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Accelerate customer journey automation with this CDP roadmap

Leading companies are focused on creating stronger customer experiences that span multiple channels and feel cohesive and meaningful to end-users. But many teams struggle to effectively combine legacy tools and emerging technologies required to build effective omnichannel experiences.

Autodesk partnered with ActionIQ to develop a future-proof stack that would empower a self-service approach to achieving superior omnichannel CX. Join this virtual session to learn how you can accelerate your approach to mastering omnichannel customer journeys.

Register today for “Is Your Marketing Stack Ready for Omnichannel CX?” presented by ActionIQ.

The post Accelerate customer journey automation with this CDP roadmap appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Six Ways to Adjust Google Ads to Save Budget

It’s never been more critical to make sure that your Google Ads aren’t burning through your budget.

The post Six Ways to Adjust Google Ads to Save Budget first appeared on PPC Hero.


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9 PPC Strategies You’ll Learn at Hero Conf London 2022

From A/B testing to measuring and tracking, these Hero Conf London 2022 sessions will help you optimize your marketing strategy.

The post 9 PPC Strategies You’ll Learn at Hero Conf London 2022 first appeared on PPC Hero.


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Understanding the three awareness stages of your online audience

30-second summary:

  • Are you confident about how your target consumer moves in the three stages, awareness, consideration, and decision?
  • A website that features content only suited to the first stage of awareness will struggle to convert, whereas a site only focused on conversions may struggle to get any traffic to convert in the first place
  • Here’s how you can create content that is balanced and targeted to better serve people throughout every step of their journey

Not all traffic is equal. Businesses often forget that their site visits and success metrics aren’t just numbers – they are living, breathing people who are driven by behavior. By understanding and creating content to fit the different awareness stages of that “traffic”, you can not only draw more – but efficiently turn those clicks into conversions. After all, businesses aren’t built on visits alone.

This article will show you the three main awareness stages of online traffic, what type of content fits in these, and a method for auditing your existing content. Remember, every customer goes on a journey. This is about making sure you’re at the finish line when they’re ready to convert.

The importance of knowing the awareness stages

Now, bear with us, but answer this: would you try and sell roller skates to a newborn baby or its parents? A little extreme, yes, but sometimes these make the best examples. The point is that the baby may grow into someone that needs or wants a pair of roller skates, but they’re not at that stage yet.

Understanding the different stages your potential customers are at and how they’re searching for your products/services (both directly and indirectly) will give you the accuracy to target them better. These stages are awareness, consideration, and decision. Just knowing these won’t be enough, you need a balance.

A website that features content only suited to the first stage of awareness will struggle to convert, whereas a site only focused on conversions may struggle to get any traffic to convert in the first place.

Research and roleplay will help you massively here. To get in the head of your audience and understand what their journey looks like, you should be asking yourself “What would I do if…” at almost every corner.

To better explore these stages and how they apply to content, we’ll stick to one example for the next three sections. We’ll move on from the baby with the roller skates, and instead, focus on a hypothetical Manchester-based SME that sells hearing aids and is looking to grow its customer base.

Stage 1: Awareness

This awareness stage is when the customer is just starting to realize they have a problem and that they need a solution. Before this stage, they may not have even realized that their issue could be fixed, or that it was an issue, to begin with. Good content at this stage plants seeds in their head that they don’t need to go on this way any longer.

With that in mind, you don’t want to overwhelm the reader here. Yes, they may now realize that they want a solution, but it’s exceedingly rare that a piece of content can tick all three boxes in one go. Those being – making them aware of the problem, helping them consider the options, and then decide to go with your option. That’s why we have different content for different stages. 

In our example of the small business in Manchester that sells hearing aids, the content at this stage may look like this:

  • ‘Five common signs of hearing loss’
  • ‘Data shows that hearing loss is on the rise’
  • ‘When to seek help with your hearing’

If we were writing content for this fictional company, we wouldn’t open these articles with “Now you’re here, view our huge sale on hearing aids!”. Instead, we’d relate to the problems the reader may be having. In fact, throughout all of these stages, your language should be empathetic, solution-focused, and relatable to the reader as much as possible. 

Picture a woman in her 40s that has been playing guitar in a rock band since her youth. For her, not being able to hear the nuances of music would almost feel like having an oxygen supply cut off. She might be having some hearing issues, but her search might not start straight away with “hearing aids near me”. She’d try to learn about her issues, if they’re common and how they can be fixed. In these pages, we’d relate to hearing problems and ultimately (but without sounding too sales-y) suggest that hearing aids have helped millions of people by the end. 

By writing content targeting this stage, you can be there right at the start of the consumer’s journey. While they will be more likely to convert at the end of that journey, a good content strategy is all about balance. This brings us to the next stage. 

Stage 2: Consideration

If the first stage is all about letting them know they have a problem, this is all about showing them how they can fix it. Here, the reader would actively be looking for a solution and considering their options.

While our hypothetical business may be experts at helping hearing loss, there are other ways to do so than just providing hearing aids. We can’t just assume that hearing aids are instantly the preferred option for every visitor. The challenge here is about balancing knowledge, empathy, and delivering content that is objective and genuinely useful to your consumer. However, while you educate your target audience about their options, you can add in smart CTAs that prompt the person towards a landing page that will drive revenue for your business – making this more a choice that your consumer made vs what you wanted to force down their throat.

Sticking to our example of that Manchester SME selling hearing aids, content at this stage may look like this:

  • ‘Six ways to help your hearing loss’
  • ‘The five best hearing aids in the UK’
  • ‘Why even teenagers should consider hearing aids’

As this is the middle stage, you’ll want to avoid leaning too much towards ‘awareness’ and too much towards ‘decision’. You won’t want to speak down to the reader and spend paragraphs explaining the very basics of hearing loss. You also won’t want to open up and ramble on about your great new sale on hearing aids.

