Category Archives: Social Media

How To Do Facebook Hashtags

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Hashtags have been on Facebook for a few months now so it is important to understand the RIGHT way to use them. But, before you can use them you should know how they work.

Hashtags are created when you type a word or phrase (without spaces) after a pound sign (#). The pound sign is referred to as a hashtag when used online through social media. By adding a # to a word or phrase you are making it a searchable link. Then readers can click the link and see who else is talking about a specific topic.

The purpose of hashtags is to make posts more visible. A person searching under that hashtag topic is able to see all the posts, including those they have not yet “liked.” Therefore your company’s page can be more visible to new customers, always a perk!

Our Top 3 Tips:

1. DON’T Over Use

When hashtags are used too often in a post, it makes them harder to read and they can get over looked. Also, avoid using hashtags more than 1-2 times per post.

2. Privacy Settings

Privacy settings are still in effect with hashtags so if you use a hashtag on a post that can only be seen by a specific group, then only that group will see it, even when it is being searched.

3. Promotion

Facebook hashtags can be used to promote your brand, product, event, contest, or special discount offer. Creating a hashtag can help your promotion catch on more quickly with consumers.

Be careful if you are running a contest to only promote the contest through Facebook’s approved contest rules. For example, it is okay to spread information and awareness about the contest through a hashtag such as, #WinAChewToy. However, it’s against the rules to allow contest entries through that same hashtag.

Some Examples:

Friskies

Friskies

  • Friskies is using the hashtag #CatJobs and having customers post photos of the work their cats do around the home. It’s a way to build engagement with their followers and the cat community.
Earth Rated PoopBags

Earth Rated PoopBags

  • Earth Rated Poop Bags uses #earthrated and #poopbags to reach potential new customers searching for the brand.
Pup-Peroni

Pup-Peroni

  • Pup-Peroni has a wonderful and very easy hashtag of #pup to reach both those searching for the company and as a nice alternative to #dog, which comes up with a massive number of results.

To see more examples of hashtags on Facebook, we invite you to visit our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/chicagopetvideo

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Do’s & Dont’s of Making Sales through Social Media

Think of social media outlets as online focus group just waiting to be tapped for ideas. The more value you provide the more likely they’ll be willing to participate and contribute. The average visit in an online B2B community is 10 minutes with 1 visit every 5-7 days. Finding these online platforms gives companies an opportunity to strategically connect with potential customers in a meaningful and deeper interaction.

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Join An Online Community

  • DO establish an authentic persona for yourself, which is ultimately going to represent your brand.

  • DO nurture the community, provide valuable insights, stay on top of current trends in order to create critical mass and active contributions among members.

  • DON’T bombard the communities with posts asking them to visit your site and purchase your products. In other words don’t just drop your sales pitch in as a post for the day.

  • DON’T repeat posts. Don’t post the same word-for-word update across all 5 of your social media channels. Don’t send the same tweet out every day at 11am. Switch this up, create that authentic and transparent voice behind your brand.

Find the Best Place to Connect with Prospects

  • DO the necessary research to find out where your audience is and where they are having conversations.

  • DO spend time on blogs and comment sections, you’ll be surprised at how many people are already talking about you or what you do.

  • DON’T spend a majority of your time on Facebook if you’re trying to get the attention of C-Level executives.

  • DON’T waste time on platforms that aren’t relative to your audience. If there’s no engaging conversation happening it may be best to leave that platform behind.

Get the Most Out of LinkedIn

  • DO research into the different groups. Many of these groups are extremely niche and often relate directly to your product or service. LinkedIN is great for B2B sales.

  • DO provide valuable information and answers to members that are asking questions, become an expert in your industry.

  • DON’T post incessantly to the point where you’re going to get yourself bashed by other members or even banned from the groups.

  • DON’T use the generic LinkedIn message when connecting with someone. Put some thought into why you believe a connection to that person would be valuable for both of you.

Build the Relationship

  • DO spend time developing relationships. Good relationships will turn into leads!

  • DO share content that resonates well with your audience. The more they can identify with your posts the more loyal they’ll become to you, so much so that they’ll share with others extending the reach of your relationships.

  • DON’T ask a lot from your fans. Be mindful of their space and news feeds. Too much begging and asking could cause them to leave you.

