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Instagram Stories – Tips and Ideas for Small Businesses

by Shannon Huppin on February 22, 2017

Instagram Stories - Tips and Ideas for Small Businesses - Divahound

If your target consumer audience uses Instagram, it could be time for your small business to begin using Instagram Stories to engage with them. Instagram users are loyal and get lots of purchasing ideas from the platform. They also love seeing their favorite celebrities and influencers update their accounts and are interested in what their friends are posting. If you’re thinking about diving into a deeper Instagram strategy, read on.

What is an Instagram Story?

When the popular social media platform introduced their “story” feature, it was controversial in that it was so similar to how Snapchat works. A user can string together photos and videos into a “story” that disappears after 24 hours.

Instagram users like a little more polish than some other social platforms, so taking the time to make sure your images are composed well and to explore filters and editing options is worth it. Take advantage of the special features that Instagram stories offer like text and filters to add some more punch to your posts.

There are some things to keep in mind when compiling an Instagram story. Other than creating engaging images, be mindful of how short your video recording window is. Keep your talking to under 20 seconds to make sure your message is heard loud and clear.

Instagram Story Ideas

  1. Start simple. Early morning meeting? Show your followers how your favorite mug filled with coffee gets you going.
  2. If it’s a particularly lovely day outside, create a short video of your walk to work. Same goes for a crappy day; fans love to commiserate.
  3. Chronicle a “day in the life” of your office. Show your busy schedule; make the team wave hello before a morning meeting; show off your delicious lunchtime brainstorming session and then any other interesting parts of your day.
  4. Picking a new color for your product? Lay out some samples and film them for your Instagram followers to get a sneak peek.
  5. Deliver a special offer. Generate a discount code for a specific product or service, or create a special flash sale for anyone watching your Instagram story. The good news is that since the post is only good for 24 hours, you won’t have to remember to edit or change it later!
  6. Collaborate with another local business for a “takeover.” If you have a friend or colleague with a similar audience, trade accounts for a day and bank on earning some new followers.
  7. Do a short Q&A session with stories! Post a question in the form of an image with text, then answer the question with a short video.

Divahound can help you create a winning Instagram strategy that includes Instagram story techniques. Contact us today to find out more!

Do I Need To Move My Website to HTTPS? Google Says It's A Good Idea - Divahound

Ever wonder what the http:// before your website URL actually means?  Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is the application that your site uses to communicate with other computers via the Internet. It also defines how messages are transmitted and how web servers (your site) and browsers (people visiting your site) should respond to various commands.

In an effort to create a more secure Internet, Google is recommending that all sites migrate from their current HTTP sites to HTTPS. This stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) and means that all communication between a browser and the website are securely encrypted. This change offers major benefits to your website:

A More User-Friendly Experience

Google used to rank web pages by keyword counts but has recognized that this isn’t necessarily a good way to show people the internet. Now their rankings are based on user benefits, and the HTTPS application provides many benefits to browsers, making sites using HTTPS look better to Google’s bots.

Faster Page Load Times

The Internet is growing and changing rapidly. On a fundamental level, many web hosting providers and content delivery networks are implementing HTTP/2, or a newer version of the HTTP protocol. This new protocol is adapted from a program originally developed by Google and improves how web pages are optimized and loaded. Web page load times may be up to 70% faster when using HTTP/2. That being said, only sites that have already migrated to the secure HTTPS will benefit from the faster speeds of HTTP/2.

Better Google Rankings

As mentioned above, the days of stuffing a website with a keyword in order to boost the site to the top of Google’s rankings are over. Google announced in late 2015 that it would begin to index sites with the HTTPS protocol over the HTTP protocol when possible. If your site isn’t running HTTPS, some data may be transferred incorrectly, causing images, text or other web elements to appear differently than you intended.

If you’ve been looking for a way to increase your Google index ranking, migrating to HTTPS is a simple place to start. And while it may sound complicated, your site will only benefit from your effort.

Better Security

HTTPs is very important in terms of security, especially where sensitive information is concerned. If you run an eCommerce site or are processing credit card data, having the encryption security that HTTPS offers will only benefit you and your customers.

There are three layers of security that an HTTPS site offers to browsers:

  • Encryption: By encrypting data as it is exchanged across the Internet, nobody can track a user’s activity online or “eavesdrop” on their browsing history. Encrypted data also prevents hackers from stealing information from a user.
  • Data Integrity: HTTPS sites cannot have transferred data modified without their knowledge.
  • Authentication: This layer of security proves that users are interacting with the website they intended to. This helps prevent hackers from “jumping in” when they see a hole in a security protocol and directing a user from one website to another. This security builds user trust.

