed solely for brand awareness and aren't tied to a "click" as their metric of success. In fact, Reach on Facebook is higher than ever, and with impressions going up and costs going down, there's never been a better time to invest in Facebook marketing.

This stat also shows that users engage with and pay attention to ads on Facebook instead of tuning them out.

Facebook Ads are highly customizable

Facebook Ads offer a wide range of ad types, display options, and audience targeting to help your ad get be to your ideal audience. You can customize your ad design, copy, landing pages, how you spend your budget, audience targeting, and lots more.

For example, if you're a thrift shop solisticing donations you can create a short video ad asking for donated items and target it at people who live in your neighbourhood. Or, you could creat a single-image ad promoting an upcoming sale or special event. The possibilities are really endless, which is what makes Facebook Ads such a valuable tool in your digital marketing aresenal.

Now that we’ve covered why Facebook advertising is important, let’s dive into the five most common mistakes people make when creating Facebook Ads, and how to fix them:

Facebook Ads Mistake #1: Your Ads Aren’t Backed By a Strategy

The biggest Facebook Ads mistake businesses make is launching ad campaigns without a strategy.

This tends to happen because, as we mentioned above, anyone can set up and run a Facebook Ad if they manage a Business Page on the platform. 

Unfortunately, running ads without a strategy that takes elements like your budget, audience, targeting, and conversion goals into consideration will waste your budget.

The Three Stages of the Facebook Ads Funnel

There are three stages to a successful Facebook ad funnel:

  • Level 1: Awareness
  • Level 1 Remarketing (engagement marketing)
  • Level 2 Remarketing (website remarketing)

Awareness

The goal of these ads is to generate awareness about your business. Running ads at this stage builds credibility and authority for your brand, which is important for moving users through later stages of the funnel.

Ads at this stage should be educational or entertaining, and should position your brand in a friendly, knowledgeable way. Content-based ads like video work great here, and allow you to pull the people who engaged with your video into a new custom audience as you move to the next stage of the funnel.

Engagement remarketing

The goal at this stage is to drive people from Facebook to your website to learn more about a product or service and, ideally, make a purchase.

The best content for engagement remarketing ads is a special offer, promotion, or discount. Free trials, BOGO (buy one get one), and percentage-based discounts all work great at this stage.

Website remarketing

The final stage of the Facebook Ads Funnel is website remarketing. Here, we "retarget" our ads at people who have viewed a specific product or page on our website to drive sales and generate more leads.

Remarketing ads act as “reminders” and increase conversion and engagement with people who have already shown an interest in your brand.

The best content at this stage is ads that add social proof, like testimonials. You can also test sales and promotions that create a sense of urgency and encourage users to take action right away.

Facebook Ads Mistake #2: Using Truncated Descriptions

Another common Facebook ad mistake is ignoring the character limits in your ads. The main reason this happens is businesses running ads don’t update the news feed or carousel card description.

Facebook will automatically pull a description from the destination URL you set for your ad, so it’s important to be deliberate when planning your carousel card and news feed link descriptions to make sure they don’t get cut off.

If your descriptions are too long Facebook will cut them off (truncate them), resulting in ads that look incomplete.

Losing part of your text muddles your ad messaging, looks unprofessional and hurts the effectiveness of your ads.

Protip: the easiest way to make sure your ad text isn’t truncated is to check the mobile news feed preview to see how your ad will look on users’ phones.

Facebook Ads Mistake #3: You “Set and Forget” Your Ads

The third biggest mistake we’ve seen brands make is taking a “set it and forget it” approach to their Facebook ads by not checking in and managing their ads once they’ve started delivering.

A “set it and forget it” attitude hurts your campaign performance, since you won’t be able to identify any issues with your ads and make adjustments based on how it's delivering.

Some examples include:

  • Your Facebook audience has ad fatigue. “Ad fatigue” happens when people who’ve seen the same ad creative too many times stop paying attention to it.
  • Your cost-per-click (CPC) is too high. Your cost-per-click is an indicator of how well your campaign is performing. Read more about how to keep Facebook Ad cost-per-clicks (CPCs) low here.

In both of these cases we’d want to take action by updating the ad creative, ad copy, our campaign objective, audience targeting, and our call-to-action (CTA).

Facebook Ads Mistake #4: Underutilizing Facebook Remarketing

Remarketing ads are essential for seeing the highest return-on-investment (ROI) for your efforts.

