9 of the best social listening tools for brand marketing

Social listening offers marketers a huge opportunity to learn from and engage with customers and potential customers online.

In the simplest sense, social listening is essentially audience research. You monitor your brand’s social media channels for any customer feedback, mentions of your brand and discussions surrounding specific keywords, topics, competitors or industries that are relevant to your brand.

Learn more about social listening, as well as nine tips to leverage it to gain customer insights.

The right tool can make the social listening process more efficient. Keep in mind that many broader social media management tools include social listening capabilities. The following are nine of the best social listening tools that can help you be successful in your efforts.

Sprout Social

This comprehensive social media management platform offers powerful solutions for social listening and more. Sprout Social features include:

  • An integrated social listening tool that uncovers trends in social media conversations, teaches you about your audience and gives actionable insights.
  • The ability to monitor and engage across social media networks.
  • A single Smart Inbox for all direct messages across networks.
  • Easy-to-understand social analytics.

Sprout Social offers a free 30-day trial. Paid plans start at $89 per month.

Hootsuite

Another comprehensive social media management tool, Hootsuite provides a single, customizable dashboard so that you can view and respond to all your social media messages, comments and mentions across multiple networks. Other features include:

  • The ability to share and schedule engaging content for your social media profiles within the application.
  • A single inbox where you can address incoming messages and deliver timely replies.
  • Multiple social network integrations that can be viewed within the interface.
  • Easily monitor mentions and directly respond to them.
  • The option to customize paid social media campaigns with the Boost tool.
  • Customizable analytics reporting.

Hootsuite offers a limited free plan. Paid plans start at $49 per month (but a 30-day free trial is available as well).

Falcon.io

Falcon.io is an all-in-one social media management tool and customer experience platform for medium-or-larger-sized businesses. This means that you can schedule, engage, listen, advertise and more. Other features include:

  • A single dashboard for social listening, publishing, engagement, reporting and audience data management.
  • The Engage inbox, which manages all private messaging channels, including WhatsApp.
  • Custom response templates for FAQs.
  • The ability to direct specific external messages to internal team members to collaborate on solutions.

Falcon.io offers a free 14-day trial. Paid plans start at $108 per seat per month.

Buffer

Buffer considers itself an omnichannel experience for your social media marketing. It helps you find the conversations that matter most and join in. Buffer’s other features include:

  • Smart alerts using machine learning let you know at a glance if a post has questions, negative sentiments or comments about a purchase.
  • Scheduling and publishing tools to help you plan effective social media campaigns.
  • Reports and analytics tools that help you measure engagement and audience behavior.
  • A Story-monitoring tool that records and analyzes your Stories on Facebook and Instagram.

Buffer offers a limited free plan. Paid plans start at $5 per social channel per month (but a free 14-day trial is available as well).

BuzzSumo

A tool that prioritizes deeper insights is BuzzSumo. You can more easily identify which types of social media posts generate the best results among your audience. In fact, you’ll get recommendations on when you should post and the ideal length of a post. Other BuzzSumo features include:

  • Organization of shared content in order of significance with the Curation tool.
  • The ability to discover relevant influencers for your brand.
  • A significant data analytics suite.
  • A Content Ideas Generator to help you brainstorm new content for your audience.

BuzzSumo offers a limited free plan. Paid plans start at $79 per month (but a free 30-day trial is available as well). You also can save by paying annually.

Mention

Mention can track content sources across 42 languages to monitor for brand mentions throughout the globe. Of course, you can filter for what matters most to you. Mention’s other features include:

  • A competitive analysis tool that helps you compare your brand against two or more competitors.
  • A crisis management tool that allows you to effectively manage any uproar or crisis situation on social media.
  • The ability of team members to alert each other within the interface.
  • Comprehensive analytics.

Mention offers a limited free plan. Paid plans start at €29 per month (or about $31 per month). Free trials also are available for the paid plans.

Awario

With a heightened focus on social listening, Awario tracks keywords in a number of languages. You get everything you need to monitor and respond to comments while building relationships with your target audience on social media. Other Awario features include:

  • A Social Selling feature where you can identify posts that request a product recommendation similar to yours and/or any posts about issues that users are having with products sold by your competition.
  • Tracking the growth in the number of your mentions and their collective reach and sorting mentions by positive, negative, and neutral with sentiment analysis, 
  • Identifying top influencers by social media network.

Awario offers a free trial. Paid plans begin at $24 per month when billed annually.

Agorapulse

Agorapulse is a complete social media management software intended to help you leverage social listening and get deeper audience insights. You get a single, unified inbox, as well as the ability to publish on multiple social media platforms. Other Agorapulse features include:

  • Unlimited saved searches where you can discover new feedback and customers.
  • Labeling any important posts, competitor activity and customer feedback for easy retrieval and response.
  • Managing Facebook and Instagram ad comments in chronological order.

Agorapulse offers a free 15-day trial. Paid plans start at $79 per month when billed annually.

Brandwatch

Beyond a social listening tool, Brandwatch is a consumer intelligence platform. It offers an AI analyst, which can automatically bring insights to the surface and save you time. Other Brandwatch features include:

  • Auto-segmentation.
  • The ability to analyze images.
  • Data that helps you fully understand how people aren’t just talking about your brand but how they’re displaying it in images, too.

Brandwatch offers a free demo. Paid plans begin at $800 per month, so it might not be the right fit for small businesses (depending on your budget).

In conclusion

Ultimately, deciding on the best social listening tool comes down to your goals and budget. Make sure you take advantage of any available free trials as needed, or dip your toe in with a limited free version of what seems like the best fit for you. You always can upgrade your plan later.

While you’re at it, make sure you understand the difference between social listening and crowdsourcing.

As you’re exploring these social listening tools, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

3 differences between long code and short code in text message marketing

 SMS text message marketing is a powerful tactic in any company’s digital marketing strategy.

Not only do about 59 percent of consumers respond to their text messages within five minutes, but nearly 100 percent of people at least open all of their text messages.

But as you’re entering the world of text message marketing, you begin your efforts with a very important decision: whether to use a long code or short code.

Long codes and short codes merely refer to the type of number you’re sending your text messages from. Long codes are a standard 10-digit phone number, while short codes are an easier-to-remember 5- to 6-digit number.

The following are three differences between long codes and short codes so that you can decide which is best for your company and goals behind text message marketing.

Capabilities

Long codes can be used for more than just text messaging. They can also be used for faxes and making calls. Short codes can only send and receive text messages.

Typically, long codes are used for customer service-related communication, such as:

  • Informing a customer that his or her package is out for delivery.
  • Updating customers with their account balance.

But companies often use short codes for mass marketing, security and emergency communications in text message marketing, such as:

  • Sending ads, coupons and other promotional information. For example, customers can opt in for a discount or other type of loyalty program by texting a keyword to the short code number.
  • Two-factor authentication for security purposes.
  • Alert notifications, such as hurrican warnings or flight delays.

While long codes can work worldwide, they don’t support delivery receipts. But there are still ways to know if delivery was successful when using particular SMS messaging platforms, such as DailyStory. However, short codes are considered to be the most reliable from both a technical and legal standpoint.

Volume

Of course, a big difference between long codes and short codes is the speed and volume of sending text messages in your text message marketing.

Long codes limit sending to one message per second, so companies typically use them for person-to-person communication. Short codes, on the other hand, can send 40 messages per second, so companies often use them for high-volume messaging, such as voting on TV shows.

In addition, according to carrier regulations, the ratio of inbound-to-outbound text traffic should be better than one-to-three for long codes. Short codes do not have this restriction.

Learn more about carrier violations and how to avoid them during SMS text message marketing.

Cost

Short codes can be much more expensive than long codes. The cost of a short code, for example, can begin at $500 per month in addition to any set-up fees.

Long codes are considerably more affordable.

In conclusion

The decision whether to secure a long code or short code depends on your budget and your intended uses for SMS text message marketing. Keep in mind that technology continues to evolve, and 10DLC is something to explore as well.

Check out our 10 best practices for SMS text message marketing.

As you’re deciding on whether to use a long code or short code, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation, powerful SMS text message marketing and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

7 tips for marketing on Quora and other Q&A websites

An often-overlooked digital marketing tactic involves engaging on question-and-answer websites, such as Quora. 

But Q&A websites are a treasure trove of internet users who are seeking answers that you might have. In other words, a possible untapped opportunity for your brand.

Quora specifically boasts at least 300 million monthly users. It’s an information-based site, where users ask and answer posted questions. Of course, questions can range from the silly to the serious, from relevant for your brand to completely irrelevant for your brand. Quora features at least 400,000 topics.

More than anything, you can leverage yourself and your brand as a thought leader in your industry, increasing brand awareness, but with the right strategy, you can possibly boost your organic traffic along the way as well, especially since Quora questions are searchable through Google. That means that internet users can find you simply through their own search queries outside of Quora.

Keep in mind that on Quora, you can:

  • Publish your own content like you would any other platform.
  • Search for specific topics related to your brand.
  • Target your questions to specific users.
  • Get inspiration about new content you can create on your own website, based on questions that are being asked.
  • Use the site’s paid advertising to get your questions in front of more people.

The following are seven tips for marketing your brand on Quora and other Q&A websites.

Optimize your personal profile

So, unlike social media platforms, you can only create a profile for an individual, not a brand.

But that shouldn’t be a deal breaker. In fact, being a human first is a good thing.

That being said, you’ll want to optimize your profile and highlight your connection to your brand and/or company specifically.

Quora shows the first 50 characters of your profile as a tagline above each answer you post, which makes it an ideal place to talk about your brand. But you’ll also want to be engaging with that space as well. Think outside of the box. Is there anything more you can say that goes beyond your job title and company name? The 50 characters aren’t a ton to work with, but a little time spent brainstorming can go a long way.

Your full profile bio also can include clickable links. Don’t abuse this with a ton of links that will turn other users off and look like spam. Be strategic and use sparingly with the goal of driving some traffic back to the most useful resources on your website.

In addition, you can create topic-specific bios on your profile page if your brand spans multiple niches. Look for the “Knows About” column on the right-hand side of your profile. You can then describe your experience next to each topic you choose.

Additional opportunities to optimize your Quora profile include:

  • Sharing your interests as they relate to your brand.
  • Using the “About Me” section to offer more context about your expertise with relevant links.
  • Selecting an eye-catching profile photo that’s a professional headshot.
  • Sharing your employment and eduction, as well as location.

Taking the time to optimize your Quora profile will help you get found on the website and also add to your credibility when you are answering questions and engaging with other users.

Build a Quora page for your company

While you can’t create a business profile, you can create a business page on Quora. In fact, you can create a page about anything on the website.

To do this, search for your business’s name in Quora. On the results page, you can look in the right sidebar underneath the “Add Question” box and click the link to “Create Topic” if you don’t see your business name in the results.

You can then name the topic and add a brief description.

Once live, you can request for the Quora online community to review the topic, aka your business if you’ve set it up as a page for your brand.

By doing this, you can acquire testimonials and additional social proof that you can leverage elsewhere.

Identify the right questions to answer

Can you attempt to answer most or all of the questions you see, whether it’s related to your brand or not? Yes. Should you? Not at all.

Using Quora efficiently means that you want to be selective about the best questions you can answer that are most relevant to your brand, especially since the website offers millions of queries that you can get lost in if you’re not careful.

Plus, one of your goals on Quora likely includes building yourself up as a thought leader in your industry, so it’s important to use a critical eye when deciding what questions bring value to your brand.

We recommend searching for a preferred keyword on Quora to bring up a list of available questions. You can then filter your results to queries from within the past 30 days to see only the most recent questions. Keep an eye for threads that have a lot of “upvotes,” which means that these threads have a lot of views. Balance answering new questions with popular questions, but always keep your brand relevancy in mind.

How you answer a question matters

Once you’ve identified the best questions to answer, you want your answers to stand out. 

Some recommendations to post engaging answers that benefit your brand:

  • Aim to offer thorough insight with links to relevant blog content, case studies and/or statistics.
  • Show your passion for the topic, sharing your brand’s personality as it makes sense to do so.
  • Pull snippets from your already-created content to share a deeper perspective that’s quick for you to do. You could also take a quote from a recent piece of your content and build off of that. Either way.
  • Add images (such as graphs, charts and other graphics) to better convey your information visually. Keep in mind that people understand visual instructions about 323 percent better than text-based ones.
  • Use custom formatting to help break up your text, including bolding or italicizing headings, numbered or bulleted lists of points and tagged mentions of other Quora users or topics.

Clearly, a quick sentence or two won’t do. Strive for better.

Engage with other Quora users

While Quora can feel like a humanized version of a search engine, it’s also truly a social media platform. So, engagement and connection definitely matter.

You can communicate directly with other users as well. Of course, you can track the top answers and followers of relevant topics to identify some of the users you definitely should be engaging with.

But in the end, being an engaged member of the Quora community will naturally present opportunities to connect with other users.

Use notifications to track relevant topics on Quora

Quora is fantastic for research. With just a little digging, you can see what people in your industry are saying.

To begin tracking topics that are important to you and your brand, type a keyword in the Quora search field. You’ll see a list of autocompleted topic suggestions for you to consider and explore. When you click on a suggested topic, you’ll arrive at its page, with an additional list of related topics on the side. Click the “Follow” button to follow a topic of your choice.

To ensure that you receive email notifications related to the topics you’re following, go to your “Settings” page in Quora and select “Emails & Notifications.” You can then adjust the frequency and types of emails Quora will send to you.

Monitor your Quora performance analytics

It’s important to understand whether the effort you’re putting into Quora is paying off. In other words, you should know your return on investment (ROI).

Fortunately, Quora offers analytics for the questions you’ve answered, seeing such metrics as:

  • How many people viewed your response
  • The number of upvotes you received
  • Any shares

If you use tracking links in your answers, you’ll also be able to measure how many click-throughs you’re directly encouraging from Quora.

Use this information to understand which questions are generating the most value for your brand and then make future strategic desicions based on that.

In conclusion

Q&A websites can be an underutilized tool in your digital marketing toolkit. Of course, these recommendations can be applied to other Q&A websites than just Quora. Do your research when deciding where you should invest your time and energy.

Check out our 18 low-cost marketing ideas for small businesses.

As you’re exploring Quora and other Q&A websites, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

19 tips to drive traffic to your new blog

Blogs can be a large part of your content marketing efforts.

Each month, about 409 million people view more than 20 billion blog pages.

If you haven’t already been maintaining blog content for your brand, you might be deciding that now is the time to get started.

Great! But once you launch your new blog, how do you begin to drive traffic to it? Clearly, a blog with no page views is like a tree falling in the forest without anyone hearing it. In other words, you’re not going to hit any of your marketing or revenue goals with a low-performing blog.

The following are 19 tips to help your new blog get attention.

Determine your target audience

This is a common requirement for any sort of successful content marketing tactic. While many small businesses would love to target everyone all the time (because who wouldn’t want your product or service?), you have to get real.

First, everyone has a budget. And yours is going to go much further when you are targeting a more specific group of people than if you’re trying to reach everyone.

Second, you’ll be that much more effective by targeting a niche of consumers who are most likely to purchase. That’s right. Aiming “small” (but targeted) will lead to a better ROI (return on investment).

Of course, your target audience is more than a handful of demographic characteristics. See our seven tips to help you determine the best target audience for your brand.

Plan engaging blog content ideas

It might sound obvious, but there’s not a huge reason to push for more blog traffic if your content is lackluster. You’ll simply lose the readers you do get and definitely won’t be able to build a relationship with them.

Content that’s clear, engaging and even solves a problem that your target audience might be dealing with will not only attract visitors but also leave your audience wanting more. Both are good things!

Consider as your brainstorming blog topics:

  • Your expertise. What relevant knowledge can you share?
  • The interests of your readers. What are they wanting or needing to know?
  • Trending topics. What can you contribute to the conversation?

Once you have a list of topic ideas, get organized. Check out our eight tips to create an effective content calendar.

Develop attention-grabbing blog headlines

Headlines can greatly impact how well your blog posts perform. They are on the frontlines representing your content and impacting whether an internet user will click through on your link or not.

In a nutshell, you want to be clear, catchy and detailed while also not being too long. 

See our 19 tips to write effective, engaging headlines.

Optimize for SEO

Keep in mind the phrases and keywords that your target audience will most likely use in search engines, like Google or Bing. You’ll want to naturally incorporate these throughout your content.

You can try any of these 11 free keyword research tools to get an idea of the proper keywords you should use.

This effort can help search engines find you and recommend your specific piece of content to the potential searching audience, which can then lead to free website traffic.

See our 12 SEO marketing tips for beginners to dive deeper.

Consistency is critical

You’ll want to publish new blog posts consistently. Of course, consistency does not mean posting daily at the same time each day. It just means that you must decide on a posting schedule and then stick to it.

This serves your visitors, so they know when to expect new content, but this also can help your ranking for search engines, which trust websites with consistent new content versus those with an erratic posting schedule.

When deciding how often to post, consider your time and resources first. You don’t want to overpromise and underdeliver as soon as you start. Remember that you can always build up your posting schedule over time as it makes sense to do so.

Go long with your content

This isn’t permission to go long just for the sake of going long. There needs to be substance behind it, of course.

Long-form content offers readers deeper, more concise information. But that’s not the only benefit.

Sharing rates typically increase along with the content length of your blog on all the major social media platforms, especially Twitter and Facebook. In addition, the top ten results for any given search tend to go to content with at least 2,000 words, and the rankings tend to decrease along with the word count.

Just make sure that you break up your longer content with subheadings, images and so on.

Never go out of style with evergreen content

Evergreen content remains relevant over a long period of time. It’s not time-sensitive in any way, but it could be seasonal, where the content can continue to come back every year and be just as relevant. This sustainability will help feed continued traffic to your blog.

To get the ball rolling on evergreen content, think about the questions you’re frequently asked by customers.

Use visuals

We as humans are more visual by nature. Our eyes are drawn to images before text.

About 80 percent of people remember what they see, compared to 10 percent of what they hear and 20 percent of what they read.

Leverage this by incorporating images, GIFs, videos and graphics into your new blog. Plus, you have the ability to properly tag your images so that search engines can understand the types of assets you’re offering to visitors within your text content.

Confirm your website loading speed

About 57 percent of online shoppers will leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds for a page to load. And search engines are paying attention to your loading speed as well, which will lower your search ranking if you’re slower than you should be.

Not sure what your website’s loading speed is? Start with Google’s Page Speed Insights. You’ll not only find out the loading speed of your pages on mobile but also get some diagnostic advice on how to fix any of the slower pages.

Website loading speed is critically important to mobile marketing in general. Check out our 14 tips to help you optimize for mobile consumption in additional ways.

Embrace internal linking

Internal linking is all about linking to your other content that’s relevant in the current blog that visitors are reading.

This benefits your SEO efforts, and it can help keep visitors on your website longer by visiting that related content in addition to your original content that attracted them in the first place.

Just make sure that you’re only using links that are relevant and valuable. Keep an eye out for opportunities to link to other content as you’re working on new content.

Build up quality backlinks

Backlinks are hyperlinks that point from one website to another (as opposed to internal links that are linking within your website). About 91 percent of all web pages never get any organic traffic from Google, and that’s mostly due to the fact that they don’t have backlinks. 

Don’t be one of those pages.

We all want to improve the search engine ranking of our website, but when it comes to getting others to link to you, it’s easy to feel lost. Plus, you don’t want just any backlink for your site. Quality (meaning that the backlink is coming from a trusted website) is important as well.

See our seven tips to help grow quality backlinks to your content.

Consider guest blogging

By featuring other writers on your blog, you’re not only adding to the value you have with different perspectives, you’re also potentially reaching a new audience.

When you’re working with potential guest bloggers, make sure you agree in advance on how the partnership will work.

  • Will they share the content on their own social media channels? If so, how often? What does that look like?
  • Does anything need to be linked back to for them? What links? How many?

Of course, this can also be flipped where you’re guest blogging on another website.

Partnerships can truly be a win-win for everyone involved if planned and talked through in advance.

Social media promotion is key

Maintaining an active social media presence goes a long way toward driving traffic to your new blog. You can directly share your content with the context that should encourage users to click through to your blog.

You’ll want to consider every social media platform different and unique. What works on Twitter is not the same as what can work on Instagram.

Consider your audience and the platform when posting. You might even want to consider creating a YouTube channel to work in tandem with your blog.

In addition, having social media sharing buttons that are alongside your content will make it easy for your visitors to share your content organically on their own social accounts as well.

Learn about what you should know about social media.

Leverage email marketing

Email marketing is a great way to build personal relationships with your subscribers, and you can use snippets of your blog content within your emails that can link back to your full content.

In 2022, the number of email users worldwide is estimated to be about 4.3 billion. This is expected to grow to about 4.6 billion in 2025, making up more than half of the estimated world population

See these 48 statistics that show the value of email marketing.

Even in a world of social media prevalence, more consumers use email than any social media platform, and more than half of consumers check their email before they check their social media in the morning.

