Tag 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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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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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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Why We Don’t Recommend GoogleApps for Small Businesses

Okay, so if you’re in the small business domain, you’ve heard all about the amazing world of Google. There is Google+, Gmail, GoogleApps, etc. Just one teeny problem that is missing in the marketing, the customer service is AWFUL. If you have a problem and call the 1-800 number, you will be connected with someone whose first language is not English and although that in itself is not an issue, it can present a problem when you’re trying to communicate.

Also, one small glitch we’ve come across is when we tried to upgrade from Gmail to GoogleApps, we lost our entire YouTube channel! That’s right, a video production company without samples, active video links, or unpublished videos (used to privately share content) all of a sudden disappeared. This is apparently a problem when you have a YouTube channel that is registered under the same domain name, in this case it was the name of our company, “Chicago Pet Video.” While we are a small company, we are incredibly busy serving our clients and to have our YouTube channel completely disappear did cause some waves and majorly effect the way we conduct business.

Initially we were switching our email system over and went straight for GoogleApps, but now Microsoft’s Outlook is going to have to win this small battle. I’d love to support Google here, but Microsoft’s customers support is definitely better (not by much, but still) and ultimately we can’t forgive them for permanently deleting our entire YouTube channel, with likes, comments, and all.

Anyone else have two cents to share on Gmail vs. Outlook or a similar customer service nightmare story to share?

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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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Best Sources for Lead Generation

The following are some of the best and inexpensive sources of lead generation. A lead is more than just a name and an email, it’s seeking out someone who is actively interested in the the product or service you have to offer. Focusing in on some of these methods will help you capture more sales-ready opportunities for your sales team to turn into new business and eventually increased revenues.

1. Your Website:  Perhaps the easiest way to get leads is through your own website, it’s not too time consuming and there’s no need to constantly update it as long as it has all the essentials.

  • Always, always make sure you have a visible contact number or email on your site.
  • If you’re capturing leads through a newsletter subscription then make sure you have sign-up forms on every page of your site.
  • With forms, it’s almost always best to ask for as little information up front from the customer as possible. Too many requests can often deter the customer and cause them to bounce right away. If you’re unsure about what information to collect, try a split test (1) requesting name and email only and (2) requesting name, email, phone, industry, company, job title, insight into their marketing goals, etc – see which one works best for you and garners the most sign-ups.
  • Adding photos or testimonials to your site is always a plus as it helps to add a greater sense of authenticity and credibility.

2. Networking Events:

  • Make sure you’ve perfected your elevator pitch! The last thing you want to do is ramble on for 10 minutes about how important your company is and how greatly it would benefit this person you’re speaking with. Have something ready that’s quick, concise and to the point.
  • Use names, one of the greatest compliments you can give someone is remembering and addressing them by their name. It’s a sign of respect and it’ll gain you respect in return.
  • If you can’t solve all the challenges and obstacles of what this person is looking for, let them know you’d be happy to make a connection to someone who will.
  • Networking events are great for building a sense of authenticity into your brand. Knowing the business owner or the voice on the other end of a future phone call helps put the customer at ease and makes them more comfortable.
  • Don’t go to networking events immediately seeking out the people who you think could use your service. Help those that may not be able to help you and get to know the ones you’ve met in the past, even better.
  • Map out a follow up process!

3. Social Media Engagement: Using social media for lead generation can be fun and easy but extremely time-consuming.

  • It’s important to do the necessary market research to figure out where the majority of your audience spends their time. You don’t want to be wasting precious hours on LinkedIn if most of your customers are hanging out on Twitter all day.
  • Creating a blog is a great way to get conversations started and keep them going (it’s also a great way to get traffic back to your site where they could potentially see those newsletter sign-up forms!).
  • The power of promotion is huge! Any content you’re creating whether it’s on your blog, an infographic, or video, etc it is incredibly important to promote 100% of them through your social media channels. And don’t limit it to promoting just once. Hootsuite is great for setting up scheduled posts, you can set up a 2 week old blog post to go out a few times next month.
  • Social media makes it so easy for us to take our “offline skills” and put them to use to develop and foster complex relationships online. Throughout your conversations always be genuine, always be of help and make sure all responses are prompt and thorough.