HTTPS sites show a padlock icon in the address bar to let browsers know they are using a secure site. Many users may begin to look for this padlock symbol and be wary of your site if you do not have one.

Google has provided a guide of how to migrate to HTTPS. You can click here to view their guide, which lays out these basic steps to update your site to a secure protocol.

Want to learn more? Contact Divahound today!

 

Ten Topic Ideas To Live Stream in the New Year

by Shannon Huppin on January 18, 2017

Ten Topic Ideas To Live Stream in the New Year - Divahound

Happy new year, small business owners! While 2016 was a real nail biter, the beauty of a new year is the sense of a fresh start. If your small business was to try only one new way to market your business in the digital space this year, consider live streaming video.

This technology is going to explode in 2017, and consumers can’t get enough of it. In fact, people tend to watch videos three times longer when it’s live. Video is increasingly the most-consumed content online, so getting your small business in on the action could change the way you do business this year. Need some ideas of what to “go live” with? Here are ten:

Product Launch

Build up some buzz before your new product comes out and stream a live video to launch it into the world. Your fans and followers will feel like insiders that get the first look!

FAQ

Consumers often have questions about your business. Have a few commonly asked questions ready to answer on the broadcast, and invite questions during the live stream.

Giveaway

Everybody loves a freebie! Entice people to join in watching the broadcast with the chance of winning a great prize and you’ll draw a crowd.

Product How-To

Show your fans and followers some unique ways to use your products, or invite people watching the broadcast to send in their favorite uses.

Live Broadcast an Event

Are you participating in a community fundraiser or hosting a special event? Have someone on your team live cast all the special happenings. Your fans will feel a part of the action, even if they aren’t able to attend in person.

Meet the Team

Show off the people you work with every day – even if it’s your fearless furry friend! An inside look into how your business runs makes people feel connected to your brand.

Product Sneak-Peek

Getting ready to launch a new product? Give viewers a quick glimpse into what they can expect. You don’t have to show the whole thing (save that for a product launch live stream!), but give them a sneak peek into color options or even packaging ideas.

Store or Warehouse Tour

Show your fans where the magic happens. A tour of your store, warehouse or even office can get people interested in how your business began and where it’s going.

Process Tour

A live stream video of how your product gets made or what your shipping assembly line looks like will help people appreciate how much effort goes into creating and sending your product to your customers.

Special Announcements

Other than product launches, announcements make great live streaming video opportunities. Announce a new store location, wish everyone a happy holiday or even tell your fans some exciting personal news!

If you’re not sure if live streaming is for your business, check out another blog post here to determine if it’s right for you. Ready to go with one of these ideas on Facebook Live? Click here for some easy tips for getting started. Contact Divahound today with any questions or for more ideas on how to get your digital marketing off to a great start this year.

Three New Year's Marketing Resolutions for Small Businesses - Divahound

Just days into the new year, we have good news for you! Below are some small business New Year’s “resolutions” to help you create a marketing framework that will last all year. Planning is important, and with a few hours of focused time and these tips, you can start the new year in a solid marketing position ready to make the most of your first quarter.

Commit to Blogging

Good content is more than sharing a link on Facebook. By creating quality blog posts, you not only craft content to share across multiple platforms but increase your SEO presence. A weekly blog is a good goal and a good place to start. Make sure you offer some variety for readers in your posts and don’t be afraid to (selectively) recycle your content. That said, don’t simply copy and paste an old blog post into a new one. You could reference your former post and take a new angle for a blog post, or you could give readers an update on what you’ve learned about the topic and how your business has changed since you last posted. The bottom line is that crafting new blogs consistently will only increase your content bank and give you at least one solid social post each week.

Plan Time to Plan

This may be the most important piece of marketing advice we’ll give you. You will do yourself and your team a favor by putting aside one or two hours a week to plan your digital marketing efforts. Consider any holidays or local news that may affect your social reach for the week. Make sure your sales efforts are reflected in your social posts. And don’t forget to promote your weekly blog on your social channels!

The planning time that works best is the planning time that works in your schedule. If you work better in a monthly plan setting, you may need more time but can create a plan for the whole month to have less frequent planning sessions. Always allow some wiggle room to adjust to things that come up at the moment.

Don’t have the time to plan? Divahound is the solution you’ve been looking for. Contact us today to learn how we work with you to help you craft the perfect digital marketing plan to help your small business succeed.

