Should you use fear appeals in your social ads?
Fear appeals refer to emotionally-provocative forms of communication that psychologically motivate consumers to make purchasing decisions based on perceptions of significant or impending risks to themselves, their loved ones, or their lives. Many advertisers relentlessly rely on fear appeals to promote their brands on social media, but is this necessarily the best strategy? Let’s examine what researchers have found:
According to a recent compilation of 60 years’ worth of research on fear appeals in advertising and behavioral change strategies, using fear appeals targeted at an individual’s health are less effective than providing information that helps people respond to health concerns more effectively.
If you are attempting to promote a health product or service designed to help others live happier, healthier lives, then you would likely get better results from an advertising campaign that emphasizes positive outcomes for your target audience, instead of scaring them into making a purchase with frightening images and gloom-and-doom messages in your ads.
If your brand sells financial information, products or other services, then imbuing your social campaigns with ads predicated on fear (e.g., impending stock market crash, another housing industry collapse, fears of not saving enough for retirement, fears of drowning in debt, etc.) might not work to your advantage in the long-run.
As MarketWatch explains, many Americans are plagued with financial anxiety, and provoking those fears through fear-driven ads could have the opposite effect by driving them away from your brand’s social pages. This happens because financial anxiety is powerful enough to incite strong feelings of denial among those who are struggling with their money. You can avoid this by revamping your advertising messages to emphasize positive outcomes instead. For example, instead of highlighting the countless risks associated with high levels of consumer debt in your ads, create a visualization of the debt-free future that people could attain if they utilize your products/services.
Most people care very deeply about their family members, so promoting ads with terrifying “What if?” scenarios or depressing images could backfire in some cases. Using fear appeals related to a person’s loved ones may be effective in the short-run for some folks, but as a long-term social advertising strategy, you could scare off more potential customers than you bring in.
Similar to the areas of personal health and finance, you should tweak your ad copy and imagery to reflect the positive outcomes that your products/services could bring to these people’s lives. Instead of sponsoring ads with crying children or stressed out adults, adjust your strategy to reflect happier instances, such as family members smiling and embracing, or even a simple image of two family members holding hands.
Fear appeals may be popular in social media ads, but that doesn’t always mean they’re the most effective option. Be sure to thoroughly study your target audience and test different ads with different tones to see whether fear appeals should be eliminated from your marketing strategy.
Why aren’t your Facebook followers engaging with you?
Do you have a decent chunk of followers on Facebook, yet your posts continue to experience little to no engagement? If you’re wondering why you have hundreds or thousands of followers but only get a couple likes and maybe one comment on each post you publish, then here are three possible reasons for low engagement figures:
Your Facebook Page and Posts Are Boring
Many Facebook users don’t think twice when liking a page that seems interesting (based on an ad they saw) or that their friends recommended to them. Since many users have hundreds, if not thousands of friends whose posts are already clogging their feeds, the last thing you need is a boring or irrelevant post that will get lost in the masses.
Worse yet: what if you create a brilliant ad that entices followers to flock to your page…. only to discover a relatively empty page with a dull or low-quality cover photo, minimal information about your brand, few recent posts, and few images? The old adage of “don’t judge a book by its cover” rings true for Facebook advertising as well: you don’t want your ads to be more exciting than your page itself. Otherwise, people may unfollow your page or abandon your page altogether in hopes of finding another brand with more valuable information to offer.
You’re Limiting Your Advertising Strategy
A common problem many companies and organizations run into is deciding on an ideal campaign strategy. For new and experienced marketers alike, the option to grow your follower base seems like the best option because who doesn’t want more followers? However, this singular strategy can be pretty limiting when it comes to long-lasting results. It’s easy to click “like” on a sponsored post – it takes someone significantly more effort to scroll through the brand’s page, comment on posts, and share content with their own friends.
Rather than limiting yourself to paid advertising campaigns that solely emphasize racking up followers, consider adding campaigns that seek to increase engagement among your existing base. In other words, you can create a group of ads that invites followers to respond to thought-provoking questions, share their own experiences, or even tantalizes them with a contest open exclusively to followers of your page.
You’re Not Engaging with Them
Why should people comment on your page, like your photos, and share your posts if you don’t give them any incentives to do so? One of the biggest reasons why you might rack up a huge but silent following on Facebook is because you and your marketing team aren’t actively reaching out to those followers once they’ve liked your page.
Sure, you may put out great content, but that’s not sufficient enough to engage your audience. Unless you’re asking them personally relevant questions, requesting specific feedback about your products/services, and giving them other incentives to like or comment on your posts/page, you won’t be able to increase your follower engagement levels. It certainly requires more time and effort to respond, but the long-term benefits of personalizing your customers’ experiences with your brand on social media will be worth it.
Subscribe to our monthly newsletterGet valuable information on how you can improve your
social foot print while increasing your customer engagement
and conversions. (Delivered only once a month!).