Check out our 16 email marketing best practices so that you can put your best foot forward.

Host a contest or giveaway

You can create opportunities for your audience to win prizes by subscribing to, liking, commenting on or sharing your blog content, which can all further the reach of your blog.

Prizes could be a product you sell or a service you offer to keep it simple.

Make sure you plan ahead so that any giveaway works efficiently for you and for the participants. Plus, you’ll want to keep it all legal with thorough Terms and Conditions tied to your giveaway.

Encourage comments and discussions on your blog

Google naturally improves the search ranking of a blog that’s receiving a lot of comments because it indicates that the content is engaging.

Of course, what can help these discussions is your thoughtful responses to any comments left by readers. It creates a trusting relationship and encourages them to continue commenting.

You can always try to get the comments going by ending your blog post with an open-ended question that readers can answer in the comment section.

Participate in various Q&A websites

Question-and-answer websites are definitely one of the biggest online communities in the digital world.

By answering questions on such platforms as Quora, TripAdvisor and others, your answer will be live for a long time and could potentially drive traffic to your blog.

That being said, you want to avoid any link dumping on these sites. Instead, focus on giving as detailed an answer as possible and only include a link if it makes sense to do so.

Experiment with influencer marketing

In the simplest sense, an influencer is anyone with a digital following (or audience) on a social media platform or elsewhere whom you’d like to attract to your own brand.

The purpose of influencer marketing involves increasing brand awareness, targeting new and niche audiences and increasing impressions and reach.

By identifying and partnering with an influencer, you can reach that new audience and drive up traffic to your new blog.

But before you dive in headfirst with your first influencer marketing campaign, check out our seven tips.

Spread social proof across every platform possible

Social proof refers to potential customers assuming that what others are doing is correct based on how often they see those actions. In other words, social proof is about looking to others to figure out the right way to interact in any given situation.

You can use social proof to promote your blog on your website and across your social media channels.

Here are a handful of ideas to get started:

  • Use a feedback form to collect user feedback about your blog that you can then share.
  • Ask users to rate your blog articles.
  • Share your social media following number, email subscribers or any other numbers.

Learn more about what social proof is and nine ways to use it, as well as 17 of the best social proof tools that you can try.

In conclusion

The biggest thing to keep in mind when launching a new blog is to have patience. Growing your website traffic organically can take time. 

Focus on offering quality content that resonates and getting creative with your promotion beyond even these tips. 

Check out our seven tips to level up your content marketing, as well as our Digital Marketing 101 Guide for Beginners.

As you gain traction with your new blog, consider optimizing your digital marketing process, such as automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

9 tips to get the most out of Google Analytics

Your performance data should be the lifeblood of your digital marketing strategy. But when it comes to using Google Analytics, are you more of a casual user than you’d like to be?

Maybe you’re not checking as often or only get a vague notion of what is going on with your website traffic and the campaigns surrounding it.

Google Analytics is a commonly used analytics platform that integrates with your website and offers data on:

  • How many people are visiting your website.
  • What they’re doing while they’re there.
  • How much time they spend on your website.

It also features a ton of crucial information, like the most common type of device used to access your website pages and the geographic information of your visitors.

And there is so much more than that with its in-depth insights and tracking power. If you still need to learn the basics, check out this course from Google.

Remember that about 76 percent of marketing leaders base decisions on data analytics. If you’re basing your decisions on gut instincts, don’t. About two out of three marketers say data-based decisions are more effective than gut instincts.  

The following are 9 tips to get the most out of Google Analytics every time you use it.

Compare your historical traffic trends

There is so much power in understanding the history of your performance data (and how that compares to now as well). Whether that’s month-over-month data, year-over-year data or everything in between. 

This can help you identify patterns and trends in your own traffic. Historical comparison data views are as simple as using the time filter in Google Analytics.

Simply specify your desired date range and the previous period to compare it to. Keep in mind that Google Analytics defaults to the number of days in the specified period. For example, a Monday-through-Sunday week view won’t mirror the the corresponding days of the previous week.

Assign a monetary value to your goals

Goals are critical to every digital marketing campaign, so you’ll want to take advantage of them in an elevated way in Google Analytics. 

Unsure about your goals? Check out our seven tips.

Google Analytics gives you the ability to assign monetary values to your goals. Why does that matter? Because you should be able to gauge exactly how much money you’re making (or losing) with every new lead earned (or lost).

To assign a value to a goal, navigate to the Admin section of Google Analytics in the top menu and click “Goals.”

You’ll then see a list of your goals. Click on one, and you’ll have an interface open where you can then specify the monetary value of the goal.

Of course, how much you assign can be a typical question, and that definitely depends. Typically, you’ll want to underestimate how much a goal is worth.

Assigning monetary values can really help you see in financial terms how much money you could be losing in your marketing funnel and where you’re losing it.

If you need a refresher on how to create goals to begin with, Google has this walk-through.

Use audience data in your custom visitor segments

Custom visitor segments can help classify your visitors by demographic data, such as age, gender, location and so on. But don’t forget about the data in the Audience reporting views that can assist with how you create your custom segments.

The audience data will tell you about how specific users are interacting with your website.

To leverage this additional data, navigate to the Interests Overview within the Audience reporting section. You’ll find a broad view of the other three Interests reports, including Affinity Categories, In-Market Segments and Other Categories.

Once your more-detailed custom segment is created, you can measure it against your other visitor traffic to better understand how certain types of visitors behave in comparison to each other. That way, you aren’t just looking at the broad overview of all page views and/or sessions.

Consider your top conversion paths

While we would all love to see a consumer click on our ad to visit our website and immediately make a purchase all the time, that’s not how it goes. Website visitors don’t always behave the way you expect.

Going through your top conversion paths in Google Analytics gives you insight into how your visitors are actually converting as opposed to how you think they’re converting. It’s an often-complex route, for sure.

To find this, navigate to the Top Conversion Paths section of the Conversions reports. You’ll then see the top 10 conversion paths by default, with the option to extend the number of displayed rows.

Remove your IP address from reporting

If you’re starting to notice your own business IP address in your reports, know that this is normal, especially if you have an entire team in your office working on different parts of your website. 

Even though it’s common, it can slightly impact your Google Analytics reporting. 

Fortunately, you can exclude your internal traffic by creating a filter for your Google Analytics account that blocks your specific IP address from showing up in your reporting.

You can do so by clicking “Admin” and navigating to the account in which you want to create the filter. In the “Account” column, select “All Filters.” Then, click “+ Add Filter.” You’ll want to select “Exclude” in the filter type menu, and that’s where you can decide how to exclude your internal traffic sources.

Set up Intelligence Events in Google Analytics

If you’ve been monitoring your website traffic for a while, you’re likely aware of strange anomalies that can happen. Think a huge spike or drop in your traffic as an example.

Intelligence Events in Google Analytics allows you to set custom parameters to monitor for unusual activity on your website and send alerts to designated account users. For example, a doubling in your average website traffic in one day would be unusual, and Google Analytics can not only alert you about it but also record the data related to it.

Keep in mind that Google Analytics will, by default, notify you of unusual site activity. But don’t rely on that. You’re going to want to set up Intelligence Event notifications.

To set these up, open the Intelligence Events reporting section and select the “Custom Alerts” tab from the right-side menu. Then, click “Manage Custom Alerts.” You’ll want to select “+ New Alert” to then create your custom Intelligence Events.

Monitor your overall website speed

Website speed matters, especially when considering your mobile SEO. If any of your webpages take more than a fraction of a second to load, you risk losing the trust of your visitors and losing them entirely.

In other words, the faster your website loads, the better.

To check your speed within Google Analytics, click on “Reports” followed by “Behavior” and then “Site Speed.”

Add annotations to your reports in Google Analytics

If you’re not the only person managing your Google Analytics account, you’ll definitely want to take advantage of annotations. These are simple notes that can be added to an Analytics reporting graph to explain or give context to various performance data. In particular, you might want to explain an increase or decrease in traffic, make a note of when a specific campaign launched and almost anything else.

Annotations look like speech bubble icons along the bottom of a graph.

To view annotations, click on the downward arrow tab icon beneath the graph, and you’ll see a list of all annotations made within the specified time period, as well as who created the annotation and their email addresses. Then to create a new annotation, click “Create New Annotation” on the right side above existing annotation authors’ email addresses. Keep in mind that you can make annotations public or private, depending on who should see what.

Stay on top of everything with emailed versions of your top reports

Last but not least, you have the opportunity to streamline your analytics monitoring with emailed reports from Google Analytics.

That means that you don’t have to log into your dashboard each time you want to understand what’s going on with your website.

And if logging in has been difficult on a consistent, regular basis, then email reports are something you definitely should leverage for yourself.

First, decide what reports would be best to receive in your email inbox. Then, navigate to each report, set it up how you like (i.e. date filters) and then click “Share.” You can then decide what email addresses it goes to and how frequently it’s sent.

In conclusion

Your performance data will give you the power to make informed decisions about your digital marketing strategies. Take the time to not only understand Google Analytics but also to make it work for you.

Check out our Digital Marketing 101 Guide for Beginners to explore the possibilities of what you can do for your brand.

While you’re exploring to Google Analytics, think about your digital marketing process. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

9 tips to improve social listening and gain customer insights

Social media is a two-way street. Rather than just posting relevant, engaging content, you also have to listen. Enter social listening.

In the simplest sense, social listening is essentially audience research. You monitor your brand’s social media channels for any customer feedback, mentions of your brand and discussions surrounding specific keywords, topics, competitors or industries that are relevant to your brand.

Social listening is a two-part process. You have the monitoring on the front end, but then you dive deeper with analysis and actionable responses. There’s an engagement there, but also the goal to implement long-term strategy changes based on what you’re learning. 

In other words, your brand is aiming to meet the needs of your customers by listening to and engaging with them (but also tracking and analyzing all that information).

While answering a complaint on social media can increase customer advocacy by about 25 percent, only about 51 percent of brands use social monitoring or listening in any capacity. In fact, about 71 percent of social media marketers say that they are able to provide consumer insights from social media channels to other departments.

Plus, about 46 percent of consumers think that brands engaging with their audiences on social media makes them stand out above all other brands.

By implementing effective social listening into your overall digital marketing strategy, you will:

  • Engage with your customers and target audience more effectively.
  • Discover more and better leads.
  • Learn more about your customers’ needs and problems (that you can help solve).
  • Identify potential brand partners and influencers.
  • Better track your competition.

The following are nine tips to improve your brand’s social listening and gain beneficial customer insights.

Decide what you’re listening to

This sounds a bit simplistic but truly is important to figure out before you dive into social listening. Social media is vast and noisy. You have to focus.

From these ideas, determine what specifically you’ll be looking for:

  • Direct mentions of your brand. Are there any variations that could be used?
  • Your brand’s social media handle. Include any sub-accounts as well.
  • Any specific product (or even service) names.
  • Specific hashtags.
  • Relevant-to-your-brand keywords.
  • Names of key people in your company (such as your CEO or anyone public-facing).
  • Topics that relate to your brand.
  • Your competition (which should include the same breakdown as your doing for your own brand).

This will help you get started in a more efficient manner so that you can gain more consistent and relevant insights over time.

Look beyond your immediate social media presence

While we wish all conversations about our brands could happen on our posts, through direct mentions or in our incoming messages, that’s simply not the case. Think beyond all of that.

You want to keep in mind that social media users won’t always tag you, that they could misspell your brand name or even use an abbreviation or shortened version of your brand name (Coke, for example, rather than Coca-Cola).

Be strategic about keywords and topics

Definitely put time and research into the keywords and topics you ultimately track and follow. They will evolve over time, of course. But investing in picking the most relevant ones now will only give you better data and insights along the way.

Check out these 11 free keyword research tools that can help you in this process.

Use social listening to identify pain points

If you’re mostly using social listening to understand what your customers are saying about you, you’re missing a larger opportunity. That is to identify the problems and challenges that your target audience is experiencing.

This likely won’t come up because of a brand mention, but rather relevant keywords. Either way, it’s important to understand the bigger picture as far as the potential gaps in your industry or product.

Once you understand the gap, then you can work on the bridge that will make you the best brand for them.

Join in on conversations about the latest trends and news

Obviously, you want to monitor and track all the relevant conversations going on in your industry but go beyond that.

This is a great engagement opportunity that shows the relevancy of your brand. By offering a slice of your expertise where relevant, you easily can reach new users, grow brand trust and loyalty and even discover a new brand partner along the way.

Use empathy when engaging in a new conversation

Keep in mind that while engagement is key in any successful social listening strategy, users might not expect you to join in on their conversation, particularly if they didn’t tag you.

But regardless of whether you’re tagged or not (expected or not), you must empathize. Is the sentiment of the conversation positive or negative?

If it’s positive, thank them and make sure you understand the specifics surrounding their positive impression. If it’s negative, still thank them, but you’ll especially want to dig deeper into what led to the negative impression. Was it a specific feature of your product (or service)? See our 11 tips for best responding to any type of negative review.

Remember that the key to social listening is actually listening. Leave your personal feelings aside. You’re arriving at the conversation to better understand and help if possible.

Prompt responsiveness is everything

Staying on top of your social listening means that you can be proactive and get ahead of any negative sentiments before they escalate. (You’re not waiting for someone to finally reach out to you if they do at all.)

If at all possible, aim to respond within 30 minutes or at least within 24 hours. Make sure you’re responding to everyone equally (not just the positive comments, for example).

Keep an eye on your competitors

Social listening can help you better understand what’s working (and not working) for your competitors.

When you see something that’s working, what can your brand do to outperform them? Don’t just copy them. Think about how you can do something that’s better and more valuable to your target audience.

And when you see something that’s not working, determine how you can fill that gap for potential customers.

Use the right tools

The power of your social listening often comes down to using the right tools. Most major social media platforms (such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) do have built-in features that include search functionality, audience insights data and trending data.

However, a third-party tool might be ideal if you’re using multiple social media platforms so that everything can be found in one place, may offer more detailed insights and can even provide some automation capabilities. Some examples include:

In conclusion

Social listening can be powerful for your brand when done right. Start simple by identifying the mentions, keywords and so on that are most important to you. Track your insights, and make sure they are communicated to the appropriate departments in your company.

In this new-ish digital-focused world, you’re often only as strong as your understanding of your customers.

Learn about the difference between social listening and crowdsourcing.

As you’re diving into social listening, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

8 best practices for using GIFs in your marketing

When your goal involves being as eye-catching and engaging as possible, it’s tough not to consider using GIFs in your branded marketing.

The human brain processes images about 60,000 times faster than words. 

GIFs are a type of image file format (Graphics Interchange Format) that can store multiple image files and present them sequentially, creating an animated effect. 

GIPHY, a popular GIF website, serves more than 7 billion GIFs per day, seen by more than 500 million daily active users who watch more than 11 million hours of GIFs every day.

GIFs were created in 1987 when software developer Steve Wilhite was trying to use animated images that didn’t have an extremely large file size. GIFs use an infinite loop that autoplays upon loading and are compatible with different operating systems and browsers. High-quality GIFs look nearly identical to videos.

In other words, GIFs are far more interesting to the eye than static images and add movement to your content. If they’re right for your industry and used well, they can help you stand out from your competitors.

The following are eight GIF best practices for your digital marketing efforts.

Best practice #1: Get creative with how to use GIFs

There are endless ways you can use GIFs in your digital marketing. Here are some examples:

  • Express emotions and personality. If your brand personality leans toward the fun or wacky, GIFs are a great way to showcase that. 
  • Tell stories. GIFs can be very effective when used for storytelling. 
  • Explain processes or show products. Launching a new product? Consider showing it off in a high-energy GIF. Is there a process that could be easier to understand through the animation of a GIF? Loop the steps in an easy-to-understand presentation.
  • Animate your data. Your audience may appreciate the visual appeal of watching your charts and graphs come to life.
  • Replace video. This comes in handy especially when file size is a factor or the medium otherwise can’t directly embed video in an efficient way (such as email).
  • Highlight your call-to-action. GIFs can complement your CTAs, where the goal is to draw attention.
  • Launch your own branded GIF channel on GIPHY. The platform could expand your reach to new audiences.

Truly, most of your digital marketing content could incorporate a GIF in some way. You’re mostly just limited by your imagination.

Best practice #2: Get organized with a content calendar

Because there are so many ways you can use GIFs, it’s best to get organized. 

But in general, a content calendar will help you strategically plan not just when and where to use GIFs in your digital marketing but also what the GIF content itself should be. This can help you plan content for all occasions.

You also can include a section to bookmark any brainstorming ideas as they arise. The key is that you begin incorporating GIFs as part of your ongoing strategy.

Check out our eight tips to create an effective content calendar.

Best practice #3: Aim for subtle branding in your GIFs

Of course, when creating a GIF, you’re going to want to incorporate your branding into it. That branding can include a watermark, product placement, colors, fonts and so on.

But strive to keep the branding light as a best practice. Focus on entertainment first and brand placement second.

This recommendation goes back to the way many use GIFs, which is to enhance digital conversations. If your branding is over the top, your GIF is that much less likely to have a second ongoing life with internet users. By incorporating your branding in a subtle way and prioritizing entertainment, your GIF makes more sense in common uses. And even though the branding may be subtle (like a small, gray watermark, for example), you’ll increase your reach by not overpowering the GIF’s message.

Of course, this does not apply to any product-specific GIFs you may want to create. Remember, it all comes down to the goal of your GIF. You want to feature a product in an eye-catching way? Do so. But if you want your GIF to be widely used, consider subtle branding options.

Best practice #4: Use text to make it a meme

Memes and GIFs are both informal and fun and can offer commentary on pop culture as well as express emotions. A meme is an image that portrays a particular concept or idea that then usually spreads through online social platforms. Text is often overlaid onto the image to convey that intended message.

By adding meme-like text to your GIF, you greatly enhance your content’s potential for going viral or at least reaching more users. 

Keep in mind that GIF engines also look to see if there is text within your GIF. This helps them understand what your GIF is about, which can help the discoverability of your GIF.

Best practice #5: Explore GIF stickers for social media reach

Interested in your reach via Instagram Stories and Snapchat Stories? Consider GIF stickers. They’re what Instagram and Snapchat users can place on their Stories.

By uploading your GIFs into your GIF search engine of choice, they will be available for consumers.

This approach helps leverage users into brand ambassadors.

Best practice #6: Leverage emotion with reaction GIFs

A primary purpose of GIFs is to express emotions, so many of the most popular GIFs are reaction GIFs. This refers to when GIFs are used as a response that showcases an emotion.

Sharing a GIF where a person is jumping up and down and clapping is more expressive than simply typing: “Excited!”

Of course, if your product or service ties into human emotion (such as “hungry” for a restaurant), you’ll want to create GIFs for the emotions that your product or service directly solves. If this isn’t the case, focus on content for popular reactions and emotions in general.

Best practice #7: Conduct keyword research

Keywords are an important element to any successful SEO strategy or pay-per-click campaign, but did you know that they matter for GIF strategy, too?

So, keyword research is critical to getting your GIFs seen by your target audience. A best practice. Consider the purpose and goals of your GIFs. This will help you narrow down which keywords you want to use. Then, you can make your content for specific keywords for a better chance to rank in searches.

Check out these 11 free SEO keyword research tools to help you.

Best practice #8: Timing matters

GIFs are short but not too short. Ideally, you want to get your message across in between 2 and 6 seconds as another best practice.

If you go shorter than 2 seconds, your GIF will be more like a strobe effect. If you go longer than 6 seconds, you risk losing the attention of your viewers.

Make sure that your GIFs loop cleanly as well. You’ll want a clear start and finish, but pay attention to how the last frame of your GIF transitions back to the first frame. Best practice: Aim to be as seamless as possible.

In conclusion

GIFs can be a powerful addition to your digital marketing strategy. Make sure to have a plan first before you venture into their use and creation.

To help you create your own, check out these 11 free GIF-maker tools.

As you’re exploring your potential GIF strategy, consider optimizing your digital marketing process, which includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

16 email marketing best practices that make an impact

Email marketing might feel “old hat” in a world of new and ever-evolving digital marketing tools. But it deserves your attention more than ever.

In 2022, the number of email users worldwide is estimated to be about 4.3 billion. This is expected to grow to about 4.6 billion in 2025, making up more than half of the estimated world population

See these 48 statistics that show the value of email marketing.

Simply put, email marketing is the use of email to promote your brand’s products or services. But in addition, you can develop relationships with your current customers and connect to potential customers. It’s about informing and engaging your recipients with a personalized message that resonates. Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective and conversion-rich tactics you can embrace within your overall digital marketing strategy. And embracing its best practices can make you even more effective in your efforts.

The following are 16 email marketing best practices that will help you make an impact.

Never purchase contact lists

There are a number of reasons why you should not purchase contact lists for your email marketing efforts.

Of course, data protection laws (such as the General Data Protection Regulation) are critical to keep in mind. You need consent.

