Posts by Alicia Kurz

8 of The Best Holiday Marketing Campaigns to Inspire You

- by Alicia Kurz

The holiday season is a great time for businesses to connect with their customers and prospects through creative and effective marketing campaigns. In this blog, we'll explore some of the best holiday marketing campaigns from recent years and discuss why they were so successful. 

Why is holiday marketing important?

Effective holiday marketing campaigns can help build brand awareness and loyalty, which can pay dividends long after the holiday season is over. 

It’s a great opportunity to connect with customers and prospects during a time when they are more likely to be receptive to marketing messages. 

It can also help your business stand out from the competition and drive sales during a busy time of year. 

Our Favourite Campaigns, and Why They’re Effective

When you're putting together your holiday marketing campaign, it's a good idea to check out what other successful brands have done in the past. 

While you may not have the same budget that Apple does, you can still get some great ideas and inspiration from their campaigns. 

This way, you'll be all set to create a holiday marketing strategy that really gets your customers excited and boosts your sales during the holiday season.

Amazon: Joy is Shared

Why It's Effective

Hot off the press, this new Amazon holiday ad tells the story of three lifelong friends who gather during the holiday season and rediscover joy in their friendship. One of the women easily purchases sledding equipment through, you guessed it: Amazon, and it allows the three to relive their youth. The ad also features a great rendition of The Beatles' "In My Life," which fits the theme perfectly and adds to the sentimental feel of the ad. 

We love the ad because it tells a great story, leverages emotional appeal, is relatable, and reinforces Amazon's branding as a go-to destination for holiday shopping.

Apple: Make Someone’s Holiday

Why It's Effective

Apple shared a really touching holiday campaign in 2019 where a family used Apple products to cook up a sweet holiday surprise for their grandpa. 

What made it work was how it played on those holiday emotions. It also drove home the point that Apple products can be a catalyst for bringing people closer, which people crave during the holiday season. 

TBH, there are a TON of incredible campaigns out there. Enough to send you down a rabbit hole on YouTube where you can draw inspiration, but if you want just a few more to feel satisfied, we wrote another blog last year: 7 Holiday Marketing Campaigns For the 2022 Season, you can check out. 

REI: Will You Go Out With Me?

Why It's Effective

REI's 2015 holiday campaign was a bold move that paid off. 

Instead of promoting holiday shopping, REI encouraged people to spend time outdoors with their loved ones on Black Friday. 

The campaign was effective because it tapped into a growing trend of people seeking experiences over material possessions, and positioned REI as a brand that values the outdoors and sustainability.

Macy’s: In Dad’s Shoes

Why It's Effective

Macy’s 2021 ad is a cute story about a little girl walking in her dad’s shoes for the day. As the day goes on, she realizes how much her dad does, and her tiny sore toes make her realize he could use a new pair of socks. 

We love that Macy’s isn’t promoting TVs, expensive appliances, or the worst: a new car for Christmas. 

(If you haven’t seen this hilarious SNL skit about that, you should.) 

Ultimately, the Macy’s ad is effective because it acts as a reminder that gifts really don’t have to be expensive or complicated to be perfect. 

Kool-Aid: All I Really Want For Christmas featuring Lil John

Why It's Effective

This ad is so refreshing (and no, we don’t regret that word choice.) 

Not going to lie, we kind of get addicted to watching commercials that make us cry, but we love a funny, lighthearted commercial with a good beat. 

It gives a millennial nod with the Kool-Aid man smashing down a wall, and Lil John at the piano. Plus it’s a reminder that Kool-Aid definitely fits into the theme of your holiday party. It’s red, tasty, and a great option for kids and people who don’t want to drink. 

Campbells Soup: Melting Snowman

Why It's Effective

This one is an oldie but a goodie. It’s from 1993, but it made us feel warm inside then, and it makes us feel warm inside now. First, who doesn’t love a hot bowl of soup on a cold winter’s day? The tagline “nothing melts away the cold like a hot bowl of Campbell’s soup” is truly timeless. 

The ad's simplicity with a little injection of humour conveys their message and leverages nostalgia. We love it!  

Norway Postal Service: Father Christmas and Mother Earth 

Why It's Effective

Woah, this one really hits home. It touches on the division of labour in the household, strains inside relationships, and of course, Mother Earth. 

