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2019, Uncategorized

What do you do when you mess up at work?

I messed up at work today. It wasn’t a little whoopsie goof it was a big, ohmygosh-what-have-I-done moment. I am not proud of it at all. Heck, I’m really embarrassed about it. But, I want to challenge myself to take the high road, be mature, reflect and learn from it.

Earlier that morning, a colleague had asked to meet with me about the Contact Us form on the website. She asked if we could make some of the fields required or make some changes to it. I thought to myself, yeah that should be a simple fix. I’ve never messed with that form in our WordPress before and I knew nothing about it. But I was confident it wouldn’t be that hard and I would be able to figure it out. I log in to WordPress, find the form, make some changes, and send a test form to myself to double check the changes took effect. Nothing happens. I send another form. Still nothing comes through. Aw man.

I start to wonder what’s going on. I update the plugin in WordPress thinking maybe that was the problem. I go to lunch, come back and still neither of my test messages from the website have worked. The form is broken. I dig around WordPress and see a Deactivate button and I think that means “revert to a previous version of the plugin, like before I updated it.” I don’t think it means “delete all form data and all forms.” I press the big red button.

I realize that I’ve deleted our website forms and the past submission data. I’m horrified. How could I have done this? I dig through and realize the forms are not backed up anywhere, there’s been no internal record of what the forms were, which ones they were, or anything.  I realize this is not something I can hide or fix myself.

I call my boss on the phone because she was driving out of town. She picks up the phone and asks “Is everything alright, Debbie?” and I say “No. I made a really big mistake and accidentally deleted the forms from the website. I was working too quickly and didn’t know what I was doing and now the Contact Us form is gone. I’ve called IT and am planning to tell the rest of the team.” My boss said things would be alright and told me what steps I needed to do next.

I think the younger Debbie would’ve waited to tell her boss until her boss somehow found out about it from another person. I think I would’ve been so ashamed, terrified and embarrassed,  I would’ve scrambled to keep it a secret and try to fix it myself (which I could not do.) I think my younger self would’ve cried in the bathroom, thought about blaming someone else and called my parents for help. I don’t want to be that person.

I had to tell my boss’ boss and the Chief Information Officer what I’d done. I wanted to just crawl into a hole and not come out. How am I supposed to be this super adulting digital marketing pro when I made a huge effing preventable mistakes like this? This isn’t a typo, it’s a disappearance of part of the website.

I texted Nate and that helped calm me down a bit and remember I could get through this. He works as a software engineer and so was able to understand what had happened and brainstorm some solutions with me.

I called our website developer and spoke with them about what had happened. Dealing with the mistake took all afternoon.

Before I left for the day, I emailed my boss and her boss a recap of what had happened, what I’d done to try to fix it and questions I had. I of course apologized again for causing such a mess in the first place. I wanted to keep them informed and own up to what I’d done.

 

What helped me stay calm in a moment of personal crisis was remembering what I’d read in the book Ask a Manager. She talked about what to say to your manager when you make a mistake. I loved this book and took photos of my library book and saved them in a Google Doc.

Screen Shot 2019-09-18 at 8.49.06 PM
What to say to your boss when you make a mistake. From the book “Ask a Manager” 

The author Alison Green advises after you make a mistake, let your manager know immediately, explain clearly what happened and how it happened, take ownership and responsibility and explain how you’re going to make sure this never happens again.

I’m going to learn more about WordPress and until then I’m going to stick to the WYSIWYG editors and stay the heck out of the plugins or anything else I am not 110% confident in.

2019, Uncategorized

Proving assumptions wrong and thinking about my priorities

I’m in Boston for Inbound19!

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It’s exciting to travel to such a huge conference in the marketing industry. I’d wanted to go to Inbound someday and am thankful MedVet gave me this opportunity. I’m going to take so many notes to bring back to the team.

The kick-off welcome session tonight was by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of that book and movie you’ve heard of: Eat, Pray, Love. I admit I haven’t read any of her books or seen the movie with Julia Roberts. I started both and couldn’t finish. So, I was hesitant that I would not enjoy nor get anything out of her session. I didn’t have much to base that assumption on, I just pessimistically had a negative assumption.