But beyond even that is how differently email recipients act when you’ve bought them versus when you’ve earned them.

Email recipients you’ve brought are essentially cold leads. They could have no idea who you are and may even wonder how or why you are emailing them. This could lead to low open rates, low click rates and even higher unsubscribes or (even worse) spam reports.

See our 11 tips to increase your open rates when you are cold emailing.

The contacts you’ve earned have opted in somehow, so they have a better recognition of your brand and are more likely to open and click (and not unsubscribe or report you).

Regularly review (and segment) your contact list

While several of your contacts might not opt-out of your emails, they could simply never open an email of yours either. This can kill your open rate and cloud some of your campaign analytics.

It’s important to regularly audit your mailing list and segment accordingly so that you can target the right message to the right recipients at the right time. 

Removing contacts is an option some brands use to maintain a more engaged list, but we actually recommend grouping your less-active contacts so that you can target them in different ways (whether that’s frequency or contact channel). Ultimately, the least engaged of your contacts will be the most likely to unsubscribe in the future. So, keep that in mind as you decide how best to engage with them.

On the flip side, you can (and should) segment your overall contact list into groups that are relevant to your marketing goals. A segment is a grouping of your audience who shares common attributes.

Examples include contacts who have not made a purchase yet or customers whose membership is about to expire, and so on.

By targeting the right group with the right message at the right time, you’ll see better conversion metrics in every email campaign.

Dive deeper into the power of audience segmentation.

Timing is everything

Granted, there is no “silver bullet” time that all marketers can guarantee better conversion rates.

But data suggest that mid-morning, afternoon or evening Tuesdays through Thursdays is a good place to start. We also recommend trying “off” times, like 10:13 a.m. rather than 10 a.m.

That being said, you’ll still want to think about your audience and their habits. Then, you’ll want to track the performance of your emails and see if there’s particular timing that works best with your audience.

Do not use “no reply” in your sending email name or address

Considering CAN-SPAM, which is a law that sets the rules for commercial email, you want to avoid using “no reply” (or anything similar) as your sending email name or address. An example would be “noreply@example.com.”

This interferes with a recipient’s ability to respond or even opt out, which is a huge protection with CAN-SPAM.

Instead, make your sending email name and address as clear, recognizable and even as human as possible. This not only follows commercial email regulations but also builds trust with your recipients, which can encourage them to open and engage with your emails.

Invest effort into your email subject lines

A successful email subject line is part art, part science but typically a recipe for anxiety for any marketer or business owner.

But it doesn’t have to be. If you’ve noticed that your emails aren’t getting the open rate you are looking for, then it’s time to take a look at your subject lines.

Of course, some subject line recommendations include:

  • Keeping it short (between 30 and 50 characters, including spaces)
  • Using action verbs (instead of passive voice)
  • Leveraging urgency
  • Giving an air of exclusivity
  • Being very clear about your offer (whether it’s an incentive, discount or something else)
  • Embracing a compelling or engaging angle

Dive deeper with our 12 tips for email subject lines that won’t get ignored.

Optimize your email’s preview text

About 24 percent of email recipients look at an email’s preview text first when deciding whether to open an email.

The majority of email clients provide a snippet of text to preview the contents of an email in your inbox. Leverage this to your advantage.

You should use the space to dive deeper into why recipients should open your email. You can build off of what you say in your subject line, tease something that’s inside the email and so on.

Keep in mind that if you don’t include any content in the email preview text field, a recipient’s email client can pull whatever content it decides to. This could be your preheader (if you have one) or simply the first 40 or so characters of your body text (which could be confusing as preview text). For example, many preheaders say, “Email not displaying correctly? Click here.” You definitely don’t want that.

While you can’t control how much text will be shown in your email preview, you can control what text is shown. And you should include at least 160 characters of text in your preheader copy.

Dig deeper into what email preview text is and how you can best use it to your advantage.

Confirm that your email template isn’t too wide

While many email marketing applications account for automatically resizing your emails to appropriately for the screen sizes your email recipients are using, it’s always a good idea to make sure that your email template is no wider than 650 pixels wide.

Going wider (unknowingly or not) can force your recipients to have to scroll horizontally. Having to do so makes your brand appear less professional.

Readability is critical not just for conversions but the overall user experience that can build relationships with your contacts, which can lead to further conversions in the future.

Limit your font types and sizes

Think clutter. The more font types and sizes you use in a single email, the more cluttered the overall email will feel. 

And that clutter can turn off your email recipients.

Strive to use web-safe fonts between 10-point and 12-point sizing. This helps ensure that your email will be legible on all email clients and possible devices.

Seek opportunities for personalization

Are you sending emails that begin with “Dear Member” or “To our customers”?

Personalization can take your emails to the next level by automatically inserting details about each email recipient that really shows you care enough to speak specifically to them.

Especially in DailyStory, the sky’s the limit with the types of information you can automatically personalize in your messaging. Some examples include:

  • First name
  • Location
  • Number of purchases or visits

First names can be especially powerful, and you can leverage that power in your email subject line and the body of your email.

Dive deeper into the one-to-one marketing that personalization offers.

Always include your logo in your emails

Logos are part of branding, which is critical to your digital marketing in general but your emails as well. 

Brand recall increases about 18 percent after a five-second exposure when including a logo in the email, and the likelihood of a purchase goes up by about 34 percent in emails with logos.

Emails are simply a great opportunity to not only include your logo but also your branded colors, fonts and voice.

Get your main message and call-to-action ‘above the fold’

“Above the fold” in email body copy refers to the information that’s visible to the recipient before he or she scrolls down. 

Consumers spend about 57 percent of their email-viewing time on above-the-fold content, and that decreases to about 17 percent on the second screen below.

Clearly, you don’t want critical call-to-actions (CTAs) getting lost in the need to scroll.

There are many tactics for this, depending on how you design your email. One example is including a CTA button at the top and bottom of the email. Another example is leveraging your banner at the top to be a clickable CTA while also being visually engaging.

You also can run A/B testing to determine what approaches work best for your audience. See our nine tips to make your A/B testing more effective.

Include an email signature

No matter how broadly you’re sending a message or newsletter, you’ll want to consider including an email signature at the bottom. Even when an email is representative of your entire company, a signature adds a touch of human personalization to your messaging. It shows that a human is behind the email, not just a marketing department.

About 41 percent of marketers say they use email signatures for branding and visibility.

Send an engaging welcome email

About 74 percent of users expect to receive a welcome email immediately after they subscribe, while only 57.7 percent of brands actually send a welcome email to new subscribers.

You want to be a brand that gives all new subscribers a warm welcome. Welcome emails give you the opportunity to re-introduce yourself and explain to new subscribers what kind of emails they’ll receive from you (and how often they should expect them).

It’s about getting started on the right foot with your new subscribers but also sharing the value of your emails and getting them excited to keep an eye out in their inboxes.

See our nine tips on how to engage new leads with a welcome email series.

Provide an opportunity to subscribe within your email

Of course, common sense suggests that your email recipients are receiving your email because they’re already subscribed to your list.

But that train of thought forgets about the possibility of your email being forwarded from a subscriber to someone else.

Being clear and giving the opportunity for a non-subscriber to subscribe to your email newsletters ensures that you’re not missing out on that opportunity. No one overtly slips through the cracks.

The CTA doesn’t have to be big, just clear. You don’t want it to compete with your primary CTA for the email.

Make unsubscribing easy

On the flip side, you also want to ensure that your subscribers have a clear and easy way to unsubscribe from your emails.

This can feel counterintuitive if your goal is to either grow your email mailing list or boost your conversion rates (or both). 

You’re required by commercial email laws to offer the clear path to opting out. By not doing so, you risk being in violation and/or getting reported as spam, which can hurt your email sending reputation.

Even if the email recipient only moves your emails to a folder he or she never opens, that’s not a win either.

Truthfully, your campaigns will perform better by allowing those no longer interested to easily unsubscribe and focusing on your more engaged recipients while building up your contact list with other interested subscribers.

Use a common phrase like “Unsubscribe” as your hyperlink text, so subscribers can quickly find it. And make the unsubscribe link big enough so that people using mobile devices will be able to click on it easily.

Test and monitor performance as much as possible

Before officially sending out an email, you’ll always want to send a test email. One can go to yourself so that you can confirm everything looks and acts the way it should. The other should go to at least one friend or colleague. 

Not only should that person do a basic proofing and testing of your email, but you’ll also want to ask him or her to tell you whether the CTA is apparent within the first five seconds of looking at the email. If it is, great. If not, you’ll want to adjust.

Beyond the work you’ll want to do upfront, you must follow it up by monitoring and tracking the performance of your email campaigns. Keeping an eye on what is generating higher open or click-through rates and conducting A/B testing will help you learn what works for your audience and what doesn’t.

As you’re evaluating your email marketing strategy, consider optimizing your overall digital marketing process, which includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email and text message marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

11 of the best free GIF-maker tools

GIFs have only increased in popularity across the internet.

In fact, they’re used by about 21 percent of all the websites. In addition, about 63 percent of Americans are GIF users, and one in five Americans can’t get enough of them.

GIFs are typically a short piece of muted footage that include some text (often as a punchline of sorts). Consider them between a photo and a video, where they require less time to load and view than videos but can be more expressive and engaging than photos.

This is because: 

  • Users can express their emotional responses quickly while chatting in texts, comment threads, etc.
  • A sense of identity can be expressed through the pop culture references used.
  • It’s all about the world’s meme culture online.

Thinking about making your own custom GIFs? The following are 11 of the best free GIF-maker tools that you can consider using in your own digital marketing.

MakeaGIF

Offering numerous different ways to create GIFs, MakeaGIF is both flexible and free. Options include creating a GIF from: 

  • Uploaded Photos
  • Uploaded Videos
  • YouTube URLs
  • Facebook video URLs
  • Your webcam

You also can upload existing GIFs into MakeaGIF. These options give you the power to be as creative as you want to be. 

This tool also has a library of available, ready-made GIFs for you to use, and you can share your GIFs with others in the library as well.

Filmora

Filmora can help you make both GIFs and videos. While free, the real bonus of this tool is that you can download your creations without a watermark.

All you have to do is upload whatever images or videos you want to use in your GIF creation. Then, create your text caption. You can download your preferred file format when you’re done.

Filmora includes detailed, thorough instructions on its website to help you every step of the way.

Picasion

Looking to be able to import from such platforms as Picasa and Flicker? Picasion might be the free GIF-maker tool for you. It also supports four languages:

  • English
  • Spanish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian

You also can adjust the size of your images in Picasion, as well as download your completed GIF with no watermark.

Screen to GIF

Screen to GIF is specific to Windows and allows users to record activities through web cameras, screens and more that can then be used to create GIFs.

This free tool is available for Windows 7 and later versions of the operating system.

While it is specific to Windows, Screen to GIF does have a powerful editor with a full set of built-in editing tools. Plus, it supports more than 18 different languages. When you download it, it automatically detects the language of your operating system.

Kapwing

With no download required, Kapwing allows you to edit images, videos and GIFs with various effects, transitions and titles. This free GIF-maker allows you to share your created GIF directly to your preferred social media platform.

You can start with a blank canvas or upload files directly into Kapwing to then edit.

GIF Maker

GIF Maker does more than help you create GIFs. This free tool offers the ability to make animated buttons and banners as well that you can then use in your emails, documents or websites.

GIF Maker offers a wizard tool to make your animating fast and easy, as well as a built-in image editor with a full set of editing tools. Plus, it supports different graphic formats, such as JPEG, PNG, TIFF, BMP, PSD, WMF, AVI and more.

ImgPlay’s GIF Maker

Only available for iPhones, ImgPlay’s free GIF Maker best feature is its ability to create different canvas sizes. This means that you can appropriately optimize based on the platform you want to share on. 

Once created, you can directly share your GIF to Twitter, Instagram, Messenger and iMessage.

GIF Maker – GIF Editor

On the flip side of an iPhone-only GIF-maker tool is an Android-only tool. GIF Maker – GIF Editor is available for free in the Google Play store. A top feature is that you can upload up to 200 images at one time.

It also has hundreds of available stickers to use as you like, as well as a manager section where you can access all of the GIFs you’ve created and edit them anytime.

While this app is free, it does have in-app purchases available.

ezGIF

The free GIF-maker ezGIF can seem odd since all its features technically reside on separate webpages on its website, but it’s still easy enough to use.

You can crop images, resize your GIF, flip or rotate your GIF, alter the speed, add text and much more. It also gives you the ability to use grayscale, sepia, and monochrome effects.

Of course, being able to download without a watermark is a bonus.

GIFPAL

GIFPAL definitely makes GIF creation easy. The free tool automatically plays your GIF as you’re editing so that you can observe the effect of your changes in real time.

It also allows you to rearrange your images, reverse the frames, change the quality of the images, overlay filters, adjust animation speed and more. You also can download with no watermarks. Just beware that GIFPAL is missing a text tool.

GIFMaker.me

Last but not least, GIFMaker.me is a free tool that can actually combine multiple GIFs into one. You can make a GIF from up to 300 PNG, GIF or JPG files. 

The live preview shows you how your GIF is turning out as you’re working on it, and the controls make it easy to alter its speed, choose how many loops (even if infinite loops) and more. In addition, you can overlay audio from a YouTube video.

You can’t upload video files to use in your GIF, however, and the site won’t store your GIF for later editing.

In conclusion

If you’re not already using them, GIFs could be exactly what is missing from your digital marketing strategy. Of course, if making your own is not an option right now, there are many websites where you can find engaging pre-made GIFs to use, including: 

  • Giphy
  • Google image search (just click on Search tools and select “Animated” under the “Type” option after you start an initial image search)
  • Tumblr
  • Imgur

As you’re creating your first GIFs, consider optimizing your digital marketing process, which includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

How to evaluate your company’s marketing data

Gathering marketing data is a great first step to understanding your target audience and ensuring your campaigns are effective.

However, after gathering data, you’ll need to understand that data by being able to read and evaluate it. Evaluation is key to ensuring you cut out ineffective strategies. That way, you can develop a successful marketing plan that helps your business earn more profits and build its reputation.

Here’s how to effectively evaluate your company’s marketing data. 

Sales

Ultimately, you market and advertise your business and its products to increase sales and revenue.

You can use the data you get from your marketing and advertising campaigns to determine whether or not sales are increasing and how much. Additionally, depending on the type of campaign, you can determine your return on investment (ROI). ROI is important because it can help you determine which campaigns are the most successful.

While you may get more sales from one type of campaign, you may also find it costs you more to advertise. That would give you a lower ROI. 

In many cases, ROI can tell you how much it costs to acquire customers through one medium. It also indicates how much you’re earning from advertising or marketing. For example, if you advertise on social media, you might have a higher ROI on a certain type of ad or within a certain region.

Check out our six tips to maximize your social media advertising budget.

Customer responses

Customer reactions to campaigns can help you determine customer sentiment as part of your marketing data-gathering efforts.

You can provide your customers with surveys or general customer service feedback forms through email to understand what your customers think of your company and your marketing campaigns.

Simple questions about how customers felt about specific campaigns can help you understand which initiatives are most successful and which customers are making the most purchases. 

See our nine tips to improve social listening and gain customer insights.

Reach

Whether you’re implementing search engine optimization, social media marketing, or digital advertising into your overall market strategy, one of your main goals is to increase brand awareness and reach.

Ultimately, you want to reach more people within your target audience who are more likely to purchase from you. 

Expanding your marketing reach can help you find new people who may not have heard of your products or services yet. This also grows brand awareness in your current markets.

If you use digital marketing strategies, you can easily measure your reach, but it becomes more difficult when you’re using traditional marketing. For example, if you do a billboard campaign, you won’t have exact numbers on how many people saw the billboard, but you can estimate based on data how many drivers use a particular stretch of highway.

Lead generation 

Marketing is supposed to support sales by generating warm leads to give salespeople a higher chance of converting.

While some marketing efforts can lead to direct sales, others do not, especially in the B2B space. Lead generation comes in many forms, including appointments, form submissions, and subscribers to mailing lists. 

You can easily track lead generation as part of your marketing data if you’re doing it through your website by counting the number of form submissions.

Additionally, you should always compare that data to sales data to ensure the leads you’re generating are quality leads that purchase at the end of their journey.

While you can’t expect every lead to make a purchase, your lead generation efforts should be increasing overall sales. 

Check out our 12 strategies to capture more email leads without annoying everyone, and level up your website pop-up ads with our eight tips to get more leads from them.

Website traffic

Your website is a valuable sales tool, even if people can’t make direct purchases on it.

Building a website can help you generate leads and increase brand awareness, but only if you’re getting website traffic. Website traffic is an indicator that SEO efforts are succeeding, but it can also tell you about your other marketing campaigns.

For example, whether you do a traditional marketing campaign or a digital marketing campaign, you should see more traffic to your website. This is because effective marketing makes people want to look for you online to learn more about your products and services. 

marketing-data-website-traffic
Website traffic is an indicator that SEO efforts are succeeding, but it can also tell you about your other marketing campaigns.

Additionally, all digital marketing strategies should lead back to your website. For example, if you’re doing affiliate marketing, the goal should be to get an influencer’s audience to click on a link that leads them back to your website. If you’re not seeing an increase in traffic, your campaigns are ineffective. 

If you’re not sure how much website traffic you’re getting, you can use Google Analytics to learn more. 

Check out our eight tips to increase organic traffic to your website.

Testimonials 

Testimonials are essential for all marketers. Consumers rely on the opinions of their peers to decide whether or not it’s worth it to purchase from or work with a business.

Of course, testimonials and product reviews can help convince potential customers to trust your business based on others’ feedback.

Learn more about social proof, as well as nine ways to use it in your digital marketing.

Unfortunately, measuring the impact of testimonials can be difficult. However, you can experiment by putting testimonials on different pages of your website and checking your web stats, such as views, clicks, and generated leads to see if adding testimonials has an impact. 

Reviews can be easily measured because your customers can provide you with a star rating. That average star rating can tell you how much your customers enjoyed their products. Allow customers to make comments on their reviews to explain why they gave you a certain star rating.

By learning about your customer’s experiences with your product and business, you can find ways to improve both. You also can leverage that knowledge for better marketing initiatives.

See 17 of the best social proof tools to boost your sales.

Customer retention rate

A customer retention rate tells you how many customers you retain over time.

It’s easier and more cost-effective to keep your customers returning rather than constantly finding new ones.

In addition, your retention rate impacts revenue. It also can help you determine which marketing campaigns work best to keep customers coming back. For example, many companies use email marketing to ensure their current customers don’t forget about them. 

Check out our six tips to create brand loyalty for your business.

In conclusion

Collecting marketing data is important if you want to learn about the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. However, you should always determine the most important statistics to you and your business.

Instead of measuring everything and deciphering tons of data, look at the most important metrics first. This will help you determine which strategies are performing well and which are costing you money.

From there, you can start digging deeper into each campaign. Use marketing data to learn more about how to make them better.

About the author

Ashley-Nielsen

Ashley Nielsen earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is a contributing writer at 365businesstips.com where she shares knowledge about general business, marketing, lifestyle, or financial tips. During her free time, she enjoys being outside, staying active, reading a book, or diving deep into her favorite music.

7 best Instagram tools to grow your followers

Instagram only continues to grow in popularity for sharing images and videos, which means it’s a great platform for your brand to reach a larger audience.

About 1.22 billion people use Instagram each month, and Instagram is the ninth most-Googled search term, which is a signal that the platform’s content is being viewed in browsers outside of the app as well.

So, what does your brand’s Instagram audience look like? Are they engaged? Do you have a strong reach? 

Using the right Instagram tools can help you be more efficient and effective on the platform and boost your followers. The following are some of the best Instagram tools we recommend you check out to see what works best for your social media marketing strategy.

Repost

Instagram doesn’t have what some would consider more traditional sharing features, so Repost is tool that not only satisfies that need but helps you automatically credit the original poster.

It’s a free app with available in-app purchases (if desired) that does not have a desktop interface.

The value of interacting with user-generated posts by sharing and providing credit at the same time shows that you as a brand value them and their input. Other features include the ability to bookmark content and search for images by hashtag or a specific user’s name.

Crowdfire

Crowdfire is part social media management tool and part content-discovery engine. While the free version only allows you to manage one platform through the app, its premium subscriptions can manage up to 50 social media profiles across multiple social media platforms.

Crowdfire also features a Chrome browser extension that helps you quickly share articles and curate content for posting. A great feature for Instagram is Crowdfire’s image curation feature, which gives recommendations of images to share on your Instagram account. The recommended images are already approved by creators, so you don’t have to worry about copyright.

In addition, you get hashtag recommendations, analytics and the ability to custom tailor posts by platform.

Combin

Complete focused on Instagram account management, Combin offers both follower-growth and scheduling features. You can test the main features with its free version, but the paid subscriptions offer more for engaging Instagram users.