Picture a scale, with ‘inform’ on the left and ‘sell’ on the right. You want this to be pretty evenly balanced, but leaning slightly to the left and on the side of ‘inform’.

Show the reader their options, and educate them on the solutions available. Then, if/when they decide that what you provide is the fix for them, they’re already on the right website! They just need a page where they can convert and make that final decision. That leads us on nicely to…

Stage 3: Decision

We mentioned before how awareness content gets you in front of the consumer at the start of their journey. While there’s a lot of value to being there at the starting line, it is content suited to this stage that turns clicks into customers.

That’s why pages here will move away from the blog/article format of the content suggested for the other stages. Instead, you want pages designed specifically for selling the reader on your product or service, with the option to convert right there.

For our hypothetical hearing aid business, the pages designed for this stage may look like:

  • Category pages showing off their best brands
  • Product pages where you can purchase hearing aids
  • A service page to organize a hearing test (with a contact form)

These pages will be laser-focused on selling, while still informing the readers why your business is a better choice for them over all of your competitors. This means a huge focus on USPs.

In the case of our hypothetical hearing aid company, these may include free delivery, the lowest prices in Manchester, or even five years of free insurance. Your USPs should all be sung about on these decision-focused pages. Remember, at this point, they know they want whatever it is you’re selling, so you don’t need to go to great lengths to explain the very basics of your offerings. Just why your business is the best for them. Ensure to have some positive reviews scattered across these pages.

The content here should be easy to read, scannable, and supported by images if you think that’s something your audience is interested in (always look to see what competitors are doing).

Outside of the copy, for ecommerce businesses, the path to purchasing these products should be clear, with large buttons to show the user that this is where you can buy them. If you’re a lead generation business, then there should be plenty of CTAs (calls to action) to point the user to contact forms, phone numbers, or email addresses.

Key takeaways

Like with any marketing or psychology model, there are variants of this with even more steps. However, if you boil it down, we believe that only three steps are necessary for most businesses. The important thing to remember is that the same user might not go through this entire journey on your website in one session. A balanced content strategy means that you can attract any potential customer at any stage, no matter where they are in their purchasing journey. 

The danger of having an imbalance in your content strategy is that there might be plenty of blog posts around the first awareness stage, but users don’t realize that you can solve the problem they now realize they have. On the flip side, you could have most of your content focused on the final stage, but you may struggle to draw in the customers that don’t even realize they need you.

That’s why we recommend you run a content audit on your website to see how balanced your current output is. Create a table like the one below and add your existing content to it. 

In the example here, we’ll use the ideas we used for our Manchester business: 

Awareness Stage Content Consideration Stage Content Decision Stage Content

Five common signs of hearing loss

Six ways to help your hearing loss Category pages showing off their best brands

How to improve your hearing at concerts

The five best hearing aids in the UK Product pages where you can purchase hearing aids

When to seek help with your hearing

Why even teenagers should consider hearing aids A service page to organize a hearing test (with a contact form)


While mapping your pages to this, you should be able to easily identify where gaps are and then plan your content strategy around filling those in. ‘Mapping’ is a great term because all successful journeys involve a map.

If you’re just publishing random content with no overall purpose, you’re stumbling around in the dark and hoping you’ll land up where you want to go. A quality content strategy is all about understanding journies and being there for whatever step of it your customer is on.

Jack Bird is the Content Operations Lead at the Manchester-based SEO and digital marketing agency, Add People.

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The post Understanding the three awareness stages of your online audience appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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TikTok Pulse puts brands next to the top 4% of videos

TikTok has announced plans for a “contextual advertising solution” that will let advertisers get visibility next to the top 4% of content in TikTok’s For You feed.

What is TikTok Pulse. This is TikTok’s first exploration of an advertising revenue share program with creators, public figures and media publishers, the company said. Ad revenue will be split 50-50 with creators.

By advertising in Pulse, brands will appear among the top 4% of all videos of TikTok in 12 categories. These categories include:

  • Beauty & personal care.
  • Fashion.
  • Cooking & baking.
  • Automotive.
  • Gaming.​

Brand suitability. One concern for brands could be appearing alongside questionable content. Here’s what TikTok says it’s doing to ensure a safe environment for brands:

  • “Our proprietary inventory filter ensures that TikTok Pulse ads are running adjacent to verified content with our highest level of brand suitability applied on the platform. Additional post campaign measurement tools such as third party brand suitability and viewability verification provide advertisers the opportunity and transparency to analyze and understand the impact of their campaigns.”

Eligibility requirements. Creators and publishers must have at least 100,000 TikTok followers. 

When it will launch. Pulse will become open to U.S. advertisers in June. It will expand to more countries in the fall.   

Why we care. TikTok has become a massive social platform that is hard for brands to ignore. This new program offers brands a way to get exposure alongside the top trending TikTok videos, which can get millions of views. 

The post TikTok Pulse puts brands next to the top 4% of videos appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Giving Underperforming Posts a Second Chance with Updates

The post Giving Underperforming Posts a Second Chance with Updates appeared first on ProBlogger.

Giving Underperforming Posts a Second Chance with Updates

Photo by Jeffrey F Lin on Unsplash

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again….

Have you ever written a post that you thought would hit the spot with your readers, generate lots of interest and/or stimulate a great conversation and then find it fell flat on it’s face?

I have – in fact it happens all the time for a variety of reasons:

  • Sometimes your posts fall over because other stories break in the blogosphere and hog all the attention
  • Perhaps you just had some bad luck and the right influential blogger didn’t happen to see your post (and spread the word)
  • At other times its because you posted on the wrong day of the week
  • Or perhaps you wrote the post in the early days of your blog before you really had any readers to read it
  • Alternatively it can be simply that your post wasn’t good enough

Many of these unsuccessful posts slide off the front page of a blog never to be seen or thought about again (by your readers or by you) – however, perhaps in time, they deserve a second chance. After all, you’ve put work into researching and writing them and with a second chance in the spotlight they could actually reach their potential and become more fruitful and rewarding to you as a blogger.

