Archive for the ‘COVID-19’ Category

How Your Online Presence Affects Your Hiring

Posted by

In this highly competitive hiring market, your first impression means everything. Job seekers are getting that first impression from your online presence. Your website, social profiles and online reviews aren’t just marketing and branding vehicles to attract prospective customers. They are also critical to attracting potential employees. We have put together a list of ways to improve your digital presence to help with your employer branding and recruitment marketing.

Your Website and Social Media – The First Stop in a Job-Seeker’s Research

The way you present your brand in the digital world can make a huge impact on whether a job seeker chooses to apply or accept an offer from you. If you were to look at your website and social media platforms from a potential employee’s point of view, would you find the company culture and values appealing? Is what you see a positive and accurate reflection of your internal company culture and work-life?

Take a walk in a job seeker’s shoes for a minute, and look at your company from the outside in…

Start With Your Careers Page

Do you have anything more on this page than a list of available openings and benefits? A competitive Careers page should go beyond the basics.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

This is an opportunity to share photography of actual employees, your workspace, company events and community engagement. When you review this page, look at it from the perspective of a job seeker: Will they identify themselves in those photos? Do you have uniforms that are modern or fun? Does the company engage with the community? Do people look like they enjoy working for you? You should paint a clear picture about what it’s like working at your company and provide an opportunity for them to picture themselves in the mix.

Interior branding wall mural in restaurant  Uniforms for a seafood restaurant designed by Robot Creative(photo caption: examples of interior branding in stores and fun uniforms at Sea Island Shrimp House.)

(photo caption: examples of branded wall decor including core values at Computer Solutions.)

Boring Descriptions = Boring Jobs

Your job descriptions might also need a refresh. Consider writing them with a voice and tone that reflects your brand and appeals to the audience you’re trying to attract (for example, should the positions sound fun and energetic, ambitious and intellectual, quirky and unique?). The Job descriptions can provide a branding opportunity and a chance to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Add a Feature to Your Home Page

If you have immediate hiring needs, consider adding a call-out at the top of your Home page near the navigation or even a pop-up alerting web visitors of those immediate openings. Link directly to the Careers page instead of making them search for it. Adding a content section on the Home page with compelling imagery, a headline and a call to action can be a great way to entice web visitors to learn more about employment opportunities as well.

Pull in Dynamic Social Media

If you have someone updating your company social profiles with internal culture, community and events, you can pull that content into your Careers page or Home page so it is always dynamic and current. If you aren’t currently posting content that relates to your work environment and internal culture on your social media channels, now is the time to consider adding it to your editorial calendar. Also, don’t forget to post about your job openings as they become available, and encourage your team to share the posts.

Pick the Right Social Platforms for Job Seekers

We recommend you pick the social platform(s) where your potential future employees are active. This may vary for different types of positions within one organization. Your social media manager should know which platforms cater best to specific age groups and audience types. Make sure to highlight the content which accurately reflects your company culture and brand, but adjust it to speak specifically to each unique audience.

Example of hiring post on social media for tech company.  
(photo caption: example of social posts promoting hiring on LinkedIn.)

Don’t Skip Past the About Us Page

If you have an About Us page that already features current leadership and facts about the company, understand that not just customers are visiting that page to learn about you, but also job seekers! Make sure your leadership team photos and bios are up to date and appealing to prospective team members. Consider the company story from the job seeker’s point of view. What additional information would you include to win them over? Finally, don’t miss the opportunity to recruit on this page. You can add a “Join our team” teaser or section that links to your Careers page to draw job seekers in.

Optimize Your SEO to Get Job Seekers to Your Site

Once you make your website improvements, it’s time to make sure your intended audience sees them. Optimizing your Careers and About Us pages for the types of jobs you are trying to fill will increase your chances of being found by the people who are actively looking. If you don’t have someone on staff with SEO background, consider outsourcing the project to someone with specialized skills in this area.

It Pays to Advertise for Job Seekers

Social and digital ads can help you accurately target very specific audiences. Ads can be easily turned on and off and budgets can be tightly controlled when you have shifting needs for specific positions. Digital advertising is also a great form of brand awareness. If you keep a regular stream of company advertisements and/or social posts and culture in front of your audience, they will be more likely to respond favorably when they are presented with an opportunity.

Example of hiring post on social media for local restaurant chain. Example of hiring post on social media for IT company.
(photo caption: examples of social ads promoting hiring.)