4. Trade Shows:

  • Prior to a trade show it’s a good idea to send an email or invite to pre-registered attendees or those who attended the previous year.
  • Instead of wasting time and money and handing out swag bags filled with logo pens and other trinkets to the masses, take a minute to just engage and converse with all those passing by. If you do plan to spend money on promotional items, do something out of the ordinary! USB drives and magnets are too generic, you’ll just blend in with the other 500 brands out there.
  • If your industry is data driven, make sure those important factors are advertised at your booth. For example, being a video marketing company like Chicago Pet Video, we want our audience to know important facts; 42% of business executives have made a purchasing decision based on an online video and 60% of execs will watch a video, before they ever read the text on the screen. These are facts that will help generate interest in how we can better help consumers with their potential needs.
  • Once you’ve generated a list (or collected information) of visitors, don’t wait weeks to follow-up. Create a meaningful follow-up piece of content that you can send in an email, something that’s targeted toward them rather than just using a typical sales pitch template.

5. Referrals From Current Clients: Referrals can be the easiest and most powerful way to expand your business as long as they’re done correctly.

  • Referrals are a great head start for your sales team but it’s still important to build the relationship and work through the sales cycle from start to finish just as you would any other situation.
  • If you over-deliver, have great customer service and offer a product that already WOWs your current customers, it’s possible that they’re already out there selling for you. They will be some of the most genuine and hardest working sales-staff you’ll ever have.
  • It doesn’t hurt to create a mutually beneficial arrangement where you give the referrer some kind of valuable reward, it lets them know they’re appreciated. When deciding on a reward make sure it’s significant. Determine the value of a sales lead and how much it typically costs you to convert a new customer and base your referral reward around this.
  • Add a “refer a friend” link to emails, websites and newsletters. Make it as easy as possible for people to tell their friends about your product or service.
  • Just remember if you’re taking care of your current customers, making them feel special and delivering amazing results, your outlook for getting referrals is going to be good. Remember, don’t be afraid to ask!
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If you lead, the rest will follow.

What sources of lead generation do you use most with your product or service? Have you eliminated any specific sources or focused more heavily on some versus others? Tell us your story!

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The Rise of Social Video Marketing

According to multiple sources, we can summarize and define Social Video Marketing as a way to increase audience engagement around a video through social activity. A successful video marketing campaign leverages a deeper, more contextual relationship between the brand and the consumer, who may chose to pass along the content because of a vested interest or a sense of trust that they feel has been reached. Social media outlets just help to perpetuate the flow and direction of the message.

Let’s do a little comparing and differentiating between Video Advertising and Social Video Marketing. Social Video Marketing should aim at creating a one-to-one or one-to-many conversation with consumers versus Video Advertising, which moves in more of a one-way trajectory path – no conversation happens back and forth between the end user and the brand.

Video Advertising is meant to increase sales in a more direct way. Whether it be the launch of a new product, service or special offer there is usually a call to action encouraging the customer to consider and/or make a decision that results in a sale for the company. In contrast, when we hear the term Social Video Marketing we usually think of something a little less direct and invasive. It’s more concerned with a video that creates general brand awareness and product engagement with its viewers. The call to action tends to be presented in a less aggressive but more influential way.

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Video Advertising tends to lack the creative side which is what often times makes a video worth sharing. On the other hand we could say Social Video Marketing focuses in on creating entertaining, engaging, educational and informational videos in hopes that they’ll be passed on voluntarily from one potential consumer to another. Of course every brand’s dream is to connect enough with their audience that it will kick their video into a viral state, unfortunately it’s not that easy.

However, ‘shareability’ is not always the key to success. If a main reason for video marketing is to increase brand awareness and engagement it doesn’t necessarily have to be shared in order to achieve those results. For example, an educational video may be more apt to convince a customer to purchase one product versus another and if it works, so be it, there may not be a reason to share it with others. The customer got the information they needed out of the video in order to make their final purchasing decision. There’s no denying that many of the concepts of Social Video Marketing and Video Advertising overlap but often times it’s the ultimate goal(s) and budget of each that differentiate the two.

Chicago Pet Video focuses on developing content and creating a video with our clients that helps them tell an engaging story about their brand. We believe it’s essential to reach customers using social media and to share with them an influential video rather than just hammering them with another branded advertisement.

We are the ONLY company that specializes in video marketing focused exclusively on serving the pet business community. We pride ourselves on being one of the early pioneers of this form of social video marketing that is truly unique, authentic and not quite 100% understood or utilized by even the leading marketers or videographers.

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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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