Posts by Alyson Shane
- by Alyson Shane
Where do you go when you’re looking for recommendations?
Until recently, most of us went to Google.
In fact, so many people use Google to find recommendations or look something up that the term “Google” has become synonymous with looking something up, putting it in the same camp as “Kleenex”,”Frisbee” and even “Dumpster” — but all that’s starting to change.
Mobile apps have taken over the market, and TikTok recently overtook Google as the most popular search engine for the first time in 15 years, with 40% of Gen Z stating that TikTok is their go-to search engine.
This shift in how people are searching for new products and businesses represents a new way for businesses and marketers to think about search engine optimization (SEO).
In this article, I’ll cover what TikTok SEO is, why it’s important and share insights on how you can get your content to the top of the Search results page to connect with more of your ideal customers.
What is TikTok SEO?
TikTok SEO is the practice of optimizing your TikTok videos to rank higher on the “Search” results page so more users can find your content and follow you.
The platform uses a sophisticated algorithm to show users what they want based on their interests, interactions with other posts, accounts they follow, and more.
With an SEO strategy optimized for TikTok, you can create content that the algorithm loves and is likely to be searched and discovered by your target audience.
Why is TikTok SEO Important?
The short answer is: TikTok has a massive user base! If we take a look at TikTok’s user growth you can see that it’s showing no signs of slowing down:
Source: Data.ai, CNBC + Business of Apps
TikTok may call itself an entertainment hub rather than a search engine, but that doesn't mean it doesn't serve that purpose too.
These days, TikTok has adapted to this explosion in usage and has adapted several search engine-like features like suggested keywords in its search bar and comment sections, putting it in the same league as Google.
So as more users turn to TikTok to look for content, we need to adapt to those changing behaviours.
How Does TikTok’s Algorithm Work?
TikTok doesn’t make their algorithm publicly available, but there are a few high-level details that we’ve been able to figure out.
The first step is demographics.
When someone signs up for TikTok, the app will show them content based on their demographics and location, along with any categories that they’ve indicated that they’re interested in.
For me, I’m a 35-year old woman in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. TikTok might start showing my videos of The Winnipeg Jets (our local hockey team), home renovation ideas, how to make cocktails, ice fishing, and other videos based on my age, pronouns, and location.
Some of those things might appeal to my interests, but some might not. So how does TikTok get me to stay in the app?
The algorithm “learns” what I like by analyzing what I scroll past, and what I engage with through likes, comments, and saves.
TikTok’s algorithm also ties into your cookie history, meaning that it taps into your internet browsing history and curates what it shows you based on what you look at online.
4 Ways to Optimize Your TikTok Content
Here are four things you need to to to optimize your TikTok strategy:
- Include keywords into your captions and videos
- Research and use relevant hashtags
- Use trending TikTok Audio
- Post longer videos
- Be consistent with your niche
Step 1. Include Keywords In Your Captions and Videos
With search, everything is about intent, and that’s expressed in what users type into the search field in order to find what they’re looking for on the platform.
The first step is to weave relevant and detailed keywords that your audience actively looks for. Here's where you should add them:
- Captions (which have now expanded to 2,000 characters)
- Automated closed captions
- On-screen text
If you’re not sure where to start, open up the TikTok app and use the search bar’s predictive text. Just type in your starting keyword and see what the app suggests from there:
So if you’re a company selling footwear, you might want to use keywords and phrases like “"athletic footwear”, "sneaker trends", or "sports shoes fashion"
Protip: State your keyword out loud within the first few seconds of your video to make sure the algorithm picks up on it.
Step 2. Include Relevant Hashtags
Using the right of TikTok hashtags can catapult you right into the spotlight of your ideal audience and potential followers.
At Starling, we recommend using a “blended hashtag strategy” which is the process of using both wide-reaching and niche-specific hashtags.
High-level or trending hashtags allow you to reach a wide audience, while niche hashtags allow you to show your posts to people who are already looking for related content in your niche.
How Many Hashtags to Use?
TikTok doesn't set a limit for the number of hashtags you can use, but we recommend sticking to 3 - 5 “blended” hashtags.
This allows you to post captions to stay at the forefront of the post and can keep your TikToks from looking spammy.
Bonus: Use TikTok’s geo-specific tags in your videos to help increase visibility in your area. This is ideal for restaurants and brick-and-mortar stores!
Step 3: Use Trending TikTok Audio
TikTok’s algorithm prefers content that taps into trending audio, so it’s important to check the app often to find out what sounds are blowing up on the platform.
If you’re looking for a trend that’s more niche-specific, just open up TikTok and type in “trending sounds” in the search bar.
Protip: Choosing the “this week” filter will show you the hottest rising content, and give you some inspiration for how you can recreate it to suit your brand’s needs and message.
Step 4: Post Longer Videos
A lot of what we’ve seen on TikTok to date has been short, snappy videos, but the platform recently announced that users will be able to upload videos of up to 15 minutes, showing that they're encouraging longer-form content.
Not only do longer (5-ish minute videos) appear to be trending with the algorithm right now, longer posts also give you more time to repeat your keywords and increase the likelihood that your video will get picked up and shown to more of your target audience.
Step 5: Be Consistent With Your Niche
Like every social media platform: consistency is key.
Learning how to “work” TikTok’s algorithm and tap into SEO best practices on the platform will teach the algorithm who you/your brand are, what you offer to other users, and which users should see your content.
Start Growing on TikTok Today!
TikTok is one of the fastest--growing social networks out there, and if your brand is trying to reach a younger audience then it’s a “must” for your digital marketing strategy.
If you’re not sure where to start, drop us a line!
- by Alyson Shane
Whether you're a small business looking to expand your online presence or a seasoned marketer looking for a new level of success, the answer lies in a well-crafted content strategy.
As businesses grow and expand, scaling up content marketing efforts can be challenging.
Scaling up your content marketing efforts requires careful planning, strategic thinking, and the right tools and resources. It involves increasing the quantity and quality of your content while maintaining consistency and relevance to your audience. Let's break down the essential components of content marketing and content strategy.
The Importance of a Well-Defined Content Strategy
When you have a clear strategy in place, companies can effectively reach their target audience and drive engagement.
It helps businesses understand their needs, interests, and pain points. With this understanding, companies can create content that resonates with their audience, establishing a connection and building trust.
A solid content strategy allows businesses to plan their messaging across various channels and platforms consistently. This consistency enhances brand recognition and strengthens brand identity.
A well-defined content strategy enables organizations to measure their efforts' success accurately. Businesses can track engagement metrics like website traffic, social media interactions, and conversions by setting clear goals and key performance indicators. This data provides valuable insights into what works best for their target audience, allowing for continuous improvement and optimization.
Step 1: Developing Systems and Workflows for Efficient Content Creation and Management
If you know anything about the Starling team, you know that our owner loves good, trackable, and efficient systems.
These systems optimize content creation efforts, enhance collaboration among team members, and guarantee a seamless workflow from ideation to publication.
One tool that the Starling team leverages for content creation and collaboration is Google Docs. With its real-time editing capabilities and cloud-based storage, teams can work together on documents simultaneously, eliminating the need for time-consuming back-and-forth exchanges. This allows for efficient feedback loops and ensures everyone is on the same page throughout content creation.
Another valuable resource for developing clear workflows (that our team also loves) is Trello. This project management platform enables teams to organize tasks, track progress, and set deadlines in an easy — and visually appealing — interface. By creating boards with lists and cards representing different stages of the content creation process, teams can easily manage assignments, prioritize tasks, and monitor overall productivity.
Embracing these tools saves time and fosters a more productive work environment where creativity thrives alongside effective project management practices.
Step 2: Understanding the Role of SEO in Your Content Strategy
Search Engine Optimization makes your content irresistible to search engines. It's all about finding the right keywords and optimizing your content to rank higher in search results.
a) Who to Target with Your SEO Efforts?
Before you start, get to know your audience inside out. Create buyer personas first. Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers, complete with demographics, interests, pain points, and behaviours. This helps you think about what your audience is searching for, and tailor your content to their needs.
Next, dig deep into user intent keywords. People type these key phrases into search engines when seeking answers or solutions. Rather than just focusing on generic keywords, consider your audience's specific questions and problems. What are they searching for, and why?
Imagine your audience's journey and thought process.
- What challenges do they face?
- How can your content address those pain points?
By aligning your content with their needs, you attract more visitors and build trust and credibility.
b) What to Focus on When It Comes to SEO?
Pay attention to technical SEO factors like site speed and mobile-friendliness. Google loves websites that load quickly and look great on smartphones. Also, focus on creating high-quality content that's relevant and valuable to your readers.
c) Why Is SEO Essential for Successful Content Strategy?
SEO isn't just a buzzword; it's the key to building organic growth. When you rank higher on search engines, you attract more visitors. And guess what? Those visitors are more likely to convert into customers.
d) Where to Incorporate Keywords Within Your Content?
Sprinkle your keywords strategically throughout your content. Use them in your title tags, meta descriptions, headings, subheadings, body text, image alt tags, URLs, and even within your internal linking structure. Just remember, don't overdo it; keep it natural.
Step 3: Effective Distribution Channels for Amplifying Your Content Reach
Creating engaging content is only half the battle. You also need to make sure it reaches the right audience. Enter distribution channels.
Social media platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, X.com, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. are your megaphones. Share your content there, engage with your audience, and watch your reach grow. Don't forget the power of email marketing campaigns. We could go on about that, but for time’s sake, here’s another blog about writing a killer newsletter.
Consider guest blogging or podcast opportunities and influencer partnerships. Collaborating with others can introduce your brand to a whole new audience.
Step 4: Crafting Your Content
Now that you've laid the groundwork for your content strategy, it's time to craft your content. Don’t put out a social media post for the sake of putting out a social media post! Make sure your content is helping you reach one of your goals.
