Your 3 Word Mantra For Social Ads | TravelResearchOnline


Your 3 Word Mantra For Social Ads

What’s short, fun, emotional and simple? A workout? Dinner party? A social ad?

If you guessed a social ad, you’re right!

If you guessed one of the other choices you’ll see why the gym and a dinner party are related to social ads.

In this new era of ‘pay to play’, inspiring ads garner much more than simply clicks. In our industry social ads are essential in:

  • Brand & awareness building
  • Story telling
  • Driving traffic
  • Growing engagement
  • Amplification

Brand & Awareness

I’ll bet you could spot the green of Starbucks or the traditional silver of a Nordstrom bag a mile away. Is your company brand as recognizable? How you position your brand in your social ads defines your company across multiple platforms. Visuals you choose to depict your company will vary by season, product, or offer, yet the overall feel and style needs to ultimately be recognizable. These key visual branding points help shorten your message to just the key ingredients.

Whether it’s dinner you’re planning or a social ad, simple is easiest.

catherineheegStory Telling

Social advertising is as much about story telling as selling. The story of your destination, hotel or agency help people identify with your brand on a more personal and emotional level. That emotional connection is what wins new business and brings repeat clients back to you.

How you tell your story in an ad can be as simple as outstanding photos or as elegant as a video. When deciding on which social platforms to advertise choosing the right platform for the right story is crucial.

Facebook now offers an ad choice featuring 3-5 multiple images that loop called ‘carousel ads’. This style of advertising may be perfect to showcase a variety of hotel benefits, destination events or ship features.

Marketing tip: Video ads are now ranked more highly by the Facebook algorithm, so now is a great time to make use of this medium and the extra reach you’ll generate.

Twitter provides a variety of Twitter cards to tell your story visually. Whether you choose a Gallery Card, Product Card or Summary Card you can showcase your business visually. Here’s more info on Twitter advertising.

Promoted Pins on Pinterest help your pins get seen by more viewers and your story seen by potential clients and guests.

Imagine creating an ad that tells the story of your upcoming event, group tour or specialty cruise.

Driving traffic

Bringing new eyeballs to your website, new guests to your hotel, and repeat cruisers to your client roster are the goals of social ads. Accomplishing this involves ads that focus on your:

  • Upcoming consumer night. Tip: Create an event on Facebook and advertise it.
  • Festival, museum or locale. Tip: Use local Facebook ads, Promoted Pinterest Pins, Instagram ads, or Twitter ads.
  • Past website visitors. Tip: Create an ad using retargeting strategies.
  • Past visitors or those who have not yet made a purchase decision. Tip: Using ‘dark’ ads on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter gives you the chance to target those specific audiences you’ve identified.

Planning your social advertising strategy to generate new business is a bit like planning a dinner party.

First you need to choose the theme of the party (create the ad story and copy). Second, create the guest list (choose who you want to see the message). Selecting your dinner menu is similar to pulling together the social ad platforms that are best suited to your audience and fit with your theme. The food, wine and music of your dinner party can be equated to the actual advertising message. The utensils on the table are the tools we use in advertising and are unique to each platform; whether it’s Twitter cards, Facebook carousel ads or Promoted Pins. We keep our dinner guests engaged with witty banter while our ad campaigns stay fresh with new messaging and offers.

While pulling off a successful dinner party may sound like a challenge it can be simplified by making use of the tools in your kitchen. Planning your advertising strategy using the tools of each platform gives you the opportunity to drive the right traffic to your hotel, agency or destination.

Keeping your ad simple will make it easier to digest.

Growing Engagement

Call to Action buttons are a fabulous way to inspire action and engagement. Social platforms give you the option to choose a button based on the action you’d like to inspire. Whether you’d like people to ‘book now’, ‘learn more’, ‘view video’ or ‘get directions’ there’s a button for it!

Because of the extra effort advertisers are taking when creating social ads, it’s been found that they are more likely to be shared, re-tweeted, re-pinned and commented upon. These actions all help to spread your message organically and within the paid mediums.

Facebook recently launched a new feature in the Facebook advertising platform that rates your ads and gives you a relevance score, similar to Ad Rank in Google AdWords. The more relevant your ad image, ad copy, and destination page is to your audience, the higher your score is — and the more favorably Facebook will treat your ads.


Since the days of the town crier are long gone we need new ways to help our messages travel further and resonate with our fans. Social ads that incorporate tools like custom audiences, target audiences, graphics, video, calls to action, a value proposition, social credibility and correct placement will ensure success.

To spread the word even more effectively, split testing helps us understand how fans respond to our messaging. By changing one feature within an ad we’re able to test how well a certain photo, video, word, or even timing impacts the ad success.

While the town crier had a specific corner in the village to amplify his message we now have a variety of platforms and placement options in our advertising. Consider how your audience interacts with your chosen platform; mobile or desktop, as well as which platform they’re using at certain times of the day.

Social media is being used more and more on mobile devices. LinkedIn reports that 70% of clicks to sponsored updates happen on mobile, Facebook has 1.12 billion mobile monthly active users, and 80% of Twitter active users are on mobile. Using ads in the right place, at the right time, and with the right message will ensure we outlive the town crier.

While my time at the gym is sometimes shorter than I’d like, it’s fun. Ad campaigns that are short and fun keep people engaged.

While my dinner parties need to be simple, my hope is that they keep people engaged and spur new conversations.

Like your time at the gym or your dinner parties, social ads that are short, simple, full of humor will not only inspire new fans and followers they will turn viewers into new clients, guests and brand advocates.

Catherine Heeg, international speaker and trainer, focuses on social media marketing & communication for the travel and tourism industry. Join the conversation and connect with her at and socially.

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