Combin allows you to search through Instagram by hashtags, location and followers. This allows you to keep an eye on your competitors’ comments as well. (See more about how to conduct your first competitive analysis plus 16 recommended tools.)

Therefore, Combin helps you target specific users and get insight into what your target audience engages with most as well as how your competition is engaging with their followers. You can see various comments across multiple accounts in one place. Plus, Combin offers analytics.

Woobox

Woobox is a great tool for creating engagement opportunities for your Instagram audience. However, keep in mind that the free version only allows limited Facebook interactions. You’ll have to choose a paid subscription to access the Instagram features.

Woobox enables you to promote polls, giveaways, coupons and more. In other words, it helps you become even more social on social media. For example, you can even age-gate your contests and feedback if your brand is not geared toward a particular age group.

Truly, this tool is about bringing gamification to your Instagram presence.

Hootsuite

A powerful social media management and social listening tool, Hootsuite has a hair more options in its free version than most tools, but the most powerful features are available in its paid subscriptions.

Hootsuite gives you the opportunity to manage multiple profiles, monitor interactions and hashtags (among other conversations) and more by setting up tabs to organize your social media management.

Additional apps can be integrated (such as Asana) into your Hootsuite account to streamline your workflow.

For Instagram, Hootsuite empowers you to now only create and schedule posts but monitor popular hashtags and search terms on the platform, all in one place, where you can comment and reply as well.

Foursixty

Looking to make more sales from your Instagram audience? Consider Foursixty, which is a tool that can turn your feed into a gallery where users can view and shop through your images. You can try it with a 21-day free trial, but otherwise it is a paid tool.

A strength of Foursixty is its ability to monitor anytime anyone tags or mentions your brand or product and curate all of that and sort by performance, which can be a time-saving method for gathering user-generated content.

Check out our 10 tips to generate more user-generated content.

Other features include Digital Rights Management so that you don’t have to worry about copyright and its ability to track influencer marketing, which helps you discover new influencers through Instagram while getting a better understanding of their engagement. Partnering with high-quality influencers can definitely help you grow your Instagram following.

See our seven tips you should know before starting your first influencer marketing campaign.

Later

Later is a social media management tool with a visual focus, perfect for Instagram. Its free version allows you to explore, but some key features are tied to its paid subscriptions.

You can use it to schedule photo and video posts while tagging locations and users. Later also includes hashtag suggestions and Instagram Story management.

Part of its analytics capabilities has hashtag monitoring. This means you can see the statistical information about tags and identify the ones that work best for your brand and/or campaign. In addition, Later shows the best times to post according to the activity of your target audience.

If you’re in the retail industry, consider Later’s Linkedin Bio landing page. This feature resembles your Instagram feed and enables users to shop easier. This integrates with Google Analytics so that your can better understand the relationship between your Instagram posts and sales.

Check out the 14 biggest mistakes businesses make on Instagram (and how you can avoid them).

While you’re digging into the best tools to grow your Instagram following, consider leveling up your digital marketing process. DailyStory features automation, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

5 tips to successfully promote your loyalty rewards program

Regardless of whether you’re about to launch a loyalty rewards program or already have an existing one, promotion is everything.

Loyalty rewards programs can help grow your business.

In fact, consumers who engage in high-performing loyalty programs are twice as likely to increase their frequency of purchases. More than 90 percent of companies have some sort of loyalty program.

Clearly, the more members you can drive to join and engage with your loyalty rewards program, the better.

The following are five tips to successfully promote your loyalty rewards program and do just that.

Start with an invitation

It sounds simple, but sometimes, the best place to start with growing your loyalty rewards membership is to invite your customers to join.

This can be done in a number of different ways:

Remember that the easiest thing to do is to ask. Customers (new or existing) can’t join something they’re not aware exists. You might be surprised by the response. 

Offer a welcome gift

To reinforce the value of your loyalty rewards program, consider offering a “welcome gift” for all new members. 

This gives immediate gratification to your members as well and can be used as an incentive for joining.

The gift can be anything that makes sense for your business and your bottom line.

Cross-promote everywhere possible

You can leverage the power of digital marketing by bringing all your available channels together to share one message that can engage your target audience in different ways.

Cross-promotion is critical for any loyalty rewards program promotion. Customers appreciate (and expect) their favorite brands to keep pace with them.

Start with a simple, clear and consistent message, and then, consider how best to convey that through every social media platform and digital marketing medium you have available to you.

Dive deeper with our seven tips to level up your content marketing.

Incentivize all loyalty rewards program referrals

Word of mouth is powerful, and you can take advantage of that by giving your loyalty rewards program members an incentive to invite their friends and/or family to join.

It’s about turning your brand advocates into brand ambassadors. About 92 percent of consumers trust recommendations from people they know directly.

Depending on the setup of your program, you can do this by offering bonus points, a free product, a free service, a discount toward a future purchase or something else.

Go ‘old school’ with display advertisements

Whether you have one physical business location or multiple, consider designing and displaying various display options promoting your loyalty rewards program. This can include: 

  • Flyers
  • Posters
  • Promo cards
  • Inclusion on all printed receipts

You can make it easy for interested customers to act on your display promotions by requesting a code be texted to a number, having an available tablet where they can sign up or by using a QR code.

If you don’t have a physical business location, consider a pop-up display ad on your website and/or a standing loyalty rewards program promotion on your homepage.

Remember, the most important aspect of having a loyalty rewards program is getting the word out. Then, take the time to think about the best incentives you can offer and what the messaging should be around that. 

As you begin promoting your loyalty rewards program, consider optimizing your digital marketing process, which includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

10 tips to improve your brand’s online reputation

If you’re not keeping tabs on your brand’s online reputation, you could be shooting yourself (or at least your brand) in the foot.

An online reputation comprises various strategies to shape the world’s perception of your brand online. If handled correctly, you’re able to build brand trust and impact consumers’ purchasing decisions in a positive way. In other words, a good online reputation supports your bottom line.

Think of it as your brand’s first impression for potential customers. 

In fact, consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before trusting a business, while about 79 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

If you’re not on top of how your brand is perceived online, you could be losing out on customers and sales.

The following are 10 tips to improve your brand’s online reputation and put your best foot forward.

Start with an audit

Before anything else, you need to understand where your brand’s online reputation stands right now.

Thoroughly review all online reviews, and while this can feel overwhelming with so many potential places for customers to review you, keep it simple by beginning with the top four review platforms where consumers typically do their research on you:

  • Google
  • Yelp
  • TripAdvisor
  • Facebook

If you’re in a specialized industry that has an industry-specific platform for reviews, include that as well. For example, home-improvement brands will want to keep an eye on HomeAdvisor.

Of course, we encourage you to also Google your brand to see where else it might be popping up, just to cover all your bases.

Once you’ve compiled all the review platforms and reviews, double-check that all business contact details, location information and operational hours are up to date. 

Then, look at what customers are saying. What is the ratio of positive-to-negative reviews? Are there far more positive than negative? If you have multiple locations, is one location standing out in a positive or negative way? Have you responded to all reviews? 

Really assess where your brand is at perception-wise. Knowledge is power, and this information will fuel your online reputation strategies moving forward.

Keep in mind that you can set up Google Alerts to inform you of brand mentions online and more.

Decide on a review strategy and start replying

Now that you know where your customers are reviewing you and what they’re saying, it’s time to implement a review strategy for all relevant review platforms.

Perhaps you set a weekly time to regularly check for any new reviews. This would be the minimum effort we would recommend. If possible, turn on notifications wherever you can so that you can reply to all new reviews as soon as possible.

In fact, about 53 percent of customers expect businesses to respond to their online review within seven days.

You should respond to every review regardless of whether it’s positive, negative or neutral. And timeliness is a factor to be aware of. You’ll want to thank customers for positive reviews, but you definitely don’t want to leave a negative review festering without some sort of response.

Not sure what to say when it’s negative? Always view it as an opportunity to deliver amazing customer service and turn that experience for that customer around. (It’s definitely not the time or place to argue with the customer.) See our 11 tips to best respond to negative reviews.

Encourage happy customers to review you

Unfortunately, a customer is about 21 percent more likely to leave a negative review after a negative experience than a positive review after a positive review.

You must consistently work against that tendency by asking your happy and satisfied customers to share their experiences online. There are numerous ways to do this. Here are just a handful of ideas:

  • Offer incentives, discounts or cash rewards for customers who write reviews.
  • Send email follow-ups to customers requesting a review with a link to make it easy.
  • Have your employees remind happy customers to review you and explain the benefit that positive reviews have for your business.

Monitor all relevant social media platforms

Of course, you can’t properly manage your online reputation without a thorough plan involving social media.

First, consider all the platforms where your brand has a presence (an account, in other words). Then, think about any platforms that might be used by your customers, where they can post about you regardless of whether you have an account or not.

For example, if you only have accounts on Facebook and Instagram, that doesn’t mean that your customers aren’t tweeting about you (for better or worse) on Twitter.

You’ll need to embrace social listening, which is not just about monitoring what is being said about a business, brand, person or topic on social media. It’s also about acting on it. This can involve engaging with commenters or even adjusting brand strategy.

Learn more about social listening and how it’s different from social media crowdsourcing.

Prioritize your SEO tactics

Search engines can be a huge source of organic traffic to your website, but they also serve as research vehicles for consumers to learn more about businesses, products, services and so on.

So, your SEO (search engine optimization) strategy must be on point.

Ideally, you not only want to rank for the keywords that would help drive consumers to potentially purchase from you. You also want to rank for branded keywords that reflect your online reputation for consumers. In other words, you want your brand’s positive mentions ranking above any potential negative mentions.

And remember that blogging regularly showcases your expertise that will only benefit your online reputation, especially in search engine results.

Dive deeper into what you can do with our 12 SEO marketing tips for beginners. You also can level up your SEO skills with these 10 free online SEO courses.

Develop a public relations strategy

Earned media definitely can improve your online reputation, but it can take a little extra effort. 

The extra effort involves a public relations strategy, which is all about promoting your brand’s inclusion in related articles, TV segments and more in the press.

Earned media is not to be confused with paid advertising. But leveraging press releases and connecting with local media outlets and reporters could lead to your brand earning some new coverage over time.

Work with influencers who have great online reputations

In the simplest sense, an influencer is anyone with a digital following (or audience) on a social media platform (but not necessarily) whom you’d like to attract.

The purpose of influencer marketing involves increasing brand awareness, targeting new and niche audiences and increasing impressions and reach.

This makes it a great vehicle to improve your online reputation because you’re leveraging the trust consumers have for an influence to boost your brand.

Check out our seven tips to know before starting your first influencer marketing campaign.

Monitor customer service complaints

Even though online reviews can take a lot of your focus, don’t forget about the complaints that are being given to your company directly.

How these complaints are handled can often impact resulting online reviews, though.

Depending on the size of your business, you may need a tool, such as Invoca, to help you stay on top of a high volume of call center or customer service department interactions.

Understanding what complaints are coming in can help you fix anything that isn’t working as expected as well (and prevent future complaints).

Keep track of your competitors

While it’s important to understand your own online reputation, you can take the next step by understanding that of your competitors.

Are they receiving mostly positive or mostly negative reviews? Are they responding to them? How are they responding? What are their customers saying about them?

Find out more about what a competitive analysis is and how you can start yours, as well as 16 tools to make your competitive analysis easier.

Commit to resolve recurring issues

At the core of successful online reputation management is the commitment to resolve any recurring issues to improve your brand’s buyer experience.

Consider the information (positive and negative) that you receive from customers as a critical piece to this commitment. If you keep your customers happy, you’ll prevent many negative online reviews from even happening.

It’s no easy task, but your responsiveness will serve your business beyond just your online reputation. Think about it: How many potential customers simply disappear because of a less-than-ideal experience and never return, whether they made a purchase or not? It’s important to get ahead of the issues and continually innovate what your brand can do better.

As you begin exploring your brand’s online reputation, consider optimizing your digital marketing process, which includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

How to set up Google Alerts to stay in the know

Knowledge is power. And Google Alerts can notify whenever specific terms are published online.

Wouldn’t you like to know when someone publishes something related to industry news, products, your business, competitive businesses or even just you as a person?

Fortunately, Google Alerts are easy to set up and free to use. All you need is a Gmail account, and then you can start receiving relevant email notifications in real-time. 

This is particularly helpful if you’re regularly running a competitive analysis to inform your business and digital marketing strategies.

The following is how you can set up, edit and even delete Google Alerts so that you and your business can be in the know.

Create a Google Alert

To start, you’ll want to go to the Google Alerts landing page. Make sure that you’re signed in with your preferred Gmail account.

In the top field that says, “Create an alert about…”, you can type in whatever phrase or term you want. Keep in mind that quote marks around a phrase will better ensure that you get exact matches.

You’ll immediately see a preview of the type of content you will be alerted about, whether there are recent results or not.

Of course, you can customize your settings by clicking “Show Options.” You can then change the:

  • Frequency of alerts
  • Type of websites you’ll see
  • Language preference
  • Region of the world for your alerts
  • Number of results you want to see
  • Delivery email for the alerts

Once you’re satisfied with the search and the settings, click “Create Alert.” That’s it!

Edit a Google Alert

To edit your existing Google Alerts, navigate to the Google Alerts landing page. Once you’re logged in with your preferred Gmail account, you should see all your existing alerts. 

Next to an alert you want to edit, click the “edit” pencil icon. If you’re not seeing any options, click “Show Options,” and make your changes. Then, click “Update Alert.”

To change how you receive Google Alerts in general, click the “settings” gear wheel icon in the top right, and edit from there. You can change your delivery time and whether you want more of a digest-style notification email.

Delete a Google Alert

Deleting any alert that are no longer relevant to you is easy. Simply navigate to the Google Alerts landing page, and make sure you’re logged in with your preferred Gmail account.

Next to an alert that you want to delete, click the “delete” trash icon. You also can delete an alert by clicking “Unsubscribe” at the bottom of that alert’s email.

In conclusion

Understanding what’s being said about you, your business or products, your competition or even just general industry-related news arms you in this competitive online world. 

Of course, this shows you both the good and the bad. See our 11 tips to best respond to any negative reviews or posts

Google alerts can also help you build your personal brand. Check out our 10 tips to build up your personal brand and grow your business.

As you begin creating relevant Google Alerts, consider optimizing your digital marketing process, which includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

Facebook or Instagram: Which is better for marketing your business?

It might not be an age-old question, but many small businesses often ask which is better for marketing: Facebook or Instagram?

Unfortunately, there is not a one-size-fits-all answer.

Sharing about 4 billion users across the two social networks, the opportunities on both are immense. Of course, they’re also both owned by the same company, Meta, so they do share some linkage and features (especially when running paid advertising campaigns).

Facebook remains the most popular social media platform, while visuals-first Instagram has the fastest-growing audience.

The following are four elements you should consider when deciding whether Facebook or Instagram is the best marketing platform for your business.

Usage statistics

Facebook

Facebook currently has about 2.9 billion monthly active users, while about 1.59 billion are mobile daily active users. Around seven out of 10 U.S. adults use Facebook.

About 56 percent of Facebook users are male.

While some think that Facebook is skewing increasingly older, the largest demographic on the social network is between 25 and 35 years old. On the flip side, Facebook’s smallest demographic are seniors 65 years old or older.

About 82 percent of college graduates are on Facebook, and about 75 percent of online users with an annual income of $75,000 or more also are on the platform.

Instagram

Instagram currently has more than 1 billion monthly active users, while more than 500 million Instagram users use the Stories feature daily.

More than 200 million businesses are on Instagram. And more than 50 percent of Instagram users are female

Instagram does skew toward a younger audience. About 71 percent of U.S. adults ages 18 to 29 use Instagram. In fact, 72 percent of teenagers in the U.S. use Instagram as well.

Functionality of the platforms

Facebook

The social network is all about information, from the about section on a profile or page (which are more robust than what’s available through an Instagram profile bio) to the types of posts you can share:

  • Text only
  • Images or GIFs
  • Videos
  • Links

In essence, because of the variety of options, it can be a distracting and noisy environment where you’re also fighting against the Facebook algorithm.

Instagram

The app is all about images and videos. Text-only posts are not an option.

But that’s because Instagram is less about the communication of information and more about capturing and sharing moments and then engaging around those moments.

Because of some of the simplicity of Instagram’s functionality, it allows brands to laser focus on how their shared moments represent them. That’s when you see such massive brand popularity blossom. (This is in comparison to the almost too many options for sharing as a business on Facebook.)

Of course, Instagram also has an algorithm that drives user experience on the app, but it doesn’t get complained about nearly as much as Facebook’s.

Content marketing

Facebook

Facebook is a great place to share curated content, where you’re sharing someone else’s content to benefit your own audience. (Check out our four tips for finding great curated content to share, as well as 12 tools to help you.) This is because you can easily share links.

This is also the best place to share any company announcements and/or updates. In fact, you can create actual events on Facebook and promote them.

Instagram

The best content for Instagram is original and authentic (not curated). Yes, you’ll see some regrams, memes and even text images. But go original if you want to be successful.

Going behind the scenes is engaging on Instagram. Real-time images also drive engagement, especially through Instagram Stories.

Instagram also is great for image-based contests that center around a hashtag. (Be sure to check out our guide on how to ensure your giveaways and contests are legal.)

Advertising campaigns

As mentioned earlier, Facebook and Instagram are both owned by Meta (formally known as Facebook). This means that you have the ability to run a single paid advertising campaign in one place that can run across both platforms.

Facebook Business Manager can make it all happen, so you don’t necessarily have to choose.

In conclusion

Ultimately, brands should have a presence on both Facebook and Instagram, but depending on your target audience, marketing goals and brand identity, you’ll likely drive a larger presence on one or the other.

As you’re evaluating your presence on Facebook and Instagram, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

7 tips to improve your website’s domain authority

Many factors come together to make or break your search engine optimization (SEO), including your domain authority.

In a nutshell, the higher your domain authority, then the more likely your website will rank higher in search engine results and generate more organic traffic. Domain authority represents your ranking strength.

Domain authority is scored on a scale of 1 to 100, where 1 is the worst and 100 is the best as derived through an algorithm that you are not in control of. Scoring between 40 and 50 is average. Between 50 and 60 is good, and scoring over 60 is excellent.

With about 68 percent of online experiences beginning with a search engine, SEO matters more than ever.

To be clear, domain authority reflects your entire domain (or website), while page authority is specific to a single webpage.

The following are seven tips to help you improve your website’s domain authority.

Pick a good domain name

Having the right domain name for your website is critical. You want it to be relevant but also easy to remember.

Of course, if you already have a great domain name, make sure that your license isn’t going to expire without your knowledge.

Check out our Domain Name 101 Guide for Beginners.

Optimize your on-page content, elements

This includes so much more than just the obvious content itself, including:

  • Title tags
  • Image alt tags
  • Headings

Of course, when it comes to your content, it needs to be relevant and use critical keywords. Think about the questions search engine users are asking that should lead them to your website. Give them the value that they’re looking for. To truly improve your domain authority, you must show that you are the expert of your niche. Seize that opportunity with every piece of content you create.

Consider backlinks

Backlinking is when other websites link to the content on your website. This obviously isn’t something you can snap your fingers and make happen. 

But it all starts with creating high-quality content that others would want to link to, of course. Beyond that, see our seven tips to grow quality backlinks to your website.

Increase your internal linking

Internal links, on the other hand, are entirely within your control. They help direct your website visitors to other related content on your website that they might be interested in.

Take the time to audit the content you’ve already published. Then, begin to edit in links to your other related content. Doing so creates an internal linking structure that supports a stronger domain authority ranking.

Audit your outbound linking

Outbound linking is great for your SEO. It shows search engines that you’re a team player, but you also are showing whom you consider to be trustworthy resources on the internet. 

That being said, you’ll want to ensure that any website you’re linking out to from your content is still live and a trustworthy site.

This can ebb and flow more than you might imagine. So, it’s worthwhile to take the time to make sure every outbound link you have is still viable. Otherwise, you risk your own domain authority by linking to bad sites.

Prioritize mobile optimization

The way of the internet these days is mobile first. If your website doesn’t work well on a mobile device (whether it’s the layout, loading speed or something else), you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

And that’s not just because of what website visitors might think. Search engines are seeking mobile-friendly websites as well.

Check out our 16 tips to optimize your website for mobile traffic.

Embrace social media

Social media can impact both your domain authority specifically and your SEO at large. At the heart of it, it comes down to links directing users to your website beyond your website. 

Share your best content on your social media accounts, but also make it easy for your website visitors to share your content by providing social media sharing buttons.

See these seven ways that social media can impact your SEO.

In conclusion

Of course, the last thing you want to do is obsess over your domain authority ranking. We recommend monitoring your website analytics so that you are familiar with where your website traffic is coming from and what is working (and what isn’t).

Embracing general SEO best practices should feed into a boost for your domain authority. Then, know that it will take time. Be patient.

Check out our 12 SEO marketing tips for beginners.

