Posts by Alicia Kurz

What to Look for in an Influencer

- by Alicia Kurz

By: Alicia Kurz, Account Manager

As important as it is to have consistent, quality content on your business' social media profiles, working with an influencer can be a great way to expand your reach and give people more information about your brand. 

After all:  

familiarity = trust = conversions (aka, sales!)

The more familiar a consumer is with a specific brand, the more likely they are to choose that brand's products or services, and influencers are a great way to "familiarize" your brand with a wider audience.

Why? Because 49% of consumers say that they depend on influencer recommendations to inform their purchasing decisions. 

As a result, brands are leaning heavily into influencer marketing as a way to get their products seen through the eyes of a trusted source. But how do you choose the right one?

Before simply scrolling through likes and comments and making a snap decision, take a look at how we choose the right influencers for our clients:

The influencer marketing metrics we care about most

Reach

We’re not just talking about vanity metrics. 

Simple metrics like follower count are much less important than you may think — just because someone has a huge following doesn't necessarily mean every single follower is seeing their content (hint: most aren't) which is why we don't rely on this metric too much when choosing an influencer to work with.

To determine influencer value, we look in an influencer's media kit for specific stats like average accounts reached per post, and average impressions per post. All of this information should be easily available through their business or creator account. 

Engagement

When we're looking for influencers, we want to see an engaged audience who cares about and interacts with their content. 

When vetting influencers, we like to keep an eye on stats like engagement rate, average likes, comments, shares, story views, saves, and even website clicks per post. This is all key information in planning an influencer campaign. 

We also look for telltale signs of engagement things like:

  • Do the influencers reply to comments? 
  • Are they starting conversations with their audience?
  • Do they "set and forget" their posts?
  • Do they update their Stories regularly?
  • Do they use Stickers and other interactive elements?

All of these factors come into play when assessing an influencer's engagement with their audience.

Content 

One of the most important things we look for is consistency. This is the number one indicator to tell if the influencer is reliable, professional, and someone we want to work with. 

After all: having an unorganized posting schedule means the influencer's audience doesn’t know when to look for their content.

Another element we care about is the quality of their photos. High-quality photos means that the influencer cares about the content going on their page — which means they will care about your products and services reflect their page. 

Here are a few other factors we check out before we choose an influencer: 

  • Video and photo quality. Like we said: photos and videos look cohesive, the content looks professional and it’s clear the influencer knows what they’re doing, they get a gold star from us! 
  • Audio quality. We want to make sure we can clearly hear each video. Using captions in the videos and reels is another huge factor we look out for, since captions make videos more accessible to people and increases comprehension with the influencer's audience.
  • Tone. We have to make sure the tone echos our clients’ brand voice. We browse to see the type of content they put out, how they use language around other sponsored posts, and how people respond to that content. 
  • Posting frequency. Another factor we browse for are large gaps in posting. We want to see that they typically post the same number of times per week — we know that pesky algorithm changes when posting frequency changes. 

Audience 

Great influencers are in touch with their followers and know exactly the content that will resonate with their audience. When looking for influencers to partner with, we want to know that they have a clearly defined target audience that matches our clients’ ideal customers. 

Our team can get a pretty good idea about who an influencer’s target audience is from a profile, but we prefer seeing analytics on a per-platform basis so we can see who their content is reaching.

Budget 

Once we know that an influencer's content and audience align with a brand's goals and customers, it's time to talk about pricing.

Pricing determines which influencers a business can work with, and rates vary greatly across the board depending on their experience, audience, reach, and who they've partnered with in the past. With this in mind, it's also important to be specific with our requests so there's no confusion about the cost and what we expect them to deliver.

 Things we want to know include:

  • Will they add in a mention on their newsletter or blog? 
  • How many Stories will they post? 
  • Will the content be posted on the feed?
  • Will they post photo or video reviews?

Protip: when planning running an influencer campaign, collect the media kits from all of the influencers you want to work with and budget accordingly for the ones you really want to work with.