Over the last few weeks I’ve experimented on a number of occasions with giving old posts that I felt hadn’t lived up to their potential a second chance. I’ve done this in a few different ways with varying degrees of success but wanted to share the method that was most successful for me (as well as a few others at the end of this post).

Reposted Update

The most successful of my experiments with giving old posts a second chance have been reposting them on the front page of a blog with updates.

I did this a few days back with a post on DPS on Slow Sync Flash. The previous version of the post had been posted back in January when my readership was considerably smaller than it currently is (ie most of my current readers wouldn’t have seen it before) and while it had been moderately successful in terms of generating comments I was never completely satisfied with the post (in terms of what I’d written and/or the traffic it got).

So I updated the post with a few tweaks that made it more useful, attractive and relevant and reposted it at the top of my blog (simply by changing the posting date in WordPress). I also included a note that it was an updated post at the end of the post.

IMPORTANT NOTE – I am able to do this at DPS because I have a permalink structure that does not include dates (ie it is just the BlogName/PostName not BlogName/Date/PostName as it is here at ProBlogger. if you have dates in your permalink structure you shouldn’t use this method as you’ll end up with a new URL for the post which can mean you lose any SEO ranking your previous version of the post had.

The results of this updated repost were significant with a front page appearance on Digg, large StumbleUpon traffic, being featured on the front page of Delicious and link ups from many blogs including a few authoritative ones.

The advantage of this method is that the post not only gets a second chance in the spotlight – but because it’s an established post with some Search Engine Ranking – the combination of the content being updated and new comments being added (Search Engines like fresh content), the appearance on your front page and the extra links that the post might generate means that the post will build it’s SEO authority.

The danger of this approach is that if you do it too often with posts that most of your readers will have seen before you run the risk of them becoming disillusioned with you. I don’t have a problem with updating old posts to make them more relevant and useful – but some of your readers might get a bit sick of reading the same old stuff if you do it too often.

This approach works best on evergreen or timeless posts – particularly ‘how to’ or ‘tips’ posts.

Other ways of updating content and giving it a second chance

The reposted update is something that has worked very well for me on a number of occasions. However there are other ways to give an older post a second chance including:

  • Complete Rewrite as a new post – in this approach you simply take the concepts from your previous post and rewrite it from scratch as a new post on the blog. You might make the same posts, update some of your thoughts, add new points etc but end up with two posts on the same topic. I’ve used this approach with some success also. I would generally link back to the previous version so readers can see the progression of my ideas.
  • Update Posts and Link to them – another approach is to update an older post and then write a new post announcing the update with a link to it. This doesn’t tend to work quite as well for some reason – perhaps because the old post still has your old date on it and can be seen as ‘dated’ by many (it’s amazing how people write off old material as being not current or old for just being written a few months back).
  • Archive Compilations – posts that look back at a year gone by and that link to old posts can also be another way of driving people back into your archives for a second look. I tend to do this on special occasions (blog anniversaries, the end of the year etc). It is a gentle way of reminding new readers that there is more to your blog than what they might have seen.
  • Prominent Links to Key Posts – linking to old key posts in side bars, headers, posts or even as ‘related posts’ under your posts can be ways of giving old posts a second breath of life. This is by no means as radical as reposting an old post – but over time this can drive significant traffic back to an older underperforming post.
  • Promoting Old Posts to Other Sites – this is something I’ve had some success with also – but quite accidentally. A month back I noticed a spike in the traffic coming to DPS from Digg. I immediately thought that one of my most recent posts was the one bringing in the traffic – however when I checked out where the traffic was heading I realized it was to a post that was 9 months old. One of my readers had stumbled across it and had thought it digg worthy. Others had jumped on board and as a stroke of luck and with no work on my part I had a hit on my hands as it went to the front page. It struck me at this point that perhaps my archives held other old posts that had not been promoted to other larger sites. As a result I submitted a couple of older posts to a couple of large blogs and to my amazement they were picked up and linked to. I should note that one of the main reasons that I suspect this works on DPS is that I don’t time stamp my posts. I’ve written more on this practice previously (it’s something that will again suit evergreen timeless content more than blogs that are newsy and whose posts need the context of a date to be useful to readers).

So do you update posts? If so how do you do it and have you had any success with doing so?

This post itself is an update from the original article published May 11, 2007 and updated May 5, 2022.

The post Giving Underperforming Posts a Second Chance with Updates appeared first on ProBlogger.

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5 Essential Ecommerce Marketing Strategies for 2022

Want to make your brand more visible to your target audience – so you can attract and convert more customers? Who doesn’t! But to get there, you may need to revaluate the ecommerce marketing strategies available to you.

The industry is constantly evolving which means you need dynamic ecommerce marketing ideas to ensure that you always achieve the best ROI (return on investment) on your ecommerce marketing campaigns.

Global retail ecommerce sales are currently estimated at about $5695 billion, and anyone who wants a piece of that needs to have a great ecommerce strategy. 

retail ecommerce sales by year from 2014 to 2023

A quick search online will show you that there are tons of marketing strategies to choose from. However, some are more effective than others. If you don’t want to waste your time trying to find out what works and what doesn’t, simply follow the tips outlined below. These are tested and proven to be the best and most effective ecommerce marketing strategies to help you crush your goals.

1. Leverage the power of email marketing

Email marketing has been proven to provide ample benefits for ecommerce. There are tons of different email marketing strategies that are perfect for ecommerce businesses. However, regardless of the type of strategy you choose, emails will help you reach your target customers directly in their inboxes which gives you the opportunity to nurture leads and increase your sales

Use your emails to:

  • Introduce your brand
  • Inform subscribers of new products
  • See what messaging and email content your audience responds to
  • Share brand news
  • Give discounts and send notifications of sales

… and much more.

