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By Dirk Petzold

In social media, creating eye-catching and engaging content is essential for business success.

Enter Roverto Castillo, a design virtuoso who has crafted a set of business social media InDesign templates that redefine the art of digital communication. These templates, designed with precision and flair, are set to revolutionize your online presence. Let’s dive into the details of this visually stunning collection that promises to take your brand to new heights.

Please note that this template requires Adobe InDesign. You can get the latest version from the Adobe Creative Cloud website—take a look here.

Business Social Media InDesign Templates by Roverto Castillo
Business Social Media InDesign Templates by Roverto Castillo

Meet the Creative Genius – Roverto Castillo:

Roverto Castillo, a name synonymous with innovation and aesthetic brilliance in the design world, has curated a set of InDesign templates that embody his signature style. With a keen eye for detail and an innate understanding of contemporary design trends, Castillo’s templates seamlessly blend vibrant colours and geometric simplicity to create a visual spectacle that captivates audiences.

Template Specifications:

The templates come in a convenient size of 1080×1080 pixels – an ideal dimension for various social media platforms, ensuring your content looks flawless on every feed. This attention to detail reflects Castillo’s commitment to providing a user-friendly experience for businesses looking to elevate their online presence.

Easy Customization for Maximum Impact:

One of the standout features of Castillo’s templates is their effortless customization. Replacing headlines, tweaking text, and adding your images couldn’t be simpler. With InDesign’s intuitive interface, even those with minimal design experience can effortlessly tailor these templates to match their brand identity. It’s a game-changer for businesses seeking professional, polished content without the hassle.

Vibrant Colours and Elegant Simplicity:

Castillo’s designs are a testament to the power of vibrant colours and the elegance of simplicity. Each template features a carefully curated colour palette that not only grabs attention but also conveys a sense of energy and dynamism. The use of simple rectangles as graphic elements adds a modern touch, creating a clean and sophisticated look that resonates with contemporary audiences.

Versatility for Every Business:

Whether you’re a startup, an established enterprise, or a creative individual, Castillo’s templates cater to a diverse range of business needs. From promoting products and services to sharing company updates, these templates provide a versatile canvas for expressing your brand’s unique personality.

Roverto Castillo’s Business Social Media InDesign Templates represent a paradigm shift in the way businesses approach online communication. With their stunning visuals, easy customization, and versatile applications, these templates empower brands to stand out in the crowded digital landscape. Elevate your online presence, captivate your audience, and leave a lasting impression with Roverto Castillo’s exceptional design prowess – because in the world of social media, exceptional is the new standard.

Don’t hesitate to find more trending graphic design templates on WE AND THE COLOR.

By Dirk Petzold

Sourced from WATC

By

If you opened Facebook, Twitter or Instagram about a decade ago, you’d likely see posts from friends and family, in chronological order.

Nowadays, users are hit with a barrage of content curated by an algorithm. Passionate about plants? Sports? Cats? Politics? That’s what you’re going to see.

“[There] are equations that measure what you’re doing, surveil the data of all the users on these platforms and then try to predict what each person is most likely to engage with,” New Yorker writer Kyle Chayka explains. “So rather than having this neat, ordered feed, you have this feed that’s constantly trying to guess what you’re going to click on, what you’re going to read, what you’re going to watch or listen to.”

In his new book, Filterworld, Chayka examines the algorithmic recommendations that dictate everything from the music, news and movies we consume, to the foods we eat and the places we go. He argues that all this machine-guided curation has made us docile consumers and flattened our likes and tastes.

“For us consumers, they are making us more passive just by feeding us so much stuff, by constantly recommending things that we are unlikely to click away from, that we’re going to tolerate [but] not find too surprising or challenging,” Chayka says.

What’s more, Chayka says, the algorithms pressure artists and other content creators to shape their work in ways that fit the feeds. For musicians working through Spotify or TikTok, this might mean recording catchy hooks that occur right at the beginning of a song — when a user is most likely to hear it.

Though the algorithms can feel inescapable, Chayka says increased regulation of social media companies can mitigate their impact. “I think if Meta, Facebook’s parent company, was forced to spin off some of its properties, like Instagram or WhatsApp, and those properties were made to compete against each other, then maybe users would have more agency and more choices for what they’re consuming,” he says.

Interview highlights

On how the internet takes power away from gatekeepers

There’s this huge power of the internet to let anyone publish the art that they make or the songs that they write. And I think that’s really powerful and unique. … [In] the cultural ecosystem that we had before, there were these gatekeepers, like magazine editors or record executives or even radio station DJs, who you did have to work through to get your art heard or seen or bought. And so these were human beings who had their own biases and preferences and social networks, and they tended to block people who didn’t fit with their own vision.

Cover of Filterworld

Doubleday

Now, in the algorithmic era, let’s say rather than seeking to please those human gatekeepers or figure out their tastes, the metric is just how much engagement you can get on these digital platforms. So the measure of your success is how many likes did you get? How many saves did you get on TikTok or bookmarks? How many streams did you get on Spotify?

So I think there are advantages and disadvantages to both of these kinds of regimes. Like, on the internet, anyone can put out their work and anyone can get heard. But that means to succeed, you also have to placate or adapt to these algorithmic ecosystems that, I think, don’t always let the most interesting work get heard or seen.

On the difficulty of knowing what’s going outside your specific algorithm

These digital platforms and feeds, they kind of promise a great communal experience, like we’re connecting with all the other TikTok users or all of the other Instagram users, but I think they’re actually kind of atomizing our experiences, because we can never tell what other people are seeing in their own feeds. We don’t have a sense of how many other people are fans of the same thing that we are fans of or even if they’re seeing the same piece of culture that we’re seeing, or experiencing an album or a TV show, in the same way. So I think there’s this lack of connection … this sense that we’re alone in our consumption habits and we can’t come together over art in the same way, which I think is kind of deadening the experience of art and making it harder to have that kind of collective enthusiasm for specific things.

On how success on social media determines who gets book deals, TV shows and record deals

Every publisher will ask a new author, “What is your platform like? How big of a platform do you have?” Which is almost a euphemism for, “How many followers do you have online?” — whether that’s [on] Twitter or Instagram or an email newsletter. They want to know that you already have an audience going into this process, that you have a built-in fan base for what you’re doing. And culture doesn’t always work that way. I don’t think every idea should have to be so iterative that you need fans already for something to succeed, that you have to kind of engage audiences at every point in the process of something to have it be successful. So for a musician, maybe you’ll get a big record deal only if you go viral on TikTok. Or if you have a hit YouTube series, maybe you’ll get more gigs as an actor. There’s this kind of gatekeeping effect here too, I think, where in order to get more success on algorithmic platforms, you have to start with seeding some kind of success on there already.

