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Why Your Small Business Should Invest In Stock Photography

by Shannon Huppin on February 21, 2018

Why Your Small Business Should Invest In Stock Photography - Divahound

When it comes to garnering attention online, your first step is an eye-catching image. We’ve posted blogs before about why an engaging image will gain better reach for your content, but this post will help you figure out where and how to source great images.

First things first, googling an image and simply using it for your post simply won’t cut it anymore. While there is nothing wrong with using Google to check out images for inspiration, you run a significant risk of copyright infringement if you post an image that you don’t have the right to use.

Just because you’re a small business owner and may have a smaller budget doesn’t mean you can’t invest in some great stock photography. We’ve outlined a few paid and free sites that offer good photography for your content. Many sites have hundreds of thousands of images, so the challenge then is choosing which one to use!

Shutterstock

With tons of images to choose from and multiple purchase options, Shutterstock has something for everyone. If you know you won’t need a lot of images, purchase some credits and download an image when you need it. If you’re building a new website or are consistently publishing content that needs great images, a monthly subscription could be a better bet.

iStock

Started in 2000, this resource has one of the oldest and most expansive high-quality image libraries online. Owned by Getty Images, this site has pricing plans similar to Shutterstock and can fit budgets large and small.

Stocksy

For a younger, millennial-focused vibe, Stocksy offers a cooperative to artists looking to share their work and fantastic images to buyers wanting something different. You’ll pay a higher price per image, but what you get is excellent quality, and you can feel good about supporting someone’s livelihood.

Pexels

Free from any licensing issues, all images are available to you for personal or commercial use. The search tool makes it easy to find an image you like, but there are fewer options to choose from on this site – which may or may not make your job easier.

ISO Republic

Another co-op type site, it’s hard to believe that these images are actually free. While there is a limited selection, you can opt in to receive new images in your email inbox weekly. There are premium images for sale as well.

Not enough options? Here are some other resources for free (or nearly free) stock photography. Want some help in choosing the best site for you? Divahound can help you find the right image for your message, as well as help you craft great copy and social media content. Contact us today and let’s start something great together!

Twitter 2.0: What Expanded Character Counts Mean For Small Businesses - Divahound

Twitter has always been about brevity. Until now.

Since its inception in 2006, the social media platform has only allowed messages that were 140 characters in length. In late 2017, Twitter bucked tradition and doubled the limit to allow 280 characters. This expansion made some users mad (wasn’t the whole point of Twitter was that the messages were short!?), and elated others (Finally! We can send out more info in one Tweet!). Whether your small business is just starting to utilize the platform or are adjusting to the new character limit as a veteran, these tips and benefits can help you make the most of your 280 characters.

It’s Easier

Let’s face it; it’s hard to say what you want to say in only 140 characters. With more space to write your message, you can get more information out to your audience in one blow. You also don’t need to spend valuable time trying to write and rewrite your message to fit into a shorter character count. You also don’t need to abbreviate words or use tricks like the ampersand to decrease your character use. Overall, your Tweets can sound more natural.

More Reach

By offering more info, you can include more (and more targeted) keywords in your messages. Hashtags are also important for Twitter users and can help your Tweets be seen by more people.

More Links

In addition to simply having more space, links still don’t count toward the character limit, so including more than one gives your small business the opportunity to drive more traffic to your websites, landing pages or other social media platforms.

Use Emojis

Yes, they are fun little pictures that may seem fluffy or frivolous, but the truth is they get used A LOT. Don’t miss out! Emojis can be used to convey emotion and inject a smile (literally and figuratively – into your Tweets.

We can help you develop a solid Twitter strategy and help you craft the best possible messages for your audiences to help you achieve your goals.  Contact us today with questions or to get started!

Five Ways to be Effective Using Social Media in 2018

by Shannon Huppin on January 10, 2018

Five Ways to be Effective Using Social Media in 2018 - Divahound

Another year has come to a close, and now it a great time to both look back and aspire to a better new year. When it comes to social media marketing for your small business, it’s easy to feel like keeping up with the fast-paced changes is impossible. But here’s the good news: you CAN keep up. You can market your small business using tools and tricks of the hottest social media platforms and reach your target audience for less investment than more traditional advertising methods. And with an experienced guide like Divahound, your results can be even better! If you want to see just how effective social media marketing can be for you in 2018, read our tips below for making it a great year – then contact us with questions.

Look Back at 2017 Trends

It’s hard to know where you’re going if you haven’t learned from where you’ve been. Major social platforms and news sites put out trend reports often, so spend some time combing through some of the reputable information and gleaning tips for how you can improve your social posting in the new year. For example, the rise in popularity of short “stories” on apps like Instagram and Snapchat could continue to be influential to marketers in 2018. Watch how others in your industry are using these tools successfully and see what you can take away.

Learn Something New

It’s never too late to learn! And good marketers are always looking to improve their content, reach, and ROI. Make time to subscribe to some industry and marketing newsletters (that you’ll actually read!) and set aside a few minutes each day or week to read through them. Seeing what other companies are putting out in their newsletters may also give you ideas for your own! Once a quarter, plan to attend a conference, training or online webinar to see what else you can learn. Many online resources offer free courses that you can access later for when you want a refresh.

