Posts by Alyson Shane

How To Create a Webinar That Gets Leads in 10 Easy Steps

- 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:

Presentation Webinars

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.

Interview Webinars

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

Product-Based Webinars

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.

Q&A

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!

9. Rehearse!

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!

Social Media Basics for Nonprofits

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.

Register here.

Content Creation Workshop: Unlocking the Power of Strategic Content

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.

Register here.

Email Marketing for Nonprofits

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.

Register here.


 

The Top 7 Digital Marketing Podcasts of 2023

- 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
  • Timestamps
  • 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:

1. Six Pixels of Separation

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.

2. The Science of Social Media

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.

3. Ethics in Marketing

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.

4. Perpetual Traffic

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.

6. A Bit of Optimism

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.

7. Today in Digital Marketing

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. 

Bonus: The Social Media Marketing Podcast

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.


 

10 Tips to Make the Most Out of Your YouTube Advertising Strategy

- 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

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

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

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

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.


 

5 Essential Marketing Roles You Should Outsource Today to Boost Your Business Growth

- 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.

Data-Driven Strategies

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.

Customized Strategies

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:

Work Samples

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:

Conversion Tracking

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.

Analytics 

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.

Performance Reporting

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.

A/B Testing

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.


 

How to Find Out Who Your Customers Are (and How to Get to Know Them Better)

- 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.

Some popular tools for social media research include Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Buffer

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!


 

Threads by Meta: Everything You Need to Know

- 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.


 

The Ultimate Guide for Law Firms on Instagram

- by Alyson Shane

Today, social media is a must-have for law firms to boost their online presence, connect with clients, and attract new business opportunities. 

Platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn have been popular options for years, but Instagram has become a powerful tool for law firm marketing in recent years for a variety of reasons.

Instagram's unique blend of video and image-based content makes it a perfect place to showcase your firm's values, expertise, and success stories, and connect with both potential clients and employees.

In this blog post, we'll explore some key strategies and techniques to effectively use Instagram as a marketing tool for your law firm.

Establishing an Engaging Instagram Presence

Start by creating a professional Instagram profile that reflects your law firm's brand. Use a high-quality profile picture and write an interesting bio that communicates your firm's expertise and what makes you unique.

Consistent branding, tone, and visuals will help you build credibility and attract followers, so consider how to use elements like Stories Highlights to tell deeper stories about the firm, what it's like to work there, and the kind of work you do.

Create Eye-Catching Content

Instagram is a platform where being creative can pay off in spades. 

Think about creating eye-catching graphics, videos, and infographics that offer valuable legal insights, answer common legal questions, or showcase recent case successes. Don't be afraid to play with colour, different template types and video cuts, and jump on trending Reels that fit the firm's brand.

Enhance your posts with thought-provoking captions and questions to increase engagement, and use targeted hashtags that help users who fit your ideal follower profile or live in your area find you.

Humanizing Your Firm

Instagram gives you a chance to show the human side of your firm by sharing the personalities and stories behind its legal expertise. 

Give glimpses behind the scenes of your firm's culture, introduce your team members, highlight community involvement, and talk about philanthropic initiatives. This helps build trust, create personal connections, and set your firm apart from the competition.

Use Client Testimonials as Social Proof

User-generated content (UGC) can be a powerful tool for law firms to increase brand reach and credibility. 

Encourage your clients and followers to share their positive experiences with your firm and tag your Instagram handle in their posts. 

Repost and acknowledge these testimonials, client success stories, or reviews on your firm's feed. 

Grow Your Community

Engaging with potential clients and industry influencers can help expand your reach and establish your law firm as a reliable authority.

Regularly interact with your followers by responding to comments, direct messages, and mentions. Join legal conversations, provide concise legal advice where appropriate, and share your expertise in response to relevant inquiries. 

Collaborate with Influencers

Partnering with influencers can be a great way to amplify your firm's reach and visibility, and increase brand awareness with a wider audience.