On how some film and TV shows lean into becoming internet memes

You can see how TV shows and movies have adapted to algorithmic feeds by the kind of one-liner, GIF-ready scenes that you see in so many TV shows and movies now. You can kind of see how a moment in a film is made to be shared on Twitter or how a certain reaction in a reality TV show, for example, is made to become a meme. And I think a lot of production choices have been influenced by that need for your piece of content to drive more pieces of content and to inspire its own reactions and riffs and more memes.

On how algorithms impact journalism

Algorithmic feeds, I think, took on the responsibility that a lot of news publications once had. … In decades past, we would see the news stories that we consumed on a daily basis from The New York Times front page on the print paper or as on The New York Times homepage on the internet. Now, instead of the publication choosing which stories are most important, which things you should see right away, the Twitter, or X, algorithmic feed is sorting out what kinds of stories you’re consuming and what narratives are being built up. We now have TikTok talking heads and explainers rather than news anchors on cable TV. So the responsibility for choosing what’s important, I think, has been ported over to algorithmic recommendations rather than human editors or producers.

On how passive consumption affects how deeply we think about culture

I think passive consumption certainly has its role. We are not always actively consuming culture and thinking deeply about the genius of a painting or a symphony. … It’s not something we can do all the time. But what I worry about is the passivity of consumption that we’ve been pushed into, the ways that we’re encouraged not to think about the culture we’re consuming, to not go deeper and not follow our own inclinations. … And I suppose that when I really think about it … the kind of horror that’s at the end of all this, at least for me, is that … we’ll never have the Fellini film that’s so challenging you think about it for the rest of your life or see the painting that’s so strange and discomforting that it really sticks with you. Like I don’t want to leave those masterpieces of art behind just because they don’t immediately engage people.

Feature Image Credit: Getty Images

Sam Briger and Susan Nyakundi produced and edited this interview for broadcast. Bridget Bentz, Molly Seavy-Nesper and Beth Novey adapted it for the web.

By

Sourced from npr

Human influencers can still thrive amid their AI virtual counterparts. Employ these strategies to stay relevant on social media.

The proliferation of virtual influencers is changing the way brands approach digital marketing. They could make AI-generated personas go viral while simultaneously cutting their ad spend—buying AI tools costs less than hiring social influencers.

You might consider dropping your rates to win back clients, but it’s merely a band-aid solution. Develop more long-term plans instead. Here are simple yet effective strategies to attract brand deals and sponsorships as a human influencer despite the expanding virtual influencer market.

You might consider dropping your rates to win back clients, but it’s merely a band-aid solution. Develop more long-term plans instead. Here are simple yet effective strategies to attract brand deals and sponsorships as a human influencer despite the expanding virtual influencer market.

1. Zero In on Your Target Market

The Lifetime YouTube Studio Insights of Animetorific Channel

Your relevance as an internet personality depends on your impact on market trends and consumer behaviour. Hence, the term “influencer.” Brands will still prioritize your services over AI-generated campaigns and virtual influencers if you have healthy conversion rates.

Go beyond follower counts; study industry data and objectively list the demographics of virtual influencer subscribers. Some markets prefer AI content nowadays, so you might need to overhaul your content strategies if you’re slowly losing subscribers, fans, or engagement.

If market statistics are too generalized, narrow down your research to specific buyer personas. Ensure you understand your target market.

2. Build an Audience Across Various Platforms

TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat Logos on Influencer Girl

Human influencers have an edge over AI-generated personas in executing cross-platform marketing tactics. Virtual influencers perform limited functions made for specific sites. For instance, VTubers gain thousands of views on YouTube and Twitch, but only a few rank on image-based apps like Snapchat and Instagram.

Alternatively, human influencers are versatile enough to maximize various social networks. You could share random activities on Snapchat, post aesthetic shots on Instagram, and upload vlogs on YouTube.

3. Establish Yourself as an Industry Authority

Trendjacking won’t help you beat virtual influencers. Yes, capitalizing on popular topics boosts visibility, but establishing yourself as an industry authority leads to stable long-term growth. Earn the trust and respect of your audience, otherwise, people will quickly forget about you if your content revolves around recent controversies and viral topics.

Let’s say you review Apple products on YouTube. Parroting Apple’s press releases provides zero value to readers—they’ll find the same information on hundreds of other sites. Some AI platforms even scrape and summarize news reports in real-time. The best approach is to provide unique, first-hand insights. Rather than listing new features, walk your readers through them with actual screenshots and demonstrations.

4. Collaborate With Other Industry Experts

Charli and Dixie D'Amelio Talking on Unicef Interview
Image Credit: Priyanka Pruthi/Wikimedia Commons

AI-generated avatars generally publish solo content. Collaboration is almost impossible because they can’t interact as humans do, and this lack of engagement makes them look inauthentic and robotic, which viewers can dislike.

Human influencers can maximize this advantage by regularly collaborating with relevant personalities. Establish yourself as an industry authority among peers and fans alike. Your audience would also appreciate seeing you with their favourite personalities—think of it as fan service.

5. Leverage Your Personal Experiences

Blonde Influencer Wearing Pink Jacket Posing in front of Kia Stinger
Image Credit: Do The Daniel/Wikimedia Commons

 

As an influencer, you can leverage your daily experiences by documenting and sharing them with an interested audience. Virtual personas will never replicate your real-life stories and relatable struggles despite advancements in AI. They’re merely pre-programmed avatars with made-up backstories.

Your viewers would love to see your real side. Talk about your most notable triumphs, share how you overcame your worst challenges, and ensure you thank your loyal supporters.

6. Try to Empathize With Your Audience

AI-driven virtual influencers use natural language processing (NLP) technologies and language models to engage in conversation. While impressive, they only execute patterns. As a result, talking to AI feels inauthentic because it can’t empathize with users or show feelings.

Human influencers can set themselves apart by connecting with viewers on an emotional level. Demonstrate a deeper understanding of your audience by resonating with their struggles and sharing how you overcame them.

Set disclaimers saying that your advice and personal experiences don’t replace professional consultations.

7. Analyse Why Brands Prefer Virtual Influencers

Several Influencers at Party With a Show Host
Image Credit: Juice Krate/Wikimedia Commons

A growing number of companies are offloading their marketing needs to AI. Forbes reports that 61% of businesses use AI for email optimization, while 55% generate user-targeted ads. Going by these trends, some might start replacing their influencers too.

While AI has significantly advanced over the years, it still has shortcomings—understanding them will help you retain projects. Offer what virtual influencers can’t guarantee, like lasting partnerships and collaboration skills.

8. Frequently Engage With Your Audience

We know how nasty some people act online. They use anonymous profiles to leave hurtful comments on various platforms. Even if you understand that these insults are baseless, they could still make you feel bad. You might even stop reading comments sections to avoid haters.