If your post doesn’t fit into these boxes, should you really be posting it?
Relevance: Always keep your target audience in mind. Craft content that directly addresses their needs, interests, and pain points. Your content should be a solution to their problems.
Quality: Research thoroughly, fact-check rigorously, and provide valuable insights. High-quality content establishes your authority and builds trust with your audience.
Consistency: Maintain consistency in your posting schedule, brand voice, style, and messaging. This consistency creates a reliable and recognizable content identity your audience can trust.
Timeliness: Keep your content up-to-date and relevant to current trends and industry developments. Being on top of the latest news and updates positions you as an industry thought leader.
Education: Offer valuable insights, tips, and actionable advice. Providing educational content positions your brand as a valuable resource in your niche.
Entertainment: Incorporate storytelling, humour, and engaging visuals to make your content enjoyable. Entertaining content is more likely to be shared and can increase your content's reach and impact.
As you craft your content, consider how these pillars can be integrated into your pieces.
The Power of a Well-Thought-Out Content Strategy
We’re lucky to have an incredible team at Starling who truly cares about the success of each client. These tools are the gears that keep the engine running, but the true power lies in the well-thought-out content strategy. It ensures that every piece we create serves a purpose, resonates with our audience, and contributes to our overall success.
We don't just advocate for these tools; we rely on them to help execute our content strategy.
Google Docs: Google Docs is where we create drafts and collaborate seamlessly. This makes crafting a strategy that aligns with your overall content goals easier.
Trello: Trello helps us break down our content strategy into actionable steps, ensuring that each piece aligns with our overarching goals.
Buffer: Buffer helps execute a carefully designed distribution plan. It ensures our content reaches the right audience at the right time. Other tools like Later and Hootsuite accomplish the same goals and may be the right choice for your biz.
Remember, tools are only as effective as the strategy behind them. Craft your strategy with care, and adapt it as needed.
Or, if you are ready to focus on big-picture items and leave your marketing to the professionals, contact us here to book a consultation.
- by Alyson Shane
Make the most of LinkedIn's features and tools to enhance your brand's visibility and engagement.
Here are 12 essential LinkedIn Company Page features you need to use to get the most out of your presence on the platform.
1. Scheduled Posts for Timely Engagement
LinkedIn understands the importance of timing when engaging with your audience. With the "Scheduled Posts" feature, you can plan and post your content when it makes the most sense. This way, you can reach your audience when they're most active and likely to interact with your posts. It's a simple but effective way to boost your engagement rates.
Bonus feature: Scheduling tools like Buffer and Hootsuite only allow you to tag Company Pages in their scheduled content, not people. When you schedule your content in-app, you can also tag people! It's a game-changer for scheduled content.
2. Audio Events for Interactive Conversations
One of the latest additions to LinkedIn's arsenal is the "Audio Events" feature. This tool allows you to host live, audio-only conversations with your professional community. It’s kind of like the Clubhouse App. You can discuss industry trends, share insights, or chat candidly with your audience. The best part? You don't need any third-party broadcasting tools. It's a great way to connect with your audience in an authentic, low-pressure environment.
You can choose to host an Audio Event from your individual profile or from your organization’s Page. Only eligible Pages can create an Audio Event. Please note the following when hosting an Audio Event from a Page:
Roles: Any super and content admins can create and host Audio Events on behalf of the Page, and view event analytics.
Notifications: As the Page is considered the event's organizer, notifications are sent to a subset of Page followers, not to the Page admin's connections.
Hosts: The first 10 super or content admins to join the Audio Event are designated as Host and appear on stage for the event, while other admins will be attendees.
Registration forms: Registration forms are not available for Audio Events.
3. Automated Job Posting for Talent Recruitment
With LinkedIn's "Automated Job Posting" feature, you can easily share your job listings as Page posts. This feature ensures that your open positions get maximum visibility, and the best candidates can find your job listings right on your Company Page. It streamlines the hiring process and helps you connect with potential employees more efficiently.
To begin the process:
- Click on your Profile Picture at the top of the homepage in Recruiter.
- Click Product settings in the drop-down menu.
- Click Job posting on the left-hand side.
- Next to ATS job post sources, click View/Edit.
- Click + Add new ATS source.
- Fill out the Connect your ATS slide-in window with the following information:
- Job source URL
- Company page on LinkedIn
- Applicant source tracking URL (optional)
- Additional information (optional)
- Click Add source.
4. Following Other Pages for Better Networking
As we know, LinkedIn is all about networking. We love this newer feature because you can expand your connections by following other Pages as your Company Page. Keeping track of trending conversations and engaging in industry discussions can establish your brand as an active participant in your niche. It's an effective way to curate your feed, build professional communities, and distinguish your brand voice.
5. Organic LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms for Quality Leads
The "Organic LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms" feature lets you collect leads directly from your Company Page without redirecting users to external landing pages. It's easy to capture prospects' contact details and other relevant information — while keeping them on the LinkedIn platform.
To set up an organic lead generation form, visit your LinkedIn company page. In the left-hand side menu, scroll past the page analytics and locate the 'Add Lead Gen Form' option. Click on it to review LinkedIn Page Terms, then activate the lead generation forms.
6. Post as Your Company Page for Increased Reach
This is an obvious, but important feature. Consistent posting on your LinkedIn page lets you react to, comment on, and share posts, which expands your reach and visibility.
When we say “post as your company page,” we don’t just mean feed posts. Spend some time commenting on other pages, sharing posts, answering questions and starting meaningful conversations on the platform.
7. Mention and Hashtag Integration for Better Discoverability
Who doesn’t love to be @’d?! Enhance the discoverability of your Company Page's articles and newsletters with mentions and hashtags.
Mentions: When you mention other LinkedIn members or companies in your posts, it shows that you're engaging with others in your industry and alerts the people or companies you've mentioned. They'll get a notification about your mention, which can spark their interest in your content. Plus, it's a friendly way to give credit or acknowledge someone's expertise.
Hashtags: Using relevant hashtags in your posts makes it easier for users interested in those topics to find your content when they search for or click on those hashtags. It's a great way to tap into trending conversations and connect with an audience already interested in your content.
8. Employee Engagement for Brand Advocacy
Your employees can be powerful brand advocates. Encourage them to follow and engage with your Company Page. Bonus points if you can get your employees to list your company as their employer. This mutual connection boosts your Page's visibility, making reaching customers and potential employees easier. Having real people listed as employees on your page humanizes your brand — that’s a good look for you!
9. Post Content from Partners and Other Companies
Sharing content from partners and other companies on LinkedIn:
- Adds value to your followers
- Diversifies your feed
- Helps build connections in your industry
When you curate and share valuable content, you give your followers a broader perspective and keep them engaged. Plus, it's a great way to expand your network and establish credibility in your field. Recognizing others' expertise fosters meaningful connections.
10. Pinned Comments for Guiding Conversations
You can now pin comments to the top of the comment section! This feature is ideal for highlighting frequently asked questions, spotlighting community members, or showcasing engaging responses. It ensures that the most important and relevant discussions remain visible, driving more engagement and interactions.
But don’t forget to make sure your pinned post always has timely content. Pinning content with “old news” makes it look like your page isn’t active.
11. Start a Newsletter on LinkedIn
LinkedIn newsletters are a channel to share curated content, insights, and updates directly with your followers. Much like traditional newsletters, they offer a way to engage your audience regularly.
Creating a newsletter on LinkedIn is a straightforward process. You can initiate it from your Company Page and customize it to align with your branding. Once set up, you can send periodic updates to your subscribers.
Newsletters are an excellent tool for showcasing your industry expertise, promoting thought leadership, and informing your audience about the latest trends and developments. They provide an opportunity to establish your Company Page as a valuable source of information.
LinkedIn has engagement metrics available for newsletters, providing valuable insights into what resonates most with your audience. Use these insights to refine your content strategy and tailor your newsletters to better serve your followers.
P.S. if monitoring your engagement analytics on your newsletters sounds incredibly boring, we include those in our monthly reports!
12. Scheduling Articles for Timely Engagement
Posting regularly is important, but it's equally crucial to time your posts to reach your target audience when they're most active.
LinkedIn allows you to schedule articles in advance. Now, you can plan your content calendar strategically and ensure your articles are published during a time when your audience is actively engaged.
To schedule an article on your LinkedIn Company Page, follow these simple steps:
Create Your Article: Begin by drafting your article as you normally would. Craft compelling content, add images, and make sure it aligns with your content strategy.
Select the Publish Date: After finishing your article, instead of immediately publishing it, click on the dropdown arrow next to the "Publish" button. From the dropdown menu, select "Schedule."
Choose the Date and Time: A scheduling window will appear, allowing you to choose the date and time you want your article published. Pick a time when your target audience will likely be active on LinkedIn.
Confirm and Schedule: Once you've set the date and time, confirm your selection. Your article will now be scheduled for publication, and you can view and manage your scheduled posts in the "My Articles" section of your Company Page.
Scheduling articles allows you to maintain a consistent posting schedule — even during busy periods, so you don’t need to worry about “going dark” during your most chaotic seasons. It also enables you to target different time zones effectively, expanding your reach to a global audience — if that’s what your goal is.
Scheduling articles can help you strategically align your content with specific events, campaigns, or industry trends. By taking advantage of the scheduling feature, you can optimize your content strategy on LinkedIn, deliver valuable insights to your audience, and enhance your Company Page's overall impact.
If this seems like a lot to manage, or if you're looking for expert guidance in optimizing your LinkedIn strategy, the team at Starling Social is here to help! Contact us here for personalized support and take your LinkedIn presence to the next level.
- by Alyson Shane
Fall is here, so you know what that means: the holiday season is right around the corner, and Black Friday & Cyber Monday (aka, BFCM) is the first in the series of important dates for almost every business out there.
