Tagged: Marketing strategy
- by Alyson Shane
By: Alyson Shane, President
Publishing articles on LinkedIn is one of the best tools at your disposal to position yourself as a subject matter expert, keep your name top-of-mind, and generate leads for your business.
Recently, Hubspot found that LinkedIn is 277% more effective at generating leads than Facebook and Twitter.
This means that if you run a business or have ambitions to get known by the broader professional community in your area, LinkedIn is the number one place to do it.
But it’s not enough to just publish posts to your profile — the secret to being successful on the platform lies in regularly publishing LinkedIn articles.
What are LinkedIn articles?
A LinkedIn article is a piece of long-form content that you can create and share through LinkedIn’s internal publishing platform.
LinkedIn articles are like blog posts published just to LinkedIn, and offer the opportunity to share your insights and expertise with your connections and the people in your industry.
LinkedIn article publishing best practices
Make your titles between 40 - 49 characters long
According to research from OkDork, articles with titles between 40 - 49 characters earned the greatest number of post views overall.
This is important if you’re republishing your blog posts from your website to LinkedIn, since Hubspot found that the ideal blog post title length is 60 characters.
With this in mind, you might want to consider creating some alternate titles for your LinkedIn posts if your original titles are a bit too long for the platform.
Use “how-to” and list-style headlines
This tracks with other data we know about blog posts, which is that 36% of readers prefer list-based headlines.
According to research from OptinMonster, “how-to” headlines are the third most popular headline preference at around 17%.
When it comes to LinkedIn articles specifically, OkDork’s data showed that LinkedIn readers clicked on articles that included “How” in the title 45% more often than posts with titles that didn’t include the word “How”.
Titles like these have been popular since forever (seriously, it feels like I’ve been giving this advice since I started publishing content +20 years ago) because they tell the reader exactly what to expect from the piece.
Taking the guesswork out of what a reader can expect increases the likelihood that they’ll take the time to read what you’ve written.
Write long-form content
When it comes to LinkedIn articles: longer is better.
One reason for this is because LinkedIn readers expect content that is well-researched, insightful, and useful — something that’s almost impossible to achieve in a 500-word post.
Important: this doesn’t mean you should “pad” your post with fluffy sentences or extra paragraphs just to hit a word limit. People will realize that what they’re reading isn’t providing real value and will simply click away, or even worse: will stop reading your posts overall.
Images help break up your text and increase readability by giving the reader a visual “break” from big walls of words.
This is especially true if your audience is reading your post on a mobile device, which in LinkedIn’s case is about 20% of all monthly users (about 63 million unique monthly users, to be exact).
While images directly relating to your text are ideal (and make great social media shareables), the right stock image can go a long way towards helping people digest a long post.
Write for an 11-year-old
Data shows that most adults read at an 8th-grade level, which means that if your content is too hard to read, people will simply “tune it out” and not finish reading what you have to say.
If this sounds intimidating, take a look at a few books written for this level:
- The Harry Potter series
- most books by Tom Clancy
- most books by John Grisham
- The Great Gatsby
What does it mean to “comprehend” text?
A person who reads below an 8th-grade level could read a book or an article written for a higher level of comprehension, but they won’t understand much of what they read.
- Reading is looking at and interpreting written text
- Comprehension is understanding the meaning behind those words
Now, you might be saying “but Alyson, my audience are all smart, educated, and good-looking people!” (ours are, too) but writing for a higher reading level means that fewer people will be able to understand what you say.
While writing for this level might feel patronizing, think about it another way: writing for an 8th-grade reading level means that everything you publish is simple and easy to understand.
Social media in general is all about consistency, but it’s especially true when it comes to publishing long-form content like LinkedIn articles.
The algorithm prefers consistency
The algorithms that power social networks like LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. prioritize showing content from accounts that deliver “value” to their followers.
One of the metrics that algorithms see as “valuable” is consistency in posting, since your audience are likely to both expect to hear from you, and statistically more likely to interact with your posts when they see them. You’ll see increased engagement
Just like I said above, you’ll get a boost in visibility when you post consistently because that’s what the algorithm prefers, but publishing regularly also helps more people find, read, and follow what you share.
If you post once, then don’t publish anything again for a few months, the people who read your first article and might have been interested in what you said will have moved on.
On the other hand, if people expect to hear from you on a regular basis they’ll not only look forward to your content, but will actively look for your content.
You’ll stay top-of-mind
Publishing articles regularly means that your name will keep popping up in front of people who’ve connected with you. Staying top-of-mind means that when someone needs a service you offer, you’ll be the first person they think of.
(Anecdotally, I can’t begin to tell you many how many people say they know me “from my articles on LinkedIn”.)
Vary your topics
Topics like leadership, productivity and efficiency are all overplayed on LinkedIn, which means people are more likely to gloss over your piece if you write about them.
There’s already been so much said on these subjects that it’ll be hard to say anything new or groundbreaking which risks your article sounding generic or repetitive.
Instead, try writing about topics like:
- How-to’s and instructional pieces
- Trending topics in your industry
- Personal stories and anecdotes
Choose the right hashtags
Choose hashtags that are suited for a business-focused audience when creating a post to promote your new article — no #blessed hashtags here, please!
If you’re not sure which hashtags to use, LinkedIn’s post editor will suggest some for you to choose from.
Make sure not to overdo it on the hashtags or your post will look spammy. Unfortunately, some people make the mistake of cross-posting from their Instagram account and winding up with a post that has a block of hashtags that looks like this:
(These are hashtags I copied from a real post just now. Yikes!)
For reference, Sendible recommends using no more than three to five hashtags per post.
Cross-promote your blog
This is a power move! Publish your articles to your company’s blog, then re-publish them to LinkedIn as LinkedIn articles and link back to your website in your piece.
This makes it more likely that people will click through to your website to learn more about you and the services you offer.
Here’s an example of how to do it:
“This post was originally published on the Starling Social blog — check out more of our how-to articles by clicking here.”
Start publishing LinkedIn articles today!
