Media + PR + Analytics

Social Media Advertising for Humans, not Robots

Share This

Laura Kivlighan

Share This


(Social does not welcome robot overlords)

There are tons of strategies, tips and top 10 lists out there to help you optimize your social media advertising campaigns. I can easily regurgitate the checklist:

  • audience targeting – check
  • testing copy – check
  • testing creative – check
  • frequency watch – check
  • ad optimizations – check

But I wanted to get away from the standard optimization checklist and remind people that we’re not robots.

Social media is, well, social. It’s communication between people (yes, brands are run by people). Put all best practices aside for a moment and think of how you personally use social media and what types of content you respond to.

There is a human to human interaction happening that no call-to-action (CTA) button can successfully communicate on its own. The ability to make that personal connection through promoted content on social media is the key to success.

5 steps to being a good human (not a robot) in social media advertising:

1. Let organic content tell you what works

If your brand is on social media you should be posting to your channels with a regular cadence that makes sense for your brand, audience and budget. Monitoring those efforts will give you a good pulse of what your audience is responding to organically.

In fact, Facebook actually gives you notifications to let you know which posts are performing better. They are telling you this for a reason – if people like it organically, chances are others are going to like it when they see it as a sponsored post.

LK post screen shot

2. Don’t overly brand or promote

When people see your content in their newsfeed on any social channel, they know it’s attached to your brand. People are pretty savvy these days (so I’d like to think) and you have a better chance at breaking through the clutter when they are not distracted by registered trademarks, TMs or brand/product overkill.

People are looking for relevant, entertaining and informative content on social channels, and that includes social media advertising. Make sure you’re providing that, especially when paying to promote content.

3. Make sure it’s timely and relevant

Users on social media are inundated – 10 BILLION video views daily on Snapchat, an average of 80 million photos shared per day on Instagram and people are sharing 1.3 million pieces of content every minute on Facebook.

All of which makes it more difficult to grab their attention. Give them content that is timely and relevant and they will engage, click through to site, watch the video etc.

Facebook also offers a Relevance Score to let you know how relevant your ad is to the audience you’ve targeted. Be mindful of what types of content get you a higher score.

4. Understand your ultimate goal

Understand your goals, starting with the “why.”

  • Why are you doing social media advertising in the first place?
  • Do you and your organization understand the ad units available and objectives they can help you achieve?
  • Do you know the audience you’re trying to reach?
  • Do you know what action you want the consumer to take? If not, it’s time to do the research and upfront planning you would do for any campaign. If it’s your first go around, start small with boosted posts, clicks to website, or video view ads and track results.

As in most human interactions, when you know the “why” it’s much easier to tell a compelling story and connect with whomever you are talking to.

5. Know which metrics matter to you

Sometimes a goal is sales. Or site traffic. Or conversions.

Recently, we launched a video campaign where the goal was video views. But a supporting element to that is Shares/Retweets. The more people that share it the more people potentially view it – therefore the Share is a huge metric for the campaign.

Think about your goals and the metrics that track the different layers needed to get there. Nail these down before you begin.

While there is a plethora of information out there on how to create the most optimized social media advertising, also remember that you are talking to humans.

Being relatable can’t be implemented via a social ad manager tool alone, you’ve got to talk human to human to make it work.

Laura Kivlighan

Get News + Insights Right Where You Want Them (Your Inbox)

Media + PR + Analytics

Social media, media relations, media planning and buying, data analysis, optimization … all part of a day’s work. We’ll figure out the places you need to be and make sure you’re making the most of every channel.

learn more


We've been growing brands for a long time. You could be next.

About LSB