Posts by Alicia Kurz

Influencer Marketing in 2024: What You Need to Know

- by Alicia Kurz

Raise your hand if your bank account has been personally victimized by influencer marketing. 

Partnerships between brands and influencers are now more strategic than ever. It's not just about slapping your logo on their feed; it's about creating meaningful collaborations that resonate with their followers.

Our blog post will walk you through what influencer marketing looks like in 2024, how to find the right creator for your brand, how to set clear goals and expectations for a successful campaign and more. 

What is Influencer Marketing

If you’re reading this blog, you probably have a pretty good idea of what influencer marketing is, but here’s a quick summary for the newbies. 

Influencer marketing is when companies collaborate with popular social media personalities to promote their products or services. It's like getting your cool friend to recommend that new restaurant to you, but on a bigger scale. In 2024, the average person spends 2 hours and 24 minutes on social media per day, so it makes sense that this is a popular way to reach your target audience. 

These influencers (or creators) have a loyal following who trust their opinions and recommendations. So, when they talk about a product or service, their followers are more likely to check it out and maybe even make a purchase.

The State of Influencer Marketing

It’s not really an exaggeration to say that everyone is on their phone all the time. Consumers make purchasing decisions because of that. New data shows that 81% of respondents have either researched, purchased or considered purchasing a product or service after seeing friends, family or influencers post about it.

 73% of Gen Z look to creators when making purchase decisions, and 69% of consumers trust what influencers say and recommend. 

Because it’s where people are spending their time, U.S. Brands are predicted to increase investments in influencer marketing in 2024 to 7.14 billion. Before you hop on the influencer marketing bandwagon, let’s dive into the details so you get the highest return on investment for your campaign. 

Nano Influencers Are Thriving 

Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to influencer marketing anymore. 

People know when they’re being sold to when they see a sponsored product from a social media celebrity. The days of perfectly curated feeds are dead. Your audience craves authenticity. And this is a great thing! It’s mutually beneficial for the audience and the creator because real content fosters stronger bonds between influencers and their audience, enabling influencers to build trust gradually. This trust, in turn, boosts engagement, and when brands collaborate with these influencers, they inherit that trust.

Nano influencers, with smaller but highly engaged followings, are proving to be more effective in reaching niche audiences than their macro counterparts. 

Here's where the familiarity principle kicks in: people are naturally drawn to what feels familiar and relatable. When brands partner with nano influencers, they tap into this principle, connecting with audiences on a personal level. 

Wait, What’s a Nano Influencer? 

There are five tiers of influencers. Not every agency agrees on the exact number, but the consensus is in this ballpark. Understanding the differences between each tier helps brands create targeted and budget-friendly influencer strategies that match their goals.

  • Mega Influencers: They reach a huge audience with broad appeal.
  • Macro Influencers: They have substantial reach and engage with a diverse audience.
  • Mid-tier Influencers: These guys strike a balance between influence and authenticity, making more personal connections.
  • Micro Influencers: They're all about specific niches, building genuine connections within their communities.
  • Nano Influencers: They keep it real with a small but super engaged audience.

Find the Right Influencer for Your Brand

Start looking for influencers on social media by looking up keywords and browsing your competition’s pages. Throwing a question sticker on your Instagram Stories could be a great way to directly ask your audience whose content they enjoy.

Once you’ve found a potential content creator, browse their content. Ask yourself:

  • Is this a good fit? 
  • Who is their target audience?
  • What is their engagement rate?
  • How do their values align with your brand?
  • How often are they posting sponsored content?
  • Would this person enjoy your product or service?

Once you’ve decided this is the person you want to work with, it’s time to reach out. Look for an email address. Content creators get a ton of DMs. If you can’t email them, make sure to comment on their post that you’ve sent them a DM — but make it an authentic message so you don’t sound like a bot! 

It’s important to be mindful that being a content creator is often a full-time job, so be respectful with their time. Before you reach out, make sure you are familiar with the type of content they produce, who their audience is and what your specific ask is. 

To set the right context, ask for their media kit and be clear about who you are and what you're looking for. Don't forget to mention your budget upfront. Smaller influencers may be open to gifting opportunities, but remember, this is their job and they deserve to be paid fairly for their time. 