But, she really inspired me. She spoke from her heart about how writing has always been her passion. She moved to New York City to fulfill her dream of being a writer but was working so many odd jobs to pay rent that she didn’t have time to write. She told this to a mentor and the mentor looked at her and stated:

“What are you willing to give up to pursue the life you’re pretending you want?”

She then asked her more questions to prove her point: “What’s your favorite TV show? What are you reading? How was brunch with your friends this weekend? What’s your next vacation?” She was indicating that if Liz had time for those things, then she had free time to write. It was a matter of prioritizing. She needed to make her dream of being a writer her number one priority.

Then Elizabeth Gilbert talked about Relaxing. She said that this word is underused and undervalued. When you Google “relaxing” she noted that images of hot stone massages are mostly what appears. If you’re waiting to relax once you’re rich, sorry but rich people are stressed too.

She described a friend she met who whenever someone asked him how he was that day he would respond with “It’s gonna be alright.” He wasn’t answering their question (in fact, he was creating a new question) but there was something relaxing about his demeanor. He kept his shoulders lowered, didn’t get fired up easily, and took time to listen to others. I admired that guy and after her talk noticed myself trying to bring down my shoulders, take a deep breath and relax.

She said that in a herd of horses, the alpha is a strong mare who keeps the other horses calm. When she is calm, that behavior spreads. She remains calm because nobody messes with her. The other horses know they must ask permission from before approaching. her. She doesn’t need approval from any other horses nor does she let their fears or worries affect her. It was quite a relatable message from the animal kingdom.

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Photo from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook page

Going off of that, I loved most what she talked about when she said you need to figure out your priorities. Draw a circle around you and protect that.

She described a moment in her life when she found out her partner was terminally ill. She canceled speaking engagements, canceled appointments and flew home immediately. She looked in her email inbox and deleted all the nonimportant emails, even if they were unopen. She prioritized her partner.

Now, I’m not going to go that extreme, but it got me thinking about what my priorities are. My first thought was Nate, Emily, and my parents. The people I care most about in the world and who know me better than I know myself. Then I wanted to add in some non-human priorities like: Honesty, Writing, Humor, and Creativity.  I know I want to live a life where I can have Nate, Emily, and my parents with me. I want to live a life where I can be myself, tell the truth in my writing, be goofy sometimes and try new out of the box ideas. 

So not only did Elizabeth Gilbert totally prove wrong the assumption I had, she helped me think more about my priorities and what’s important to me right now. Thanks!

2019, august, social media, Uncategorized, work, work sample

Sharing the news of MedVet Chicago’s brand-new hospital on Facebook and LinkedIn

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:

  • Facebook page
  • Yelp page
  • Google My Business listing
  • Apple Maps
  • 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.

We posted on the Chicago hospital’s Facebook page about the move and boy, did that post explode. I mean, it was a positive explosion of engagement.

chicago medvet hospital facebook
This Facebook post had the most engagement in MedVet’s history. I admit I wasn’t expecting this strong of a reaction from our Facebook audience to this news. I should’ve expected it because at Volunteers of America, I’d actually experienced something similar where a post about the grand opening of our new Pickerington thrift store has uncharacteristically high engagement. I learned that social media posts about new locations tend to go viral. 
page analytics facebook medvet chicago
You can see we gained 479-page likes in just one week; a huge increase from our normal growth. More importantly than the increase in page likes, we saw a 537% increase in Post Engagements.
facebook likes increase chicago medvet
Before this post, we had 4,624 likes. After the post, we has 5,099 page likes. That’s a 475 increase!
chicago medvet facebook likes
Showing the increase in Page Likes through a visual graph. 

 

We also shared the news of the new hospital on LinkedIn and again, our audience was very excited, resulting in high levels of engagement.

You can see the copy of the LinkedIn post is very similar to the Facebook post copy but we chose to use two images rather than just one.