Opportunity to Improve – Not to Falsely Advertise

If you find it’s difficult to find content to update your website because you don’t host regular company events or maybe you don’t have the most competitive benefits, you might want to consider surveying your team to gain a better understanding of the culture and team motivations. Advertising a false or idealized reality will hurt your recruiting efforts more than it helps. It can damage your reputation as an employer if prospects or former employees decide to call out these inconsistencies in online reviews. Speaking of reviews…

Review Management Matters

Reviews of your company can be found on your social platforms, search engines and even job search and review sites like Indeed or Glassdoor. Having your profiles on these sites maintained with the most up-to-date information and photos can help you make a better impression on prospects researching your brand. With online reviews, job seekers also have a front-row seat to past employees’ opinions – for better or for worse.

While you can’t control what others say about your company or brand, you can recover from a negative employee review if you make the effort to respond publicly. Acknowledging negative reviews will sometimes convince employees to edit or remove them. Even in times when it doesn’t, other users see that you made an effort to respond appropriately, which demonstrates professionalism. Disgruntled employees are often more likely to leave reviews than happy ones, so it can help to have a strategy to encourage or even incentivize current employees to post reviews. Increasing the number of high ratings can help drown out the occasional grumpy review, and show a more accurate reflection of your overall employee sentiment.

Go Get Them – Your To-Do List:

If you’re actively trying to find employees, we hope this list of ideas will help you improve your online presence and have a positive influence on future recruits. Take time to improve your recruiting strategy by:

  1. Identifying (and profiling) who you’re trying to recruit
  2. Reviewing your website from the job seeker’s perspective
  3. Adding relevant content to your website and social channels that shows the benefits of working with your company
  4. Advertising on digital platforms to quickly increase visibility
  5. Actively managing your online listings and reviews

Taking these steps will greatly improve your hiring competitive edge. Happy recruiting!

If you need help making sure your branding attracts the right crowd, or need support with advertising or web design, contact us for a free consultation.

How Social Ad Campaigns Helped Reach Target Audiences During the Pandemic

Posted by

As businesses adjusted their services and offerings to address the 2020 pandemic, social media was a go-to medium. We helped several businesses and organizations get the word out to their target audiences. Here are just a few examples.

“On-Pointe” Social Media Ads Increased Ballet Class Registrations
The Ballet Conservatory of South Texas understands how their service meets their target audience’s needs. This made it easy for us to craft messaging on Facebook to inform that classes were still happening (both virtually and social distanced in-studio) and promote them as the top choice of schools to attend. The social media ads we created for the Conservatory specifically emphasized their differentiator (training that can lead to a professional ballet career). The result was a full roster and branded content to fill their newsfeed.

Registration social campaign ad for ballet company Registration social campaign ad for ballet company

Local Restaurant Meal Subscription Ad Campaign with Messaging their Target Audience Ate Up
Pharm Table knows they need to reach a very specific audience. Their food is not just tasty and beautiful, but also made to act like medicine for the body and mind. With increased need for meal deliveries (especially during the pandemic), they wanted to promote their convenient meal subscriptions to target audiences that would see the benefit in their food: those interested in vegan food and in a natural detox or an Ayurvedic diet in the San Antonio area.

Meal subscription social campaign ad  Meal subscription social campaign ad

LinkedIn Advertising and Content Marketing for Oil and Gas Accounting Firms
With the COVID-19 pandemic still at large, brands are still needing to deliver related information to share to their target audiences. We recently created social media advertising campaigns for Eddye Dreyer Financial Services and The Resource Group LLC to get relevant and timely information to the right audience at the right time.

Covid-19 content campaign social ads Covid-19 content campaign social ads

Need help with digital marketing? Contact us for a free consultation.

8 Weeks and Counting. PPP…Now What?

Posted by

Over the past few weeks, my go to word has been “whiplash”. Business owners have been thrown challenge after challenge – from closures to remote work to new regulations to products/service adjustments. Topping the list of stress was the PPP loan process. Nothing seems to get under a business owner’s skin like an inefficient process over which they have no control… except maybe one with big bucks riding on it.

Most businesses are now well past that chaos, and the mood seems to have lightened considerably with eight weeks of runway in the bank. I wouldn’t exactly call it optimism. It probably feels more like one part relief and two parts exhaustion. No matter how you process the emotions of the situation, it’s time to move on to the things that you can control.