It’s definitely depressing but almost forces you to think about the things that really matter, like our planet. Plus, it romanticizes letter-writing which we love.

That ad gets an important message across and subtly sells their service. We give it two thumbs up!

 Walmart: Mean Girls

Why It's Effective

This ad is so fetch. The teens of 2004 are now elder millennials, and with an economy like this, Walmart might be their best option for holiday shopping. 

The Mean Girls tap into nostalgia, and the ad reinforces Walmart's branding as a go-to destination for Black Friday shopping. While it’s not technically a holiday ad, it still counts as an ad for the holiday shopping season and taps into the running theme in these ads: nostalgia.  

Tips for creating your own holiday marketing campaign

Consumers spent $211.7 billion online over the 2022 holiday season, an increase of 3.5% year over year. With digital shopping becoming the new norm, it’s important to ensure your brand stands out. Here are some tips for creating a successful holiday marketing campaign:

  • Be creative
  • Start planning early
  • Optimize your website
  • Leverage social media
  • Use emotional appeals
  • Focus on your target audience
  • Track and measure your results
  • Offer exclusive promotions or discounts

When it comes to your business, keeping the conversation going is super important. You should make sure those frequently asked questions are easy to find on your website and social media pages. 

And here's the thing: don't just focus on selling to your audience. 

Take the time to engage with them. Show them the people behind your business and why you're passionate about what you do.

And if you're gearing up for your marketing campaigns in 2023 and could use a hand, don't hesitate to reach out to our team of pros. We're here to help you kick things off – just drop us a line!


How to Write Follow-Up Emails That Get Results + 3 Examples to Help You Out

- by Alicia Kurz

What Are Follow-Up Emails and How Can They Help Your Business?

Follow-up emails are basically messages you send to someone after you've had some sort of interaction with them. In business, they're often used to keep in touch with potential or existing clients, to give project updates, or to check on the progress of a deal or sale.

Good follow-up emails are usually personalized, timely, and written in a professional tone. They should be helpful to the person you're emailing and aim to build or strengthen a relationship. Sending follow-up emails can help you establish credibility and trust with your clients, leading to new business or keeping your current clients coming back!

But how do you make sure your follow-up emails hit the mark? Here are some tips and best practices to help you write follow-up emails that will boost your business.

Best Practices for Writing Follow-Up Emails: Tips & Tricks to Get Results

Writing effective follow-up emails can be a tricky skill to master. But don't worry, we love a process to make things easy for everyone. We’re not gatekeeping over here! Let’s learn how to write an email that will get results. 

Keep it clear and concise

The first and most important tip for writing a good follow-up email is to keep it clear and to the point. Your recipient should immediately understand your email's purpose without having to read a novel. Time is of the essence! Start your email by addressing your recipient and getting straight to the point. Let them know why you're reaching out and what you need from them.

Keeping your email clear and concise will make it easier for your recipient to read and respond to your email. Plus, don’t you hate when you ask three questions and you only get the answer to one? Let’s try to avoid that. 

Add a personal touch

Personalizing your follow-up email is a great way to show your recipient that you care about their specific needs and interests. Use their name in the email, and reference any previous interactions or conversations you've had with them. You can also add a personal touch by mentioning something you have in common or a shared interest.

Adding a personal touch to your follow-up email will make your recipient feel valued and appreciated. This can help you build a stronger relationship with them and increase the chances of getting the response you want.

Provide value

One of the best ways to make your follow-up email effective is to provide value to your recipient. Make sure to highlight how your product or service can benefit them, and try to address any concerns or questions they may have. Providing value can increase the chances of your recipient taking the action you want them to take.

Try to put yourself in your recipient's shoes when writing your follow up email. Think about what they would find valuable. By providing value to your recipient, you'll make it easier for them to see the benefits of your product or service and increase the chances of them responding to your email.

Use a call to action

A call to action (CTA) is a statement that encourages your recipient to take a specific action, like replying to your email, scheduling a call, or making a purchase. Make sure to include a clear and concise CTA in your follow-up email, and make it easy for your recipient to take the desired action.

Be specific about what action you want your recipient to take and make it easy for them to do so. You can also use urgency in your CTA to encourage your recipient to take action sooner rather than later.

