Reaching Contractors with Social Media

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter You probably set up a Facebook page and a Twitter account a few years ago when social media was the new shiny object for marketers. But now, your social media is anything but new and exciting … and it doesn't help you reach contractors. You might be wondering if you're wasting your time on these channels or if you're better served by switching to the newest social trend. As a longtime leader in Business-to-Tradesman marketing, we’ve developed 12 helpful tips that will help you use social media to effectively reach contractors. In “12 Tips for Reaching Contractors with Social Media,” you’ll learn how to evaluate the social media you’re already using and pick the right avenues for connecting with contractors. The tip sheet shares best practices for social media in this niche space using content and integrating it into your overall marketing programs. Download 12 Tips for Reaching Contractors with Social Media by signing up here.read more >

Social Media As a Profit Center

Today, we have guest post from Jeff Guritza, a marketing professional in the power tools accessories industry, on the incorporation of social media in a company's business plan. We’ve all heard the term “social media,” and you may have even been afraid to ask, “What the heck is that?!” Regardless of your awareness level, you shouldn’t be asking yourself if your business should be engaged in social media. You should be asking yourself how. Practically overnight, social media has become a cultural phenomenon. Simply stated, social media is defined as people going online to find, read or share content that interests them. Commonly used platforms are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. Contrary to popular opinion, it’s not just a personal platform that millennials use during their free time. Increasingly, people of all ages and nationalities jump online 24/7 for practically everything: researching gift ideas, sharing photos, reviewing products or getting directions Social media is not a fad that will fade in time. Like your morning cup of coffee, it’s here to stay. Social media transcends personal opinions, pastimes and hobbies. Its vast influence is felt in industries both large and small, near and far. Baby Boomers are embracing social media in droves, looking to communicate with grandkids and reconnect with friends. Whether you like it, people right now are vetting your business based upon content they find about you online. To help guide you, here’s three smart steps to follow when looking to jumpstart your company’s social media engagement. 1. Social Media Lite: First, realize in this day and age you absolutely must have a social media presence. At a bare minimum, your company should set up accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. To do so, find your most tech- savvy associate and have him or her get online with…read more >

Photo Worthy: 6 Steps to Build Your Photo Content

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer Pictures are incredibly powerful marketing, PR and social media tools. Every single project that I work on for Sonnhalter’s clients involves some form of visual element… which is also one of my biggest challenges as a public relations professional. Trying to wrangle high-resolution images for a project is tough because sometimes the photo well is just not deep. In our digital age, it doesn’t make sense to not have photographs of basically everything. There is no concern regarding wasted film because everything is digital. Here are my tips on making sure you have an ample supply of good photos to accompany your marketing communications programs: 1. Think that everything your company does is photo-worthy. If you host or attend an event, you should take pictures. That includes: Trade shows, customer events, employee events, seminars, etc. [Tweet This] 2. Take a lot of photos. Not all pictures will turn out great, some will be blurry, someone will have their eyes closed or being making a horrible face. Take several pictures to make sure that you have useable ones. For example, for last year’s Sonnhalter Tool Drive, we took 50 photos and a couple of videos and only used 13 of them in our Facebook album from the event. For events and trade shows, don’t limit your photos to just the pre-event set up. Capture some action, get people in your photos, both candid and posed. After events, people love to go back and see if they were caught on camera. 3. Assign someone to take photos. Chances are there is someone in your organization who is pretty good at taking photos. Find that person and leverage their abilities. If you aren’t sure, ask for a volunteer to run around and capture photos. They don’t have to…read more >

6 Tips For Using Video to Tell Your Story

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer Producing and using video content effectively has been a popular conversation topic around the Sonnhalter office. I had the opportunity to attend a presentation on storytelling with video by Chris Miller, director of the Akron Digital Media Center and editor of the Akronist.com. I asked Chris if he would be willing to share some ways that video helps tell a story or some tips on using video, here’s what he said: Because we live in such a visual culture, video has become a crucial means to communicate a message. Make sure your video is short and to the point - under three minutes is ideal - and be sure to focus on your audience and your message. The more personal you can make your video, the more effectively it will reach your audience. We relate to personal stories about everyday people. Profile a client or end customer - tell their story in their own words. Keep mobile on your mind when creating your video. Many people may watch it using mobile devices. So, again, shorter is better. Also consider posting Vine and Instagram videos with succinct messages. A compelling story is much more important than technical aspects (like special effects). A well-told story will transcend a lack of resources. Use B-roll (supplementary footage that helps alleviate the "talking head" interviews) and plan out your video by listing shots and locations ahead of time. A little planning will save you a lot of time in the editing process. About Chris: Chris Miller is the director of the Akron Digital Media Center and Akronist.com, as well as a community investment officer at Akron Community Foundation. Chris has more than a decade of digital and print journalism experienceread more >

B2B Marketing: 9 Ideas for Solving Your Biggest Content Challenges

Today we have a guest post from Michele Linn the Content Development Director of the Content Marketing Institute and a B2B content marketing consultant who has a passion for helping companies use content to connect with their ideal buyers. You can read the original post here. Last week, when we published findings from our study, B2B Small Business Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budget, and Trends – North America (sponsored by Outbrain), reader Andy Detweiler posed a great question in our comments section: “Any insight on how small B2B companies plan on solving the problems listed? Would be curious to understand what they see as potential solutions versus a larger enterprise.” Andy’s question inspired us to take a closer look at some of the content marketing challenges faced by North American B2B marketers who work at small businesses (companies with 10 – 99 employees), as compared to their peers at enterprise organizations (companies with more than 1,000 employees). We’ll also share some insights on ways content marketers can address these issues — regardless of the size of the organization they work for. 1. Engagement In general, both groups are similarly challenged with producing the kind of content that engages — and it is the top challenge for enterprise companies. In a way, I think it’s encouraging to see this as a top challenge, as it shows that marketers are focusing on the value of quality over quantity. And, there is good reason why engaging content matters: Customers and prospects who engage with content are more likely to reach out or initiate a relationship with your organization. Ideas: Engaging content means different things to different people, so you’ll need to start out by determining your organization’s definition of “engagement” — and what metric(s) you can use to measure it. For instance, as Joe Pulizzi…read more >

Free Resources You May Not Know About (for Tradespeople)

By Sandy Bucher, Media Engineer at Sonnhalter Here's a little-known tip on an easy way to keep up with news in your industry. If you are interested in finding out what’s happening in your trade, there are many trade publications available at no charge to tradespeople of all kinds, if you qualify. If you want to learn about the latest industry trends, read about upcoming trade shows or industry events or see new products available, all you need to do is request a subscription from these trade publications. As long as you qualify for those magazine’s specifications, you should be able to receive your own copy of that magazine. Depending on your market, most of the qualification questions asked when requesting a subscription are the type of organization you work for, your job title or function, types of work your company does and do you buy or specify certain products/services. Sometimes they also ask for number of employees at your location, what types of construction fields is your firm engaged in or would you like a print or digital version. Most subscriptions these days can be requested online from a publication’s website. It’s a pretty easy process. Take a few minutes and sign up for those publications that would benefit you in your work.read more >