<![CDATA[Chicago Social Media Marketers - Blog]]>Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:44:56 -0600Weebly<![CDATA[Avoiding bad clicks in your Google AdWords campaign]]>Mon, 30 Oct 2017 02:01:25 GMThttp://chicagosocialmediamarketers.com/1/post/2017/10/avoiding-bad-clicks-in-your-google-adwords-campaign.htmlGoogle AdWords campaign cause unique problems for the marketers designing them. Most advertising campaigns are charged by the number of people you expect to see them. The bigger the newspaper or the more popular the show the more the advertiser has to pay. You want to pay to reach potential clients and not waste money by reaching people who will never buy your product. But if someone happens to see your ad it does not cost you extra money. The same is true with search results. You want to reach your target audience but if someone who is not a potential client clicks on your link it does not cost you anything.

In your Google AdWords campaign you are paying every time someone clicks on your ad. Anytime someone who has no potential to bring you any revenue clicks on your ad it is a waste of money. If you are running your ads on a limited budget, and unless your name is Amazon you are, any wasted click means one less potential customer will click on your ad. There are thankfully several things you can do to reduce the number of bad clicks you are getting.

Our tips for reducing the number of bad clicks your Google AdWords campaign receives:

1. Specific keywords- Try to be as specific as you can with your keywords. If you sell basketball shoes, use “basketball shoes” as a keyword phrase, and don’t use just “shoes”.

2. Use the correct Google keyword match type. Google has 3 different match types:

 Broad-Means the search term was close to your keyword.  We never use these because it will match a lot of searches that have little to do with your business.

 Phrase- Our favorite. The search terms must be close to your keyword but it does not have to match it exactly.

Exact- Great for reducing bad clicks. The problem can be that there will not be enough people searching for your exact keyword phrase. If you can get enough impressions and clicks with exact keywords then they are the best alternative.

3. Negative keywords- This is an underutilized and very important tools for avoiding bad clicks. A negative keyword tells Google not to show your ads if these terms are used in search. For example our ad campaign for a small architecture firm has the negative terms: schools, books, do it yourself , learn, how to. There is no value to them getting clicks from students looking for a good school to study architecture.

4. Ignore click through rates- Your goal is to maximize the number of good clicks not to get as many clicks as possible. 1 good click is a lot better than 2 bad ones.

5. Check search terms. Google provides you with a list of some of the search terms that lead your search ads to be shown.  These can provide you with ideas for new, more specific keywords but more importantly it will show you bad search terms that you need to be adding to your negative keywords. No matter how much time you spend on coming up with negative keywords someone will invariably use a search term you never thought of and end up wasting your money.

6. Use the demographic and geography settings in the campaign settings. Google lets you set where your ads will show. If you only deal with customers in the U.S. than make sure your ads only show in the United States. If you are a retail store or restaurant make sure your ads only show to people within driving distance of your place. You can also choose to not show ads to the different genders, age groups and income levels. If you sell women’s shoes than way pay to advertise to men. 

7. Write ads designed to encourage the right people to click on your ad. The more specific your ad copy the better the chance you will not get people clicking on your ads thinking it was something different. If you are trying to get trade show exhibitors to go to your site but not people attending trade fairs you need to use terms like exhibitors and booth prominently in your ad.

8. Use Google Analytics to analyze your results. You may be getting lots of clicks but if those people are going to your site and quickly leaving without doing what you want them to do it is a waste of money.

9. Have a well-designed webpage. The best AdWords campaign in the world will not help you reach your goals if the page you are sending people to is not optimized. 

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<![CDATA[The 10 Best Sites to Visit During Open House Chicago 2017]]>Tue, 10 Oct 2017 20:59:26 GMThttp://chicagosocialmediamarketers.com/1/post/2017/10/the-10-best-sites-to-visit-during-open-house-chicago-2017.html
One of our favorite free events in Chicago is Open House Chicago.  There will be over 200 buildings open that are otherwise closed to the public. There are a wide variety of places opening their doors and letting you in to see what you normally do not get to see. There are: condo buildings, churches, architecture firms, universities, private homes and of course lots of historic buildings participating. The sites are spread out all over Chicago and even into the suburbs of Evanston and Oak Park.