Now that you know what to do, it’s time to start publishing your LinkedIn articles and watching your connections grow on the platform.
Using LinkedIn articles strategically will help you get in front of your target audience, attract views to your posts, increase referrals, and more.
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- by Alyson Shane
No matter what keyword you’re searching for, there’s a pretty good chance that the #1 ranking result on a search engine results page (SERP) won’t be there in a few months.
More than 4.4 million blog posts are published every day, so it’s important to have a content strategy that focuses on your target keywords, includes lots of evergreen content, and a plan to tackle content decay so your posts stay relevant and keep driving high-quality organic traffic to your website.
What’s the difference between direct, organic, and paid traffic?
Direct traffic is traffic that comes directly to your website — usually in the form of someone typing your website URL directly into their address bar.
Organic traffic is traffic that comes to your website from a search engine but wasn’t paid for.
Paid traffic is traffic that arrives on your website as a result of a pay-per-click (PPC) ads campaign that you run on search engines like Google and Bing.
For the purposes of this article, we’ll be focusing on organic traffic and how you can attract more of it.
What is content decay?
Content decay is the term that describes an ongoing decline in organic traffic and rankings on a search engine results page (SERP) for one or more blog posts.
The use of the word “decay” is important here because it describes how the decline happens: it’s not a sudden drop; it’s a gradual decline that can compound over time.
This happens because content that is newer is seen as more relevant by search engines. When someone types a query into Google, one of the details it looks for when showing the most relevant results is how recently the post was published.
To better illustrate this, let’s look at the stages of the content lifecycle:
Stage 1: Early traction
A new blog post or page on your website takes time to start ranking on a SERP and drive organic traffic.
This happens because newer content is sorted (or “indexed”) by search engines, which then use algorithms to determine how your blog ranks in terms of being search engine optimized (your SEO), how your content matches search intent, and more.
You might see some spikes in traffic over the first few weeks, especially if you’ve been promoting your blog post in your newsletter and on your social media channels, but generally speaking that will happen at the start and you’ll be back to seeing traffic slowly building over time.
Stage 2: Growth
This phase varies in length, but generally describes the process of your post ranking higher for more queries and gaining backlinks (when another website links to it as a reference).
Like we said: this phase varies in length depending on the post topic, relevancy, and other factors.
Phase 3: Peak
The peak stage is — you guessed it — when growth starts to peak. This can happen for a few reasons:
- The post stopped getting backlinks. People aren’t linking to it as often, which means it’s not staying as competitive on the search engine results page (SERP).
- The post hit a natural ceiling. If the post ranked in the top slot for all the keywords in the topic and is limited by the number of keyword searches per month.
- Someone published a new post (or updated an existing post) about the same topic. “Someone” meaning a competing business publishing content similar to your own.
The length of this stage depends a lot on the factors above.
Stage 4: Decay
This happens when the post starts to age and becomes less relevant (or “fresh”) making it less competitive when being indexed by a search engine. In fact, letting a page go bad can result in a 91.9% loss of both traffic and traffic value.
This can happen even more quickly if the post covers a popular topic that lots of others are writing about.
What causes content decay?
Content decay can happen for a variety of reasons which is why it can be so hard to diagnose and fix, but here are some of the most common reasons:
Freshness, aka content age
Search algorithms prioritize content that was published as recently as possible, so when a blog post is newly published it’s considered “fresh”.
This isn’t to say that content that was published back in 2008 can’t still have some value to the reader, but “freshness” comes down to how well it’s been updated to stay relevant.
As we can see here, content that’s two years old is a stretch in this SERP.
Search intent shift
“Search intent” refers to what a person is searching for when they type a query into a search engine.
Google and other search engines are always re-evaluating how users interact with the results of a search query to understand their intent. As the way users search for and interact with the results of a query changes, so do the results that rank for that query.
Just like how search intent can change over time, particular aspects of a topic can evolve as more people continue to search for it.
As a topic evolves, your content might become a less relevant resource, which causes it to decay on the SERP.
This is one of the most common reasons for content decay: you have several pages on your website that all cover roughly the same topic, causing them to compete with each other for rankings.
This makes it harder for search engines to figure out which page to feature and can reduce the performance of all conflicting URLs.
Important: this isn’t just limited to blog posts! Internal competition can refer to competing blog posts, product or service pages, glossary pages, and more.
This is probably the easiest to understand from a non-technical standpoint: when another website publishes fresher or better-optimized content, which causes yours to decay as a result.
If lots of websites are all competing for rankings and traffic about the same topics then it becomes easy to lose your rankings to them.
There are lots of factors that can cause your content to decay compared to the competition, but some of the most common include:
- Their brand/authority. Bigger companies with brand recognition tend to get more traffic, which search algorithms see as making their content more “valuable”.
- The volume of backlinks. You’ll remember that backlinking is when a website “links back” to our content, so naturally, a website with a lot of brand recognition will get more links back to it from other websites than smaller, lesser-known sites.
- How well they’re aligned with search intent. This means they’ve been optimized for SEO and have elements like the keywords, meta descriptions, and alt tags set up properly.
How does content decay impact organic traffic and SEO?
There are a few ways that content decay impacts where your posts show up on a SERP, including:
Click-through rates (CTRs) drop
2021 research from Zero Limit Web reveals that the first five organic results account for 67.60% of clicks in Google. This means that as your content decays and slips down on the search engine results page (SERP), your click-through rate will decline and cause you to get less traffic over time.
Loss of search visibility
When content starts to decay the number of keywords it ranks for goes down, which means your visibility goes down, too.
Content decay hurts your ability to get backlinks because older content tends to not get linked to as often as “fresher” content.
This is especially true with very old content that hasn’t been updated, since site owners might remove backlinks to your posts if they start to seem irrelevant or out-of-date.
Your site performance goes down
Content decay means that your post isn’t among the best, most relevant results, and that people clicking on your link probably won’t find what they’re looking for.
This can cause people to “bounce” away, which means they’ve left your website without clicking on any additional links like your product or service pages, contact form, etc., and people who don’t stay on your site can’t become customers!
