Archive for the ‘business’ Category

How To Show Off Your Best Yelp Reviews

August 16th, 2012

Are you one of the hundreds of business owners with a Yelp business listing who is frustrated with Yelp’s so-called fair selection of featured reviews? Yelp states on their website: “The filter establishes an objective standard against which every review can be measured. Even though it inevitably affects legitimate reviews from time to time and misses some fake ones, too, it helps protect the integrity of the site both for consumers (who will be less likely to be led astray by bogus reviews) and business owners (who will spend less time worrying about whether their competitors are writing negative reviews about them).”

In a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, business owner James Lee voices a sentiment that resonates with many business owners on Yelp. The article stated that “Lee contends that Yelp doesn’t play fair with small businesses, frequently filtering out positive reviews but leaving negative ones.”

“Yelp picks and chooses how they want to apply things for their own best interests,” Lee said. “They say it’s an unbiased, fair system for reviews, but they manipulate it as well.”

Rather than spend – or waste – time dealing with Yelp, where it is clear that a business owner can not have full control over their own listing that is on Yelp’s website, we’ve got better ways for you to use your valuable time – and showcase  your best testimonials.

1. Where are all your best reviews? Probably you have a few on Yelp, a few on LinkedIn, and maybe other profiles like Google Places, Yahoo Local, and industry-based directory sites. Take all your best reviews and gather them into a single document, and include a link to each review’s original source.

2. If you don’t already have one, add a Testimonials page to your website. (See this example on Family Law Attorney Lucy McAllister’s website.) You can also add a widget or plugin to your website’s sidebar if you have one, and post a different review on each page. (See this example on Intuitive Counselor Jessica Lanyadoo’s website.) You can also get fancy and use a slideshow tool like Slidedeck that rotates to show a different review every few seconds. (See an example on Switchblade’s website.). Keep the testimonials text-based so that search engine robots can scan your reviews too.

4. Adding a Testimonials page to your website gives you the control of which reviews you want showcased, and it also gives you a place to consolidate all reviews from various sources. If a review quotes a business or client, you have an opportunity to link back to their online presence, which can be a subtle “thank you” for their testimonial.

5. Don’t forget to SEO this page! Make sure to include a sentence on this page that says something to the effect of: “Thank you to our clients for these great reviews we’ve collected from Yelp, LinkedIn, and Google Places (list all sources of the testimonials you’ve included on the page.) When you SEO the back end, be sure to include in your keywords for this page, “Yelp review, LinkedIn recommendations” and terms that include the source names as well as your business’s name, services or products. With good, strong SEO, you just might rank higher than your Yelp listing.

6. If you also have a Facebook business page, you can create a Testimonials page as a custom tab. Some apps like Woobox let you take an existing web page and drop it into a custom Facebook tab. You can simply designate the URL of your Testimonials page as the custom tab source. Otherwise, simply copy the text and paste it in. (See this example on small club’s FB page.)

7. How about a blog category called “Customer Review of the Month”? Thank clients and customers for taking the time to put in a good word for you. Showcase their business and review in a blog article, where you can also link back to their business’ website, and share background information on their product or service and also the service you provided to them, if this is applicable. (See this example on Ebisu Sushi’s website.)

Do you have other suggestions? Let us know! Please share with us in the comments section of this article. Or let us know what you think of these suggestions.

Social Media Examiner’s “5 Ways to Build a Pinterest Following With Facebook”

August 7th, 2012

Thank you Social Media Examiner for this great advice. Even WE need to get up to speed and get this strategy going!

By
Originally Published August 7, 2012 Read original article on Social Media Examiner website

Are you looking to build a strong Pinterest following?

Did you know that you can integrate your Facebook and Pinterest marketing?

Yes, there’s a way to get Facebook fans to create exposure for you on Pinterest.

Establishing a large audience of followers on Pinterest is one of the most important aspects of a successful Pinterest marketing campaign.

Here’s the skinny: Although during the setup process you can choose to link your Pinterest account to your Facebook personal page, there is currently no way to automatically hook up to your Facebook fan page.

So what’s a business to do?

The truth is most business owners have not figured out a solution. They are failing on Pinterest because they think that they have to build a new following from scratch. Well, that is patently untrue.

Here are five ways to use Facebook to build your Pinterest following.