Build Your Community

You’ve got your blogging under control and a block of planning time scheduled. All set for the new year, right? Wrong. Creating a sense of community will make your current customers feel valued and a part of something bigger, all while encouraging them to share your products and services with their friends. Build your community by engaging with your fans and followers. Like their posts, respond quickly to questions and thank them when they share your content. They’ll return the favor.

Cheers to your small business in the new year!

Your Small Business Social Media Plan for 2017 - 12 Easy Posts

With very little of 2016 left, plans for next year should be shaping up quickly. Even though your social media editorial calendar should align with your sales goals and overall themes for the year, sometimes it’s hard to keep coming up with what to post on social media channels. In case you need a little help, these 12 ideas will give you a simple post any month of the year. Contact Divahound today to begin creating a master plan for your social media efforts in 2017.

January

  • Happy New Year! An inspirational quote to start the year will be likable and shareable.

February

  • Show your customers some love with a Valentine’s Day discount or buy-one-get-one offer.

March

  • What exciting new products or services do you have planned for your customers this year? Give them a preview.

April

  • What do you love about what you do? Why did you start your business? Share something personal about your small business this month.

May

  • Summer is almost here! Everyone is ready for a vacation, so how can your small business provide “rest” this month? Tell your customers how your product or service will make their lives easier.

June

  • Half of 2017 will be gone this month! How can you show your fans and followers some appreciation for their loyalty this year? You could do a contest for a big, fun prize, or simply provide 20% off their next service when you book appointments this month.

July

  • Celebrate America’s birthday with some “fireworks.”

August

  • The dog days of summer have set in. Post a funny picture of your team to take some of the heat off!

September

  • No matter your industry, September is a season of “back to basics.” Post a video of how to use your product effectively.

October

  • Scare up some new business with a Halloween-themed deal. Send your customers a treat with a discount coupon or tell them to bring a friend to earn some new customers.

November

  • Gratitude is the name of the game this month. Check out our Thanksgiving social post idea list here, or simply tell your fans why you’re thankful for their business all year long.

December

  • End the year with a bang! Offer a top-notch seasonal deal or provide a respite from the holiday bustle with simple inspirational posts.

 

Five Holiday Marketing Ideas for Dentists

by Shannon Huppin on December 7, 2016

Five Holiday Marketing Ideas for Dentists

Thanksgiving is past and the holiday shopping season is underway! This season is a busy one for everyone, but you can still market your dental practice in a way that is relevant and not too sales-y. Check out these tips for some marketing ideas to get you to January 1st with a full patient calendar and a great outlook for the new year.

Insurance Reminders

It’s the boring stuff, but it matters, and sometimes people forget about it. Many dental insurance plans renew at the end of each year, so if people haven’t taken advantage of any free cleanings or other offerings that their insurance provider gives, remind them! This can help book appointments before January and also gives your clients a friendly reminder that you’re always looking out for them

Holiday Gifting

Another obvious choice, but dental care or whitening services may be a great gift and one that someone may not give themselves. Creating attractive gift certificates or service packages offers clients an easy gift that the recipient will actually use.

Be Good for Santa!

One way for parents to get their kids excited about going to the dentist is to remind them that they must be good for Santa to bring them what they asked for! Consider offering families a buy one, get one deal for children’s’ dental cleanings or offer a free follow up appointment for kids needing dental work done before the holidays. Adults should also “be good” and take care of their teeth; they may need reminding as well!

Be Good to YOU

It can be a stressful time of year, and for women especially, remind them that they do so much for everyone else during the holidays and that they deserve some “me time” too! Offer a discount on whitening services (great for holiday photos!) or do a giveaway on your social channels for a deluxe bleaching package. Make sure your giveaway or discount is something that they may want but wouldn’t do for themselves. Make them WANT to come to the dentist!

New Year Specials

Every New Year people create resolutions to be better, healthier and wiser in the coming year. You can get in on this action by offering new patient specials or a January “door buster” deal. This will help a traditionally slow time of year and fill your calendar with new patients. While good dental hygiene and care are important all year long, it may be at the top of people’s minds at the beginning of the year, and you want to be the first one they think about!

Need help crafting some interesting social media marketing materials for the holidays? Divahound can help now AND all year long – contact us today!

Three Reasons to Invest in Social Media Marketing for Your Small Business

Whether you love it or hate it, social media is here to stay. In fact, it’s growing rapidly. The average American spends more than 37 minutes each day using social media. That is very valuable time, and businesses are clamoring to be in front of those consumer eyeballs. If you aren’t spending time positioning your small business as in the digital space, you could be missing out on significant market reach and ultimately, sales.