Follow up in a timely manner

Timing is key when it comes to follow-up emails. You don't want to wait too long, or your recipient may forget about your initial interaction. On the other hand, you don't want to follow up too soon and risk coming across as pushy or impatient. Aim to follow up within a reasonable timeframe and consider the context of your previous interactions.

Following up within a few days may be appropriate if your message is urgent. However, if your message is less urgent, it may be better to wait a week or two before following up.

Examples of Follow-Up Emails That Generate Results

If you’ve just Googled “Follow up email examples”, then this is the section you are looking for. Feel free to copy and paste these, but PLEASE personalize them a little bit first. 

1. Thank you email

A simple thank you email is a great way to follow up with a customer or client after a meeting or interaction. You can use this opportunity to express your gratitude for their time and interest and to remind them of the key points discussed during your conversation.


Dear [Recipient],

It was so nice to meet you at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon. I’m definitely going to have to try that restaurant down the street you mentioned — thanks for the tip! 

It would be great to learn more about your needs and how our digital marketing services can help you. I’m sure you will be able to increase your sales and have more time to focus on the big-picture items if you have our team take over your social media and newsletter writing. As discussed, I will follow up with you next Tuesday at 10 am to answer any additional questions you may have.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

2. Automated follow-up email

Automated follow-up emails can save you time and ensure you consistently follow up with your leads and clients. You can customize a template with specific information, such as their name or previous interaction with your business.


Dear [Recipient],

I wanted to follow up with you regarding our recent conversation about Starling’s digital marketing services. As promised, I have attached more information about our product/service to this email. 

We're a nimble team of creatives specializing in data-driven digital marketing strategy, social media and social ads, copywriting and content strategy, and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

Our clients enjoy transparency, clear communication, and guidance to help make informed decisions about their digital marketing so no dollar goes to waste.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions or if you would like to schedule a call to discuss this further.

Thank you for your time and interest in Starling Social. 

Best regards,

[Your Name]

3. Reminder email 

A reminder email is a great way to follow up with a client or customer who may have forgotten to take action on a previous request. You can use this opportunity to remind them of the deadline or the importance of the action you need them to take.


Dear [Recipient],

I hope you are doing well. I finally got around to visiting that dog park you suggested last time we spoke, and it reminded me to send you a note! I wanted to follow up with you regarding the [task/action] we discussed during that networking conference last month. Just a reminder, this task/action deadline is [date].

Please let me know if you have any questions or if you need any additional information to complete this task/action.

Thank you in advance for your thoughts. Looking forward to hearing from you. 

Best regards,

[Your Name]

By customizing these examples to fit your specific needs and goals, you can write effective follow-up emails that generate results and help you grow your business.

Tools & Software to Automate & Simplify Your Follow-Up Email Process

There are plenty of tools and software out there that can help you simplify and automate your follow-up email process. From automated sales email software to customer service software, these tools can help ensure your customers get timely responses. Automated workflow software can also be used to streamline the process and ensure that all emails are sent on time.

Automated Sales Email Software: Automated sales email software like HubSpot, SalesLoft, and can help you automate your sales outreach and follow-up emails. These tools allow you to create email sequences, set up triggers and conditions, and personalize your emails to increase engagement and conversion rates.

Automated Customer Service Software: If you have a large customer base or receive a high volume of inquiries, using automated customer service software like Zendesk, Freshdesk, or Intercom can help you streamline your follow-up process. These tools allow you to create canned responses, set up chatbots, and automate email follow-ups to ensure timely and efficient customer support.

Automated Workflow Software: Automated workflow software like Trello, Asana, and can help you manage your follow-up emails and tasks more efficiently. These tools allow you to create workflows, assign tasks, and track progress to ensure that your follow-up emails are sent on time and that nothing falls through the cracks.

Using these tools and software can save time and streamline your follow-up email process, allowing you to focus on other important aspects of your business. However, it's important to remember that while automation can help you save time and increase efficiency, it's still essential to personalize your follow-up emails and tailor them to your specific audience and goals.

Email marketing has become an increasingly important tool for e-commerce businesses. It’s a great way to reach out to customers and build relationships with them. However, it’s also important to remember that email marketing is not a one-size-fits-all solution and needs careful planning and execution to succeed.