This fun event has one drawback; there are so many interesting sites it is hard to decide what to see. Fortunately the Chicago Architectural Foundation has created a helpful website that describes all of the sites. We recommend looking through their site by neighborhood, picking the neighborhood you want to spend the day and then deciding what sites in that neighborhood you want to see. A word of warning sites in Downtown Chicago can be busy and have a wait.

We at Chicago Social Media Marketers have taken advantage of this event every year and have been to dozens of the sites.  We have created this list of the 10 best sites but all of the sites are worth a visit.

Top 10 Open House Chicago Sites:

1.       Brewster Building (Lincoln Park)- Without a doubt our favorite residential building in Chicago. The exterior is beautiful but the inside is the true show stopper. Wrought iron walkways and a throwback elevator are the highlights.

2.       The Rookery (Loop)- Designed by Burnham and Root, completed in 1888, and renovated by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1905. The best lobby in Chicago. Note it is only open on Sunday.

3.       Edgewater Beach Apartments (Edgewater)- Anyone who has ever driven to the north end of Lake Shore Drive has seen this large pink building. Part of a hotel complex built almost 100 years ago the building has unique indoor pool and the size of the grounds will make any city dweller jealous.

4.       Glessner House Museum & Clarke House Museum (South Loop)- You get 2 for the price of one. They are separate homes but they sit on the same lot. The Clark House is oldest home in Chicago and the Glessner House is a unique mansion worth seeing.

5.       Chicago Board of Trade Building (Loop)- An Art Deco masterpiece. Pay special attention to the elevators and go into the basement to check out the massive walk-in vault.

6.       Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (Loop)- One of the giants in the architecture world. If you are an architecture buff this is a chance to get a behind the scenes look.

7.       Zap Props Bridgeport)-  Not an architectural site it is a 36,000-square-foot warehouse with an inventory of hundreds of thousands of items rented as props for movies, TV shows, plays and other occasions.

8.       Evanston History Center (Dawes House) (Evanston)- We ventured out of Chicago to Evanston for this one. A truly stunning mansion that was once home to a Vice President of the United States.

9.       Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio (Oak Park)- Worth the trip not only to see a beautiful home but also to learn about one of the giants of American architecture. There are also some other sites worth a visit in Oak Park.

10.   Columbia Yacht Club (Downtown)- Anyone who has ridden their bike of the Chicago Lakefront has passed this large ship anchored just south of Navy Pier. While it is not the most interesting site it is a chance to finally see what it looks like on the inside.

 


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<![CDATA[How to fix the problem of people misspelling your company name in Google search]]>Wed, 27 Sep 2017 17:02:35 GMThttp://chicagosocialmediamarketers.com/1/post/2017/09/how-to-fix-the-problem-of-people-misspelling-your-company-name-in-google-search.html
Catchy or uncommon business names can be great but not when it comes to Google search results. You certainly do not want potential clients typing your name into search, and being unable to find you because they cannot spell your name.  Don't go to the drastic step of changing your name to something that is easy to spell. You also do not have to follow our example of calling ourselves, Chicago Social Media Marketers, a name we chose when the words in your url affected SEO.  We have found several steps that you can take to help people who are misspelling your name, find you in search.

First go to Google search and type in the common misspelling of your company’s name. Google is very good at correcting misspellings. We have all seen the, showing search results for, when we misspelled words. If they are fixing it you have nothing to worry about. If they are not able to guess what the searcher really wanted to search for, you need to scroll down and see for yourself if your business is at the top of the search results.  If your company name is not at the top of the list you need to take some steps to make sure that potential customers can find you.

I recently worked with the automotive marketing company LotLinx. Their problem was that there were nearly as many people searching for Lot Links as for their actual name. They were on the first page of search results for Lot Links but at the bottom of the page.

There are several steps that you can take to fix this problem:

Buy the website name for the misspelled word and redirected it to your homepage to ensure that people typing the misspelling directly into the address bar end up on your website. A good idea but, as a freestanding page with no SEO, it will not show up in search results.

Create a Google AdWords ad and use the misspelling as a keyword.  This will result is that when  anyone searches for the term, your ad will appear at the top of the page. A good option if you have an AdWords account. The downside is that you are stuck paying for every click on the ad and many people ignore ads.