Although your feelings are valid, ignoring your audience will impede your growth and reach as an influencer; people prefer personalities that interact with them. You must answer questions, consider the type of content they want, and work on constructive criticisms.

If you can’t ignore your haters, block them or delete their comments. Just make sure you engage with your audience.

9. Participate in Social Movements

Group of People Wearing Blue Picking Up Trash at the Beach

Joining social movements humanizes social media influencers. Viewers generally see you doing the same things online—participating in new activities emphasizes your individuality. Show that you’re more than your on-screen persona.

However, this isn’t to say you should just take photos of feeding programs and clean up drives. Putting up a façade for attention will only hurt your image. Support social movements that align with your principles and prioritize making a real-world impact over announcing your contributions.

You can also use these social events to expand your network and connect with like-minded individuals.

10. Explore Generative AI Tools Yourself

Influencer Feeding Prompts to ChatGPT for Content Creation

Embrace AI instead of fearing it. AI-driven platforms are here to stay regardless of your opinion—you’d do well to incorporate them into your career. Start with simple, accessible tools. For instance, you could ask ChatGPT to write a short script, generate images on Midjourney, then stitch them together using text-to-video generators.

You can’t claim ownership of your output because copyright laws don’t apply to AI art.

And even if you don’t plan on using AI tools, exploring them helps you understand how virtual influencers work. Remember: you can’t surpass something you barely comprehend. Study the functions and scope of AI before overhauling your content strategies.

Create New Strategies to Beat AI Virtual Influencers

AI platforms and virtual influencers will continue impacting the content industry as they become more accessible. And brands won’t just stop exploring AI suddenly; you must level up your overall marketing strategy as an influencer or risk losing clients to AI.

Also, closely study the most popular virtual influencers to understand how you can beat them. Try looking for issues in their marketing campaigns. You’ll keep attracting new clients if you focus on providing results that virtual influencers and AI tools don’t.

By Jose Luansing Jr.

Jose Luansing Jr. is a staff writer at MUO. He has written thousands of articles on tech, freelance tools, career advancement, business, AI, and finance since 2017

Sourced from MUO Make Use Of

By Marilyn Stone

Researchers from LUISS Guido Carli University have published a new study that examines whether and how subtle shifts in language arousal might shape consumer engagement and the way it affects perceptions of influencers’ trustworthiness.

The study, published in the Journal of Marketing, is titled “How High-Arousal Language Shapes Micro Versus Macro Influencers’ Impact” and is authored by Giovanni Luca Cascio Rizzo, Francisco Villarroel Ordenes, Rumen Pozharliev, Matteo De Angelis, and Michele Costabile.

Companies increasingly turn to popular personalities to promote their brands, products, and services. The influencer marketing economy was valued at $21.1 billion in 2023, and more than 90% of brands enlist influencers with a small audience (micro) or with massive reach (macro) to connect with consumers and achieve a variety of marketing goals, from creating awareness to increasing sales.

Influencers have the potential to diffuse marketing messages and drive actions, but it is unclear why some of their posts get a lot of engagement while others do not. One possibility is that consumers are increasingly aware that influencers get paid to promote products, raising questions about their motives. Additionally, anecdotal evidence suggests that when influencers use high-arousal language (e.g., “it’s totally amazing!”), it leads to questions about their trustworthiness, which in turn leads consumers to engage less with the content.

Micro vs. macro influencers

Consumers typically see micro influencers as regular people, so if they say something like “this shake is AMAZING!” consumers believe they really are excited about that shake and just want to share this discovery with their friends and followers. This belief in their sincerity increases consumers’ trust in micro influencers.

However, macro influencers do not seem like regular people. Consumers know these influencers receive substantial sums to say positive things about products, so they judge their posts as an attempt to persuade, just like any other form of advertising. Believing that someone has manipulative intentions tends to decrease trust. Yet the negative effect of high arousal posts by macro influencers could be mitigated if their posts offer more informative (vs. commercial) content or if the messages are more balanced.

The researchers collaborated with an influencer marketing agency to acquire a sample of 20,923 Instagram-sponsored posts across industries from 1,376 U.S. influencers. They measured engagement as the sum of likes and comments that a post receives. To measure language arousal, they combine a words-based lexicon (including terms like “hectic,” “amazing,” and “sensational”) with paralanguage (i.e., exclamation marks, capitalization, and emojis).

They used 100,000 followers as the cut-off to classify micro versus macro influencers. To measure how informative the post goal would be, they validated a dictionary with words like “explore,” “read,” and “watch.” Finally, more than 100 controls were employed, including details about the influencer, the text and images shared, and so forth. Combining the field data and controlled experiments led to some compelling results.

The researchers note, “For micro influencers, we find that a 10% increase in arousal is associated with a 5.4% increase in engagement, on average. Recommending a product by saying, ‘It’s superb’ rather than ‘It’s great,’ for example, would attract 49 additional likes or comments. However, our findings raise concerns for macro influencers. If macro influencers increase arousal in their posts by 10%, it reduces consumer engagement by 8.4%, on average.”

However, macro influencers are not completely forbidden to express excitement. Since signalling an informative goal is associated with a 1.8% increase in engagement, they can share informative rather than commercial posts. Also, admitting some concerns or noting some negative aspects of the promoted product can help macro influencers seem more genuine, which also increases engagement.

Finally, macro influencers can use high-arousal language if they also include words that signal trustworthiness (e.g., “learn,” “help”). Thus, brands and macro influencers should collaborate to make sure their posts include phrases like “that’s what I learned about this incredible product” rather than “that’s how to use this incredible product.”

From Instagram to TikTok

These findings are not limited to Instagram. The study provides evidence that language arousal also plays a role in TikTok, with relevant influences on its young target market. “We gauge influencers’ vocal cues and the level of pitch in their voices as proxies for arousal. A higher pitched voice can signal greater arousal, and in line with our Instagram study, we determine that a higher pitch, and higher arousal, voice exerts a negative effect for macro influencers,” the researchers say.

This research underscores the importance of aligning social media posts and language arousal strategies depending on the type of influencer. For micro influencers, using high-arousal language authentically can enhance , but macro should focus more on informative content to maintain their trustworthiness.

Exploring the impact of arousal on emerging platforms like TikTok is especially crucial when it comes to targeting young, savvy consumer audiences effectively. This research could be extended to politicians, scientists, and other high-profile individuals and the statements they issue.

Feature Image Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

By Marilyn Stone,

Sourced from PHYS.ORG

BY KARTIK JOBANPUTRA 

The convergence of ecommerce with social media influencers creates a dynamic symphony of trust, engagement, and sales.

