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Social Media Calendar 2018 Planning – It’s Time to Start!

by Shannon Huppin on November 15, 2017

Social Media Calendar 2018 Planning - It's Time to Start! Divahound

Sure, there is plenty of 2017 left. But there’s never been a more perfect time to get a kick start on next year’s social media calendar. By having a plan set in place well before the new year, there’s no mad scramble to get something less than spectacular in place, and you’ll be better prepared to reach your goals. Here is our top-down approach to creating a calendar that will help your small business achieve your marketing goals and have a productive year.

2018: The Year

What do you want to accomplish this year? Taking time to decide on big goals for your business will help you drill down to more specific tactics to reach them. Write down 1-3 large goals you want to take on next year, and an approximate timeline of when you want them to happen. These goals can be a mix of overarching sales goals, business expansion goals, and even personal growth items. Whatever the goal, make sure that all benchmarks and smaller goals and tactics are feeding into these large, must-do items.

Quarterly

What can you do this quarter to foster the success of the yearly goals you’ve set? One of the best ways to reach a big goal is to chunk it up into smaller ones. When it comes to social media, a good quarterly plan is to create benchmarks or milestones for your channels and their engagement. A quarterly review of your follower levels, post reach, and engagement (likes, comments, shares) can help you adjust your posting strategy and ascertain if different kinds of content bring about more or better engagement.

Monthly

A great way to tackle monthly social media planning is to choose 12 themes – one for each month – and plan social posts around the theme. They can be as simple as a seasonal idea (January is a good time to promote healthy living and tips) or as complex as a fundraising campaign for a community event your business is sponsoring. These monthly themes can also help you come up with some great blogging topics that all fall into each of the categories. It is totally doable to write 12 blog posts in a year.

Weekly

Continuing of our top-down, flow-up theme, your weekly social media posting plan should coordinate with your monthly theme. The weekly post plan can have some creativity and flexibility, but you could make it even simpler by theming each day of the week so that you always know what to post. For example, Monday could be a motivational post, Tuesday could talk about your products and services, Wednesday could reveal the new blog post each week and so on.

Top Tips

  • Try to post daily. A consistent approach is not only easier with a calendar already set, but your audience will be more likely to stay loyal to your small business when they hear from you often.
  • Be flexible. If something comes up that needs to take precedence over the calendar, don’t worry about it. Calendar content can usually be shifted to another time and as an added bonus; you’ll have one fewer thing to think about.
  • If you can’t blog weekly, make sure you can create at least one blog post per month. This blog post will be easier with a monthly theme established, and with your calendar already set up with a few months left in the year, you can even begin writing this content ahead of time.
  • Don’t forget about holidays! Work the holiday posts into the calendar now and you’ll never miss one.

Contact us today and let us know how we can help!

Six Video Ideas for your Small Business in Q4 2017

by Shannon Huppin on November 1, 2017

Six Video Ideas for your Small Business in Q4 2017 - Divahound

We’ve already reached the home stretch of the year: quarter four! While it feels like the time has flown by, there’s a lot that can still be accomplished this year. With the busiest shopping season still upon us, small businesses can cash in using social media, and video in particular. Here are some ideas for you to get those creative wheels turning and make your best videos of the year yet!

Product Demo

One of the most popular types of videos, a demo of your product can familiarize the public with what you offer. Be sure to tell them how it will benefit them or make their life easier, as well as why they should get it NOW versus another time of year.

Testimonials

Reviews are important to businesses, but video testimonials can be even more powerful. Viewers can picture themselves as the person in the video, thus making it easier to picture themselves buying or using your products or services.

Bonus tip: save yourself some time in the new year by recording multiple video testimonials from different customers. Use some now for Q4, and sprinkle the rest throughout 2018 – instant content!

Thanksgiving

It’s the season for bringing together the people you love and being reminded of everything you’re thankful for. A heartfelt video from you, telling your staff and customers how thankful you are for them is a great way to humanize your business.

Holiday Gift Roundup

The holiday shopping season will ramp up soon, so get out in front of it with a video telling people how and why your products would make great gifts! If you make it easy for people to find and buy (i.e., putting links in your videos or telling people where to find your products), they are more likely to make the next step of purchasing. You’ll see more sales if customers can knock out multiple people on their gift lists in one spot.

Milestone Celebration

The holidays are a wonderful time to celebrate some successes from your past year (or years) in business. If you reached a significant number of customers, orders, franchises or simply had a banner sales year, a video is a fun way to celebrate and commemorate the occasion.

