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Four Tips for Taking Fantastic Instagram Photos

by Shannon Huppin on April 19, 2017

Four Tips for Taking Fantastic Instagram Photos - Divahound

Instagram is a popular and growing social media platform, with 600 million monthly users. New features like Instagram stories have brands lining up to engage with their audiences via this trendy, image-focused network. If you already have an Instagram account, you’re on your way to success! These tips are for you and your team to learn how to take some excellent photos for Instagram to market your small business.

Choose Lighting Wisely

One of the best ways to get a good Instagram photo is to have good lighting. The term “good” can be defined differently for every business, but in general, you need enough light to be able to capture a powerful image.

Many successful Instagram users prefer natural light to artificial or “indoor” light. If you have the option to take your product outside or can utilize light from a window, that helps set a mood for your image. For up close or detailed shots, consider creating a mini “photo studio” in your workspace with a clean, uncluttered background and good artificial lighting.

Angle Matters
Depending on the subject of your photo, where you choose to take your photo from matters. Taking a photo from the side may be the best way to capture your product. For other things, like food or intricate items, taking a top-down approach may look good as well. Playing with the angles will help you learn how best to line up your shots and which of those kinds of photos rings true with your followers.

Composition – Getting It All In The Shot

Along with angle, composing a photo well can make a difference in how the end product appears on Instagram. There aren’t a lot of hard and fast rules about how to compose well, but in general, there is a subject of a photo and the rest is background noise. While the subject is the MOST important part of the shot, the background stuff can help tell part of the story. What do you want your followers to see? What do you want them to feel? These are the questions you should be thinking about when positioning yourself – or your subject – for a photo.

Have Some FUN

Don’t get too hung up on likes and comments. It takes time to identify your small business’s voice and identity on Instagram. Some really great shots have come from candid moments, goofy selfies and even mistakes. Try turning on “Burst Mode” to capture a freeze-frame effect of some interesting action. Play with different filters and editing tools on Instagram or other image-editing app. Don’t be afraid to experiment. After a while, you may see your brand’s voice emerging on its own.

Have questions about how you can market your small business on Instagram? Contact Divahound today  – we can help!

Top Two Ways to Build Brand Loyalty and Trust with Social Media

Small business owners know how important it is to keep a customer once you have them. Building loyalty among a trusted group of clients is the best way to create the foundation for a successful business for years to come.

Respond to Comments and Private Messages

When people feel ignored, they aren’t inclined to continue to spend time and money with a brand. By not responding to comments and questions posted on your social channels, your fans and followers may think one of two things:

1. The brand isn’t paying attention.

So many brands use social media as a one-way bullhorn for their information. They forget that there are real people on the other side of that bullhorn that want to interact with them. If you can’t take a few minutes to respond to comments on social media, will the brand respond when a really important issue comes up?

2. The brand is paying attention and doesn’t care enough to answer.

Perhaps worse than not listening via social media channels is listening but not taking the time to answer. By acting only as an observer and choosing not to interact with your audience, fans and followers will see the brand as unfeeling and uncaring.

The bad news is that either of those things can make your customers feel like they aren’t important to your business. When you schedule some time into your day to check into your social platforms and respond to comments and questions, you’ll be better able to keep a finger on the pulse of what your target audience wants and needs. Plus, you can take care of any issues before they become a PR nightmare.

Be Transparent

When a business can be open and honest about their processes, products, and people, a base level of trust is created between a brand and its customers. That trust grows when a transparent attitude is taken with every facet of the business.

Business owners feel a sense of pride in what they do, and rightfully so. But that pride can shift into a fear of “showing their cards” or letting proprietary information slip through the cracks. Your small business can be transparent and foster a sense of openness with your customers without giving away any truly private details. Tell your customers when things go right, and tell them when things go wrong. Tell them what actions you are taking to improve the products, services, and business as a whole. Ask for their input. And take a genuine interest in building a relationship with them.

Your customers keep your business afloat, so make sure they know that you care about them.

Want some other ways to use social media to build your small business? Contact us today!