Identify influencers in the legal or related industries who have a significant following and share your firm's values. 

Collaborate with them to create content, conduct interviews, or host live discussions to share insights and expertise.

Run Targeted Instagram Ads

Instagram advertising can help law firms reach a more specific audience and generate leads. 

Use Instagram's ad targeting features to tailor your ads to specific demographics, locations, or interests relevant to your target audience. 

Promote content like legal guides, webinars, or upcoming events to actively engage potential clients. Make sure to regularly monitor your ad performance and make adjustments to optimize their effectiveness.

Instagram has evolved into a valuable marketing platform for law firms, offering a unique opportunity to connect with clients, showcase expertise, and stand out from the competition. 

Now that we've talked about how to get started on the platform, let's dig into one of the most valuable ways your firm can use Instagram: as a tool for recruiting and retention!

How Law Firms Can Use Instagram for Recruiting and Retention

In addition to its marketing potential, Instagram can be a valuable tool for law firms when it comes to recruiting and retaining top talent, especially among the younger generation who are active users of the platform. 

By leveraging Instagram's features and engaging with potential candidates, your firm can enhance its recruitment efforts and use the platform to showcase a positive and engaging work environment that fosters employee satisfaction and retention. 

Not sure how to get started? Try these tips:

Showcase Firm Culture and Values

Think about the best aspects of working at your firm and use them as the pillars of your content strategy on the platform.

Share photos and videos highlighting team-building activities, social events, community involvement, and any unique perks or benefits that set your firm apart. 

You can attract candidates who resonate with your firm's values by portraying an inclusive, collaborative, and supportive work atmosphere.

Share Attorney Spotlights and Success Stories

Highlighting the accomplishments and stories of your attorneys can be an effective way to attract talent and establish your firm's credibility. 

Create regular attorney spotlights that delve into their professional achievements, career progression, and notable cases. 

Showcase diverse career paths and success stories to demonstrate growth opportunities within your firm. This type of content appeals to potential candidates and reinforces a sense of pride and loyalty among existing employees.

Engage with Law Students and Young Professionals

Law students and young professionals often turn to Instagram for networking and career insights. 

Engaging with this demographic by sharing valuable resources, hosting Q&A sessions, or providing career advice can help your firm build relationships and attract promising talent. 

Consider partnering with law schools, legal organizations, or influential legal professionals to provide internship opportunities, mentorship programs, or educational content. This proactive engagement demonstrates your firm's commitment to fostering the growth and development of aspiring legal professionals.

Share Employee Takeovers and Behind-the-Scenes Content

Empower your staff to take over your firm's Instagram account for a day to provide an authentic look into their roles and workdays. 

This behind-the-scenes content gives potential candidates a firsthand glimpse of the firm's work dynamics and helps them picture themselves as part of the team. 

Encourage employees to share their experiences, challenges, and achievements, showcasing the diversity of roles and the rewarding nature of working at your firm.

Share Employee Testimonials and Reviews

Like client testimonials, featuring employee testimonials and reviews can be a powerful tool in attracting top talent. 

Encourage your team members to share their experiences, growth opportunities, and job satisfaction through Reels. 

These testimonials and stories should highlight their personal and professional development within the firm and emphasize your law firm's supportive and nurturing environment. 

Seeing happy, engaged team members can significantly influence the decision-making process of potential candidates and enhance employee retention by reinforcing a positive company culture.

Showcase Professional Development Opportunities

Attract ambitious and growth-oriented candidates by highlighting ongoing professional development initiatives, like training programs, workshops, or conferences.

This showcases your firm's commitment to investing in its employees' continuous learning and skill enhancement, shows that your firm values professional growth, and is willing to provide opportunities for career advancement.

Start Sharing Your Law Firm's Content on Instagram Today

As we've seen, Instagram can be a valuable tool for law firms to stand out from the competition, attract diverse and ambitious new team members, and create cross-promotional opportunities by partnering with law schools, legal organizations, or influential legal professionals.