As an agency that’s worked with dozens of e-commerce companies over the years, we know a thing or two about what it takes to run a killer BFCM campaign that not only skyrockets your sales, but helps you plan more effectively and turn those one-time purchases into repeat customers.
Which is where this post comes in! Consider this your comprehensive checklist to building out the best BFCM campaign your business can manage.
(And if you’d rather we do the leg work for you, just let us know!)
But enough about us! Back to you, your business, and your BFXM strategy:
Predicted Trends for BFCM 2023
Before we get into what you should be doing this year, let’s look at some industry trends that will be impacting this strategy:
According to findings from Forbes, consumers are looking for a shopping experience that’s fun, personalized, and better for the environment. This includes:
- Social commerce: Selling products right through social media. Think about this as the digital equivalent of “impulse shopping” or “impulse shelves”.
- Personalization: Showing consumers “related” products to similar to items they’ve bought before.
- AR/VR experiences: This is a bit niche, but if you’ve got the audience (and budget) these immersive experiences will really stand out this season.
- Subscription services: Think monthly “box bundles” like IPSY, Sakuako, or Bespoke Post.
- Ethical and eco-friendly emphasis. Consumers are looking to support brands who have a “green” focus, like eco-friendly packaging or using locally-sourced products.
Step 1: Plan Early, Go Late
Shoppers are eager to get a head start on their gift buying and are looking to “stretch out” their purchasing windows to account for the economic uncertainty in the market.
71% of retailers in CNBC’s Supply Chain Survey expect consumers to cut back on spending in response to inflation, so plan your campaigns to start promoting early, and expect to extend those deals later in order to get as many shoppers buying for as long as you can.
Let’s dig into that in more detail:
Embrace the Extended Sales Season
BFCM is one of the most important shopping weekends of the year so it makes sense that you’d see tons of ads on that weekend — but marketing messaging shouldn’t be limited to just those days. We want to build anticipation in advance and make sure our audience is aware of the great deals they can expect to see!
This applies both to ecommerce vendors and brick-and-mortar businesses, too. According to eMarketer, brick-and-mortar holiday spending reached $1 trillion for the first time in 2022 — a 3.9% gain from 2021, and BFCM saw a double-digit increase in traffic to 72.9 million shoppers — proving that brick-and-mortar shopping is back in business.
Given that shoppers will be weighing their purchases (and the associated costs and discounts) before they buy, it’s crucial to start promoting your offers as soon as you can, and extending them for as long as your budget allows.
Prep Your Website for Traffic Spikes
There are lots of important things to do to prep for BFCM, but one often-overlooked area is making sure your website is prepared to handle a huge influx of traffic.
Don’t believe us? Check out these stats about consumer behaviour and website load speeds from Website Builder Expert:
- One in four visitors would abandon a website if it takes more than four seconds to load.
- Pages that load within two seconds have an average bounce rate of 9%.
- The two-to-three second mark is the turning point where bounce rates skyrocket – 40% of consumers will wait no more than three seconds before abandoning a site.
As these stats show, it’s essential to talk to your web development team and ask them to perform a speed check on your home page and the most popular product pages.
Make Mobile-First a Priority
Your website should look good and be easy to read and navigate no matter what size screen a customer is using to browse. The process of making sure your website scales up and down properly is called “responsive design” and is something every website should prioritize, especially during sales seasons like BFCM.
Google and IPSOS did a survey which found that 59% of shoppers surveyed say that being able to shop on mobile is important when deciding which brand or retailer to buy from.
Want more prood? Outerbox estimates that over 50% of all eCommerce purchases during the 2022 holiday season were made on a smartphone, so it’s safe to assume that this stat will apply to the 2023 holiday season, too.
“Mcommerce” is a fancy way of saying “mobile-first ecommerce” and ties into the point we made above about the increasing numbers of people who shop exclusively on mobile devices.
While responsive website design can help convert your browsers into customers, you may also want to consider making it even easier for mobile-first browsers to buy during BFCM by adding the option to use digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Wallet, or Amazon Pay to your checkout process.
Use Urgency to Increase Sales
Most BFCM sales are impulse buys that are driven by discounts, promotions, and limited-time offers and deals that create a sense of urgency.
A report from Experian found that emails that convey a sense or urgency had at least 14% higher click-to-open rates, 59% higher transaction-to-click rates, and twice as high transaction rates compared to their average marketing emails.
You can also use colour psychology in your visuals to create a sense or urgency. Studies have found that red, orange, and royal blue buttons create the most sense of urgency, while orange encourages action.
Visual symbols on your website like countdown timers or pop-ups that notify a browser when someone has purchased a BFCM product can reinforce feelings of urgency and create feelings of scarcity for the products you’re promoting.
Do An Audit of Your Top Sales Channels
Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar or online only seller, now is the time to take a critical look at which digital channels are yielding the highest return-on-investment.
If you’ve been running ads on social media and Google, for example, look at the conversion rates between both types of campaigns and decide where the extra effort (or ad budget) should go leading up to BFCM.
If you’re a Starling Social client, you can use our Live Dashboard to get a birds-eye view of how all your ad campaigns are performing across the web, making this decision even easier.
Create a Contingency Plan
This part might feel uncomfortable, but by asking yourself what could go wrong and preparing for the worst is the best way to make sure you’re able to bounce back as quickly as possible if something goes off the rails.
Some things to review and plan for include:
- Are you ready to act if your website crashes?
- How will you adapt if your shipping company is overwhelmed with demand?
- What will you do if inventory doesn’t arrive on time?
- How can you pivot your product and sales offerings if necessary?
By identifying worst-case scenarios and making plans to address them, you can feel confident knowing that you’re ready to handle whatever BFCM throws your way.
Plan Your Inventory for a Surge in Demand
This should be a no-brainer, but ordering the products you plan to promote for BFCM well in advance is essential to ensuring that there aren’t delays in your ability to ship what you sell.
Keep in mind that we’re still experiencing a post-pandemic slowdown of the supply chain, so ordering what you need as early as possible is strongly recommended.
Here are a few tips to help you get ready:
See What’s Historically Done Well
Look at last year’s sales reports and filter them by BFCM dates to identify products that have historically done well during this period.
Use “ABC analysis” to Identify High-Revenue Products
“ABC analysis” is the process of looking at which products generate the most revenue. Eazystock has a great breakdown of how it works:
- Category A: this is the smallest category and consists of the most important stock items.
- Category B: will generally be slightly larger in terms of volumes of SKUs and will usually be made up of products of less value.
- Category C: this will typically be the largest category where products will contribute the least to your business’s bottom line
BFCM is a great way to boost revenue by promoting “A grade” products, as well as the chance to clear out dead stock by selling them at a deep discount.
Plan Your Season Delivery Strategy in Advance
Some people think of shipping as just another part of the process, but when used correctly, it can be a huge positive and strategic advantage.
A shipping strategy is one that strikes a balance between affordability, alignment with customer needs, and workability with your ecommerce logistics — but that’s easier said than done.
According to Wonderment, there are a few things to take into consideration when you take a critical look at your shipping strategy:
Understand Your Shipping Data
Before you make a change, look at your shipping data and pay attention to:
- Average shipping cost per order
- Average package dimensions
- Average delivery timeframe
- Average number of shipping zones
- Where orders are being shipped to
- Which shipping methods are most popular/least popular
This data can help you identify issues like where items might be crossing shipping zones unnecessarily, or where the dimensional weight (how much space the item takes up in relation to the packaging) might be costing you extra.
Decide Whether or Not to Offer Free Shipping
Free shipping sounds great from a consumer perspective, but can hurt your profit margins and even impact your overall customer experience.
62% of shoppers expect their free shipping orders to arrive in just 3 business days, so keep stats like this in mind if you don’t expect to be able to meet those expectations.
That being said, there are some advantages to free shipping, which are:
- Implementing a free shipping threshold to increase total purchase value.
- Making shipping a VIP perk for repeat customers, or those who sign up to a mailing list.
- Use conditional shipping so it’s not available for every item.
Step 2: Prep Your Digital Marketing
Now comes the fun part (for us, anyway!)
Your digital marketing is an essential part of BFCM success, so make sure to get started on these tasks as soon as you can (or enlist the help of your digital marketing partner).
Share sneak peeks of upcoming sales on social media, encourage people to subscribe to your mailing list for exclusive deals, and start prepping your social media ad strategy to promote your biggest revenue-generating items.
Let’s take a deeper look at how to get ready:
Launch Your Email Marketing Strategy
We say this all the time: your email list is one of the best tools at your disposal to capture repeat customers and build excitement about your products and services.
We already talked about inviting site visitors and social media followers to join your mailing list to be the first to hear about BFCM sneak peeks and special discounts — but there’s a deeper strategy at play here!
When sending promotional emails, focus on promoting one particularly attractive sale instead of overwhelming the reader with all your BFCM deals at once.
With this tactic, you can send multiple promotional emails showcasing different offerings, giving you more chances to stand out in someone’s inbox.
Remember: people are being flooded with BFCM emails around this time, so it’s critical to not rely on an e-blast or two in order to get the word out about what you’re offering.
Some other email marketing strategies to use during BFCM are:
Start sending early. Send “warm up” emails that tease out promotions and build anticipation for BFCM and get subscribers excited to check back.
Using countdowns to create urgency. Encourage immediate purchases by including a countdown timer in your email to reinforce that this is a limited-time deal.
Employ product cross-sells and upsells. If someone has an item in their cart but hasn’t completed the purchase yet, send them an email with a product recommendation based on what they’re already considering to increase how much they buy.
“Nudge” away from cart abandons. Email reminders that items are still in someone’s cart, or that inventory on an item they haven’t finished buying, can be great ways to encourage someone to complete a purchase.