  • DON’T stay silent if a mistake is made. We’ve all seen them happen, when a company Twitter account gets “hacked” or a thoughtless post gets posted at the wrong time. The worst thing you could do is stay silent during a case like this. Fess up, own up to your mistake and don’t lie to you followers. Don’t underestimate the power of a sincere apology and when possible, make light of the situation.

As a consumer, what are some of your biggest pet peeves that you see brands do?

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Video for SEO and Why it Works

Optimizing your videos to reach your intended audience and match what people are searching is extremely important when it comes to building out a SEO strategy. YouTube is the second largest search engine behind Google with more than 100 hours of new video content uploaded every minute compared to 48 hours just two years ago, a clear sign video is on the rise. Maximizing a video’s search exposure should be a high priority for companies and brands if it’s not already. According to Forrester research, videos are 50 times more likely to rank on the first page of Google results than any given text page in the index.

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Here are a few important tips to best optimize your videos:

High Quality Content: This may be the most obvious way to optimize your video, but it’s one of the most important. Videos have a very strong selling point when it comes to niche markets. Keep your content as relative and informative as possible to your specific audience.

Tags: Refer back to any keyword research you’ve done (with Google’s Keyword Tool) and make sure you tag the video with any of the terms you’ve deemed to perform well. Tags allow you to add extra words that wouldn’t fit naturally into the description. Keep these limited to 2-3 words at most, separated by commas.

Title: Spend some time creating the title of your video. Anyone seeing it for the first time should be able to get an idea of what they’re about to view just by glancing at it. Make sure the main keyword(s) you are targeting for are somewhere within your catchy and clear title.

Description: A good video description contains relevant keywords. Search engines will index it and rank it higher when a keyword-rich description of the video is included, this also helps viewers get a quick understanding of your video prior to watching it. Be careful not to pack it full of irrelevant keywords, this could immediately deter a customer away.

Ease of Embedding: Make it simple for users to access the code that allows them to embed the video on their own website or blog. Add visable share buttons on your website below the video to create a quick and easy way to pass it along. Both of these will help to increase backlinks and shares which overall helps to boost your rankings in search engines.

Google Sitemap: Submit your video to Google Sitemap as a way to let search engines know what pages on your site need to be indexed. See Google’s guide for Creating a Video Sitemap.

Powerful, relevant and engaging videos that are optimized for discovery are vital to boosting your brand’s awareness and will truly have a huge impact on your SEO strategy if done right. You will find that it’s worth investing the time into producing, creating and promoting a good video in order to increase your ROI.

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How To Integrate Video Into A Robust Content Marketing Strategy (Guest Post)

Steve Farnsworth's Old Blog

Video is powerful because it shows there are people behind your business, which is important for building a strong brand that people can relate to. But how can you integrate it into your content marketing strategy effectively?

Know Your Audience

Before you can put together a video that will be relevant to your audience, you need to know precisely who that audience is. It’s important not to try to appeal to everyone – instead, figure out your archetypal customer. Two tools to help you do this are Sally Hogsheads 7 triggers of fascination and a simple guide to creating a customer persona. This’ll smooth out the rest of the process, because it’s much easier to figure out what to say to one person than to 1000.

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★ How To Integrate Video Into A Robust Content Marketing Strategy

Know Your Reasons Why

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8 Ways to Get Website Visitors to Stick Around

When people land on your website how much are they really engaging with your content? If you use Google Analytics you should be able to make informed decisions about your website knowing how much time people spend there, what pages they stay on or leave from and whether or not they ever return. Getting people to your site is a project in itself but getting them to stay there and engage once they arrive is the hardest part. Below are 8 sure ways to get them to stick around:

1. Teach your visitors something new every time they come back: If you visited a site today and again in a month to see that there are no changes or updates, there’s a good chance you wouldn’t think anything is happening within the business. A blog would serve as a great solution here!

2. Keep the website navigation clean and simple: Once landing on your page, visitors should immediately understand what your website does, what value it will bring to them and what they should do next. Headline copy should be short and clear. Page copy should explain what you do in the simplest of terms. It is extremely important to have one main call-to-action on each page of the site – this could be a sign-up, a download, a free-trial, watching a video, or any other type of action you want your visitors to perform while visiting.