#1: Get a Pinterest Tab for Your Facebook Fan Page

The easiest thing to do is just go to Woobox and create a Pinterest tab for your Facebook fan page.

wooboxEasily get a Pinterest tab for your Facebook fan page from Woobox.

It’s very simple to do and requires little to no technical skills. Within minutes, you can have your Pinterest account in front of thousands of your fans! This way, whenever people come to your Facebook page to either check out your latest posts or learn more about you, they can also see that you are on Pinterest.

The Pinterest tab allows fans to view all of your boards and even your pins while staying on the Facebook platform. They will not be transferred over to Pinterest until they try to repin or comment on one of your pins.

pinterest tab fb fan pageWithin just a few clicks you can easily create a Pinterest tab for your Facebook fan page.

inside the pinterest tabInside the Pinterest tab as seen on the Facebook fan page.

#2: Post Pinterest Links as Updates on Your Facebook Page

There are a few different ways to use your Facebook status updates to promote your activity on Pinterest.

One way to build your follower base is to share the direct link to your Pinterest page as a status update and tell your fans WHY they should follow you on Pinterest.

What helpful information or cool contests will they have access to? Are there exclusive promotions? Why should they follow you on Pinterest AND Facebook?

facebook status update exampleExample post of a Facebook status update promoting a Pinterest business account.

The more specific you can be about the type of value you are creating for your followers on Pinterest, the more likely your fans will join you there too.

#3: Promote Specific Boards on Your Facebook Page

On Pinterest, people can choose to either follow all, or just a few, of your boards.

Because of that feature, you may find success promoting specific Pinterest boards on your Facebook fan page.

I recommend you promote a few different boards throughout the week.

That way, you have the opportunity to showcase your Pinterest account to a wider audience on Facebook, and you can introduce them to the diverse areas of value shared on your Pinterest page.

There are two ways you can promote a specific Pinterest board on Facebook.

  • Update your status by uploading an image of a pin to Facebook. Add a description and include a link to the board on which that pin is featured.
facebook pinterest board exampleExample Facebook post promoting a particular Pinterest board.

This works well if you have a really compelling image, because it will be granted more space on the Facebook newsfeed than a link.

  • Post the link to your Pinterest board as part of a status update. An image of one of your pins on that board will be automatically generated.
full board viewGenerate a full board preview (photo and all) by posting the board’s direct URL .

Posting the link will also automatically include the text in your board description.

Make sure that you add proper descriptions of the content when setting up your boards. I’m always amazed by how few people take advantage of this opportunity.

Look how brilliantly realtor Raj Qsar utilizes this space for his branding purposes.

His board description reads:

“Raj Qsar & Premier Orange County Real Estate – is one of the most dominant Real Estate Teams in the Orange County Real Estate Market. For over 15 years Team Raj Qsar has held the philosophy to give the best service and most qualified advice to both buyers & sellers.

Implementing honesty and integrity at the highest level possible and to enjoy the entire process along the way. We are truly passionate about real estate.”

raj qsar teamTake advantage of the description area below your board titles for adding value to your brand and board.

To add a description to one of your boards, simply click Edit Board and fill in the Description field.

edit boardAdd a description to your board by clicking the “Edit Board” button at the top of your Pinterest board page.

#4: How to Promote a Particular Pin

Sometimes the best way to really serve your Facebook community is to highlight the value that you are providing in one particular pin.

This is a great way to get maximum exposure when pinning your own original content. Remember these posts can and will be shared across Facebook by your fans.

The same two strategies apply here, as they do to promote a specific board above. You can either upload the image of the pin as a status update (or include a link in the image description), or you can just include the direct link to the pin in your status area.

promote a particular pinPromote a particular pin by pasting the pin’s direct URL into your Facebook status update.

When you post a direct link to a pin as a status on Facebook, the following information will be automatically added and visible:

  • The image of your pin
  • The name of the board that includes the pin
  • The caption that has been added to your pin

So make sure you have fully optimized both your board title and caption for maximum impact. Focus on creating intriguing board titles and including a further explanation of value in the caption.

#5: Promote Your Pinterest Contests on Facebook

Contests and promotions are becoming all the rage on Pinterest. They are a very effective way to quickly add a lot of new followers and drive a ton of traffic to your site.

Unlike Facebook, there are no real restrictions regarding the way contests are promoted and hosted on Pinterest. A great way to leverage both platforms is to promote your Pinterest contest on your Facebook fan page.

pinterest contest facebook fan pageExample of how Bergdorf Goodman promoted their Pinterest contest on their Facebook fan page.