The digital revolution in ecommerce has brought forth numerous innovations, with the role of social media influencers standing out distinctly. These online mavens, each with distinct flair and following, are crafting a new narrative in online marketing. Central to this transformation is social commerce, an innovative strategy that weaves shopping into the tapestry of social media.

Unpacking the phenomenon of social commerce

Social commerce signals a paradigm shift in how consumers experience online shopping platforms. Rather than the traditional browsing and searching, it offers a richer, more engaged shopping journey. Modern consumers, especially those in the millennial and Gen Z demographics, are tightly intertwined with their social media accounts. Platforms like Instagram, TikTok and Facebook aren’t just for entertainment; they serve as lifestyle compasses, guiding users in everything from pop culture to shopping choices.

In this digital landscape, influencers have carved a niche for themselves. Their content, genuine and relatable, shines bright amid the bombardment of traditional advertisements. When these influencers vouch for a product, it’s seen not as a sales pitch but as a sincere recommendation. Augmenting this is the allure of convenience that social commerce brings. The process is incredibly streamlined; one can spot a product on a post or story, swipe or click on it, and be led directly to an online checkout. The entire experience is swift, smooth, and satisfying.

The inimitable role of influencers

At the core of the social commerce machine are influencers. These individuals, with their varied followings, are more than just digital personalities; they’re pillars of modern marketing. Unlike celebrities who might endorse various products, influencers are selective, ensuring their endorsements often stem from personal experiences and align with their brand. This selective approach, combined with their domain-specific expertise, makes influencers trust magnets.

For instance, a beauty influencer’s tips on skincare are valued because they’re backed by experience, while a tech influencer’s gadget review is awaited for its depth and authenticity. Additionally, influencers prioritize engagement. Their interactions aren’t limited to broadcasting content. They chat, conduct polls, share snippets of their lives, and create a shared digital space with their followers. This two-way communication fosters a bond, a digital kinship that’s deeply valued. Another feather in their cap is their expertise in visual content. In an age where visuals dominate, influencers, with their compelling images, videos and stories, hold their audience’s rapt attention.

Strategic collaborations for mutual growth

The collaboration between brands and influencers is multifaceted. There is sponsored content, where influencers create posts or videos infused with their personal experiences with products. While promoting, they ensure transparency, often tagging these as #ad or #sponsored. Then there’s affiliate marketing, a performance-centric approach where influencers reap rewards based on the sales generated via their unique links.

Some collaborations transcend regular promotions. Think of a renowned beauty influencer launching a limited-edition product line with a major brand. Such initiatives blend the influencer’s personal brand with the product, promising authenticity and unparalleled quality. Beyond these, some brands envision a longer journey with influencers, turning them into brand ambassadors. This deep relationship ensures that the influencer becomes an enduring face and voice for the brand.

Enduring impacts and considerations

The synergy between brands and influencers leads to tangible benefits. Enhanced brand recall, exponential growth in sales and spikes in website traffic are common positive outcomes. On the trust front, influencers act as a bridge, lending their credibility to the brands they endorse. However, like all strategies, this one isn’t without pitfalls. Over-commercialization can dilute an influencer’s authenticity.

Moreover, ensuring that the influencer’s personal brand aligns with the corporate brand is crucial. Then, there’s the challenge of measuring the intangibles. While metrics like clicks, views, and sales are straightforward, quantifying trust or brand perception remains nebulous. It’s also crucial to remember that influencer marketing isn’t an unregulated frontier. Clear guidelines, especially about disclosures, exist, and both brands and influencers must adhere to them to maintain credibility and avoid legal pitfalls.

Conclusion

The convergence of e-commerce with social media influencers creates a dynamic symphony of trust, engagement, and sales. For consumers, it offers a shopping experience that’s rich, trustworthy, and interactive. For brands, it’s a golden ticket to visibility and authenticity in a crowded digital marketplace. Looking ahead, with innovations on the horizon, this partnership promises to redefine the retail landscape further. In a rapidly evolving digital world, the bond between e-commerce platforms and influencers is beneficial and essential. They aren’t just changing the game – they’re crafting a new one for the next generation of online shopping.

BY KARTIK JOBANPUTRA 

ENTREPRENEUR LEADERSHIP NETWORK® CONTRIBUTOR

Founder & CEO Benevolent by nature, Kartik is a diverse man of diverse and unpredictable choices, a serial entrepreneur. One may find him not just reading stoics or seizing the present like jumping off a plane. He is pro skydiver/licensed scuba. He doesn’t speak in hypotheticals and lives life by doing.

Sourced from Entrepreneur

BY CHRISTOPHER TOMPKINS 

It’s no secret that social media has become a very important part of our lives. It’s not just about connecting with friends and family — it’s also home to brands and creators building communities.

o far, we’ve all enjoyed free, ad-supported social media platforms, but that could be changing. Many platforms have seen their ad revenues drop due to several factors, and now they’re looking to make some changes to their business model.

Enter the subscription-based social media model. Today, let’s explore what this model looks like and how it could change the future of social media.

The problems with ad-based social media

Ad-supported social media platforms are focused on one thing: generating revenue through targeted advertising and sponsored content. Thanks to their large user bases and complex targeting algorithms, ads have made these platforms extremely profitable over the last few years.

However, this model isn’t without its issues, including privacy concerns, prioritization of sponsored content over more relevant content to users, and a lack of transparency regarding user data usage. This leaves many users feeling unsafe on these apps.

In response, Apple released its App Tracking Transparency feature, which allows users to stop social media platforms from tracking them. While this was a great tool for users, social platforms like Facebook announced that they would end up taking a major ad revenue hit as a result.

This was an existential threat to the ad-based social media business model, so it’s no coincidence that they all started introducing paid subscriptions before long.

Snapchat+, X Premium, Meta Verified and YouTube Premium — social media companies created these subscriptions to reduce their dependence on ad revenue. But what does this subscription-based model mean for marketers?

Understanding the subscription-based model

The subscription-based model is a mixed bag for marketers, with some distinct advantages for brands that subscribe and major risks as more users buy in. Let’s look at how this approach changes the digital marketing landscape.

Ads will be less effective — For users, one of the biggest selling points of these premium social media subscriptions is often that they reduce or outright remove ads. It’s great for users looking to free up some space on their feeds, but it could prove to be a major problem for marketers, leading to:

Loss of target advertising will make it difficult for brands to reach their ideal customers efficiently and could limit their ROI. When platforms begin to remove ads from social feeds, brands lose the ability to reach that audience, making it almost impossible for marketers to reach their projected KPIs for paid campaigns.

Increased reliance on organic reach — As audiences become harder to reach with paid ads, brands must rely more on organic reach to connect with them. This could get extremely competitive as it places brands on an even playing field with all other users on the platform. Tactics like influencer marketing will be key to reaching those premium users.