Year in Review/Thank You

It’s never a bad idea to tell your customers “thank you”! Especially at the end of the year when many people are very focused on the “busy-ness” of the season. Take a moment to recount some high points of your year, and tell your customers just how much they’ve meant to your company and how they’ve contributed to your success.

Contact us today and let us know how we can help contribute to your success!

Ten Social Media Post Ideas for Fall

by Shannon Huppin on October 18, 2017

Ten Social Media Post Ideas for Fall - Divahound

Believe it or not, the first day of fall is already behind us! The year is flying by, but with the holiday shopping season coming up very soon, Q4 is a booming time for lots of small businesses.

If you’re already planning your social media calendar for 2018, good for you! If you’re focused more on just getting through the last few months of this year, we’ve got you covered there too. Here are ten great ideas for social posts in the fall season.

  1. Back to school! Kids are back into the classroom for another school year. Capitalize on that momentum by wishing kids a great year, and maybe offering parents a little discount on one of your products or services.
  2. Another way to celebrate the back to school season is to “sponsor” a classroom. Get a gift card for school supplies for a teacher and tell your social fans about what you’re doing in your community.
  3. Feel like doing something even bigger? Host an online school supply drive! Create an Amazon wish list, share it on your social channels and have supplies sent straight to a school or teacher. Doing good is always good PR.
  4. Don’t forget about the new fall season! Ask your followers to fill in the blank: “My favorite thing about fall is ________.”
  5. Create a time-lapse video of the changing colors near your office or facility. Commit to taking a photo in the same place each day and loop them together for an end-of-season surprise video.
  6. Fall is a great time to offer a sale or discount! People are always thinking about Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but offering a social media exclusive discount earlier in fall may get people excited about the holiday shopping season (AND give you a head start on your Q4 revenue goals!
  7. All the holidays give you quick and simple fodder for social posts. Halloween, Thanksgiving and any special fall festivals or celebrations your city observes are worth a post.
  8. Share a fun fact about the season or create a simple contest for people to guess the answer and win a prize.
  9. Does your small business have a fall tradition? Tell your fans about it and then ask them about theirs.
  10. Post a picture of your office’s fall soup pot luck and get fans and followers to submit their favorite recipes online.

The list doesn’t end there. Anything seasonal can be related back to your business if you take a few moments to think about what your audience would want to know, see or hear from you. Seasonal posts are a great way to keep your page feeling alive without getting to sales-y. Don’t forget that many seasonal posts can offer evergreen content for next year, too! Contact us today and let us know how we can help.

 

7 Live Streaming Best Practices for Effective Videos

by Shannon Huppin on October 4, 2017

7 Live Streaming Best Practices for Effective Videos - Divahound

Videos are continuously growing as the most-viewed content online. Need some hard evidence? Check out these stats:

Are you convinced? After you’ve determined that a video live stream (like on Facebook) is a good move for your small business, there are some best practices to keep in mind as you get started.

Advertise

If you don’t tell people you’ll be live, you could be sitting around waiting for viewers to stumble upon your live stream video. Since counting on people to be in the right place at the right time isn’t a great way to gain customers, decide on a date, time and topic, and tell people when you’ll be going live and where they can tune in.

Experiment with Timing

After you’ve completed a few live stream videos, analyze your viewership. Did you have more viewers in the morning or evening? When were people most engaged? Use this data to help you determine when future live streams could be most beneficial to your message.

Say Hello (AND Goodbye)

Pretend you’re at a cocktail party and don’t know anyone. You’d have to introduce yourself, right? Once you hit the “go live” button, be sure to tell people who you are, what your business is and what you’ll be talking about. Then you can dive into your live stream plan. Don’t forget to wrap up the video with a neat little bow: a call to action and a meaningful signoff.

Interact

Viewers are there to see you do your thing, sure, but they also want to feel like part of the action. Intermittently reaching out to a viewer by name (“Hi Sandy, thanks for joining us!) can encourage likes, a longer viewing time and even spur some comment conversation. Use the live stream platform to find out more about what your viewers want, and tell them how your small business can be a solution for their lives.

Call to Action

Whatever you want people to do, be sure to ASK them to do it. Whether you want them to sign up for your webinar, join your email list or click on a link, they may not take action unless you specifically point out that there is an action to take.

Demo/Sneak Peek/ Announcement

A live stream is the perfect place to show people how your product works. If you’ve got a brand-new widget coming out, give them a sneak peek, show them how awesome it is, and then announce when it will be available to the public. You could even make your live stream viewers feel like “insiders” and give them a special discount promo code or do a giveaway during the video.