Bergdorf Goodman recently promoted their Pinterest contest on their Facebook fan page by posting an image of one of the prizes with a brief explanation. They included a link to their blog within the description of the image where fans could find more details about how to enter.

Hopefully you’ve found these five ways to use Facebook to build your audience on Pinterest helpful. I know from personal experience that introducing your fan base to your presence on Pinterest is an effective way to get more followers.

Despite all the hype surrounding Pinterest, Facebook is still the largest social media network. Why not leverage the audience you have already built there and let them fast-track your success on Pinterest?

So what do you think? Can you see the benefits of using Facebook to get more followers on Pinterest? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

“So that’s how you make coffee beans?” Learning from a Coffee Maestro

July 19th, 2012

Mr Mariposa Coffee, Jerry Caputo (left) surrounded by his many aromatic creations. Russell says, "mmmmm.....coffee."

Jerry is truly a Coffee Maestro. He told us not to call him a Master. He prefers to reserve that title for folks like Mr. Illy and Mr. Peet. Although Maestro is generally reserved for musical masters, after watching Jerry Caputo, owner of Mariposa Coffee in Mariposa, CA near Yosemite Valley, roast coffee with his special (and secret!) process, it was really like a watching a musician. The finesse in his touch, I didn’t even realize there was room for such rhythmic gestures. It was a little like watching someone practice tai chi. What do I mean? Watch this short video of Jerry putting his final touch to a newly roasted batch of Mariposa Coffee.

How did we find Jerry? While on a trip to Yosemite, we drove past a little shack on the main highway to our inn. We drove passed it several times, actually, before we decided to check it out. A few steps inside the small cabin, Jerry says (like we were local neighborhood folk), “I’m just about done with a batch here (or something like that). Wanna wait a few minutes…or come check it out.” We were technically tourists, and we thought to ourselves, “WHAT A TREAT!” Maybe locals get to watch this all the time, but we city folks who do love a good coffee experience were squealing with anticipation to see some real coffee roasting!

Jerry’s been making coffee the same way for decades. According to Jerry, 10-15 years ago when he first started Mariposa Coffee, there were probably roughly under 300 coffee roasters in the entire nation. And now, the total in California alone is likely in the thousands. The amazing thing is, Jerry still makes coffee the same method as he did when he first started, perfecting his technique here and there, taking a few hints from folks like Mr. Peet.

And if you can believe it, 1 lb of Mariposa Coffee will cost you under $10. And another thing you won’t believe, Mariposa Coffee does not yet have a website. We hope this is the start of a aromatic relationship!

 

Memorable Day with Muttville and SF Giants Pitcher Tim Lincecum

July 3rd, 2012

a special baseball card we made for Muttville's star, Timmy

A special day for Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, July 1, 2012, will go down in Muttville history for a once homeless senior dog named Timmy. A week ago he was an abandoned stray. Last Sunday, he became a star! The chosen, long haired mutt now had a special advocate helping him find a new home… SF Giants star pitcher, Tim Lincecum!

I was truly honored to be one of the four Muttville representatives to meet two-time Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum. He was a genuine, down-to-earth, animal loving gentleman that won our hearts. And we believe Muttville’s senior dog cause won Tim’s heart.

I created three items for this special day: a unique Timmy baseball card (shown on left), reminiscent of one of Tim Lincecum’s Topps cards ; a 40-sec video that was played on the Giants jumbo screen(!); and a Limited Edition Muttville baseball tee in Giants colors, worn by our proud Muttville volunteers. We gave one to Tim, too. I hope he wears it!!

 

Read Marie’s blog article for Muttville about Timmy’s big moment, and see the whole day captured in photos in this slideshow:

Marie Featured in Grouchy Puppy’s “Influencing Positively” Interview Series!

June 20th, 2012

We were so honored when Sharon Castellanos, founder and publisher of the blog Grouchy Puppy and Editor-At-Large for Life + Dog Magazine, chose Marie to be featured in her “Influencing Positively” Interview series! Sharon has been a strong supporter of animal rescue, and a great friend to Muttville and its senior dog cause. Her dog Cleo, a proud senior, helps “mom” promote Muttville’s motto, “senior dogs rule!”

Thank you Sharon!

Read the original article on Grouchy Puppy’s website.