Challenges for small businesses with limited resources — Smaller brands may not have the budget to invest in influencer marketing or sponsored content, meaning they’ll face an uphill battle to reach their audience.

Leverage unique features

One of the upsides to the subscription model? To make these subscriptions worthwhile, social media platforms have a new incentive to develop new features for marketers and creators.

Take X as an example. Before, verification check marks were reserved only for large, reputable accounts. Now, any brand subscriber can verify their account, unlocking longer character counts, formatting features, editing posts and more.

Of course, there’s a dark side to this, too. You may recall a few months ago when TweetDeck, now known as X Pro, became locked behind the X Premium subscription after years of being free for all users.

To stand out from the free versions of their platforms — these subscriptions need exclusive features such as verification, improved content moderation systems, enhanced customization options and more, even if that means making users pay for something that was once free.

The elephant in the room

That’s right, we have to talk about Elon Musk and his place in the subscription-model conversation. That’s because while many platforms have introduced premium subscriptions, X is the only one that seems to be considering charging all users for access. Is that where every social platform is headed?

Short answer… no.

It’s hard enough to convince someone to pay for something that’s always been free. Still, it’s hard to see most users coughing up the cash when that something is X. It’s true that the ad-supported social media model has weaknesses, but it’s still a winning formula for making money.

Beyond profit, there’s also an ethical argument against charging all users for access to the platforms where they communicate. Not everyone can afford to pay a recurring fee for access to a social media platform.

This raises questions about inclusivity and the risk of creating digital divides, where those who can’t afford subscriptions are excluded from online communities — further deepening existing societal inequalities. For better or worse, social media has become a vital part of people’s daily lives.

Any move towards charging users must be carefully considered and balanced with measures to ensure inclusivity and fairness. A subscription-based social media model has the potential to address many of the problems associated with ad-focused platforms, but it also has the potential to create entirely new problems.

The only constant in social media is change, and that’s still true now. Ultimately, the success of such a model will depend on its ability to deliver real value to users and build trust in a more transparent and ethical social media ecosystem.

BY CHRISTOPHER TOMPKINS 

ENTREPRENEUR LEADERSHIP NETWORK® CONTRIBUTOR

Christopher Tompkins is the CEO and founder of The Go! Agency and an internationally renowned expert in digital marketing. With more than two decades of experience, he has turned The Go! Agency into a top-ten marketing agency in Florida and a top-25 digital marketing agency nationwide.

Sourced from Entrepreneur

By Bryanne DeGoede

The digital landscape has shifted significantly, but your brand can still thrive on social media in today’s world. Here’s how.

In the dynamic digital landscape, the role of social media is continually evolving. Today, an estimated 4.9 million people globally are on social media platforms, but the way we consume content, plus the content itself, has shifted significantly since the boom of these platforms in the late 2000s and early 2010s.

Today, some argue that with the surge of influencers, brands may no longer hold their once-celebrated place on platforms like Instagram, Twitter or TikTok. Going a step further, with the substantial increase in advertising and sponsored content, many users have learned to tune out brands selling their products or services through social media.

I’ve been helping my clients leverage social media for the past 15 years and have seen first-hand the shift in what kind of content performs well and what strategies and metrics actually translate to a higher ROI.

Ultimately, in this multifaceted digital playground, there’s no denying that it’s becoming harder and harder to capture an audience’s attention. However, when brands can understand the platforms and how each user base reacts — and create authentic, relatable content — they can maximize their reach, improve brand awareness and perception, and build a consumer base that not only trusts your content but is excited to see it.

Metrics that matter: Going beyond follower count

To optimize your content, you first need to understand your objectives and what metrics are important for evaluating the success of your strategy. In the early days of social media, follower count was the main — if not, only — metric that brands cared about and agencies tracked consistently. Even just a few years ago, despite the rise of bot followers and purchased likes, a brand’s clout could still be relatively gauged by its follower count.

Today, however, this metric is becoming increasingly obsolete. Since TikTok came onto the scene with its personalized approach to user “For You” feeds, other platforms like Instagram and Snapchat have followed suit, integrating similar features into its platforms and mimicking TikTok’s algorithm. With this shift, users no longer needed to be following an account to see its content — instead, the platform itself sorted through millions of posts to present a perfectly curated page of content for each user. These discovery pages often now have the highest user traffic and have ultimately reduced the user’s need to “follow” individual pages.

With the rise of these personalized recommended feeds, other metrics like views, engagement and reach have become better measures for audience resonance and brand perception overall. While followers will always be a relatively important measure of a brand’s clout, understanding how your users are finding your content will help you tailor your posts for both new and existing followers.

Creating your home base

Consider this: If someone hears about a brand, where’s the first place they’re likely to look? More often than not, they go to social media. A strong, consistent presence can legitimize a brand, enhancing its credibility. It’s where customers come to “window-shop” — to learn more about the brand, its ethos and its offerings.

In a 2021 survey by Sprout Social, they found that 68% of consumers have actually purchased at least one product directly from social media. With the shift to “for you” pages as previously mentioned, social media is also becoming increasingly effective at introducing new products and brands to shoppers who otherwise wouldn’t know about it. Plus, with the rise of affiliate marketing and social media shop features, a brand’s social media profile has become an actual digital storefront, as your audience can purchase products directly through the app.

In essence, social media profiles have become a brand’s digital home base. As such, a poorly managed profile or one with just a few low-quality posts can raise red flags for potential customers and actually de-incentivize a purchase. Ensuring your social media pages are well-branded, consistently managed and polished will improve your chances of attracting and retaining customers long-term.

The way forward: Authenticity and collaboration

Ultimately, a brand’s social media strategy should revolve around developing engaging content that provides a direct value to your target audience. These days, with hundreds of thousands of brands and creators all fighting for views, it can be difficult to know what to post. So, how should brands navigate this transformed landscape?

  • Storytell, don’t oversell: Traditional advertising monologues won’t cut it. While you can, of course, have posts about the benefits and details of your products, brands need to foster conversation and go beyond ad posts to build an actual persona that consumers want to connect with. Engage with followers, respond to comments, and be part of conversations that your audience is having.
  • Collaborate authentically: Partner with influencers who genuinely align with the brand. It’s not about getting the creator with the most followers, but about finding those whose audience will genuinely resonate with the brand’s message and who will create high-quality content that your audience will love.
  • Diversify content: Go beyond the up-close, photoshoot-quality product shots. Share genuine behind-the-scenes glimpses, customer testimonials or even relevant industry news with your brand’s perspective. The goal is to offer value and keep the audience engaged with a variety of on-brand content that won’t seem repetitive.
  • Harness user-generated content (UGC): In the same way as word-of-mouth marketing, UGC is a valuable tool to provide credibility for the brand. In fact, a report by Stackla found that consumers were 2.4 times more likely to view UGC as authentic compared to content created by brands. Reposting and encouraging UGC not only provides authentic testimonials but also fosters community and shows customers that they’re valued.