Screen Shot 2019-08-31 at 1.26.12 PM
In our LinkedIn strategy, one of our goals is to gain more engagement in the form of comments so we were pleased to see six comments on this post where we usually only see 1-2 comments on a post. 

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linkedin analytics medvet
You can see here how this post had significantly higher engagement and impressions that our previous posts.

 

 

2019, blog, blog post, Uncategorized, work sample

A blog post I wrote for MedVet

I wanted to add this blog post to my online portfolio, here. I worked with our MedVet marketing team to create this.

This piece of content started when I reached out to our resident content pro, marketing team member, Debra who is a veterinarian. She’s like our subject matter expert. I asked her if she could help me write a blog post about how ibuprofen can be toxic to dogs. I’d heard from friends and family that people were giving their dogs ibuprofen, intending for it to relieve their pain, but instead, realizing it can be harmful to dogs. Debra wrote up a draft, chock full of valuable information to pet owners. I made some edits to the post to try and make it more targeted to pet-owners, rephrasing some of the technical terms and using laymen’s terms. Then the post was also revised and edited by my boss and my boss’s boss.

I reached out to our marketing team to ask if anyone would be willing to photograph their dog next to a bottle of ibuprofen, for this blog post. Jenn sent me these awesome photos the very next day. She assured me the seal was still on the pill bottle, so no dogs were harmed in the making of these photos. I love using photos from our team rather than stock photography. It helps distinguishes our content and helps us be a thought leader.

Here’s the blog post: 

 

Is Ibuprofen Toxic to Dogs?

The most common cause of ibuprofen toxicity is a well-meaning owner trying to alleviate pain in his dog.

Some commonly used medicines that are safe for humans are very toxic to pets. Ibuprofen is helpful to humans but harmful to dogs. Remember to always consult your family veterinarian before giving your pet any medicine, especially if it’s from your own medicine cabinet.

What is ibuprofen?

Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (commonly referred to as an NSAID- pronounced with the letter n-said). Ibuprofen is a popular and effective over-the-counter medication available to treat pain and inflammation in people.

What are other names of ibuprofen?

Human formulations of ibuprofen include: Motrin® (McNeil), Advil® (Whitehall-Robins), Haltran® (Lee Pharmaceutical), Midol® (Bayer), Menadol® (Rugby), PediaCare (Pharmacia & Upjohn), and various generic forms of ibuprofen.

What is ibuprofen toxicity?

For dogs, ibuprofen can easily exceed toxic levels. Ibuprofen has a narrow margin of safety in dogs. Signs of toxicosis can occur when as little as half a 200 mg pill is given to a 25 pound dog.The most common cause of ibuprofen toxicity is a well-meaning owner trying to alleviate pain in his dog. The owner administers a dose he thinks is adequate without knowing that it’s a toxic dose. The most common toxic effects are to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, kidneys or liver.

Ibuprofen in dogs eventually lead to kidney failure and, if left untreated, can be fatal.

What are the signs of ibuprofen toxicity?

In as little as 12 hours, signs of toxicity can begin to appear. The initial toxic effect is bleeding stomach ulcers. In addition to ulcers, increasing doses of ibuprofen eventually lead to kidney failure and, if left untreated, can be fatal. Symptoms of ibuprofen toxicity in a dog may include not eating, vomiting, black tarry stools, abdominal pain, weakness, lethargy, increased thirst and increased urination. Signs can range from mild to severe.

How does a veterinarian diagnose ibuprofen toxicity?

Diagnosis of ibuprofen toxicity is generally based on a veterinarian performing a physical exam and obtaining a history of access or exposure to ibuprofen. Blood tests are done to determine the overall health of the dog. If ibuprofen was ingested, blood tests may reveal anemia from a bleeding ulcer or abnormalities secondary to kidney damage.

How is ibuprofen toxicity treated?

Treatment will depend on the dose ingested and clinical signs. Veterinary care can include hospitalization with continuous intravenous fluids for one to two days. All steroids and NSAIDs need to be discontinued immediately. Activated charcoal may be given if ingestion was recent (less than two hours). Blood transfusion can be recommended in dogs with severe anemia due to bleeding ulcers. Stomach protecting medications are commonly given.