When it comes down to negotiating timelines, content creation specifics, and budget considerations - make sure it's a win-win situation for both parties involved.

Set Goals and Expectations 

What does success look like for your campaign? Are you aiming for increased brand awareness, higher engagement, more website traffic, or actual sales? Here are some key performance indicators you should consider before your campaign rolls out:

Brand Awareness

This includes reach, impressions and views — anything that indicates your audience size and visibility. 


Here you are looking for likes, comments, saves, shares and @ mentions. This is our favourite because you can get direct feedback on what’s resonating with your audience. 

Click Through Rate

This measures how much traffic went to your website during the influencer marketing campaign. 


To increase your conversions, create special promo codes and affiliate links for your influencers before your campaign starts. 


There is a reason we love documents and processes. That way, everyone is on the same page. We’ve heard horror stories about working with influencers, so it’s important to set clear expectations on:

  • Type of post (video content, Stories, single images, carousels) 
  • Key messages you want the content to include 
  • Date and time of the post(s) 
  • Posting frequency 
  • Call to action
  • Budget 

Influencer marketing is about understanding your target audience, building authentic connections, and creating meaningful content that resonates. By working with content creators who share your values, you can position yourself as a leader in the industry and drive impactful results for your brand.

If you’re interested in influencer marketing, the team at Starling Social can manage your campaign from start to finish. Contact us here to learn more. 


Ethical Content and Content Marketing in the Age of AI

- by Alicia Kurz

Written by Sr. Account Manager Alicia Kurz

Here at Starling Social, we’re all for working smarter, not harder. With new AI writing tools popping up what feels like weekly, it would be silly not to utilize them. They can help with spelling and grammar edits and are great for idea generation. What these tools still can’t do is write like humans. 

We’re not going to BS you and try and say we never use AI, in fact, it’s almost impossible to get around. Even our scheduling tools have built-in AI features. As someone who uses these tools, the AI output is glaringly obvious, which is why we opt out of certain features. We spot content written by AI in blogs, captions, newsletters, and, honestly, everywhere. This just reinforces the difference that a human touch can make in your content — and we’re okay with that! 

Let’s dig into the ethics, pros and cons, useful tools, and everything AI content marketing related. 

The Intersection of Ethics, Content, and AI

AI is not going anywhere, and neither is the need for more content that’s on trend, on brand, and delivered in a timely manner across all your marketing channels. With that, comes ethical considerations. 

What’s crossing the line when it comes to producing content for your own business — or in a marketing agency’s case, other businesses' content when AI is involved? 

We believe in transparency, and using AI to enhance content, as opposed to compromising our ethical standards. What’s considered ethical in our field when incorporating AI into your writing, is using tools to streamline processes (like editing) or spark ideas. What isn’t cool, is plugging an idea into ChatGPT, asking for a 500-word blog, and calling it your own. 

Using AI to assist in writing brings up concerns about authenticity, plagiarism, biases, and what responsibilities writers have. We don’t have all the answers, but here are a few things to consider if you are going to use AI to help create your content: 

Authenticity: Please edit or prompt your program to use your (or your brand’s) voice, values and key messages. Otherwise, your writing will sound robotic and boring. Keep it true to your brand. 

Accuracy: Just like when you’re scrolling through social media, fact-check your information. AI sources content from across the internet, so there’s no guarantee that it got its information from a reliable source. 

Honesty: Don’t deceive your audience by passing off work created by AI as your own. Keep plagiarism and copyright law in mind, and always ask if it feels right to put your name on AI-generated work. 

The only way to use AI effectively is with human oversight. While these tools offer efficiency and automation, a person is what makes your content align with brand values, quality standards, and ethical considerations.

The Pros and Cons of Leveraging AI in Content Creation and Marketing

We’re in a love-hate relationship with the idea of AI and content creation. Editing tools are a lifesaver for writers and people with screen fatigue (read: us). But we’re now seeing a lot of content that’s lacking a human touch, making it boring and forgettable. 


Content generation: You can truly ask AI to write you anything, and it will produce it in a matter of seconds. This is great for generating ideas, asking questions, and helping to repurpose content. 

Cost: It’s free, and you really can’t beat that. Of course, you can get access to better AI services with paid subscriptions, but there are free options readily available for anyone with internet access.  

