A man sitting at his laptop at a cafe while talking on his phone, working on an discussing social listening

The value of social media is forming, growing, and interacting with your business or nonprofit’s audience. It allows you to directly connect and communicate with those who are interested in your business. However, social media is not just useful for getting your message out. It also provides exceptional opportunities to learn from and understand your audience. We’ll explain what the role of this social listening is and how you can use it to better understand your target audience.

What are Social Listening and its Benefits?

Along with insightful metrics, the power of social media is the conversation. Social listening is using social media to get a sense of your audience’s thoughts about your business and its products or services. This is extremely beneficial for small businesses since it provides a fuller sense of what their wider digital community thinks or wants. That helps your business better understand its target audience and begin to make decisions about those desires or expectations. This listening and reacting also helps to foster a stronger and more dedicated community on social media as your audience realizes they are being heard.

Social Listening and Small Businesses

Social listening is an area of digital marketing where small businesses really shine. Larger businesses can be inundated with posts and comments that can be difficult, if not impossible, to sift through. Listening requires attention and focus, and that is a daunting task with a massive audience with myriad of voices. However, small businesses tend to have smaller, more focused audiences. That means it’s much easier for your social staff or digital marketing team to track and listen to most of your audience. Since at least 42% of users use social media to voice concerns about a product or service expecting a resolution, small businesses are better able to hear those customers. This focus is the same strength small businesses have on social media more generally. They can genuinely engage with their community.

How to Listen: Social Listening Strategies

To be fully comprehensive, social listening needs to employ multiple strategies to understand a target audience.

  • Listening to Direct Communications: Comments and private messages are direct communications with your business. Noting these means you are both paying attention to important comments or feedback. Responding to these communications also shows your audience that you’re actively listening.
  • Collecting Feedback: You can also foster direct communication with engaging posts. These might ask for input about what products or services they want to see offered, what their favourites are, or any other useful information.
  • Tracking Mentions, Keywords, and Tags: A lot of what you should listen to from your target audience isn’t said directly to you. For example, 96% of displeased customers don’t tell the company; they tell friends. The same goes for celebrating or recommending a product or service. Tracking keywords, mentions, and tags of your business, products, or services will provide a fuller sense of what your audience is saying. You or your marketing team can also track these for related brands or similar businesses to better understand your wider audience.
  • Attentive Listening: As you listen and respond to your audience. Be sure to listen attentively and consider the frequency of what they are saying. For example, if there is an issue with another company’s product or service, pay attention to what they say, and you may find a specific place where your business can address that issue and directly address it in your marketing. Similarly, if your audience repeatedly asks a similar question, it’s a good idea to provide a featured post that answers that question.
  • Understanding What is Beneficial: Not every comment, feedback, or impression will be informative. Not every social post or comment is thoughtful and attentive. Your marketing team will consider everything, but they will analyze and determine what is useful.

Start Listening, Start Understanding

Social listening is a key strategy for any business to understand its audience. Social media has given every user and business the unique opportunity for having a platform and communicating. A key part of communication is listening, not just speaking. By attentively and strategically listening on social media, you or your digital marketing team can begin to truly understand your audience and make effective and resonating decisions for your business. If you’re ready to start listening or want help mastering your strategy, contact the social media marketing team at Rosewood.

Woman creating email marketing for a small business while following our 2024 Dos and Don'ts

Email marketing is one of the most consistent and stable forms of digital marketing of the last 30 years. It’s especially effective for small businesses to reach and communicate with their customers and community. There can be plenty to consider and strategize for effective email marketing. Therefore, to start your 2024 off right, we’ve created a list of some essential DOs and DON’Ts of email marketing for small businesses.


  • Set Up DMARC Authentication: The Domain Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) is a protocol that authenticates those sending on a domain. This allows you to track and monitor everything sent on your domain, preventing the possibility of someone spoofing your domain and sending false emails on your business’s behalf. It’s best practice to set this up, but in 2024 it is also becoming a requirement from Google and Yahoo.
  • Verify Your Sending Domain: Effective email marketing requires using a third-party platform for creating campaigns, designing automations, managing audiences, and more. However, to send on your domain’s behalf, these services require you to authenticate your domain. Be sure to do this, so your emails come from your domain rather than the service’s proxy. Along with DMARC, this is also becoming a requirement of Google in 2024.
  • Link Everything: It might sound simple but don’t forget to link every image and button in your email. Along with opens, you want people to click on your email marketing to access your small business’ services and products. Users also now expect images and buttons to be linked and may become confused when a relevant image doesn’t go somewhere.
  • Keep Branding Consistent: Your email marketing, like any marketing, should be consistent with your brand. This ensures its messaging and appearance properly reflect your business. That consistency with your business, its other marketing, as well as keeping it consistent throughout all your email marketing will increase your audience’s trust in your emails.
  • Avoid Spam Complaints: A healthy sender reputation is critical for the success of your email marketing. It allows your emails to reach users’ inboxes where they will open and click them. This is why you need to avoid spam complaints, which will harm that sender reputation. Be sure you are only sending emails to subscribed recipients and follow Canadian regulations to avoid spam complaints.