Signs of content decay: what to look for
There are a few ways to identify content decay when looking at a specific URL on your website. They include:
Your click-through rate (CTR) is going down
Click-through rates typically go down when your content starts slipping on the search engine results page (SERP) rankings.
This can be due to a few factors, including:
- A competitor has outranked you
- Search intent has shifted
- Search engines updated the design of the SERPs
Traffic has plateaued
Like we discussed above, traffic plateaus can happen for a variety of reasons.
Sometimes it happens because your page is hitting the natural limit for a topic or keyword — but most of the time a plateau happens because the post is decaying and you’re missing out on potential clicks.
Traffic is declining steadily
Take a look at your traffic over the past six months: if you see a steady decline, that’s a strong sign that your content is decaying.
If the page you’re looking at doesn’t have a high volume of traffic it can be hard to use this as a way to identify decay, so we suggest comparing two date ranges to spot any differences.
Keyword rank and impressions are dropping
People often overlook content that’s decaying because it’s still getting clicks and traffic, but when a post starts losing impressions (number of views) or stops ranking for a wider variety of keywords than it used to, that’s a sign that your content is starting to decay.
Loss of impression share or keyword ranking tell us two things could be happening:
- Search intent is shifting on the topic
- The content on your page isn’t updated to meet this change
How to Grow SEO Traffic by Fixing Content Decay
If you’re starting to feel like content decay is a hopeless game of whack-a-mole — don’t despair! With the right strategy you can update your posts to help them be “fresh” again so they outrank your competition and drive targeted traffic to your website.
Here are a few simple actions you can take to help you fix content decay:
- Expand the word count and add more depth and examples
- Replace outdated statistics and references that make a post look “dated”
- Add internal links from other posts to the updated pages
- Re-promote the updated content in your newsletter and on social media
Looking for a deeper explanation of what to do? We’ve got you covered:
Expand past blog posts
Updating old posts allows you to increase the word count, which helps with SEO since the ideal blog post length should be 2100 - 2400 words.
Adding more content to your old posts makes your posts more valuable to your readers and causes search engines to see the post as “fresh” which helps you rank higher.
An easy way to do this is to perform a content audit that identifies posts that are shorter than they should be.
If you’re not sure what to add, check social media and what people have said when sharing the post to get a sense of what people found valuable about it, then expand on those points.
Important: when updating old posts, always make sure that you keep the same URL so you still get the historical SEO value the post has earned over time.
Add new information to outdated posts
One of the easiest ways to “freshen” up stale content is to update out-of-date or irrelevant information. If your post cites a study that’s more than three years old, update it with something new. If there’s been an industry shift (like a new piece of technology, software update, etc.) make sure to update any outdated or incorrect information.
An easy way to do this is to perform a Google search for the topic and make note of what the sites who are ranking on the first page are talking about.
Ask yourself: “what are they covering that I’m not?” and develop a plan to add those sections to your old post.
Consider new keywords
Don’t forget to reassess your target keywords when updating your content!
Keyword popularity changes all the time, which means that a popular keyword that once sent lots of traffic to your site might not be delivering the same results as it once did. This is especially common with trending keywords, but can happen to any of them.
Tools like SEMrush are great for tracking keyword popularity over time and allow you to track the performance of a specific keyword and look for related keywords that might work better.
You can also use tools like Exploding Topics to track content topics before they become too mainstream and try to capitalize on a wave of interest.
Consolidate old content
This is a great tactic when you have several shorter pieces focusing on the same (or related) topics that aren’t ranking anymore.
If you do this, you have two options:
- Keep one piece as the “main” piece and consolidate the others into it, or
- Create a new post, drawing from the existing content, and consolidating it all together
Important: if you do consolidate your content, make sure to set up the correct 301 redirects from the old URLs to the new one. This shows the search engines that you’ve moved the content and have multiple pages now linking to the main post, and that this is the post you want them to care about and index.
Write new content
Pay attention to moments when you think “this could totally be its own post” when doing your content audit. This thought is a great sign that you can generate more content ideas from the content you’ve already published.
In this situation you may have been ranking and getting impressions for that topic at some point since you mentioned it, but now you’re slipping in the SERPs because other people have been covering it more fully and more recently. As a result, it doesn’t make sense to try and cover the topic in your existing content.
Instead, create new content that takes the decaying part and gives it a new lease on life. This allows you to recapture lost traffic and more by targeting other keywords related to that topic.
Update your internal and backlink strategy
Search engines see content that gets lots of links to it from other sites (backlinking) as more valuable and ranks them higher, so driving links to your newly-updated posts can help give them an SEO boost.
An easy way to do this is to start writing for other sites and including links to your newly-refreshed content. Getting more backlinks from other sites will help your new content perform better than simply updating and re-publishing it.
Make sure not to forget about adding new internal links from other posts to the new and newly-updated posts!
This creates a better user experience for the reader and helps search engines understand the content structure of your website better, both of which help your SEO.
Stop content decay today!
Content decay can feel like a frustrating game of whack-a-mole (and to some extent, it is) but with the right strategy in place you can keep your old content fresh, up-to-date, and keep driving lots of high-quality traffic to your site.
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- by Alyson Shane
The world of digital marketing changes every day.
From SEO updates, to shifts in posting strategies across social media networks, to digital advertising best practices — it can be hard to keep up and keep meeting your growth goals.
Working with an expert who offers digital marketing consulting can help you level-up your online strategy and edge past the competition. They bring a fresh perspective, ideas, and tactics to the table that you might not have known about or considered, and that can make all the difference.
That is, as long as you find a competent expert to work with.
One of the challenges with partnering with a digital marketing consultant is now knowing what you’re getting into, and what you’ll get out of the process.
That’s why we’ve put together this overview what you can expect, and how investing in digital marketing consulting can help your business:
1. Audit your progress
The key to developing a successful plan is understanding what you’ve done to date and comparing it against industry benchmarks.