Incorporating Instagram into your firm's marketing and recruitment strategy can help you create lasting connections with your ideal clients and with talented individuals who will contribute to your firm's growth.

Looking for more guides and insights to help your law firm think differently about your digital marketing? Subscribe to our weekly digital marketing newsletter or contact us today to talk about how we can partner with your firm to stand out online.


 

How to Write Scroll-Stopping LinkedIn Posts

- by Alyson Shane

LinkedIn has become an invaluable tool for B2B businesses looking to reach and engage with their target audience.

With over 750 million members worldwide, the platform gives businesses a unique opportunity to connect with professionals in their industry, share valuable insights, and build relationships that can lead to new customers and increased revenue.

In this blog post, we'll be sharing how to write LinkedIn posts that convert customers, and providing you with tips and strategies to create engaging content that resonates with your audience and drives conversions.

Why LinkedIn Is a Valuable Tool for B2B Businesses

LinkedIn is the go-to social media platform for professionals, making it an ideal platform for B2B businesses to connect with potential customers.

Unlike other social media platforms, LinkedIn is designed specifically for networking and professional development, making it an ideal platform for businesses to build relationships with other professionals in their industry.

LinkedIn provides businesses with several tools and features to help them reach their target audience, including creating and sharing content, joining groups and communities, and connecting with other professionals.

With so many professionals using LinkedIn every day, it gives businesses a unique opportunity to reach a highly engaged and receptive audience.

As one of the largest professional social networks, LinkedIn offers an effective way to connect with like-minded individuals, grow your network, and share your ideas with the world. One way to do this is through timeline posts, which are short updates on your profile and your connections' timelines.

What’s the Difference Between a LinkedIn Timeline Post and a LinkedIn Article?

LinkedIn timeline posts are short updates that you can share with your network. They are typically several sentences long and include text, images, videos, or links. 

These posts appear on your profile and the timelines of your connections. 

In contrast, LinkedIn articles are longer-form content you can publish on the platform. They are similar to blog posts and can include images, videos, and other media. LinkedIn articles are published on your profile and can be shared with your network.

How to Write Effective LinkedIn Posts

To help you navigate the LinkedIn algorithm and get the most out of your timeline posts, here are some timeline best practices:

Be Personable 

Nobody wants to read stuffy business updates all the time. Write timeline posts that are thoughtful, relatable, and help your followers get to know you better.

Know Your Audience 

To write a compelling LinkedIn timeline post, you need to know your audience. Think about who your connections are, what they're interested in, and what kind of content they're likely to engage with. Use this information to craft posts that resonate with your audience.

Don’t bury the lede 

The first 140 characters of your post is what people will see when they’re scrolling. Use attention-grabbing text and emojis to entice people to click to expand your post and read more.

Keep It Short + Sweet

LinkedIn timeline posts are meant to be short and to the point. If you're writing a longer update, use bullet points or numbered lists to break up longer text.

Include Visuals

Visuals are a great way to grab people's attention and make your posts more engaging. Use high-quality images, videos, or infographics to illustrate your points and make your posts more visually appealing.

Use Hashtags

Hashtags are a great way to make your posts more discoverable. Use relevant hashtags to help people find your posts when they search for specific topics.

Engage With Your Audience

Finally, make sure to engage with your audience! Social media isn’t a soapbox, so don’t sleep on responding to comments and questions, and use your posts as an opportunity to start conversations with your connections.

LinkedIn Timeline Post Best Practices

To help you navigate the LinkedIn algorithm and get the most out of your timeline posts, here are some timeline best practices:

Create Engaging Content

The LinkedIn algorithm favours content that generates engagement. The more likes, comments, and shares your post gets, the more likely it is to appear in people's timelines. 

To create engaging content, focus on topics that are relevant to your audience and provide value. Pay attention to the posts that do well and lean into topics and themes that get the most engagement.