While the landscape has shifted, counting brands out of the social media equation would be premature. Instead, the onus is on brands to evolve, re-strategize and leverage the platforms in ways that align with today’s digital dynamics. By focusing on authenticity, building genuine collaborations and establishing a consistent digital presence, brands can not only remain relevant on social media but thrive.

By Bryanne DeGoede

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor. Founder & Managing Partner of BLND PR. Bryanne DeGoede is the Managing Partner of BLND PR. With 15+ years of experience in marketing & PR, Bryanne has managed media for hundreds of companies, including Fortune 500 brands. With a proven track record of delivering results, BLND PR is one of the most successful boutique firms in the US.

Sourced from Entrepreneur

By Vikas Agrawal

Social media offers a level playing field for startups to build their brand presence, but the high competition necessitates a strategic and streamlined social media branding approach.

Did you know that there are over 4.62 billion active social media users worldwide? With such a massive audience, it’s no wonder that startups are leveraging social media branding to create a strong online presence and grow their businesses. But the competition is steep, and you must apply a strategic approach to stand out and make heads turn! So, let’s delve into the world of social media branding for startups. We’ll explore how to build a strong image and thrive in the digital landscape.

The power of social media branding for startups

Social media branding offers numerous benefits for budding startups. It’s not just about creating a logo or a catchy tagline; it’s about creating a unique recognition and following online that resonates with your audience.

First, increased brand awareness is surely one of its biggest benefits. Startups can harness social media platforms for branding by actively responding to customer feedback, initiating meaningful conversations through targeted content and hosting interactive sessions like Q&As or live streams to engage directly with their audience. This proactive approach fosters trust and builds a loyal community around the brand.

Enhanced customer engagement is another unique advantage of social branding. Platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn provide a unique opportunity for startups to interact directly with their customers and build lasting relationships. On Twitter, startups can engage in real-time conversations, respond to feedback, and address concerns, while LinkedIn allows for professional networking, sharing industry insights and fostering community discussions.

Similarly, startups can create community groups, host live sessions and run targeted ads to foster engagement on Facebook. With its visual-centric approach, Instagram allows brands to showcase their products, share behind-the-scenes content, and collaborate with influencers for wider reach.

But it’s not just about engagement and awareness. Effective social media branding can drive more traffic to a startup’s website through quality content, increasing sales and revenue. This is especially effective with video content, as 61% of customers are convinced to purchase based on the brand’s video.

Are you ready to leverage the power of social media platforms to elevate your new brand? Here are some tips to help you apply social media branding for your business effectively.

1. Establish a consistent brand identity

A strong brand identity is crucial for a startup’s success on social media. To create a consistent brand identity, define your brand’s mission, vision, values and target audience. Next, develop a unique brand voice and visual identity that resonates with your target audience.

Consistency is key, so ensure that your logo, colours, fonts and messaging are uniform across all social media platforms. Most importantly, always ensure your brand’s messaging is laser-focused on your target audience.

2. Choose the right platforms

Not all social media platforms are created equal. Each platform has unique features, demographics, and content formats; understanding these nuances is the first step in mastering social media branding. For example, LinkedIn is a hub for professionals and B2B marketing, while Instagram thrives on visual content, making it ideal for lifestyle and fashion brands.

To ace social media branding, it’s essential to identify the platforms that align with your startup’s target audience and objectives. Researching and understanding the demographics of each platform will guide you in selecting the ones that resonate with your brand’s voice and goals.

3. Create engaging and valuable content

Content is the backbone of social media branding. To create a strong brand presence, producing engaging and valuable content that addresses your audience’s needs and interests is crucial. Share a mix of informative, entertaining, and promotional content regularly to keep your audience engaged and showcase your brand’s expertise. And don’t forget to use eye-catching visuals and incorporate your brand’s unique voice and identity in all content. The final aim is to perform effective social media storytelling to build a loyal audience and customer base for your brand.

4. Leveraging user-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful tool for social media branding. You can foster trust, credibility, and engagement by encouraging your audience to share their experiences with your brand. Feature customer reviews, testimonials, and user-generated photos or videos on your social media profiles to showcase your startup’s success and create a sense of community among your followers. UGC not only amplifies your brand’s voice but also adds authenticity. When potential customers see real people enjoying your products or services, it creates a more relatable and trustworthy image for your brand.

5. Implementing hashtags and influencer marketing

Hashtags and influencer marketing can significantly boost your startup’s social media branding efforts. Use relevant and branded hashtags to increase your content’s visibility and reach. For example, creating a unique hashtag for a specific campaign can help you track its success and engagement. Collaborate with influencers who align with your brand values and have a strong following among your target audience. Influencer partnerships can help you reach new customers, increase brand awareness, and drive conversions. By choosing the right influencers, you can tap into their established trust and credibility, making your brand more appealing to their followers.

6. Tracking and analysing performance

For effective social media branding, it’s essential to monitor and analyse your startup’s performance on each platform. Use social media analytics tools to track key metrics, such as engagement, reach and conversions. Analysing this data will help you identify trends, measure the success of your campaigns and make data-driven decisions to optimize your social media branding efforts. Regularly reviewing these insights allows you to understand what resonates with your audience and what doesn’t. It’s not just about numbers; it’s about understanding the behaviour and preferences of your audience, enabling you to tailor your content and strategies for maximum impact.

Applying effective social media branding for startups in the competitive online space requires a strategic approach and consistent effort. It’s not just about crafting creative campaigns but understanding your audience deeply and making data-driven decisions catering to their needs. By establishing a strong brand identity, choosing the right platforms, creating engaging content, leveraging user-generated branding content, implementing hashtags and influencer marketing and tracking performance, you can create a powerful online presence that drives growth and success for your startup.

By Vikas Agrawal

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

CEO of Infobrandz.com

Vikas Agrawal is a Strategic Marketing Consultant, and Crypto Advocate. With a passion for visual marketing and branding, data privacy and emerging technologies, Vikas leads Infobrandz.com and empowers companies to thrive in the digital era.

Sourced from Entrepreneur

Growing an audience on a social media platform is essential for bloggers. So should you get started on Instagram? Or is Pinterest the better option?

When you begin blogging, you’ll likely need to wait months or years before search engines begin to rank your website properly. However, you don’t need to sit around twiddling your thumbs until that happens. Social media allows anyone with engaging content to expand their audience.
Instagram and Pinterest are two platforms that many beginner bloggers turn to when trying to grow their online presence. Both have benefits and drawbacks, and choosing the right one will allow you to dedicate more energy to attracting website traffic. So let’s compare them.