For LotLinx I recommended adding the misspelling of their name to their website.  Luckily while it is a misspelling of their name they are correctly spelled words. We do not recommended just adding incorrect spellings to your site, there are some ways around it. In this case we used: “LotLinx, commonly misspelled Lot Links” and “LotLinx, pronounced Lot Links”. We were able to add the keyword phrase to the website a couple of times and Google noticed them within hours, something that we found amazing. By the next day LotLinx had moved up several places in search results for Lot Links and they were near the top of the page.  On Yahoo the change was even more pronounced and they went to the top search result.

These few easy steps can help people who are actively searching for your business find you and hopefully become customers.   

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<![CDATA[Tips to ensure your website is search engine friendly]]>Sun, 10 Sep 2017 03:25:12 GMThttp://chicagosocialmediamarketers.com/1/post/2017/09/tips-to-ensure-your-website-is-search-engine-friendly.html
Your website is looking old and out-of-date so you hire a web design firm. When they are done it looks great. The graphics really pop and your website is visually stunning. So you happily pay them their website design fee and move on to other projects.

The problem is that Google does not care about your wonderful graphics or that fancy font your website developer used. What they care about is the nuts and bolts of your site: what the site is about, does it load fast, and do people spend time on it or do they immediately leave after opening your homepage. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a long and sometimes arduous process and so we are not going to cover that here. If you do want to take on a full-blown SEO project on your website we recommend that you checkout MOZ’s guide to SEO. What we are going to cover in this article is whether or not your website is properly designed to do well in search results. Most website designers are concerned with putting together visually pleasing and easily navigable sites. They are not concerned about the SEO elements that are so important. Recently we conducted a SEO Analysis for a business that was concerned that they were not getting more website visits. We quickly found out that the homepage of the organization’s website did not appear in any search results due to a setting that had been established by the website designer.

The purpose of this blog is to show you some simple steps to make sure your website does not have any major flaws that will keep new customers from finding you in search results. You do not need any advanced technical skills and most of the corrections that will be needed to be made should be done by the website developer.    

The first step is to identify that your website has the elements that Google is looking for. These include: Title, Meta Descriptions, H1, noindex.

Luckily there is an easy way to check for all of these important elements:

1.       Go to your homepage or a particular page that you want to check.

2.       Right click and scroll down to view page source and click on it.

3.       Don’t panic. You are going to see a lot of code that will make no sense to you. That is okay. See photo below.

4.       Hold down the ctrl button and press “f”. This will bring up the search function.

5.       You are now ready to search the code for the different elements. Simple type the following words in the search box.

Title- Title is what shows up in the search results. It not only signals Google what is on the page, it is important to have a phrase that will encourage people to click on your site in their search results. You are looking for: <title>Chicago Social Media Marketers - Social Media plans for Chicago businesses</title>

Description- This is the description of your page that will appear in search results below the title. It is not important to SEO but it is an important way to get people to click on your site. Look for: <meta name='description' content='Chicago Social Media Marketers offers inexpensive and effective social media plans for small businesses and not-for-profits.' />

H1- The H stands for Headline. This is what Google considers the most important headline on your page.  Look for: <h1> Affordable social media plans for Chicago businesses </h1>

Noindex. This is the one you do not want to find. It tells search engines like Google and Bing to not include your page in search results.

While you want all of these elements on your page, except noindex, you also want to make sure they contain the keywords that are important to your page.

Check your site speed. Google has a page speed analyzer that they generously let you use for free. https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/.  Research shows that the slower your page loads the more likely that people will leave it before even looking at it. Google will also penalize you for having a slow site. Do not be too concerned unless it gives your website a “poor” rating.

Type site:”yoursite” into Google search. This will show all of the pages on your site that Google has indexed. Make sure all of your pages are being indexed.

Doing all of these steps will not guarantee you will be at the top of search results but missing any of these important elements will all but guarantee your site will not appear on the first page of search results.

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<![CDATA[Easily find out who your competitor’s social media followers are]]>Thu, 03 Aug 2017 15:45:37 GMThttp://chicagosocialmediamarketers.com/1/post/2017/08/easily-find-out-who-your-competitors-social-media-followers-are.htmlWhat business wouldn’t want their biggest competitor’s client list? Of course they are not going to share it with you and trying to steal it is a crime but you can get the next best thing - their list of social media followers. The value of having this list is that many of their customers or potential customers will be included and this can help you with your own marketing efforts.