These ads target people who have visited your website before and act as “reminders” to encourage users to return and convert.

The key to being successful here is to make sure your ads don’t continue to target people who haven’t visited your website in a while. Using a 3-5 day duration and setting the engagement condition of All Website Visitors, excluding purchases, means you won't miss out on the chance to connect with a single user.

Facebook Ads Mistake #5: Using Mismatched Lookalike Audiences

If you haven’t used these powerful targeting options before, it’s time to start using Facebook lookalike audiences in your ad campaigns.

Lookalike audiences are the most advanced audience types on Facebook. These audience types help you find new potential customers who share similar characteristics to a source audience, like a customer list or website traffic.

The biggest mistake businesses make when setting up lookalikes is not using a high-quality source audience. When setting up your lookalikes, use either your customer database (creating a “customer file” custom audience) or use a website custom audience.

Protip: Creating lookalike audiences is more effective when you have at least 1000 people in your source audience. If you don’t have enough you can use your website traffic, engaged page followers, and page likes to create lookalike audiences as well.

Common Facebook Ad Mistakes: Conclusion

With the Coronavirus pandemic affecting businesses across the globe, the demand for digital advertising has never been higher or more competitive.

As a result, Facebook continues to introduce new features, targeting updates, and new processes that make it more challenging for newbie marketers and businesses to stay up-to-date with the latest Facebook Ad best practices.

By avoiding the common Facebook Ad mistakes outlined above, businesses can enjoy a high return-on-investment from their Facebook ads, build brand awareness, and increase conversions and revenue.

Are you worried you may be making a Facebook Ad mistake? Get in touch and let us know how we can help.


 

How to Build a Monthly Content Strategy for Retail Businesses

- by Rose Regier

This post was written by our Account Manager Rose Regier.

It’s no secret that we love a good spreadsheet. Let’s just say they spark joy, so we use them a lot. And the monthly content calendar spreadsheet we use with our retail clients might be our favourite.

If you’re not a retail business, don’t go just yet! What we’re about to share can apply to any type of business.

Before we dive in, let’s talk about why we should plan our content. Why go to all the effort of planning content a month in advance? Wouldn’t it be easier and less time consuming to post on the fly? 

Read on, because we’re about to show you how planning content frees up time to spend on essential marketing activities that have a big impact on the success of your brand. 

Here are the benefits of a monthly content strategy:

1. Strategy in action

Planning posts in monthly blocks allows you to see at a glance how your content aligns with your digital marketing strategy. It also allows you to identify any gaps in content and make sure no product category is left behind.

2. Consistency is key

Building and maintaining a relationship with your audience takes consistent effort over time. Posting a flurry of content one week and then disappearing for a month can leave your followers feeling annoyed or disinterested. Using a content calendar allows you to spread out content so that your audience hears from you regularly and stays engaged. Plus, it’s great for the algorithms.

3. Tracking for the win

Although the monthly content calendar is mainly a planning tool, it also keeps a record of what you’ve done in the past. 

This allows you to keep track of what you’ve posted so a) you can avoid duplicating content and b) you can measure the effectiveness of each category of product posts.

4. Stay one step ahead 

Identifying key events — like holidays, sales, and product launches — and plugging them into the content calendar ahead of time means you never have to worry about those important posts slipping your mind.

Let’s move on to the “how.” How does the monthly content strategy work exactly?

How does our monthly content strategy work?

Our cloud-based monthly content planning spreadsheet allows multiple people to contribute in real-time. This gives our clients and account managers the ability to collaborate on the content planning process.

We work together to choose specific products to highlight based on the following criteria:

  • New arrivals
  • Most loved items
  • Products we need to move
  • Holidays or seasons
  • Sales or promos

Each month gets a tab in the spreadsheet, and serves as a record of the content we’ve shared. Product categories are colour coded for a quick visual way to see the variety in planned content (e.g. clothing, accessories, jewellery) and identify any gaps in the schedule.

Here’s an example of how the calendar might look like before the product details have been added:

Of course, we also leave room for posting user-generated content. Customer reviews are 12 times more trustworthy than messaging from a business, so we make sure to work content created by customers who know and love our clients into the mix.

In a perfect world, all content would be planned in advance, and we could wrap it in a bow and send it out into the world. 

The reality is that planned posts sometimes need to change, and some posts are time-sensitive and need to be created in real-time. Staying on top of upcoming posts to ensure the content is still accurate/relevant is crucial, so we bake this into our process.

