How to make Social Media ads work for your business

Hello creators! We gathered some feedback from our creator community recently and noticed that many of you are in a social media slump, having some creative block when it comes to social channels. So, we sat down with our in-house social media expert Rich Potts, our Head of Paid Digital Marketing, to find out how to make social media ads work for your business. We hope it helps you to level up your business, improve your social media strategy and rise from any slump you may be in.

What sort of posts get the most interactions on social media channels?

For us it’s lifestyle photos. Specifically photos that look like user generated content (UGC).  For example an image where it looks like someone received the card and posted a pic to their Instagram feed. We think this is because it appears more native to the platform, rather than a social media ad. 

Example of a social media ad

Does adding links to products reduce reach?

Yes, you have to do a bit of a balancing act between doing posts to drive reach and engagement, and more sales-driven posts with links. But you should be doing this anyway – no-one follows a page to be sold to 24/7 so try to make sure you’re posting a variety of content.

Is TikTok worth it?

TikTok is a really interesting platform. With paid posts we get really inconsistent results with some ads doing really well and others performing really badly. With organic it’s difficult to know what kind of sales it’s driving, but anecdotally we know our customers are seeing our videos, because we get comments and shares that imply intent to buy. We also know that user behaviour is turning it into a search engine, and we expect that behaviour to continue, so we believe it’s worth investing some time in – but not putting all your eggs in that basket.

Which social media platform drives the most customers to the site?

It’s about 50/50 Facebook and Instagram.

What are the best tips you have on using paid ads?

Keep your message simple and clear – one to two lines of copy, single product in image, don’t distract too much from the product.  Think about what kind of post would make you stop scrolling. There’s a lot more but I don’t want to fully give away our secret recipe!

How do you select the cards you use in marketing campaigns?

For occasions, we select 200-250 cards for promotion and they’re generally going to be one of three things – witty or funny (they have to be a quick joke that people can get while they’re scrolling), something that is trending (we’ve had a lot of success recently with one of our air fryer cards because lots of people are into that at the minute) or cards that will be connected to a user’s interest. For example, something to do with dogs, celebrities or sports work very well.

Do photos or videos perform better?

In paid posts, we find photos (especially UGC style) perform better than designed images. We really struggled to make video content work at first, but we’re getting better at it. If you look at our TikTok, you’ll see the kind of stuff we’re doing now, which is working really well. However when it comes to organic posts, we do find Instagram Reels are the best way of expanding your reach to non-followers. This way your page gets discovered by potential customers. There should certainly be a place for both videos and static content in your social media strategy.

What platform would you recommend for someone new to posting?

I’d say, just because it’s on more of an upwards trajectory than Facebook currently, Instagram. It’s probably the best platform to get going with. You can do lots of static posts, and you can also dip into video content with Reels as well.

What's thortful’s most successful marketing channel?

We’ve tried lots of different channels – YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter – and we’ve had a lot of success with Google Search and Shopping. We had mixed results with TikTok – some videos performed really well, others not so much. It’s hard to find consistency with that channel. The best channel we’ve had work well consistently, is Facebook and Instagram ads.

Is it worth the money to pay for social media adverts?

Yes, they’re definitely worth it. It does depend on your goal however, we use them to grow the business quite a lot. In terms of goals, you’re unlikely to get a short term return. It’s more about building a customer base so that when they return, you’ll start to see a return on your initial advertising investment.

Where do you learn to use paid ads?

There’s a huge amount of information on how to learn about social ads online. The best one is Facebook Blueprint – it’s completely free. Google Digital Garage is also really good, and beyond that there’s a lot of free videos as well.

What's the most successful platform to advertise for conversion rate?

Google Shopping is the best for conversion rates, especially if you’re doing niche interest cards. People will search for ‘Dog Birthday card’ – and if your website is SEO optimised, yours will appear.

What advice would you give to someone who is not very good at selling themselves?

Find your USP as a brand and think about what makes you stand out from the rest of the market – that should give you a whole load of confidence to go out and sell yourself. You may not be bigger, better, cheaper but, you can always be different. 

This will be a new series of blog posts where we sit down with one of our thortful experts and ask them some of your burning questions. You can join in on the Q&A by following us on Instagram.

Team thortful