Luckily for you it is easy to get on Twitter and Instagram. Simply pull up your competitor’s page and click on followers and voila, right before your eyes will be every account that follows your competitor.

So what can you do with this list?

Analyze the list to determine the kind of people who are following your competitors. You can learn valuable demographic information such as where they live, what age group they are in, etc.  

Message the followers. This will take time but you can contact them through social media and quickly tell them your story.

Follow them. If you hit the follow button many of them will get a notification they have a new follower and some will look at your page to see who you are. You can only expect 5%-10% to follow you back but at the least you are getting your name in front of them.

Twitter and Instagram let us see who is following our competitors and you should be taking advantage of it.

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<![CDATA[Using social media to grow your brand and build your business]]>Mon, 12 Jun 2017 16:02:11 GMThttp://chicagosocialmediamarketers.com/1/post/2017/06/using-social-media-to-grow-your-brand-and-build-your-business.html On June 8th Chicago Social Media Marketers participated in a business workshop “Current Strategies and Future Realities: Growing your Brand” at Venture Hub innovators incubator in Chicago.  This panel-style discussion included CSMM co-founder Alicia Forestall-Boehm along with Christopher S. Rollyson, Founder and Managing Director, Christopher S. Rollyson and Associates, Susan Barahia, Founder BesignOnline and Mark Carter, Founder ONE80, LLC. These industry thought leader discussed the latest trends on the use of digital media to build your personal brand. Communicating your value proposition is key to connecting with customers, partners and others. They addressed event marketing, service design, social media and trust/relationship building for Entrepreneurs, Creatives and Freelancers.

Below is the event transcript of Alicia’s informative discussion on strategies for creatives using social media to promote their businesses.


Almost everyone uses social media - it’s part of our everyday lives but are there benefits of using social media for business purposes? Yes is the simple answer. Frequent social media postings allow you to engage in a conversation with potential customers and clients and to ultimately grow your business. An effective social media strategy can enable you to build community connections through engagement and branding.

Here are 12 reasons why small business owners, entrepreneurs and creatives should be using social media and some strategic ideas to help you along the way.

1.      Branding – Create a recognizable identity for your product or service and replicate it from platform to platform.  This is extremely important for a small business. 

  o   Have a professional website
     §  As the internet becomes an increasingly important tool for artists, it is essential that you understand how to build an effective website.  Your website should not simply serve to display images of your work, it should tell the story of your artistic vision, and it should engage the viewer.  Consider your website as the official version of your artistic identity and proceed with its development accordingly. 
      §  Construct a narrative that weaves through your website telling your story and drawing in visitors. 

  o   Include your logo on every piece of communication. (business cards, signage, etc.)

  o   (If you’re in doubt about whether you demonstrate a consistent brand experience, take a look at all of your pages side by side)

  o   A special note to creatives: Artists need to remember that you are your brand!

2.      Create A Buzz – Get the word out about your products and services in a way that promotes online conversation.
  o   Strengthen in-person events with social media promotion

  o   Create a Facebook event page

  o   Stream, tweet and post live

  o   Support the event with blog posts, press releases, etc.

  o   Create a marketing hook that defines you and sets you a part from the crowd
     §  i.e. As a restaurant your message should be “We offer authentic Naples style pizza every night until 11 pm or until we run out of dough!” vs. “We serve pizza”.

  o   Generating buzz for your brand doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does require some outside-the-box thinking.

3.      Community Management – Community management means responding to people who have commented on your posts or have posted about you. Keep an eye on what other people and sites are saying about your name, company, or brand online – and respond to people who have commented.  The ultimate goal is RELATIONSHIPS.

  o   Don’t be afraid of negative comments.  It’s possible to receive negative comments. But, social media provides the platform to explain, to make things right. The fact of the matter is – if someone has something negative to say they can say it.  Ignoring them doesn’t stop the damage.  But, when you reply, you are seen as a business owner who cares, who wants to make the customer happy, and that you’re human. Social media is a two-way conversation, so go ahead and defend yourself – just do it proactively.  TURN A NEGATIVE INTO A POSITIVE

  o   Thanking someone for a nice comment takes only seconds and it will go a long way in getting them to support your business.