Stay Live Longer

Depending on which platform you’re using, there’s a good chance that a longer video will have a higher viewership and better call to action results. The more time you’re willing to spend creating the video and interacting with your viewers, the more likely it is that people will stick with you – and share the video afterward.

Need some ideas of what to stream? Check out our blog here, or drop us a line; we love to help!

Five Email Subscription Tools to Help Build Your Contact List

by Shannon Huppin on September 20, 2017

Five Email Subscription Tools to Help Build Your Contact List - Divahound

Building your contact list is one of the best ways to get your information in front of people who want to know more about your products and services. The email list is a really important selling tool, and there are lots of ways to capture those contacts. If you want some great ideas on how to build your list, check out our blog post here.

One of the simplest ways to expand your email list is to grab attention right away when people visit your website and get them to sign up then and there. This can be done with a simple plugin for your WordPress site that integrates with your email provider. Here are five plugins that could garner powerful communicating power for your small business.

WP Subscribe

This free plugin – yes, free! – is a simple and easy way to create a homepage popup and grab emails from visitors. This plugin integrates with AWeber, Feedburner, and MailChimp, making it a seamless way of hands-off email list building. While the basic version is free, you can upgrade for only $27, and you’ll get more color options and different options for placement.

Pro Tip: Keep an eye on your opt-in rate. If you see it start to drop, it may indicate it’s time to change the look, location or copy of your popup.

Opt-In Monster

For a beautiful way to increase your email list without risking annoying your visitors with a popup. A well-placed sidebar can give site visitors a chance to look around at what you have to offer and then choose to opt-in to your email list at any time. Opt-In Monster offers both popup and sidebar options to capture as many emails as possible.

Bonus: With three different pricing tiers, you’ll get all the features you need and none that you don’t.

Popup Domination

If you want a simple popup plugin, go with the software that does ONLY that. With 24 design templates and integration with all major email marketing platforms, Popup Domination is a great tool for many small business owners for only $47.

Bonus: Use Popup Domination as a WordPress plugin OR as standalone software for other web platforms.

Pippity

Sometimes having too many options can be overwhelming. Pippity simplifies the popup process so you don’t get bogged down in choosing the perfect color or font and can get to the real reason for the popup – growing your list. Starting at $49, Pippity will show popups to visitors after they’ve visited a certain number of pages or at the end of an article or content page, keeping people engaged.

Bonus: Pippity offers detailed analytics and integrates with 23 major different email providers making this seemingly simple software pretty dynamic.

Thrive Leads

For a robust list-building tool, Thrive Leads has nearly every opt-in feature you could ever want. Choose from a large list of templates, get extensive A/B split testing options and even offer two-step opt-in content. With a decent price point of $67, you get a year of support and all the upgrades for the lifetime of the software.

Pro Tip: Thrive Leads offers the ability to send current subscribers a particular link and everyone else to another place. Customized links are a terrific way to get eyeballs where you want them on your content.

Divahound can help you craft an email strategy and help you choose the best tools for your small business success. Contact us today and let us know how we can help!

How – and WHY – to Create Evergreen Content

by Shannon Huppin on September 6, 2017

How - and WHY - to Create Evergreen Content - Divahound

One of the best ways to ramp up your content to support your marketing efforts is to create a pool of evergreen content. What is evergreen content? It’s web pages, blog posts and social posts that can be reused at any time of the year. A blog post about a flash sale is NOT an example of evergreen content. A social post with an image of your top-selling product and engaging copy encouraging likes and shares IS a great example of evergreen content.

Why should you spend time creating content that can be reused later? There are several benefits. For starters, you don’t have all the time in the world to continue creating new content every single day. By investing some time in evergreen content pieces that can be recycled later, you’re saving yourself time down the road. Over time, these pieces may need to be updated, but that will take significantly less time than creating something from scratch. Secondly, customers will gravitate toward content that answers the questions they have. So, if you consistently get the same questions about your products or services, that gives you a good idea of what kind of evergreen content will resonate with your core audience and keep turning readers into return customers.

Now that you’re ready to establish a core pool of evergreen content, here are some ideas that you can fill your website and social channels with that you can come back to again and again.

FAQ

Take the questions you get most (five to 10) and turn them into an answer-filled blog post. Make sure you make it easy for people to contact you or order so you can maximize sales opportunities

FAQ Deep Dive

While your FAQ blog post answered a lot of questions, perhaps you can go deeper on each of those questions. Give more in-depth information and tell your customers why your small business is the solution to their question.