Then, as you’re working on your SEO, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

14 biggest mistakes businesses make on Twitter

Many businesses find Twitter to be an effective social media marketing channel.

It offers the opportunity to build your brand’s credibility, engage directly with customers and reach a larger audience.

Twitter, originally created as a micro-blogging platform, is an online news and social networking site, where users can communicate publicly through short posts called tweets.

The social platform boasts about 186 million daily active users and 38 million users from within the U.S.

But with the opportunities come the risk of mistakes that can poorly reflect on your brand (and cause a subsequent loss of revenue).

See our snapshot of the challenges and opportunities of Twitter for businesses.

The following are 14 of the biggest mistakes business make on Twitter.

Not optimizing your Twitter profile

Sure, there is only so much you can do to optimize your Twitter profile, but if you’re not regularly reviewing how your Twitter account looks and what first impressions it might be giving other users, you’re missing out.

Make sure you:

  • Upload your logo or another brand-representative image as your profile photo
  • Choose a relevant and eye-catching cover image
  • Fill out your bio with key information about what your business does and how it helps people. You can check out Twitter accounts you aspire to or compete with for inspiration
  • Pick a URL that is easy to remember and best for potential leads to click on to find out more

No Twitter content plan

Just like any other channel, you’ll be more effective with a plan. Think through your goals. Identify your target audience. Then, consider the mix of content that can help you achieve your goals and reach your target audience.

Check out our seven tips to help you level up your content marketing (whether it’s on Twitter or elsewhere).

Inconsistent brand voice

Your brand story, personality and voice are all critically important to how Twitter users view and understand your brand. 

If you lack consistency in your brand voice, it’s going to be very confusing for anyone you reach with your tweets. In addition, you want to ensure that you’re leaving out any industry jargon in your messagin (unless you are specifically targeting those who understand that jargon, of course).

Keep in mind, that your brand voice should make you human in your messaging and engagement with Twitter users.

See our eight tips for finding your brand voice. Once you know your brand voice, lock it in for your social media efforts and beyond with our five tips to create a brand style guide.

Tweeting too much (or not enough)

Tweet too much, and you look like spam. Tweet too infrequently, and users don’t find you to be an active or credible Twitter account to engage with or follow. It’s easy to make this Twitter mistake, for sure.

Try to keep your tweeting to fewer than four tweets per hour.

Tweeting only at set times

Twitter is a fast-moving social network. If you only tweet at the same time every time, then you’re missing an opportunity to reach more Twitter users. 

You can avoid this Twitter mistake by scheduling your tweets at different times. You can then use Twitter Analytics to gauge what works best for your audience.

Lacking any multimedia tweets

Go beyond just text-only tweets if you want to engage more with your target audience. Aim to mix up your content types:

  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • GIFs

Tweets with images are about 34 percent more likely to get retweeted than tweets with no images.

Talking about your business too much

Just like on any social media platform, if you talk about yourself too much, you run the risk of either losing engagement, being seen as spam or both. 

Remember the reason why most users are using Twitter. Likely, they want to be informed and/or entertained.

Some companies strive for the 80-20 rule, where they only self-promote 20 percent of the time. Others aim for a rule of thirds, where one-third is self-promotion, another third is entertainment and the last third is education. 

There’s no blatant right or wrong content mix. Take time to review your resources and what makes the most sense for your business, with the goal being to keep the self-promotion to a minimum.

As you begin to plan your Twitter content, consider using a content calendar.

Ignoring trending topics on Twitter

Twitter makes it easy to understand what topics are trending at any given time. You should keep an eye out for the topics that are relevant to your brand and that you can contribute something to the conversation.

Not all trending topics will be relevant. So, if it feels like a reach, it probably is, and you should leave it be.

Using too many hashtags

Unlike Instagram (where users technically can use up to 30 hashtags), Twitter is more restrained by total character count and best practices in hashtag usage.

Tweets with hashtags can increase engagement up to 50 percent for brands

But you want to stick to one, maybe two, at most. Once you go above that, you risk looking spammy to other Twitter users. So, be sure to do your research on the best one or two hashtags you should be using to avoid this common Twitter mistake.

Missing your opportunity to ask for retweets

While you might feel it’s a little over-the-top or salesy to ask for retweets, you’ll actually receive a boost in engagement overall. Tweets have a 12 times higher chance of being retweeted if you simply ask for it.

You’ll want to use the phrase “retweet” rather than “RT,” though.

The key is that you’re asking on content that is engaging enough for users to see the value of retweeting. That simple act of asking alone won’t get you the retweets you want if your content isn’t worthy.

Leaving your followers hanging

It’s easy to forget the social conversation side of Twitter since the platform moves so fast. And many businesses do.

But regardless of the noise that Twitter can generate at times, you must make it a priority to respond to any comments or direct messages that come your way. In addition, you want to comment and retweet others’ posts if you find them interesting and in line with your brand.

You want to build relationships with your followers and the broader Twitter community, and that won’t happen if you only broadcast content and never engage.

Ignoring negative comments

Related to not engaging with your followers, you cannot ignore any negative comments that come your way.

No business enjoys negative comments or reviews, but they are part of maintaining an online presence, which you absolutely want to do. Treat them as opportunities to turn this negative commenter into a fan, based on your excellent customer service and social media voice.

Check out our 11 tips to best respond to negative commenters.

Retweeting mentions of your business

Resist the temptation to retweet every mention of your brand. It can come across a little shallow, salesy and insincere to other Twitter users.

Instead, you can reply to the tweet and move on. Or, if it really should be shared, retweet it but with a comment on it to give it context to avoid this easy-to-make Twitter mistake.

Expecting instant success

Most social media marketing success is about the long-term strategy culminating in success over time.

This is no different for Twitter. Tweet once or even three times, and you likely will not see an immediate achievement of your goals.

Monitor your overall account performance for clues on what you can do more of and what you should do less of. Remember that Twitter Analytics can help you with this. It’s free to use and is native to the platform.

Check out our eight expert tips to help you market your business better on Twitter.

As you’re creating your author bio, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

7 tips to write an author bio that gets noticed

Author biographies are an opportunity to personally connect with your blog readers.

There are more than 500 million blogs out of 1.7 billion websites, and about 409 million people view more than 20 billion pages each month.

Your goal as a blogger is to stand out. An author bio can help.

An author bio is roughly a paragraph about you, your credentials, your hobbies and/or any other information you wish to share with readers.

A compelling author bio will not only help build a relationship with readers, but if you are guest blogging, it can actually drive traffic to your own website or social accounts (whatever you’re linking to).

The following are seven tips to write an author bio that gets noticed.

Consider your personal brand

An author bio is essentially an extension and reflection of your personal brand. How do you want to be perceived in relationship to your blog article?

Check out our 10 tips to build your personal brand if you need a little help.

Understand your audience

Especially when you’re guest blogging, you can engage with many different types of audiences.

Whom you’re speaking to can (and should) impact your author bio.

Just like you should understand your target audience when you’re creating a piece of content, whether it’s a blog or something else, you should extend that same effort for your bio.

Depending on the audience, the details you include might vary.

Keep it short and sweet

It’s tempting to outline your full resume of professional experience and accomplishments in your author bio. 

But resist the urge.

Listing every detail simply to list it (or to establish your authority on your blog) will lose your audience. 

Narrow it down to what you would include in an “elevator pitch.” What are the top three things you would say about yourself? Remember that you want to include the most attention-grabbing points about yourself (just not too many).

Speak in third-person

Regardless of what voice your blog article is written as, you want to write your author bio in third-person voice only.

It’s simply more professional.

List any achievements sparingly

Again, too much is obviously too much. And a long list of degrees or awards (or both) will make the eyes of your readers glaze over. 

In addition, it could come across as more boastful than impressive.

If you want to include something, consider your biggest or most recent achievement.

Feel empowered to get personal

Blogs are not as formal as other mediums of communication, so you have the opportunity to add a few compelling, personal details about yourself.

This is especially the case if your blog article focuses on a more personal or first-person topic.

You’ll want to be selective with these details as well. What makes the most sense to include? What might connect with readers?

Include a professional photo

There is a big difference between a selfie (no matter how flattering) and a professional photo.

Characteristics of a professional photo include a background that is not distracting and good lighting. They’re typically shot straight-on, featuring a clear image of the face. Headshots traditionally refer to professional photos that show the face and at least some of the upper body.

Of course, you can certainly show your personality in a professional photo. See some examples for inspiration.

As you’re creating your author bio, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

4 tips to market your brand on Reddit

The idea of marketing on Reddit might make many businesses nervous, but rather than avoid the platform, why not embrace it as an opportunity?

Reddit has traditionally considered itself the “front page of the internet.” In other words, it’s a network of communities where users can dive into their hobbies, interests and passions. Registered users can share content on different discussion boards, referred to as subreddits.

Considering that Reddit sees about 430 million monthly active users in comparison to the roughly 444 million monthly active users on popular aspirational platform Pinterest, the potential of a sizable (yet largely untapped) audience is there.

To state it another way, Reddit is one of the world’s most popular websites. As of May 2020, the United States generated about 50 percent of all desktop traffic to the forum site.

On the flip side, Reddit is not a fan of marketing. In fact, it strongly discourages sales content and self-promotion.

But cracking the code to marketing on Reddit (so to speak) comes down to understanding the difference between marketing strategies of the past and those that we recommend today. Simply put, it’s about prioritizing authenticity and delivering value to other Reddit users.

The following are four tips to market your brand on Reddit without being spammy or “Reddit shamed” (or banned entirely).

Invest time in being a Reddit user first

This sounds obvious, but it’s more true on Reddit than on any other platform. Being an engaged natural user of the platform will only help you with your content marketing efforts.

We recommend engaging on subreddits that span your personal interests to your professional interests. Comment, ask questions, be an active participant. 

Not only will you get first-hand experience on the overall code of conduct and expectations of the platform, you also will see the nuances of different subreddits (and how they differ from each other). In addition, you’ll discover the subreddits (and relevant conversations) that your brand should target and engage with along the way. Just like how you want to get specific with your target audience, you also want to get as specific as possible with your selection of subreddits.

There’s no official amount of time that you should invest before posting your own content, but know that you shouldn’t be in a rush. The more you can invest as an engaged user first, the better. You’ll best understand any subreddit-specific rules of engagement, as well as any potential inside jokes among a subreddit’s audience.

Then, once you get going, a general rule of them is to balance your posts with a greater number of comments. For example, commit to 10 comments on others’ posts for every link you share. Think of it this way: You should contribute 80 percent of the time and only self-promote (in an authentic way) 20 percent of the time.

Create helpful content

Helpful and/or entertaining content naturally drives higher engagement. This is no different on Reddit, where users are just as open to content that can help them solve their problems or overcome an obstacle just like anyone else.

Focus on brainstorming an array of how-to content ideas that are relevant for your target audience. This entirely depends on the nature of your business and how you’re trying to reach, of course. Just think about the typical questions you hear from your customers. That’s a great place to start.

Once you have at least a dozen topics that you can create content around, check out our eight tips for developing a content calendar to stay organized. If writer’s block pops up, see our seven tips to overcome it.

As far as posting, you have numerous creative options you can explore on Reddit: 

  • GIFs instead of videos or video links (you can always link to a full video in the comments)
  • Images (just make sure they’re eye-catching)
  • Text (sometimes the preferred medium for in-depth conversations on certain subreddits)
  • Blogs (just make extra sure that your content is highly engaging and useful since Reddit users have a particular distaste for any blog spam)
  • AMAs (“Ask Me Anything” threads that are just that)
  • News (any industry or other type of update that is relevant and timely to that subreddit)

Treat everything as a conversation

This includes engaging with commenters on your own post long after you’ve even posted, just as you would on any other social media platform. 

Remember, social media in general is the compilation of conversations. 

Reddit is no different. In fact, you’ll get called out that much quicker for not engaging as expected. You have to always go above and beyond to prove that you’re human when representing your brand. But in the end, that engagement builds much-needed (and much-sought-after) trust.

No cheating

Reddit users are a skeptical crowd that has seen it all with various cheat-the-system tricks:

  • Face accounts
  • Employee (or colleague) upvoting
  • Undisclosed paid sponsors

The reaction of fellow users and Reddit itself will be very negative if you try to cheat in any way. You risk being banned from a specific subreddit as well as the website itself.

In conclusion

While Reddit can feel like an intimidating site to branch your marketing efforts into, it really is worth the effort if you have the resources (aka time) to invest in it. 

Of course, if you have an available budget, Reddit advertising might be an option for your brand as well.

Organically speaking, though, link dumping definitely won’t work no matter how you try to conceal it. As long as you aim to be human first as you represent your brand and give as much as (if not more than) you take, your business will reap the rewards of reaching a largely untapped audience that can appreciate you investing that effort and being part of the community.

Check out our seven tips to level up your overall content marketing while you’re at it.

Then, consider the possibility of optimizing your digital marketing process, such as automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

6 tips to create brand loyalty for your business

While attracting new customers will always matter, you can’t forget about your existing customers (and building up their loyalty to your brand).

Just a 5 percent increase in customer retention can lead to at least a 25 percent increase in profit.

Fortunately, while consumers do have limitless options when it comes to the items they want to buy, about 90 percent still report being brand loyal.

Brand loyalty is when consumers strongly favor a specific brand over other brands.

Brand loyalty involves more than just retaining your customers, though. It’s about providing an experience that your customers won’t find anywhere else that will keep them coming back.

The following are six tips to create brand loyalty for your business.

Increase your focus on customer service

The quality of your customer service is everything. It can make or break your customers’ loyalty to your brand. 

About 33 percent of customers say they would consider switching companies immediately following just one instance of poor service.

Remember that you want to address every inquiry in a responsive and timely manner. But beyond that, you should make every customer feel valued and appreciated.

Check out our six ways to be more responsive to your customers.

Understand (and share) your brand story and voice

Customers need to have a clear understanding of a brand before they become loyal to it. Your brand personality encompasses what your brand is all about, and it should be approachable to your target audience.

Clearly, you want to be as unique as possible as well so that you stand out from your competition. Take extra time when constructing your mission statement, which explains why your business exists and what makes you different.

See our nine expert tips to help you build your brand from scratch. In addition, check out our five tips for creating a brand style guide that can help you stay consistent in all aspects of your branding.

Success here makes your brand more recognizable and memorable to customers.

Consider a loyalty rewards program

Loyalty rewards programs incentivize your target audience to shop with you again. You can offer discounts, coupons or extra perks to repeat customers for any number of reasons:

  • Customer anniversaries
  • Repeat purchases
  • Early bird perks
  • Customer birthdays

Think about the products and/or services you offer and what makes the most sense for you to create as a loyalty rewards program.

Leverage your social media

You likely already have various strategic goals tied to your social media marketing, such as brand awareness, lead generation and customer service.

But think about what you’re doing on your social media accounts to promote brand loyalty. Sharing announcements and new products isn’t enough. You should dive into your brand story and find ways to share all the facets that come together to make your brand personality what it is. It should permeate every post in even the most subconscious ways.

Start with what matters most on social media: compelling content.

Find out what every startup company should know about social media, as well as what social media platform is right for your company.

In addition, you’ll want to review the difference between social listening and crowdsourcing so that you can better identify the opportunities when customers may not message you directly but will mention you on social media (for better or for worse).

Invest in a brand community

By “invest,” we don’t mean with money per se. Building a community that supports and celebrates your brand at the very least requires a major and consistent investment of time.

It all begins with understanding not only your target audience but your existing customers and what commonalities they share. Consider those engaged within your community as potential brand advocates, who are likely to share your brand with others and give honest reviews of your products and/or services. In the simplest sense, they have your back and are proud to be connected to your brand.

Depending on how your community largely uses social media, it might make the most sense to create a Facebook group or a branded hashtag or even a subreddit board. There’s no right or wrong here. All that matters is that the channel you chose to nurture your community on resonates with your brand advocates. 

Social media is all about engaging with others, but it also requires you to be present for your community to help it grow and thrive.

Check out our 12 tips to use Facebook Groups to help grow your brand. A lot of these tips can be applied to other channels when building an online community.

Deliver value through quality

This may sound obvious, but there is no amount of great social media or incentives that can create brand loyalty if your products and/or services are not high quality.

Make it a priority to deliver on every promise you make and exceed every possible expectation you can think of.

You can regularly conduct customer surveys to better understand what you’re doing well and what could be done better.

In the end, customers will feel loyal to quality in all aspects.

In conclusion

Ultimately, your commitment to creating and maintain brand loyalty among your customers can help boost your profits, so it’s worth the effort.

Consider existing customers just as important as new customers.

As you’re developing a strategy to boost brand loyalty for your business, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

5 tips to create a brand style guide for your business

Branding directly impacts the success of a business online, so you’ll want to consider creating a brand style guide if you don’t already have one.

Think of a brand style guide as the rulebook for how your business presents itself to the world. This includes your logo, fonts, colors, nature of photography and more. 

Check out our nine expert tips to help you build a brand from scratch.

You can use your brand style guide as a reference to help maintain branding consistency no matter which of your team members is involved. Consistency helps you build a trusting relationship with consumers.

About 59 percent of consumers prefer to buy from brands they trust.

The following are five tips to help you create a brand style guide for your business. 

Collect visual branding examples

One of the best ways to convey the presence of your brand is through visual examples.

Consider what reflects your branding the most. This can include ads, emails, social media posts and so on.

If there is a particular point you want to make sure gets addressed, be sure to collect the visuals to communicate that aspect of your branding to your team members.

It’s about visually communicating the look and feel of your brand. 

Define the essential elements of your brand

Traditionally, you’ll want to identify six essential elements of your brand in your brand style guide:

Brand story

This includes your company’s vision and mission statement that introduces your brand to the world and conveys your purpose in so many words. See our five tips to create an effective mission statement for your business if you don’t already have one.

Logo guidelines

Beyond what your logo consists of, think about how your logo should look in different environments. For example, a simpler icon version in addition to a full logo, overall spacing, minimum sizing, logo proportions, a black and white version in addtion to color and so on. Include all of the approved versions of your logo in your brand style guide, as well as an explanation of when to use which version where (as applicable).

Brand color palette

Even if you already have one main branding color and a secondary color, you should make sure that you identify at least one more color to give your brand flexibility.

Many brands opt for about four colors. Think of a lighter color for backgrounds, a darker color for text, a neutral color and a color that pops. They should complement each other.

Font guidelines

Font itself can become its own rabbit hole, but it is very important to put careful thought into choosing the font that best reflects your brand’s personality.

Once you have at least two fonts chosen (can certainly be more than that), you’ll want to be very clear in your brand style guide as to whether an entire typeface family can be used or which specific typefaces can be used.

In addition, you’ll want to communicate when, where and how every font should be used with your brand. Be as clear as possible, including the alignment to be used and any specific spacing.

Image and photography guidelines

This can be one of the more difficult sections of your brand style guide, so take your time. It’s likely easy enough for you to identify which images suit and reflect your brand well, but it’s just as easy for a team member to not have the same natural eye as you.

The goal is to steer your team in the right direction. You can do this by including a selection of example images and sharing the reason behind those examples as well as what your brand hopes to achieve in every image.

Brand voice

Your brand has a personality of its own, much like a person. The more you can share as it pertains to the overall writing style for your brand, the better.

In this section of your brand style guide, you can detail best practices, illustrate your brand personality description with key adjectives, include do’s and don’ts, etc.

Not sure what your brand voice is? Check out our eight tips

Think about the bigger picture

Depending on the nature of your business, you may need to dive deeper into certain areas where your branding is relevant.

For example, if you create physical products, what should your packaging look like? How should the layout of your website appear? What makes a branded appearance for a post on any given social media platform?

Brainstorm every possibility that is relevant for your business. Then, pick away at the answers so that you can include them in your brand style guide.

Get organized with a brand style guide outline

Once you’ve compiled all your essential branding elements and visual examples, it’s time to outline your entire brand style guide so that you can stay focused throughout.

In addition, your outline will make the creation process more efficient.

You’ll also need to decide the format of your brand style guide. It can be a digital PDF, printout, webpage, etc. In general, make sure that it’s easy to update and distribute to your team.

Expect brand evolution

The only guarantee in life is change. Never assume that what you decide about your brand today will be right for your brand in 20 years. Just think about Apple. It’s definitely not the same-looking brand from the 1980s (or even earlier).

Consider your brand style guide a living document that you should revisit at least annually.

To help with inspiration, check out the brand style guide for Starbucks or Zendesk.

As you begin to create your brand style guide, consider optimizing your digital marketing process. This includes such features as automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

5 tips to get started with AR shopping for your business

Augmented reality looks to be the next frontier of e-commerce, but are you ready for it?

AR shopping capitalizes on an enhanced version of the physical world around you that involves digital visual elements, sound and other sensory stimuli. These features offer customers deeper and more thorough information about your products.

Learn more about AR shopping and three reasons why you should consider it for your business.