Monthly Active Users

Person liking a photo on Instagram

 

When looking at monthly active users, Instagram is much bigger than Pinterest. According to Statista, Instagram has around 1.35 billion people using the platform each month. And by 2025, that figure is expected to reach 1.44 billion.

Meanwhile, Pinterest had—according to Statista—463 million monthly active users in the first quarter of 2023. This is down from its peak in Q1 2021 when the platform had 478 million. However, it’s still not a bad audience base, and you could argue that finding your target audience will be less competitive.

Learning Curve

photo of pinterest page on a laptop

When choosing a social media network as a blogger, you need to think about whether you can continue using it as your audience grows, or if it’ll reach a peak saturation point. You must also consider what the learning curve is like.

The benefit of a bigger learning curve is that you’ll grow more over the long run. But on the flip side, you might become discouraged if it’s too steep in the beginning. In terms of app usability, Instagram is arguably easier to understand than Pinterest.

Instagram is quite an intuitive app. With Pinterest, you’ll need to learn a few extra things—such as how to design engaging pins and create boards. If you’ve decided that you want to use Pinterest, consider learning how to design a Pinterest Pin in Canva.

Growing Your Account

Man holding phone with Instagram on it

Social media can benefit businesses in many ways, and if you’re planning to monetize your blog later down the line, using social media is worthwhile. It’s hard to grow on most platforms, but some are easier than others. So how do Instagram and Pinterest compare in this respect?

Pinterest

Pinterest operates more like a search engine. Users look for topics that interest them, and they can do so using the search bar or checking their home feeds. If you publish consistently on the app, you can increase your monthly viewership—which may lead to more outbound clicks.

Gaining followers on Pinterest is sometimes challenging, but your follower count doesn’t really matter. Statistics such as saved pins and outbound clicks are more important for bloggers.

Instagram

Getting noticed on Instagram is quite challenging, especially as a beginner. Although you’ll see a lot of advice about how often you should post and the types of content you should publish, you’re better off being authentic and posting when you need to. In that respect, you might want to build your blog audience first and let them naturally find your Instagram page later.

Content Diversification Options

Before picking your preferred social media platform as a blogger, understanding what types of content you can share is a good idea. Not only will you be able to determine what you should prepare in advance, but you can also pick a platform with a form of media that you like.

Instagram

 

Instagram has evolved from being a simple photo-sharing app. Of course, you can share still images—and you have the choice to include up to 10 in a carousel post. However, since the introduction of Reels in 2020, video content has become more popular. If you want to stand out on Instagram, consider trying a selection of Reels ideas.

On Instagram, you can also share Stories in the form of both photos and videos. You can add stickers, along with encouraging your audience to ask questions and much more.

Pinterest

A Person's Pinterest Page With Photos

 

Pinterest also allows you to share videos with your audience, but these aren’t as much of a core experience as they’ve become on Instagram. You can also share carousel-style posts, but you’re limited to a maximum of five images.

If you like still images more than video content, you might want to think about using Pinterest over Instagram. At a later point, you can expand onto Instagram if you feel like you want to explore video content more.

Character Limits

Instagram post on iPhone

 

Even if you don’t start a blog on Instagram, knowing how to write engaging content both there and on Pinterest can help you build the audience you’re looking for. But prior to doing this, you should understand what the character limits are on each network.

When sharing a Pinterest board, you can only write a maximum of 500 characters. With that in mind, your descriptions should be brief and give users an idea of what to expect when they click on your link.

Instagram, on the other hand, lets you type up to 2,200 characters. But while you have more room to share your captions, you should still try to keep your writing as succinct as possible.

Image of a Pinterest Post With Link

The main goal of using social media as a blogger is to drive traffic to your website, and ideally, to also increase your newsletter sign-ups. Removing as much friction as possible can help in that respect.

Instagram lets you add links to specific posts, but you can’t use hyperlinks. As such, someone would have to copy and paste the link into their web browser. However, you can add links to your Stories and bio.

On Pinterest, you can add outbound links in each pin. Moreover, you have the option to include a link in your bio and claim your website.

Will You Choose Instagram or Pinterest?

Both Instagram and Pinterest offer several benefits to beginner bloggers, and you can scale with both of them as more people discover your work. Pinterest is an excellent tool for helping others find your content, especially if your site still doesn’t rank highly in search engines.

Instagram is arguably a better choice for more established bloggers, and it’s worth letting your audience find your account from your site—rather than the other way around. But you can build a close connection with your audience on Instagram, and you may find that it’s an ideal option for encouraging newsletter sign-ups.

By Danny Maiorca

Danny enjoys exploring different creative disciplines, especially photography. He has a degree in Sports Journalism and has been writing professionally since 2016.

Sourced from MUO

By Lisa Anthony 

These tools and apps have features that can help small-business owners automate marketing tasks and track the success of their efforts.

Marketing tools can help small businesses maximize their marketing efforts to reach customers, build their brand and drive sales. These tools — including online marketing services, digital platforms and apps — can provide automated features to improve efficiency, plus analytics and reporting to monitor your return on investment. Here’s a look at some of the best marketing tools.

Email marketing tools

Email marketing can be a cost-effective way for a small business to promote its brand, develop relationships with new customers and increase sales. Software can simplify the process through features such as email templates, A/B testing options, lead capture forms for your website, and reports. There are a lot of email marketing software platforms to choose from, but here are our top picks:

  • Mailchimp: Our pick for best overall email marketing software, Mailchimp’s paid plans offer templates, testing, landing pages, forms and reports as well as access to creative design tools and 24/7 support. Paid plans start at $13 per month, and there’s a free option with limited features.

  • Constant Contact: If you’re looking for a free trial, Constant Contact has one of the best — 60 days with no credit card information required. In addition to solid email features, it can help with social media marketing. Plans start at $12 per month.

  • Campaigner: For businesses that want a more advanced platform, Campaigner offers features such as a full code editor, conversion tracking, a Facebook audience builder and a getting started video tutorial. Plans start at $59 per month with a free 30-day trial.

Content marketing tools

Well-written, engaging content is key to a successful marketing campaign. These tools, which use artificial intelligence, can help you write content for blogs, newsletters, videos and social media posts to get the attention of your audience:

  • Simplified: Simplified offers free features such as a content rewriter tool, a company bio generator and an AI writing assistant, plus additional paid features that can help you create content for your website, blog and social media.

  • Grammarly Business: Grammarly can help you write mistake-free content for your website, social media, documents, messages and emails. The free plan offers basic features. Sentence rewrites, word choice options and other advanced features are available in the business version at $15 per month per person.