Tell Your Story

Everyone loves to know how someone got their start. Tell your readers how and why you began your business and they’ll feel more connected to you and your products.

Interviews

In addition to telling your story, interview your team members or VIPs for some great evergreen content. They can give a personal perspective on your small business.

How-To Guides

Give people a step-by-step way to use your product and get the most out of it. Does your small business offer a service and not a physical product? Tell them the best way to order, plan, and execute your service.

Lists

Lists make great content pieces that you can post over and over. Create a list of ways or places to use your small business.

Have questions about evergreen content for your business? We’ve got answers. Contact us today and let’s create a great marketing plan for your small business.

 

 

Small Business Owners - Three Ways to Provide Better Customer Support - Divahound

Just because your business is small, doesn’t mean your task list is small! You have the full responsibility of running the business in your hands, and that means a lot of tasks on your plate.

If there’s one thing that can make or break your business, it’s a good relationship with your customers. But responding to customer requests can also be one of the most time-consuming tasks if you’re taking is on yourself. What’s a workable solution? Here are some ways you can improve your customer service – and customer experience – without losing precious time out of your day.

Provide Tools

Nobody likes to feel like they are left out to dry, so be sure to provide customers with tools to get their question answered.

To save time, provide an FAQ (frequently asked questions) page on your website or a downloadable document. This FAQ can keep your email inbox clear of basic questions about hours or pricing, and free up your time on the phone by not having to pick up and answer the same question 38 times a day. Your FAQ should be a living document, so make sure as your business evolves, the answers you provide evolve with you.

In case your FAQ doesn’t answer your customer’s question, give them ample opportunity to contact you so that their issue can be resolved. If you don’t want calls, don’t provide a phone number, but be sure to give an email address that you check daily. If you don’t want email inquiries, be sure that the phone number you provide is one that gets answered every time. You have some control over how people contact you, but be sure that whichever way you choose is the way that you’ll actually be able to commit to answering.

Always Respond – No Matter What

Once you’ve given customers the appropriate lines of communication, make sure you answer their calls or emails every. Single. Time. Not only will this create trust with your customers, but it will keep your customer support queue from getting backed up and becoming unmanageable.

Bonus tip: Create a routine so that you’re setting aside time each day to answer customer requests. Choose the same block of time every day, so that each request is answered within 24 hours.

Invest in Automation

For a more high-tech solution, consider adding some automation into your customer service support methods. Many businesses are offering online chat options making it simple for customers on your website to get price quotes or get questions answered quickly. However, many of these chat options need a live person in order to be effective. Another chat option is a chatbot. These chat “robots” take information that you input (often from an FAQ or another form of data) and help answer questions on your behalf. Chatbots can feel a little cold (they are robots, after all!), so be sure you’re investing in one that can offer a valuable experience for your customers.

Even if automation helps filter some requests, make sure customers always have the option to reach you or a member of your team in person. Want some help fine-tuning your customer support? Contact Divahound today!

How to Plan A Social Media Budget - Three Things To Consider - Divahound

Even (or rather, especially!) a small business should make sure that their social media efforts fit into their annual budget. And even if a small business is choosing to utilize social media as a more affordable marketing option, a budget can keep everyone on the same page and identify areas to improve. Here are three main budget “buckets” to consider when planning a social media budget.

Time

Social media management doesn’t have to take up your entire day, but it does take time to successfully plan and execute. You should be budgeting the cost of hours that you expect you or staff to spend on social media planning, creation, and posting. Also, consider adding time for responding to comments or any customer service issues handled via social media platforms.

If you’re thinking about hiring someone to help you run your social media marketing efforts, their time and costs should also be factored into a budget. Here are some tips on how to choose the right social media partner.

Tools

Whatever you use to plan, create and execute your social media efforts can be considered tools that can be budgeted for. Don’t forget to add a line in for any online subscriptions or services that can help your social media plan take off. Design tools, scheduling services or customer service chat bots should be part of a successful social media budget so that as your business grows, you can see what items are being utilized effectively and adjust your budget accordingly.

Promotion

It’s becoming harder and harder to reach audiences organically, and “paying to play” is not only common but nearly necessary for any small businesses to compete. A big bucket of your social media budget should include costs of promoting posts on the platforms that mean the most to your small business. In addition to promotional and advertising costs, factor in any contest prizes or giveaway items you may want to utilize in order to grow your online social presence.

Divahound has been helping small businesses grow their social media platforms for many years and can help you determine how to execute your social media strategy effectively. Contact us today!

