I like social media marketing because I’m always learning and experimenting. The main ingredient of a strong social media strategy should be innovation.
Recently, I shared on MedVet’s Facebook pages a recipe for dog treats, as part of a larger Halloween Pet Safety campaign. I got the idea from another animal hospital’s Facebook page and saw the high levels of engagement their post was getting. So, in Canva, I made this graphic for Facebook and added this post to my content calendar in Google Sheets. I made sure to give credit in the lower right-hand corner to the blog where I got the recipe from.
Sharing a treat recipe was something MedVet had never done before. I knew our audience loved pet safety tips, education, and helpful insights. From tracking the best performing post each week, I knew those types of posts had performed well in the past. I was pretty confident this recipe would be something of value to our followers and would be appreciated. My hypothesis paid off and the post was a success across our 24 Facebook pages, getting as many as 63 shares! I hope to share other treat recipes in the future, perhaps themed for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
I want to talk about the Halloween Pet Safety social media campaign I ran for MedVet. Campaign Goal: Increased brand awareness. Make sure MedVet is top of mind for pet owners in case their pet faces an after-hours medical emergency. We will measure the number of post shares.
Over October 20-31, our goal is to see a 15% increase in the number of Shares on all Facebook Pages
From September 20-30, 2019, we saw 286 total Shares on Facebook across all our Pages, so our goal was to see an increase of 43 shares, so we aim to see 329 Shares.
Campaign Results: On November 3, I looked at the analytics to see how many Shares across all our 24 Facebook Pages these Halloween Pet Safety posts had gotten.
I used HubSpot to schedule the posts and track the success of the campaign. In HubSpot, I marked each post related to this campaign “Halloween 2019” so I could easily pull a report only on posts for the campaign
We far exceed our goal of 329 Shares. We got 845 Shares!
Purpose: To use our emergency veterinary expertise to educate pet owners about the dangers of pets accidentally ingesting chocolate.
Our desired reaction from the campaign was for users to share the Facebook post with their friends and family. We also want them to remember the key idea that MedVet is open 24/7 in case of a pet emergency and provides expert
Opportunity: Become the trusted source for accurate and easy-to-share pet safety information on Facebook.
When: October 20-31 on MedVet’s 24 Facebook pages
Target audience: Pet owners and those who currently like a MedVet Facebook page
Tone: Knowledgable, expert, pet-loving
Even in small amounts, chocolate may cause serious health problems if ingested by your pet. Chocolate toxicity can
cause vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, heart failure, seizures, and in some cases even death.
While chocolate is a favorite treat of ours, it can be harmful, sometimes fatal, to our canine companions. With
Halloween right around the corner, please remember to keep all chocolate and other candy, such as raisins, sugar-free
candy, and sugar-free gum, safely out of reach of curious noses!
Dogs and cats are particularly sensitive to a chemical in chocolate, coffee and tea called theobromine. Theobromine is found in very high levels in bakers and dark chocolate. If a dog eats a lot or is a smaller dog, milk chocolates can
cause problems too. Be careful when you have chocolate in your home and keep your four-legged friends far away from Halloween baskets this year!
Last week I traveled for work to Chicago to support the opening of a brand-new state-of-the-art veterinary emergency hospital.
Another Marketing team member and I drove to different referral partners (this is what we call veterinary practices that refer patients to MedVet’s emergency and specialty hospitals) around Chicago. We told the staff about our new hospital opening up, explained the phone number was staying the same and how we were expanding our services.
I admit it was outside of my comfort zone a bit because I don’t usually have a lot of face-to-face interactions with veterinarians, practice managers or our referral partners. I prefer to stay behind-the-scenes as support, but I can certainly muster up the courage and extroverted side of my personality and talk to new people. I learned a lot from the team members I was with about how we speak about MedVet to referral partners and how MedVet is perceived by others.
We were able to take a tour of the new hospital in Chicago before it opened to the public and I was blown away by how large it is. I believe it’s 6,000 square feet. The old hospital was comprised of two different buildings with multiple floors so doctors and clients had to do a lot of walking up and down flights of stairs. This new hospital is all one floor, which I’m sure the staff is very excited about.
The day the new hospital opened, I set into action my digital marketing plan that I’d made with the Chicago Regional Marketing Director to update the hospital address across our digital channels. I updated our address on our:
Google My Business listing
Multiple spots on our website
Updating an address online is important but this felt more important than normal because the stakes were higher. We needed to ensure that no one accidentally drove to the old hospital, especially during an emergency with their pet.
As part of this plan to tell our audience about our Chicago hospital moving, I worked closely again with the Chicago Regional Marketing Director and the Marketing leadership to write a press release that was shared on our website and distributed through PR Newswire.
I posted on Facebook and LinkedIn. I wanted to take a moment to talk about how well those two posts did.