June 19, 2012

Influence Positively Interview – Marie Rochelle Macaspac

SmallClubsDayOff

Marie is the owner of Switchblade Creative Studios, a design and marketing agency that specializes in working with nonprofit organizations and socially responsible businesses. She also co-manages Small Club, a walking/boarding/daycare service. With Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, Marie volunteers as a foster caregiver, outreach member, and the team leader for marketing & design, and social media. For San Francisco Animal Care and Control, Marie offers support as an Animal Caregiver and provides Marketing and Social Media services.

Marie Macaspac’s passion is an inspiration to many within Muttville Senior Dog Rescue and beyond. She gives her time & talent helping unwanted senior dogs find homes. By fostering more than 40 dogs in her own home as well as offering care and shelter for foster/hospice dogs whose end is near, Marie’s heart is huge. Marie is a designer and is responsible for the accolades Muttville receives when our marketing efforts are noticed – Muttville’s website, the design of Muttville’s shirts, postcards/posters announcing an event, the concept for an event, and the design of the fast-growing Facebook page – these are just a few examples. She team leads the Marketing volunteers, overseeing video production, photography production, working with other people who give their marketing talents so that older dogs can be re-homed.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? A quiet sunny warm day surrounded by nature, either the beach or the woods, with a handful of my furry friends enjoying the day with me – my girl ocean blue and all of our fosters/friends…..strolling without a care in the world, just being free and happy…

If you could come back as a dog or a cat, which one would it be and why? probably a dog. Either a cattle dog or a shih tzu – or a cattle-shih tzu mix! i’d like to know what its like to be cute and cuddly, and equally smart and clever

What is your pets most treasured possession? my dog, ocean, who is an aussie, values most…being in school! yes, she absolutely loves to be in class. she values above all things learning new tricks and being helpful. I guess on that note, if she had to love a possession, she loves to wear her backpack! she carries muttville cards, my keys, her leash….and she feels like she is doing good and being helpful, which ultimately is what makes her happy.

Your proudest achievement so far? The first thing I think of is how much I love being a foster mom. I’ve proudly fostered over 40 dogs to date. Even when I think about it, I can’t believe it! And along with that experience, I value so much what I have learned hospicing dogs with cancer. Even though it was heartbreaking when I lost Collette (read my story of collette), everything I learned about helping dogs with cancer is a gift, and I have since been able to offer guidance to other hospice parents, Muttville mutts, and doggy moms and dads with their cancer dogs.

Who are your heroes in real life? When I was 6 or 7, I loved James Herriot who wrote All Creatures Great and Small, and then when I was 10, I discovered Jane Goodall and I have been a fan ever since. I never dreamed that I would work side by side with anyone as amazing as them, and here I am today – working with Sherri Franklin, who has changed the future for thousands of senior dogs as a result of founding Muttville Senior Dog Rescue. I am in awe of all I have witnessed these last 5 years, and so honored to be a part of it.

2012 HSUS Animal Care Expo and Animal Welfare Marketing

May 30th, 2012

Switchblade/Muttville's Marie Macaspac, HSUS CEO/President Wayne Pacelle, Muttville Founder/ Executive Director Sherri Franklin, and Muttville Public Relations Publicist / Board Member Patty Stanton

The Humane Society of United States hosted their annual Animal Care Expo this year in Las Vegas last week (May 21-24). Representing Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, I attended with Muttville founder Sherri Franklin and Muttville’s publicist and Board Member Patty Stanton, and we were ready to soak up all that we could learn in two and a half days about animal care education.

In comparison to the Best Friends Animal Society “No More Homeless Pets” Conference  in October, this conference was geared more towards SPCAs, municipal shelters, and human societies across the nation and internationally. We met an organization from Guatamala, and rescues based in the U.S. that rescue animals from Iran and Romania.

It was interesting to venture outside of the Marketing track and learn about fundraising techniques and business organization topics. Found Animals talked about their venture in retail, opening a store in Southern California in a mall. HSUS’ session on hosting an Adopt-A-Thon was very useful, and we are currently implementing a few new ideas learned as Muttville gets ready for Maddie’s Matchmaker Adopt-A-Thon, coming upon June 9-10. Keep an eye out for some unique promos from Muttville!