Post at the Right Time

Timing is critical on LinkedIn. You want to post when your audience is most active. According to Hootsuite, the best times to post on LinkedIn are Tuesday through Thursday between 8 am and 2 pm. However, testing different posting times is important to see what works best for your audience.

Use Hashtags

As I said before, hashtags are a powerful tool on LinkedIn. They make it easier for people to discover your content and join relevant conversations. When you use hashtags, make sure they are relevant to your post and your audience.

Engage with Your Audience

Engagement is a two-way street on LinkedIn. If you want people to engage with your content, you need to engage with theirs. Take the time to respond to comments and start conversations. You can also tag people in your posts to encourage them to engage with your content.

Build Relationships

LinkedIn is all about building relationships. Connect with people in your industry and engage with their content. You can also join groups and participate in discussions to expand your network. Building relationships takes time, but it's essential for long-term success on the platform.

Start Creating Scroll-Stopping LinkedIn Posts Today!

LinkedIn timeline posts are a great way to share updates, thoughts, and insights with your network. To create compelling timeline posts, know your audience, use attention-grabbing headlines, keep it short and sweet, include visuals, use hashtags, and engage with your audience. 

By following these tips, you can create scroll-stopping LinkedIn timeline posts that will help you grow your network and share your ideas with the world.

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How to Do a SWOT Analysis for Your Digital Marketing

- by Alyson Shane

Looking for ways to build a better digital marketing strategy? Consider doing a SWOT analysis!

A SWOT analysis is an invaluable tool for businesses looking to maximize their digital marketing efforts and increase their ROI. 

By developing a deeper understanding of what’s working (and what isn’t), you can make more informed decisions about how to optimize your campaigns and reach your growth goals.

What is a SWOT Analysis?  

A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool whose acronyms stand for:

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Threats

It’s a great way for companies to take a step back, analyze their current situation, and identify areas for improvement and growth. 

A SWOT analysis can be applied in a variety of settings, but when it comes to digital marketing, it can be used to understand the current digital environment better, and identify areas where the business may have an advantage or disadvantage. 

This analysis can help businesses figure out which digital marketing channels are most effective, and which need improvement. 

It can also be used to identify potential opportunities and threats that could affect the success of the current digital marketing strategy.

SWOT Protip

When doing your SWOT analysis, start with Opportunities and Threats, then take what you’ve learned and apply it to your Strengths and Weaknesses

A lot of people start by just looking at Strengths and Weaknesses because it comes first in the acronym, but doing it in this order allows you to respond to the opportunities and threats with data and strategy!

How to Do a SWOT Analysis for Your Digital Marketing Strategy 

Step 1: Identify Your Strengths 

The first step in conducting a SWOT analysis is to identify the strengths of your digital marketing strategy.

 This includes looking at things like your website, content, social media presence, SEO efforts, and any other digital marketing activities you’re currently engaged in. 

Ask yourself questions like: 

  • What advantages do I have over my competitors?
  • What digital marketing activities are working well for me?
  • What resources do I have that my competitors don’t?
  • What unique skills or expertise do I have that gives me an advantage? 

Step 2: Identify Your Weaknesses 

The next step is to identify the weaknesses of your digital marketing strategy. 

This includes looking at things like website design, content quality, social media engagement, and any other digital marketing activities you’re currently engaged in. 

Ask yourself questions like:

  • What areas of my digital marketing strategy are lacking?
  • What resources do I need to improve my digital marketing efforts?
  • What skills or expertise do I need to develop?
  • What areas of my digital marketing are not performing as well as they should be? 

Step 3: Identify the Opportunities 

The third step in a SWOT analysis is to identify the opportunities available to you. 

This includes looking at things like new digital marketing channels, emerging technologies, and any other opportunities that could help you improve your digital marketing efforts. 

Ask yourself questions like:

  • What new digital marketing channels could I use to reach my target audience?
  • What new technologies could I use to improve my digital marketing efforts?
  • What partnerships or collaborations could I pursue to further my digital marketing goals?
  • What trends or developments could I capitalize on to further my digital marketing efforts?