A digital marketing consultation compares things like your goals, target audience, and what you’ve done across all your marketing channels (social media, your website, newsletter, ads, etc.) to find ways to better align your actions with the outcomes you want to see.
An audit might also include reviewing the copy on your website, blog, and your newsletter to make sure that your messaging is on-brand and you’re using keywords and language that are Search Engine Optimized (SEO).
2. Develop a new digital marketing strategy
One of the biggest outcomes of a digital marketing audit is the strategy that is developed during the process.
This starts with a SWOT analysis which assesses your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. This gives the consultant insight into how you run your business, your position relative to your competition, how effective your digital marketing has been to date, and more.
Other things that need to be developed include Audience or Buyer Personas, lists of competitors, and other supporting documents that codify how your business engages (or doesn’t) with your ideal customer base.
All of this information will be used to assess what you’ve done to date, the platforms and strategies you should be using, and develop an outline to help you start implementing the findings.
3. Create a high-converting sales strategy
Paid advertising is a “must” for most businesses looking to stay competitive. Google Ads (also known as Pay-Per-Click, or PPC ads) generate $2 in revenue for every $1 spent.
Whether you’re new to the world of digital ads or you’ve been running ad campaigns for a while, getting a fresh take on the return-on-investment (ROI) of your ads can help you increase sales and generate more leads.
However, Google Ads aren’t the only option — a digital marketing consult will help you determine which advertising channels will get you the best ROI as well as areas like:
- Audience segments and targeting
- … and more!
4. Establish your KPIs
KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator, and refers to a set of quantifiable measurements that you can use to gauge your overall performance.
A digital marketing consultation will walk you through which KPIs and metrics you should be tracking in order to meet your specific goals and objectives. Your consultant should also explain how different KPIs relate to one another so you know how to gauge your success.
For example, when your social content has a high Reach but low Engagement, it means that your audience is seeing but not interacting with your posts. This is a sign that you need to find content that resonates with your audience in a more meaningful way to encourage them to engage via Likes, Comments, and Shares.
Ready work with a digital marketing consultant with over 20 years’ experience publishing content online? Drop us a line and let’s chat!
5. Drive growth across multiple channels
Omnichannel marketing is the process of creating a cohesive brand experience across multiple channels, like your social media, website, newsletter, ads, and more.
The best digital marketing consultants have experience with a wide range of marketing platforms and can help you think about how different elements of your strategy interact with and influence each other.
They can also help you think strategically about how your brand sounds on various platforms while staying consistent to your “brand voice”.
After all, people talk to each other differently on LinkedIn and Instagram, but you might need to be active on both platforms — do you know how to “code switch” while still sounding authentic? A competent digital marketing consultant can show you how.
6. Help you develop processes for success
The key to great digital marketing is being organized and staying on-task, but this is easier said than done, especially if marketing is just one part of your job function.
A digital marketing consultation will help you take a top-down view of all your digital marketing channels and help you think about how to develop processes to keep everything running smoothly.
This can include how-to documents that you can refer back to, suggesting (and sometimes setting up) project management tools, and even creating visual frameworks so you can see how all the pieces of your plan connect at-a-glance.
How to Choose the Right Digital Marketing Consultant in 4 Steps
Hiring a digital marketing consultant is an investment, so you want to make sure you’re spending your money on someone who will deliver the value you’re looking for.
If you’re not sure what to look for, here are five qualities to keep an eye out for:
1. Do they have the right experience?
Digital marketers come in all shapes and sizes, with different levels of expertise and focus. If you’re looking for something specific, make sure they have experience in that area.
When researching potential experts to work with, pay attention to the clients they’ve worked with in the past, as well as the size and types of businesses they typically work with.
2. Can they “walk the talk”?
A digital marketing consultant should be able to showcase their knowledge by how they market themselves and their firm. Look at their website, social media accounts, and their overall approach to how they market themselves online.
Don’t be fooled by flashy graphics and name recognition: if the company in question isn’t actively “walking the talk” then they aren’t worth your time.
3. Are they credible?
Anyone can make a claim about their abilities and results, so make sure to find testimonials and social proof from online sources before deciding which expert to hire.
4. Are they knowledgeable?
You’re hiring someone to help educate you and set you up for success, so they need to have the knowledge and expertise to give you solid advice and answer any questions you may have.
Whoever you hire should have in-depth knowledge about digital marketing best practices, shifts and changes in trends, and lots of hands-on experience.
How Digital Marketing Consulting Can Help Your Business: Conclusion
There are lots of reasons why you might be considering hiring a digital marketing consultant, but the key to getting your money’s worth is hiring someone competent, knowledgeable, and who you feel you can trust to point you in the right direction.
If you’re looking for a consultant with over 20 years’ experience publishing content online, drop us a line and ask about our free consultations.
If you’re interested in levelling-up your own digital marketing knowledge, subscribe to our weekly newsletter for the latest news, trends, and insights you need to grow your business.
- by Alyson Shane
Want to use LinkedIn to find more leads? Looking for more ways to turn your cold connections into warm leads that move through your sales funnel?
With almost 700 million active users in 2020, LinkedIn has become more than just a job-hunting and networking tool. These days, LinkedIn isn’t just for CEOs and salespeople - it’s a must-use tool for any B2B business looking to increase brand awareness, find new leads, and increase sales by expanding their customer base.
If you’ve never tried using LinkedIn to generate leads, then don’t miss this post! These strategies will help you start reaching prospects and nurturing them into warm leads.
Update Your LinkedIn Profile To a Custom URL
This simple strategy is one of the most overlooked tactics on LinkedIn. Custom links create a sense of consistency across your LinkedIn profiles and helps you look more professional.
Instead of your LinkedIn profile URL looking like this:
Updating this field is super simple! Just follow these steps:
- Start by clicking on the Me icon on the top-right of your LinkedIn home page
- Click View Profile
- On your profile page, click Edit Public Profile & URL on the right
- On the new window that opens up, click on Edit your custom URL on the top-right
That’s it! This simple step will help create a sense of cohesion across your LinkedIn profiles.