Media Kits 

This is a portfolio of an influencer’s work and demonstrates their social stats at a glance. Things we look for in a media kit include:

  • Audience demographics
  • Website or social platform stats
  • Testimonials
  • Sponsored post examples

A comprehensive media kit should also include a bio section which offers more background information about the influencer, and gives us a chance to see if their values and interests align with the brand that wants to work with them.

At the end of the media kit should include contact information, collaboration descriptions and pricing details. 

Collaboration details should include different options for marketers to choose from like giveaways, product reviews, brand mentions in social posts, blog posts, or newsletter mentions. 

Depending on the influencer, some will work for product trades, but many are leaning away from that option. It’s a lot of work to photograph, review, post and engage on any platform, and they’ve done the work to get your audience in one spot! 

Prices can range from $50 to hundreds or even thousands of dollars per post, depending who you are working with. If the influencer’s pricing is close to your budget but slightly over, just be upfront about it. If they like your brand they may be able to find an option that works for both of you. 

Find the perfect influencer for your business


Finding the perfect influencers to promote your products and services can feel overwhelming — but it doesn't have to! By using the tips above as your guide, you can connect with influencers who resonate with your audience and help even more people learn about your business and what you offer.

For more hot tips for your digital marketing strategy, be sure to give us a follow on Twitter, Insta and LinkedIn, and subscribe to our newsletter for weekly insights into the latest digital marketing strategies.

Influencers: are looking to promote quality content on your page? Our clients might be the perfect fit for you. Send your media kit to influencers@starling.social and we'll be in touch!


 

How the TikTok Algorithm Works (and How to Make It Work #ForYou)

- by Alicia Kurz

By: Alicia Kurz, Account Manager

If you’re like us, you may have joined TikTok as a joke and are now obsessed with cleaning hacks and follow someone who teaches you how to correctly fold laundry — with a little sprinkle of #GhostTikTok on your feed to keep that anxiety high. 

Whether you joined as a joke or you were one of the first die-hards on the app, it’s clear with 2.6 billion downloads, people love it. Reminiscent of Vine and more addicting than Instagram, it’s where people are spending their time. 

TikTok has made an algorithm that’s more addictive than coffee on a Monday morning, so we’re giving you the rundown on how the algorithm works, and how to make it work for you. 

How Does the TikTok Algorithm Work?

As with any social media platform, the algorithms are always changing, however, with the recent demand for applications to be more transparent, TikTok released a press release explaining just how their algorithm works. They also have a Transparency Centre based out of Los Angeles. 

Engagement 

This one is pretty typical for social platforms in general. When you engage with content on TikTok, it wants to show you similar content. The For You feed displays a stream of videos curated to show you the content you are more likely to interact with. 

You can expect to see similar content to the videos that you:

  • Follow 
  • Comment on
  • Share 
  • Like 
  • Add to favourites 
  • Watch through to the end 
  • Make videos similar to 

You’ll see less of the types of videos that you:

  • Hide
  • Mark as “not interested”
  • Report inappropriate

Account Settings 

These are one-time settings like your language preference, country setting, and device type. While they will optimize your performance, these don’t impact your For You page as much as how you interact with videos on your page. 

Video Information

This is what you search for while using the app. This can include details like:

  • Effects 
  • Captions 
  • Sounds 
  • Hashtags 
  • Trending topics  

Diverse Videos 

Sometimes you will see videos on your For You feed that seem irrelevant and have very few likes. This is an intentional move from TikTok to give lesser-known creators a chance for their content to be seen, and gauge your interest in a variety of topics.

“Our goal is to find balance between suggesting content that's relevant to you while also helping you find content and creators that encourage you to explore experiences you might not otherwise see.” 

Safeguards

TikTok won’t show you duplicated videos, content you have already seen, spam, or videos that the app deems upsetting. 

The “For You” feed generally won't show two videos in a row made with the same sound or by the same creator.”

What is TikTok’s “For You” Page and How Does It Work?

TikTok’s For You page is the first screen you will see when you log onto the app. 