 Step 4: Identify the Threats 

The last step in conducting a SWOT analysis is to identify the threats to your digital marketing efforts. 

This includes looking at things like competitors, changing digital landscapes, and any other threats that could impact your digital marketing strategy. 

Ask yourself questions like:

  • How are my competitors using digital marketing to their advantage?
  • What changes in the digital landscape could affect my digital marketing efforts?
  • What new technologies could disrupt my digital marketing strategy?
  • What new regulations or policies could limit my digital marketing efforts? 

SWOT Analysis: Your Key to Digital Marketing Success

A SWOT analysis is a great way to gain a better understanding of your digital marketing strategy and identify areas for improvement and growth. 

By taking the time to identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, you can develop a more effective digital marketing strategy and maximize the success of your digital marketing efforts.

Still not sure where to start? Drop us a line and let’s talk about how a digital marketing audit can benefit your business!


 

What North American Companies Can Learn From Japanese Ad Campaigns

- by Alyson Shane

If you’ve ever seen a Japanese ad or commercial, you’ve probably watched it and said, “wtf is this” — and you’re not alone.

Having just spent a month in Japan, I was struck by the stark difference between Japanese and North American advertising. Their ads often feature people in costumes, anthropomorphic items and animals, and characters making silly or exaggerated faces and sounds.

Aka, it's the complete opposite of most of the marketing campaigns I've seen here in North America.

As someone obsessed with marketing and storytelling, I loved being immersed in a different culture and seeing how Japanese brands market their products and services.

In this post, I’ll explore how North American companies can find more engaging and memorable ways to connect with their audiences by embracing silliness and being weird the way Japanese brands do.

Let’s start by comparing some ads:

Cup Noodle Japan

Predictably, Cup Noodle is a brand of instant noodles popular in Japan. I saw ads for these on subway trains all over the country, and they often involved people in weird situations interacting with a life-size cup of noodles.

Let’s start with a Japanese Cup Noodle commercial:

 

Now let’s take a look at an ad for instant noodles from another Japanese company that’s targeted at North Americans, Ottogi America Inc.:

Night and day, right? While some aspects of the Japanese commercial might not necessarily land with a North American audience (the grandpa being held by a Cup Noodle angel at the end is a weird vibe), the ad is fast-paced and unpredictable and basically the opposite of what you’d expect from a company selling cups of noodles.

God of War: Ragnarok

I didn’t actually see it while I was in Japan, but I wanted to include it because it does a great job of showcasing the contrast between how North Americans market something and how they do it in Japan. Check it out:

I read the Google Translate description of the video, and I’m still not 100% sure what’s going on here.

Now let’s compare it against the American trailer:

I actually love both versions of these ads, but the contrast is pretty stark: the North American version relies on celebrities. It comes across as more satirical (and tame) than the Japanese version.

It also portrays playing the game and dressing like Kronos as the men are trying to be better dads to their kids — framing GoW, Kronos’ beefy physique, dressing like a Viking, and playing a violent videogame as “masculine.”

The Japanese version, by comparison, contrasts what arguably sounds like a children’s song against a violent, pretty macho video game.

SoftBank’s “White Family”

I don’t remember where or how I discovered this series of ads back in the early 2000s, but these weird, quirky commercials stole my heart and probably set me up for the love of Japanese marketing that I still hold today.

The long-running campaign, which focused on the (Shirato) White Family headed by Otousan (“Father”), who is a white dog, was one of the most successful and long-running ad campaigns in the country’s history.

As of 2012, the campaign had reached 133 “episodes,” but here are a few to give you a sense of what they’re like:

(Also, don’t sleep on the Tommy Lee Jones cameos!)

As you can see, very few of these commercials actually talk in detail about the phone company or the plans themselves. Mostly they’re little vignettes about the family and the things they’re doing.