Interestingly enough, about 73 percent of mobile AR users reported either high or very high satisfaction with mobile AR experiences, while about 51 percent of consumers feel that retailers are failing to take full advantage of augmented reality.

The opportunity to jump on this emerging technology (if it’s right for your business) is now. The following are five tips to help you get started with offering AR shopping.

Identify your business objectives

Before diving into AR shopping, it’s critical to decide what your goals are. How would AR shopping specifically serve your customers?

Think through your customer’s purchasing journey with your business and where the pinch points may lie that you could address with AR solutions.

Deciding on your objectives and what you want to create first will make your decisions about techniques and specific tools to use far easier and more efficient.

Determine your budget

Augmented reality includes diverse opportunities for your business. So, once you know what you want to accomplish, it’s time to decide how much your business can spend to launch and maintain such a platform.

Fortunately, even if you don’t have much of a budget to work with, you can get your feet wet by experimenting with Snapchat filters or customized Instagram stickers and “try on” items for Stories.

Choose your AR shopping tool

A number of tools exist that can help you achieve your vision of an AR shopping experience for your customers. 

However, as you begin to examine the options, keep the following factors in mind:

  • Available features: Clearly, the available features of any given tool will serve as a large factor in your decision-making process. Keep in mind what you need and what you don’t need. However, especially if you’re new to AR, you may discover a feature you’re not previously aware of that can elevate your original plan. Stay open to that possibility.
  • Cost: Depending on the license type, a tool could be free or range in pricing. While free is great, make sure to review what features are available in free versions and whether a paid version could serve your objectives better.
  • Supported devices and operating systems: Check whether a tool is compatible with relevant devices and operating systems for your customers. For example, if you’re developing an app for multiple phone types, confirm that the tool you choose supports at least the main mobile operating systems.
  • Learning curve: Ideally, you want to find an AR shopping tool that is easy for you to understand, use and update as needed. If you have questions, reach out to the developer. You’ll often be offered a free demo so that you can see first-hand whether this is the right tool for you.

Track the pros and cons of all available AR shopping tools that you review so that you can make the best and most-informed decision for your business.

Market your new AR shopping platform

Considering that the demand for AR shopping is there, you’ll want to develop a full campaign leading up to the launch of your AR shopping platform.

Ideally, you’ll plan content across social media platforms, your website and any other channels you have access to. 

Not sure where to begin? See our seven tips before planning your first marketing campaign.

Request and collect feedback

After launching, you’ll want to use surveys to follow up with your AR shopping customers. Doing so will help you find out what they thought about the experience.

Be sure to ask specific questions while also offering open-ended opportunities for respondents to share more. Never assume that you’ll think of everything you could possibly ask about.

By understanding the user experience, you’ll be able to improve your offering to serve your customers even better.

As you begin to launch AR shopping for your business, consider optimizing your digital marketing process. This includes such features as automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

Branding: 9 expert tips to build your brand from scratch

Depending on your experience, creating a new brand from scratch can either be really fun or really stressful. 

Or both.

But branding can be done step-by-step in a thoughtful way that results in something that connects with the customers you’re seeking.

A brand consists of:

  • Visuals, such as colors, logo, images, font, etc.
  • Tone of voice
  • Content
  • Online presence, such as website, social accounts, etc.
  • Influencer and other types of partnerships

The consistency and connection an effective brand can offer builds trust among consumers. About 81 percent of consumers say they need to be able to trust a brand before buying from it.

And first impressions matter. It only takes about 0.05 seconds for potential customers to form an opinion about your website.

The following are nine expert tips to help you build your brand from scratch. Or, if you’re considering leveling up your personal brand, check out our 10 tips.

Identify your target audience

This step is key for so many digital marketing tactics in general. But it’s especially crucial to consider whom you’re trying to reach when developing the core of your brand.

Having these ideal customers in mind (as well as their demographics, interests, challenges and so on) can help you make the biggest decisions in the smartest way possible.

See our seven tips to help you determine your target audience. Just remember that you want to get as specific as possible.

Conduct a competitive analysis

In other words, research your competition. The reasons may be obvious, but regardless, understanding your biggest competition shows you what’s already out there and what opportunities you could seize with your own brand.

It’s about being unique and relevant to potential customers.

Dive deeper into what a competitive analysis is and how you can start yours. In addition, check out these 16 tools that can help you with your research.

Of course, in this competitive analysis, you’ll want to focus on your competitors’ branding.

Determine your brand’s focus

It’s easy to get lost in your branding when you’re just starting out. Focus on what you know you do best and use that to create a mission statement, which can include:

  • Your brand’s products or services
  • Your target audience
  • What makes your brand unique
  • What problems your brand solves

Once you have a clear mission statement, you’ll want to share it everywhere, such as your website and social media accounts.

Define your brand’s personality

That’s right, personality. The most successful brands have a personality that’s appealing and relatable to their target audiences.

Of course, we don’t recommend choosing a personality out of thin air (and that can be pretty daunting anyway).

Think about the emotions your target audience is feeling when they’re looking for the solutions your brand can offer. Then, from there, you can identify the voice, language and content that can meet them where they are consistently.

Another trick is to consider the demographics of your target audience. You would address women in their 40s differently than you would teenage boys.

In addition, Shopify offers a brainstorming graphic to help you get started.

Dive deeper with our eight tips on finding your brand’s voice.

Once you land on a personality for your brand, consider it written in stone for consistency’s sake. Consistency is the currency of your branding. (Just know that’s it is fine for brands to evolve slowly over time.)

Name your brand

Some may start with a brand’s name. While it’s not wrong to do so, just make sure that if you already have a name in mind, it reflects your target audience, focus and personality of your developing brand.

If you’re starting from scratch, take a breath first. Your brand’s name is undoubtedly a big deal. It’s the first thing consumers will notice across multiple marketing channels and through interactions with your business. It also holds a critical impact on your logo and other branding assets. But don’t let all of that scare you.

The goal is to brainstorm what name would be clear, memorable and reflective of everything your brand encompasses. Naming considerations include:

  • Uniqueness
  • Memorability
  • Specific enough to be identifiable but broad enough to allow your business to expand into new products or services as it makes sense to do so
  • Domain name availability, which you can best address with our tips
  • Social media handle availability across platforms

When determining a name from scratch, the sky’s the limit truly. Brainstorm until you have at least 10 to 15 options that you like and then share with colleagues. What resonates most with them? If you notice a common thread with the most-liked options, you might want to conduct a second brainstorming session to really explore that thread further until you hit gold for your brand.

Decide on your brand’s colors and fonts

Color has a huge impact on your brand. It affects your website, logo and all other branded materials.

Using a signature color can increase brand recognition by about 80 percent.

Of course, before you simply pick your favorite color that you’ve loved since you were a kid, consider our breakdown of the influence colors have on digital marketing.

You also can check out this color emotion chart from The Logo Company.

Ideally, your colors help you stand out from your competition. That’s the goal.

When it comes to fonts, you can definitely go down a wormhole on all the available options. Just remember that you’re not picking a single font. You’ll want to identify several fonts to use in your:

  • Logo
  • Graphics
  • Headings
  • Body text

Again, consistency is key.

Create your brand’s slogan

While determining a name might be tough, nailing down your slogan can be just as difficult (if not more so).

Think Nike’s “Just Do It” or Walmart’s “Save Money. Live Better.” 

A slogan can help you spark interest in potential customers, while it also can help consumers remember your brand.

All that being said, a slogan is definitely optional but also highly recommended. Go through the same process you went through for your brand’s name and see what rises to the top. 

Keep in mind that a slogan can evolve over time (just like your brand’s personality). You just want it to be catchy enough to stick in consumers’ minds.

Check out this list of 100 brand slogans for inspiration.

Design your brand’s logo

Your logo is your brand’s most important visual asset and possibly even your most important piece of successful branding. It will appear everywhere.

Again, you want to be unique and memorable. It also should be scalable and have at least a couple of variations that make it flexible to use everywhere and on everything.

For example, if your main logo is text-only or text-based (which typically makes it more of a horizontal shape), consider creating an alternative square version. 

Different types of logos include:

  • Lettermark, which involves turning the initials of your business name into the logo (such as the IBM logo)
  • Wordmark, which only consists of your brand name (such as the Coca-Cola logo)
  • Icon, which only consists of a graphic and makes the most sense for previously established, well-known brands (such as the Twitter bird logo)
  • Abstract, which are made up of different shapes and colors (such as the Google Chrome logo)
  • Emblem, which are typically a circular shape with both text and an emblem (such as the BMW logo)
  • Mascot, which includes an illustration of your brand’s mascot if you have one (such as the Wendy’s logo)
  • Combination, which incorporates various styles of logos into one logo (such as the McDonald’s logo)

If you’re not a graphic designer, you can definitely hire one, or consider trying one of these 11 free graphic design tools for the non-designer.

Develop your branded content

Branded content comes in so many different forms and types. Whether it’s a video series on YouTube, a weekly blog post on your website, or something else, the content you create should serve a purpose: to connect with your target audience.

Check out our seven tips to level up your content marketing. Also, consider incorporating premium content into your strategy for lead generation and more.

In conclusion

Once you’ve determined all the critical elements that comprise your brand, we recommend documenting everything in a brand style guide. Not only will it help you stay consistent over time, but it makes it easy to communicate your branding elements to others on your team so that they can properly reflect your brand as well.

As you create your brand from scratch, consider optimizing your digital marketing process, such as automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

10 best practices for SMS text message marketing

Text messages should be part of your digital marketing strategy.

About 85 percent of consumers in one study say they want to receive text messages from brands. 

And when done right, businesses can see SMS response rates of about 45 percent (while email marketing shows about 8 percent). When not done right, thought, you can lose about 65 percent of your subscribers who will unsubscribe because you’re texting too much and/or your content isn’t relevant to them.

So, how can you do SMS text message marketing “right”? The following are 10 best practices to make your text messaging efforts as successful as possible.

Get permission

The biggest mistake a business can make when first getting into text message marketing is to get ahead of itself and begin texting the contacts you have before you’ve confirmed your opt-ins.

But it’s important to do so.

Without consent, you’re breaking the law and open yourself to possible litigation. It also can negatively impact your brand’s image.

Opt-ins can be fairly easy, though:

  • Texting a keyword to your number
  • Filling out a web form (or paper form if necessary)

Consider this the most important aspect of your SMS text message marketing strategy.

Include all necessary disclaimers

Beyond just being up front with text subscribers, industry regulations actually require you to share the following disclaimers up front:

  • That messaging and data rates may apply
  • How often you plan to text your subscribers
  • A link to your Terms and Conditions and your Privacy Policy
  • How to unsubscribe

We recommend reviewing the official messaging principles and best practices from the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) to ensure that you’re operating within the industry guidelines.

Establish consistency with your sending frequency

It’s obvious that you don’t want to text too much and potentially overwhelm and turn off your subscribers.

But you also don’t want to text too sporadically either.

When you don’t text consistently enough, the texts you do send can appear out of the blue (in a bad way) to your subscribers who may have forgotten why they subscribed in the first place.

This can lead to fewer conversions and more unsubscribes.

In general, most businesses strive for two to four texts per month. But every business is different. You could have a daily or weekly need to text your subscribers. The key is to be upfront about your frequency as subscribers opt in so that there are no surprises (and subsequent unsubscribes).

Consider the timing of your texts

Just like how you wouldn’t want to receive a promotional text at 9 or 10 p.m. at night, don’t plan on sending your texts at awkward times for your text subscribers.

Timing considerations include:

  • What’s right for your audience
  • Any time-zone differences
  • The availability of your team if response support is required
  • Volume pacing, which means that depending on whether you’re using short codes or long codes, this impacts how many texts can be sent per second. For example, you could send an afternoon text to thousands, but if the volume takes time to handle, plenty of recipients could receive your text far too late. Learn more about 10DLC numbers and more.

Think exclusivity

Because your subscribers have to opt in to receiving your text messages, keep that in mind when you create your content.

It’s an exclusive group who’s giving you the ability to contact them directly, yes? Treat them that way.

What can you offer that’s different from your email, social media and website promotions?

The answer depends on your business, but keep it simple. It could be a special discount for one day only, just to test the waters.

Maintaining exclusivity for your SMS text messaging gives customers a reason to sign up and a reason to stay subscribed.

Be responsive

About 34 percent of people will read a text message within five minutes of receiving it. If your plan involves two-way messaging (for customer service, for example), you have to be as responsive as you possibly can be.

Build the necessary time into your or your team’s schedule. Text message marketing platforms, such as DailyStory, also have built-in features that help notify you to replies and can even automate certain responses, depending on the scenario.

Use concise language

A regular SMS text message gives you 160 characters per text message. This space restriction might tempt you to abbreviate and/or use texting abbreviations, but keep your brand voice in mind. You want to sound clear and professional as a brand.

Of course, the use of MMS can give you more flexibility in communicating your message since you can include an image.

But either way, keep carrier violations in mind since they will prevent your texts from even reaching the phones of your subscribers.

Plus, see our eight tips to write a text that won’t get ignored.

Personalize your content as much as possible

Mass text messages offer the automatic one-to-one connection with customers simply because of the medium.

But you have to elevate your content to speak directly to that one customer rather than general language that feels like you’re talking to everyone.

First of all, know who you’re texting. Segment your contacts as much as you can to be as specific with your messaging as possible. For example, you’re not going to say the same thing to a customer who hasn’t purchased from you in 45 days that you would to your most loyal customers.

In addition, text message marketing platforms should give you the ability to use custom fields in your texts that will automatically pull in your contacts’ information, such as the first name. A text using your first name in it (despite being a mass text) is going to be that much more effective than a text that doesn’t.

Again, DailyStory offers all these features and more to boost the success of your text message marketing campaigns.

Offer an easy, clear way to opt out

While no business wants its subscribers to opt out of receiving text messages, you must make it easy and clear to do so. 

It’s an industry requirement, but it also helps your brand image. Everyone should know that they can unsubscribe anytime and how to do so. It’s about establishing trust and credibility for your brand.

Simply include “Text STOP to unsubscribe” in your texts and/or when promoting your text campaign.

When a subscriber does unsubscribe, make sure to send a confirmation and then remove that individual from your contact list.

Measure your SMS campaign performance

Just like any other tactic in digital marketing, you’ll want to monitor how your text messages perform. 

Text messages don’t necessarily offer all the same analytics that you expect to see in email marketing campaigns. But you can track deliveries, clicks and replies. It just depends on what platform you’re using to conduct your SMS text message campaigns.

As you’re exploring these best practices for your SMS text message marketing, consider using DailyStory. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more that can apply to texting, emailing and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

11 best practices to help you grow your social media followers

Social media is a key part of any business’s digital marketing strategy, but are you seeing enough followers and engagement on your accounts?

About 3.6 billion people worldwide were using social media in 2020, and that’s expected to grow to about 4.4 billion by 2025.

So, your target audience is definitely out there. (And if you need help determining your ideal target audience, see our seven tips.)

Of course, don’t miss what we recommend every startup company should know about social media.

The following are 11 best practices that can help you grow your social media followers over time regardless of the platform.

Build a strong brand identity

Branding is everything for successful businesses online. Of course, this means more than just including your logo on all of your multimedia assets and so on.

It ties into your predominant color scheme, graphic designs, voice, even filters. If you haven’t yet solidified your brand’s identity, it’s never too late.

See our eight tips for finding your brand’s voice. And in the fitness industry, we walk you through building an online brand from scratch (that can be applied to other industries as well).

Even personal brands count. Check out our 10 tips for building your personal brand and growing your business.

The most important thing is consistency and cohesion. Once you have your brand identity, own it.

Follow relevant accounts

Following other accounts that are relevant to your interests, industry and business is a great way to:

  • Stay in the know about topics that matter to you and your brand
  • Be inspired by what others are doing on social media
  • Have an opportunity to engage with accounts that are relevant to you
  • Get an idea of what your competition is doing on social media

Of course, there’s also the opportunity to potentially be followed back by others, but that shouldn’t be your primary reason to do it.

Actively engage with your followers

Time is always a challenge, but resist the temptation to “set it and forget it.” Once a post publishes (whether it’s scheduled or live), that’s only the beginning.

Prioritize time to engage with your followers who are commenting on your posts and/or messaging you. 

Granted, you can’t go down the wormhole on it, and the more engagement you receive, the harder it will be to respond to every user. But there are tools out there that can help.

Check out these 11 free (or almost free) social media management tools to help you stay on top of the activity happening with your brand accounts. Plus, see additional reasons why a social media management tool can benefit your business.

And consider these seven opportunities for social media automation that you might not be aware of.

Just remember that social media is a conversation, not just a megaphone. You’ll lose your social media followers if you never engage with them. Invite those connections and conversations.

Publish content that’s worth sharing

Ask yourself honestly: 

  • Are you posting content that excites, entertains, educates? 
  • Is your content engaging? 
  • Are you thinking about your followers first?

If the answer is no, then it’s time to reevaluate your content strategy. Think about how you can add in more:

  • Opinions (just be cautious when it comes to sensitive issues)
  • Trending content (which helps you stay current on social media)
  • News developments from your industry
  • Data and statistics
  • Humorous or cute content (just make sure that it’s relevant to your brand identity)
  • Visually compelling or eye-catching (including videos)

If a majority of your content is sales-heavy, you’re definitely missing an opportunity for engagement with your social media followers (and giving others a reason to follow you).

Use a content calendar

Content calendars are great for both long-term planning and overall content organization.

It’s about striking a balance between posting enough to stay relevant and not posting too much, which looks more like spam. That balance helps you connect with social media followers.

See our eight tips to create an effective content calendar.

Promote your social media elsewhere

Don’t assume that everyone knows you have a Facebook page or an Instagram account or a viral video on TikTok.

Depending on what else you’re doing online, think through the opportunities you have to promote your social media accounts elsewhere. 

This could be on your website, blog, podcast, guest blogs (or appearances), email newsletters and so on.

Be smart with your hashtags

Hashtags are all about discoverability. But it’s better to be strategic and targeted than to treat your hashtags like buckshot.

In short, the most popular hashtags (such as #love) aren’t necessarily the ones you need to use because they are, in fact, so overused. You’ll just get lost in the noise.

You can opt for more specific hashtags and/or create branded hashtags to promote user-generated content (among other reasons).

Check out our six tips to help you master hashtags on Instagram specifically.

Explore influencer marketing

Influencer marketing continues to increase in popularity, and for good reasons. It simply makes sense to partner with another brand that (or personality who) is relevant to your target audience.

Make sure you understand who you’re going to work with (whether they’re appropriate for your brand) and what the expectations are.

The result of a successful influencer marketing campaign is increased engagement and more social media followers.

Check out our seven tips you should know before starting your first influencer marketing campaign.

Keep your customer service team in the loop

Because so many more consumers are contacting brands via social media, it’s important that everyone tasked with responding to those messages are in the loop regarding your overall social media strategy and any significant campaigns.

Maintaining that communication across your team will preserve a consistency in your customer service that should back up the brand voice you’re projecting publicly on social media.

(Of course, this also extends to how you address negative commentary and reviews online. See our 11 tips.)

Consider contests and giveaways

Contests and giveaways should never be the end all be all of your entire social media strategy. But they are a great way to engage with your social media followers and grow your following as well.

First, think about what would spur interest and excitement. Make sure it’s reflective of your brand identity.

See our 10 tips to encourage more user-generated content.

But most importantly of all, make sure you’re on the up and up and keeping every giveaway and contest legal. Check out our guide on Terms and Conditions.

Pivot your strategy based on your social media performance

Similar to what we recommend for just about any digital marketing strategy is not just to monitor your social media analytics, but to refine your strategy as needed based on that performance.

If something is working, how can you build on that?

If something isn’t working, what can you do differently?

Clearly, there are so many factors to consider:

  • Timing
  • Content itself
  • Voice
  • Visuals

And so much more. But that’s what makes social media exciting. It’s always changing, and in general, it’s a grand experiment for every brand to find ways to represent itself, be heard and reach its target audience.

Consider any of these 17 online courses to level up your social media skills.

While you’re exploring how to increase your social media followers organically, think about how you can improve your digital marketing process as well. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

7 advantages to automating your workflow

Workflow automation allows you and your employees to save time on administrative and repetitive tasks, so they can focus on more important business goals. 

In addition, automating your workflow helps you avoid the issues associated with manual work, such as human error.

Many stages of workflows can be automated to speed up processes and cut back on costs. Developing an automated workflow for repetitive, laborious tasks, such as customer communication, can help your business grow. Automation can be applied to many different tasks while providing you with detailed record-keeping that’s error-free. Here are the benefits of workflow automation

No. 1: Speeds up task management

Whether you’re a SCRUM master or simply need help managing your task load to promote a better work/life balance, automation speeds up the management and completion of tasks. For example, without automation, a software development team might not be able to manage projects as effectively or meet deadlines. In this case, a workforce management system can automate insights to help team leaders identify bottlenecks and come up with creative solutions to advanced problems.