Reach

No matter the size of your business operation, spreading the word is one of the best ways to get people in your door or to your website. Traditional marketing methods – flyers, radio ads, local newspaper or other publication ads – just aren’t cutting it anymore. Some of your time and marketing budget should be allocated to online marketing specifically. This becomes even more important if your business has an e-commerce component and especially crucial if your primary selling area is online. If you don’t invest in sending people to your website, how do you expect your products and services to be seen?

The reach of social media networks is mind-boggling. That being said, the process of reaching potential customers doesn’t have to be. By thoughtfully crafting content for your social media platforms and engaging with your audience, you’ll create a community around your brand that people will want to tell their friends and family about.

Sales

More than half of small business owners surveyed in 2014 said they had gained new business from social media platforms.

You love what you do, but you still have bills to pay, right? So, making sure your products and services are selling is what allows you to keep doing what you love. You’re missing out on a huge selling opportunity if you’re ignoring the online market. People are more likely to purchase from a brand they know. With 46% of consumers checking a product or brand out on social media before they buy, your market potential grows exponentially when you invest in social media marketing.

Your Competitors Are Doing It

Yes, they are. If you think this is your opportunity to “stand out from the crowd” by not participating in social media marketing, you’re only hurting yourself. With 91% of retail brands having two or more social media channels, you can’t ignore this trend. Your slice of the pie is out there. Make sure you go get it!

Divahound is a small business that understands small business social media marketing. We can help you get your foot in the door and thrive in the digital space. Contact us today!

 

7 Thanksgiving Social Post Ideas for your Small Business

by Shannon Huppin on November 9, 2016

7 Thanksgiving Social Post Ideas for your Small Business - Divahound

Thanksgiving is very nearly here, and brands are already vying for consumers’ holiday attention (and dollars). Knowing how to effectively position your small business throughout the holidays can be tricky, but we’re here to help you through Thanksgiving. Social media posting for holidays can seem trivial, but there are ways to engage with your audience and piggyback on the higher traffic of the season. Here are seven ways you can publish a Thanksgiving-themed social post without sounding cheesy or too opportunistic.

Seasonal Images

Everyone loves a good photo or inspirational quote to get them in the mood for the holidays. Think autumn leaves, pumpkins, and families and friends gathering. If your team has a group photo, this “seasonal image” post idea can become a lot more personal. Your fans and followers will enjoy seeing how your small business values each other and your customers during the season.

Thankful Thursday

A thoughtful way to create a sense of gratitude in your online marketing efforts this season is to post about Thankful Thursday each week. You can use a hashtag (#ThankfulThursday) or simply tell your fans what you’re thankful for each week. You can encourage engagement by asking your audience what they are thankful for as well.

Black Friday Preview

Everyone has holiday shopping on their minds at this time of year, and everyone is looking for a great deal. Before the Friday after Thanksgiving rolls around, give your fans a little tease of what you’ll be offering. You can show them just a little taste of what they’ll see and try and pique their interest, or you can tell them straight out what they’ll be getting. Either way, show your fans why they need to get in on your deal.

Pre-Black Friday Contest

Rev up the energy for your Black Friday deal by offering a contest or giveaway before the big day. It can be something simple like choosing a random person that commented on your seasonal image to give them a discount, or create an elaborate giveaway by sending followers to your website to enter their email for a chance to win. Everyone loves a freebie, so be sure to entice your audience into sharing your contest with their friends.

Thanksgiving Day

Make today the ultimate #ThankfulThursday post. Keep it short and simple, and show the heart of your business. You can find plenty of relevant and mostly free images online that can help you tell your story. What are you thankful for today? What are you looking forward to doing in what’s left of the year? Don’t talk about tomorrow’s big shopping deal or what you think everyone will be eating. Today’s post is about gratitude.

Black Friday

Today’s the big deal day! Like a short and sweet Thanksgiving post, keep your Black Friday post to the point. Tell them how great your offer is, where they can get it, and why they should click NOW. Create a sense of urgency around your product or service and tell people why they’ll feel good about spending their hard-earned dollars with your small business.

Christmas Preview

Too soon for Christmas? Probably not. Most big box stores have had their holiday merchandise out since Halloween (at least). You can still cultivate a sense of gratitude in the days after Thanksgiving and still drum up excitement for what your holiday season has in store:

  • How will your product or service make a great gift?
  • How will your product or service make their lives easier during the busy holiday season?
  • What will your product or service do for your customers beyond the holiday season?