Here are some highlights of the conversations that I’m having with business leaders every day:

Now is the time, and we are counting down
You have time and capital. Your competitors may not. How will you use this time to gain an advantage? You need a week by week roadmap that puts you exactly where you want to be on the other side of this. Eight weeks is going to go by very quickly. You are exhausted, but it’s not time to let up.

It’s not business “as usual”
You have a pause in business as usual. Patterns and routines can be very difficult to step out of, even thoughts can become deeply rooted. This is an opportunity to examine those patterns with a critical eye, and plan to build new ones. No one expects things to operate the same after this.

Everyone is out of their comfort zones
Not everyone loves change, and rapid change at that, but they are being forced to deal with it now. Changes which might make clients, vendors or staff “uncomfortable” won’t require the same level of explanation amid the current state of chaos. Consider it a kindness to the change-averse around you to just rip the bandaid off all at once. You can make long-needed changes or deal with things that the current situation have brought to light.

Has this been a wake up call?
How have your systems withstood this pressure test? Have you found something broken that needs to be addressed? It might be your IT systems, it might be your financial forecasting, it might be your marketing systems, or your HR processes. There may have been so many alarms ringing all at once that it was deafening. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn from the experience. Take a moment to write down the pain points, or brainstorm with your team. That becomes a to do list with things you can prioritize or choose to put off.

Did your brand feel the love?
Have your phones been ringing or silent? This pandemic has been a great measure of brand affinity, and a reality check for a lot of businesses. Restaurants and retail have clearly felt the pain, but even B2B businesses that use a direct sales approach or event marketing have seen their brand awareness in a new light. Do you need help with your branding?

How concrete was your marketing plan?
The marketing plan includes who you are going to reach and how. You might have needed to adjust what you were saying, but the who and how shouldn’t have changed significantly. When you have a solid plan, you can make adjustments quickly. How did your plan hold up? Were you able to rapidly adjust?

Is your audience clearly defined, or just a concept?
We hear it all the time, “we know our customers”, but the real question is, “can you reach them?” Were you able to quickly activate communications without missing a beat? Did you know which channels to use and were you able to adjust reach and frequency to adapt to your new challenges and changing goals?

Are you planning for alternate futures?
People skilled in planning don’t struggle to develop one plan, they effortlessly develop multiple plans with contingencies. If you aren’t a strong planner, consider hiring a coach to help you carefully plan out for longer closures, ongoing health risks, a struggling economy, mass unemployment, and longer term issues specific to your clients and suppliers.

These are a summary of our daily conversations, and we would love to have one with you. Whether we can refer you to one of the amazing business coaches we know, or if you would like to tackle a marketing pain point, we are here to help. Branding and Strategic Planning projects can take between 3-6 weeks, so contact us today to get started.

You have 8 weeks. Please make the most of this time.

Marketing Through COVID-19 – B2C Checklist

Posted by

How are you adjusting your marketing to deal with the coronavirus situation?
Whether you are dealing with shelter in place ordinances or still able to operate, ongoing marketing may not be top of mind right now, but in fact, it should be on your priority list. So, we have assembled a quick checklist of things to help you stay on track.