So, if you are looking for ways to boost your e-commerce business, consider investing in email marketing – it could be the key to unlocking your success! You can count on Starling’s 20+ years of experience publishing content online to create effective blog posts, newsletters, PDFs, and more. Contact us here. 


7 Habits of Highly Effective Instagram Marketers - The Insider's Guide to Winning at Social Media Marketing

- by Alicia Kurz

Why You Should Be Using Instagram for Your Marketing

In today’s digital world, Instagram is one of the most powerful tools for marketing. Its user-friendly interface and powerful analytics make it the perfect platform to help your brand reach a wider audience.

Instagram offers a wide range of features that can be used to promote your business or product. From creating engaging content to utilizing best practices for Instagram marketing, there are many ways to get the most out of this powerful platform.

Whether starting with social media marketing or looking for ways to improve your current strategy, learning how to use Instagram effectively can help you achieve your goals. Let’s look at some tips and tricks that will help you make the most of this popular platform!

Habit 1: Developing a Clear Strategy

If you want to make the most of your Instagram presence, you must have a clear plan. This means defining your goals, identifying your target audience, and determining what content will resonate with them. Here's a quick list of questions to consider when developing your Instagram marketing strategy:

  • What are your goals for Instagram marketing?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What kind of content will you create to reach your goals and target audience?

These questions will help you create a roadmap that guides your Instagram marketing efforts. A clear strategy will save time and effort in the long run.

Habit 2: Creating Quality Content Above All Else

Quality content should always be the priority when it comes to content creation. Whether you’re creating content for Instagram, a blog, or a website, the quality of your content is what will make it stand out from the rest.

Visual storytelling on Instagram is a great way to engage with your followers and build relationships with them. But if you want to create high-quality visual stories, you need to consider how to make your images stand out from the crowd.

In this section, we’ll discuss some tips on how to create quality content that will help you reach your goals and get noticed by potential customers.

Habit 3: Utilizing Hashtags to Your Full Advantage

Hashtags are a great way to get your content noticed on social media. They can help you increase engagement and reach more people. But if you don't have a good hashtag strategy in place, you won't be able to maximize their potential.

Knowing which hashtags are trending on Instagram or Twitter and which ones are popular for your niche can help you get the most out of your hashtag strategy and make sure that your content is seen by the right people. With the right hashtag strategy, you can make sure that your content stands out from the crowd and reaches its intended audience.

Habit 4: Focusing Your Advertising Efforts on the Right Audiences

Instagram is a great platform for targeting ads and retargeting existing customers. With the right strategies, you can make sure that your ads reach the right people at the right time.

By understanding your target audience on social media, you can create more effective ad campaigns that will be seen by those most likely to engage with your brand. With this knowledge in hand, you can craft messages and visuals that will resonate with potential customers and drive conversions.

Habit 5: Automating and Scheduling Posts with the Right Tools

With the right tools and software, automating and scheduling posts on social media can be a breeze. Gone are the days when you had to manually post on each platform to get your message out - now you can use automation tools to do it for you.

These tools make it easy for you to schedule posts, find content ideas, and even track engagement. So if you're a busy marketer or business owner who wants to save time and effort when it comes to managing your social media accounts, these automation tools are worth looking into!

Habit 6: Posting Visually Appealing Content

Instagram is a highly visual platform, so making your content look good is important. Appealing images and videos help build a strong brand identity and establish trust with your audience. It's all about creating a consistent look and feel for your brand, using high-quality images to grab attention, and telling stories with visuals that will leave a lasting impression. With the right combination of visuals, you can make sure that your content stands out from the competition and keeps your audience engaged.

Habit 7: Engaging With Your Followers

It’s no secret that engaging with your followers is the key to success on social media. But how do you do it? Fortunately, there are a ton of effective ways to make sure that you're connecting with your audience in the most meaningful way possible. Some of the key ways to engage with your followers include:

  • Liking and commenting on their posts
  • Responding to Direct Messages
  • Running giveaways and contests
  • Asking for feedback and opinions
  • Replying to comments and mentions
  • Hosting Instagram Live sessions
  • Featuring user-generated content
  • Collaborating with followers and influencers
  • Encouraging engagement through captions
  • Monitoring and responding to comments
  • Personalizing interactions with followers

We can’t stress enough the importance of showing up authentically on your Instagram Stories. We get it, you want your feed to look pretty, but people want to support the people behind a brand. Don’t be afraid to show what your day-to-day work-life looks like, books you read, or fun office conversations!

