By Charlie Glen, Account Manager at Social Lab


Social Media is now an everyday part of our lives, and a mainstream platform for advertisers. However, with such a rapid rise, comes a steep learning curve, and brands are playing catch up. 

Consider these statistics:

Snapchat gets 10 billion video views per day;

300 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute;

2.07 billion people use Facebook each month.

Social media has officially risen. So - as the younger generation moves their lives onto their phones, brands must learn how to successfully join them.

The Social space is a fluid and ever changing landscape, which constantly provides advertisers with new ways to reach their audience. What is new today, will be comparatively ancient in a year’s time.

Whether it is a promoted story, or in-message ad, Platforms are constantly finding new and innovative ways to integrate adverts onto their offering, because let’s face it, this is how they make their money! Once people see a few ‘success stories’ from blue chip brands, they very quickly jump on the bandwagon. 

Despite the innovation, adverts on social have traditionally been ‘tolerated’ by users, as it stops the platforms from charging a fee.  However, with an increasing amount of time spent on the platforms, it is no longer ok for brands to simply exist on users’ social media channels. The new challenge for brands, is to move from being tolerated through gritted teeth, to becoming intrinsic to their audience’s social media life.

Creating successful and innovative campaigns on social can be a challenging and daunting process as there are so many formats to consider within each platform, and so much content posted each day that it can feel hard to make any significant impact. 

However, by focusing on some core principles, you can give your content a great chance to cut through the noise and have great success on social. Below are a few tips to get you on your way.

4 key areas that need to be address in order to transition from a tolerated annoyance to a genuinely followed and socially interesting brand:

1. The Audience is King 

The truth is, in a perfect world, many people could do without adverts clogging their social feed. Therefore, it is vitally important that you only serve your ads to people that are actually interested!  Broad targeting, at people who are never going to engage with the brand, is both a waste of the clients’ money, and of your precious time.

Social is an intrinsically personal space, and therefore, for your brand message to cut through, it needs to feel incredibly personalized to the user to have any traction.

Platforms are constantly collecting data to help, and as such, it is possible to get extremely granular with your targeting, cutting into the heart of your target audience.  All you need to tap into this incredible wealth of data is to know where to look, and how to distinguish what is useful for the brand in question…

2 .Keep your objective close to your heart!

As with any advert, it is vitally important that the business objective behind the work stays intrinsic to the work.  I know this is social, and can often be more light hearted, but it is now a genuinely profitable way of advertising for brands and is often the source of online sales.

Always consider why the brand is posting on social: Do you boost a brand’s awareness? Do you want to drive people to a website? Do you want to drive people to store?  Are you simply trying to (shamelessly) sell product?  If so - what do you want them to buy?

All these question lead to your objectives, and these objectives will be totally achievable on Social, and remarkably easy to track!  You just need to keep them in mind through the creative process. 

3. Social by design is not just an annoying Social Lab saying!

If you have ever worked with Social Creatives, you have probably heard them say – have you got this in square format? Have you shot vertical? Is there a version with less text to meet guidelines? Have you got the subtitles etc etc...  Other than a blatant attempt to brag about their wealth of social knowledge, these seemingly small issues, are vitally important to the success of your advert on social. 

All platforms are open with the ideal specs for their ad formats. Adhering to these specs is fundamental to success, as ads literally perform better by default if you follow the ‘rules’ closely.  The success is the platforms way of awarding us for listening – after all, they know their platform best.  They will even give you advice to improve your creative – if Twitter tells you to put branding in the first 3 seconds, it may be worth listening.   Basically - every asset needs to be tailor-made for the social platform it will go on.  This cannot be stressed enough. 

Just a few extra steps (and a conversation with a social creative) and you can have social-by-design creative work coming straight out of your TVC shoot.  A small change in the pre-prod process with valuable results.  The extra time you put in will transform your success on social, and save you from a nightmare further down the line, when the client wants to ‘see their ad on social’.  Seeing great assets with auto-generated borders just makes us sad…

4. Make sure someone sees it!

The biggest mistake would be to follow steps 1-3 and ignore the final point – get some media money behind your content.

If you only post ORGANICALLY it may genuinely only be seen by 2 people. We’ve seen it happen, and it’s less than ideal for all involved.  Think about it – platforms want to make money – a free ad is unlikely to go viral.

Paid support is now vital to successful social advertising.  Grab a paid strategist as early as you can, to review the media plan, and make sure you’re on the right track – they’re very friendly people who will invariably help you succeed.   Creatives and Paid media experts must to love each other on social– all successful social campaigns hold this relationship at their very core. 

So, there you go – four steps to potential success.  Now you just need some awesome creative, and you’re good to go.


More on social from Social Lab's Chrisa Chatzisavva here.