Insights: If you have data from Google, your social channels, or a newsletter, you can use AI to help you identify trends and keywords and develop strategies to improve the return on your marketing efforts.

Editing: After staring at your own work for hours on end, it feels impossible to spot minor spelling and grammar errors. These extensions improve your writing and help avoid any careless mistakes and embarrassing errors. 

Availability: AI writing tools are available round-the-clock, allowing marketers to generate content at any time, regardless of time zones or office hours.


Lack of Creativity: Since AI sources information from what’s already available on the internet, you could argue that it’s unable to be creative at all. Additionally, (for us anyway) it feels good to come up with creative ideas and execute them. 

Quality Concerns: You can usually tell when AI wrote something. There’s awkward phrasing, a lack of personality, and consistency to a fault in AI’s tone and style. 

Limited Understanding: AI doesn’t quite get nuances, cultural references, trends, or context. The output can sometimes be wrong, or inappropriate. 

Potential Plagiarism: Oops, AI can spit out plagiarized material, risking your reputation or even legal repercussions. This is another reason to only use these tools for information gathering, inspiration, and editing! 

No Human Touch: AI can’t produce content that resonates with the human experience because it hasn’t had human experience. Think about those videos where people get AI to watch 1000 hours of Hallmark movies and create their own — they just don’t make sense. The key to connecting with your audience is authenticity! 

Your Brain Stops Working: Not really, but kind of. You know what they say: if you don’t use it, you lose it. The more you write, the better you get, so using AI to write everything for you just takes away any opportunity for you to improve that skill on your own. 

How to Spot AI in Writing 

Spotting AI-generated writing can sometimes be challenging. After all, writing isn’t everybody’s strong suit. Keep an eye out for repetitive patterns, unnatural language transitions, or inconsistencies in writing style. 

There are common “red flags” like: 

  • Unusual phrasing 
  • Generic language 
  • Emotionless writing
  • Heavy use of keywords 
  • The same tone and style  
  • Lack of personal anecdotes 

The bonus of having content so heavily produced by AI is that human-authored content now stands out even more. No algorithm can replicate the depth of human emotions or intuition.

5 Useful AI Tools 


What it does:  Analyzes written text for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, punctuation issues, and sometimes even style and tone inconsistencies.

Note: Make sure you set your location correctly (it defaults to U.S. spelling) and make sure Grammarly’s corrections still sound like you. Their “rewrite for clarity” option can be grammatically correct, but sometimes removes the personality from your piece. 

Hemmingway Editor

What it does: Uses AI to fix common grammatical issues and spelling mistakes. It also assesses the reading level of your writing. 

Note: In writing for the public, you want your score to be at at 8th grade reading level. 


What it does: It is a chatbot that can provide information, answer questions, generate content, and assist with various tasks.

Note: Content generated from ChatGPT sounds automated.  We recommend using it to gather information, ask questions, or even help with repurposing content. 


What it does: It’s an AI writing software that can create blog posts, email and ad copy, outlines, stories, and more. It also has functions like checking for plagiarism and keyword research. 

Note: We find it useful for creating blog outlines, but you still need to edit the output heavily. 


What it does: This chatbot is similar to ChatGPT, but it provides sources for its output. 

Note: This one is great for doing research! 

There are so many AI content creation tools that we aren’t going to go through them all, but these ones are vetted. We aren’t trying to sell you anything—just give you a heads-up on what’s available. 

Balancing Automation with Authenticity 

There are clear benefits of automation in marketing, like efficiency and scale, but authenticity is necessary to build trust and credibility with consumers. Only people have the sense to create great, personalized experiences that capture consumers' attention. 

Authenticity isn’t something that can be automated. It requires empathy and an attempt to understand and respond to a real person. Too much automation risks creating impersonal content that fails to resonate with your audience.

If you’re interested in human-authored copywriting to connect with your audience, contact Alyson at to discuss your next project.


10 Unique Ways to Celebrate IWD 2024

- by Alicia Kurz

Save the date for March 8. 

International Women's Day is a global call to action, recognizing and amplifying the contributions of women across the social, economic, cultural, and political landscape. Last year, we wrote a list of ways your business can celebrate IWD, but as time goes on, best practices evolve (yay, progress!), so we thought we would create a list of more ways to #InspireInclusion. 