How do you prevent ibuprofen toxicity?

The best preventive care is to give your dog medications only if directed by your veterinarian.

If your dog appears to be in pain, talk with your family veterinarian who may be able to prescribe you a dog-safe NSAID such as Dermaxx (also known as Deracoxib), Rimadyl (also known as Carprofen), or Previcox (also known as Firocoxib.)

Call the Pet Poison Hotline at 855-764-7661 and your family veterinarian immediately if you think your dog or cat has ingested any ibuprofen. They will be able to provide life-saving advice and treatment for your pet.

 

2019, columbus

My Recap of the Ohio Marketing Summit

I attend the Ohio Marketing Summit for the first time.
Panel on reputation management and nurturing loyalty

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.
The Women in Leadership in Marketing panel
2019, social media

What I learned from the presentation “Social Media Strategy For Small Businesses”

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 debbie.gillum@brand.com 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

  1. 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.
  2. Audit your current social media channels. Look out for duplicate pages, old accounts and take inventory of how many followers each account has.
  3. Build audience personas. Use existing data to create a fictional character of your customer. What are their needs? Pain points? Values?
  4. Choose your platforms. Check Google Analytics to see what social platforms are currently working to refer traffic to your website.
  5. Competitor Inventory. What are they doing? What can you do better?
  6. 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.”
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

Thank you to Yasmine of Robles Design, Carissa Richardson of Kindred Strategy and Haven Collective for working together to put on such an educational event.

2019

Pet owners want to know how to keep their pet safe

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:

I made this graphic in Canva
This post did great on our MedVet Columbus page. 199 shares!

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.

2019, social media, Uncategorized, work, work sample

How a Facebook Post Can Evolve Through Teamwork

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.

This was my first draft. I knew it needed to have the pet’s picture, pet’s information and be on brand. I wanted a simple and straightforward design.
This is the second draft, that the Regional Marketing Partner made. I was really impressed by the sense of urgency this post conveys and the icon in the top left corner which could add consistency if we used this template on multiple posts.

Based on feedback from my manager, and from consulting our graphic designer, the post was revised a third time. The background color became lighter, the top left icon changed and we used our brand’s emergency color which is red.

So, after a couple days of back and forth and making three drafts, we needed to use this post template.

This dog was displaced in Hurricane Barry and we used the social post template our team created to find her owners and get her back home safely.

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.

2019, social media, Uncategorized, work sample

MedVet Facebook Posts I Created

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.

This informative post was targeted to cat-owners looking to learn more about what symptoms of arthritis to look out for.
We’re fortunate to have a strong base of digital cheerleaders who leave MedVet glowing 5 star reviews on Facebook, Google, Yelp and other sites. I wanted this post to thank our supporters as well as subtly encourage others to leave us a review.
Here’s another informative post we did to help pet owners protect their pets from snakes. With the temperatures rising and more dogs outside this time of year, the hospital emergency rooms often see an increase of pets coming in suffering from snake bites. I wanted this post to give practical steps a pet owner could take to snake-proof their life.
I was proud of how clever this post was. I’d like to repurpose it again closer to Halloween and Valentine’s Day too.
To increase engagement, I created this post asking our audience to guess the name of this dog. I struggled to think of a hint that would be helpful but not too easy. My hint ended up being “4+2=” and most people correctly guessed his name was Six. Our audience loved this post, not only because they got to interact with us and each other but also because they got to learn more about a police dog.
This post was a two-for-one engagement driver. Not only did we ask people to comment True or False, we also asked our audience to visit the blog post on our website to learn more about skunks. (Oh and the answer is True.)
This post drove engagement and educated pet owners about micro chipping. Polls on Facebook Pages are a relatively new feature and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to ask our audience a simple question and try out this type of content.

The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of MedVet.

Uncategorized

My next chapter

I’m proud to announce that I’ve accepted a new position at MedVet as their Digital Marketing Specialist. I can’t wait to join their talented team and help lead the way in specialty healthcare for pets.

I don’t have a dog yet. But I’ve developed quite the dog shrine in my living room.