4.      Content Part One– On social media channels it is important to not only include self-focused content.  Not every post should be directly about you. People are less likely to follow you or read posts that are always self-promoting. Sharing informative articles will gain you followers and develop relationships.
  o   Provide a value to your connections with helpful, interesting and relevant content in your posts and comments.
  o   i.e. An artist should post about her art, the art world and her community.

  5.      Content Part Two - Video is better than images and images are better than words.

  o   Sharing videos that have been posted by others or create your own video.
     §  i.e. A musician can share a video taken during a rehearsal

  o   Present Your Human Side With Photos - Photos and other types of visual content are highly shareable on social networks.
    §  Posting photos of your business team helps to show your business as a human brand and build relationships with your community.

  o   Don’t worry about not having professional images - Studies have shown that consumers find amateur images more believable than staged professional shots.

6.      Establish Yourself As An Expert – Using forums and message boards to answer questions professionally will earn you respect as an expert in your community. People will look to you for answers, as a source of information.

  o   This is important for Freelancers

  o   LinkedIn is a professional networking site and is a great place to make comments, post links to articles, share your original blog posts or articles and make professional connections.

  o   Join social media professional groups.  These are also great places to have a conversation and network but they will also expose your brand to a larger audience.
     ú  This will direct your conversation to a specific niche – There are so many social networking, social bookmarking, and social news sites that are dedicated to specific niches.  You have the ability to speak directly to these people and not have all the other noise of unrelated topics getting in the way. If you are speaking their language, you have a better chance of them actually hearing what you are saying.

  o   Blogs  (why are they important)
     §  Valuable content on a consistent basis will make you look like an expert.
       §  They enable conversation. Two-way dialog
         §  Can provide excellent content to fuel other social marketing activities.
           §  Another way to put your brand out there

7.      Connecting With Influencers– Find ways to connect and engage with influencers online. Share and retweet their content. Mention or tag them in posts, and participate in discussions on their social media or blog posts. You never know where these types of connections can lead; and the potential to get a link or mention from a well-known industry expert will make your efforts worthwhile.

  o   i.e. For an artist – Comment on a Gallery’s posts, share them, etc.

8.      Choose The Most Effective Social Media Platforms - What social networks do your customers favor?

  o   One recent study on social media usage revealed that the average user has two social media accounts. While some users enjoy using multiple networks, others have found one that they love and stick with it. Bottom line -It’s important to keep in mind that your customers may favor one network today and in six months discover that another meets their needs better.

  o   Follow your customers and prospects so you can network in all the right places.
     §  Think about who you want to target and where you will find them

  9.      Use Social Media As A Source Of Information. Following individuals, businesses and organization is an easy way to stay up to date on new trends, techniques and events that can be opportunities to engage your audience or grow your business and brand.

10.  Social Media Provides Another Way For Potential Customers To Find You – If you’re not high enough in the search engines for potential customers to find you, they can still find you through social media.  So, even if you’re not on the front page of a Google search, it doesn’t mean you can’t receive traffic. Social Media has the potential to send you TONS of traffic.

11.  Social Media Marketing Is Much Cheaper Than Traditional Marketing And Advertising – Social media marketing shouldn’t cost a small business nearly as much as traditional advertising. And, if you do it yourself, it is basically free. However, it will cost you time.  Depending how much your time is worth, it might be worthwhile to hire someone to help with the social media marketing.

12.  Outsource Content Development As Needed - Can your business keep up to date with all the tasks associated with maintaining your social presences (e.g., reading and sharing good content, responding to users’ comments, asking questions to help engage your audience)?

  o   Studies show it takes a midsize company about 32 hours a month to effectively handle a single social media platform.

  o   Studies also show that the companies that have the most effective social media communications are those that have a combination of internal and external people doing social media.


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<![CDATA[The social media sites your business needs to be using]]>Wed, 31 May 2017 19:55:25 GMThttp://chicagosocialmediamarketers.com/1/post/2017/05/the-social-media-sites-your-business-needs-to-be-using.html
The question we get asked the most is “Which social media sites should we be using?” There is no set answer for this question. It all depends on what business you are in and how much time you have to spend each day on your social media marketing strategy.