Just make sure that you use the right email tools. This will not only make your work easier, allowing you to automate much of your tasks, but it will also ensure high deliverability rates so your emails are read by your recipients as opposed to landing up in their spam folders.

Here are a few more best practices for your ecommerce email marketing strategy:

  • Automate a thank-you and confirmation message for new subscribers.
  • Automate abandoned cart messages.
  • Create an email newsletter to regularly update subscribers about your brand and its offerings.
  • Create non-commercial emails that are engaging and/or educational (such as online courses, podcasts, blog articles, etc.) to boost brand development.
  • Integrate clickable social media buttons into an HTML email signature to increase conversions.
  • Include strategic links to conversion pages at the top and bottom of emails.
  • Personalize the subject line and greeting with the subscriber’s name.
  • Segment email campaigns based on past user actions.
  • Include an email signature with a link to all your latest offers. 

2. Use SEO for ecommerce

One thing ecommerce business owners know is that the industry is fiercely competitive. Regardless of the types of products you sell, make sure you produce rich, relevant SEO-optimized content as a way to differentiate yourself from all the rest and attract your target customers to your site

Have a strategy in place for regularly publishing high-quality search-engine optimized content on your ecommerce website to engage current customers and attract new ones to your brand. 

High-quality content promotes a great user experience on your site. But when you optimize your ecommerce content for search engines with relevant keywords, it also helps to put you front and center when users are searching for products like yours online. 

Most marketers use SEO competitor analysis tools as well. These tools show where their competitors’ content strategy andwhich of their pages rank for the most keywords. Good SEO tools also make to easy to find less competitive terms that can bring ina decent amount of search volume for less work than more competitive terms.

Here are some additional tips for making the most of your ecommerce SEO strategy: 

  • Publish original content: The more you can make customers interact with you, the higher the likelihood that you’ll be able to convince them to make a purchase from you. And the best way to increase customer interaction and engagement is to be creative and original. While landing pages and sales pages may be a good place to start, creating a blog to post more engaging and less salesy content is a great way to build your brand culture, increase your reach, and create high-ranking content that drives traffic to your site. 
  • User-generated content (UGC): Getting your audience to create content for you is a powerful social media strategy. Other users tend to trust user-generated content more than brand content. Also, users will share that content with their own networks which will give you exposure to brand-new customers with no additional effort on your part.

Getting lots of different types of feedback from your customers - including user generated content - is one of the smartest ecommerce marketing strategies.

Encourage customers to post videos like reviews or testimonial videos or images of themselves using your products or interacting with your brand. You can then use this content on your site or as part of your social media marketing strategy. Just make sure that you copyright your logo before using it on any images, videos, on-site, in emails, or anywhere else.  

3. Optimize your ecommerce website 

Next on our list of essential ecommerce marketing strategies is website optimization. Your website layout plays a huge role in the number of conversions you achieve on your ecommerce site. 

There are a variety of factors that you should test out and optimize according to how they perform with your target audience. 

For example, you can test out your website’s language, layout, and placement of different conversion elements, such as your checkout page, banners, calls to action, etc.

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes to determine what kind of experience they have when they visit your website. 

  • Make sure it is easy for them to navigate through your pages to find what they need. 
  • Test your checkout to make sure that it’s simple, fast, and seamless so you can reduce cart abandonment.
  • Test as many conversion elements as you can, including the strategic placement of icons, images, text, etc. 

You can also use a conversion optimization tool that has heatmap features to help you see patterns in user behavior on your ecommerce site. 

For example, you can use the movement heatmap to see which are the most attractive parts of your site. You may find that customers spend the majority of the time on one specific area of the page while they completely ignore another part. 

All ecommerce marketing strategies should be data-driven. Spreadsheet reports can be helpful, but we also like heat maps for a visual view of where customers go on your website.

This will help you determine what works and what needs optimization, and in such a case, you might consider moving your conversion elements to the areas that receive more attention in order to increase your click-through rates.

The most important thing you can do is to use the best website builder for your particular needs. Just make sure the website builder you select includes ecommerce functionality, SEO tools, a variety of web design features, customizable templates, features to increase conversions, and email marketing, and social media marketing integrations

4. Use social media marketing 

Another powerful ecommerce marketing strategy social media marketing. It can be hard to track, but overall social media works so well because it’s a very personal and public way of communicating with your industry, market, and customers. It also comes with a ton of additional benefits, such as:

  • Increased brand awareness
  • Higher engagement rates
  • A boost in customer interaction
  • More traffic to your website
  • Exposure to a larger base of customers

…and much more. 

To save time, you can use social media marketing tools to automate some of your work. 

A well-designed social media ecommerce marketing strategy will allow you to use different social media accounts to achieve different objectives for your campaigns. 

The best part is that you’ll not only be able to diversify your efforts and abilities, but also create a rich presence for your company online and be able to cater to your customers’ needs in more effective ways. 

If you can define a clear strategy for your social media work and be consistent in your efforts, over time, you’ll find it easier to increase brand recognition, build trust with your audience, and ultimately grow your business.

Here are a few best practices for building an effective social strategy:

  • Monitor the performance of each social media platform and how much you’re spending on each platform using web analytics tools.
  • Keep track of the performance of your social referral journey on-site using a funnel optimization tool like Google Analytics.
  • Analyze the behavior of each social segment using heatmaps to see where their interests lie.
  • Review user session recordings to gain a better understanding of why customers abandon your website before converting.
  • Use pop-up chat tools on your website to ask your audience for user feedback to help you improve your sales funnels and marketing campaigns.

