Social media platforms are primarily to tell stories. Users enjoy sharing photos or anecdotes from their day and want to see things they relate to or connect with, and will engage with this content the most. Users want to see things which will invoke some kind of emotion.

why empathy is important when using paid social

When it comes to how social media users see your brand and respond to your content, you want that emotion to elicit an action which will benefit you. Having an approachable tone and relatable message in all communications will improve your audience’s perception of you as a brand and help you to build a strong relationship with them, and users will be more willing to take the action you want them to.

How does this apply to Paid Social?

You may think that when paying to serve social media posts, rather than relying purely on engagement and shares for a high feed ranking as with organic, it’s not as important to be empathetic in your ad messaging and you should instead focus on making sure you have a clear CTA to achieve your goal.

While a strong CTA and persuasive message are certainly key, making sure you have a personable and trustworthy tone will help your ad to stand out among the bombardment of ‘BUY OUR PRODUCT!’, ‘SIGN UP NOW!’, ‘DOWNLOAD OUR APP!’ that your audience endures in their feeds every day.

buy now selling image

It’s also worth bearing in mind that platforms do usually take relevance and engagement into account during the ad auction process, so your bid isn’t everything!

Here are a few things you can do to incorporate empathy and personality into your ads:

Be a person, not a business

As online advertising dominates the digital world more and more, and consumers become more savvy (and also wary) of ads they see online, transparency and trust are becoming more important than ever, particularly in the age of fake news and social media scandals.

Top-of-funnel audiences in particular will need to build a level of trust in your brand and its service and products before they consider converting. A personable and empathetic tone can go a long way towards warming up users who have the potential to become loyal customers in the long-run.

Use a consistent tone of voice across all platforms - in both organic and paid posts - as well as on your website to build a brand persona that will become familiar to your followers. Make sure all parties contributing to content are aware of what’s being said on other channels - at Ayima we centralise our testing around a shared learning bank to ensure everyone benefits from what could be, and often is, siloed data.

Consider what will be most effective with your target audience, will they appreciate a humorous tone or will they prefer friendly but formal professionalism? Whatever the case, make sure your brand voice is knowledgeable and - most importantly - approachable!

Tell a narrative

Share your business’ story more visually through your top of funnel ad creative to remind users that there are faces behind your brand.

Embrace photo and video, and if you have the capability then experiment with immersive formats like 360° and live video, to stand out in the newsfeed and share your vision with your potential customers. As the old saying goes, a picture paints a thousand words.

Consider running ads which showcase your brand values, how your brand has grown or behind-the-scenes processes for delivering your product or service - split test to discover what new audiences value the most.

Be relatable

Acknowledge the everyday struggles of your target audiences - consider using a message or even a meme that implies that you are all in it together. Relatability in your posts and content will make your brand seem more human - and by extension, more approachable and more TRUSTWORTHY.

example of relatable social media copy from Glossybox

Applying this to your ads as well is akin to extending a friendly hand to someone new and inviting them to join your group, in this case, your loyal followers and customers. Using a less traditional style of imagery and messaging will also help your ad to stand out against the noise.

Be Responsive

There are few things a brand can do that are quite as angering as ignoring a questioning comment on an ad, and replying with a generic copied and pasted response is not much better.

Negative comments on ads tend to create a snowball effect. One complaint can kickstart a flood, and as social platforms tend to favour ads with high engagement rates, you could actually see the platform push more of your budget towards an ad that is generating a lot of negative comments.

Angry emoji gif

You can turn this around by taking some time to put thought into every response you give, tailoring it to the query or complaint and ensuring that you use a positive and helpful tone of voice. Be sure to make it clear how the person can easily get more support if they need it.

Keeping on top of negative comments and turning them into positive experiences will help maintain and improve your ad CPMs, CPCs and ultimately CPAs.

If writing replies from scratch every time is too time-consuming, make easily adaptable templates which you can personalise by changing a few words - tweaking them just enough to make them feel personal. It’s worth bearing in mind that while writing personalised responses to all queries may take up more time, you’ll be rewarded with a great reputation for customer service and loyal customers who know they can rely on you, so it’s worth the extra effort.

Keep with the times

There is often a sense of unity on social media around big news stories or events; while people may have different opinions they are united in their interest in the topic and discussion brings people together. The current pandemic is a clear example of this - social media exploded with discussion, videos, memes and other content as lockdowns began and it was all anyone was talking about.

mentions of coronavirus

Any mention of a trending topic is likely to pique interest, which you can use to your advantage to unite your brand with your customers. People tend to trust those with a similar way of thinking.

Be aware of how the public is responding emotionally to events and news stories, even things like the weather! Aim to acknowledge or mirror this in your tone, but try to be impartial when mentioning certain topics - become too opinionated or political and you risk irritating or alienating a significant part of your audience!

Positive Sentiment is important now more than ever

Shortly before the UK lockdown began Facebook ran a webinar on ‘Taking On Covid-19’ in your advertising. A key tip they gave was to focus on assurance - build positive sentiment and confidence in customers.

emotions masked

Pinterest also echoed this - in a Covid-19 webinar in May they reported a +8x increase in ‘staying positive quotes’ searches in March, along with rises in search volumes ranging from +63% to +268% for searches relating to ‘home workout’, ‘breathe quotes’, ‘yoga’ and ‘creative journal ideas’ to name a few -  indication that people on the platform were looking to stay positive and grounded amidst uncertainty. They recommended focusing on relevance and positivity in advertising in order to communicate to pinners with integrity.

In Summary

Taking time to make sure you are injecting your voice into your ads and being considerate of your audience and of what is going on in the world will be worthwhile for improving your ad performance, both in the short term by driving up positive engagement rates and CTRs, and in the long term by building a strong, trusting relationship with your new prospects and turning them into valuable long-term customers.

  • Use a consistent, personable and empathetic tone of voice
  • Tell a narrative - give an insight into the people behind the brand
  • Be responsive, and put care into your responses
  • Keep with the times and be reactive to the changing emotions of your audience

Try utilising the tips given here and see what they can do for your ad performance!

If you'd like to talk more about improving the performance of your paid social advertising, our team of experts would love to hear from you. Get in touch today and see how we can help.

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