Not only can developers benefit from automation, but so can anyone. Does anyone in your organization perform data entry? Automation can automatically populate forms and spreadsheets from databases to ensure correct data. Not only will this save someone time, but it also prevents the risk of someone typing in the wrong number or letter.

No. 2: Reduces labor costs

Automating essential tasks can lower costs because it reduces administrative tasks and repetitive tasks, ultimately decreasing the number of hours needed to perform those tasks. Not only that but digitizing documents can help boost productivity while automatic validation ensures incorrect data can’t move through the workflow and prevent problems later on. 

For example, if someone enters a wrong number, the problem might not be discovered until it’s too late, which means hours upon hours of finding the error and fixing it. Automation prevents this by ensuring the data is correct at every stage of the process. Instead of letting the wrong letter throw your employees on a quest to find the right information and remedy the problem, you can save on labor costs by having smaller teams that can get more work done.

No. 3: Reduces errors

As we’ve already mentioned, human error is always an accident, but it can be pricey. Manual processing means just one employee can throw off the entire workflow, no matter what you’re doing. For example, suppose you’re performing equipment testing, which requires employees to write down numbers and other types of information. In that case, the person who must type up the information can easily misread a calculation. 

Automation can’t misread calculations, especially when you use software that integrates with all of your processes to ensure every number and letter is in its proper place, this is why many companies lean into test equipment and generators. Errors lead to delays, unhappy partners and customers, and even compliance issues, so the fewer, the better. 

No. 4: Streamlines approvals

If your business has a long approval process for anything, including purchasing products, then you already know how long it can take for a request to get approved. When using a manual approval process, staff members must deliver documentation to approvers and chase them down when they don’t get a response. 

Using automation can make the approval process quick and painless. It can send documentation to the right person based on logic while allowing approvers to sign documents digitally to prevent delays. 

No. 5: Improve customer relationships

Automating workflows can help you quickly respond to customers with accurate information. With fewer errors and delays associated with automation, you can enhance the customer experience with products and services that can be promptly delivered. 

Not only that, but automated workflows can help you quickly address customer concerns. As you know, customers expect a quick reply when they have a concern. To solve this problem, you can set up an alert for your customer service representatives that alerts them when a new issue needs their attention as soon as possible. 

No. 6: Happier employees

Happy employees are more productive employees, making them more likely to help your business succeed. Sitting at a desk doing the same tasks over and over can lead to burnout and fatigue. Instead of relying on your employees to do manual, repetitive tasks, you can automate their workflows and allow them to do more exciting tasks every day. 

By saving them time on the boring tasks that are just a part of the job, they’ll be more excited to come into work to focus on achieving business goals.

No. 7: Scalable

Workflow automation requires you to understand everything you can do with it to make your business more efficient. However, the time you spend learning about automation can help you save time in the future because it’s easily scalable. 

As you know, every department has different responsibilities and needs, but all of them can benefit from automation. For example, accounting can automate invoicing while HR automates paid time off requests. 

As soon as you design and implement a workflow, you can scale it and add more tasks to it. In addition, automation will become easier the longer you use it, which means finding and fixing issues within your business will, too. 

workflow-automation

Do You Need Workflow Automation?

If you’re still using manual processes, then it’s time to look into all of the different ways automation can help. Doing all of your work manually can cause bottlenecks and inefficiencies. These inefficiencies can force your employees to spend too much time on tasks that automation could be doing. 

Manual processes are slow and require more people and more time. Not only that, but you can easily lose important documentation. You also can leave yourself open to human error, which can be detrimental. 

Automating workflows allows you to do more in less time with fewer errors. With automation, your business can optimally function. Plus, your employees will be happy to spend more time on the parts of their jobs that matter.

About the author

Matt-Casadona

Matt Casadona has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Psychology. Matt is passionate about marketing and business strategy and enjoys San Diego life, traveling, and music. 

12 SEO marketing tips for beginners

Search engine optimization, also referred to as SEO, is critical for every website, but it’s also achievable, even for beginners.

SEO is all about ensuring that your website content ranks high in relevant search engine results. Of course, the higher you land in search rankings, the more website traffic you’ll see. The more traffic you drive, the more potential sales and revenue you can generate.

On the first page of Googe search results, for example, the first five organic results account for about 68 percent of all the resulting clicks.

The effort is worthwhile. About 49 percent of marketers say that organic search has the best return on investment (ROI) of any marketing channel.

But successful SEO is so much more than just using relevant keywords.

The following are 12 SEO marketing tips for beginners that you can start using today.

Claim (or create) your Google My Business profile

Google My Business is a free public profile or listing that appears in related search results on Google.

Claiming (or creating) your listing provides Google (and internet users) with key information about your company. 

See our recommended 12 ways to optimize your Google My Business profile.

Create new, fresh content

Search engines love new content, which is seen as more relevant for users but also shows that your website is active.

Focus on topics that address the needs, wants and challenges of your target audience. What problems can you help them solve? To stay organized, see our eight tips to create an effective content calendar.

However, producing new content consistently can be a challenge for any marketer.

See our 13 tips for repurposing content like a rockstar. But if you’re flat-out stuck, check out our seven tips for beating marketing writer’s block.

Write longer

Writing longer, at its core, is about giving visitors the quality, in-depth content they’re seeking.

On the practical side, longer content gives you more opportunities for including keywords and offering the most beneficial information.

Longer, engaging content also increases your time on side, otherwise known as “dwell time.” The longer a user spends on your page, the greater the signal to Google (and other search engines) that users are engaging with your content. You want as long of a dwell time as possible.

The ideal length based on recent data is between 2,100 and 2,400 words.

But the danger of this tip is lengthening your content without adding value or sacrificing quality. Don’t go long just to go long. Quality over quantity always.

Use relevant keywords

Keywords aren’t everything, but they are a big piece of a successful SEO strategy.

It’s important to use the keywords that are most relevant to your piece of content. If you cast too wide of a net on your keywords, you are overpromising and underdelivering for search engines. Remember, search engines aim to deliver the most relevant search results for every user’s query.

Think about what a consumer might type into a search engine to find your content, and do your research.

Keep long-tail keywords in mind as well, particularly with the considerations surrounding voice search. (Long-tail keywords contain at least four words that more clearly specify the user’s intent in his or her search query.)

In addition, think about LSI keywords, which stands for “latent semantic indexing.” These are keywords that are related to the topic your content is about.

Check out these 11 free SEO keyword research tools that you can consider using. 

Optimize on-page elements

You’ll want to always keep your title, meta, heading and sub-heading tags on your website top of mind. These comprise your on-page SEO elements.

  • Title tag: The headline that appears on top of a search result. Make sure it’s unique for each page of your website, contains relevant keywords and is no more than 60 characters long.
  • Meta tag or meta description: The summary paragraph that appears as a description of your search result. Make sure that you take the opportunity to persuade users to click on your result in no more than 160 characters.
  • Headings and sub-headings: Ideally, you’ll have one heading <h1> per webpage, but you can have as many sub-headings (<h2>, <h3> and so on) as makes sense for the organization of your content on the page. These don’t appear in search results, but they are indexed and checked by Google the same as title tags, so include keywords as much as it makes sense to do so.
  • Sitemap: Schematics that help search engines find and rank your webpages. Using a sitemap helps your pages get updated faster and that all your pages are getting found.
  • Robots.txt: Code that tells search engine web crawlers which pages to include in their index and which not to. This is ideal for test pages and pages not intended for the public.

Learn more about the difference between on-page and off-page SEO.

Keep your URLs as simple as possible

While most internet users won’t notice the specifics of your webpage’s URL, it still matters to your SEO.

As a best practice, keep your URLs as simple and readable as possible, with a logical structure. This means that you’ll want to use text in your URLs rather than random numbers. Just remember to keep your URLs as short as reasonably possible.

You also can use your URLs to include your most relevant keyword, but make sure you’re not overstuffing. 

There’s no need to overhaul all your past URLs unless you think they are having a negative impact on your SEO. (If you do, make sure to also do a proper 301 redirect.) Simply move forward with simple, structured URLs. 

Build up your backlinks

Backlinks are when another website links back to any of your webpages by linking to it. Ideally, you’ll want backlinks from high-quality websites that are related to your content.

Backlinks help increase your search ranking, but obviously you can’t just snap your fingers and increase your backlinks instantly. It takes work.

See our seven tips to grow quality backlinks to your website and boost your SEO.

On the flip side, you also want to link out to other quality websites, which helps you appear more trustworthy to search engines. It’s a give and take.

Increase your internal links

Internal links go from one webpage to another within your website. Not only do these links help visitors navigate your site, but they also communicate more structure to search engines. 

When you’re posting a piece of content, give your reader every opportunity to dive deeper into related topics throughout your post.

Consider your images

You might not realize it, but images play a role in boosting your SEO.

But it’s about more than simply breaking up paragraphs of text for your reader. To help search engines understand what your images are about, use the alt text feature, which is an HTML code that describes what your image shows. 

Make sure that every image on your website has an accurate, detailed description in the alt text. Again, avoid any keyword stuffing. 

These also help blind or visually impaired users who are using a special computer (or software) that reads text out loud.

Optimize your site speed

While site speed is a bit more of a technical characteristic to consider, it matters for your SEO. Obviously, slow-loading pages turn off internet visitors and therefore are downgraded in search rankings by Google and other search engines.

About 75 percent of users will not revisit websites that took longer than 4 seconds to load.

If you’re using Adobe Flash, you might want to think again. Flash is an app that enables multimedia streaming and user interaction within a webpage, but it can slow down your loading time. In addition, Flash doesn’t work on many mobile devices. For both of those reasons, search engines can downgrade your search ranking if you use a lot of Adobe Flash.

You can check your site’s speed with Google’s PageSpeed Insights and get recommendations on how you can speed up your site if necessary.

Speed is especially important for mobile browsing. Dive deeper into what mobile SEO is, as well as six best practices.

Use social media to your benefit

Social media is a powerful and diverse tool for brand awareness and audience engagement.

Because it’s so diverse, you have a number of different platforms and strategies to explore and consider.

Here’s what every startup company should know about social media when they’re starting from scratch.

In the end, your use of social media does impact your SEO. See these seven ways how.

Monitor your SEO performance

One of the most important steps in all of digital marketing, SEO and otherwise, is to track your results.

You can easily see how your SEO is impacting your website by using Google Analytics, which is free. You can see where your traffic is coming from, as well as what’s working and what’s not. The tool offers historical, comparison and real-time data at your fingertips.

In conclusion

The most important thing to remember when you’re starting out with best SEO practices is simply to think about your target audience. Think about the user. Put them first.

Dive deeper into how to determine your target audience with our seven tips.

Keep in mind what those users are looking for, what they want and what they need. Your content should serve this above all else. That’s how search engines will continue to see value in your content and serve that in search queries.

For now, you can see how to check your Google search rank right now for free.

While you’re improving your SEO, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

8 tips to make your event marketing better

Understandably, event marketing is a broad strategy that can be used within your digital marketing, based on the events you may or may not be hosting.

But for businesses that do host or attend any sort of event (in-person or online), it’s critical to think through your event marketing strategy. Doing so helps you optimize the natural content and engagement opportunities that exist with events.

About 61 percent of marketers believe that in-person events are the most critical marketing channel.

Event marketing ultimately involves the tools and techniques you use to promote an event, usually with the goal of getting individuals to attend (whether they must pay to do so or not). Of course, on the flip side, it’s important to capitalize and follow through with those leads once you capture them going into the event, during the event and after the event.

The following are eight tips to make the most of your events and boost your overall event marketing.

Set your event marketing goals

Goals always end up being at the center of any successful digital marketing strategy. Understanding not only what you want to achieve but putting that to specifics so that you can lay out the action steps that need to be taken to get there.

Learn more about how to set effective marketing goals.

Consider multiple ways to send invitations

Obviously, you’ll want to invite people to attend your event, but in what ways can and/or should you invite them?

Methods include:

  • Email
  • Social media
  • Direct mail

Choosing any or all of the above methods depends on who you’re trying to reach, but no matter what method(s) you use, make sure you can track invitations against your database and have a streamlined way of collecting reservations.

Leverage your social media for overall event promotion

A lot can be done around events on social media. For instance, a “save the date” campaign can help raise overall awareness of an event and can even include a “countdown” component to boost excitement.

You’ll want to use all the available tools at your disposal, including live videos, infographics with facts about the event and so on.

Then, monitor social media before, during and after the event. Ideally, you’ve established a specific hashtag for your event to make this easier on most platforms.

The monitoring can help you understand what’s happening in real time and respond to any complaints or requests during the event from your attendees.

Think beyond social media

Of course, as handy as social media is, there are other channels to consider for your event marketing, especially when you’re going beyond direct invitations. These include (but are not limited to):

  • Blogging (including guest blogging on other sites)
  • Partner outreach (such as potential collaborators and media partners)
  • Email marketing
  • Early-bird discounts on any channel
  • Pre-event landing page
  • Paid advertising
  • Formal press releases
  • Attendee referral incentives
  • Influencer marketing
  • SMS text marketing

The direction(s) you go in always should touch back on your goals for the event in question. 

Manage your event registration process

Speaking of collecting reservations, your event registration process should be a priority. Obviously, this should be online (whether your event is in-person or not). But beyond that, you have options as far as the method or tools you can use.

Here’s what you should keep in mind:

  • Have a way of tracking the source of each registration, which can done through custom landing pages and/or tracking codes.
  • Include sign-up deadlines that should happen automatically.
  • Capture and store all relevant contact information for individuals.
  • Have automated confirmations and reminders sent to registered attendees.

Incorporate event confirmations and reminders

As part of your event registration process, you’ll want to ensure that you’re sending confirmations whenever an individual RSVPs, as well as reminders as the event gets closer.

In fact, if you have any digital assets to share after the event is over (such as a recording or worksheet, etc.), consider including them in a follow-up email thanking all attendees and offering those assets, especially for those who might have missed the event.

Of course, the more you can automate this process, the better.

Capitalize on lead capture

Events naturally lend themselves to significant lead-capturing opportunities. This happens not just during the promotion of the event, but also during the event itself.

It’s important to capture all contact information for use in drip campaigns later. Be sure to have a data collection process in place during the event, whether that’s a business-card scanner or an online form. This is particularly important if your business is at an event (like a trade show) where you do not have attendee registration information.

You’ll also want to input that contact data into a marketing automation platform or CRM system as soon as you can after the event (ideally, the same day).

If possible, score and prioritize the contacts you made from the event. Depending on the marketing system you’re using, you can direct warmer leads to more of a sales-driven drip campaign, while cooler leads can be directed to more of an educational drip campaign.

DailyStory does offer a lead-ranking system within our platform to help target your marketing.

Measure your performance

When it comes to event marketing, there are a number of different metrics you can use to understand the success of your event. 

And the metrics you use largely depend on your goals for your event marketing. This can include:

  • Event attendance (especially out of those who registered)
  • Lead collection
  • Lead conversion
  • Revenue generated

DailyStory can help with event marketing automations (as well as in other types of digital marketing). And our platform offers even more than automation capabilities. Schedule your free demo with us today.

14 biggest mistakes businesses make on Instagram (and how to avoid them)

With more than 1 billion active monthly users, Instagram clearly holds an appeal for brands looking to reach key target audiences.

But on the fourth-largest mobile app, it can be all too easy for brands to make very public mistakes.

The following are the 14 biggest mistakes businesses make on Instagram, as well as how you can avoid them for your own brand.

Instagram mistake #1: Purchasing likes or followers

Often, the currency of social media (and Instagram in particular) centers around authenticity. 

Buying your likes and/or Instagram followers may give you quantity, but definitely not quality. And by doing so, you risk breaking the trust of your real followers and commenters.

We also don’t recommend paying for automated outgoing comments because it definitely makes your brand look more like a robot than a personality that people want to engage with. Plus, you’re missing the opportunity to authentically engage with your target audience.

Instead, focus on a strategy where you prioritize engaging content and meaningful interactions with other users.

Instagram mistake #2: Not optimizing your Instagram bio

Too many companies don’t adequately optimize their Instagram bios. Remember that beyond your post that could reach a user who’s unfamiliar with your brand, your bio is often the first impression you can make.

Keep your bio clear, concise and relevant. You can use links, emojis and even line breaks to make your bio unique and easy to understand.

Instagram mistake #3: The use of poor-quality photos or videos

Instagram is a visual-first social media platform. While you don’t have to have the most expensive photographer shoot all your photos and videos, you do have to be thoughtful in the images that you are publishing.

Beautiful is great, but even interesting or well-composed images also work.

Think about your lighting, finding a neutral background and the composition of your images. 

Fortunately, there are many easy-to-use photo editing apps and graphic design tools to edit your images as needed.

Instagram mistake #4: Your posting frequency is off

There’s a fine line to walk on Instagram before you end up posting “too much” or “too little.” It’s such an easy mistake to make.

With too many posts, your brand can look desperate to users. With too few, your brand’s Instagram account can appear inactive and forgettable.

The “right” number is not only ever evolving but can also depend on your industry and audience. 

For example, a news outlet could post multiple times per day, and that makes sense. A retail brand, on the other hand, would be more likely to post a few times per week.

Keep an eye on your analytics, so that you can find the sweet spot for your own brand’s posting frequency.

Instagram mistake #5: Ignoring your performance analytics

A huge (but common) mistake brands can make on Instagram involves ignoring your data, or at least not using your metrics enough to inform your strategy.

But go beyond the vanity metrics. It’s not only about likes. Keep your reach, audience demographics and more in mind as you publish your content.

Seeing what works and what doesn’t will only make your Instagram strategy that much stronger.

Dive deeper with our guide on Instagram Insights.

Instagram mistake #6: Using too many hashtags

A powerful tool on Instagram, hashtags (when used correctly) can help your content organically reach more users.

However, you can use too many and shoot your brand in the foot.

While you can use up to 30 hashtags, you’ll more likely see only a handful in use on any given post. Up to 11 hashtags is generally accepted these days.

See our six tips to master hashtags on Instagram.

Instagram mistake #7: Inattention to sharing quality content

All content is not created equal.

If you allow the quality of your overall content to slide, then you risk publishing posts that are boring, spammy and/or out of touch. Big mistake.

Don’t post just to post. Always ask yourself if what you’re posting is intriguing, informative and/or fun. If it is, your target audience will more likely engage with it. What does your audience care about?

See our seven tips for leveling up your brand’s content marketing.

Instagram mistake #8: Being impersonal

Just because you’re speaking for and representing your brand, doesn’t mean that you’re not human. Many brands make the mistake of being too professional. 

Take a moment to think about your brand voice and how you should be engaging with and speaking to your target audience on Instagram.

Instagram mistake #9: Lacking an Instagram strategy

An Instagram strategy goes beyond just what you’re going to do, it drills into what your Instagram goals are and what actions should happen to help achieve those goals.

No matter what your goals are, it’s very difficult to achieve them without a plan to do so. That lack of a plan or strategy is a big Instagram mistake.

Dive deeper into what you should do with our 16 Instagram marketing tips.

Instagram mistake #10: Inconsistency with your visuals

This ties into your branding. What colors, aesthetics and tone define your brand? Inconsistencies with your overall visual presentation is a mistake.

Now, apply that to the compilation of all your Instagram images. When you look at your Instagram profile (and all your images in one place), is there a consistent look and feel?

Variations can exist, of course. But the idea is that overall, an Instagram follower should generally recognize your content when it appears in your feed.

Your consistent visual presentation can be included in your overall Instagram strategy. It could be as simple as a style guide.

Instagram mistake #11: Errors in your captions

Just like with any other piece of your digital marketing, typos put the perception of your professionalism and credibility at risk.

But even marketing writers can make mistakes. We’re all human.

So, include a proofing process into your social media publishing (not just Instagram).

Instagram mistake #12: Not embracing Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are not as new as they used to be, and about 500 million users use this feature. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring this important feature.

Instagram Stories feature fun, authentic content in a vertical orientation that disappears after a day. Stories can be used to share behind-the-scenes moments, first-person narratives and more. The sky’s the limit as far as creativity.

Instagram mistake #13: Lack of engagement with followers

Social media is not a broadcasting platform, Instagram included. It’s about conversations.

Every time a user comments on your Instagram posts, that’s an opportunity to engage with him and her that can help build a trusting relationship.

Go beyond planning and publishing your content. Consider one of the many social media management tools that can help you not only schedule your posts but monitor all engagement actions on that content. Social media management in general can help you stay on top of all social media activity.

Instagram mistake #14: Including links in your post captions

Instagram does not allow for clickable URLs in post captions. By including “links” in your captions, not only will it look messy and not work, but you’ll look like you don’t know what you’re doing on the platform.

The best practice is to include your relevant link in your bio and refer users to click that. It’s a common practice. If you need to share more than one link at the same time, websites like Linktree and Campsite can create a “landing page” of links that can be found through a single link that you can include in your bio link.

