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Designing social ads for your business that really work

January 24, 2019

You probably already know that social media is a free (or low-priced) way to get found by customers and keep them coming back to your store with enticing offers. After all, even after a bumpy year, Facebook still finished 2018 with 1.49 billion daily users. Instagram is nothing to sneeze at either—they have more than a billion users too, and review sites like Yelp! and Trip Advisor are an integral part of your customer’s decision to try your store. Social media is a crucial component of any business marketing plan. Once you build up a following of fans and evangelists, you can quickly spread news about your sales, promotions, events, and more. Here are a few savvy strategies to leverage your social media profile in 2019.

Photos top illustrations and words.

You want to sell more? Get past people’s logic and appeal directly to their senses. Let’s say you run a Thai food truck. People may initially find you by searching for “Thai food near me” on their favorite social media site…but after that they are going to look for something that stands out. Does your profile blend in with the hundreds of other menus listing pad thai? Or do you have brightly colored close ups of that mouth-watering green curry with vegetables including a swirl of white coconut milk and a red pepper and cilantro garnish on top? Eye-grabbing photos are a wonderful way to convince customers that you’re worth visiting. Are you the local watering hole? Show pictures of close friends in an intimate, inviting space, or a shot of your top-shelf liquor in super-cool lighting.

If you’re selling food, your photos should make them drool. If you’re selling a salon experience, it should make them long for a massage or daydream about your Zen-like rooms with elegant waterfall features. Appeal to their deepest desires.

This starts with jaw-dropping imagery. Luckily, with just your mobile phone you can take great shots of your products, location, and even team members to make your profile stand out. Set up the best lighting for effect, use filters on your phone, zoom in close and take a variety of shots in contrasting colors. Consider taking a few that are off-center, or that add the visual interest of something in the foreground against something in the background.

Get them to want it NOW.

Your ad was successful. It caught their eye, they nodded in approval, and then they clicked away. Wait, that’s not what you want them to do….you want them to click on the add and buy something now. What really gets customers to make that commitment? A sense of urgency.

Here are just a few ways to create that:

  • Use language like “for a limited time only,” “today,” or “now.”
  • Make them worry about missing out on the deal with words like “just a few left,” “limited edition,” or “exclusive deal.”
  • Show a countdown clock.
  • Emphasize negative consequences of not acting. “You may never see this offer again.”
  • Bring out their competitive side with games or contests.

Be recognizable.

Most of your customers are bombarded daily with emails, pop ups, robo-calls, and other forms of advertising. How do they function? They use mental shortcuts to find what might interest them…and ignore the rest. So how do you help them make sure they don’t miss out on your latest deal? You help your marketing stand out by being consistent in the colors, fonts, design and messaging styles. In other words…you develop a brand and stick to it.

Know your ideal customer.

The most common mistake new advertisers make is to try to appeal to everyone. If you’re looking to get more bang for your advertising buck, make sure you know who your ideal customer is right down to the times they’re most likely to be on your social media site. You probably have more than one “ideal customer” and a great shortcut for making sure your ads appeal to them is to create a “buyer persona.” This is just a snapshot of who that buyer is. Is it a stay-at-home mom with three young kids, or a young, childless power couple? Not only do different “personas” shop differently, the types of ads that will appeal to them are radically different.

Ask and ye shall receive.

Let’s say your ads are really eye-catching and resonate with your customers…those are only the first two steps. They also need to drive your customers to the action you want them to take, and that should relate back to your business goals. Do you want them to go right to buying a product? Are you hoping they will sign up for an event? Are you looking for more likes and shares? Are you building up an email list? This is your chance to guide the customer to the right decision with a great call to action.

Calls to action also help orient your customers. At a glance, they know exactly what the ad is about and what will happen if they click on a button or link. This helps get them in the right frame of mind, so that when they do click on that link they already know what action they are likely to take once they are there.

Check your metrics.

How do you know if a promotion is worth repeating? Measure results and compare it to your other campaigns using Clover Insights. It’ll help you track how well you’re doing reaching your goals and also hone your campaigns. (After all, once you know that photos of coffee sell better than cookies, you’ll know what to put as your main image.)


Clover is sold by leading U.S. banks including Bank of America, BBVA, Citi, PNC, Sun Trust and Wells Fargo. You’ll also find Clover at our trusted partners including Ignite Payments, Restaurant Depot, and Sam’s Club. For more information, visit us at clover.com.