SMS marketing tools

Short Message Service, or SMS, marketing is a way for small businesses to share product information, promotions and upcoming events with their customers via text message. SMS marketing software can automate the process with design tools, website forms and other features. Here are our top picks:

  • SimpleTexting: Unlimited contacts and keywords, a graphic generator tool and template options are just some of the features that make SimpleTexting our top SMS marketing tool. Plans start at $29 per month with a free 14-day trial.

  • SlickText: For small businesses that want to use SMS for promotions, SlickText stands out for engagement features such as contests, surveys, promo codes, coupons and loyalty reward options. Plans start at $29 per month with a 14-day free trial available.

  • TextMagic: If a pay-as-you-go plan is better for your marketing budget, TextMagic lets you skip the monthly subscription fee and purchase prepaid credits that can be used when you want. Pricing starts at 4 cents per outgoing text, and a 30-day free trial is offered.

Website analytics tools

Understanding the behavior of visitors to your website allows you to optimize your content and reach your marketing goals of retaining customers, attracting new customers and increasing sales. The best analytics tools can help you look at key metrics such as page views and conversion rates and even offer details about competitors:

  • Google Analytics: Google Analytics offers free analytics and optimization tools to help you monitor the activity on your website. This includes acquisition, engagement and monetization reporting.

  • Lucky Orange: Lucky Orange is an optimization tool that provides analytics, but it also includes heat maps of user behavior, session recordings, surveys and visitor profiles at every plan level, including the free version. Paid plans start at $18 per month.

  • Semrush: For businesses looking for features such as competitor analysis and keyword research, Semrush offers them along with advertising and social media tools. Plans start at $119.95 monthly, and a free account is also available with limited features.

CRM tools

Customer relationship management, or CRM, tools do more than just store your contact database. The best CRM software can help you organize your contacts and collect information on potential customers interested in your products and services. Some software also has features that can help you manage a sales team.

  • Zoho CRM: Our top CRM pick offers features to help you collect and sort data, schedule tasks, manage sales pipelines and generate reports. Plans start at $20 per user per month, and a free version with full features is available for teams of three or fewer.

  • Salesforce CRM: This is a platform that can grow with your small business and includes features such as lead management, automatic data syncs and customizable reports. Plans start at $25 per user per month, and free trials are available at most plan levels.

  • Freshsales by Freshworks: For small businesses working on a tight budget, Freshsales’ Growth plan is free and allows for up to three CRM users. It includes solid features, such as personalized messages, contact scoring and sales management tools. Paid plans start at $18 per user per month with a 21-day free trial.

Digital marketing tools

When you’re using digital marketing methods to promote your small business and brand, software can help you automate your efforts and also track your return on investment.

  • Constant Contact: In addition to email marketing tools, Constant Contact also has features to assist you with social media marketing, digital ads and engagement reporting. Plans start at $12 per month.

  • Hubspot: After purchasing a plan, you’ll have access to email marketing tools, a landing page builder and an online form builder along with features that help you track performance. Marketing Hub plans start at $50 per month.

  • Keap: For businesses that want dedicated support, Keap offers customer-success managers at all plan levels to help you meet your digital marketing goals. Plans start at $189 per month.

Social media marketing tools

When you’re using multiple social media platforms to engage customers, reach new audiences and generate brand awareness, digital tools can make the management of your efforts easier through features such as automated scheduling, calendars and channel boosting.

  • Buffer: For businesses on a tight budget with three or fewer social channels, Buffer’s free plan may be the right fit for you. Post scheduling, calendar view, Instagram tagging, Twitter hashtag suggestions and Facebook page mentions are some notable features. Paid plans start at $6 per month per channel.

  • Zoho Social: If you’re managing one brand on 10 or fewer social media channels, Zoho Social offers multichannel publishing, content scheduling, an image editor, a publishing calendar, user tagging and summary reports. Plans start at $15 per month, and there’s a free version for one user.

  • Hootsuite: If you want an app with few limits and advanced features, check out Hootsuite. Notable features include unlimited posts, unlimited scheduling, a social content calendar, recommended publishing times, content curation tools, post boosting and analytics. Plans start at $99 per month, and a 30-day free trial is offered.

Design tools

Design tools can make it easier to create visually appealing graphics and videos for your marketing efforts. The best tools offer templates, image libraries and photo editing.

  • Canva Business: With built-in tools like a drag-and-drop editor, customizable templates, AI-powered design tools and free photos and graphics, Canva is a top pick. A free plan is available, and paid options start at $12.99 per month per person.

  • Adobe Lightroom: If you’re taking photos of your product or team to share on your website, social platforms or other marketing materials, Adobe Lightroom offers editing tools, tutorials and cloud storage. Plans start at $9.99 per month.

Direct mail marketing tools

While not as popular as digital marketing, sending postcards, flyers, catalogs and other types of direct mail marketing materials through the U.S. Postal Service to a customer’s physical mailbox can help your business stand out from competitors. Here are some tools that can help you do it:

  • USPS: The Every Door Direct Mail, or EDDM, tool can help you plan your mailing of postcards, menus and flyers. It offers filtering options and the ability to map routes and select delivery addresses — plus, postage discounts are available for most businesses.

  • Mailchimp: With an address finder and direct mail campaign automation, Mailchimp can help you send postcards to promote events, announce deals and provide other information to customers and potential buyers. Cost per card (with postage) ranges from $1.03 to 79 cents, based on quantity.

  • Click2Mail: If you want more than postcards for your direct-mailing efforts, Click2Mail offers flyers, letters, notecards, booklets and brochures, plus tools that can help automate the printing and mailing process. Price varies depending on mailing.

Project management tools

Project management software can help you manage your marketing projects from start to finish. The best ones help you break marketing projects into manageable tasks with assigned deadlines and offer customizable dashboards to track progress.

  • Jira: For businesses with small teams of 10 users or fewer, Jira’s free plan offers unlimited project boards and customizable workflows, plus reporting and insights. Paid plans start at $7.75 per user per month.

  • Monday: Designed for marketing and creative work, paid Monday Work Management plans offer unlimited dashboards and items to track tasks, projects, customers and any other information you want. Paid plans start at $8 per user per month, and a free version supports two users and limited items.

  • Asana: If you want to track more than marketing projects, Asana can help you manage a variety of different projects with list, board, calendar and timeline views. Plans start at $13.49 per user per month, with a free option available with basic features.

» MORE: Free or low-cost ways to advertise your business

Feature Image Credit: Getty

By Lisa Anthony 

Lisa is a small-business writer at NerdWallet and has more than 20 years of experience in banking and finance. Read more

Edited by Christine Aebischer

Sourced from nerdwallet