Facebook- We recommended Facebook to everyone. Not only is it by far the biggest social media site, it is the most read. One estimate puts the average user spending 50 minutes a day on Facebook. No other site comes close to that number. If you only have time for 1 social media site it should be Facebook.

Instagram- Instagram is great for businesses that are visual. Artists, travel companies and restaurants can use engaging photos to create a buzz about their business. Instagram is also a good vehicle to use to get noticed by new people. The right hashtag can get you seen by people who have never heard of you before.

Twitter- Twitter which had lost some of its mojo has been making a comeback. The positive is the ability to use hashtags plus the sharing feature makes Twitter a place where your message can go viral. The negative is that people follow many accounts but spend little time on Twitter. This means that most users only see a small percentage of total tweets on their feed. Use Twitter if you have news you want to get out on a regular basis or if people are genuinely interested in what you are doing. Celebrities and food trucks have had good success using Twitter.    

LinkedIn- Linkedin is a good site for B2B firms or for someone offering professional services. If you have useful information that business professionals will value then LinkedIn can be a great place to reach out to other professionals.

Social media takes time and effort to be done well and to bring you your desired results. If your time is limited it is better to stick to one social media channel and do it well rather than spread yourself thin over numerous channels, not doing any of them well. Resist the urge to link accounts and have Facebook posts sent directly to another site. There are several steps to having a good social media campaign and we have laid them out for you in previous articles.        

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<![CDATA[Current Strategies and Future Realities: Growing Your Brand]]>Fri, 19 May 2017 15:01:14 GMThttp://chicagosocialmediamarketers.com/1/post/2017/05/current-strategies-and-future-realities-growing-your-brand.html

Join Chicago Social Media Marketers for a panel discussion with thought leaders discussing the latest trends on the use of digital media to build your personal brand. Communicating your value proposition is key to connecting with customers, partners and others. We will address event marketing, service design, social media and trust/relationship building for Freelancers, Creatives and Entrepreneurs. Networking will follow.

Panelists include:

Alicia Forestall-Boehm - Alicia is the Co-Founder of Chicago Social Media Marketers. An award-winning visual artist, she has over 20 years of experience with digital and traditional marketing.  She and her team assess the client’s social media marketing needs, execute and manage all social media activities—bringing a strong social media presence for each client. Chicago Social Media Marketers specialize in helping creative professionals, nonprofits and small businesses create and manage professional and effective social media campaigns.

Christopher S. Rollyson - For 30 years, Chris has helped executives make their firms or agencies stronger by leveraging new technology ahead of their rivals. He has advised global firms and technology startups at PricewaterhouseCoopers, led delivery teams at KPMG and advised brands like Sears, Kmart, UBS, Lions Clubs International, Micron and others at CSRA. He founded CSRA in 2006 to advise commercial, nonprofit & government enterprises work on experiential social media and social business strategy and execution.

Susan Barahia - Susan will talk about the different identities of a brand and how understanding what your value proposition offers is critical for business growth. She started her career in design by studying Architecture early on but finished her studies in computer science. After working several years in IT for corporate America, she ventured out on her own designing websites for small businesses. She also became involved in the entrepreneurial community by organizing monthly meetings for small business owners where attendees learned best business practices and found resources to grow their companies.

Mark Carter - Mark turns lack of engagement into profitable collaboration—by creating programs that attract talent, partners and clients. He creates events with focus and purpose, communicates through meaningful storytelling, and fosters collaboration to build teams of peers and advisors.

Date and Time
Thursday, June 8, 2017
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM CDT

Location
Venture Hub
4616 W. Fullerton
Chicago, Illinois 60639

Tickets

$10 in advance
$15 at the door

Register here:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/current-strategies-and-future-realities-growing-your-brand-tickets-34554598735?aff=es2  

Refreshments will be available at the event.

For more information, contact: Andreas Vassilos at Venture Hub at 773-772-7300

The Venture Hub is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that seeks to promote entrepreneurship in Chicago's disadvantaged communities.