Customize your emails. Customize subject lines, previews, and body text with customer’s first and last names, email addresses, cities, or even countries. According to Sender, email personalization lowers the cost of acquisition by up to 50%, improves marketing spending efficiency by 10-30%, and boosts revenues by 5-15%.;
Create Visual Assets for Your Website, Emails and Social Media
Visuals are the easy way to help create a unique and exciting BFCM experience for your customers, so spend some time getting these ready in advance.
Even if you’re not a graphic designer, there are tools like Canva that make it easy to create banner images, email headers, and scroll-stopping social media images and ads.
Retarget Past Visitors and Customers
If you haven’t set up a Meta pixel yet, now’s the time to set one up. If you have one installed already, now’s the time to start putting it to good use.
The Meta Pixel is a piece of code that you put on your website or Shopify store that allows you to understand the actions people take on your website, allowing you to run more effective ads.
Not only can you use a Meta pixel to retarget people who’ve visited your website before and remind them about your BFCM sales, but you can also retarget people who have bought from you before.
Retargeting past customers is especially effective because they’re easier to reach and more likely to buy from you than a brand new customer, so make sure to include this step in your BFCM marketing strategy!
Step 3: Create an Exceptional Customer Experience
If increasing revenue and selling products is the first goal of BFCM, then turning those customers into repeat customers and loyal brand advocates should be the second goal.
Here’s how to prep for it:
Reward Existing Customers
A great way to increase the number of customers and subscribers in your database is to entice them with offers in advance of BFCM in order to access BFCM-specific deals and promotions.
By giving existing customers an opportunity to access a specific sale earlier or offering subscriber-exclusive deals, you can collect those all-important emails and increase your revenue even before the holiday begins.
Use Chat to Solve Customer Problems
Adding a chat feature to your website is a great way to solve and address customer’s issues and questions in a timely way, which increases the likelihood that they’ll buy from you even if they encounter an issue on the site or have some other problem.
Since you’ll likely have lots going on during BFCM, we suggest identifying some potential issues or questions and knowing how to answer or solve them. This could include:
- Details about BFCM sale item dimensions and materials
- How to get a specific discount code to work
- Shipping details
- Solving login or signup issues
If you’re expecting to have limited resources over the weekend you can always look at using an AI chatbot service like Intercom, but we suggest having a real human standing by to help people if possible to really enhance the customer service experience.
Don’t Sleep on Your DM’s
Chat is one thing, but a whopping 40% of consumers expect brands to problem-solve in the channels of their choice (e.g., Instagram Messenger) so make sure to have someone on your team checking all your channels. This could include (but isn’t limited to):
- Instagram comments and DMs
- Facebook comments and Messenger
- WhatsApp messages
McKinsey found that consumers spend 20-40% more with companies that are responsive to questions and complaints on social media, so investing in this level of customer support can make a massive difference in the amount of revenue you generate from BFCM,
Have a Process for Hassle-Free Returns
It’s inevitable that some customers are going to want to return what they bought during your BFCM sale — that’s just the nature of retail and ecommerce.
Offering a stress-free and literally free return process can also give you a competitive advantage: eCommerce Fastlane found that 79% of shoppers expect return shipping to be free, but only 49% of online retailers offer it.
This gives you a massive competitive advantage against other BFCM sellers, builds trust in your brand, and creates a positive and long-lasting relationship with your customers.
Make sure that your return policy is clear, fair, and is located throughout your website. Some of the best places to make this policy known include:
- Your Shipping & Return Policy page
- Your FAQ page
- On product pages
- In order notification and update emails
Step 4: Have a Year-Round Promotional Plan
BFCM is a great opportunity to boost revenue, move products, and attract new customers to your business — but now what? Let’s explore:
Nurture Seasonal Shoppers Into Regular Customers
Keep your BFCM customers engaged by maintaining an active and entertaining social media presence and leveraging all those email signups we talked about earlier.
Use these channels to remind them of all the other great products you have for sale, use your email lists to segment them into categories that you can promote specific products to based on what they bought during BFCM, and keep them engaged with other limited-time offers and sales.
If you weren’t able to capture their email during BFCM, don’t worry! Just make sure you installed that Meta pixel we talked about earlier so you can retarget them with ads based on what they viewed and bought (or didn’t buy).
Do a Debrief and Plan for The Future
Outside of revenue earned, BFCM is a great opportunity to test and experiment and look at what worked, and what didn’t.
Make sure to take notes, screenshots, and document your decisions and the outcomes they led to. These reports will give you a benchmark for next year, and will give you insights into image, caption, and audience targeting and behaviour data that you can leverage all year long, and if you’re a Starling Social client, we handle creating these reports for you so you don’t even have to do anything!
All The Best This BFCM!
BFCM can be a chaotic time, but by starting early and doing as much prep and planning in advance as you can, you can create a seamless start to the holiday season for your business and for your current and future customers.
If you’re looking for support with your BFCM campaigns (or just your digital marketing in general) be sure to drop us a line. We’re ready to help!
Looking for more handy resources? Check out this list of related topics:
- 10 Black Friday and Cyber Monday Strategy Ideas for Ecommerce Businesses
- 10 Tips to Make the Most Out of Your YouTube Advertising Strategy
- How to Develop a Google Ads Strategy That Gets Results
- How to Test (and Improve!) Your Instagram Ad Conversions
- by Alyson Shane
If you run a B2B (business-to-business) company, then generating new leads and increasing brand awareness is one of your top goals.
But with so much competition in the marketplace, it can feel overwhelming to find ways to continually stand out and showcase what makes you different.
Enter: webinars. An easy, inexpensive approach to reaching your target audience.
According to research from Zippia, a whopping 73% of webinar attendees become qualified leads, and over a dozen of Starling Social’s clients have decided to work with us after attending a workshop that I’ve delivered.
So I can say from experience that webinars can offer a great return on investment (ROI) — but before I dive into how to create a webinar and generate new leads, let’s talk about what a webinar is:
What Is A Webinar?
“Webinar” is a portmanteau of the words “web” and “seminar” and is exactly what it sounds like: a presentation, seminar, or workshop delivered digitally.
Usually a webinar consists of a subject matter expert (like me, or like you) sharing knowledge and insights with attendees.
Since webinars are delivered online there’s typically a series of slides to go along with the presentation, and a Q&A session afterward where attendees can clarify things they may not understand or might have extra questions about.
In my opinion, the biggest value-add of a webinar is the interactive element. Engaging with attendees throughout the presentation, and after during the Q&A, offers opportunities to showcase your knowledge, empower attendees, and keep them engaged from start to finish.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into how to create a webinar:
How to Create a Webinar: 10 Simple Steps
1. Start With Your Priorities
Webinars can cover lots of topics, but by identifying one specific topic that’s relevant to your target audience is the easiest way to create a webinar that has value and attracts participants.
If you’re not sure what to focus on, try doing some audience research. Here are a few steps to get started:
- Consider the most frequently asked questions your customers have. Use these questions as the basis of your webinar.
- Look at your social media content. Take a look at the posts that get the most engagement, comments, and shares and use these trends to guide the topic you choose.
- Use a tool like Quora or AnswerThePublic. Look at the discussions to see what people are asking about and choose a topic based on what you see.
Some webinars are high-level and cover a series of sub-topics under one umbrella, while some are super macro-level and hone in on exploring a single topic or theme.
The best way to decide on what to cover is to do your research, brainstorm as many topics as possible, and choose a topic that aligns with your strengths and interests.
2. Choose A Webinar Format
Knowing how you want to present your content in advance will make creating the webinar a million times faster.
Consider your personality and objectives, and take a look at these options before deciding:
This is the most common type of webinar. Presentation-style webinars are straightforward, with one person (you) speaking while slides, a video, or an audio file plays in the background.
Protip: keep your attendees engaged with polls, Q&A sessions, and group discussion sections. This allows people to share their experiences and creates a more cohesive group learning experience.
As the name suggests, this webinar style focuses on someone interviewing an industry expert who shares their knowledge and fields questions from attendees.
If you’re running the webinar then you’ll likely be the one doing the interview, so you’ll want to look for an interviewee who has at least one of these qualities:
- Someone at the forefront of their industry
- Someone with a lot of expertise in your field
- Someone with a lot of influence in your field
Webinars in this style are intended to show off a specific product or service and highlight its usefulness to potential customers.
Usually, the person running the webinar will do a screen share to show the products interface and functionality to attendees.
This type of webinar is great for converting people who may not be familiar with your product or service and converting them into a customer, or upselling existing customers who might not have known the benefits of using a specific feature.
The nice thing about this style of webinar is that you can create webinars for newbies (aka, people who might become customers) and convert existing customers by creating in-depth webinars that upsell aspects of the tool or service they might not already be taking advantage of.
Moderated Panel Discussion Webinars
As the title suggests, this style of webinar consists of a bunch of speakers talking about the same topic, moderated by someone (typically you, in this case).
Webinars in this style are great for bringing together a handful of industry experts and leaders so attendees can learn from all of them at once. They can also be a great way to extend your personal network by creating opportunities for others to shine and share their knowledge.
This is self-explanatory: the entire webinar is an opportunity for attendees to ask you questions in real-time and offers the chance at a dynamic learning environment.
3. Organize Your Tasks
The scope of your event depends largely on you and how aggressive you want to be, but here are a few tasks you’ll want to tackle (or assign to someone on your team):
Promotions: consider how you’ll be promoting your webinar. This can include email marketing, social media posts, social media ads, landing pages, etc.
Content: time to figure out what goes into the webinar! This task focuses on organizing the webinars themes, presenters, content (slides and talking points) and design.
Operations: make sure to have an email signup list created, a webinar presentation tool tested and ready to go, and follow-up tasks like “thank you” emails already scheduled to send to your list of attendees.
4. Pick a Webinar Tool
This can be as fancy or as simple as you want it to be!
Some webinars I’ve hosted have been through WebinarJam and GoToWebinar, which are great options but might not be ideal if this is your first time hosting a webinar.