While most other apps have the content you have already liked, followed, or subscribed to as the first thing you see when your log on, TikTok’s For You page is a curated stream of videos they think you will be interested in based on what you have already engaged with. 

How to Make the #FYP Work For You

You don’t need to have a ton of followers to go viral. Let’s be clear: if you have more followers it definitely helps your chances. However, TikTok will show content that people like to a lot of people — so make your content relatable! 

Proven Hacks 

Pick a Niche

You can be good at a lot of things or you can be amazing at one. People will follow you because they want to know more about your niche. Focus on creative content that suits your page. 

Create Short, Engaging Videos

TikTok allows you to post videos up to three minutes long, but the most popular videos are 15-20 seconds. Make sure to start your video off with interesting content right off the hop so people will stick around. 

Use Hashtags

Don’t go overboard. TikTok’s captions are limited to 150 characters, so use the space wisely. Use hashtags from challenges, trends, and your niche. 

Post During Your Most Active Times

To figure this out, you need a Pro Account to finds insights on:

  • Video and profile views
  • Follower growth 
  • Best times to post 

Follow Trends

Create videos doing the current trends. Use trending songs, sounds, effects, and hashtags to make your way onto the For You feed. You can find what’s popular on the Discover page. 

Unverified Tips

While we have zero proof that these factors play into what ends up on the For You page, other content creators and our personal experience suggest these theories might have something to them:

Using #FYP, #ForYou, or #ForYouPage 

Take a peek at the hashtags you see on the For You page. Many of them have some version of #FYP, #FYpage, or another hashtag indicating they want it to be on TikTok’s recommendation feed. Coincidence? 

Close the App

Next time you upload a video to the app, close it and walk away. 

TikTok wants you on their platform. In order to get you there, they want to send notifications. Those notifications can be when someone likes, comments, duets, stitches or engages with your video in any way. Let the app show your video to more people and build engagement opportunities for you. 

Post 2-3 Times Per Day

Many creators on the app say posting multiple times per day is key to getting on the For You feed. That’s a lot of content to put out every day! Tools like the Creator Fund (currently not available in Canada) pay creators for their content, which would make all that work a lot more worth it. 

We Tried It

Yes, we’re the stereotype that joined as a joke, but now @rod is our new life coach. 

In fact, our Account Manager Alicia tested these theories with a mix of verified and unverified tips and went viral in six videos!

Check it out!

If you have a chance to test these theories, let us know.

If you liked reading these in-depth insights about the hottest digital marketing strategies, subscribe to our weekly newsletter


 

How to Write The Best Technical Blog Posts for Clients

- by Alicia Kurz

This post was written by our Account Manager Alicia Kurz.

Are you wondering how to write a great technical blog post for your clients?

Chances are, when you think about writing a technical blog post, your first feelings are a sense of dread, followed by being bored before you even start. If you aren’t an expert in whatever complex subject you are about to embark on, starting can be discouraging.

Luckily, these steps will help you develop a process to create useful, interesting technical content and take the guesswork out of publishing great technical posts. Let’s dive right in:

Where do you even begin?

The good news is, the thought of writing a technical blog post is more challenging than actually doing the work. The key is finding the points in the topic that interest you and focus on highlighting those points. When you’re more interested in a topic, you’ll be more enthusiastic about writing the post and finding the correct information. The better the post, the easier it is for the audience to connect with the topic.

Technical blogs are a great way to reach a lot of people and give people information that’s easy to consume. After writing many technical blogs, here’s the workflow that makes things easy to focus on content instead of logistics. Let’s start spreading some good ideas!

1. Define your audience and key messages


Who are you writing for? If your target is moms between 25-40, your writing is going to sound much different than writing for 30-50-year-old engineers in the forestry industry — am I right, ladies? 


Audience personas can be quite helpful when you’re thinking about the tone and structure of your piece. A wine blog for beginners can likely be more light-hearted than a post about the environmental impacts of dust on a local community, for example.