Posting on the fly might seem faster and easier, but our brains work better when we dedicate ourselves to one task for a few hours as opposed to rapidly switching from one task to another. 

Creating content in "blocks" of time instead of posting on the fly ensures higher-quality, on-brand content because we're not scrambling to come up with something new every day.

Even better: having the foundation of a monthly content plan frees us up to spend time on the behind-the-scenes activities that get results for our clients: 

  • Monitoring and responding to customer comments/messages
  • Researching and adjusting hashtags
  • Staying on top of social media trends and social platform updates
  • Engaging with customers and vendors by commenting on their posts and stories
  • Reviewing and sharing user-generated content
  • Analyzing data across all platforms and adjusting the marketing strategy

Want to know more about working with us and how we can help your business succeed? Get in touch and let’s chat!

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How to Maximize ROI on Every Social Media Platform

- by Alyson Shane

By now most businesses realize the importance of having and maintaining social media accounts. With close to 3.5 billion people using social media each month, it’s a way to connect with your customers, boost sales, and increase brand awareness. 

If you own or manage a business, posting tweets and engaging with followers on multiple platforms likely isn’t at the top of your to-do list. It’s also not something you can pass off to just anyone. 

The person crafting your messages sets the tone of your brand, curates content that will resonate with your followers, and works on a strategy to yield a positive ROI. 


It’s not just playing on social media all day. Crafting your content takes time.

Here are some of the factors you need to consider for each platform and how much time they take.

Facebook

Post image size: 1200 x 630 (ads, cover images, profile pictures, link images, event images are all different sizes).

Character count: The max character count is 63,206, but generally, you shouldn’t be maxing that out. Keep your CTAs strong and put your important information first. The ideal length is 40-80 characters.

Hashtags: Use rarely on Facebook.

Strategic scheduling: Posts published between 1-4 pm have the best click-through and share rates on Facebook. This can vary, so make sure you measure the performance of your posts from Facebook Insights and schedule accordingly.

Tagging: With 1.69 billion Facebook users, it’s important to tag the correct people and companies.

Copywriting: Who are you speaking to? Do you have a strong CTA? Is there a link you can share in this post? Is your target market interested in this post? Is this shareable content? What’s in it for the reader to share this? Is this content timely?

Hashtags research: N/A

Image sourcing: Make sure the image you select reflects the content you are sharing. It’s important to have permission to share the images you select, especially if you plan on branding them. Pexels, Unsplash, Canva, Pixabay, and others offer a selection of free images, but make sure they are free for commercial use before you share them.

Graphic creation: Use a tool like Canva or InDesign to add your logo, copy, and other graphic elements that draw attention to your viewer.

Pin the post: You want your most relevant marketing campaigns to stay at the top of your feed. Your pinned post will likely be one of the first things people see while visiting your Facebook page, so make sure it’s timely!

Other factors: Facebook generally suppresses business posts, so the best way to get your content seen is to have your followers share it on their pages.

Total time: ~ 45 minutes


Instagram

Post image size: Landscape 1080x608 px, square 1080x1080px or portrait 1080x1350 px. (Instagram stories, Instagram Live, and IGTV are different sizes)

Character count: Max 2,2 00 characters. 138-150 characters is ideal for maximum engagement.

Hashtags: Max 30. The ideal number is 5-10. Too many hashtags can get your account shadow banned.

Strategic scheduling: The general best time to post is between 9 am-11 am, but the best time to post is based on your unique audience. An app like Buffer automatically calculates your best times to post.

Tagging: People and businesses are always looking for content to share. Do you have a pen from a local art store in your photo? What about flowers from your favourite florist? Tag whoever you mention in your post to maximize your chances of being shared on their pages.

Copywriting: It’s a good idea to write both short and long posts. If you are writing a long caption, write a short, engaging summary of what you are posting about first, so your audience doesn’t miss your key message. Make sure your post has value. Is your audience learning something? Will it make them emotional? What’s in it for them when they read this post?

Hashtags research: Did you know that posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag? Hashtags work to organize your content and make it easier for people to find. There are community hashtags, branded hashtags, and campaign hashtags. Use these to find your niche audience, collect UGC, or promote your campaign. Look for tags that your audience, industry leaders and competitors are already using.

Image sourcing: Since Instagram is a visual platform, the photos you post are very important. Not only do you need to worry about each image, but you should also consider how your profile looks as a whole. 

Do you have a colour scheme? What filters are you using? 