What Is International Women’s Day? 

IWD stretches back to 1911, evolving over the years. Now, diversity, equity and inclusion are non-negotiable. With the help of social media, feminism has a global voice, organizations face scrutiny for their bad actions, and we are able to challenge stereotypes and biases. (See: Kyte Baby scandal)

Recognized by the United Nations in 1977, IWD has since become a global phenomenon, with each year focusing on themes related to women's rights, equality, and empowerment. This year’s theme is Inspire Inclusion. When women are included, there's a sense of belonging, relevance and empowerment.

Why Is International Women’s Day Important? 

If you’re reading this blog and thinking, “it seems pretty fair to me,” then let’s look at some stats: 

Women represent roughly 1 in 4 C-suite leaders, and women of colour just 1 in 16. - Women in the Workplace report 2023

Canada has registered a 0.2 percentage-point decline in the overall parity score since the last edition, the United States has seen a reduction of 2.1 percentage points. At the current rate of progress, 95 years will be needed to close the gender gap for the region. - Global Gender Gap Report

There are stats on the “glass ceiling,” micro-aggressions in the workplace, ambition levels, remote and flexible work — you name it. The data clearly shows that women (particularly women of colour) are underrepresented, under-compensated, and passed over in the workplace. 

This day serves as a powerful reminder of women's ongoing challenges in various spheres of life. It sparks discussions on women's rights, creates awareness about gender inequality, and mobilizes efforts to accelerate gender parity. 

Peek into reports like the Women in the Workplace Report and the Global Gender Gap Report for a snapshot of progress and a reminder of the urgency for continued action.

By amplifying women's voices, sharing diverse stories, and promoting inclusivity, IWD contributes to the larger movement for building a more equitable and just society for everyone. With that said, here are ways to celebrate IWD in 2024. 

Highlight Women-Owned (Especially BIPOC Women) Small Businesses 

This is something we try to do all the time, but we also suffer from burnout and high expenses… and Amazon is just there when it’s -40 outside. 

However, we are lucky to have several resources* that help us find women-owned and BIPOC-owned businesses. 

Women’s Business Directory 

Black-Owned Manitoba 

BIPOC-Owned Downtown Winnipeg 

*Black-Owned Manitoba and BIPOC-Owned Downtown Winnipeg lists don’t list whether it’s a women-owned business, so you may need to do some of your own research. Here are a few BIPOC+women-owned businesses we personally recommend: 

Bare Body Sugaring 

Happy Healthy Eaters 

Up In Knots Macrame

Gâto Bakery 

Faith Robert Design 

If you aren’t financially able to support women-owned businesses in this season of your life, we understand. Here are some free ways to support them: 

  • Attend events they host 
  • Leave a Google Review 
  • Like/Comment + Share a post on your social media 
  • Collaborate with them on your blog/podcast/website 
  • Tell your friends and family how great the business is 
  • Volunteer your skills (graphic design, copywriting, etc.) 
  • Listen to what they have to say and read their content (like this blog!) 

Support Charities for Women 

When we think of International Women’s Day, our first response is a celebration. However, it should also be a reminder that we need to accelerate gender parity. Charities focused on women's issues often work tirelessly to amplify the voices of those who might otherwise go unheard. By supporting these organizations, you contribute to creating a platform where women's stories, challenges, and triumphs can be shared, acknowledged and tackled.

There are a ton of charities to back, from local to global, and education to fighting gender-based violence. Bolstering these charities makes a lasting difference. 

Support Charities Run by Women 

When you support charities run by women, you actively contribute to breaking down gender stereotypes, promoting representation in leadership roles, and inspiring future generations. 

These initiatives often emphasize intersectionality, recognizing and addressing the interconnected nature of various forms of discrimination, ensuring a more inclusive and comprehensive approach. Backing women-led charities is a tangible investment in creating a world where women have equal opportunities, rights, and access to resources, making a collective and lasting impact on the advancement of women's rights and overall societal well-being.

How You Can Support


Every dollar counts. Whether it's a one-time or recurring contribution. Choose a charity aligned with your values and causes you're passionate about.


Offer your time and skills to women-focused charities. Your expertise could make a significant difference in their initiatives.

Spread Awareness:

Share their stories and achievements on your social platforms.

