Customer Support on Social Media Advertising Channels? Just Barely…

A few weeks ago my friend and colleague Robert Brady wrote an article pertaining to the lack of support offered small advertisers on Google AdWords. This is a valid concern. Just because an advertiser isn’t shelling out the big bucks doesn’t mean they don’t need or deserve a higher level of support. More to the point, this got me thinking. AdWords and Bing Ads are, despite needing some upgrades, light years ahead of the social media advertising channels when it comes to customer support. Facebook Ads, LinkedIN Ads and Twitter Ads are a desolate no-man’s land when you are in need of help.

Without getting into the weeds regarding the clunky nature of these various ad platform interfaces, there are a host of potential problems one might encounter. Even with something as deceivingly simple as account creation, everything can come crashing down. Let me tell you a tail of how both Facebook and LinkedIN’s support systems nearly drove me to an untimely death.

This past week I needed to set up a new Facebook Ads and LinkedIN Ads accounts. Started with Facebook (through the Clix business account, no less) and things were going smoothly. After creating the account, the client – in a different state – logged in to add their credit card information. Due to Facebook’s genius fraud protection, the account was locked down. There was a link to a form to complete – which I did. We also submitted a formal support ticket through our business account. It took 5 days (including the weekend) to get this resolved. 5 days! Why does this upset me? I received no formal response until the 5th day – AFTER the account was reactivated. There is no posted phone number ANYWHERE to call for support help. My client was frustrated and upset that there was a delay in launching the campaign and there was nothing I could say or do to help.

Facebook has dedicated reps with actual phone numbers. For big accounts. I happen to have one of those accounts and know those reps – but they are vertical reps assigned to a specific account. I finally did reach out them on the 5th day, but by that point the fix was already in motion. While I had that “plan B” safety net, most advertisers do not.

Next up was LinkedIN. Let me just say, if you haven’t tried to create a LinkedIN Ads account or assign user permissions, you are in for a treat! It is a cluster****. After working with the client to create the account from their company page, enter credit card info and assign me as an admin – it appeared everything was moving smoothly. I made it so far as to get 2 campaigns created and launched. Even received ad approval emails. But there were no impressions. No clicks. And then without warning my personal LinkedIN account (the login to access client ads account) was blocked. As if that wasn’t annoying enough, my client’s personal LinkedIN account was blocked, too. I input a support ticket Monday morning and received a response within a few hours. Great!

Not. The response was canned – “data takes 24-48 hours to populate. Here’s a link to best practices. Blah, blah, blah.” This is paraphrased, of course, but you get the point. Had to re-explain the situation a few times via email ONLY. Again, LinkedIN like Facebook does NOT have a phone number ANYWHERE for support. Feeling frustrated, I ranted on Twitter. Amazingly, LinkedIN support responded, asked for my support ticket number and promised to fix the issue. Within a few hours personal account access was restored and my ads were receiving impressions. While this process was not smooth, the mere hours it took to fix were far superior to the 5 days for Facebook’s response.

While I don’t have a fun story relating to Twitter Ads – it is a similar situation. Big advertisers get reps (I have some!), but the small advertisers don’t. And the methods for contacting support are limited and frustrating.

These new-ish social media advertising channels are exciting and in most cases quite effective. But at times it feels like they are setting up unnecessary obstacles to allow advertisers to GIVE THEM MONEY. Attention Facebook Ads, LinkedIN Ads and Twitter Ads: Come on guys, grease the wheels a little bit here. Create customer support systems that your paying customers can use effectively. Phone support, IMHO, is essential. It is amazing how much faster problems can be solved when a problem can be addressed in a short, back-and-forth conversation. Typically, issues are resolved in MINUTES. Not hours or days. For now I will continue to advise my clients to use your services – I just wish you would make it easier for all of us!

For now my advice is to use the customer support channels as they exist. For LinkedIN – follow and reply to @LinkedINHelp on Twitter. If you can – lobby when and wherever you can to get these social media channels to open their customer support processes up.