3. Provide pictures and video: Visuals are a great way to demonstrate and communicate how your product/service works. People don’t always prefer reading through text but they are open to watching and listening to a short explainer video about a product or service. These videos will also help increase the amount of time your visitor spends on site versus an otherwise quick skim through of page copy.

websitevideo

4. Update your content: You often hear content is KING. Updating your content and keeping your site relevant could be as simple as adding an ‘Updates’ or ‘News’ scroll with new product/service announcements, events you’ve attended, internal promotions, new contracts or recent partnerships. This will help change up your website so visitors aren’t visiting the same site over and over.

5. Add a blog: Give your visitors something valuable. A blog helps to increase the authenticity and show the personality behind your brand. You can think of it as an extension of your website’s ‘About Us’ page. Visitors are able to get a better understanding of your company, its employees, your values and what you really take pride in such as sharing and building a product that benefits your customers.

6. List the benefits of your products & services: This page should clearly highlight your various products and services giving your readers the information they need in order to research and understand what your business has to offer. There should be specific points describing how your product/service can fulfill a need or solve a problem that your visitor has. Be clear as to how you differentiate from your competitors. What can they expect to get from you that they wouldn’t anywhere else?

7. Case studies/testimonials: Case studies are a wonderful way to highlight your company’s success. These can help add a concrete and personal touch to your product and services. In each of your case studies be sure to mention the customer’s challenge, how your service helped them overcome that challenge and the outcome or result(s) they’ve had since using your service.

8. Test, Test, Test: Tweaking your website into it’s most successful version is going to be a night and day difference when it comes to ROI. Sites that can keep their visitors occupied with easy-to-find information are going to be the real stand-outs here. For example, f you have a newsletter sign-up form it’s extremely important to test out different forms, which styles get the most conversions? Are you asking for too much information for your guests? Is what you have to offer intriguing enough to get them to sign up? Does the signup button perform better when it’s green or yellow? Believe it or not these small details can make or break your click through rates. Never stop TESTING!

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Leveraging LinkedIn for Your Small Business

While the general public views LinkedIn as a place to connect with recruiters and post an “online version” of their resume it’s also an exceptional platform for businesses to seek out and capture some very targeted leads. It provides a great opportunity for you to promote your product and/or services where many conversations around topics specific to your industry are most likely already happening. If you haven’t taken advantage of what LinkedIn has to offer, now is the time to start.

Finding leads on LinkedIn:

  • Use the advanced search opportunity to find members based on location, company, industry, job titles, size of company, etc.

  • Check out who’s been viewing your profile and reach out to them, they’re probably looking at your profile for a reason.

  • After you connect with users, send them a message thanking them for the connection. None of those generic messages either, it doesn’t take much to add a little personalization to it.

linkedin

Building Brand Awareness & Credibility:

  • Post engaging and relevant updates 3-4 days a week from both your own personal page and from your company’s page. LinkedIn is known to have a peak time between 12pm and 3pm during the workweek.

  • If you have more connections than fans on your company page – which is most likely the case – make sure you’re linking to your company’s page. Linkedin just recently added the @ mention feature making it easier to grab the attention of specific individuals and lead your connections directly to your company’s page more easily.

  • It’s important that you’re active in at least 5 groups pertaining to your industry. The people here are most likely already interested in what you have to share. Start sharing relevant content, engage with other user’s posts and generate conversations.

  • We highly suggest creating and hosting a group of your own as well. Build up a community that’s centralized around your brand and become a resource for your members by establishing a forum for them to share their best practices, obstacles, new ideas and opinions. This will help create credibility of your brand amongst your target market. We recently started one of our own, Your Pet Business Networking Group as a place to share ideas, meet other pet industry professionals and provide a networking opportunity for ourselves and other members

  • Encourage your current customers to leave recommendations on your company profile. Personalized recommendations, ratings and reviews are a HUGE market right now. Consumers are constantly seeking out what others have to say before making a decision to purchase a product or use a service.

What to do once you’ve created a LinkedIn Group:

  • Promote, promote, promote! If you have a monthly newsletter that you send out to your subscribers, include invitations to your LinkedIn group in it.

  • Once you build up your Group, it may be obvious that you have some very prominent and powerful members that contribute to the group. Need new content for your blog? Promote these members while doing so! If they’re introducing a new product or service of their own what better place to shine the spotlight on them than your company’s blog and within the group! The group members will be more apt to share the content with their audiences which in turn will help create brand awareness for you.

  • Avoid being too salesy or pitchy. People join LinkedIn groups because of the low-key relationship that’s expected of them. They don’t want to feel pressured into buying anything, but rather find a place to seek out information at their own convenience.