  1. Talk to Customers – This crisis will definitely test the loyalty and the depth of the connection that every business has with its customers. If you or someone on your staff can take a few minutes to pull back from the operational challenges to speak with your customers, you might be surprised by what you learn from it. There might be ways that you can continue to operate or adjust to serve them. You might be able to strengthen your relationship by acknowledging the customer’s situation. It starts with listening and understanding.
  2. Outline Your Key Messages –  Make sure that you are communicating your most critical information. Do your clients know whether you are still operating and how things have changed? Start with a list of critical details and think about which communication methods you will be using to keep customers updated.
    • Location closures or adjusted hours
    • Ecommerce options
    • Best phone numbers
    • Curbside and delivery options
    • Reduced product offerings / limited services
    • Innovative packaging and bundling
    • Changes to ongoing or creation of new promotions
    • Gift cards and Pre-purchase discounts
  3. Use Your Email Lists – It’s fast, easy and practically free.  Do this now and do it frequently to keep customers up to date on the latest changes.
  4. Website Updates – Thankfully, the Internet is still working.
    • Update the header area or add a pop up to grab attention.
    • Do you need a whole page of information?
    • Newsrooms and blogs are easy places to add ongoing announcements.
    • Personalized messages or videos from the owner to customers brings a touch of humanity back into the situation.
    • Add a chat to your website and have it managed remotely to improve response times.
    • Add a pop-up with email capture or “follow us on social” links so customers can stay informed.
  5. Physical Signage – People are not out driving around much right now, but if your customers used to come to your location(s), do this just in case. If your brick and mortar location is temporarily closed, put up a simple physical sign with information on how to contact you and where to look for new and emerging details This will save you from having to continuously update the sign. If you’re offering curbside or pick-up services, directional signage and process instructions will help your on-location team reduce verbal commands to each and every customer.
  6. Social Media – Social media will offer a lifeline for many businesses.
    • If you still have a strong business offering, pay to promote your posts to ensure that you are seen.
    • If you haven’t built a social presence before now, you still can! Did you know you can upload your email database to create a custom audience and lookalike audiences in Facebook and Instagram?
    • Update hours and information in your about us section and post about it whenever something changes.
    • Use profile graphics and cover images to promote critical information and major updates.
    • Look for fan groups, associations and news outlets that are building lists of businesses to support and join the conversation.
  7. Text Messaging – If you have a text messaging system, use it. Include quick details on offers or links to the website or to social media for longer messages.
  8. Google My Business – Update your google business hours and location information.
  9. PR and Traditional Media – Send a release with hours, locations and offerings to local media.
  10. Adjust prescheduled advertising campaigns –  Don’t let prescheduled campaigns run on autopilot without reviewing messages, costs and audiences. You may need to pause anything that isn’t relevant given the current situation. Also consider reducing brand awareness campaigns while beefing up ad spend on platforms that directly drive sales in a measurable way.

Need help putting an emergency plan and messaging together for your business? We can we help! Start a chat with us or fill out a contact form to schedule a free consultation.

Marketing Through COVID-19 – B2B Checklist

Posted by

As businesses struggle to adjust to the current shelter-in-place orders, most marketers are able to work remotely and to help push out critical business communications. But are you just hunkering down or could you adapt to keep your organization relevant through this process? Below you will find a checklist of considerations specific to B2B businesses that are trying to adjust their marketing strategies during the coronavirus crisis.

STEP 1 – Make Personal Contact with Top Clients 
Many essential businesses are still up and running and even non-essential businesses are able to operate remotely. Some are going to experience incredible demand, but many are struggling. Use the 80/20 rule (top 20% of clients who make up approximately 80% of your revenue) to identify top clients, and begin a one-on-one outreach campaign to understand how this emergency is affecting your clients’ business, their employees, their clients… and don’t forget them personally, because their families and friends may be affected. Truly listen to understand each unique situation.

  • Do you have a solution to help them?
  • Can you be a knowledge resource for them? Are there resources or is there information you have that might help them through this period?
  • Will it affect your business relationship? (project delays, pushed contracts, late payments, lost opportunities)
  • Would communication from you now be viewed as intrusive or unwanted?
  • Would a pause in your product/services be the right thing to consider for the longevity of the relationship?
  • Conversely, can you offer any amended terms to help clients keep services on track and your employees working?

STEP 2 – Adjust Your Marketing Strategy 
Once you are armed with information, and better understand your clients’ needs, it’s time to take action.

A. Keep clients and prospects informed:

  • Announce operational changes
  • Update website
  • Post on social media
  • Send email newsletters
  • Think about physical signage

B. Adjust active messaging campaigns & advertising strategies:

  • Scheduled/planned marketing campaigns and events may not be appropriate
  • Make sure you are promoting relevant and timely offerings
  • Specifically, consider if the tone of your messaging is appropriate in this climate
  • Adjust PPC and search settings (and budget)
  • Don’t forget to review and update social media post language

C. Some additional tactics that you might consider:

  • Train sales teams and CSRs to be sensitive to the situation – even outline sensitivity scripts for your team to include in their outbound emails and calls
  •  Add a chat feature to your websites
  • Create a triggered pop-up on your website to capture email addresses
  • Set up e-commerce
  • Build stronger digital sales presentations
  • Rework customer journey
  • Create and use branded Zoom backgrounds
  • Deploy company-wide email signature advertising for key messaging
  • Create video presentations & demonstrations
  • Create webinars and other digital opportunities to connect

Do you need help?
If you need to fill staffing gaps on the marketing side – our team is all working remote and able to help. Please contact us if you need assistance.