Invest in DEI Training for Your Business 

Diversity Equity and Inclusion training aligns with the core values of IWD and serves as a proactive step toward creating workplaces that are fair, inclusive, and supportive of women. These programs provide opportunities to address unconscious biases, challenge stereotypes, and foster a culture where diverse voices are heard and valued.

Sign Up For Leadership Training 

Leadership training empowers women to overcome barriers, break through gender stereotypes, and navigate challenges in professional settings. It also aligns with the spirit of IWD by creating a supportive network and promoting the idea that women deserve equal opportunities to lead and excel in diverse fields. 

Read a Book Written by a Woman

Here’s the thing: it really can be this easy. Everyone has a different capacity on how they are able to contribute to things like International Women’s Day. Some people have the time, resources and energy to organize an event, others can make a donation, and some people truly don’t have the time, energy or resources to do those things. 

If you want to commit to buying books only written by women about women this year from a woman-owned bookstore — that’s fabulous. 

But, if you are limited to library books and are looking for a great story and only have the energy to read one book per year, then pick a book written by a woman. Do what you can. 

Listen to Podcasts with Womens’ Perspectives 

When you tune in to women-led podcasts, you amplify diverse perspectives, celebrate women's achievements, and empower female content creators. It serves as a conscious choice to challenge stereotypes, promote gender equality, and build a sense of community around the shared experience of appreciating and learning from women's narratives. It's a deliberate act of support, recognition, and celebration of women's valuable contributions and stories across various fields and experiences.

Offer Discounts to Women-Owned/Led Businesses on Services 

Addressing financial challenges and creating cost-saving opportunities builds lasting partnerships and increases women-owned enterprises' visibility. It contributes to corporate social responsibility, inspires confidence among women entrepreneurs, and aligns with the broader mission of IWD to create a more inclusive and equal world. 

Plus, it feels good to do something nice for another woman-led company. 

Don’t Laugh at Misogynistic Jokes 

Sorry, Matt Rife, it’s just not funny.

By dismissing or trivializing misogynistic humour, we inadvertently endorse attitudes that demean and devalue women. When you choose not to laugh at misogynistic jokes, it’s a small but impactful step in fostering a more inclusive and respectful society. 

Our go-to responses for inappropriate jokes: 

  • Ask them to repeat it 
  • Ask them to explain it 
  • Say, “I’m surprised you felt comfortable to say that out loud.” 
  • Express that it made you uncomfortable 
  • Just don’t laugh 


This year’s theme of International Women’s Day is Inspire Inclusion. 

  • When women aren't present, ask: "If not, why not?"
  • When women are discriminated against, call out poor practice.
  • When the treatment of women is not equitable, take action.
  • Do this each time, every time.

All IWD activity is valid, that's what makes it so inclusive. Do what you can, when you can. Every action counts. Learn more on the International Women’s Day website. 

Tags: IWD 2024 IWD


Show Your E-commerce Store Some Love: Optimizing for Valentine's Day Conversions

- by Alicia Kurz

Love is in the air, and what better way to celebrate capitalism… wait, we mean love… than buying a gift for your sweetheart this Valentine's Day. 

But seriously, if you have an e-commerce store, the sales potential is high this month, so it’s crucial to understand the importance of optimizing your website for shoppers. Love is a potent drug, and if your customers’ love language is gifts, these tips will help maximize your conversion rates and boost those holiday sales.

To make sure they choose your store over competitors, website optimization is key. This involves optimizing everything from product descriptions and images to checkout processes and load times. In this blog, we’ve put together our best tips for optimizing your conversions this Valentine’s Day. 

Valentine’s Day Shoppers: Who Are They?

No, it’s not “everyone.” Understanding the diverse demographics of Valentine’s Day shoppers is the first step toward effective targeting. Dive into the data to identify age groups, preferences, and buying behaviours. Are your customers predominantly young couples, long-time partners, or individuals celebrating self-love?

Deliver personalized experiences by segmenting your audience. Create customer personas based on data insights, ensuring your marketing efforts resonate with each segment. Tailor your messaging and product offerings to cater to the specific needs and preferences of different audience groups.

Let’s say, for example, you are selling candles. Pitching a romantic candle-lit evening isn’t going to “light the fire” of a single person celebrating self-love, but embracing the importance of self-care and filling the room with a scent you love might tickle their fancy. 