What are some of your favorite aspects of LinkedIn? What tactics work well for your small business, which ones don’t? Feel free to share in the comment section below, we’d love to hear about them!

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Business Financial Advice for Pet Professionals

Episode 2 of Pet Professional Series Web Series, “Your Pet Business.”

Business finance questions answered by pet business expert, Jeff Eckerling, CEO of DoggyLoot. Also featuring Andrea Lain Keirn, owner and founder of Big Bark, as the featured new pet business. Host is Andrea Fischetti from Chicago Pet Video. For more information and other episodes, visit: http://www.chicagopetvideo.com

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Video Marketing Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Campaign

Video marketing is gaining traction faster than most marketers can keep up with it. Audiences are gathering more information and insight into products and brands through video than any other form of content. A video on your home page is essentially your customer’s first impression of your brand, so don’t blow it. Make sure you’re not guilty of these issues that may be causing viewers to bounce mid-video.

1. Your splash screen isn’t eye catching: Make sure your splash screen is visually appealing. This is the first thing a customer’s eyes come across and there needs to be something there that will get them to click that play button. Having a good title description on your video is important, asking an intriguing question here or telling them in a few short words what they’re about to view is key.

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2. You have no direct call to action: The easiest call to action for you customers is to first make sure that what you’re asking fits with what your viewer is looking for. If that matches the exact needs of your viewer then taking the recommended next step will just be a natural course of action for them. Add a more prominent call to action at the end of the video such as “If you liked this video, please click the link below for more information” or simply ask them to share it with others. Don’t forget to make it easy for them to share, whether it’s a shortened link or a way to embed it.

3. You’re selling too hard: People don’t watch sales videos, if anything they go out of their way to avoid them. Rather than promoting, pushing and asking for a sale try a more authentic and soft approach to selling. Identify your customer’s expressed wants and needs and simply inform them how your product or service may benefit them. Sell your product with engaging and if appropriate, humorous content.

4. Buffering takes too long: A study shows that four out of five people will click away from a streaming video if it pauses to buffer (just once) instead of waiting for the video to reload. Odds are you, yourself have been guilty of this before.

5. Video quality is low, editing was choppy: Test, test, test and make adjustments! Lighting can sometimes be forgiven but if your audio is too quiet the viewer will automatically press the stop button.

6. Too scripted: A great video will sound like natural conversation. Though it’s important to start with a good introduction make sure you’ve practiced this enough that you can say it without having to think it through. When you’re looking into the camera speak directly to your audience as if you were in the same room as them, this will help create intimacy and a connection with your viewers.

7. Lack of promotion: Self explanatory. If you have social media channels, use them! Take advantage of Hootsuite’s scheduled posts and promote your videos multiple different times over the course of a few months.

8. Lack of SEO Within Your Video: Make sure you place keywords in the video description, title and keyword tags – keywords that your customers are likely to use when searching for your product. Include a link in your description of the video that will link back to your website, this will help increase your referral traffic.

A marketing video is not something you can throw together in an hour. Remember, your video is essentially a reflection of the quality of your product and services. Poor lighting and audio will detract from the actual information that you’re trying to convey to your audience, causing your brand to be less credible. Take the time and spend some money to create a professional video. Greater quality = greater response.

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Happy April Fools Day!

NewsFeed

Has someone put your stapler in a Jello mold? Are you plotting your revenge right now? Well if you need some inspiration, check out how the biggest websites and companies have attempted to dupe Americans today as we celebrate April Fools’ Day.

MORE: Google’s Greatest April Fools’ Hoax Ever (Hint: It Wasn’t a Hoax)

MORE: The White House Wishes You a Happy April

WATCH:YouTube Announces It Will Shut Down

Google freaked out viral video lovers by announcing that YouTube will shut down. It also rolled out new products like Google Nose, “the new scentsation in search,” and “Treasure Maps,” based on a pirate map pulled out of the Indian Ocean during an “underwater Street View expedition.”

Twitter joked that basic users can only tweet with consonants; to use vowels, they will have to pay $5 a month.

If you want a hot…

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Pinterest for Your Brand

Trying to decide if Pinterest is right for you business? Check out some of the recent statistics behind the site’s success and maybe you’ll have a better idea of what all the hype is about this past year. The social platform is still gaining speed, so don’t worry you’re not too late on your arrival if you haven’t started.Infographic

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