Invite connections to like your LinkedIn company page
It seems simple, but it works! This new(ish) feature might not be available for all company pages yet, but once it’s available inviting your connections to like your page is super easy. Just follow these steps:
- Navigate to your Linkedin company page
- Under the Admin Tools drop-down menu, select Invite Connections
- A pop-up window will appear with all your connections listed
- Select each person you’d like to invite, and click Invite Connections
- If an error appears, you may have reached your invitation limit
To prevent companies from spamming their contacts, LinkedIn only allows 100 invites at a time. These invites are “credited” back to your account once someone has accepted your invite to like your page.
Share curated content from LinkedIn Content Suggestions
Another way to find new leads on LinkedIn is to regularly share posts focusing on topics they’re interested in.
If you’re not sure what to share, LinkedIn has a handy Content Suggestions feature for company pages. This tool helps you discover topics and articles that your audience is engaging with on LinkedIn and is a quick, easy way to share content with your followers.
To use this feature, take the following steps:
- Navigate to your Linkedin company page
- Select Content
- In the pop-up window, select your industry and a few demographics about your audience (ideal leads)
- Click View Content Suggestions
LinkedIn will generate a list of trending content from the last 15 days based on your selected industry and audience demographics. You can refresh this list over and over to find new content suggestions that appeal to different audience types.
But beware: not every content suggestion will resonate with your followers, so choose wisely.
Use LinkedIn Messaging to build relationships
The more people become familiar with you, the more they like and trust you. This is also known as the Mere-Exposure Effect. Our favourite example of this effect in action is this chart of Benedict Cumberbatch
Obviously this chart was made as a joke, but it demonstrates exactly how the Mere-Exposure Effect works: the more someone sees Benedict Cumberbatch’s face, the more attractive he becomes.
So what does the Mere-Exposure Effect have to do with finding new leads on LinkedIn?
Building the authority and brand awareness necessary to move a prospect from a cold lead to a warm lead takes time. After all, people want to buy from people and brands they like and trust, and the higher the investment in a product or service is, the higher that trust level has to be.
One of the easiest ways to establish this trust is to use LinkedIn Messaging to build strong relationships with prospective customers.
How to develop a LinkedIn messaging strategy
Sliding into people’s DMs and asking them to buy from you right away is a tactless move, and it’s honestly a little rude, especially if you don’t know the person you’re messaging.
If you want a response you need to approach the relationship naturally. Ask questions, provide value, and be a real human being before pressing for a consultation or sales call. Think about this outreach as a multi-step process that could look something like this:
Step 1: Send a connection request
When you send a LinkedIn connection request, always click Add a Note to customize the invitation. Here’s an example of the kind of note we add (notice it’s focused on them and doesn’t try to sell anything right off the bat):
Step 2: Thank them for connecting with a value-add
Once someone accepts your connection request, send them a follow-up message as soon as possible. This message should thank them for connecting, and include a link to a relevant article or group you manage.
Here’s an example of a follow-up message on LinkedIn:
Just wanted to drop you a line and say thanks for connecting! I’m looking forward to keeping in touch.
Since you work in a technical field, I’d love your thoughts on this article we recently published about writing technical blog posts. You can find it here: [LINK]
Looking forward to your feedback!
Remember: the purpose of this message is to show them that you’re a trustworthy resource of content they care about. Make sure to tailor this value-add to the person you’re talking to!
Step 3: Share a link to a high-quality 3rd party resource (article, video, webinar, etc.)
We recommend waiting at least a few days between sending these messages so you don’t seem pushy and overbearing.
This message should again relate to something they’ve said, posted, or shared on the platform. Be specific about why you think they’ll be interested in the resource and what you think about it as well. Don’t forget to ask for their feedback!
Here’s an example of what this message could look like:
I hope business has been going well! I found this article and it made me think of you, so I wanted to send it your way. It talks about the importance of showcasing company culture in “technical” industries like yours.
You can find it here: [LINK]
I thought the suggestion to use the new Instagram Reels feature to introduce followers to your office team was really great. I’d love to know what you think!
Message 4: Request a phone call
Unless you’re a born salesperson, this is arguably the most anxiety-inducing of all the messages in this strategy. This message should be short, polite, and to the point.
Here’s an example of what it could look like:
I’m working on getting to know my LinkedIn connections a little better, and since we’ve been crossing paths lately I’d love to hop on a quick call and see how we can both benefit from being connected.
Are you free to chat next week? How’s Thursday, November 5th, in the morning work for you?
Did you notice that we suggested a specific date and time to meet? This strategy makes it easier for someone to say “yes” because they can quickly check to see if they’re available.
Message 5: Follow up
If the person doesn’t reply, send this follow-up message a few days after you’ve sent the message above.
Hope you’re doing great! Just following up on my invite to have a short phone chat to get to know each other a bit better. I’d love to learn more about how we can both benefit from being connected.
If not, that’s totally fine! You can always reach me directly via email. I hope to hear from you soon!
Only send this message once. Sending it multiple times will look pushy and might damage both yours and your brand’s reputations.
How to find new leads on LinkedIn: conclusion
These are just a few of the many strategies you can use to generate new leads for your business on LinkedIn.
Remember: the best way to use LinkedIn is to be helpful, positive, and consistent. By posting regularly, liking and commenting on the posts your connections share, and using the strategies we outlined above, you’ll be generating new leads for your business in no time.
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If you’re ready to level-up your LinkedIn marketing strategy, drop us a line!
- by Alyson Shane
Want better results from your Facebook ads? Then you’ve come to the right place! Today, we’re covering five Facebook Ads mistakes you may be making and how to fix them.
Why Advertise on Facebook
Facebook is still one of the most useful and cost-effective ways to reach your target audience. With 2 billion monthly active users and a powerful targeting system, Facebook Ads help businesses generate brand awareness, drive conversions, and increase sales.
Not only does Facebook offer sophisticated targeting, but a study by Wordstream found that the average cost per click for a Facebook Ad in 2019 was $1.72, meaning you can reach hundreds of thousands of potential customers without a huge budget.