My suggestion is to keep it simple, host the event through Zoom, and use screen sharing to share slides that are saved as a PDF (my favourite) or as a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation.
When choosing a tool, some things to keep in mind include:
- How many attendees do you expect?
- Do you plan to save a recording to share later?
- What’s your budget?
- How important is personalization and branding?
5. Plan Your Visuals
Visuals are one of the most important parts of your webinar! The content that shows on your screen not only helps emphasize what you’re saying, but can also provide additional context for attendees and act as reference material if they want to refer back to the slide after the webinar is over.
(This is up to you of course, but I always make my slides available after a webinar whether a recording is available or not. It’s just an extra value-add that helps attendees!)
Some webinar visual “do’s” include:
- Keep slide content high-level. Use bullet points, images, and charts and graphs to emphasize your points, but don’t make them super text-heavy. Some tips here include:
- Memes, gifs, and funny images. Surprise people and make attendees less likely to tune out.
- Use short paragraphs. Even your bulleted lists should be as short as possible.
- Lean into stats and data. People love numbers and including stats to back up what you’re saying can help attendees remember what you’re saying.
- Have a summary opening slide. This should list the topics you’ll be covering and any other essential information (date, time) and availability of the content once the webinar is over.
- Introduce yourself and other presenters. Don’t assume that attendees know everything about you! Use this as a chance to highlight your expertise and remind attendees why you’re the one they came to see.
6. Prepare the Space and Equipment
Make sure to choose a quiet space with a door that closes for your webinar, like a home office or a conference room. The last thing you want is for someone to come barging in during the middle of your presentation!
Equipment and connectivity also plays an important role in a successful webinar. Landlines are less likely to cut out during your talk, and headset microphones tend to cut out less often than wireless models, so consider using them if possible.
If you aren’t sitting at your desktop PC, make sure that your laptop is fully charged so you don’t disconnect in the middle of saying something important.
Lastly, make sure to use a high-quality camera and good lighting. This is your chance to shine, so make sure you and other presenters don’t look like potatoes. If you’re hosting the event with others, do a dry run a few days before to make sure everyone’s tech setup works, that there are no distractions in the background, and that they look as flattering as possible.
7. Create the Registration or Landing Page
Where your attendees register for your event depends a lot on your technical ability — some people prefer to use tools like Eventbrite, while others prefer to create specific landing pages on their own websites.
(Personally I like to do both. I create an Eventbrite event so it gets seen on that platform and connects with potential attendees there, and create a landing page on the Starling Social website so I can direct people to our website when promoting the webinar on my own feeds.)
No matter where you create the registration or landing page, it should include:
- A short summary of the webinar’s goals, including a few bullet points for readability.
- The host’s experience and relevant knowledge or expertise as it applies to the topic.
- The webinar’s time, date, and location.
- The time zone. I listed this separately because it’s an often-overlooked detail but is essential since people might not be tuning in from where you live.
8. Start Promoting Your Event
I typically wait until after the webinar is 99% ready to go before I start promoting it — this way I can speak to specific items I’ll be discussing and can tailor my marketing messaging to appeal to as many attendees as possible.
Ideally you want to give yourself three to five weeks of promotion before your webinar date, and should use as many promotional avenues as possible. This includes:
- Email marketing
- Organic marketing (like this blog post!) and social media
- Social media ads
- Website promo like popups, landing pages, and banners
Remember: the more work you do to promote your webinar, the more people will see it and potentially sign up to attend, so don’t skimp on this step!
Don’t skip this step! If you’re hosting a webinar with multiple people, it’s crucial to set aside an hour or so to run through the content and address any technical problems. Things to look for include:
- Audio issues and inconsistencies
- Video playback issues
- Framing and lighting
- Internet connectivity issues
Rehearsing is just as important if you’re hosting the webinar by yourself. It’s hard to be “on” when it’s just you talking to a screen, so I suggest running through your talk at least once before you deliver it so you sound natural and conversational
10. Deliver Your Webinar
The big day is here! Make sure all your presenters are on the call at least 15 minutes before the webinar is scheduled to start so you can test everyone’s mics and connections before your attendees start arriving.
After the webinar is over, send a follow-up email that includes the following:
- A thank-you note for attending
- A link to a recording or slides if they’re available
- A discount code or incentive to encourage conversions
Create a Webinar That Builds Your Audience and Gets Leads Today
As you can see, creating an effective webinar that converts isn’t as hard as it might seem!
By spending the time to build a webinar that caters to your target audience, you can create an engaging lead generation tool that excites and empowers attendees and turns them into leads, then clients, then return customers who keep coming back for more.
Sign Up for My Upcoming Webinars With Volunteer Manitoba!
If you’re in Manitoba, you can register for one of my three upcoming workshops with Volunteer Manitoba!
This series of workshop-style webinars “stack” your learning, so you can start one and build on your knowledge over the next two presentations, or jump in and register for the workshop that best meets your needs.
While these webinars will be tailored to a nonprofit audience the strategies and insights can be applied to organizations of all sizes and scopes, so if one of these topics appeals to you don’t wait to register!
October 19, 2023
09:00 AM to 12:00 PM CST
Exactly what it sounds like! This workshop is perfect for people who are looking to build their foundational knowledge of each social media platform, what makes them different, and how to think strategically about how to use them.
January 18, 2024
09:00 AM to 12:00 PM CST
Confession: this is my favourite workshop of this series! As a content marketer I love helping others think strategically about content!
This is a hands-on workshop designed to help you understand how to think about content for your digital marketing campaigns in a high-level, strategic way.
We’ll cover why content is important, different types of content and how they differ from each other, how to develop “content pillars”, and lots more.
February 15, 2024
09:00 AM to 12:00 PM CST
Another workshop that is exactly what it sounds like!
Email marketing is one of the most effective ways of connecting with your target audience and growing any business or nonprofit, and this workshop covers everything from list growth strategies, to content ideas, and lots more.
- by Alyson Shane
It’s no secret that podcasts are one of the most popular ways to consume media these days. According to data from DemandSage, 41% of people in the United States tune into a podcast every month, with 28% of the population tuning in weekly, so if you’re a regular podcast listener, you’re not alone!
Personally I like to listen to political podcasts, miniseries, and (of course) podcasts about digital marketing and marketing in general.
I’ve actually been listening to podcasts since 2006 when I got my first iPod Nano. I decked it out in a skin from TokiDoki like this one and would listen to them on the bus on my way to and from work. My commute was a minimum of 45 minutes each way, so I got a lot of listening in!
My obsession with podcasts has only gotten stronger over the years. I find them to be a great way to learn new things and stay up-to-date with the latest news and trends.
So today I’m going to be sharing some of my top marketing podcasts for 2023 so you can get your learning on, too!
How to Choose the Right Podcasts
Just like movies and music, choosing the right podcast is a highly personal decision, and with so many out there it can feel overwhelming to sift through them all and find the right one for you.
While I’ll be making some recommendations below, here are a few things to keep in mind when considering what to listen to:
Consider Your Listening Goals
Do you want to be inspired by your fellow marketers, or do you want to learn practical insights from case studies and niche topics?
Also consider whether you prefer interview-style content, or if you prefer lively banter between a couple of hosts. Personally I don’t like “acted” podcasts where it’s more like listening to a radio play, so I tend to tune these out.
Consider Your Preferred Format
When it comes to podcasts, format matters.
While podcasts are typically auto-first, you might find that you prefer to listen to podcast that also provide transcripts for accessibility, or that you prefer watching video versions because they can be more engaging.
Experiment with different styles and find what works for you!
Consider Extra Content
Lots of podcasts offer additional materials that can increase your learning experience. Some things to keep an eye out for include:
- Episode highlights
- Links to mentioned articles and resources
- Downloadable guides
- Blog post summaries
Consider the Hosts
The host’s personality and style can really make or break a podcast, and if you don’t connect with the host(s), chances are you won’t be listening to that podcast for long.
Personally I’ve found that this ties back into the podcast’s format more than anything; some hosts thrive doing interviews while some just want to chat it out, and what you wind up listening to really comes down to your personal preference.
Consider the Editing
The way a podcast is edited can really elevate the listening experience. Of course, the type of podcast editing that elevates your listening experience is highly personal, but some things that can really make or break a podcast include:
- Sharing previews of upcoming topics
- Using extra audio or musical clips to add context or atmosphere
- Using editing techniques that turn interviews into immersive journalism pieces
The 7 Best Marketing Podcasts of 2023
Now that we’ve talked about how to choose the right podcasts to subscribe to, let’s explore some of the best marketing podcasts out there:
Hosted by Mitch Joel
Confession: I started with this podcast because it’s my favourite. I’ve been listening to Six Pixels of Separation since 2007 and Mitch Joel’s insightful, thought-provoking interviews played a huge role in shaping how I think about my industry.
While some of the podcasts on this list are specific to a certain niche, what I like about Six Pixels is that it’s a bit all over the map. At first glance some of the topics might not seem 1:1 about marketing, but trust me — you’ll walk away from every episode having learned something new that will make you a better marketer.
Hosted by Buffer
If you’re looking for a quick, snackable podcast then don’t sleep on this essential listening from the team behind Buffer.
Most episodes are 10-15 minutes long, super straight and to-the-point, and tend to be focused on timely topics like the ideal TikTok length, algorithm optimization strategies, and more.
While new episodes aren’t published that regularly — right now they update about once a month — there are over 200 archived episodes to explore and the quality is excellent.
Hosted by Mikhail Myzgin
As someone who was around pre-social media and witnessed how digital marketing has leaned into big data and gamification (among other tactics) to keep audiences engaged, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t aware that there’s a dark side to my industry.
I’ve also studied philosophy and ethics, and think a lot about how to balance achieving our clients’ marketing goals without wading into ethically gray areas.