LinkedIn Company Pages for Small Businesses - Changes Ahead! - Divahound

Late in 2016, LinkedIn made some major changes to the way company pages are displayed and utilized by users. The cleaner, more minimalistic look and feel of the pages makes information easier to find and read. The new page look also gives people a clearer picture into how your small business began, how it’s run and why your business is the best choice for a prospective customer’s next projects.

Here are three major areas in which you’ll see changes, and how they can affect your small business:

New Content

The three main sections of content on company profile pages now include Overview, Jobs, and Life. The Overview section provides readers a high-level view of your business, as well as some company history and basic facts. The Jobs section is a great place to post any openings at your company. LinkedIn is a great social platform to hire great talent, so take advantage of it! The Life section of content is a great way to give readers a snapshot of the culture at your business. Show your audience what makes your company special – and video content fits nicely in this new format.

Profile Bar

In the new profile header at the top of the page, you can manage who your page administrators are. An admin is someone who can make changes to your company page, including your hours of operation, company history as well as profile images. Make sure you only allow people with the appropriate knowledge of your business to be assigned as admins.

Analytics

A newly revamped analytics section has been added to the updates page, and it could be one of the most valuable changes to the LinkedIn company page. This information can help you see who has liked, commented or shared your posts from the last seven days, as well as a percentage change from the previous week. What can this information do for your small business? It can help you determine what kind of updates your audience is most engaging with. Then you can adjust your content strategy accordingly. If you post the same kind of content for every update, chances are you aren’t getting the best engagement possible. Try posting a variety of types of content, and use the new analytics to gauge what kind gets the best result.

We have experience in crafting engaging posts as well as creating pages that attract customers. If you want help setting up an impactful LinkedIn company page, Contact us today.

Ten Spring Social Media Post Ideas

by Shannon Huppin on March 8, 2017

Ten Spring Social Media Post Ideas

After the holidays, the new year and the rush of Valentine’s Day, your content generation imagination may be spent! But now is no time to let up! If you’ve created a solid social media plan for the year, you should already have your monthly sales and product launches worked into your calendar. Here are some other posting ideas for the season. These are ways to keep your customers engaged without a lot of brainpower on your end.

National Peanut Cluster Day – March 8

Whether or not your small business has anything to do with peanut clusters, a fun and funky post about something completely harmless keeps the tone light and followers entertained. Not into peanut clusters? There are plenty of other fun days, weeks and monthly observations about which you can create a post.

  1. Patrick’s Day

Everyone loves this green-filled holiday. If your small business or family has Irish roots, it’s a no-brainer. But even if you don’t have any ties to Ireland, post about St. Patrick’s Day and wish your fans and followers some luck.

  1. Daylight Savings

Many people don’t like to lose the sleep on the day we “spring forward,” but focus on the days getting longer and people getting more daylight in their day.

  1. First Day of Spring

The changing of the seasons is always an easy social post idea. People are glad that the cold Winter is over and a season of renewal is here.

  1. Easter/Passover

If a religious post is in line with your business’s ideals, then an Easter or Passover post may be appropriate.

  1. Spring Cleaning

People are ready to start airing out their homes and cleaning out any old junk that has gathered over the darker seasons. Do your products or services help them do this?

  1. Get Outside

A weather-related post is a nice way to celebrate the season, especially on a nice day or when you first see the signs of trees budding or flowers blooming.

  1. Festivals

Does your community have any Spring celebrations to post about? Visit your local cherry blossom festival or tulip celebration and create a post for your social media platforms showing you and your team out in the community.

  1. Turn Over A New Leaf

A fresh season brings the desire to create something new, so create a video or post showing your staff learning a new skill. Taking up a new hobby is a fun way to engage with your audience, and asking them what they are learning fosters engagement.

  1. Volunteering

With nicer weather and turning over a new leaf, getting involved in your community through volunteering efforts is a great way to create shareable content. Invite your customers, fans, and followers to join you!

  1. Office Tour

Is your office doing a little Spring cleaning of your own? Are you making improvements or expanding your work space? A video office tour gives your audience a “behind the scenes” look into your work, creating a sense of transparency and building trust.

There are many, many more ways to engage with your social media fans this season. Want help crafting a plan for Spring and the rest of the year? Contact us today!

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!