social media

The Best Times to Post on Social Media

The mountains are yearning.
The mountains are yearning.

It's a question we all ask ourselves. No matter if you're an expert, newbie, or just a casual user: When and where should I post on social media for the most engagement?

The best times to post vary by industry, social media channels, and your audience. There's no magic number but, knowing your target audience and how they use social media are key components for a successful campaign.

Recently, TrackMaven, a marketing analytics software provider analyzed 17.5 million social media posts by 17,737 brands to find the most popular times to deploy your content.

besttime
besttime

It's important for a business to develop a channel-specific strategy for delivering their content.The report also breaks down popular post times by day for various types of businesses on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest. From fashion to restaurants, these are the best times to reach the most engagement within a few industries.

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Screen Shot 2016-10-12 at 10.21.22 AM

You can view the rest of TrackMaven's cheat sheet here.

Notice that even within industries, the best times to post vary by social channel. For example, the best time to tweet for a restaurant is Friday at 1 p.m. EST but, on Instagram the best time to post is Wednesday at 4 p.m. EST.

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Choosing The Best Social Network For Your Business

Bedtime (3)
Bedtime (3)

Is your business social-ready? We all know that social media can impact business growth, but how do we know which platform will perform best with our marketing strategy?

Not only is social media an incredibly effective tool to connect your business with potential consumers, it's cost-effective and a great way to bolster your presence online.

If you're a business owner and new to social media, here are a few things you want to ask yourself to help determine which network to choose for your marketing efforts.

What is Your Objective?

Choosing which social network to use depends on what goals you're trying to accomplish. Do you want to spread the news about your business? Are you selling a product? Promoting an event? These are some questions you want to answer to make it easier to separate each platform.

Who is Your Audience?

People hang out on various social media networks for many different reasons. It's important to know which social media channels your target audience are using. This way, you can invest your resources more wisely and possibly reach a target audience with relatively smaller platforms, which can be cheaper and less time consuming.

SMTarget
SMTarget

An effective way to do this is to research your competitor's audience and look at where they invest their resources online. What channels are they on? Which platform are they getting the most engagement? Another example is to ask them yourself. Send out an email to your customers and ask them where they spend most of their time on social media.

Which Social Media Network Makes The Most Sense For my Business?

When you've accurately answered these questions, it's on to the fun part. Here is a small guideline to a few of the most popular networks.

Facebook

The most popular network with the largest amount of active users (1.15 billion at that). If you want to reach a broad and diverse demographic, Facebook is a must. You'll need to set up a business page to begin acclimating yourself with different tools and strategies for Facebook marketing success. This will give you the ability to create ads, events, and content for your target audience.

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monthly-active-users-640x500

Image from Kissmetrics.

Twitter

People come to Twitter to discover what's happening in the world right now. It's is one of the best platforms to share content instantly and to connect with people and businesses across a broad spectrum. Twitter makes it easy to discover conversations related to your business, helping you build meaningful connections with new and existing customers.

Instagram

For a younger, trendier audience, Instagram offers a way to reach this demographic with a visually appealing design. It's best used for high-end products or services, food/lifestyle/fashion themes, and for popular personalities.

LinkedIn/Google+

These two networks are extremely useful for businesses (especially B2B service providers). Both have more of a 'professional' focus on content and design. On LinkedIn, your network of connections (employees and contacts) is the most important content. There's nowhere better for a company seeking clients and individuals seeking employment. For Google+, keywords and search engine optimization are central to its appeal to businesses. It's a bit more formal and professional than Facebook, but both share some similarities.

Conclusion

Now's the time to show off your goods online. No matter the business, social media needs to be a priority in any marketing strategy because of its multi-purpose use and ability to reach a target audience pertinent to your business. If you're having trouble deciding on which platform to use, try experimenting with all of them. It can't hurt to familiarize yourself with each network to help you choose the best option for maximum benefits.