The commercials are weird, but they’re also charming and memorable.

Now let’s look at a North American ad that also features a talking animal:

Did you notice that Geico’s ad followed a lot of the same tropes that the SoftBank ads did? 

By featuring an unusual animal who talks (and who is kind of abrasive to the humans around it, just like Otousan), they can create a quirky, memorable ad that promotes their offerings without being too heavy-handed about it.

Differences Between Japanese and North American Ads

Now that we’ve looked at a few examples, let’s break down the key differences between ad styles according to research:

Style Differences

  • Japanese commercials are less informative than American commercials.
  • Japanese commercials emphasize product packaging and availability, while American ads emphasize price, quality, and performance.
  • Japanese commercials use a soft-sell approach with short messages, songs, celebrities, female voice-overs, and still graphics.
  • American commercials use a hard-sell approach with long messages, animation, male spokespeople, and humour.

Cultural Differences

  • Japan is a ‘high-context society’ whose communication needs are answered through familiar symbols and icons rather than logical recommendations.
  • The US is a ‘low-context culture’ requiring Western rhetoric and logical tradition to communicate thoughts and actions.

What Can North American Brands Learn?

Be Weird

As you may have noticed, a key element of Japanese advertising is being silly and weird. 

Japanese ads often feature bizarre imagery (see below for an example), unusual characters, and unexpected scenarios. By embracing the unexpected and breaking away from traditional advertising tropes, companies can create more memorable and engaging ads. Weirdness can also help companies stand out in a crowded advertising landscape.

Key takeaway: Don’t be afraid to lean into weird, memorable characters or make them a bit annoying or unlikeable for the sake of the joke.

(Here's an example of some weird ads for pistachio snacks I saw in Niigata.
Why is that pistachio so smarmy?!)

Use a “Soft Sell” Approach

Japanese commercials often use a soft-sell approach with short messages, songs, celebrities, female voice-overs, and still graphics. 

This approach can be more subtle and less aggressive, which can be more appealing to some audiences.

Key takeaway: Avoid being too heavy-handed. Tell a story that resonates or excites your audience where the product you’re promoting comes second to a memorable ad.

Use (and Create!) Familiar Symbols and Icons

As we saw in the SoftBank ads, Otousan became something of a cultural icon in Japan. By incorporating or creating characters who can become cultural symbols (think the polar bears for Coca-Cola), campaigns become more easily recognizable and familiar to audiences.

Experiment with Pattern Interrupts and Pacing

As we saw with the Cup Noodle commercial and how a few SoftBank commercials cut between scenes, the Japanese aren’t afraid to jump around. 

Cutting frequently between scenes is called a “pattern interrupt” and is an effective tool (also employed by YouTubers) to keep the audience’s attention focused on whatever they’re watching.

Many Japanese ads also end abruptly or in weird and unexpected ways. Not knowing where the plot is going is another way of keeping viewers engaged right until the very end.

Key takeaway: Don’t be afraid of experimenting with pacing and surprising your audience with a twist at the end of your ads.

Play With Satire

Although both the God of War: Ragnarok examples played with satire, the North American one played it safe by linking the GoW series to “manliness” and easily identifiable gender norms.

The Japanese ad, on the other hand, threw gender norms right out the window and went with an ad that could have easily been mistaken for a kid’s commercial. 

While the North American ad is fine (I liked it, personally), the Japanese sing-song ad stands out more because it almost feels like it’s making fun of the ultra-macho GoW series instead of leaning into a predictable masculine theme.

Key takeaway: Don’t be afraid to lean into satire and juxtapose different elements of an ad against the product you’re promoting.


Get Inspired for Your Next Ad Campaign

Japanese advertising offers a refreshing alternative to traditional advertising, and North American companies can look to these types of ads for inspiration.

So, the next time you’re creating an ad campaign, consider adding a little bit of silliness, embracing the unexpected, and making fun of yourself and your product. Who knows, you might create an ad that people will remember for years to come.


 

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