Here are a few more reasons why you should be advertising on Facebook:
You don’t need to be a pro to get started
Facebook Ads can feel intimidating, especially once you start digging into Business Manager, Ads Manager, Creative Hub, and the wide range of targeting options available to you. That's normal, believe us.
Luckily, you can start experimenting with Facebook Ads right from your Page before jumping into all the options behind-the-scenes. Try clicking on a recent post and click on the "Boost Post" button to start running your first ad!
Facebook Ads offer high ROI
Facebook is one of the biggest advertising channels on the internet, with total spending from the United States, alone totalling almost 9.9 billion U.S. dollars. There's a good reason for it: the average Facebook user clicks on 11 ads per month, or a total of one ad every three days.
While this may not seem like a huge number, remember that not all ads need a click to be considered effective — some campaigns are designed solely for brand awareness and aren't tied to a "click" as their metric of success. In fact, Reach on Facebook is higher than ever, and with impressions going up and costs going down, there's never been a better time to invest in Facebook marketing.
This stat also shows that users engage with and pay attention to ads on Facebook instead of tuning them out.
Facebook Ads are highly customizable
Facebook Ads offer a wide range of ad types, display options, and audience targeting to help your ad get be to your ideal audience. You can customize your ad design, copy, landing pages, how you spend your budget, audience targeting, and lots more.
For example, if you're a thrift shop solisticing donations you can create a short video ad asking for donated items and target it at people who live in your neighbourhood. Or, you could creat a single-image ad promoting an upcoming sale or special event. The possibilities are really endless, which is what makes Facebook Ads such a valuable tool in your digital marketing aresenal.
Now that we’ve covered why Facebook advertising is important, let’s dive into the five most common mistakes people make when creating Facebook Ads, and how to fix them:
Facebook Ads Mistake #1: Your Ads Aren’t Backed By a Strategy
The biggest Facebook Ads mistake businesses make is launching ad campaigns without a strategy.
This tends to happen because, as we mentioned above, anyone can set up and run a Facebook Ad if they manage a Business Page on the platform.
Unfortunately, running ads without a strategy that takes elements like your budget, audience, targeting, and conversion goals into consideration will waste your budget.
The Three Stages of the Facebook Ads Funnel
There are three stages to a successful Facebook ad funnel:
- Level 1: Awareness
- Level 2: Remarketing (engagement marketing)
- Level 3: Remarketing (website remarketing)
The goal of these ads is to generate awareness about your business. Running ads at this stage builds credibility and authority for your brand, which is important for moving users through later stages of the funnel.
Ads at this stage should be educational or entertaining, and should position your brand in a friendly, knowledgeable way. Content-based ads like video work great here, and allow you to pull the people who engaged with your video into a new custom audience as you move to the next stage of the funnel.
The goal at this stage is to drive people from Facebook to your website to learn more about a product or service and, ideally, make a purchase.
The best content for engagement remarketing ads is a special offer, promotion, or discount. Free trials, BOGO (buy one get one), and percentage-based discounts all work great at this stage.
The final stage of the Facebook Ads Funnel is website remarketing. Here, we "retarget" our ads at people who have viewed a specific product or page on our website to drive sales and generate more leads.
Remarketing ads act as “reminders” and increase conversion and engagement with people who have already shown an interest in your brand.
The best content at this stage is ads that add social proof, like testimonials. You can also test sales and promotions that create a sense of urgency and encourage users to take action right away.
Facebook Ads Mistake #2: Using Truncated Descriptions
Another common Facebook ad mistake is ignoring the character limits in your ads. The main reason this happens is businesses running ads don’t update the news feed or carousel card description.
Facebook will automatically pull a description from the destination URL you set for your ad, so it’s important to be deliberate when planning your carousel card and news feed link descriptions to make sure they don’t get cut off.
If your descriptions are too long Facebook will cut them off (truncate them), resulting in ads that look incomplete.
Losing part of your text muddles your ad messaging, looks unprofessional and hurts the effectiveness of your ads.
Protip: the easiest way to make sure your ad text isn’t truncated is to check the mobile news feed preview to see how your ad will look on users’ phones.
Facebook Ads Mistake #3: You “Set and Forget” Your Ads
The third biggest mistake we’ve seen brands make is taking a “set it and forget it” approach to their Facebook ads by not checking in and managing their ads once they’ve started delivering.
A “set it and forget it” attitude hurts your campaign performance, since you won’t be able to identify any issues with your ads and make adjustments based on how it's delivering.
Some examples include:
- Your Facebook audience has ad fatigue. “Ad fatigue” happens when people who’ve seen the same ad creative too many times stop paying attention to it.
- Your cost-per-click (CPC) is too high. Your cost-per-click is an indicator of how well your campaign is performing. Read more about how to keep Facebook Ad cost-per-clicks (CPCs) low here.
In both of these cases we’d want to take action by updating the ad creative, ad copy, our campaign objective, audience targeting, and our call-to-action (CTA).
Facebook Ads Mistake #4: Underutilizing Facebook Remarketing
Remarketing ads are essential for seeing the highest return-on-investment (ROI) for your efforts.
These ads target people who have visited your website before and act as “reminders” to encourage users to return and convert.
The key to being successful here is to make sure your ads don’t continue to target people who haven’t visited your website in a while. Using a 3-5 day duration and setting the engagement condition of All Website Visitors, excluding purchases, means you won't miss out on the chance to connect with a single user.
Facebook Ads Mistake #5: Using Mismatched Lookalike Audiences
If you haven’t used these powerful targeting options before, it’s time to start using Facebook lookalike audiences in your ad campaigns.
Lookalike audiences are the most advanced audience types on Facebook. These audience types help you find new potential customers who share similar characteristics to a source audience, like a customer list or website traffic.
The biggest mistake businesses make when setting up lookalikes is not using a high-quality source audience. When setting up your lookalikes, use either your customer database (creating a “customer file” custom audience) or use a website custom audience.
Protip: Creating lookalike audiences is more effective when you have at least 1000 people in your source audience. If you don’t have enough you can use your website traffic, engaged page followers, and page likes to create lookalike audiences as well.