5. Create a strong PPC (pay-per-click) strategy

PPC for ecommerce isn’t a new concept, but not everyone is doing it the right way. You need a strategy that allows you to maximize returns on your investment, and in order to create one, you first need to get the following three things right: 

  • Your ad copy
  • Your offer
  • Your landing page

Your ad should be targeted at the right segment of people to make it more likely that you’ll get the conversions you want. The last thing you want is someone clicking on your ad only to discover that what you’re offering is not at all what they need. 

Make sure to include a relevant and compelling offer that will entice your target customers to take the desired action (i.e. click on your ad). 

Once someone clicks on the ad, the landing page should be a seamless continuation of the ad, with the sole aim of delivering what was promised to the visitor as a reward for clicking on the ad. You can then guide your visitor through the conversion funnel. 

The bottom line is your landing page must be well designed according to current best practices so you can maintain the interest of your visitor – and with these basic elements in place, you’re well on your way to building a successful pay-per-click campaign. 

Now it’s your turn

There you have it. Five highly effective ecommerce marketing strategies that still work in 2022, and that you can implement right away.

Which of these strategies do you think will move the needle for your ecommerce business? Share your thoughts below!

The post 5 Essential Ecommerce Marketing Strategies for 2022 appeared first on AWeber.

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8 of the toughest social media marketing challenges (and how to overcome them)

Ready to tackle the biggest social media challenges?

If you’ve been struggling to grow your brand’s social presence, you’re definitely not alone.

Competition is fierce across industries right now. Couple that with a new wave of networks and higher expectations from your followers.

Food for thought: 71% of consumers are spending more time on social media. This activity shows the importance of building your own presence while also standing out from competitors.

In this guide, we break down eight of the most common social media marketing challenges that brands are facing today. For each hurdle, we’ll hook you up with actionable next steps that can help.

1. Falling engagement rates and fewer post interactions

It’s no secret that organic engagement on social media has been on a downward trend.

More users and brands on a network means that you’re quite literally competing for the attention of customers and followers. After all, there are only so many interactions to “go around.”

And while the phenomenon of falling engagement was primarily a problem on Facebook and Twitter, the trend is impacting brands on Instagram as well.

In fact, recent research from Rival IQ notes that Instagram engagement rates have plummeted 30% YoY.

low engagement rates are one of the most common social media challenges

We’ll bite: overcoming algorithms is one of the toughest challenges of social media marketing. If you’re not running paid promotions alongside organic content, earning reach and interactions can be an uphill battle. That said, it’s not an impossible fight.


  • Assess your top-performing posts to understand what drives the most interactions. Try to find common threads between these posts (think: timing, content themes, post types, formatting, voice).
  • Focus on content that taps into your existing followers, customers and community. This might include question-based content, user-generated content campaigns and responding to shout-outs and comments.
  • Consider collaborating with influencers and brands as a way to extend your reach and encourage more brand mentions.

2. Standing out against established social competitors

Feel like you don’t have much of a share of voice?

As noted earlier, most industries are crowded with competition. Look no further than the beauty space as evidence, brimming with brands and advocates eager to show off products in action.

From legacy brands to established players in your industry, staking your claim as an up-and-coming company is a tall order.

Our advice? Focus first on establishing your own identity and community versus obsessing over others’. It’s easy to get stuck comparing follower counts and engagements but doing you or your followers any favors.

Remember: a smaller, thriving community is more valuable than vanity metrics.


  • Build your primary promotional strategy around engaging customers (think: user-generated content, responding to questions, comments and tagging)
  • Developing a distinct brand voice — don’t discount the power of personality (think: humor, reliability) as a way to stand out.
  • Activate employees to boost your brand’s content and reach beyond your own account.

3. Lost time from juggling multiple social platforms

Messages. Notifications. Content deadlines. The list goes on and on.

If you’re trying to build a presence across multiple platforms, lost productivity is probably one of your biggest social media challenges.

Having a multi-platform presence involves cross-posting and responding to comments across channels, however, doing so without a strategy in place is a recipe for burnout.

There’s only so much time in the day that’s why its crucial to allocate your time without sacrificing customer relationships or ruining your own schedule.

This is where tools like Sprout’s Smart Inbox come in handy, allowing you to consolidate and collaborate across channels in one place.

sprout social smart inbox


  • Define your “priority” network and focus most of your efforts there. Ask yourself: where do you have the most meaningful interaction? Where are you seeing the most growth? Which platform is tied most to your business goals?
  • Adopt a social media tool like Sprout to consolidate your social presence and assets. Doing so will result in less time jumping between networks and will help streamline your workflow.
  • Consider outsourcing or sharing responsibilities across your marketing team as needed.

4. When key stakeholders don’t understand social media

Social media isn’t a “shiny new toy” anymore.

That said, some stakeholders or higher-ups might not see the immediate value of investing in social as a priority channel.

From lead generation to nurturing customers and beyond, the role of social in winning new business is actually well-documented. Heck, 4 of the 5 most budgeted-for marketing priorities for 2022 are related directly to social media.

chart image of global media budget plans for 2022

Making a business case for social media is a common challenge associated with social media marketing but it shouldn’t have to be.

Although justifying social media to your boss might involve factors beyond your control (think: budget, personnel), tying your organization’s presence to business practices, the bottom line and performance should be a priority. Doing so not only helps cement the importance of your role but also helps earn future buy-in from colleagues and higher-ups.


  • Document how your social presence impacts business goals including brand awareness, lead generation, customer nurturing and sales by understanding important social media KPIs.
  • Highlight relevant metrics that have moved the needle in the past year to help you reach those goals (think: traffic, mentions, reach, engagement).
  • Conduct competitive analysis and market research to drive home the importance of having a strong social presence for your respective industry.

5. Little-to-no communication between departments

Piggybacking on the point above, the importance of buy-in across your organization is key to growing on social media.