  • Forget About the Alt Text: Emails usually include at least a few images that are part of your messaging. It’s essential for your email marketing’s accessibility that you define the alt text for each of these images. This allows anyone who may have difficulty seeing these images can still comprehend your content.
  • Have Too Many Calls to Action: Don’t overburden your email with too many messages. Stay focused and limit the call to actions you want your recipients to perform, or else they may become overwhelmed. Research has shown that keeping an email down to at most two calls to action seriously improves click rates.
  • Write Wordy Subject Lines: Just like you shouldn’t overburden the contents of your email marketing, you also should keep your subject lines short and sweet. Remember, brevity is the soul of wit. The recommended maximum is 9 words, but an effective email marketing subject can be even shorter. Try to create something that is quickly captivating and piques a recipient’s interest. Let the email itself do the job of delivering the full message.
  • Forget the Unsubscribe Button: It’s legally required in Canada to include an option for your audience members to withdraw their consent to receive messages. The new requirements by Google in 2024 will also require this unsubscribe to be only one step and easy to see within your email itself. Plus, making this easy will reduce receiving spam complaints that will harm your small business’ sender reputation.
  • Send Without Testing Your Email: After you have diligently designed and written out that perfect email campaign, don’t just schedule and send it out to the world without first testing it yourself. Every email platform provides testing tools to send the email to a single account. This allows you to make sure everything is linked, is linked correctly and displays properly. Be sure to test it with a few different email service providers. Even certain versions of some providers are infamous for not displaying emails correctly. Also, make sure to test the device on desktop and mobile devices since assets may appear differently on each kind of device.

Mastering the Power of Email Marketing

Email marketing continues to be a powerful tool for any small business’ digital marketing. It’s a powerful channel for effectively and directly communicating with your audience. These email marketing dos and don’ts will help you start to master its techniques. If you’re looking for more advice to improve your email marketing for 2024, or are hoping to start email marketing, contact our marketing services team at Rosewood.

The Rosewood team sitting together to review a productive 2023

In some ways the holiday break went a little too fast, but at the same time the Rosewood team is excited to continue existing projects and start a ton of new ones this year! We have a lot of digital marketing to strategize and websites to design and launch. However, just like previous years, we’re kicking off 2024 with a review of the success and accomplishments we and our clients shared in 2023.

2023 Proved No Less Busy Than 2022

In fact, 2023 kept us even busier as we served over 120 clients from developing websites to creating comprehensive marketing plans, and everything in between. To address our growing scope and project lists, we had a few new members join Rosewood. We’re still a small and focused team across our Canada-wide offices, but that hasn’t prevented us from making big accomplishments this past year. That focus also allowed us to provide individual and local attention to many of our small business clients concentrated in Newmarket, Uxbridge, Aurora, and around the GTA.

The Launch of Rosewood Fundraising

Rosewood launched a new division in 2023 dedicated to nonprofits that benefit their local communities: Rosewood Fundraising. We have been supporting and providing our services to nonprofits since Rosewood’s beginning; however, this new division dedicates itself to marketing solutions and strategies along with fundraising technologies that are honed to each nonprofit’s needs. Along with our digital marketing expertise, our new division includes our successful Catch the Ace lottery system as well as the new Fundraising for Good platform.

New Services and Insights from Rosewood in 2024

Our review shows 2023 was already a big year, and before we show how by listing all the incredible wins our team had this year, we want to discuss what the year ahead has in store to make it just as exciting. Along with the many projects already underway and soon to start this year, we are thrilled to unveil that we will soon be expanding our consulting services. We’re excited to launch this new service that will only further help small businesses succeed.

These consulting services will provide businesses and organizations with our team’s technical and industry expertise to identify the unique needs and best strategies they should put into practice. These comprehensive services will include website audits, social media branding and strategizing, email and SMS setup and best practices. For ads, these will go beyond traditional campaigns to focus on customized strategies, utilizing a full range of digital tools and resources. These consultations will be precisely tailored to meet the unique needs of every small business we collaborate with.

Wins from 2023


  • 31 websites launched!
  • 50 ongoing website maintenance clients with over 570 hours spent in 2023 on various maintenance tasks.
  • Countless websites optimized.


  • Generated over 110,000 clicks, directing traffic to a variety of local businesses, and boosting their online presence and customer engagement.
  • Achieved over 16,000 conversions encompassing leads, purchases, phone calls, directions requests, and much more.
  • Conducted extensive A/B testing with over 2,000 headlines across multiple industries to capture the unique voice and appeal of each business and sector.

Digital Media:

  • Over 1100 social posts were uploaded across all major channels to help businesses and nonprofits grow their reach and foster their digital community.
  • 112 email newsletters and many more email automations developed and sent to keep business’ clients and customers up to date while fostering loyalty.
  • 103 blogs written with another 64 also posted to improve website SEO while educating and entertaining site visitors.
  • 42 hours dedicated to copywriting not including editing and implementation.


  • Launch of Rosewood Fundraising as its own dedicated division.
  • Over $1 million in Catch the Ace transactions processed with proceeds directly supporting community programs across Ontario!


  • Further integration of Monday.com for client-facing operations, allowing them to track and update projects.
  • Hundreds of Video Tutorials recorded for clients and team members.
  • Hundreds of eye-catching graphics created.
  • Thousands of perfect images licensed and sourced.
  • Thousands of hours spent on Zoom, Google Meet and Slack Huddles!

Starting 2024 Right

Reflecting on all we’ve accomplished in our review of 2023, we’re only more excited to get started with 2024. We have plenty more websites to design, social posts to create, and ads to review, let alone the exciting things brewing both in our consulting services and over at Rosewood fundraising. We have big goals ahead for ourselves and our many clients. The new year is always a perfect time to set your own business resolutions to accomplish by the year’s end. If you have some big goals whether it’s web design, ads, social media marketing, fundraising, email marketing, or more be sure to contact us to get the year off to the right start.