Common Facebook Ad Mistakes: Conclusion
With the Coronavirus pandemic affecting businesses across the globe, the demand for digital advertising has never been higher or more competitive.
As a result, Facebook continues to introduce new features, targeting updates, and new processes that make it more challenging for newbie marketers and businesses to stay up-to-date with the latest Facebook Ad best practices.
By avoiding the common Facebook Ad mistakes outlined above, businesses can enjoy a high return-on-investment from their Facebook ads, build brand awareness, and increase conversions and revenue.
Are you worried you may be making a Facebook Ad mistake? Get in touch and let us know how we can help.
- by Rose Regier
This post was written by our Account Manager Rose Regier.
It’s no secret that we love a good spreadsheet. Let’s just say they spark joy, so we use them a lot. And the monthly content calendar spreadsheet we use with our retail clients might be our favourite.
If you’re not a retail business, don’t go just yet! What we’re about to share can apply to any type of business.
Before we dive in, let’s talk about why we should plan our content. Why go to all the effort of planning content a month in advance? Wouldn’t it be easier and less time consuming to post on the fly?
Read on, because we’re about to show you how planning content frees up time to spend on essential marketing activities that have a big impact on the success of your brand.
Here are the benefits of a monthly content strategy:
1. Strategy in action
Planning posts in monthly blocks allows you to see at a glance how your content aligns with your digital marketing strategy. It also allows you to identify any gaps in content and make sure no product category is left behind.
2. Consistency is key
Building and maintaining a relationship with your audience takes consistent effort over time. Posting a flurry of content one week and then disappearing for a month can leave your followers feeling annoyed or disinterested. Using a content calendar allows you to spread out content so that your audience hears from you regularly and stays engaged. Plus, it’s great for the algorithms.
3. Tracking for the win
Although the monthly content calendar is mainly a planning tool, it also keeps a record of what you’ve done in the past.
This allows you to keep track of what you’ve posted so a) you can avoid duplicating content and b) you can measure the effectiveness of each category of product posts.
4. Stay one step ahead
Identifying key events — like holidays, sales, and product launches — and plugging them into the content calendar ahead of time means you never have to worry about those important posts slipping your mind.
Let’s move on to the “how.” How does the monthly content strategy work exactly?
How does our monthly content strategy work?
Our cloud-based monthly content planning spreadsheet allows multiple people to contribute in real-time. This gives our clients and account managers the ability to collaborate on the content planning process.
We work together to choose specific products to highlight based on the following criteria:
- New arrivals
- Most loved items
- Products we need to move
- Holidays or seasons
- Sales or promos
Each month gets a tab in the spreadsheet, and serves as a record of the content we’ve shared. Product categories are colour coded for a quick visual way to see the variety in planned content (e.g. clothing, accessories, jewellery) and identify any gaps in the schedule.
Here’s an example of how the calendar might look like before the product details have been added:
Of course, we also leave room for posting user-generated content. Customer reviews are 12 times more trustworthy than messaging from a business, so we make sure to work content created by customers who know and love our clients into the mix.
In a perfect world, all content would be planned in advance, and we could wrap it in a bow and send it out into the world.
The reality is that planned posts sometimes need to change, and some posts are time-sensitive and need to be created in real-time. Staying on top of upcoming posts to ensure the content is still accurate/relevant is crucial, so we bake this into our process.
Posting on the fly might seem faster and easier, but our brains work better when we dedicate ourselves to one task for a few hours as opposed to rapidly switching from one task to another.
Creating content in "blocks" of time instead of posting on the fly ensures higher-quality, on-brand content because we're not scrambling to come up with something new every day.
Even better: having the foundation of a monthly content plan frees us up to spend time on the behind-the-scenes activities that get results for our clients:
- Monitoring and responding to customer comments/messages
- Researching and adjusting hashtags
- Staying on top of social media trends and social platform updates
- Engaging with customers and vendors by commenting on their posts and stories
- Reviewing and sharing user-generated content
- Analyzing data across all platforms and adjusting the marketing strategy
Want to know more about working with us and how we can help your business succeed? Get in touch and let’s chat!
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- by Alyson Shane
By now most businesses realize the importance of having and maintaining social media accounts. With close to 3.5 billion people using social media each month, it’s a way to connect with your customers, boost sales, and increase brand awareness.
If you own or manage a business, posting tweets and engaging with followers on multiple platforms likely isn’t at the top of your to-do list. It’s also not something you can pass off to just anyone.
The person crafting your messages sets the tone of your brand, curates content that will resonate with your followers, and works on a strategy to yield a positive ROI.
It’s not just playing on social media all day. Crafting your content takes time.
Here are some of the factors you need to consider for each platform and how much time they take.
Post image size: 1200 x 630 (ads, cover images, profile pictures, link images, event images are all different sizes).
Character count: The max character count is 63,206, but generally, you shouldn’t be maxing that out. Keep your CTAs strong and put your important information first. The ideal length is 40-80 characters.
Hashtags: Use rarely on Facebook.
Strategic scheduling: Posts published between 1-4 pm have the best click-through and share rates on Facebook. This can vary, so make sure you measure the performance of your posts from Facebook Insights and schedule accordingly.
Tagging: With 1.69 billion Facebook users, it’s important to tag the correct people and companies.
Copywriting: Who are you speaking to? Do you have a strong CTA? Is there a link you can share in this post? Is your target market interested in this post? Is this shareable content? What’s in it for the reader to share this? Is this content timely?
Hashtags research: N/A
Image sourcing: Make sure the image you select reflects the content you are sharing. It’s important to have permission to share the images you select, especially if you plan on branding them. Pexels, Unsplash, Canva, Pixabay, and others offer a selection of free images, but make sure they are free for commercial use before you share them.
Graphic creation: Use a tool like Canva or InDesign to add your logo, copy, and other graphic elements that draw attention to your viewer.
Pin the post: You want your most relevant marketing campaigns to stay at the top of your feed. Your pinned post will likely be one of the first things people see while visiting your Facebook page, so make sure it’s timely!
