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. 

Screen Shot 2019-08-31 at 1.26.29 PM

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

 

 

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.

2019

Two Years at VOA

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.

No alt text provided for this image
2019, About Me, blog, blog post, blogpost, myblog, personal

An unforgettable Valentine’s Day

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.       

social media, work, work sample

LinkedIn Paid Advertising

After merging with Indiana, Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana has been growing at a rapid pace and we have a lot of job openings right now. To assist HR with finding qualified applicants for these positions, I ran a paid campaign on LinkedIn from 12/27 to 1/2/2019, targeting people in Evansville, Toledo, Fort Wayne, Bloomington, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton, and Columbus with the listed job function of Community and Social Services. (These are the cities we are hiring in.)

For the Text Ads, since you could have multiple variations, I used this as an opportunity to do some A/B testing with the language, the links and the creative.

Three of the Text Ads took people to: https://www.voaohin.org/careers  and three of the ads took people directly to the job listing page. I used a Bitly link to shorten the job listings page.  The top two performing ads pointed visitors to https://www.voaohin.org/careers  

Sponsored Content on LinkedIn. I made the image and wrote the copy.

We ran 5 versions of Text ads on LinkedIn and it’s clear the one with “We’re Hiring” in the headline performed best.

The Text Ad variations. The top performing ad had over 20,000 impressions and 14 clicks.

I definitely want to do more paid advertising on LinkedIn to recruit applicants and to do more A/B Testing.

2019, email, work, work sample

January 2019 Donor Email Newsletter

I wrote and designed this donor email newsletter for January 2019. I was inspired by an email I got from the epic Lori Jacobwith. It caught my attention because she used my name in the subject line and addressed me like an old friend “Hi Debbie.” I honestly did a double take when I read this email, like does she know me? I think the lack of images and simplicity of the email stood out. Inside the email, it read like we were best friends and she was speaking directly to me.

The email that inspired me

My first draft of the donor email was more text-heavy and included a call-to-action for donors to become monthly donors.

First draft of the email.

I shared the email draft with my team and our Director of Development noted that we should just say thank you and not ask for money in this email. We did include a subtle “PS” asking readers to watch our Faces of Hope video.

After changing the email, when it was sent out, several Volunteers of America staff members responded saying how much they appreciated this email and how it made their day.

A great way to kick off the year, by taking time to appreciate.  Thanks & will share the inspiration with my crew!

Grove City thrift store manager
 
Subject line: Name – Thank you!
Hi Name,
At the end of the year, do you ever take a moment to reflect back on the year? Do you ask yourself if you made a positive difference in your community? 
Let me assure you that, yes, you made a difference in 2018. Your support of Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana has led to so many amazing things.

Mothers found sobriety.
Families achieved well-being. 
Homeless veterans established housing. 
People were given second chances.
And they all thrive … because of you.  

Every day, I’m humbled to be surrounded by your kindness. On behalf of Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana, I sincerely thank you for allowing us to be an extension of your heart and hands, helping people reach their full potential and for helping our community thrive. Many wishes for a happy and healthy New Year.  

John R. von Arx III
President & CEO 
Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana

PS – Watch a snapshot of how you’ve changed lives in 2018.

Screenshot of the email, sent Monday, January 7, 2019 at 7 a.m.