Free image sourcing is a great option, but if you want to make sure your brand isn’t being confused for other brands or you want specific quality, try buying images from Stocksy, Twenty20, or Social Squares. They provide quality content, and it still saves your business from costly photoshoots and time spent taking and editing photos.

Graphic creation: Since people are mainly using Instagram on their mobile devices, it’s important to use an image that will quickly draw attention and get your point across. Instagram is not the place for complicated infographics and small text.

Add to highlights: It’s a great idea to share your new posts to your Instagram story and increase the chances of your content being seen. If your post is important enough to keep at the top of your page, add it to your highlights so your viewers can easily find it!

Other factors: Instagram is one of the only platforms that doesn’t allow you to link to a webpage in your caption. Asking people to go to your link in bio and leave the app gives them more steps than people are generally willing to do. Make sure you have all of your important information on Instagram, and if needed, direct them to your link in bio for more information, but you better make sure it’s updated!

Total time: ~ 50 minutes


Twitter

Image size: Min. 440 x 220 px

Character count: Max 280 characters.

Hashtags: Twitter recommends using no more than two hashtags per tweet for best practice.

Strategic scheduling: The best times to post for B2B are 7 am-8 am, 11 am, 6 pm, and 9 pm. Schedule around peak times, but make sure they are the best for your business. Find an app like Later that will analyze optimal times to post content.

Tagging: Giving an @ mention informs people or businesses you posted about them. Everyone loves to share positive content about themselves or their business. One RT can lead to many more!

Copywriting: Be concise! The ideal Twitter caption is 71-100 characters. Since Twitter moves fast, you only have a few seconds to grab your audience’s attention.

Hashtags research: Give people a reason to use your hashtag. Are you running a contest? Can they participate in a larger conversation this way? Or use your hashtags to get your content discovered. Just use them sparingly!

Image sourcing: Twitter data says people are three times more likely to engage with Tweets that include visual content. Include video, images, and GIFs to your tweets.

Graphic creation: Make your visuals eye-catching, appealing, and informative while using your brand tone and voice. Use your logo to build brand recognition. Try using GIFs to add some humour to your posts.

Pin the post: If your pinned tweet is out of date it looks like you aren’t active on Twitter, or you don’t pay attention to detail. Update your pinned tweet as necessary.

Other factors: Twitter is big for sharing content. Look for opportunities to share content from your audience, affiliates, and industry leaders.

Total time: ~30 minutes


LinkedIn

Image size: 1104 x 736 px

Character count: 700 characters (business accounts) 1300 (individual accounts)

Hashtags: LinkedIn recommends 3-5 hashtags per post.

Strategic scheduling: Working professionals and college grads make up the majority of LinkedIn users. The most successful posts on LinkedIn are posted between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. from Tuesday to Thursday.

Tagging: LinkedIn is all about making connections and showcasing your abilities. If you can tag people in your posts, do it! Often they will want to share their involvement with your company on their own pages to show off to their network.

Copywriting: You have 140 characters before LinkedIn will cut off your copy with the “See more” button. Make sure your first sentence in compelling. An interesting first sentence can get more eyes on your profile, and the rest of your content.

Hashtags research: Following hashtags on LinkedIn is a great way to find new content ideas and stay informed on what’s going on in your industry. Go to ‘Hashtags trending in your network’ to find relevant hashtags – choose ‘My Network’ and then ‘See all’ under the ‘Hashtag’ section.

Image sourcing: Many LinkedIn statuses will revolve around less visual topics like leadership, motivation, success, so you have more freedom and creativity with choosing images. Pair your image with a strong caption and you’ll be on your way to getting clicks and shares!

Graphic creation: Always stick to your brand guidelines with the same font, colours, and logo to create a cohesive, curated look.

Other factors: LinkedIn is the place to keep things professional. Make sure your profile is always up to date and offer plenty of opportunities for people to learn about your brand.

Total time: ~ 45 minutes

As you can see, hiring a social media manager is the best way to get your key messages across on each platform and maximize your ROI.

Social media platforms are constantly evolving their algorithms and interfaces. Marketers should be staying updated with the latest information. Starling Social’s high-level approach to digital marketing allows you to focus on your customers with the reassurance of knowing your social media channels are running seamlessly. 


Your business needs a marketing plan that aligns with your growth goals. We develop strategies that help you create memorable, lasting connections with your customers and grow your business.

Get in touch if you’re looking for help with growing your business.


 

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