Despite the power of collaborations between departments like PR, product or demand gen, we’ve seen firsthand how many teams sadly stay siloed. The graph below shows the teams that social marketers interact with the most.

chart showing which teams social marketers consult and share data with

Sharing your data and insights shouldn’t be a burden and doesn’t have to be a time-consuming process. In fact, doing so is worthwhile for empowering yourself and your colleagues.

That’s because collaboration goes hand in hand with creating better campaigns and lessening second-guessing.

For example, consider how your sales team or product team sees the ongoing impact of your content marketing and social presence. With their insights, you can spend more time on activities that help your customers and win over prospects.


  • Set up regular meetings and check-ins to review metrics and explore collaboration opportunities across teams.
  • Consider how even using a team chat tool like Slack can provide opportunities to share insights.
  • If possible, assess your CRM data to better understand how your company’s social presence impacts your marketing and sales funnel.

6. You’re out of creative content ideas

Coming up with fresh content ideas is among the most common social media challenges and perhaps the most frustrating.

That’s because your social media presence never really stops growing. Whether a campaign falls flat or earns a ton of attention from followers, you’re still expected to follow up and keep the good content flowing.

Social media success stories like Duolingo on TikTok represent a great example of how creative content can take your brand to new heights.

duolingo creative content example

Again, you can’t obsess over what your competitors or legacy brands are doing. Creativity often comes in waves and the same rings true for social marketers. We recommend being proactive about coming up with ideas through strategic, ongoing brainstorming.


  • Use social listening tools to uncover conversations and content that your target audience is currently buzzing about.
  • Try trendspotting to get a head-start on social media movements and crazes before they blow up.
  • Collaborate with creators or brand advocates who’ve succeeded in driving engagement recently. What can you learn from them?

7. Responding to call-outs and crises

Social media has become a go-to channel for customer service and support.

Likewise, it’s a popular place to keep your customers in the loop in case of a crisis or hiccup with your product or service.

social media communication example

However, simply pushing out announcements isn’t enough if you want to keep your customers happy.

Beyond interacting with customers and leads, speeding up your response time is a must-do for keeping customers happy. Swift responses are met positively.

image of conversation exchange on social media

In short, brands need to consider how they respond to questions, call-outs and everything in-between if they want to maintain a positive online reputation.


  • Develop a specific social media crisis plan to handle events involving serious backlash without getting overwhelmed.
  • Learn your customers’ most common objections, issues and concerns to anticipate them in your responses.
  • Make a point to personalize your responses to customers (even when you’re using messaging templates).

8. Lack of growth, direction or strategy

Let’s say you’re stuck when it comes to what you “should” be doing on social.

Perhaps you feel like your brand is just on autopilot.

This is something that calls for an actual social media marketing strategy instead of posting “just because.” It never hurts to go back to basics to assess the big-picture purpose of your presence to guide it in the future.


  • Again, discuss goals and expectations with your managers and higher-ups to make sure everyone is on the same page. Double-check that you’re focusing on the appropriate metrics and KPIs.
  • Figure out a schedule and publishing frequency. Doing so helps you avoid posting at random. When in doubt, establish a schedule based on the best times to post on social media.
  • Consider conducting an audit to assess what’s working and what’s not in terms of content, timing and so on. Analyze your top-performing content and engagement rates and draw conclusions from there (see below). Set performance benchmarks to ensure you’re growing.
image of the sprout social platform

Which social media challenges do you need the most help with?

Building an impactful social presence doesn’t happen by accident.

If you’re hitting roadblocks or don’t know what to do next, don’t panic. It happens!

What matters is that you have a proactive plan to keep your presence moving forward. Addressing the social media challenges above isn’t something you can afford to shy away from.

The good news? We have free social media templates to improve your strategy and make the struggles above a thing of the past.

The post 8 of the toughest social media marketing challenges (and how to overcome them) appeared first on Sprout Social.

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TikTok challenges: what they are and why they’re great for brands

Totally new to the concept of TikTok challenges?

Challenges are a cornerstone of TikTok and represent some of the platform’s most popular videos. From the dance-offs to make-up hacks and beyond, TikTok creators aren’t shy about answering the call to create content.

Heck, TikTok hashtag challenges like the #OldTownRoadChallenge or Chipotle’s #GuacDance boasts over a billion views each.

Perfect for building awareness and encouraging awesome user-generated content, brands are rightfully scrambling to find TikTok hashtags for their own challenges.

But getting engagement for a challenge doesn’t happen by accident.

Below we break down TikTok challenges work and the best practices for brands looking to leverage them.

What are TikTok challenges?

Challenges on TikTok are campaigns (or trends) that invite people to create their own videos based on performing a specific task. These tasks might include:

  • Displaying a talent
  • Showing off how you use a product (for example, achieving a certain look with a beauty product)
  • Using a filter
  • Performing a dance or skit
  • Lipsyncing with a specific TikTok sound

Hashtags make these trends and the content created for them more visible and easier to find. Although some TikTok challenges are totally organic (like the #OldTownRoadChallenge), others represent branded promotions (like #GuacDance).

What are some examples of popular TikTok hashtag challenges?

Below are some notable TikTok challenge campaigns that highlight what challenges look like and the kind of engagement they can drive:

  • Guess’ #InMyDenim challenge is an early TikTok success story. Inviting TikTokers to show off their denim fits, the campaign resulted in 5,500+ user-generated videos and 10 million views during its initial run.
  • wet n wild’s #BiggerIsBetter challenge, a product launch centered around a brand-created TikTok sound which earned a staggering 1.5 million video creations.
  • Scotts #DoTheScottsSlide, a challenge that invited creators to recreate a dance outside on their lawns as well as entering a sweepstake contest. This branded hashtag challenge resulted in 2 billion video views and 1.3 million user videos created in only two days.
wet n wild tiktok hashtag challenge

What are the main types of TikTok challenges?

Let’s look at a snapshot of the various types of challenges on TikTok and how they’re different.