That’s why I love Ethics in Marketing: it offers a chance to think about how to make ethical decisions with our marketing strategies that are fair, kind, and respectful to our audiences. Episode topics range from how nonprofits can handle ethical dilemmas, to advertising and disinformation, to manipulation and dark patterns.
Hosted by Ralph Burns and Kasim Aslam
If you’re looking for a podcast with hands-on advertising strategies to attract and convert new leads that you can apply today, this is the podcast for you.
This podcast is great because it’s easy enough to understand that someone new to the industry can get a lot out of it, but the hosts and guests are subject matter experts so they’re able to go deep on a variety of topics and pull insightful suggestions and pieces of wisdom out of every conversation.
If you’re looking to learn more about the nitty gritty of social media ads, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and how to build a robust, competitive ad strategy that gets results, you won’t want to miss this one.
5. Hidden Brain
Hosted by Shankar Vedantam
Okay, this podcast isn’t actually about marketing, specifically, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve a spot on this list.
I’ve been listening to this podcast for years and first became interested in it because it explores “the unconscious patterns that drive human behaviour” and (as you may have noticed) I like to apply a multi-faceted understanding to my work as a marketer. After all, I’m marketing to humans, so understanding our behaviour and motivations helps me do that more effectively.
Topics covered on this podcast range from compulsive consumption, the psychology of self-doubt, how stories help us make sense of the world, and much more.
Hosted by Simon Sinek
This is another podcast that isn’t specifically about digital marketing, but offers conversations and thoughtful insights that can help shape the way you do business, think about your brand and industry, and provide inspiration for creative success.
I love this podcast because it reminds me that my life is so much more than just the work I do. I’m a creative person and I get to run a company that allows me to enjoy creative freedom, flexibility, and to continue to grow personally and professionally while doing something I enjoy.
Hosted by Tod Maffin
Back to basics with this one! This daily podcast gives you a quick, 10-minute-or-so rundown of what’s been happening in the world of digital marketing.
From the latest Twitter/X drama, to updates and feature rollouts, changes to policies, and more across the largest social media platforms, this podcast is a must-listen for those of us who want to stay at the bleeding edge of strategy and results.
Hosted by Michael Stelzner
Here’s another podcast that’s been around for ages, which in my view speaks to its importance and usefulness for people in my industry.
This podcast is one of several offered by the folks at Social Media Examiner, and don’t let the cutesy aesthetic of their website and brand fool you — these folks are some of the savviest out there, and their website and podcast have been a go-to for me for years.
Each weekly episode runs about 45 minutes and provides a deep dive into new skills, strategies, and tactics to get the most out of your efforts. Michael also does interviews with industry leaders, breaks down algorithm changes and updates so you can be agile in your approach to each platform, and lots more.
Build Your Digital Marketing Skills Today!
By listening to these podcasts (or just a handful, I know the list is pretty comprehensive) you can elevate your skills as a digital marketer and easily stay in-the-know about the latest industry news.
If you’re more of a reader, you can subscribe to Starling Social’s weekly digital marketing newsletter. Each week I choose the most timely news and resource articles and sum it up in a short, snappy email that you get every Tuesday morning (because nobody wants more emails on a Monday). You can sign up for next week’s send here.
Ready to take those digital marketing to-do’s off your plate? We can help! Click here to learn more about Starling Social’s managed digital marketing services.
- by Alyson Shane
YouTube: the platform that probably needs no introduction. As the world's biggest video platform with billions of users worldwide, YouTube offers a vibrant community where content creators and businesses can connect, express themselves, and engage with audiences on a global scale.
With a user-friendly interface, personalized recommendations, and interactive features, YouTube has carved out an important place as part of our modern digital culture.
Content on the platform shapes our culture, starts trends, discussions, and offers up a space for people to express themselves and connect at a global scale.
What is YouTube Advertising and Why is it Important?
From a business perspective, you might be wondering: what does YouTube offer me?
While there are lots of ways to leverage YouTube videos as part of your content strategy (more on that in a future post) one of the best ways for brands to use the platform is through YouTube Advertising.
What is YouTube Advertising?
YouTube Advertising allows advertisers to create customized ads that can be seen by millions of people around the world.
With YouTube Ads, you can target specific audiences based on their demographics, interests, and other factors. There are also several options available (which we go into below) so you can experiment with different kinds of ads to see what works best.
But before we go into how to create engaging YouTube video ads, let’s dig into some recent updates to the platform’s advertising features:
The Latest Updates in YouTube Advertising
Advertising on YouTube is a totally different landscape than social media or pay-per-click (PPC) ads. These ads have unique constraints and a variety of options that aren’t available on other platforms, so it’s important to have at least a basic understanding of how the platform works.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the latest changes Google (who own YouTube) have introduced:
Enhanced Brand Safety Measures
One of the biggest risks to advertising is the risk of having your ad shown next to offensive, sensitive, or problematic content, but YouTube’s been hard at work to make sure this doesn’t happen.
As of November 2022 the platform has introduced "clearer language" and "specific guidelines" to ensure ads aren’t placed on adult content, violent or dangerous acts, sensitive events, videos with inappropriate language, and drug-related content.
Precise Targeting with User Search History
The platform allows advertisers to target viewers based not just on their YouTube viewing behaviours, but also on their Google search history. This means you can now target ads at people who have recently searched for a specific product or service.
By aligning the content of your video ad with a viewer's recent searches, you can increase the likelihood of them watching the entire ad or clicking through to your website.
Embracing Audio Ads
Podcasts are some of the most hotly-consumed content online (41% of people in the US tune into a podcast every month, alone) and as a result audio-only content has become increasingly more popular.
As a result, Google has introduced audio-only ads for YouTube.
While starting with video ads is recommended, audio ads can be a useful addition to your ad library once you've developed your brand voice and have the data to know what kind of messaging resonates most with your audience.
Improved Data Attribution Models
If you know us you know we love data, which is why we love how much Google has improved its ability to measure user engagement with YouTube ads.
Using the analytics dashboard, you can learn about important details like your cost-per-conversion and gain insights into the performance of your YouTube ads alongside your Search and Shopping ads' reports.
YouTube Advertising Cost and Value
YouTube ad costs are based on views, with each view typically ranging between $0.05 and $0.10, depending on your industry and target keywords.
Compared to traditional Google Search, where the average cost per click is estimated to be between $1 - $2 per click depending on your industry, YouTube offers a cost-effective way to target your audience with engaging video or audio content.
10 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your YouTube Ads
1. Define Clear Objectives
Before jumping into YouTube advertising feet-first you need to to establish clear objectives.
Ask yourself: What do you want to achieve?
Take the time to decide what a “successful” campaign looks like. Whether it's increasing brand awareness, driving website traffic, generating leads, or boosting conversions, having a well-defined goal will guide your strategy and help you measure your campaign's effectiveness.
2. Develop an Effective Targeting Strategy
You need to show your ads to the right people in order for them to be effective.
This is known as “ad targeting” and should always be the first step in developing any kind of ad campaign. Here’s how to get started:
Know Your Target Audience
You need to know your target audience inside and out in order to create engaging and relevant ad content. This means doing research into their preferences, interests, and demographics before you even consider creating any ads.
Identifying details like their age, gender, location, and other relevant factors allows you to tailor your content to speak to them and resonate with their needs.
If you already publish content to your own YouTube channel, you can use YouTube Analytics to tap into that treasure trove of data and learn things like your audience’s viewing habits, engagement levels, and the demographics of who watch your videos.
Targeting the Right Users
YouTube offers a variety of targeting options to help you narrow down and reach the specific audience you want to engage with. Make sure to include relevant keywords and optimize your video titles, descriptions, and tags to increase visibility and attract the right users.
Collaborating with influencers or partnering with channels that share a similar target audience (more on this below!) can also be an effective way to reach a broader set of potential viewers.
Understanding YouTube's User Demographics
YouTube has a diverse user base, and understanding its demographics will go a long way to executing a successful YouTube Ads strategy.
Review the demographics of the platform like age groups, gender distribution, and geographical locations of users to tailor your content accordingly.
For example, if your target audience is largely young adults, create content that aligns with their interests and jumping on trending content and themes can help your ads stand out.
2. Choose the Right Types of Ads
YouTube offers several types of ad formats, meaning that you can strategically promote your content, products, or services to your target audience.
Take a look at this list and ask: which of these options would work best for my brand?
TrueView ads are a flexible and user-friendly advertising option. With TrueView in-stream ads, you can engage users before they watch the video they want to see.
You can show your ad at the start, or partway through the video. These ads give viewers the option to skip after a few seconds, meaning you only pay when users decide to watch the entire ad.
TrueView discovery ads appear as thumbnail images along with related videos or in YouTube search results, which encourages viewers to click and explore your content further.
Bumper ads are short, non-skippable video ads that last up to six seconds.
These ads are a great way to deliver a tight, targeted message to viewers and make a lasting impression.
Bumper ads work best when you want to create brand awareness or share a quick teaser that encourages the viewer to learn more.
Display ads on YouTube are banners that show up on the right side of the video or above the video suggestions list and offer an opportunity to promote your brand, products, or services while viewers are browsing or watching videos.
These ads can be static images or animated GIFs, allowing you to grab viewers' attention and drive traffic to your website or landing page.
Overlay ads appear as transparent overlay banners at the bottom of a video and can be either text-based, or display images. They offer a non-intrusive way to deliver your message while keeping the focus on the video content.
These ads offer more information and are generally used to encourage viewers to take a specific action.
3. Craft Compelling Video Ads
Your video ads need to capture attention and tell a compelling story.
Start with a strong hook within the first few seconds to catch viewers’ attention and encourage them to keep watching.
Keep your message concise, focus on the benefits, and showcase what makes your product or service unique.
Don't forget to include a clear call-to-action that encourages viewers to take the next step that you want them to take!
4. Optimize for Mobile
70% of all YouTube views come from a mobile device, so optimizing your ads for mobile is essential.