Tips for teams working remotely from the remote ROBOTS.

Posted by

We at Robot Creative have been remote working for weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic. As a team, we’ve noticed some challenges and also some opportunities while working from home. Here are some tips and tricks we’d like to share to keep things running smoothly while sheltered in place.

  1. Over communicate!
    The best way to find out what process and channels are best for communicating, you may have to go through about a week of communicating over and over on many channels. The one thing you cannot do is expect others to see your message without getting confirmation. Next, as a team, it’s helpful to share what works for some or doesn’t for others. Then, a leader should lay down rules for the best means to communicate moving forward. Remember to be patient. Rules are reinventing themselves right now, but you may find better ways to communicate through this that you might elect to continue after the quarantine is over.

    At Robot Creative, we found it best to use organized channels in a chat tool called Slack to communicate on specific topics like IT issues, general work announcements, and even a fun channel to keep spirits up. Then we use the messaging function in our project management tool, Pro Workflow, to update each other on projects and even pass documents back and forth with edits and notes. Relying less on email and more on these mediums has cut down our need for Zoom video calls (which we do still use for some meetings when needed). We may very well continue these messaging practices and will cut down on face to face meetings in the future.

  1. Environment is key
  2. Do NOT work from bed or the couch if you can avoid it. Set up an area that will be your dedicated workspace. You can use the kitchen table or coffee table. Just take the time to get it set up each morning for work by removing the usual objects, so you have a clear space. You can also change up your surroundings during the day to freshen your perspective and inspire creativity. We are encouraged to do this in the office, but it can also be done at home. Finally, at the end of the day put the work stuff away and put things back to “normal”. This allows your space to be your home again, and no longer a place of work for the day.

  1. Save your back and eyes
  2. Ergonomics has been around for a while, and it’s true that sitting with improper posture takes a toll on your body. Sit in an actual office chair if you have one. You may want to ask if you can pick up the one from your office. This will save your back from agony after sitting for hours on furniture that is designed more for lounging. Also, protect your eyes and invest in blue light blocker glasses. We are all staring at screens now more than ever. Whiteboards, presentations, meetings, are now all done digitally. Plus, we are entertaining ourselves at home with all our devices. You can get prescription and non-prescription lenses sent to your house through affordable resources like Zenni Optical, Felix Gray and even Amazon.

  1. Suit up!
  2. Ok, maybe don’t wear a suit – unless that is what is expected for a video conference call. The point here is to get dressed. It’s tempting to work in your pajamas. When you dress up like you’re ready to work, you’re more willing to get to work. This might seem silly, but most of our team noticed they felt less motivated when they weren’t work-ready.

  1. Stick to a schedule
  2. Not only is this helpful as a part of communication to others when you are available, it also helps you differentiate work time from downtime. Set hours for your workday, and even better, segment hours- blocking out time for certain tasks. Make sure your online calendar is updated for others on your team to see. That way they know the best time to get ahold of you, and when to leave you alone. This will help you and your team better separate personal time from work time.

  1. Take breaks, and give yourself one too
  2. Something to remember, you aren’t just working from home, you are working from home during a pandemic. This is a very uncertain time and stress is high. There’s a lot of change, but you still need to get work done. And you might feel the pressure to overperform to keep your job, or because you feel a sense of guilt for still having yours when so many people in the world are losing theirs. Despite these feelings, to keep your mental health, you need to take breaks. Go outside for a walk. Get up and stretch. And forgive yourself for this learning curve. This is going to take some getting used to, and who knows how long it will last.

  1. Keep it casual sometimes
  2. There’s a lot of seriousness, and work is serious. However, it’s good to keep a channel open for some light and fun conversations. Even just chatting during breaks with co-workers to see how they are doing. Ask about their family, share struggles if you can, and share good things coming out of this situation. Our team started a weekly newsletter that highlights general announcements, and also features some of the shared photos, ideas and fun facts that we shared throughout the week. This has helped overall morale and has given us some great ideas to try with our families.

These are just a few things our team has learned in the past month of remotely working. If you have any ideas, feel free to share them with us through our social media channels, or contact us here.

Facebook Icon Twitter Icon LinkedIn Icon Instagram Icon