That’s why knowing the intent behind your customers' purchases is a powerful tool. Leverage past data to identify popular products and create targeted promotions. Anticipate the needs and desires of your audience, offering solutions that go beyond the conventional Valentine's Day gifts.

Did we lose you in the data section? Don’t worry, creative entrepreneurs, it gets more fun. 

Showcase Valentine's Day-Themed Products and Promotions on Your Website

Create a Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

These are great because they can be used everywhere: website, social media ads, organic social, email campaigns — we love content we can repurpose. If you’re really tech-savvy, you can make a quiz on your site to “find the perfect gift for your sweetheart.” Organize your products into categories that align with different relationship stages or preferences. Make the shopping experience effortless by guiding customers through thoughtful selections for their loved ones.

Curate a Valentine’s Day Product Display

Optimize your website's layout for Valentine's Day. Feature themed product displays on the homepage to grab visitors’ attention the second they land on your site. Remember, we are visual creatures, so use eye-catching images and strategically placed banners to showcase your selection of Valentine’s Day goods.

Promotional Offers and Limited-Time Discounts

Urgency sells. It personally sells us all the time —even when we’re the ones writing the copy for it! Consider limited-time discounts, buy-one-get-one-free deals, or exclusive bundles. Create a sense of urgency to drive immediate action, tapping into the time-sensitive nature of Valentine’s Day shopping.

Craft Compelling Copy and Visuals to Engage Shoppers

Tell a Story

Your product descriptions aren't just about features – they're an invitation to connect with your audience. Emphasize the personal touch of your offerings and craft your descriptions like you're sharing a story. Show how your product goes beyond being an item. Explain how your product will contribute to a meaningful moment. Remind them that buying from you isn't just a transaction: it's a deliberate choice for a thoughtful, personal connection.

Add The Theme to Your Site 

When people land on your site, we want them to have a clear understanding that it’s Valentine’s Day and they are in the right place for shopping. 

Think about filming snappy video snippets, giving a glimpse of your products in authentic, real-life settings. Set the scene on your site with a design that resonates with the vibes of Valentine's Day (or Galentine’s, Palentine’s etc. — segmentation, remember!).  

Streamline the Checkout Process 

Keep it simple. A seamless checkout process is crucial for converting potential buyers into customers. Any inconvenience can cause a shopper to click away. 

  • Simplify your checkout forms and reduce unnecessary steps
  • Offer multiple payment options to cater to diverse preferences
  • Prioritize mobile optimization to accommodate shoppers on various devices

Leverage Email Marketing and Social Media Campaigns to Drive Traffic and Conversions

Email Marketing Strategies for Valentine’s Day Promotions

Lucky for you, our team sends a lot of emails for our clients. Because of that, we have a plethora of information on the best practices for email marketing

You’ll want engaging and personalized email campaigns that highlight your Valentine’s Day offers. We also have a blog on 50+ Valentine’s Day Subject Lines for E-Commerce Sales to help you out! The Coles notes are: 

  • Interesting visuals
  • Targeted messaging
  • Clear calls-to-action

Paid Social Media Advertising Tactics for Ecommerce Success

Paid ads work — if you do them correctly. If this seems way out of the realm of possibility for you, we can definitely help, but if you are handling this yourself, here are a few tips: 

  • You have about one-second to catch peoples’ attention with ads, so make sure you are using compelling images/video and copy to make your viewers stop their scroll. 
  • Take advantage of targeted ad campaigns based on demographic data and user interests.
  • Utilize A/B testing to get the highest return on investment
  • Choose the right platforms to reach your target audience 
  • You can run multiple ads to reach different audience segments 
  • Monitor and adjust your ads based on their performance 

Organic Social Media Tactics 

Unfortunately, the best practices for each platform are constantly changing (subscribe to our newsletter here for the latest updates), but using organic social media is a great way to reach people who are already interested in your product. 

The same principles apply to organic social media as paid ads, but you have a little more freedom. There’s more time, opportunity and a chance to give more information.

Use the features each platform offers to please the algorithm gods. On Instagram, you can use the countdown feature for your new launch, post carousels of your Valentine’s Day gift guide, make a Reel with a trending sound, or tell a story about how this product or service will add to your special day. People want to buy from YOU, not a faceless business. 