Divahound can help you craft meaningful and effective posts for Thanksgiving and the rest of the 2016 holiday season. When you’re ready to create a holiday social media plan and have a stellar season, contact us today!

Holiday Marketing Ideas for Your Small Business

by Shannon Huppin on October 26, 2016

Holiday Marketing Ideas for Your Small Business

If it’s hard to believe that Q4 is already here, we’re here to help. It’s not too soon to start thinking about how you want to market your small business for the holiday season.

Determine Seasonal Goals

No matter what you want to achieve this holiday season, having some goals will help you remember the big picture when the rush of the season is underway. In addition to sales goals, units sold or other concrete numbers, consider also setting goals for your digital marketing efforts. Record some benchmark numbers for fans and followers of your social media accounts so that you have something to compare at the end of the season. What kind of engagement do you want to see happen over the last few months of the year? How do you want your customers to experience your brand this holiday season?

Create A Road Map

Once you have some goals defined, decide what particular marketing tactics will help you achieve those goals. Your road map will also help you delegate during a stressful time of year. Even if your staff is just you and one other person, having a helping hand to carry the load will get you through the last quarter of 2016 with minimal chance of burnout. Some ideas to get you started in tactical planning for a successful holiday season may include:

  • A holiday “gift guide”
  • Discounts for your products or services
  • A giveaway on your social channels
  • A customer-generated content contest, like a photo contest or third-party giveaway
  • Ways to use your product in the new year

Stay Present

When the hustle and bustle of the season sets in, it can be easy to let things fall through the cracks. Preparation and planning will help you stay on top of your task lists and achieve the goals you set forth for the season. A good way to stay present during the holidays is to consistently check in with your fans and followers on social media. Make sure you’re liking and responding to people’s comments and questions, and set aside a few moments each day to respond to any private messages. Customer service is something that people crave during a busy time of year, and if you can provide that via your social channels, you’ll create a great impression of your brand.

Review and Refine

When it’s all said and done, review how your road map took you through the holidays and if it helped you achieve your goals. What worked well? What could have been improved? Take really good notes and document successes so that when planning for next holiday season, you can use that information to shape your future campaigns.

We can help you create a plan for a successful holiday season. Contact Divahound for expert advice and effective digital marketing tips.

7 Halloween Social Post Ideas for Your Small Business

by Shannon Huppin on October 12, 2016

7 Halloween Social Post Ideas for Your Small Business - Divahound

With the spookiest holiday just weeks away, lots of people are looking for ways to incorporate Halloween thrills and chills into their marketing efforts. Holidays are a great way to engage with your audience, as well as piggybacking on trending topics. Even if your small business isn’t specifically Halloween-related, you can get in on the fun with these social post ideas.

  1. Costume Contest: This concept is an ever-popular one and can be adapted to many different types of businesses. If you own a pet grooming salon, have patrons send in photos of their pets in costumes and host an online voting competition for a prize. If your business associates are willing to have a little fun, you can post photos of them dressed up and have social fans vote for their favorite.
  2. Halloween-ify your product. Even if you’re not selling candy, you can give your product or service offerings a Halloween twist. Create a “spooky” cupcake flavor for your bakery or send out your team of cleaners in witches’ hats.
  3. “Trick or treat” posts: Everyone loves a deal! Host a Halloween trivia contest on your Facebook page or Instagram feed as the “trick,” and when people answer questions correctly offer them a “treat.” A discount coupon for your products or services would be a great way to get feet in the door.
  4. “Dress up” your social pages. Who says the only ones in costumes are kids and pets? You can easily create Halloween-themed cover photos and profile images with free online tools like Canva.
  5. Safety tips for Halloween are always popular. If your small business offers lighting solutions, tell people how you can help them create a safe walkway to your front door for the darker fall and winter seasons, or how having extra light in your driveway creates a safer environment for you and your family.
  6. Create a fun video of you and your staff recreating the “Monster Mash” or “Thriller” music videos. Even if a video is just for fun, your fans and followers will have as much fun watching it as you have creating it!
  7. Scavenger hunts – online or in person – are a fun way to involve your audience in the holiday. Choose a few fun websites or places around town for people to collect “clues” and when they finish, they find their way to your site for a discount or your store for a treat and a coupon

How will your small business celebrate the most haunting holiday? Need some more ideas or want some other advice? Divahound has helped many small businesses create meaningful digital marketing campaigns that allow them to get the most bang for their buck. The new year isn’t far away; we can also begin helping you craft your plans for 2017. Contact us today!