Looking for Some Social Media Contest Ideas?

by Shannon Huppin on July 26, 2017

Looking for Some Social Media Contest Ideas? - Divahound

There are a lot of ways to market your small business via social media. And when we say a lot, we mean A LOT. Whether you’re posting about your latest product or giving social media followers a behind-the-scenes look at your production process, there are innumerable options for posts. One way to get your customers engaged is to host an online contest. People love free stuff, and the chance to win something is exciting!

Instagram: Loop Giveaway

The larger the prize package, the better chance for high engagement. If you don’t have a huge budget to offer a big-ticket prize, partnering with like-minded organizations or local businesses that you work with can help you create a prize bundle that will inspire people to connect with your brand and your partners. Make sure to determine an order for the loop giveaway, take great photos of the prizes, and communicate instructions of the loop giveaway clearly. The first organization to post will instruct social followers to like the post, follow their Instagram account, and then link to the next partner in the giveaway by linking their account. To be entered to win, followers will need to link and follow all brands involved. This approach is mutually beneficial for all partners involved and increases your follower base for future marketing efforts.

Surprise Giveaway

One of the simplest and fastest ways to reward your social fans is to surprise one of them! Choosing a follower at random and thanking them for their loyalty by giving them a discount or a little freebie that they can claim. The better you take care of your social followers, the more likely they are to share your page with their friends and widen your potential customer circle.

Photo or Caption Contest

To encourage your fans and followers to get engaged with your contest, ask them to caption a funny photo or a new product advertisement. Or ask them to post a photo of them with your product. While this method can produce lots of engagement, sometimes it’s hard to get people to get involved. Make sure you communicate how great the prize is so that people want to submit their caption or photo. After a set amount of time, choose a winner and make a big deal of announcing it on your social pages.

Tips for Success

Running a successful contest doesn’t have to be super complicated, but there are some things to remember before jumping into the social contest pool:

  • Check Platform Rules
    • Each social platform has its own rules regarding contests and giveaways. Make sure – before you start your contest – that your giveaway is compliant with the platform’s rules, or you’ll risk getting your posts (or account) removed.
  • Under promise, over deliver
    • If you say you’re going to give a contest winner a free service, be sure to follow through. Don’t nickel and dime people or place too many restrictions on the prize, or it doesn’t feel as special.

Want expert advice on your content strategy or social media marketing ideas? Contact Divahound today!

Three Reasons To Include Good Visual Elements In Your Content - Divahound

A person’s brain processes visual information 60 thousand times faster than text. And the text that people do read is only skimmed. Blog posts are a major marketing opportunity, so why do so many small business owners create blog posts and social content without any images?

Engagement

Plain and simple, a piece of online content with an engaging image looks better. People spend a lot of time online, and they see a lot of content. If you want your pieces to stand out, you need an enticing image to encourage people to not only see your stuff but to want to click on it to read more.

Tips for choosing a great image:

Make sure it conveys your brand voice.

If your products and services are luxurious, choosing a photo of teen girls at the mall doesn’t make sense. If you’re appealing to moms, make sure the image is something they can relate to and doesn’t look too fake or stock photo-y, even if you’re using stock images.

Ensure your image is content-related.

Just like an image that doesn’t reflect your brand’s voice isn’t ideal, choosing an image that is totally unrelated to your content doesn’t make sense either. On one hand, a very literal image of your product or stock photo of someone related to your services could be boring and not be exciting enough for people to want to read more. On the other hand, an image that is enticing but has nothing to do with your content can mislead a reader and be considered clickbait.

Images with people work well.

It’s easier for your content readers to identify with your images if they can imagine themselves in the content’s scenario. Choosing an image with a single person and subject often performs better than an image with more than one person or multiple subjects in it.

Shareability

Readers of your content are not only more likely to read more of your post if you include an image, but they are more likely to share the content with their social circle.

Making sure your images are large enough for different social platforms will also increase their shareability factor. When you plug your blog link into a Facebook post, does the auto-populated image fill the entire post area or is there only a small thumbnail image? By adjusting the sizes of your content’s images, you can change the way your posts appear to fans and followers in their social feeds.

Don’t Forget About Video!

If you aren’t incorporating video into your blogs and social posts, now is the time to begin. Not only do posts with video incur more engagement, but video viewers are 85% more likely to buy a product after watching a product video. Whether you film a promotional how-to video and post it to your blog and social channels or you invite your customers to submit their own videos using your product, videos will help earn eyeballs – and potential customers.

If you need more reasons to include images in your content or simply aren’t sure how to choose images or where to find them, contact Divahound today. Our years of content marketing experience can help your small business social media strategy move the needle on your bottom line.