As a result of what we learned at the Animal Care Expo, Switchblade plans on expanding Muttville’s retail ventures, which can potentially be an effective revenue stream. On the retail topic, we were all wearing our Muttville and “Senior Dogs Rule” gear, which drew in quite a bit of attention, including some heartfelt tears from folks who were touched by our “senior rescue” focus. Three women from Puerto Rico approached me after a session, and they wanted their own “Senior Dogs Rule” tees!

We met a company modeled similarly to Switchblade called the Oklahoma Media Group, that owned a division or subsidiary called The Social Animal, focusing on animal welfare marketing and fundraising. Yes, we took many notes at their workshop, and truly enjoyed their advice on email marketing, social media, and content. Made my wheels turn…what should I call Switchblade’s animal welfare division? (Suggestions are welcome!)

It is always inspiring to be in a room full of animal advocates. Patty and I are always thinking ahead, and next year we hope Muttville can participate with some sessions on senior animal care (there was none this year). What do you all think? Nashville, here we come!

“8 Core Beliefs of Extraordinary Bosses” by Geoffrey James

April 23rd, 2012

We are re-posting this excellent article from Geoffrey Jamesoriginally published in Inc. Magazine. We all aspire to be an extraordinary boss, and if we aren’t there yet, this article is a great inspiration for guidance.

sherri franklin muttville

Sherri Franklin, Founder and Executive Director of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, is one of my examples of an extraordinary boss

 

The best managers have a fundamentally different understanding of workplace, company, and team dynamics. See what they get right.

 

A few years back, I interviewed some of the most successful CEOs in the world in order to discover their management secrets. I learned that the “best of the best” tend to share the following eight core beliefs.

1. Business is an ecosystem, not a battlefield.

Average bosses see business as a conflict between companies, departments and groups. They build huge armies of “troops” to order about, demonize competitors as “enemies,” and treat customers as “territory” to be conquered.

Extraordinary bosses see business as a symbiosis where the most diverse firm is most likely to survive and thrive. They naturally create teams that adapt easily to new markets and can quickly form partnerships with other companies, customers … and even competitors.

2. A company is a community, not a machine.

Average bosses consider their company to be a machine with employees as cogs. They create rigid structures with rigid rules and then try to maintain control by “pulling levers” and “steering the ship.”

Extraordinary bosses see their company as a collection of individual hopes and dreams, all connected to a higher purpose. They inspire employees to dedicate themselves to the success of their peers and therefore to the community–and company–at large.

3. Management is service, not control.

Average bosses want employees to do exactly what they’re told. They’re hyper-aware of anything that smacks of insubordination and create environments where individual initiative is squelched by the “wait and see what the boss says” mentality.

Extraordinary bosses set a general direction and then commit themselves to obtaining the resources that their employees need to get the job done. They push decision making downward, allowing teams form their own rules and intervening only in emergencies.

4. My employees are my peers, not my children.

Average bosses see employees as inferior, immature beings who simply can’t be trusted if not overseen by a patriarchal management. Employees take their cues from this attitude, expend energy on looking busy and covering their behinds.

Extraordinary bosses treat every employee as if he or she were the most important person in the firm. Excellence is expected everywhere, from the loading dock to the boardroom. As a result, employees at all levels take charge of their own destinies.

5. Motivation comes from vision, not from fear.

Average bosses see fear–of getting fired, of ridicule, of loss of privilege–as a crucial way to motivate people.  As a result, employees and managers alike become paralyzed and unable to make risky decisions.

Extraordinary bosses inspire people to see a better future and how they’ll be a part of it.  As a result, employees work harder because they believe in the organization’s goals, truly enjoy what they’re doing and (of course) know they’ll share in the rewards.

6. Change equals growth, not pain.

Average bosses see change as both complicated and threatening, something to be endured only when a firm is in desperate shape. They subconsciously torpedo change … until it’s too late.

Extraordinary bosses see change as an inevitable part of life. While they don’t value change for its own sake, they know that success is only possible if employees and organization embrace new ideas and new ways of doing business.

7. Technology offers empowerment, not automation.

Average bosses adhere to the old IT-centric view that technology is primarily a way to strengthen management control and increase predictability. They install centralized computer systems that dehumanize and antagonize employees.

Extraordinary bosses see technology as a way to free human beings to be creative and to build better relationships. They adapt their back-office systems to the tools, like smartphones and tablets, that people actually want to use.

8. Work should be fun, not mere toil.

Average bosses buy into the notion that work is, at best, a necessary evil. They fully expect employees to resent having to work, and therefore tend to subconsciously define themselves as oppressors and their employees as victims. Everyone then behaves accordingly.