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What We Learned At Social Media Marketing World 2016

nature walk
nature walk

I had the pleasure of representing Social Ape at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego last week and I must say that it was an incredible experience. Not only did I meet new people who have the same passion for social media and marketing that I do, but I learned so much from the dozen sessions and panels that I attended. I was also able to see several of the folks speak who have paved the way for social media marketers and continue to inspire me on a daily basis.

I returned to Charlotte with 14 pages of notes and the opportunity to listen to ALL of the sessions at the conference via audio recordings. But for those of you who weren’t able to attend, we’ve put together a list of takeaways from the event and included the tools and strategies that your business should be investing in over the next year. I hope the list is helpful!

-April

Snapchat

Strategy Tips:

  • Snapchat is the social media network to “un-brand” your brand. It is an opportunity to be real with your fans and followers. When people see brands having fun on Snapchat, they become more interested.
  • Use more colors and drawings when possible in snaps
  • Don’t let your followers consume ALL of the content. Keep your snaps as short as possible, giving them just enough time to view the content.
  • Create Snapchat stories that will last 24 hours. Create short snaps to “bump” your content back to the top of followers’ lists then after 24 hours, take a break to let the story disappear.
  • Give away freebies to make snap viewers feel important

Content Examples: 

  • Show your business behind-the-scenes using a combination of video, photos, drawings, interviews, etc.

Contest Examples:

  • Send a snap with a bit.ly URL and ask your followers to take a screen shot of it, then visit that specific page later to enter a contest
  • Create a digital maze then ask your followers to find their way through the maze and send a screen shot back with the solution. The first person to send the correct solution back will win the contest. (Mind blown!)
  • Create a scavenger hunt by snapping photos of where the hidden prizes are located. The first person to find the prize will win!
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IMG_2286

Live Video (Periscope, Facebook Live)

Strategy Tips:

  • Reveal what your followers are missing by going behind the curtain using live video
  • Inform followers of critical situations that need live updates or give insight to live events
  • Create a blog post to summarize the questions asked during the live video and embed the video in the post
  • Share "snackable" content to share and promote live video
  • When working with Influencers, choose influencers who understand your niche, not the influencers who have the most followers

Content Examples:

  • Southwest Airlines answered questions on Periscope during a storm where there were lots of delays and cancellations. They confronted a difficult situation head-on to provide transparency for customers.
  • Southwest Airlines also live-streamed the unveiling of a new plane to give customers a sneak peek

Social Media Customer Service

Strategy Tips:

  • Embrace complaints! Answer them every time and in every channel.
  • Only reply twice to complaints. Do not let the user publicly shame you. First, apologize publicly (for the “spectators”) and ask the user to send you their contact information. Take the conversation offline. If the user refuses even after this attempt, walk away. It will only make the situation worse if you continue to engage.
  • Treat online and offline customers the same. You wouldn’t ignore someone calling your business to complain, so why would you ignore someone complaining via social media?
  • Do not ignore review sites, including Yelp

Facebook Ads for Online Businesses

Strategy Tips:

  • Make list-building a priority. Which “bucket” will each person end up? Create Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced buckets and place appropriate users in those buckets based on their behavior.
  • Create an awesome piece of content that will draw people in and make them click through. It is MUCH cheaper to do this than asking users to buy right away. Once you do this, you can create other actions. Selling to warm leads is more successful than selling to cold leads.
  • When using images in Facebook Ads, photos of the person selling the product work better with people who already know that person. For people who are not familiar with this person, clean graphic images work the best.
  • Use pixels (conversion codes) to create a funnel. If people have already opted in on your website, create a different path for them compared to someone who have not opted in.

Questions to Ask:

  • What is my trigger for these people? What can I give to them that will provide value?
  • What is the end goal? How do I get there?
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LinkedIn

Strategy Tips:

  • Edit your LinkedIn profile to people you want to attract today and even tomorrow. By adding more keywords that suit your needs now, you’ll be able to attract those type of people.
  • Create your profile to solve problems for the people looking for you on LinkedIn. What problem do you solve? How can you help future clients or employers?
  • Include personal tidbits in your profile to appear more personable.
  • Give endorsements to 10+ people per day to encourage them to do the same. Genuinely give recommendations to your peers and ask for them in return.
  • Tip: Turn off profile updates when you edit your profile! You don’t want to “spam” your connections when you overhaul your profile.
  • According to LinkedIn, one update on LinkedIn per day will result in reaching 60% of your connections. Post interesting ideas and insights at least once a day.