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<![CDATA[Is Chicago America’s best birding city?]]>Thu, 18 May 2017 18:29:07 GMThttp://chicagosocialmediamarketers.com/1/post/2017/05/is-chicago-americas-best-birding-city.html

We have done our best to identify the different birds. There are a couple we could not decide upon and we are sure we mislabeled one or two. Please use the comment section to correct our errors

When you think of birding and where would be a great place to go see dozens of different and beautiful bird species in a single afternoon Chicago probably does not spring to many people’s minds. That is true for almost everyone except local Chicagoans who are in the know. Twice a year hundreds of different bird species, everything from tiny colorful warbler to shorebirds to hawks, literally come flying through Chicago.

Chicago is fortunate to be on the western edge of Lake Michigan which just happens to be on of North America’s biggest flyways during migration. While flying through modern skyscrapers may unfortunately not be a great thing for birds it is a wonderful opportunity for locals to see a wide variety of birds.

The birds can be seen everywhere, it is not that unusual to see a shorebird on the sidewalk next to a downtown skyscraper. Montrose Harbor’s Magic Hedge is Chicago’s best known birding spot and it is for a good reason. Experienced birders have seen over 60 different species in a single day.

For those working or living downtown that want to see some amazing birds over their lunch hour can head over to Ohio Street Beach. Located just north of Navy Pier the few bushes and trees in this urban oasis are loaded with birds at this time of year.  

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<![CDATA[A quick, easy, effective and free way to bring more people to your website ]]>Tue, 16 May 2017 01:02:11 GMThttp://chicagosocialmediamarketers.com/1/post/2017/05/a-quick-easy-effective-and-free-way-to-bring-more-people-to-your-website.html
SEO for Images on Google
SEO for images on Google.
The most overlooked aspect of SEO (search engine optimization) or in layman’s terms, trying to get your website as high as possible in internet search results, is image SEO. According to Jumpstart nearly 1/3 of all Google searches are for images. That means millions of people are searching millions of images every hour. Look at the attached image of a search, content and images, for Chicago Skyline. Even thought this was not an image search, the top of the page is covered in image search results. So what is the importance of your image popping up in someone’s search results? When someone clicks on a photo that Google has grabbed from your website it enlarges the photo and shows them a link to your website. That means potential clients are just one click away when they see your image.

An image search is also a great way for the small fish in the internet world to compete with the big boys. Most small businesses only have a few hours each month to spend on SEO while big companies have entire departments devoted to improving their SEO. Small business simply cannot compete in regular search results. But the good news is that the most important (and time consuming) factors in regular searches play only a small role in image search results. So you can, with minimal effort, get your photos near the top of image search results which will ultimately drive traffic and customers to your site.

Keep in mind Google is not currently able to look over photos on your site and identify what they are and what they mean so it is up to you to tell them. 

6 Easy steps to getting your photos on the first page of search results.


1. First and foremost use captivating photos. By this I mean they should be interesting, eye catching and sharp. They do not have to be taken by a professional photographer. Studies have shown that consumers find amateur photographs more believable than staged professional shots. That said blurry or dull pictures will not cut it.

2. File name. Use a file name that not only describes what is in the photo but also use words that you think will match the search terms people that you want to attract will be using. For example, if you are a home decorator in Chicago name the file, beautifully decorated home in Chicago. 

3. Alt text. This feature is designed to help the visually impaired identify the photo. It is an important feature to employ for consumers and for Google. Google uses this to better understand what is in the photo.

4. Captions. Make sure the caption for your photos lets Google know what is in the photos.

5. Make sure the image is a standard image size and shape. Google is less likely to use an image that is oddly shaped, such as long and narrow or circular.

6. File size. There are a lot of misconceptions about high resolution photos. Image resolution really has a lot more to do with printed photographs. For online images, I recommend not using large file sizes.  A large file size will slow down how fast your site download and this may cause people to give up and leave your site. Download speed is a factor in Google’s search ranking algorithm. Alternatively, if a file is too small, the result will be a poor quality image and it will not get shown in search results. I recommend file sizes between 200 MB and 500 MB. 

There are other factors that will help determine how high up Google puts your image.


The actual text that surrounds the image on your website page. If you have an image of a cat on your plumbing page it probably will not get shown.

The amount of actual text that is on your website page. Google does not like to use images from pages that are all photos. Sorry about that photographers.

How your page ranks in normal search results. This is one factor that is not easy to fix but luckily it is not an important factor. 




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