Extraordinary bosses see work as something that should be inherently enjoyable–and believe therefore that the most important job of manager is, as far as possible, to put people in jobs that can and will make them truly happy.

BEHIND THE BRAND: Bald Barbie

March 30th, 2012

Bravo to Mattel, the makers of Barbie® for this very caring initiative that surely will have its place in Barbie history. A wonderful example of social responsibility from the 50-something year old gal! Truly this is more than just an act of social responsibility. It was a thoughtful decision for a corporation to not only produce  Bald Barbie, but, as stated in SFGate blog post:  “The doll, who will be a friend of Barbie, will be donated to hospitals treating children affected by hair loss throughout the U.S. and Canada. The company will also give dolls and monetary donations to CureSearch for Children’s Cancer and the National Alopecia Areata Foundation.”

We hope this act inspires other corporations to give in their own monumental ways. They all can, you know. They just need to find the value in giving.

Congrats to the Nominees in the 2012 Bay Woof Beast of the Bay Awards!

January 6th, 2012

Vote for your faves in the Bay Woof Beast of the Bay Awards 2012

What a great 2011 and beginning to a new year for many of our pet-related colleagues and clients!

Switchblade is proud to announce the following clients and events nominated in the 2012 Bay Woof Beast of the Bay Awards. We are honored to be associated with these great events, organizations and businesses:

Best Adult Dog Play Group / Event:
Pet Pride Day
(sponsored by Friends of SFACC and SFACC)

Best Dog-Friendly Winery:
Mutt Lynch Winery

Best Dog-Friendly Bakery:
Paw Patch Pastries

Best Pet Superstore:
Pet Food Express

Best Doggie Birthday Present:
Massage from Happy Hounds Massage
A Paw Patch Pastries pastry

Best Canine Massage Therapist:
Shelah Barr, Happy Hounds Massage

Best Overnight Boarder:
High Tail Hotel

Best Pet Photographer:
Mark Rogers Photography

Best Rescue Group, Best Canine Cause:
Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

Best Fundraising Event:
Pet Pride Day (SFACC)
Moolah For Mutts (Muttville)

Best Online Adoption Website:
Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

ALSO: Northern California Pet Adoptions has a photo of Switchblade founder Marie Macaspac with her beloved border collie, Collette, on its homepage! This website was also nominated for Best Adoption Website!. Photo taken by Mark Rogers Photography.

 VOTE! Support your favorite businesses, events, rescue organizations, and dog parks!

Click here to vote!

Muttville voted Favorite San Francisco Charity in 7×7 Magazine: Behind-the-scenes of the Successful Marketing Campaign

December 28th, 2011
7x7 Magazine Favorite San Francisco Charity Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

7x7 Magazine Favorite San Francisco Charity Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

Our campaign was strategic, structured and relentless! Find out how we ran the successful marketing campaign that drove thousands of fans to vote EVERYDAY (that’s right!) for Muttville and led to being named San Francisco’s Favorite Charity in 7×7 Magazine.

The night that 7×7 Magazine announced the winner of their San Francisco Favorite Charity contest, the Muttville Team Leaders honored to be present at the announcement party, Patty Stanton, Anne Lauck, Caroline Kaps, and myself, along with our mentor, founder Sherri Franklin, were already beaming with excitement and pride to be one of the seven finalists in a room of amazing non profit organizations: Hearing and Speech Center of Northern California, Lyon-Martin Health Services, MYEEP, Minds Matter, Saving Grace Rescue, and the Asian Women’s Shelter.

Muttville Senior Dog Rescue announced as winner of San Francisco Favorite Charity Contest in 7x7 MagazineWhen the announcement came and the big 8 foot check had Muttville’s name on it, we were floored, overwhelmed with happiness and joy, and most of all, grateful and honored.

Sherri really did almost fall to her knees from weakness as she smiled and tried to speak into the microphone!

As we look back on the day when we first received the announcement of a contest by 7×7 to win a grant generously donated by PG&E for $10,000, in October, we knew this was an opportunity for Muttville, not just financially but the connection to 7×7 and the potential press in 2012 could really bring us new exposure to a wider audience.

A social media and online email marketing campaign was in the works immediately. Since voting was everyday, we needed to be dedicated to daily posts and multiple daily tweets plus working in a newsletter campaign that didn’t pound our supporters over the head too often, nor did we want to put out too many messages to our subscribers and drown out important messages.