Using these strategies, you can build stronger relationships with your followers and keep them returning for more. Whether you're trying to boost engagement, drive traffic to your website, or increase sales, engaging with your followers is vital to achieving your goals on Instagram.

Social media has become an invaluable tool for businesses and organizations to reach out to their target audience. With the help of social media management tools, or digital marketing agencies like Starling Social, businesses can easily manage their presence on different social networks. They can also use social media ads to promote their products and services to a wider audience.

Social media platforms like Instagram are essential components of marketing strategies today. Businesses that understand the power of these tools will be able to leverage them to maximize their reach and engagement with potential customers. If you need help with your strategy or are ready to take digital marketing off your plate, contact us here to get started


29 Blog Post Ideas to Attract Your Ideal Customers

- by Alicia Kurz

Blogging consistently is…hard. Carving out the time to write, sourcing (or taking) photos, unscrambling your thoughts, researching your topic, writing new versions of the blog to promote on your other channels, and possibly the hardest part: deciding on a topic. 

Blogs are also a powerful tool for small businesses. They can reduce overall marketing costs, build trust with potential customers, boost SEO, generate leads, and gain exposure. When you demonstrate your expertise through blog posts, you establish yourself as an expert in your field. 

By creating a blog that resonates with your target audience and delivers valuable information, you can establish your brand as a trusted resource and attract more customers who are interested in your products or services.

We like to look at blogs as an opportunity to create buzzworthy content that can gain exposure on social media. Plus, it’s a great way to force yourself to stay up-to-date with industry trends. 

So, if you’ve told yourself 100 times that you’re going to commit to blogging this year and you’ve come down with a case of the quiet cursor — we’ve been there. And we’re betting that’s pretty high on the list of reasons why you aren’t blogging. We’ve got your back. Read this list of 29 blog post ideas to attract your ideal customers. It’ll help. 

Thought Leadership Posts 

1. Industry News and Trends 

When you are swamped with work, the last thing you have time to do is look for new trends. Blogging about industry trends forces you to do your research and share your insights and opinions on how these changes could impact your customers. 

2. Industry Event Coverage

Turn the last industry event you went to into a blog. Cover your takeaways, key learnings, and stories from the day with your readers. This also doubles as a journal for yourself to remember the event in the future. Make sure to write it while it’s still fresh in your mind and timely for your readers. 

3. Pros and Cons 

Choose a subject that resonates with your audience. Walk them through the advantages and disadvantages, enabling your readers to make an informed decision.

4. Industry Predictions

Predict future trends or changes in your industry, positioning your business as a thought leader and influencer.

Practical Posts 

5. FAQs

Let’s start with an easy one that can probably be repurposed into several blogs. Think about all the questions you are frequently asked and answer them in a blog — these should also live on a special spot on your website. 

6. How-To Guides

These are so helpful! Provide your readers with practical, step-by-step guides that help them solve problems or accomplish specific tasks related to your products or services. Plus, making a TikTok or Reel to accompany this blog is easy. 

7. Case Studies

Show off your skills! Demonstrate how your products or services have helped your customers achieve their goals.

8. Product Reviews

Review products related to your industry. Provide value to your readers with an in-depth analysis of the pros and cons of new products and whether they're worth the investment.

9. Infographics

If you — or your customers are visual learners, then use an infographic to tell your information. Canva makes that super easy. Plug in your fonts, colours, and logos and choose one of their many templates. Just fill in your own information and download! 

10. Q&A Sessions

Turn an Instagram Live/TikTok Live, etc. session into a blog. Compile a list of questions from your customers, giving your readers the opportunity to ask questions and get answers. 

11. Myth Busters 

Compile a list of misconceptions about your industry and clear them up for your audience.

12. Lists 

Anything. People love a list. Top 10s. Best of X. 

13. Pick a Pop Culture Moment and Tie It To Your Biz 

We do this a lot in the form of memes, but it works in blog format too. 

Personal Posts 

14. Behind-The-Scenes Look 

Give your readers a sneak peek into your biz when you share BTS stories about your team, processes, and operations. We love this one because it also adds human connection to your brand. 