It’s always important to think about what’s in it for your audience. People have limited time, so reading your blog better be a good use of theirs. Are the key messages of your blog in line with what your target audience is looking for? If not, you will need to make adjustments so people aren’t asking “who cares?”


2. Research your topic


Thank God for Google. Likely, you aren’t the first to write about whatever topic you are about to delve into. That’s a good thing. You have information from multiple sources — just please fact check — so it allows you to piece together the best information in the easiest to read way. Just because others have done it first, doesn’t mean they have done it best.

Often the research provided to you is written in nerd language and it’s your job to figure it out. If you’re a writer, that can be fun. It’s like fitting puzzle pieces together to make information more accessible to a larger audience.

If you have questions, other people probably do too. Your blog is where people will go to find those answers.


If you are writing this blog for a client, schedule a call where you can ask questions and make sure your key messages are clear. While you can independently find out a ton of information by yourself, it makes it a lot easier when you and your client are starting on the same page. Plus, they probably have specific information they want to be included that may not have been clear to you initially.

Make sure to record the call so you can go back and reference it. This will save you a lot of stress. It’s much easier than taking notes and trying to remember everything.

3. Create an outline


Now that you have your key messages down, you’ve researched your topic, and your client has given you an idea of what they are looking for, it’s time to create an outline.

Luckily, you have other blogs to reference and see first-hand which ones you were drawn to and which ones you pressed the back button immediately.

I said it once and I’ll say it again: always start with “what’s in it for them.” If your introduction doesn’t have a hook, your audience is gone.

Use headings and lists to make your content easy to read, and use a call to action at the end of your blog that aligns with your goals. Book a meeting, follow us on Facebook, or buy now are all great examples of how to further engage your audience after they have read your blog.

Outlines are also great to organize your thoughts and weed out excess information that will cloud your key messages.

4. Start Writing

Use your own voice to relay your messages. Whether that’s the professional version of your voice or your Saturday night version after a glass of wine version, just make sure the tone matches your content.

Use the K.I.S.S. method. In case you weren't born 60-years ago, or you just prefer to not reference rude acronyms, that means Keep It Simple, Stupid. Take out industry jargon and complicated language. You can sound smart without using words people have to Google. Your blog should be accessible to a large audience and easily consumable, not feel like more work.

5. Take a Break

Give your eyes a break once you’ve written your piece. After you stare at your computer for hours trying to write the perfect blog, you might become blind to minor errors. Maybe you typed “and” twice or used the same word in a paragraph three times. Try going on a walk, or just not looking at a screen for a couple of hours before you come back to it.

Although I prefer to save the trees, a great tip is to print your piece and edit it on paper — after you have run it through Grammarly, of course. For some reason, it’s easier to make changes that way. 

Plus, it’s kind of satisfying to edit your own with a red pen… maybe that’s just me.

If you have a chance, ask someone else to read it for you. Try not to get annoyed when they give you irrelevant suggestions. They also might catch something you said twice, or ask a question about something you thought you answered, but you weren’t clear enough.

6. Add the Finishing Touches

Now it’s time to make your blog look nice. Add headings, photos, article links, and an SEO-friendly title.

7. Publish

The most satisfying part of writing your blog is clicking the publish button. Ensure the blog is going to the right part of your website, add tags, set a featured image, and utilize any widgets you have installed on your site to make your blog SEO-friendly.

After it’s published, check that the image that pulls works on your social platforms and that it loads correctly on both desktop and mobile feeds.

8. Promote

You want people to see what you’ve posted. Share your blog post in places your target audience hangs out. Ask people to share it. This gives you a chance for your network to spread your post to their network.

Use Canva to create free images that look great on social, and you don’t need to be a designer to use. You can also resize these so it fits correctly on all platforms.

If your piece is really awesome, consider doing some digital advertising for it to get the most eyes on it.


Just remember, practice makes perfect. Eventually, writing technical blogs will become more of a habit, and creating these posts will flow much easier.

If you need help writing blog posts or getting your content in front of the right people, drop us a line and let us know how we can help!