A few things to note about Muttville’s overall marketing strengths:

  • Muttville had a system and schedule in place for blogs and email marketing. Therefore Muttville’s communication with supporters via email and social media was very consistent. Subscribers already looked forward to our regular communication, such as weekly blog series Success Stories and Adopted Mutts of the Week, along with newsletters with stories from founder Sherri Franklin.
  • Our social media is always very active, with every blog post, event, and newsletter being shared to Facebook and Twitter immediately.
  • Our interaction with fans and supporters is also strong. Facebook interaction is on average 90% of posts, and Muttville engages with its fans on Facebook everyday. The Facebook page gains 100 + new Likes every week.
  • Muttville has outreach events every weekend, and is accessible both offline and online.
  • Volunteers interface with people in a variety of ways: events, traditional mail, email, and Social Media. And fosters meet potential adopters throughout the week, which means new folks being introduced to Muttville.

When time came to drive a campaign that required daily participation, we knew our fans would rally for us and we could be in the top 49. With every post reminder to vote, practically every single post was liked and commented. Folks even thanked us for the reminder! We diligently posted on Facebook every single day. We tweeted several times a day every day. We got a suggestion from a supporter, “Why not put it smack dab on your front page?” Why not? So we added it right below our call to action “doggie chain”. We let people know what $10,000 can provide to Muttville: much needed surgery for Timminy, physical therapy for Lady Tara, eye surgery for Casper. We strive to let folks know in detail where funds and donations are spent.

When the announcement that we made the Top 7 was made in November, we knew that we really had do turn on the turbo to maintain another month of daily voting pleas! This was important and we needed our supporters to know!
We launched the email marketing campaign and thanked our supporters for their daily votes, and kept the spirits high. Through the newsletter and the home page, Muttville’s website gave people the option to sign up for daily email reminders to vote. Hundreds of people signed up! So Muttville was reminding people by email, Facebook, and Twitter every single day. That daily activity was reaching over 5000 people with each reminder. That number doesn’t even including others forwarding on to their friends and social networks. We often received messages from our supporters saying that they sent daily reminders to others too!

The key effort in this campaign was simply communication. Our fans and supporters from all over the world were ready to help the senior dogs, we just needed to reach as many people as possible, and reach them EVERY DAY without tiring the message or nagging for support. Scroll through our Facebook page to see different ways we posted the message. Often it was casual, but we always included a personal note, and we tried to always “like” every comment to let fans know that we are always listening and grateful for the support. Interaction and engagement is key in maintaining and building an active social network. We want everyone to feel they are an important part of Muttville.

During this campaign we had other big announcements that launched: Our annual Matching Grant Challenge, plus Muttville’s first ever Pup up Adopt Shop. It was easy for the messages to get muddled or drown each other out, or worse overwhelm supporters. We kept each message and call-to-action separate and gave each its own voice. There was a different tone to each campaign as well as a different focus in its strategic effort.

Of course with all this flurry of voting, it is still a mystery how many votes we were actually receiving throughout the campaign. We were as nervous as the others as we awaited to hear the winning organization.  When we won, we knew who we had to tell first…our fans and supporters. Ready in the wings, Carol, Muttville’s website developer sent out a newsletter and updated the website’s home page within minutes, and we posted to Facebook with a photo:

7x7 Magazine Favorite Charity Contest winner Muttville Senior Dog RescueIt was really amazing to see the number of Likes posted within minutes and throughout the night! We could barely keep up reading the comments. And the 30 shares was just unbelievable! Keeping our valued supporters close to the excitement in the moment with Muttville was very important, and we could feel them right there with us, thanks to Facebook.

I’ve been asked by several organizations to give any advice and insight as to how Muttville got all those votes. I’d love to share social media networking tips with all who contact me. One thing that must be noted: dog lovers and animal advocates are some of the most passionate and dedicated folks I have ever known. Perhaps because the love of animals is one thing we all can relate to and have in common, regardless of culture, status, age, gender, or history. Muttville’s special niche, senior dogs, might also remind us all of our own mortality.

Its not over yet! We continue to thank supporters, keep them in the loop, and share Muttville’s successes with them everyday. We hope to share more news when Muttville is featured in the March 2012 issue of 7×7 Magazine and the organiztion can build new connections with the Bay Area, thanks to this special honor.