Your sponsored posts on Facebook are hated, and customers leave ‘get out of my newsfeed’ messages in their hundreds. Welcome to social media engagement! how to write sponsored posts and not be a dork.

Social Media is Earned Attention. The minute you have to Buy Attention you’ve really admitted that the content/story/message is not strong enough to stand on it’s own. In fact it’s crap. So hey, let’s inflict it on the customer community anyway by paying to get their attention, by yelling at them using traditional ads. Quel Surprise! The community starts yelling back.
In case you haven’t noticed, most companies do Sponsored Posts really really badly.  The ad comes through, the comments are atrocious, brand recall might be high but brand sentiment plummets. Hasn’t anyone noticed that Social Ads means that the Customer has right of Response? And the response is often “fuck off from my newsfeed”?

HarveyNorman socialad

Sure you get 145 comments but what happens when most of them are like this: 

HarveyNorman socialad 2

Harvey Norman are not the only one’s coming in for a community caning. Have a look at  Walmart’s Page:

Walmart Sponsored Ads

 Facebook Users don’t care that they are Facebook’s product, not customers. They don’t care that Businesses are allowed to advertise to them. They don’t care if you have a really important event, competition, fundraiser, or promotion – just leave them alone. And they have a voice and they speak as one – leave us alone. Remember, a post that is contextually relevant to the reader is information, if it’s not, it’s spam.

Tips to write better sponsored posts on Facebook:

  • Be fun not salesy. Fun posts are entertaining to the customer, sales posts are selling sh!t. Don’t be the Used Car salesman at the Party. 
  • Use sponsored posts to EARN attention. In other words pay good money for the GREAT posts, and leave the dodgy one’s to sit where they belong, unloved and unclicked. 
  • Be the magazine, not the ad. Even though it’s an Ad, make it about a recipe with an image of the meal, rather than an ad for the tomato paste or whatever.
  • If it’s an offer, a coupon or even a competition, write the copy to be funny (promotional) or heartwarming (fundraising).
  • Ask a question. Most of the comments should be people answering this question, not bitching about how this crap comes through their newsfeed.
  • Respond to the comments. Seriously, how often do you see a sponsored post, with hundreds of comments and not a single one back from the corporate online community manager? Responding back will make it seem less like a bought ad, and more like engagement.
  • Truly awesome images – eco housing, luxury baths with rose petals, cats doing those cute cat-like things people like, naughty sayings on Victorian postcards. Not your washing up detergent media assets.

Any other tips?

This guy at btbmedia has no idea about social media so the points he makes are very traditional marketing. He makes the point about people like Gerry above not understanding “free” use of Facebook. he misses the point that Gerry knows, doesn’t care, and will use the SAME media channels to ANTI market the Walmart Brand. But our blogger basically says that if thousands of people click on your sponsored post, what does it matter if hundreds of thousands hate it? I would say in todays market that is short term gain for long term damage but I guess time will tell. I’m not convinced all News is Good News, all PR is Good Pr, in the always on, long tail of community discourse. Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV).