Posts by Alicia Kurz
8 Thoughtful Ways to Celebrate Pride Month 2023
- by Alicia Kurz
The sun is out, the flowers are blooming, and that’s the first signal that Pride month is just around the corner.
Canada’s Pride is a celebration of the LGBTQ2S+ community and their achievements, struggles, and contributions to our society. Toronto held the first Pride event in Canada in 1971, and since then, it’s become louder and prouder. June is filled with parades, marches, rallies, parties, drag brunches, and other cultural activities that bring together LGBTQ2S+ individuals, allies, and organizations — it might be our favourite month of the year!
Whether you're an LGBTQ2S+ individual, an ally, or someone who just wants to show support, we’ve put together a list of 8 ways you, or your business, can get involved — and 4 things to avoid.
Attend a Pride Parade
Do you like bright colours, music, dancing and floats? Attending a Pride parade is a great way to show your support for the LGBTQ2S+ community and immerse yourself in Pride's joyful, celebratory spirit.
Invest in DEI Training
If you're an employer or a business owner, consider investing in employee diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training. DEI training can help create a more inclusive and supportive workplace for LGBTQ+ individuals and other marginalized communities.
This is your excuse to buy more books. Plenty of books, documentaries, and podcasts explore the LGBTQ2S+ experience, from the Stonewall riots to the fight for marriage equality. Learning about the struggles and achievements of the LGBTQ+ community can help you better understand and appreciate the diversity and resilience of this community. One of our favourite spots in Winnipeg is Willow Press, an LGBTQ2S+author-owned book store. Meghan also has a background in gender and sexuality education, which they use to find the best and most inclusive and empowering resources and stories for all ages.
Include Pronouns in Email Signatures
Including pronouns in email signatures is a small but important step towards promoting inclusivity. When you include your own pronouns in your email signature, you're signaling that you recognize and respect the gender identity of others, and you're making it easier for people to communicate their own pronouns. It’s a really simple and free action to take that makes a big difference in how you show up for the people around you.
Support LGBTQ2S+ Owned Businesses
Winnipeg is full of amazing LGBTQ2S+ businesses in your community. Unfortunately, these
small businesses often face discrimination and challenges that other businesses don't. By shopping at LGBTQ2S+ businesses, you can help support the community and promote inclusivity. Luckily, all of these businesses are incredible and The Rainbow Pages has an up-to-date list of Queer-owned businesses in our community, which you can find here.
A few of our absolute favourites are:
Volunteer for an LGBTQ2S+ Organization
There are many organizations that support the LGBTQ+ community, from advocacy groups to youth centres to health clinics. Volunteering for one of these organizations is a great way to give back and show your support for the community. You can find LGBTQ2S+ organizations in your community through a quick online search or by reaching out to your local LGBTQ2S+ centre. If you’re based in Winnipeg, the Rainbow Resource Centre is currently looking for volunteers.
Share and Review Your Favourite LGBTQ2S+ Art, Music and Movies
The list of LGBTQ2S+ artists, musicians and actors that have made important contributions to their respective fields feels endless. Listening to their work, watching their movies or viewing their art can be a powerful way to connect with the community. Any time you feel like you’ve found something awesome from a member of the Queer community, share it on your social platforms, show your friends, and even leave a Google Review. It all counts!
Celebrate with Friends and Family
Whether you're LGBTQ+ or an ally, Pride is a time to celebrate love, acceptance, and inclusivity. You can host a Pride-themed party, cook a rainbow-coloured meal, make a playlist that embodies the theme, or simply spend time with the people you love and appreciate.
You know we’re not all talk and no action. This year, Starling Social, Alyson Shane, is sending the team $100 in Skip the Dishes credits to spend on their favourite queer-owned businesses throughout Pride Month — keep an eye on our social pages to see their favourite spots!
We know that actions speak louder than words. And even if you’re well-intentioned, we often see businesses making big mistakes during Pride that cause harm to the LGBTQ2S+ community, and really just isn’t a good look. On that note, here’s what we are absolutely not doing in June and what you should also avoid.
While this sounds like it would be a fun thing, it’s a really lame move.
Pinkwashing refers to companies using the rainbow flag and LGBTQ2S+ themes to market their products without supporting the LGBTQ2S+ community. This can include everything from selling rainbow-themed merchandise to using LGBTQ2S+ imagery in advertising campaigns without actually donating to LGBTQ+ causes or supporting LGBTQ2S+ employees. Businesses should avoid engaging in pinkwashing and instead focus on making meaningful contributions to the LGBTQ+ community.
Treating Pride as a Marketing Opportunity
On a similar note, Pride Month is not a marketing opportunity. Don’t use Pride as a way to promote your brand or products unless you have a genuine commitment to LGBTQ2S+ causes. Instead of using Pride as a way to sell products, businesses should focus on ways they can support the LGBTQ2S+ community — like using any of the ideas above.
Ignoring LGBTQ2S+ Issues Outside of Pride Month
While Pride Month is an important time to celebrate and support the LGBTQ2S+ community, it's important for businesses to remember that these issues and challenges exist year-round. Businesses should strive to promote inclusivity and support for the LGBTQ2S+ community beyond June and commit to creating a more inclusive workplace and society.
Don’t use stereotypes or caricatures of LGBTQ2S+ individuals in your marketing campaigns. This includes using phrases like "gay best friend", which can be offensive and dismissive of the experiences of LGBTQ2S+ individuals. Focus on celebrating the diversity of the community and promoting inclusivity.
As we approach another Pride Month, think about a few of the ways you or your business can commit to supporting the LGBTQ2S+ community, and re-evaluate if your current practices are still appropriate — we’re looking at you, companies who change their social media icons to a rainbow, yet make no contributions to the LGBTQ2S+ community!
Let's all celebrate Pride Month thoughtfully and respectfully, showing our support and appreciation for the community.
Native Content 101: What Is Native Content, and Why You Need It
- by Alicia Kurz
Want to increase engagement and boost your brand perception? Let's explore this impactful advertising approach: native content.
In advertising and marketing, businesses can use many strategies and techniques to promote their products and services. The largest social media platforms, like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram — as well as the publishing industry — think Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today, all integrate native ads into their platforms. And you possibly didn’t even notice it!
What is Native Marketing Content?
Native content is all about blending in. We're talking seamless integration into the content your audience is already engaging with. The goal is to create an advertisement that looks and feels like it is part of the organic content rather than something that is clearly marked as an advertisement.
You can find native content in things like articles, videos and social media posts. These ads are typically labelled as sponsored or paid content, but the labelling is often subtle and may not be immediately obvious to the reader.
The host site determines how the content is displayed and where it is placed. Based on the algorithm, the host site may recommend the content to readers, which appears in the footers and sidebars of the website.
Other Names for Native Content
While native content is the most common term for this type of advertising, you might find other people referring to it as:
- Native advertising
- Zero-click content
- Sponsored content
- Promoted posts
- Branded content
- In-feed ads
- Custom content
- Paid social media
How Native Content Works
The key to native content is that it is designed to blend in with the organic content on a website or social media platform. This means that the ad must be crafted in a way that fits seamlessly with the surrounding content.
For example, a native content piece on a news website might take the form of an article or opinion piece. The article would be written like the rest of the content on the website, with an attention-grabbing headline and an engaging story.
The article might mention the promoted brand or product, but these mentions would naturally be woven into the narrative unobtrusively. The goal is to create an ad that provides value to the reader while subtly and effectively promoting the brand.
This sponsored ad appeared in the platform's regular newsfeed, leading users to a unique page on the NYT's website. It highlights the importance of birds in our environment and their vulnerability to climate change, which resonates with the shoe company's sustainability mission and name. This illustrates how native content can be relevant to your brand without necessarily being about it.
Why Use Native Content?
There’s some pretty strong science behind native content. Even the highest-performing mobile ads have a click-through rate of 1-5%. The unconscious part of your brain (95% of your brain is unconscious, actually) is responsible for decision-making. Native ads tap into your subconscious by blending in when your brain seeks relevant content through reading. Your mind will see something like a banner ad, but your focus will be engaged with a native ad embedded into an article.
This results in some pretty interesting and persuasive (IMO) reasons to use native content.
Consumers looked at native ads 2X more than editorial content and spent the same number of seconds viewing them. Because native content is designed to blend in with organic content, it’s often more engaging and effective than traditional banner ads or pop-ups. Readers are more likely to read and engage with an ad that is seamlessly integrated into the content they are already interested in.
Native marketing content can also improve the way that consumers perceive your brand. Because these ads are designed to provide value to the reader, rather than just pushing a product or service, they can create a positive association with your brand in the mind of the consumer.
25% more consumers looked at in-feed, native ad placements more than standard banners. Many native content platforms offer advanced targeting options, allowing businesses to reach specific audiences based on location, interests, and demographics. This can help ensure that your ad is being seen by the people who are most likely to be interested in your product or service.
While creating high-quality native marketing content can be time-consuming and expensive, the cost per click or impression is often lower than other types of advertising. This can make it a cost-effective option for businesses that are looking to reach a wide audience on a limited budget. And in this economy, we all need ways to save some coin!
Native marketing content can also help improve your search engine rankings. By creating high-quality content that readers share and engage with, you can improve your visibility on search engines like Google.
We love ad-blocking features, but as marketers, we also hate them. Native content is difficult for ad-blocking tools to detect and block. Traditional ads are often intrusive and irrelevant, whereas native content is more engaging and less likely to be perceived as annoying. In fact, 32% of respondents said they would share a native ad with friends or family, compared to only 19% for banner ads.
So what's the bottom line? If you're not using native content, you could be missing out on a valuable tactic to increase conversions. And lucky for you, Starling Social is here to help. Our team of social media gurus can create killer native content that blends seamlessly with organic content on any platform.
Trust us, we know how to make an impression. So why not let us help you take your brand to the next level with some native content? Get in touch with us today, and let's get to work!
10 Ways to Use Instagram Product Tags
- by Alicia Kurz
This post was written by our Account Manger Alicia Kurz.
If your goal is to get conversions and win repeat customers, the best way to deliver a seamless shopping experience through Instagram is by using product tags.
We’re going to break down what product tagging is, how to tag, and the best ways to use the feature for your brand.
What's An Instagram Product Tag
Product tagging is a feature that allows brands to tag a product in an image or Reel. When someone clicks on the tag they are shown additional information about the product, price, and description. This also gives people the opportunity to purchase the item.
This process “shortens” the customer journey and increases the likelihood that someone will buy the product right away.
This year, Instagram opened up product tagging to everyone, offering brands a new way to sell through the platform. Now, people can tag their favourite products to help their family and friends with new finds, and it's a bonus for creators who want to tag products directly. Shopping on Instagram has never been easier.
How To Add A Product Tag
Luckily, Instagram has made this feature super easy — if your brand’s Shop is set up correctly.
Step one: Create a single image, carousel, or Reel as usual
Step two: Select “tag products”
Step three: Select “products” at the bottom of the page
Step four: Search and tag the brand
Step five: Tap the photo and product options for the brand will pop up to be selected.
Step six: Hit publish
Now everyone who sees this post can access detailed information about the product and can purchase it directly in the app, or through the brand’s product detail page.
Note: This feature only works on public accounts.
How To Use Product Tagging For Your Brand
Product tags have come a long way since 2016. Thankfully, users can link a product tag to their own content, tag other businesses’ brands, and view an entire shop in addition to specific products on the same post. Brands can change access levels to allow users to tag their products, or select certain brand partnerships, depending on their brand strategy.
Here are 10 ways to use Instagram product tags and provide easier access to your products.
1. Promote Sale Items
As you can see below, product tags automatically update and highlight sale items when the price is lowered. We don’t need to tell you that sales are great incentives to motivate shoppers.
We love how @crateandbarrelcanada matched trending items to one of their “on sale” items, but also give users the chance to shop everything in the image.
2. Post a Carousel
When you have a lot of great products to show, a carousel is a great option. Each item still remains the centre of attention on its post, and your image doesn’t look cluttered with multiple product tags. We love a carousel post because Instagram will often show your post more than once to your audience by rotating the first image shown.
@knix often uses carousel ads with single shoppable products. The individual images and single product tags give shoppers a clear idea of what they are potentially shopping for.
3. Launch a New Product
Showcase your newest products and give users a simple way to buy them. Instagram feed posts are shown to your most engaged followers, so adding product tags and a compelling caption are the best ways to show your content.
@smashtess does a great job of leveraging product tags in several ways to get the most impact. Below, they have partnered with an influencer, used a carousel, and tagged the same product on each page, with a link to their entire site at the bottom of the image, giving viewers multiple chances to shop.
4. Use Your Products
Show customers how to use your products! Simply showing a great product can be enough to peak interest, but it may not be enough to persuade a person to purchase. Customers need to be shown how this product can fit into their lives — and how easy it can be!
We know Instagram favours video content, so try making a short-form video styling or using your products. This works wonders for design brands. The Reel from @indigo tugs on heartstrings by sharing a story that features several items like appetizer plates and a toaster.
5. Show How to Use a Product
Inspire viewers to shop with tutorial content. The same goes for DIYs, unboxings, and user-generated content. Any type of content that allows your audience to picture themselves using your product is the way to go.
We're loving @maccosmeticsusa’s “what you see is what you get” video.
6. Host a Giveaway
We love an occasional giveaway. These should be included in your Instagram strategy, but not your only strategy for growth and engagement.
Try partnering up with brands that have a similar target market to expand your audience. Any co-branded giveaway allows the partner to share the content to their own pages, which will improve your reach.
@hudsonsbay uses ProductTtags to make these baby products easy to shop, and they tagged the business participating in the giveaway.
7. Group Similar Items Together
Look at the history of what your customers usually purchase together. These groups can act as a reminder to purchase multiple products that your customers might need, or offer ideas for gifting.
@lolavie has done an excellent job of grouping together reasonably priced items to upsell each other.
8. Showcase an Influencer
Influencers build trust with your audience because they have already created an audience with their authentic content. Typically, influencer content generates awareness and interest. When creators add product tags to their content it’s one quick step from their page to the checkout. Plus, when companies are marked as a collaborator the posts show up on both pages.
@beis lets Shay Mitchell do all the talking with the product tag and a simple caption.
9. Share User-Generated Content
Even big brands like Calvin Klein share UGC. It’s like a person is leaving a review for your products on their own page. This authenticity is more likely to convert new customers than expensive brand photos. Companies can simply repost UGC (with permission) and add a product tag.
Here @calvinklein did just that.
10. Style an Outfit
It’s frustrating to see a styled outfit you want, but you have to rummage through the entire website to find what you are looking for. Make it simple for people to shop for the outfit by tagging multiple pieces in one post.
@parkerandpoppy gives people the option to tap “View Shop” to see other items in the shop or select the specific items shown above with each product tag.
Instagram says that 1.6 million people tag at least one brand on average each week on the app. The app has been working to streamline users’ shopping experiences. Now, it’s time for you to use product tagging to your advantage. Use these tips to increase your conversions!
Remember to track how your shoppable posts are doing to see what is encouraging your audience to convert. Look out for patterns to optimize your current strategy. If UGC posts perform best, maybe it’s time to start investing in content creators.
Looking for a team of professionals to handle your marketing efforts? Drop us a line and let’s chat about your next digital marketing campaign.
What Are Display Ads and How Do They Work?
- by Alicia Kurz
Display ads are an effective form of digital advertising that use visuals to grab your ideal shopper’s attention and convert website visitors into paying customers. They boost brand awareness and increase sales through websites, apps, and social media.
One of the easiest ways to stay competitive in the evolving marketing is to know all of the digital marketing forms available to you.
We’ll walk you through the types of display ads, how they work, and give you examples of what they look like to set you up for success in your next campaign!
What are Display Ads?
Display advertising uses digital display ads to promote a product or service with images, text and videos. Any visual advertisement on a website counts as a display ad. These ads appear in places like the Google Display Network, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
Remarketing ads, or retargeting ads, are the most commonly used display ads because they “go after” users who have already been on your website but have left without completing the conversion goal.
These ads work by placing a section of code onto your website that collects visitors’ browsing information — like which pages they visit and the actions they take on each page. Then lists of customer types are created and categorized into what ads would appeal to them. Next, it’s your turn to create your display ads based on the categories you want to target.
Contextual ads target people who are visiting websites relevant to your product or service. For example, contextual ads might show ads for gardening tools on a greenhouse website. Where the ad is placed depends on criteria like:
- Website themes
- Keywords and topic
- Language and location settings
- Browsing history from previous people who visited the site
Google will give you an option to choose placements through topic targeting, or you can let it determine the placements for your ads.
Choose a list of topics to pair your ad with similar pages on the Display Network or YouTube. You also have the option to exclude topics.
Site placement ads
Site placement ads are where you choose the website you want your display ads to run. You have options to choose to have your ad seen on the entire site, or individual pages of the site.
With a combination of site placement and contextual ads, you can choose a site and allow Google to pick the most relevant pages for your ad.
Personalized ads show consumers product or service suggestions based on their recent engagements with your website. These ads target users by demographics and interests from their browsing history.
Google has four types of personalized ads.
This is when ads are displayed to a large audience that is currently interested in your market. Think broad topics like “pet lovers” or “foodies.”
Custom Affinity Groups
These custom groups allow you to get more specific about the people you want to target in affinity groups. With topics like “corgi breeders” or “pizza enthusiasts” you reach a narrower, more targeted audience.
Custom Intent and In-Market Ads
These ads reach a smaller but more motivated audience. Custom intent and in-market ads target people who are actively looking for products or services like yours.
Similar Audience Ads
You can think of this as a “lookalike audience.” These ads target people with similar interests to the people already visiting your website. Google will look at your retargeting list and finds similarities to target your ads to.
Types of Display Ads
Marketing experts estimate that people see up to 10,000 ads per day. Display ads need quality visuals to draw potential customers’ attention. Below are four different options to try when setting up your next display ad campaign.
As you probably figured out, banner ads are the banner-like ads at the top or bottom of a website. They are simply hyperlinked images.
Rich media ads have interactive elements like video, audio and clickable points to make the ad more engaging.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Video ads on platforms like YouTube and Instagram attract a lot of attention and engagement.
Interstitial Ads show up as a separate webpage before you are directed to the original page you were trying to reach. These capture your attention because they take up the entire screen.
Display Ad Sizes
We stay on top of the top-performing ad sizes so you don’t have to. Include both text and image ads for desktop and mobile to get the most impressions and conversions on your ad campaign.
Here are the most popular Google display ad sizes:
- 250x250 - Square
- 200x200 - Small square
- 468x60 - Banner
- 428x90 - Letterboard banner
- 300x250 - Incline rectangle
- 336x280- Large rectangle
- 120x600 - Skyscraper
- 160x600 - Wide skyscraper
- 300x600 - Large skyscraper
- 970x90 - Large letterboard
Display Ads We Love
Spotify’s ads are instantly recognizable, have a clear call to action, and this one recognizes users’ pain point: listening to ads.
MailChimp’s ad is super shareable, catches attention right away, and they are actually pretty funny.
Disney+’s ad lets it's pictures do the talking. Even if you haven’t seen these movies, you know who these characters are. Offering a free trial to the best stories in the world — that’s some great copywriting!
Why You Should Try Display Ads
Display ads are a great way to get clicks, conversions and build brand awareness. With a variety of formats available, you can showcase your offer in different ways and find what works best for you.
The Google Display Network offers access to millions of websites across the globe. You’ll have the best success when you target the right user at the right time, and on the right website — which is why remarketing is your friend.
We believe that paid digital advertising is one of the best investments your business can make. With over 20 years of running ad campaigns, you can count on us for help with:
- Google and Bing (Microsoft) search ads
- Google and Bing (Microsoft) display ads
- Facebook and Instagram ads
- LinkedIn ads
- Twitter ads
- Pinterest ads
Get in touch with us here for a free quote and let’s see how we can grow your business together!
How to Test (and Improve!) Your Instagram Ad Conversions
- by Alicia Kurz
If you’ve built up a following, produce quality content, and use strategic hashtags, it’s likely that your Instagram posts are getting a decent organic reach.
The main disadvantage people have with organic Instagram posts is that the app always has done a great job of keeping content in-app. This means that people have to be really interested in your product to stop scrolling and check out the link in your bio to find out more about your product or service.
Social media apps, Instagram included, are making it harder to scale your growth without investing in ads. Luckily, you don’t need a huge budget to reach a lot of people outside your existing audience.
Since the goal of Instagram ads are to get people to leave the app, this not only requires a strong copy, image and call to action; but you also have to target your ads so the right people see them and put their scrolling to a stop to visit your page.
Here are the three key elements to test the effectiveness of your campaign:
- Audience targeting
It’s important to only test one factor at a time to get a clear idea of what works and what doesn’t.
Choose the Right Objective
When you choose an ad objective, it tells Instagram (through Ads Manager) what action you want people to take on your ad. The campaign objective will determine the results you are trying to achieve.
Your objective choices are:
- App Promotion
An awareness objective will show your ad to people who are most likely to remember them.
A traffic objective will send people to a destination like a website, app, or Facebook event.
An engagement objective will get more messages, video views, post engagement, Page likes or event responses.
A leads objective will collect leads for your business or brand.
An app promotion will find new people to install your app and continue using it.
A sales objective will find people likely to purchase your product or service.
Facebook/Instagram/Meta… whatever you want to call it, will determine who your ad is shown to, and where and when they see it.
Instagram knows that on your bus route to work you might have some extra time to make a purchase, but when you’re on the app mid-weekday for a little break, you probably aren’t doing serious shopping.
If you choose the wrong objective you will miss out on conversions and get a poor return on your investment.
If you want to drive people to your website to buy a product, choose the sales objective. If you’re looking to show off your new store location, then an awareness campaign would be your best bet.
Send the Right Message
Instagram ads give us a few places to test your messaging:
- On your photo or video
- Primary text
- Call to action
Test images with and without text. Try using a mix of urgent calls to action with a mix of inviting and welcoming ones. Ex. “Limited stock available! Get yours before they sell out,” or “Your new favourite XYZ is waiting for you.”
For example, we like to try options that include the price and options that don’t. Another great tip is using keywords that your audience immediately recognizes and connects with. For example, a boutique owner would be attracted to words like wholesale, buy direct, or retail buyers.
Although we aren’t thrilled with the constant changes Facebook and Instagram keep throwing at us, updating Ads Manager to give us more text options was a great move!
You can even customize your copy and graphics for each placement.
Pro Tip: Use this feature to customize your ads for the best practices of each placement and to make sure your ad will run with the right size in the right spot.
It’s best to use different aspect ratios for different placements. That way, your image or video covers the whole mobile screen and grabs peoples' attention.
The different text option is a great way to maximize your return on investment. You have 5 chances to grab attention and Ads Manager will use optimized text for each placement. For example, Instagram Stories work well with short copy.
Use the Right Call to Action
You have 12 choices when choosing a call to action (CTA) button:
- Learn more
- Apply now
- Book now
- Contact us
- Donate now
- Get quote
- Order now
- Get access
- Shop now
- Sign up
- Send WhatsApp message
That’s a lot of choices. Typically, you want your CTA to match the action you are trying to get people to take. However, that could still leave you with several options, and there are some exceptions. For example, a client of ours set up an ad campaign to get donations for their organization. We decided that it was best to choose the “Learn more” button instead of the “Donate now” button for two reasons:
- When you choose “donate now” an automatic text appears under it saying “not affiliated with Meta.” This option took away our chance to add a link description, and they wanted to provide as much information as possible.
- The “Learn more” button is the most widely used CTA for Facebook and Instagram ads.
This is another important feature to test in your ad campaigns. Do people want to press Subscribe vs. Sign Up? Or will you get even better results with “Learn more”?
Choose the Right Audience
Make multiple audiences so you can test which ones work! Ads Manager’s A/B testing lets you run Instagram ads targeted to two different audiences (or whatever else you choose to test) and gives you clean data sets.
There are a few different options for targeting your audience including:
- Retargeting vs new data
- Individual interests
- Interest categories
- Lookalike audiences - post engagement lookalike, website traffic lookalike, purchase lookalike
Each time you test a new audience/message/objective it will become clear what works for your brand and what doesn’t.
How to Test With A/B Testing
A/B testing is an unreal feature to find out which message/objective/audience gives you the highest return.
Create different versions of the same ad that has one different element to test. Simply toggle the Create A/B Test option over and once you create your first ad Instagram will ask you to create a second ad with whatever options you want to test.
As you become more confident you can feel better about increasing your ad spend — but not by more than 20% at a time or Ads Manager will have to “learn” all over again.
Make sure you keep detailed reports of your ads so you can easily compare which ads perform best. It will make creating future ads much easier and gives you a better chance of success.
If you loved this information but feel like your time is better spent running your business, contact us today and we’ll handle all your ad planning, scheduling and reporting for you!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- 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 email@example.com 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.
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:
- Comment on
- Add to favourites
- Watch through to the end
- Make videos similar to
You’ll see less of the types of videos that you:
- Mark as “not interested”
- Report inappropriate
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.
This is what you search for while using the app. This can include details like:
- Trending topics
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.”
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!
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!