Today I went to the Ohio Marketing Summit hosted by IC SUMMITS. It was great to hear marketing case studies and insights from large and small Ohio brands. My biggest takeaway was the importance of communicating with your customer rather than talking at them. Speak their language. An awesome brand will encourage consumer conversations on social media. I appreciated how Bridget from Great Lakes Brewing Company spoke about how they embrace how passionate their customers are about craft beer. Whether that’s a positive or negative passion, they use their social playbook to engage with their audience online, always in their brand voice.
I always like to write down and share my key takeaways from conferences that I attend:
Word of mouth, contagious marketing, even in the digital world, remains strong.
Hold up a mirror when deciding on something. Does this fit with who your brand is?
Market research, surveying your customer, understanding what they respond to is so valuable.
Great brands come from great strategy.
Edit to amplify.
The peanut butter approach – Spreading everything equally everywhere isn’t always the best approach to marketing
You don’t need to chase a shiny new object or new shiny marketing trend.
Status quo is the enemy of innovation.
Instead of buying expensive commercial time during a TV show, target fans of that show on Facebook. It’s a better use of your budget and it’s more trackable
Tell a story to executives rather show them the raw data. Give them an overview of if things are good, bad, or okay.
Sometimes you need to switch your strategy and benchmarks from focusing on conversions to brand awareness. You might need to first educate your audience on who you are.
Adept Marketing presented case studies that showed how they looked at a client’s existing data, redesigned their landing pages based on that data and saw an increase in conversions.
Don’t make your customers ask. Answer their questions beforehand. Add FAQ answers to landing pages. They used data from the website’s Live Chat feature to learn that customers frequently asked about price and bulk discounts so they added that information to the landing page.
Heat maps can validate your hypothesis with data. For example, if you think most people don’t scroll down to see the bottom of your webpage, you can prove that with data by looking at a heat map from a service like CrazyEgg.
You already have data. Look at it. Make a hypothesis. Test it. Redesign the user experience based on what you learned.
Don’t talk at your customer. You should be communicating with your customer.
Over scripting creates a cold response and inauthenticity
Your app will never be perfect. Try to release an MVP (minimally viable product) asap to get user data and feedback to grow from.
Great Lakes Brewing encourages and responds to all online conversations. They embrace how passionate consumers are. They created a social playbook for engaging online in their brand voice.
Tonight I went to a presentation called Social Media Strategy For Small Businesses at Haven Collective. I heard about the event from the Robles Design email newsletter that highlights cool upcoming marketing-related events for entrepreneurs in Columbus. This event peaked my interest because I always like hearing from other social media pros and learning from their expertise. (If you’re not learning, what are you even doing, bro?) Carissa Richardson led the event. She owns her own company Kindred Strategy, after working at different agencies and brands for 13+ years.
She talked about the difference of organic and paid posts on social media. She made the excellent point that organic posts won’t grow your following. You need to put money behind your top performing organic posts and show those to a more narrow audience, such as a custom or lookalike audience (which is more targeted than using the Interests targeting.) I like to boost the previous week’s top performing post. This statement struck me because too often business owners think the goal of social media is to grow their following and that will happen if you post organically. False. You should strategically target your posts and invest in paid social media.
Carissa briefly talked about engaging with your audience and how important it is to respond. With that being said, she addressed the elephant in the room: what to do when, (not if) someone leaves a negative comment. She suggested to post a canned response that asks the person to take the conversation offline, like “We’re so sorry to hear you had a less than ideal experience with us. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org so we can discuss this further.” She made the point that this sort of safety net policy in place can help leadership folks feel comfortable posting on social media. I would argue that posting a copy-and-paste response each time someone complains would fan the fire. It’s like if you called a company to complain about a service and instead of reaching a human you only got the automated voice. You’d get more mad. I think you should empower whoever is managing your social media to customize that response to address what they wrote. I’m still advocating that you take the conversation offline and follow that best practice, but I think canned responses make a brand feel robotic and can aggravate fans.
My favorite part of the presentation were Carissa’s steps to creating a social media strategy
Define your social media goals. If you’re looking to grow your business your social media goal might be to increase your website traffic or grow your brand awareness and increase your post’s impressions and reach.
Audit your current social media channels. Look out for duplicate pages, old accounts and take inventory of how many followers each account has.
Build audience personas. Use existing data to create a fictional character of your customer. What are their needs? Pain points? Values?
Choose your platforms. Check Google Analytics to see what social platforms are currently working to refer traffic to your website.
Competitor Inventory. What are they doing? What can you do better?
Establish your brand voice. This also involves creating your social media mission statement which is something like “BRAND creates social content to BENEFIT for AUDIENCE.” Example: “Volunteers of America creates social media content to help thrifty shoppers save money.”
Develop a content strategy. A good idea is to post 1/3 Engaging 1/3 Curated and 1/3 Promotional. For curated content, keep a list of websites, blogs, authors who fit with your brand and subscribe to their newsletter. I like to set up Google Alerts for keywords related to the brand.