Branded challenges are challenge-based campaigns created by a brand. Typically, brands partner with creators to promote these types of challenges to drive awareness for both the promotion’s hashtag and the challenge itself.

hp hashtag challenge

Community challenges are totally organic, usually stemming from a viral trend or question that’s been buzzing on TikTok. These challenges aren’t tied to a specific brand or product.

Similarly, community challenges are more niche and speak to a smaller set of creators versus the entirety of TikTok. The #3MinuteMakeupChallenge is a good example of this.


3 minute makeup tiktok challenge

According to recent data from TikTok, hashtag usage and categorization have grown by more than 150%  since 2021. TikTok communities (think: beauty, fashion, fitness, gaming) all have their own sets of unique challenges and respective audiences.

Uncovering trending community challenges often means spending time engaging with your target audience and customers. Unfortunately, TikTok’s native search leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to finding challenges.

Although community challenges are organic, many of them do involve the usage of products or shout-outs to brands. For example, plenty of beauty brands got mentioned last summer when the Farrah Fawcett Flip was trending.

Hashtag challenge ads are a TikTok ad format that serves as a takeover of the platform’s discovery page. Reserved for big box brands, these hashtags are denoted by the “sponsored” label but otherwise look like they’re organic.

calvin klein tiktok hashtag challenges

The most common goal of these challenge-based tags is encouraging user-generated content. Below is a straightforward but effective example via Calvin Klein’s #OnlyInMyCalvins challenge.

calvin klein tiktok challenge

What are the benefits of promoting TikTok challenges?

If you’re skeptical about whether TikTok challenges are worth it, we get it.

That said, there’s a reason why challenge hashtags have become a staple of using TikTok for business.

Granted you have the appropriate audience to participate in a challenge, below’s a breakdown of the potential benefits.

Earn meaningful UGC for your brand

Want to engage your audience, introduce yourself to new customers and get some valuable user-generated content at the same time? Challenges can make it happen.

That’s because hashtag challenges serve as a natural call-and-response between you and your audience. Coupled with an incentive (think: a contest, reposting), challenges represent a powerful motivator to get people posting about your brand.

Sure, some industries like beauty and fashion lend themselves to challenges more than others. That said, products and brands go viral on TikTok all the time. Look no further than the 10+ billion views on #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt for evidence.

Build brand awareness

It’s no secret that competition is fierce on TikTok as the platform rapidly expands its audience.

The more people you have talking about you, the better. According to TikTok themselves, branded hashtag challenges can drive “unparalleled” awareness and engagement.

Why? Because challenges put your brand front in center in the feeds of creators. Given that “everyday” accounts typically earn more reach than branded accounts, participating in a challenge is more likely to get more eyes on your brand. This explains why many of the branded TikTok challenges noted above center around partnerships with creators and influencers.

Establish your brand’s personality and voice

Recent social media demographics highlight TikTok’s younger audience versus competing platforms.

Speaking to Gen Z and the younger crowd means speaking their language. Most TikTok hashtag challenges are playful, fun and don’t feel like traditional promotions.

Translation? Rather than stick to stuffier ads and promos, challenges allow you to do something unique and relevant for your TikTok audience.

Capitalize on relevant TikTok trends

Keeping up with TikTok trends can be tough how quickly content moves on the platform.

That said, hopping on trends (and trending audio) is one of the best ways to engage the TikTok community at large. Trending challenges create a sense of immediacy as participants want their video to shine while a trend is still timely.

Tips and best practices of TikTok challenges for brands

To wrap things up, here are some tips for brands that are serious about getting on board with TikTok hashtag challenges.

Consider piggybacking on challenges before creating your own

Notice that most of the branded hashtags mentioned above come from big brands and household names.

While earning millions of views on a challenge tag is possible, it’s definitely not the norm. Earning that sort of reach requires either a massive built-in audience or partnerships with influencers.

That’s why it makes more sense for up-and-coming brands to piggyback on existing challenges or trends themselves.

For example, a beauty brand is better off encouraging customers to shout them out in their #3MinuteMakeupChallenge video versus trying to build a trend from the ground up.

If you’re eager to participate in an existing challenge:

  • Regularly check the “Discover” and “Sounds” sections of the app to uncover trends, popular audio and potential hashtags you can hop on
  • Make sure that any given challenge is relevant to your audience, timely (think: the tag recent views and traction) and isn’t owned by a competitor
  • Participate in the challenge yourself through an employee or influencer — this sets expectations for future participants

If you’re set on starting your own challenge:

  • Draw inspiration from popular challenges in your industry but avoid copycatting what’s been done before
  • As noted above, set clear expectations and rules for the challenge in terms of what you want people to create
  • Again, work with influencers and creators to raise awareness as you launch your campaign

Pick a challenge hashtag that pops

Since TikTok has relatively small character limits your tag should be short, sweet and stylish.

Branded hashtag campaigns like #GuacDance and #InMyDenims are great examples of challenge tags. Make your challenge can’t-miss by pointing to it in your TikTok bio and content strategy.

Keep in mind that your challenge tag should be campaign-specific and not a general branded hashtag. The more subtle your hashtag is about being branded, the better.

Do TikTok challenges make sense for your brand?

Hashtag challenges are an awesome way to engage the TikTok community and grow your brand awareness.

Because challenges represent the best of what TikTok has to offer brands — entertaining, authentic content that gets people talking.

If you have a branded hashtag or challenge in mind, make sure you go through the steps so your tag earns the attention it deserves.

Need help in that department? Check out our guide to hashtag campaigns to learn the best practices for expanding your campaign’s reach.

The post TikTok challenges: what they are and why they’re great for brands appeared first on Sprout Social.

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Sprout on Sprout: 3 use cases for Tagging

I know what you’re thinking: “I’m pretty sure I understand the benefits of tagging on social media”.