If you have at least 10,000 followers, you can include links in your Instagram Stories as well.

In conclusion

Whether you’ve made any of these Instagram mistakes or not, it’s never too late to improve and move forward.

Check out our list of challenges and opportunities that small businesses face on Instagram.

Plus, you can think about the bigger picture with our Digital Marketing 101 Guide for Beginners.

As you’re looking to avoid the biggest Instagram mistakes, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

7 expert tips to set achievable marketing goals for your small business

Most marketing advice begins the same way, with “set your goals.”

And while it may feel repetitive, it’s absolutely true. Setting goals increases the success of your marketing strategy by about 429 percent.

Of course, in the simplest sense, goals help you understand where you are at, where you want to be and when you get there.

But how do you go about setting relevant and achievable marketing goals? The following are seven expert tips to do just that.

Align your marketing goals with your company-wide objectives

Your marketing efforts inherently should support your broader business objectives. What are the overall needs of your company?

Because marketing can achieve a wide variety of goals for a brand, the more you can sync up your marketing goals with your overall business plan, the better.

For instance, if your company prioritizes growing brand loyalty among current customers over getting new customers, your marketing should align with this. Or, perhaps your business has a specific revenue goal that you can support with a certain number of lead conversions. There are many possibilities.

Go big with your marketing goals

Of course, this isn’t to say that your goals should be so big that there’s no hope or accountability in achieving them. 

Instead, it’s important to set a high goal that has a path for success, where even if you fall short, you’re still making significant strides toward what you want to see.

The key here is that you establish of learning from the outcomes of your efforts (whether you hit that big goal or not) rather than classifying them as failures because they fell short of a big goal.

Your marketing goals should be measurable

Fortunately, in digital marketing, metrics can be tied to nearly everything. All you have to do is tie specific metrics to your goal.

But it’s often not enough to simply want “more conversions.”

For example, considering the price of your product or service and the cost-per-click on either your Facebook or Google ads, you can determine your conversion rate (how much you’re paying for each conversion). Then, you can see where you need to be to make a profit (or increase profit) and use that conversion rate as your goal.

Let historical data inspire your marketing goals

A great way to plan for the future is to look to the past. How was your business performing last year? What fueled that? Are there any trends to take note of? 

You also can look at past marketing data. What campaigns were the most successful? Why? How did they perform?

Building on what has been accomplished historically is often a great starting point.

Embrace experimentation

Not every marketing goal can be based on past performance and metrics. Your business could be launching something entirely new where there is no historical data. 

When that is the case, you don’t have to feel pressured to set an official goal right away. Instead, set a timeframe (such as three to six months) for you to experiment and get an understanding of baseline performance. Then, you can make an informed decision on what your goal should be.

Think macro and micro marketing goals

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and even your biggest marketing goal shouldn’t be the only goal your business has.

Having smaller, micro goals along the way will help you not only stay focused and on track but also experiencing small wins as you go. And who doesn’t appreciate the little victories?

For example, you might set a macro goal of total content posts on a particular social media platform. Let’s just say 50 per month. Within that, you can break that down to how many per week, how many are promotional, how many are educational, how many are of each content type (video, blog article link, etc.) and so on. 

Consider the macro goal the umbrella, and the micro goals all the stems within the umbrella that help it fully extend.

Consider your time, budget and resources

It’s easy for any goal to become a bit “pie in the sky” when key factors (including time, budget and resources) aren’t involved.

But in order to set achievable marketing goals, it’s important to assess the amount of time it should reasonably take to reach a particular goal, how much it might cost and any other investment of resources that it will take.

For example, if you’re launching multiple campaigns at the same time, you may need to be realistic about what can be accomplished with that sort of pressure on your resources.

On the flip side, you might notice the opportunity to hit a goal if you simply doubled your budget for it.

Either way, time, budget and other resources all play a role in the attainability of your goals.

In conclusion

Setting achievable and effective marketing goals is both an art and a science, for sure. But doing so is critical to your overall marketing success. Once you have your goals set, it’s time to make a plan and work toward that success. Just be sure to track your performance so that you know if you’re hitting your goals or not.

Check out our Digital Marketing 101 Guide for Beginners for an overview on everything you can embrace in your marketing strategy. Plus, we have a handy to-do checklist that you can use.

While you’re considering how to set achievable marketing goals, think about your digital marketing process. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

16 Instagram marketing tips that you should know

Marketing on Instagram is a non-negotiable aspect of digital marketing for many brands.

The visuals-first social media platform boasts more than 1.16 billion users, and about 90 percent of Instagram users follow at least one business.

While the success of any brand on Instagram involves high-quality images and videos in the feed and authentic visual content in Stories, don’t be intimidated if your business doesn’t lend itself to obvious visuals. Just check out what Staples is doing on Instagram based on office supplies.

If you are trying to reach a younger audience, see our guide on evaluating the value of marketing on Instagram versus Snapchat versus TikTok.

Also dive into the challenges and opportunities of Instagram for small businesses.

The following are 16 Instagram marketing tips you should know about to boost the impact your brand can make on the platform.

Marketing with an Instagram business account

It’s important to use an Instagram Business account when marketing on the platform.

You can check that you are (and switch if necessary) by going into your Instagram profile and tapping on the menu icon at the top right. Then, tap on “Settings,” “Account,” and then opt to switch to a professional account.

By using a business account, you’ll have access to Instagram Insights, ads, Instagram Shop, primary and secondary messaging inboxes, contact information on your profile and a call-to-action button on your profile.

In other words, this type of Instagram account gives you more tools in your marketing toolbox.

Determine your Instagram goals

Just with any marketing tactic, you must set your goals to best define your approach and strategy.

Ask yourself what you want to accomplish by marketing on Instagram. Some examples include:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Get new leads
  • Establish your brand as an industry leader
  • Create an alternative selling method

Or, of course, you could have a combined goal, but the simpler the goal, the better. That makes it easier to set a timeframe and stay focused on a limited number of metrics that tie into your goal.

To keep it simple and help prioritize, consider what you’d like to accomplish first above all else.

Dive deeper with our seven expert tips to set achievable marketing goals for your small business.

Understand your target audience

First, the following you have (or can grow) on Instagram is going to be different than any other social media platform. Second, you must determine whether this syncs up with your target audience, or if there is some work you must do to better align your Instagram content to the wants, needs and interests of your target audience.

While Instagram users tend to skew younger, that doesn’t mean the overall users of the app aren’t diverse.

Dive deeper with our seven tips to help determine your target audience

Optimize your Instagram profile

No detail is too small when it comes to your Instagram profile. Other than your posts, this is your first impression for countless users who come across your content for one reason or another. This is where users purposefully go to find out more about you. Don’t leave them disappointed or confused.

Some points to consider:

  • Be personable and as detailed as possible in your 150-character Instagram bio.
  • Be clear in your name, where you are allowed 30 characters
  • Your username (or handle) should also make sense.
  • Include your website link in the URL field (but know that you can change that out as often as you like).
  • Choose a category for your business.
  • Maintain up-to-date contact information.
  • Take advantage of available call-to-action buttons.
  • Choose the right profile photo that bests represents your business (often your logo).

Create and post visually engaging content

Because Instagram is a visual-first platform, your posts and Stories have to be eye-catching to say the least.

While professional photography equipment (and skills) may not be available to you, that’s OK. Focus on photos and videos that are in focus and well-lit. Any infographics (or other illustrations) should be easy-to-read and crisp.

Of course, it’s not enough to have well-composed photos. There needs to be a story that you’re conveying in every post to encourage engagement. Compelling posts can include:

  • Behind-the-scenes content
  • Regrams of user-generated content
  • How-to explainers

Ideally, you’re striving to publish Instagram content that’s worthy of sharing and commenting, not just liking.

Keep in mind that your content doesn’t just have to come from you. It can be sourced from your fans, customers and/or other users as well.

Consistent Instagram look and feel

More than any other social media platform, brands must consider what the look and feel of their overall Instagram presence.

We mentioned Staples earlier. You’ll notice their branded red throughout their posts in addition to the same branded fonts and other bright, bold colors. Their images are all very clean and clear.

Your look and feel should reflect your brand overall and be recognizable in your followers’ news feeds, but give yourself a little latitude to play. It’s all about being consistent.

Don’t underestimate the power of your captions

Because Instagram is a visual medium, it’s easy to overlook the opportunity you have with your captions. Your brand’s voice is just as important as your brand’s look. Again, you want to be consistent here.

There is a lot of flexibility in what you can say since you have up to 2,200 characters available to you. Just keep in mind that only the first two lines of text will automatically show in a news feed, without tapping the More button.

In other words, while you can say as much as you like, you’ll want to lead with the most important information in those first couple of lines.

As far as ideal caption length on Instagram, strive for between 138 and 150 characters on organic posts and 125 characters on ads. You can go longer. Just make sure it adds value to your content.

Be smart about your Instagram hashtags

Hashtags are a viable way to increase your discoverability on Instagram. You can use up to 30 hashtags in a single Instagram post, but to be fair, it’s not recommended to use all 30.

Instead, identify about a half dozen relevant hashtags to include with your post. 

Dive deeper with our six tips on mastering Instagram hashtags.

Don’t just broadcast, engage

Just like with any social media platform, success is not based on only publishing the best content. It’s a mix of factors, one of the biggest being your brand engaging with other users and accounts.

Definitely respond to comments on your own posts and direct messages sent to your account. But you also should invest time liking and commenting on other posts that are relevant to your brand for whatever reason. 

It’s those small actions that add up to building a true online community, not just a one-way broadcasting platform.

Check out these 10 tips to get more likes and engagement on your Instagram posts.

Embrace Instagram Stories

While only half of businesses on Instagram use the Stories feature, about a third of the most viewed Stories are posted by businesses.

In other words, you have a great opportunity to engage with your audience through Instagram Stories.

Because Stories content disappears after 24 hours, followers expect Stories to be less polished and more authentic than your Instagram feed.

When considering what to publish in Stories, remember that this is a visual storytelling opportunity, where several Stories can work together to tell a story. So, you want to:

  • Have a message you’d like to convey in mind.
  • Use multiple “scenes” (image or video) to string together.
  • Include a call-to-action that is very clear to viewers
  • Keep your brand identity (look and feel) consistent

You can also reshare others’ Stories that tag you into your own Stories. Just act fast because the opportunity to reshare disappears after 24 hours.

Stories can also be saved longer than 24 hours and categorized into Highlights on your Instagram profile. Cover images are recommended for your Story Highlights as well to maintain brand identity.

Go live on Instagram

To connect with your audience in real time, you’ll want to go live. Of course, even though the expectation on Instagram Live is raw, authentic content, you can still go in with a plan. Some options: 

  • Go behind the scenes at a product launch or an event.
  • Host a Q&A.
  • Lead a workshop or tutorial.
  • Go live with an expert, employee, customer or influencer by using the “Add A Guest” feature.

Consider Instagram Shop in your strategy

About 130 million Instagram users tap on shopping posts every month.

With a professional account on Instagram, you can create your own online store inside of Instagram. Doing so makes a “View Shop” button appear on your Instagram profile.

In addition, with a “Shop” tab on the Explore page of Instagram, having an Instagram Shop will make you more discoverable.

Instagram Reels worth experimenting with

Another content feature on the visual-first platform is Instagram Reels, which are multi-cuut videos (similar to TikTok).

Just as you would play with content on Instagram Stories, the same should happen with Reels. Not sure where to start? Watch some Reels, whether they’re from within your industry or not, to get a feel for different approaches.

Check out our seven best practices for Facebook or Instagram Reels.

Explore an influencer partnership

Influencer marketing is only growing, and Instagram is one of the best platforms for it.

Of course, a partnership doesn’t just happen. You’ll want to do your research and analyze the value of working with possible influencers. Often, a simple Instagram takeover is a common tactic to start with.

Dig deeper with our seven tips to know before starting your first influencer marketing campaign.

Go beyond organic reach with Instagram ads

Based on your target audience, you can better reach them by running Instagram ads, which can be created through Instagram but also by using the Facebook Ad Manager (since Facebook owns Instagram).

You can target by location, demographics, interests and behaviors to best reach the people who will most likely be interested in your business and what you offer.

See our six tips to maximize your social media advertising budget.

Monitor performance with Instagram Insights

Tracking your metrics is an important aspect of any digital marketing campaign, whether it’s on Instagram or not.

Regularly checking on your performance in Instagram Insights will show you what is working and what’s not. Then, you can pivot your strategy quickly to do more of what performs and less of what doesn’t.

See our guide on Instagram metrics.

Not sure if Instagram is the right social media platform for your brand, check out our breakdown of how to determine which one is.

As you’re working through your Instagram marketing strategy, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

7 tips to help you determine your target audience

Even if you could afford to target everyone, it’s not a good idea. 

Why? Because the success of our digital marketing (and business) happens based on determining our target audience and creating a strategy focused on reaching that group of consumers.

And no small business can afford to target everyone.

The way small businesses can compete is by identifying and targeting a niche market that makes sense for the products and services that are offered.

Even if you’re opting to say that you target “stay-at-home moms” or “homeowners” rather than “anyone interested,” that’s still too general.

But keep in mind that specific targeting is not intended to officially exclude people who don’t fall within your target. Rather, it’s about reaching the right group (who is more likely to buy from you than other groups) with the right message for them at that moment.

About 40.5 percent of consumers say they prefer seeing online ads for products targeted to their interests rather than random ads.

Of course, the importance of a target audience goes beyond marketing and actually plays a key role in your business plan that can be used to secure financing as well, as explained by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The following are seven tips to help you determine the target audience for your business.

Examine your customer base

It’s important to start by digging deeper into your customer database. Ask yourself:

  • Who are your current customers?
  • Why do your current customers buy from you?
  • Which customers bring in the most business (i.e. are the most loyal)?

Be sure to take note of all common characteristics and interests among your best customers. It’s very likely that similar consumers would also benefit from your products and/or services as you’re looking at getting specific with your target audience.

A customer survey can help supplement some of the more detailed information about your customers. In addition, consider examining your social media following. Most platforms have various tools to better understand your audience, including:

Conduct a competitive analysis

Understanding who your competitors are targeting and who their current customers are can help give you insight into targeting opportunities. 

This is not because you should similar target the same group. You definitely should not.

Instead, understanding who’s being targeted by your competitors can help you find a niche they might be missing (and that you can hone in on).

Dive deeper into what a competitive analysis entails, as well as 16 tools to help you conduct one as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Doing so will help you gain insights into the audiences your competitors are after.

Analyze your products and/or services

Take the time to review everything you offer as a business. You can do this in a structured way by creating a list of features for each product or service you offer.

Then, break this down further by documenting the benefits each feature offers. Once you have a detailed list of benefits, you can brainstorm the people whose needs would be fulfilled by those benefits.

While this may still be too broad of a grouping to officially identify as your target audience, it can definitely get you going in the right direction.

Use social listening for deeper insights

Social listening is an excellent way to discover online conversations about your business, industry and/or products or services.

This tactic involves monitoring relevant keywords and hashtags that show what people are saying about your and even your competitors online (whether or not you’re tagged). Of course, the flip side of social listening goes beyond monitoring where you should actually be engaging with those consumers.

In the end, not only can social listening help you generate leads, it can also deepen your social media research that can feed into determining your target audience.

Find out more about social listening, as well as the difference between social listening and crowdsourcing.

Identify specific demographics

Now is the time to get into the nitty gritty of your target audience. Based on the characteristics of your best customers and those who would most benefit from your products or services, determine the following demographics:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Occupation
  • Education level
  • Income level
  • Marital or family status
  • Ethnic background

Evaluate what demographics are the most crucial for the growth of your business.

Go beyond the demographics

Once you’ve solidified the demographics of your target audience, take it one step further. Consider their psychographics, which are the personal characteristics of people.

This includes:

  • Personality
  • Values
  • Attitudes
  • Lifestyles
  • Behavior
  • Interests or hobbies

Of course, psychographics go deeper than the surface demographics you’ve already determined.

Start by thinking through how your product or service fits into your ideal customer’s lifestyle. Ask such questions as:

  • How will your ideal customer use your product or service?
  • When will your ideal customer use it?
  • What features of your product or service are most appealing to your ideal customer?
  • How does your ideal customer consume media? Does he or she read the newspaper, attend particular events or search online?
  • What social media channels does your ideal customer use?

Your questions don’t have to end there, of course, the better you build and understand the persona of your ideal customer (i.e. target audience), the more specific you can target.

Confirm your target audience

Once you feel confident that you have identified your target audience, it doesn’t hurt to evaluate and confirm your decision-making result.

It’s key to consider whether your target is large enough, or has it swung from being too broad to being too niche? Will your target audience actually benefit from your products or services? Do you fully understand what drives your target audience to make purchase decisions?

Of course, simpler considerations include whether your target audience can actually afford your product or service and whether you can actually reach them with your message (or are they not easily accessible)?

In conclusion

It’s entirely possible that you’ve identified more than just one target audience. This is absolutely fine as long as you differentiate your messaging between niches. For example, you wouldn’t address stay-at-home mothers the same as about-to-graduate college students.

Just know that while defining your target audience can be difficult, it’s worth the effort. You can then be that much more successful in your digital marketing efforts, which can lead to more sales.

Check out our Digital Marketing 101 Guide for Beginners to get a better understanding about everything digital marketing can do. Plus, see our 18 low-cost marketing ideas for small businesses.

As you’re defining your target audience, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

Snapshot: The challenges and opportunities of Snapchat for businesses

Businesses typically can be hesitant to use Snapchat in their digital marketing strategy.

And there is no right or wrong with that position because every business (and its goals and resources) is different.

Created in 2011, Snapchat features image and video messaging between users.

More than 280 million people use Snapchat daily, and the overall audience skews younger, with about 69 percent of teenagers saying they use the app.

In addition, more than 5 billion (image or video) snaps are created each day.

At the very least, it’s important for every brand to understand both the challenges and opportunities of Snapchat from your perspective.

Opportunity #1: You can reach a younger audience

If your brand is targeting a younger audience, then Snapchat needs to be included in some way in your overall strategy.

Snapchat is the most popular social media network among teenagers, with Instagram and TikTok following closely behind it. Considering the direct messaging capabilities, ephemeral content (that expires after 24 hours) and the fun filters and stickers available in snaps, this fact makes sense.

Challenge #1: Lack of ROI measurement

Snapchat has had notoriously lackluster analytics options available for brand marketers.

So much so that many brands have had to get creative to see if their Snapchat efforts are making an impact. Examples include:

  • Snapchat-only promo codes so that you can track usage in another system
  • Requesting direct messages in a promotion

On the micro-level, the app does not have a way to track clicks and views inside of Snapchat stories and posts.

But on the macro-level, you can get a feel of overall growth and engagement.

That being said, when analytics are such a critical part to successful digital marketing strategies, it’s hard for many businesses to invest time and resources into a platform where the ROI can be vague at best.

Opportunity #2: One-on-one engagement

While one-on-one engagement might sound like a challenge at first (sounds like limited reach, right?), it really is an opportunity for your brand to build better, more trusting relationships with your audience.

Trust is a huge contributor to converting your audience into paying (and even loyal) customers. 

And in a world where conversational marketing is becoming increasingly important, Snapchat can fill that role.

Because snaps are delivered to the individual, the app boasts a more personal experience by default. In addition, the app really embraces behind-the-scenes and day-in-the-life content, which can make the engagement you generate even more impactful.

Challenge #2: Time limitations

Time impacts two different aspects of Snapchat. 

First, video clips have a 10-second limit, so if you need to show more than that, you must string together a series of clips to convey your message.

Second, media content disappears after 24 hours, so your Snaps have a limited window to reach and engage your audience. This constraint also typically increases the need to post more content more frequently.

Of course, some would argue that this is the draw of Snapchat—bite-sized content that’s always fresh.

Either way, you must plan accordingly when expanding your brand presence to Snapchat.

Opportunity #3: Snapchat now includes discoverability

Not part of the original app, the Discover feature allows users to explore premium content from publishing partners.

Sharing content on Snapchat Discover can increase brand awareness and reach, but becoming a Snapchat publishing partner is not a straightforward process. It involves an official agreement with Snapchat to post content on Discover that will engage audiences.

Your brand might try the Snap Map feature instead. This is where nearby users using available location services can discover your geotagged content.

Previously, many brands had to share their Snapcodes on other platforms to help anyone (who also was on Snapchat) find them.

Challenge #3: Lack of typical engagement actions

If you’re looking for engagement actions (like shares and likes), you won’t find them on Snapchat.

The app just doesn’t operate that way. For example, a user can only re-share content by taking a screenshot and uploading it to other platforms.

This clearly puts a damper on the overall reach of your Snapchat content when others’ actions don’t necessarily lead to a boost.

Ultimately, Snapchat may or may not work for your brand. Examine the potential ROI and determine whether you have the resources to achieve your goals for the app.

While you’re considering whether to dive into Snapchat, think about your digital marketing process. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.