Create a measurement plan. How will you track your success? I like to measure weekly analytics and one of my most important metric is looking at what post performed the best that week. That influences my future content.
Last week, I shared on MedVet’s Facebook pages this pet safety tip and frankly, I was surprised at how well the post did.
My boss emailed me suggesting I make a Facebook post about the potential pet danger of suffocation in potato chip bags. At first, I didn’t know what she was referring to, but after a little Googling, I quickly discovered that dogs can go digging through the trash, find a potato chip bag, stick their head inside looking for crumbs, and when they inhale the bag gets stuck on their neck, suffocating them. It was heartbreaking to learn that pets have died from something so easily preventable. So, I opened up Canva, and made this graphic:
This post showed me that pet owners want tips and information that they can share with their friends. They want posts that make them look like an intelligent and caring pet owner. This information helped influence my future content calendar.
I wanted to highlight a recent example of how a Facebook post went from concept to publishing and the beauty of how that idea evolved and changed through collaboration.
Concept: Hurricane Barry was barreling right into the path of our New Orleans and Mandeville MedVet hospitals so we were concerned about pets being displaced. The Regional Marketing Partner reached out suggesting we post on Facebook if lost pets are brought into the hospital. The hospital was set up to temporarily shelter any found pets during the storm. I agreed this was a great idea and set out to make a “found pet” template in Canva.
So, after a couple days of back and forth and making three drafts, we needed to use this post template.
Over the weekend, a female chocolate lab came into our Mandeville hospital. We posted on Facebook about her, using our new template, and it worked! She found her owners.
I’m proud to share some of the Facebook posts that I created for all of the 24 MedVet Facebook pages recently. My goal with the content creation has been to engage our audience while still maintaining our commitment to leading specialty healthcare for pets. I’m learning that our audience loves to interact with us, whether it’s sharing pet photos or answering our questions. I made these graphics in Canva and wrote the copy.
The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of MedVet.
Today’s my two year work anniversary at Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana!
Reflecting back, I’ve grown a lot in this role. I went from writing social media posts in Excel that needed to be approved each week to leading social media campaigns and projects in a paid software. I made the decision to start using Instagram as a brand and have grown our followers from a mere 30 people to over 700! My manager Stephanie left in the spring of 2018. She helped me grow so much in this role. She supported and encouraged me to try new things. I definitely miss her sometimes.
Our Development & Communications team has elevated the Volunteers of America brand throughout the community. Last year, a record number of backpacks were donated to Operation Backpack and we merged with our Indiana affiliate. I helped rebrand our social media accounts and merge our websites together.
I’ve loved managing our social media strategy, creating content and interacting with our enthusiastic audience. We have followers who are wildly passionate about Volunteers of America, our mission and our thrift stores. One of my favorite parts of my jobs is messaging people who love VOA and thrift shopping just as much as I do.
I’m thankful for my time at VOA and how much I’ve learned and grown.
Nate surprised me with an unforgettable Valentine’s Day. I feel so loved.
He picked me up after work and we drove to campus. The whole drive, I was trying to guess what we were doing and where we were going. We parked at Chadwick Arboretum, where we had a picnic on our second date. Nate told me he had an evening planned walking down memory lane. I started to tear up; it was just so thoughtful. We strolled around the pond at Chadwick, talking about who we were back then and how we were both so nervous and unsure where the relationship would go.
I remember that after the picnic, almost three years ago, we went to the Chocolate Café. So, on our walk down memory lane, that’s where we went next! Okay, we weren’t the only ones with the idea to go to the Chocolate Café on Valentine’s Day but the wait wasn’t that bad. I ordered the lobster bisque soup and a Dirty Girl Scout martini. Nate ordered a dirty martini, the special sandwich which was pulled pork, mango and habanero with a side of cream of mushroom soup. I never get tired of talking to Nate. We always find new things to learn about each other. We talked about our babysitters when we were little. I liked babysitters because they’d ask me what I wanted to do and Nate said he’d just walk over to a friend’s house and didn’t really have babysitters.
Nate warned me that the last thing on our itinerary had a set start time but it was okay if we were late. What could it be? He told me we’d been there before, there’d be food available, and it would probably end around 10pm. I had no clue. We drove back home and parked. That’s when I connected the dots that we were going to a Blue Jackets game. I’d get to see my other Valentine, Cam Atkinson! It was so sweet of Nate to surprise me with hockey tickets. We got there at the end of first period. The guy next to us had a thick British accent and kept yelling very British things like “rough ‘em up, lads!” and “Come on, lads.” I got a tub of popcorn at the end of the second period and ate about half of it. The Blue Jackets weren’t playing their best and lost 0-3 to the New York Islanders. Oh well.
I still had a memorable and romantic evening. We came home and watched some old Pixar shorts that I had on DVD.