Make sure your ads have eye-catching graphics, include clear easy to understand language, and engage viewers even on smaller screens.
We also recommend considering vertical video formats (which look best on mobile screens) and subtitles or captions can make your content even more accessible.
5. Leverage Targeting Options
Take advantage of demographic targeting, interests, and affinity audiences to deliver your ads to people who are most likely to be interested in what you offer.
You should also consider utilizing custom intent audiences, which allow you to target viewers based on their search history and recent online activities.
6. Test and Iterate
The honest truth about advertising (and a lot of marketing in general) is that it often takes testing and iterating on an idea to get it right - and YouTube ads are no exception.
Experiment with different ad formats, messaging, targeting options, and calls-to-action to learn what works best with your audience.
Make sure to analyze the performance of your campaigns and make data-driven optimizations to continually improve your results.
7. Monitor Your Ad Performance
We say this all the time but it bears repeating: don’t “set and forget” your ads!
Keep a close eye on your performance metrics to understand what's working and what needs to be adjusted.
Track key metrics on a per-ad basis like the view-through rate, click-through rate, engagement rate, and conversions.
8. Consider Remarketing
Remarketing allows you to re-engage with users who have already interacted with your brand or shown interest in your products or services.
By delivering personalized messaging to users who are already familiar with your brand, you can increase the likelihood of conversions and maximize your advertising efforts.
9. Collaborate with Influencers
Partnering with YouTube influencers can offer a big boost to your brand's visibility and credibility.
Identify influencers within your niche whose audience align with your target audience and work with them to create engaging, authentic content that introduces your products and services to a wider audience.
10. Measure ROI and Adjust Budget
This ties into our earlier point about monitoring your ads, but by continuously looking at the return on investment (ROI) of your YouTube Ads, you can quickly make adjustments to your budget based on how your campaigns are doing.
By staying engaged with your campaigns and taking an “agile” approach (vs. the “set it and forget it” approach we talked about above) you can get the best bang for your advertising buck.
Elevate Your YouTube Ads Today
As we’ve seen, YouTube advertising presents a powerful opportunity to connect with your audience, drive engagement, and achieve your marketing objectives.
By staying informed, creative, and adaptable, you can stay ahead of the curve and make the most of this powerful advertising platform. And hey - if all of this is sounding like a lot of work (and, trust us, it is) we’d be happy to help.
- by Alyson Shane
Whether you manage your own digital marketing or you’re a manager with a team to lead, it’s easy to let your marketing tasks pile up and for quality to slip when things get busy.
If this sounds familiar, then it might be time to consider outsourcing to an agency partner!
What Does Outsourcing Your Digital Marketing Look Like?
Outsourcing is the process of hiring external service providers to perform specific tasks for your business. It can be a great way to save time and money, as well as help you focus on what you do best.
By outsourcing certain marketing roles like social media content creation and publishing, content writing, or SEO, you can free up resources to reinvest in other areas of your business that will help drive growth.
As a result, not only does outsourcing allow your business scale faster, but it also helps it stay competitive in their respective industries.
Whether you’re a small business owner who’s tired of trying to do everything themselves, or a Marketing Manager looking for ways to help your team focus on more important tasks, outsourcing to an agency is a great (and affordable!) option.
In this post we’ll be looking at the top 5 roles to consider outsourcing so you can make the best choice for yourself and your digital marketing:
1. Social Media Management - How to Find the Right Agency for the Job
Social media is an essential part of any business’ digital marketing strategy, but it’s also one of the most time-consuming parts, too.
Effective social media campaigns need to be founded on strategy and deep understanding of your brand in order for them to be properly managed and executed - and that’s just the high-level part!
Social media managers are also responsible for:
- Content planning and creation
- Coordinating creating Reels, TikToks and video content
- Community engagement
- Campaign management
- Performance tracking
Because social media management is so time-consuming, it’s often the first thing that businesses look to outsource to a partner.
The Top Benefits of Outsourcing Social Media Marketing
Tapping Into Industry Expertise
It can be hard to keep up with the latest digital marketing trends and platform changes, which is why outsourcing this role can be such a boon for a business.
Social media managers need to be up-to-date with the latest algorithm updates, changes to video and image specs, character length changes, hashtag updates… and more!
Their job is to stay current and apply their knowledge to your social media strategy so you don’t have to.
Time and Resource Savings
Managing social media channels is time-consuming, effort, and resources.
By outsourcing this role, you can free up your internal team to focus more pressing tasks and deliverables while the experts handle your social media presence. This helps your team be more agile, less reactive, and ultimately more productive.
Consistent and Engaging Content
One of the biggest assets to outsourcing your social media marketing is knowing that you’ll always have a consistent posting schedule, no matter how busy you are.
Social media managers also have deep knowledge of the kind of content that will resonate with your audience and create positive associations with your brand, and will work hard to iterate and keep finding new ways to engage with your audience.
Effective social media management is more than just posting consistently. A worthwhile outsourcing partner will be consistently looking at key performance indicators (KPIs) and engagement levels with your content to improve results over time.
By looking at the data and submitting regular progress reports, your social media manager can share their results, explain their thinking, and give you opportunities to discuss and make decisions based on data, not just gut feelings.
(P.S. Did you know that Starling Social offers monthly reporting as part of all our service packages? Click here to learn more!)
How to Find the Right Outsourcing Partner
Here’s the tea: most marketers can talk the talk, but are they also walking the walk?
One of the easiest ways to see if the agency you’re considering is going to be able to deliver effective social media management services for you is to look at things like:
- Their social media presence. Do they have public profiles on the major platforms that are well-maintained?
- The posts they publish. Do they seem like they keep up with the latest trends and changes?
- The content they share. Does it feel like they’re showcasing expertise, or just posting generic content to keep the lights on?
2. SEO - How to Identify Quality SEO Providers for Maximum Results
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps to increase website visibility and rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs) which lead to more organic traffic and conversions, making it is another essential component of any digital marketing campaign.
But with so many SEO providers out there, it can be hard to know which one is the right choice for your business. Here are four things to look for:
Experience and Expertise
SEO is constantly changing, so look for an SEO partner with a proven track record and extensive experience in their field. Don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials or for their input on the latest strategies to make sure their approach is up-to-date.
A Transparent and Ethical Approach
Choose an SEO partner that follows ethical “white hat” SEO practices and maintains transparency throughout the process.
They should be open about their approach, provide regular progress reports, and offer clear communication channels.
Avoid partners that engage in black hat tactics, as these can lead to penalties and damage your website's reputation.
Every website is unique, which means an SEO strategy should have requirements, goals, and target audiences specific to your business and website’s needs.
A reliable SEO partner will take the time to understand your business and develop tailored strategies to meet your needs. This should start with a comprehensive website audit, competitor analysis, and keyword research to create an effective SEO plan that aligns with your objectives.
Measurable Results and Reporting
Look for an SEO partner that uses data-driven decision-making and provides measurable results.
They should have tools and systems in place to track keyword rankings, organic traffic, conversion rates, and other relevant metrics.
Regular reporting and analysis of these metrics will help you gauge the effectiveness of their SEO efforts, make informed decisions, and understand the return on investment (ROI) of your ad spend.
3. Copywriting - Outsourcing Content Creation to a Copywriting Expert
One of the fastest ways to amplify the ROI of your marketing efforts is to outsource your content creation to a copywriting expert.
Professional copywriters are experienced in creating content for the web, including blogs, newsletters, whitepapers, website copy, and more. They’ll take the time to understand your business and create compelling content that engages readers and resonates with your audience.
What to Look For When Outsourcing Copywriting?
If you aren’t a professional writer yourself, it can feel overwhelming to figure out how to choose the right copywriting partner to outsource your needs to.
Here are a few things to look for:
Ask for work samples from a handful of clients in different industries. Seeing examples will help you get a sense of how the writer can tailor their work to different businesses and industries.
Different kinds of content
Don’t just stick to one kind of work sample - ask for blogs, newsletters, and other kinds of content to get a sense of the range the copywriter is able to achieve.
Voice and tone
Does their copy sound wooden and stiff, or is it approachable and easy to understand?
General advice is that copy for the web should be written for an 8th grade reading level, so when reviewing work samples, ask: is this written in a way that anyone can understand, or does it include a lot of jargon?
4. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising — How to Choose The Best PPC Partner
PPC advertising is the process of advertising on search engines like Google and Bing. With this type of advertising, you only get charged when someone clicks on your ad (hence the name, Pay-Per-Click).
PPC advertising is a highly targeted type of marketing that plays an important role in driving people who are looking specifically for your product or service to your website.
Unfortunately, PPC advertising is complicated and has a steep learning curve to create and manage effective campaigns — this isn’t a “set it and forget it” kind of marketing!
Elements of a Successful PPC Campaign
Whether you’re new to PPC or you’ve tried to manage your own, there are a few key elements of a successful PPC campaign that any outsourcing partner should be familiar with:
The process involves embedding conversion tracking codes on your website to track actions that align with your campaign goals, like form submissions, purchases, or downloads.
Your PPC outsourcing partner will then use this data to better understand user behaviour, which types of keyword combinations are working best, and will make adjustments based on the data.
Your PPC partner should regularly check their Google Analytics and Google Ads dashboards to monitor website traffic, user activity, and engagement metrics.
A competent PPC expert shouldn’t just apply what they see to your campaigns; they should also be proactive in helping you update and optimize your website to rank higher, earn better scores with Google, and ultimately increase conversions.
Like we said, this isn’t a “set it and forget it” kind of campaign! Regularly review performance reports provided by your PPC agency partner.
Pay attention to key metrics like click-through rates, cost per click, conversion rates, and cost per conversion. These reports will help you understand the effectiveness of your campaigns and identify areas for improvement.
PPC is one type of ad campaign where A/B testing isn’t just recommended - it’s essential!