Other factors: Facebook generally suppresses business posts, so the best way to get your content seen is to have your followers share it on their pages.
Total time: ~ 45 minutes
Post image size: Landscape 1080x608 px, square 1080x1080px or portrait 1080x1350 px. (Instagram stories, Instagram Live, and IGTV are different sizes)
Character count: Max 2,2 00 characters. 138-150 characters is ideal for maximum engagement.
Hashtags: Max 30. The ideal number is 5-10. Too many hashtags can get your account shadow banned.
Strategic scheduling: The general best time to post is between 9 am-11 am, but the best time to post is based on your unique audience. An app like Buffer automatically calculates your best times to post.
Tagging: People and businesses are always looking for content to share. Do you have a pen from a local art store in your photo? What about flowers from your favourite florist? Tag whoever you mention in your post to maximize your chances of being shared on their pages.
Copywriting: It’s a good idea to write both short and long posts. If you are writing a long caption, write a short, engaging summary of what you are posting about first, so your audience doesn’t miss your key message. Make sure your post has value. Is your audience learning something? Will it make them emotional? What’s in it for them when they read this post?
Hashtags research: Did you know that posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag? Hashtags work to organize your content and make it easier for people to find. There are community hashtags, branded hashtags, and campaign hashtags. Use these to find your niche audience, collect UGC, or promote your campaign. Look for tags that your audience, industry leaders and competitors are already using.
Image sourcing: Since Instagram is a visual platform, the photos you post are very important. Not only do you need to worry about each image, but you should also consider how your profile looks as a whole.
Do you have a colour scheme? What filters are you using?
Free image sourcing is a great option, but if you want to make sure your brand isn’t being confused for other brands or you want specific quality, try buying images from Stocksy, Twenty20, or Social Squares. They provide quality content, and it still saves your business from costly photoshoots and time spent taking and editing photos.
Graphic creation: Since people are mainly using Instagram on their mobile devices, it’s important to use an image that will quickly draw attention and get your point across. Instagram is not the place for complicated infographics and small text.
Add to highlights: It’s a great idea to share your new posts to your Instagram story and increase the chances of your content being seen. If your post is important enough to keep at the top of your page, add it to your highlights so your viewers can easily find it!
Other factors: Instagram is one of the only platforms that doesn’t allow you to link to a webpage in your caption. Asking people to go to your link in bio and leave the app gives them more steps than people are generally willing to do. Make sure you have all of your important information on Instagram, and if needed, direct them to your link in bio for more information, but you better make sure it’s updated!
Total time: ~ 50 minutes
Image size: Min. 440 x 220 px
Character count: Max 280 characters.
Hashtags: Twitter recommends using no more than two hashtags per tweet for best practice.
Strategic scheduling: The best times to post for B2B are 7 am-8 am, 11 am, 6 pm, and 9 pm. Schedule around peak times, but make sure they are the best for your business. Find an app like Later that will analyze optimal times to post content.
Tagging: Giving an @ mention informs people or businesses you posted about them. Everyone loves to share positive content about themselves or their business. One RT can lead to many more!
Copywriting: Be concise! The ideal Twitter caption is 71-100 characters. Since Twitter moves fast, you only have a few seconds to grab your audience’s attention.
Hashtags research: Give people a reason to use your hashtag. Are you running a contest? Can they participate in a larger conversation this way? Or use your hashtags to get your content discovered. Just use them sparingly!
Image sourcing: Twitter data says people are three times more likely to engage with Tweets that include visual content. Include video, images, and GIFs to your tweets.
Graphic creation: Make your visuals eye-catching, appealing, and informative while using your brand tone and voice. Use your logo to build brand recognition. Try using GIFs to add some humour to your posts.
Pin the post: If your pinned tweet is out of date it looks like you aren’t active on Twitter, or you don’t pay attention to detail. Update your pinned tweet as necessary.
Other factors: Twitter is big for sharing content. Look for opportunities to share content from your audience, affiliates, and industry leaders.
Total time: ~30 minutes
Image size: 1104 x 736 px
Character count: 700 characters (business accounts) 1300 (individual accounts)
Hashtags: LinkedIn recommends 3-5 hashtags per post.
Strategic scheduling: Working professionals and college grads make up the majority of LinkedIn users. The most successful posts on LinkedIn are posted between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. from Tuesday to Thursday.
Tagging: LinkedIn is all about making connections and showcasing your abilities. If you can tag people in your posts, do it! Often they will want to share their involvement with your company on their own pages to show off to their network.
Copywriting: You have 140 characters before LinkedIn will cut off your copy with the “See more” button. Make sure your first sentence in compelling. An interesting first sentence can get more eyes on your profile, and the rest of your content.
Hashtags research: Following hashtags on LinkedIn is a great way to find new content ideas and stay informed on what’s going on in your industry. Go to ‘Hashtags trending in your network’ to find relevant hashtags – choose ‘My Network’ and then ‘See all’ under the ‘Hashtag’ section.
Image sourcing: Many LinkedIn statuses will revolve around less visual topics like leadership, motivation, success, so you have more freedom and creativity with choosing images. Pair your image with a strong caption and you’ll be on your way to getting clicks and shares!
Graphic creation: Always stick to your brand guidelines with the same font, colours, and logo to create a cohesive, curated look.
Other factors: LinkedIn is the place to keep things professional. Make sure your profile is always up to date and offer plenty of opportunities for people to learn about your brand.
Total time: ~ 45 minutes
As you can see, hiring a social media manager is the best way to get your key messages across on each platform and maximize your ROI.
Social media platforms are constantly evolving their algorithms and interfaces. Marketers should be staying updated with the latest information. Starling Social’s high-level approach to digital marketing allows you to focus on your customers with the reassurance of knowing your social media channels are running seamlessly.
Your business needs a marketing plan that aligns with your growth goals. We develop strategies that help you create memorable, lasting connections with your customers and grow your business.
Get in touch if you’re looking for help with growing your business.