TikTok is all about authenticity and trends. You will be able to find a trend you can make work for your business and hop on it. No, it doesn’t need to be dancing. Skip the videos of different images of your products or service and opt into sharing a story or a behind-the-scenes look at your biz. 

On Facebook, you want to use attractive images, videos and a clear call to action. While you can include a link, Facebook will de-prioritize posts that lead away from the platform. A little workaround for that is pinning a post with a link (or several) to your promoted products and leave the link off other posts. 

Threads focuses on community building and test-based content, so start meaningful conversations with influencers of your target audience to see the best return. 

General posting ideas for these and other platforms: promote products/services, share expertise or helpful content related to Valentine’s Day, repost user-generated content, work with influencers, and engage with the audience through contests and interactive content. 

Remember, the key is to create a seamless experience between your email marketing campaigns and social media presence. By integrating both channels effectively, you can drive traffic to your website or landing pages while increasing conversions.

Analyze Data and Making Adjustments to Improve Conversion Rates Post-Valentine’s Day

E-commerce Analytics Post-Valentine’s Day Optimizations

Prepare for next year! After the love-filled rush, dive into analytics to assess the performance of your Valentine's Day campaigns. Identify top-performing products, successful marketing channels, and areas for improvement. Analyze the results to understand what resonates best with your audience and apply these insights for ongoing optimization.

P.S. We do this for you at the end of each ad campaign! 

Valentine’s Day promotions isn’t just about selling, it's about connecting with your customers. Keep it real. Your customers aren't just transactions, they're individuals with specific needs. Be authentic in your marketing.

If you don’t feel ready for the Valentine’s Day rush, we can be your support. Contact us here to get started on your next campaign. 


15 Must-Know Email Marketing Stats for 2024 - And How To Use Them To Your Advantage

- by Alicia Kurz

Written by Alicia Kurz, Sr. Account Manager

With new apps, endless updates, and a never-ending stream of information on marketing your business, one tool continues to stand out: email marketing.

Even in 2024, email marketing continues to be an essential part of any strategy for businesses looking to connect with their audience.

Need convincing? Let's explore the pivotal stats shaping the email marketing landscape this coming year. 

General Stats 

Worldwide Email Users Are Expected to Increase to 4.6 Billion by 2025

As it stands, there will be over 4.3 billion people who use email in 2023

This stat is only expected to increase in the coming years, with email connectivity increasing to 4.6 billion by 2025.

347.3 Billion Emails are Sent and Received Every Day  

This number is projected to increase to 361.6 billion in 2024

Experts used to think that email would fall by the wayside as apps like WhatsApp and Slack emerged onto the scene, but with worldwide internet accessibility increasing overall, we are seeing quite the opposite. 

Open Rate Stats 

Personalized Emails Have An 82% Higher Open Rate Than Generic Emails 

Personalization used to be a tactic that seemed more optional than essential, but the stats show that in order to stay competitive, businesses need to lean into personalizing their emails.

Welcome Emails Have An Open Rate of 91.43%

If you don’t have welcome emails set up yet, then stop what you’re doing and get started. These emails grab attention with the highest open rate and deliver a high payoff with an average click-through rate 4 times higher than your regular marketing email at 26.9%.

The Average Open Rate For Email Campaigns is 21.33%

This varies depending on your industry and target audience, but a “good” email open rate should fall between 17-28%

The industries with the highest open rates are government, religious, hobbies and marketing. 

Engagement Stats 

60% of Consumers Have Completed a Purchase Through Marketing Emails 

A great email marketing campaign captures attention and drives action. The latest stats show consumers spend 138% more when influenced by effective email marketing strategies.

77% of Marketers Have Seen An Increase In Email Engagement Over The Last 12 Months

Remember, this isn’t a guarantee with email marketing campaigns. You still need to use best practices like segmentation, strong subject lines, eye-catching images, clear and concise copy and a strong call to action. You aren’t the only one hitting your target’s inbox, so make sure you stand out. 

64% of People Decide Whether To Open Or Delete Emails Based On Subject Lines

Grab your recipient's attention with a catchy subject line, or it will end up in the trash — or worse, they’ll report it as spam.