The thing is, what we’re talking about has nothing to do with mentions or the @ symbol. We’re talking about Tagging—a game-changing Sprout feature that can demystify the performance of both your inbound and outbound social content.

Tags help social marketers group and categorize posts for flexible reporting on content, creative and campaigns. Customers across industries use them to unlock key performance insights and move their strategies forward. Even our own social team relies on a robust tagging structure to report on over 50 specific types of content across networks.

If you’re new to Tagging, we’re here to show you the ropes. And who better to help than Sprout’s social team? They’ll give you a peek behind the curtain so you can build your tagging foundation with confidence.

But first, how does Tagging work in Sprout Social?

Tags are used to categorize content, but not all tags work the same way. Think of “Tags” as an umbrella term to describe the overall concept of labeling posts. There are two subcategories of Tags that exist to help marketers report at a more granular level:

  • Labels which can be applied to posts, messages or assets that exist independently of a campaign. For example, you could use a Label to categorize and report on messages containing customer feedback.
  • Campaigns, which group posts, incoming messages and assets that align to an overarching campaign, like a promotion or an event. You can also apply Labels to messages with a Campaign tag for more reporting options.

To understand what this looks like in practice, let’s look at a hypothetical example. Say our social team is running a campaign to promote an event. They want to learn which content types generate the most buzz on social. To track this, we could create a “Sprout Event” Campaign tag and a series of Labels for each content type (static image, animation, video, etc).

A screenshot of the Campaign and Label field in the Sprout Social post editor. For this post, the Campaign is

When it’s time to analyze, our social team can turn to Sprout’s Tag Performance Report, which includes tag, profile and message type filters. Our team uses these filters to compare performance between and within tags to identify trends, message volume, themes and post-level engagement.

A screenshot of the Cross Channel Tag Report in Sprout Social.

How the Sprout Social team uses Tagging

Now that you understand the basics of tagging, it’s time to get into how Sprout uses Tags. Our social team constantly audits our approach to yield more specific insights. Here are their three most common Tag use cases:

Use case #1: Outbound publishing

Social content planning is anything but random. Everything we post aligns to overarching themes that we decide on during our content ideation process. Sprout’s Social Media Strategists, Olivia Jepson and Jonathan Zuluaga, use outbound tags to understand how well those themes perform with Sprout’s audience.

Tags are one of the most powerful tools we have. They’re incredibly helpful for both day-to-day strategy decisions and reporting. They elevate how we’re able to see and analyze data.

Jonathan Zuluaga

Social Media Strategist, Sprout Social

“We use outbound Tags to understand how often we’re posting specific content categories,” says Zuluaga. “At the end of the month, we use these to understand how often posting a certain type of content impacts performance.”

Tracking post volume empowers our social team to refine their strategy throughout the quarter. If they notice a certain content theme is outperforming another, they use this information to readjust post volumes to ensure we’re meeting our goals.

Jepson and Zuluaga recently used tags to dig into Sprout’s Twitter performance. “We were concerned we might be sharing too much third-party content,” says Zuluaga. “Using the Tag Performance Report, we were able to compare the amount of posts featuring third-party content to those that feature Insights articles. Then, we reviewed how each Tag performed month-over-month. From there, we were able to make strategic pivots as needed.”

Use case #2: Inbound engagement

On average, over 3,000 messages come through Sprout’s Smart Inbox each month. On an individual level, these messages may seem like simple engagement opportunities. But when you look at them collectively, they hold vital details on audience interests, concerns and wins. Inbound message tagging allows the Sprout team to parse through that information for insights that strengthen our marketing efforts and investments.

“Inbound tags help us track trends in engagement,” says Zuluaga. “We have a lot of labels that help us track everything from customer wins to product feedback.”

Inbound tags also help our social team differentiate between the messages that need replies and the ones that don’t. For example, many people use Sprout’s $Cashtag in stock market updates that don’t necessarily require any direct engagement from the Sprout handle. To solve this, Jepson leaned on another underrated Sprout feature.

“We created an automated rule that instantly adds a stock-specific tag to any $SPT-related content,” says Jepson. “That way, when we’re in the Sprout Inbox to engage with followers, we can filter those messages out.”

Automated Tags are the secret to creating a cleaner, faster approach to managing your Smart Inbox. You can apply them to specific keywords, phrases or message types so you can limit distractions and focus on current priorities.

Use case #3: Campaign tracking

At Sprout, our social media campaigns fuel our overarching marketing-wide initiatives. Our team goals ladder up to department goals, and those department goals ladder up to business goals. Campaign tags provide Jepson and Zuluaga with the flexibility needed to report on what matters most to each marketing team.

“The filters available in the Tag Report allow us to narrow in on metrics that align with the goals of the greater initiative,” says Jepson. “Campaign Tags can apply to both outbound and inbound messages, allowing us to zoom out to the bigger picture. We report on our performance and how people responded to the campaign beyond standard post-level data.”

The Campaign Post Performance Report in Sprout Social.

Not all campaigns have a set end date. You may have seen our three-minute webinar series on LinkedIn or our trendspotting Reels on Instagram. These are evergreen content formats that our team constantly repurposes to support new content.

Jepson and Zuluaga use Labels to track the performance of these ongoing campaigns to determine which topics work best for the format. “It’s also useful when we’re trying out something new,” says Jepson. “Because the data is tracked automatically, we can focus on content creation as opposed to manual work.”

Tag into new insights

With tagging, the options are limitless. To develop your own structure, you need a clear idea of what you want to track. What burning questions do you have about your social strategy? Do you know what types of content are making the biggest impact on your followers? What do your fans want to know more about? You can answer all these questions and more with Sprout Social.

If you want more tagging inspiration, you can check out Grammarly’s strategy here. They use Tags to deliver product insights to their entire organization. Get their tips and learn how Tags can help you do the same.

The post Sprout on Sprout: 3 use cases for Tagging appeared first on Sprout Social.

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