15. Life or Career Hacks 

You have a unique perspective on your business. What’s something you live by that makes a big difference in your business? 

16. Things You Wish You Knew When You Started

Something most business owners can relate to is that they have failed. Probably a lot. If you could go back in time and tell the little you that was just starting out a little bit of advice, what would it be? 

17. Motivational Tips

Times are tough. Sometimes a little guidance goes a long way. Share tips people can use to get them through challenges. Bonus points if you add personal experience.

18. History Lesson

Is there a particular history behind something you do? How about the building you work in or a product you use? Share it with your readers. 

19. Feature Your Team 

Give your audience a chance to connect with your team members. This blog can be a great way to show your team that they are appreciated. 

20. The Why Behind What You Do

If you are passionate about your business, let your audience know why. When your audience knows they are supporting someone who loves what they do, it makes them want to support you more. It’s a win-win! 

21. Book Suggestions For Your Industry 

Who doesn’t love a good book?! Include key takeaways, quotes you loved, and maybe even a link to a local bookstore. 

Strategy Posts 

22. The Ultimate A-Z on XYZ

Create a comprehensive guide covering all aspects of a specific topic in your blog post, ensuring that your readers can get all the information they need without looking elsewhere. Nowadays, you can find almost anything on the internet if you look in the right places. Don’t worry about giving away too much information because it’s likely already out there. People may as well find it on your page. Make the post as extensive as possible to provide a one-stop resource for your readers.

23. Seasonal Content 

Do you have new products in the summer? How about holiday gift guides? Back-to-school tips? Make a list of content ideas you would like to share over specific holidays, and your future self will thank you! 

24. Guest Posts

Invite industry experts or thought leaders to contribute to your blog, providing your readers with fresh perspectives and insights.

25. Share Your Vision/Mission Statement 

Transparency in business is key. If you’re just in it to “make money,” that’s boring and unlikely to fulfill your life — or your team’s. Get everyone on the same page so you can work toward a common goal. You can use this as your yearly goal-setting guide too! 

26. Ask Your Readers What They Want 

You can do this in a social media post, over the phone, or with a customer you are emailing. They probably will come up with something tey are curious about in your industry right away! 

27. Ask Your Team

Your team is your most precious resource — if you have one. They probably have great ideas about what to post, or at least can share their insights on their expertise! 

28. Explain an Idea in a New Way 

Did you have a blog post that performed really well? Why don’t you share the same information in a new way? Be sure to space it out from the last similar blog, but this is a great way to get new eyes on your page with the content you know people enjoy!

29. Research Your Competitors 

Don’t copy them, but … get some inspiration. 

You can boost your blog's following by producing content that strikes a chord with your target audience. Maintaining consistency with your brand's tone and message is crucial while providing content that enriches your readers' lives. 

Having said that, we get it. When you're busy running your business, finding the time to brainstorm new ideas and craft high-quality blog posts is tough. The good news is that we can do it for you. Send us an email to get started on your marketing efforts with Starling Social today! 


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.

Educate Yourself

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: 

Black Market Provisions 

Piper + Perro 

Synonym Art Consultation

My Body WPG

The Roost

Good Fortune Barber Shop 

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.

Using Stereotypes

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. 

Increased Engagement

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.

Improved Perception

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. 

Better Targeting

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! 

Improved SEO

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.

Unblocked Ads

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.

Tags: Instagram


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. 

Targeting Options

Remarketing Ads

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

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. 

Topic targeting 

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

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. 

Affinity Targeting 

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. 

Banner Ads 

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

Rich media ads have interactive elements like video, audio and clickable points to make the ad more engaging.  

Video Ads 

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Video ads on platforms like YouTube and Instagram attract a lot of attention and engagement. 

Interstitial Ads 

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 

Image source

Spotify’s ads are instantly recognizable, have a clear call to action, and this one recognizes users’ pain point: listening to ads. 

Image source

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: 

  • Objective 
  • Messaging 
  • 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: 

  • Awareness
  • Traffic
  • Engagement 
  • Leads 
  • App Promotion
  • Sales

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
  • Subscribe 
  • 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: 

  1. 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.
  2. 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. 

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


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.

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.

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


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