Mondays And Tuesdays Are The Best Days To Send Marketing Emails 

The highest open rate of emails is on Mondays, but the highest click-through rate happens on Tuesdays. 

The Best Time To Send An Email Is Between 9 am and 11 am

If you’re not a morning person, the best alternative is between 1 pm and 2 pm.

Marketing Emails Have A ROI of $36 For Every $1 Spent

The return on investment for email marketing is higher than any other channel. 

Stats like these are great, but if you don’t understand how to use them, how will you improve your next marketing campaign? That’s why tracking your success is so important. 

If you’ve ever been a client of Starling’s, you know that each month we’ll send you a hand-written report with stats like these and actionable insights we implement moving forward. 

Our newsletter reports share details like open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates, so you know just how well your emails are (or aren’t) performing. Paying attention to this data helps you tweak your content, timing, and targeting to get the most out of your campaigns.

6 Ways To Optimize Your Campaigns

Set up Automated Email Campaigns 

These perform the best because they are timely, relevant and personalized to your subscribers. 

Email Triggers: 


Welcome emails are set up so people will receive an email right after they hit subscribe. It’s common to offer new subscribers small coupon codes because they have a higher chance of converting — you already know they want to know more about your product! 

New Customer

Send a thank you message to people who made a purchase. It's a nice gesture, and you can offer things like customer service to encourage a positive buying experience. 

Abandoned Cart

Your product has already tempted these potential customers, which is why open rates for abandoned cart emails are over 48%! Why not send them a reminder? 

Browse History 

Like abandoned carts, these emails are sent to people who viewed products on your site but weren’t ready to check out. It’s a bit of an aggressive approach IMO — like a digital pushy salesperson — but they can lead to a purchase! 

Customer Winbacks

These emails are sent to people who have shopped with you but haven’t engaged in a while. Typically, selling to someone who has already purchased from you is easier. Companies often offer discount codes to return or let them know about a sale on a product they’ve already purchased. 

Segment And Personalize Your Email Lists 

It’s the same rule for social media followers and email subscribers. Quality over quantity. Not everyone on your list will be interested in the same generic content. Segmented and targeted emails generate 58% of all revenue

Make sure you add people’s names and segment based on things like location - ex “windchill special for my Winnipeg followers!” 

Pro-Tip: Consumers are tuned in and hold lofty expectations regarding personalization. Make the extra effort to ensure your personalization techniques meet the mark—and then double-check to be absolutely certain. 

It’s important to use the segmenting tools along with your personalization efforts to avoid annoying your customer with things like:  

  • Expired offers 
  • Wrong location offers 
  • Already purchase promotions 
  • Recommendations that don’t match their interests 

Optimize For Mobile And Desktop 

You want to make sure your potential customers are having an easy experience. Optimized emails don’t give any reason for people to click out of your content. 

Avoid Sending Too Many Emails 

Engagement drops with each additional newsletter sent per week.

Create Dark Mode Compatible Emails 

35% of email opens were tracked using dark mode in 2022. Making emails dark mode-friendly is allows a more comfortable reading experience, cutting down on blue light and screen glare. 

Optimize for dark mode by using transparent PNGs, adding translucent outlines to dark text PNGs, and always test emails before hitting send. 

Make sure your emails look good in both light and dark modes, keeping things accessible and aligned with what your subscribers prefer for a smooth experience.

Add Interactive Elements 

Interactive emails boost engagement and conversions by creating a more personalized experience. 

Using elements like countdown timers, GIFs, ratings, quizzes, surveys, videos, and polls encourages active participation, leading to higher open rates and engagement. With increased attention and engagement, interactive emails drive higher click-through rates, leading to increased conversions.

We love an email marketing campaign because it offers a direct and personalized way to engage with your audience, build relationships, and drive conversions. 

With the power of well-crafted email campaigns, businesses like yours can effectively reach their target market and achieve their marketing goals.

As time and technology evolve, there will be advancements in email marketing automation tools that streamline processes and improve efficiency. 

But it’s important not to overlook the human touch in crafting compelling email copy that resonates with your recipients. That’s where we can help. 

Get in touch with us here to talk about your next email marketing campaign, and subscribe to our weekly newsletter with all the news and strategies you need to stay up-to-date with your digital marketing strategy.


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.


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