Making sure your PPC outsourcing partner is A/B testing to compare different elements of your PPC campaigns will help you better-understand differences in ad copy, visuals, landing pages, or call-to-action statements.
This experimentation allows you to identify the most effective strategies and make data-backed decisions to optimize your campaigns.
(P.S. Did you know that Starling Social’s resident PPC expert has been running campaigns since Yahoo! was the main search engine? That means we’ve got decades of experience under our belt and are ready to help you build effective campaigns!)
Advantages of Outsourcing Your PPC
It probably comes as no surprise that there are several advantages to outsourcing your PPC campaigns, including:
Expertise and Specialization
As we’ve been saying: PPC campaigns are complicated, so outsourcing your advertising to a seasoned professional can mean the difference between a wanted budget, and a well-optimized one that gets results.
Your PPC partner will also do the “leg work” of staying updated with the latest trends, strategies, and tools to ensure your ads are highly targeted and optimized for maximum impact.
Cost and Time Savings
PPC campaigns are probably the most hands-on kinds of ads you can run, requiring constant monitoring, optimization, and analysis.
By outsourcing these tasks, you save valuable time and resources by working with partners who already have the necessary tools and resources to efficiently manage your campaigns.
This reduces costs associated with in-house hiring, training, and campaign management, saving you even more money in the long run.
Advanced Targeting and Ad Optimization
A seasoned PPC expert will excel in audience targeting and ad optimization.
Before even touching your campaigns, they’ll spend time researching to identify relevant keywords, demographics, and geographic targeting parameters to reach your ideal audience.
As the campaigns progress, they’ll also perform A/B testing, ad copy optimization, and landing page optimization to maximize conversion rates.
Performance Tracking and Reporting
We’ve said this before but it bears repairing, especially when it comes to PPC campaigns:
An agency or outsourcing partner who doesn’t submit monthly reports is doing you a disservice.
PPC campaigns are complicated and require a lot of attention and updating, so your PPC partner should be able to show what they’re doing each month, as well and provide you with changes, trends, and opportunities for consideration in order to make your campaigns more successful.
5. Social Media Advertising — Finding a Trustworthy Social Media Ads Partner
Social media advertising is pretty self-explanatory: it’s the process of promoting your brand, products, or services through paid advertisements on various social media platforms.
This type of advertising offers unparalleled opportunities to reach a highly targeted audience, increase brand awareness, drive website traffic, and generate leads or sales. Other benefits include being cost-effective and allowing you to reach a diverse range of people who might be interested in your products or services.
Why Outsource Your Social Media Advertising?
While social media ads aren’t quite as complicated as PPC advertising, there are still several reasons why outsourcing your social media ads management is a good idea. These include:
Expertise and Industry Knowledge
Running ads on Facebook or Instagram is different from running ads on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, or TikTok, and your outsourcing partner should be able to explain the differences between them, as well as be up-to-date on the latest changes to each platform’s advertising rules and specifications.
Time and Resource Efficiency
Managing social media ad campaigns takes time, effort, and resources to set up, optimize, and adjust throughout the life of the campaign.
By outsourcing these tasks, you can spend your time and resources focusing on managing your business or your team without having to worry about the status of your campaigns.
Targeting and Ad Optimization
Your social media ads partner will understand how to use advanced targeting techniques, be able to advise you on the best types of ads to run on a per-platform basis.
They’ll also be able to help you craft compelling ads with the right formats, visuals, and copy to stop users mid-scroll and encourage them to engage with your ads.
Free Up Your To-Do List! Start Outsourcing Your Marketing Today
By outsourcing your digital marketing tasks like social media management, SEO, copywriting, pay-per-click advertising, and social media advertising, you can free up valuable time and resources to focus on the big picture.
Not only can you sleep easily knowing that your digital marketing is taken care of, but you can enjoy the benefits that come with dedicated expertise, transparent reporting and collaboration, and a commitment to helping your business grow and achieve its goals.
Ready to hand off those overwhelming digital marketing tasks and focus on more important things? Drop us a line, we’re onboarding new clients right now.
- by Alyson Shane
Understanding your customers is a crucial aspect of running a successful business. Knowing who your customers are can help you tailor your marketing messages, products, and services to their specific needs, preferences, and interests.
Fortunately, with the help of software, you can easily find out who your customers are and what they like.
In this article, we'll explore some tools that you can use to research your customers from social media, email campaigns, and website activity.
Social Media Analytics Tools
Social media is a treasure trove of customer data, and social media analytics tools can help you extract insights from your followers and audience.
These tools provide in-depth analytics on your social media followers, such as their demographics, location, and interests.
You can also use these tools to monitor conversations about your brand and industry on social media, which can provide valuable insights into what your customers are talking about and what they care about.
Email Campaign Analytics Tools
If you run email campaigns, you can use email campaign analytics tools to track your subscribers' behaviour and preferences.
Some popular email campaign analytics tools include:
These tools provide data on how your subscribers engage with your emails, such as open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates.
You can also use these tools to segment your email list based on various criteria, such as demographics, behaviour, and preferences, which can help you tailor your messages to specific groups of customers.
Website Analytics Tools
Your website is another valuable source of customer data, and website analytics tools can help you track your visitors' behaviour and preferences.
Some popular website analytics tools include:
These tools provide data on your website traffic, such as the number of visitors, their location, and their behaviour on your site.
You can also use these tools to track specific events on your site, like clicks on certain buttons or pages, which can help you understand how your customers interact with your site and what they're looking for.
Start Getting to Know Your Customers Today!
Understanding your customers is essential for running a successful business.
You can gather valuable data on your customers' demographics, behaviour, and preferences by using social media analytics tools, email campaign analytics tools, and website analytics tools.
This information can help you tailor your marketing messages, products, and services to your customer's specific needs and interests, leading to higher customer satisfaction, loyalty, and sales.
So, if you haven't already, consider using these tools to research your customers and unlock the power of customer insights. Need help doing a deep dive? Drop us a line!
- by Alyson Shane
It’s here! Meta’s long-awaited Twitter competitor, Threads, launched late last night and already got over 30 million sign ups as of this morning.
Some people are speculating that Meta moved up the app’s launch because Elon Musk sent Twitter users fleeing from the platform after he announced that Twitter would limit the amount of tweets a user can see in a day
Things are moving quickly right now, but as of *checks watch* 12 PM CST, here’s what you need to know:
What is Threads by Meta?
Threads is Meta’s competitor to Twitter and is connected to your Instagram account.
The app is linked to your Instagram account and your feed will include posts from people you follow, as well as recommendations based on what the algorithm thinks you’ll like.
(Protip: if you want to start tailoring your feed, just “hide” posts from accounts you don’t follow and don’t want to see. The earlier you do this, the faster the algorithm can learn!)
Will Threads Stick Around?
So far it looks like it will, thanks to some smart moves from the Instagram team.
The trick to Threads’ immediate success is that even though it’s technically a standalone app, it’s connected to Instagram and allows you to add your existing contacts in under a minute by using the “auto-follow” button.
Goodbye, slow follower growth! Now you’ve got a brand new community made up (mostly, more on that below) of people you already follow.
Should Your Brand be on Threads?
YES. As Twitter tanks and a new platform to showcase your brand’s personality emerges, it’s critical to claim your account and start posting asap.
How is Threads Different?
A Different Value Proposition from Twitter
Threads is a place to share your personality, your thoughts, spicy memes and hot takes. It’s a laid-back place (think Twitter circa 2010).
Threads Offers More Ownership Over Your Content
Unlike some other social platforms, Adam Mosseri has stated that Threads is committed to building support for ActivityPub, the protocol behind Mastodon.
So if you wind up leaving Threads, you can take your content with you.
High-Level Details About Threads
Below are a few things to keep in mind as you start getting your footing on the platform:
- Posts can be up to 500 characters long and can include links, videos, gifs, and video
- Videos can be up to five minutes long
- You can switch between light and dark mode in the app
- Hashtags are currently not available, but a post from Adam Mosseri confirmed that hashtags are coming, so stay tuned for those
- You can post gifs (just open your Gipfy app and copy/paste)
- Currently you can’t switch between accounts - you need to log out and back in
- No DMs (so far)
- Right now your feed is a combination of a For You page and accounts the algorithm thinks you’ll like
- People are using a conversational, personal tone. Don’t sound all “B2B” please!
What’s a Good First Thread?
Introduce yourself! Something as simple as “Hello world, we’re ____” is great, but including a picture of yourself, your team, or your pets is even better.
Remember: this is your chance to start developing your brand’s identity on the platform, so don’t be afraid to let your freak flag shine and be casual, silly, and even a little weird if that’s your jam.
What’s a Good Threads Strategy?
The challenge brands face on the platform is that most of your initial followers will be coming from Instagram, so they’ll be used to seeing photo and video-based content.
With that in mind, at this stage we recommend that brands take a similar approach to their Twitter content strategy: primarily text-based, using emojis to break up text, and include urls in your posts.
From there, you’ll want to start experimenting with your top-performing photo content from other platforms… but don’t overdo it, especially this early on! Users are very sensitive to brands getting overly salesy and shoehorning content 1:1 in from other apps.
So for now (at least), avoid repurposing your Reels and TikToks.
What About Mastodon, Spill, Hive and all the rest?
Honestly? RIP to those platforms. Threads ate their lunch because the platform launched with audiences already built in, cutting out the effort of trying to build up a following from scratch.
These platforms don’t have enough differentiating factors to attract users away from Twitter or Threads. So while it’s still advisable to claim your brand’s name on every new social network, we don’t recommend spending time making content there. Stick to your existing platforms and Threads.
What Else Should You Know About Threads?
Who knows! Right now it’s kind of a Wild West (and we’re here for it) — one of the best parts about our industry is that it’s always changing, so we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for the latest updates and sharing them in our weekly newsletter.
For more updates (and spicy memes and hot takes) give us a follow on Threads.