Invest in Video

Video is continuing to rise in popularity, and that means it will be worth it to do more in the new year. From short Instagram stories that entertain and educate your audience to longer “about us” videos for a dedicated YouTube channel, video is a sound investment in 2018. You can create these videos yourself or take the time to hire a professional company to help. If you choose this route, make sure to shoot more timeless, evergreen video content first to get the most for your budget.

Bonus tip: If you haven’t yet dipped your toe into the live streaming video pool, this is the time to do it! Watch some live videos on Facebook or Instagram for inspiration and get in on the action for your small business.

Put A Plan in Place

Your year will go significantly smoother with a solid marketing plan in place. Not only will it save you time in the long run, but you also won’t be at a loss for any post ideas. It’s not too late to create a great social media marketing plan, and Divahound can help.

Commit to A Great Year

Once you have your plan in place and the tools you need to succeed, commit to follow through on your plans. Whether it’s blogging once a week, hosting a quarterly Facebook Live event or simply checking your comments and mention notifications each day, putting in the effort to execute your plan will pay off.

Have a productive and prosperous new year! And if you need help managing social media for your small business, contact us today.

Five Easy Holiday Marketing Ideas For Food Trucks

by Shannon Huppin on December 13, 2017

Five Easy Holiday Marketing Ideas For Food Trucks - Divahound

Food trucks typically know how to “do” social media. But it’s easy to let marketing go by the wayside, especially during busy times of year (i.e. the holidays). Another challenge for food trucks in colder months is just that – the cold! People are less likely to stand outside to wait for their food if the wind chill is less than zero. Here are five ways to keep your customers coming during the holidays and bring a little seasonal cheer to your social media channels!

Temperature Challenge

If you live in a part of the country where it gets cold, use the falling temperatures to drive customers to your food truck. For example, offer your signature dish at whatever the temperature is at a given time on a given day. If it’s 24 degrees outside, your best-selling tacos are only $2.40 each! Depending on how expensive it is to make your signature items, you could offer this temperature challenge each week during winter, or simply generate buzz about the chosen day you offer your deeply discounted delicious fare.

Another way to incorporate the temperature is to play to people’s competitive nature. Make sure you encourage your fans to stay safe, but offer anyone that ventures into the cold on a day that is less than freezing a free order of insert-your-food-item-here.

Holiday Scavenger Hunt

The holidays are busy and sometimes people need to take a break and have a little fun, just to have fun! Tease your fans and followers on social media and give them “clues” to follow to a secret holiday location. Ask people how they found you and offer them a free hot cocoa or another holiday treat!

Charity Event

Tis the season for people to count their blessings and be hyper-aware of the less fortunate. Choose a local charity to partner with and donate one day’s profits to that cause. You could involve the charity’s staff and ask them to help take orders, greet people in line, market your charity event via their own social channels and get the media buzzing about the event.

Holiday Cook-Off

Are you known for the best fill-in-the-blank in town? Challenge your city to a holiday-themed “cook off.” Tell people to cook or bake their own version of your signature creation and host a holiday taste test. The winner could get to be a “chef for a day” and work beside you in the food truck to learn how to make your top dishes.

Local Celebrity Chefs

Invite local celebrities such as radio personalities, TV anchors or other well-known individuals to serve food from your truck for a day. People will come out for your food and to catch a glimpse of some familiar faces. These celebrities can use their influence to drive customers your way, and if you offer to donate part of the day’s proceeds, you may have celebs lining up to participate! Contact us today and let us know how we can help.

Natural Disasters - A Small Business Social Media Response Plan - Divahound

In light of the recent hurricanes, earthquakes, and fires that wreaked havoc on our planet, having a plan in place for how to respond to such disasters via social channels is a good idea for all small businesses. From a local emergency to a national news-making event, communicating with your public during a disaster can make or break the days, weeks, months and years that follow. Here are some best practice guidelines for small businesses to consider when facing a disaster.

Timing Matters

When a natural disaster strikes, when you respond matters almost as much as HOW. If your community is under threat, encourage people to take cover or other appropriate action. Let them know if and when your business hours will be altered and how and when you plan to reopen.

If you respond too late, people will either A) not pay attention or B) assume you didn’t care and are only piggybacking off of other disaster responses. Be upfront when responding to something that affects people’s lives, and feel free to tell them how it will affect you, your business and your employees as well. Humanizing a situation is never a bad idea.

Don’t Be Afraid to Back Off

Sometimes there is nothing you can do about a disaster. If this is the case, tell your public that you’re thinking about those affected and that you may not be posting as often as you normally would out of respect for those dealing with the disaster. This is a dignified way to give everyone a little break from the bombardment of news that will clog their feeds in the days and weeks to come.

Don’t Be Afraid to Dive In

If the disaster is directly affecting you and your business, don’t be afraid to tell people about it. You can build a rapport with your community by reaching out to those in need, and sharing your personal story gives people a look into your brand and how your business is an extension of YOU. Again, humanizing your small business helps people know who you are in a different way, and may lead them to shop with you later and potentially become brand ambassadors.

Choosing to host a community food or clothing drive make for great social content, in addition to helping spread the word about your efforts to help the people in need. Social media is fast becoming a game changer in disaster response and recovery.

Give All the Appropriate Information

If you have important information about when and how people can get help in a disaster, send it out. Make sure it is timely and appropriate. Having someone from your team available to respond to questions and comments becomes increasingly important during a disaster.

Divahound can help you create a social media plan for any time of year, including crisis communications and disaster response. Contact us today and let us know how we can help!

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!