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How to Incorporate the Super Bowl in Your Social Media Marketing

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Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 12.27.57 PM

The 2015 Super Bowl set a U.S. television record with 114.4 million viewers, igniting a social media wildfire of user-generated posts. According to NBC, there were over 28 million tweets and 65 million Facebook users engaging in posts, likes, and comments. You can imagine every business owner is licking their chops to take advantage of the colossal numbers of last year's event, and assuming Super Bowl 50, headlined by our very own Carolina Panthers, will reach more viewers and engagement through social media, advertising during pivotal moments of the event can stir business immensely.

As for options for marketing your company, aside from the $5 million tab you would receive for a televised 30-second ad, here are a few tips to hop on the bandwagon into the social advertising frenzy we call the Super Bowl:

1. Target popular trends on Facebook and Twitter Search bars are accessible through both platforms to find the most used hashtags, keywords, and player names relevant to the game. The official Super Bowl hashtag is #SB50, but be creative when incorporating these texts in your posts to reach the most broad audience. Also, creating Facebook groups specific to Super Bowl 50 can create conversation within the members.

  • Popular hashtags include: #SB50 - #SuperBowl - #Broncos - #Panthers - and of course #KeepPounding

2.Utilize user-generated content Let the fans on social media be the center of conversation instead of your business' advertising. Hold contests or create polls to incentivize user engagement while marketing your company.

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3. Cater to the mobile-device During the 2015 Super Bowl, 80 percent of viewers also accessed social media platforms, also known as 'second-screeners.' Knowing this, advertising should be clear, concise, and to the point at which users are not focused in too long. Create images or video's that incorporate the Super Bowl with your company to engage people looking away from their television screens.

  • In an article featured on CNBC, Matt Idema, a marketing executive at Facebook said, "Eighty percent of our revenue is mobile. The reach that mobile devices have, and the fact that Facebook and Instagram are two of the most important mobile platforms, means you can get a lot of reach and engagement on mobile even if you're not buying a Super Bowl ad."

With that said, take advantage of the opportunity to gain more exposure for your brand via social media during the Superbowl. Oreo did a great job in 2013 by harnessing the power outage as an opportunity to engage with followers when the game was delayed.

oreo-tweet
oreo-tweet

Super Bowl 50 will presumably set record numbers in viewership and social engagement as past Super Bowls have, creating a whirlwind of options for your business' advertising presence on social media platforms. With the big event just days away, who are you picking? #KeepPounding - just sayin.'

Want to receive information like this in your inbox every week? Sign up for the Social Ape Weekly, a weekly newsletter chock full of social media tips, best practices and productivity tools to help you become a better marketer!

6 Inspiring Brands on Social Media

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Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 2.27.18 PM

Finding your company's place in the realm of social media can sometimes seem impossible. With technology advancing within the time it takes to blink your eye, the key to staying up with the cool trends is to be inspired by the other successful brands trying new things and helping fun tidbits you find to create something unique to your brand! This week we decided it would be a cool to show you a few different brands to keep an eye on when that moment comes and you need a little inspirational push.

1) LOFT

Loft uses creative ways of using stop motion animation when advertising their adorable and affordable clothing. We've had our eye on their social media when we need inspiration for stop motion animation. There are plenty go free apps you can use to create these stop motion videos and all you'll need is your product, props, and decent lighting to make it happen. We use Stop Motion available in the Apple app store to make our stop motion videos.

loft 2
loft 2

2) WENDY'S

We have to be honest when I say we're normally McDonald's people, but on social media Wendy's has stolen our hearts with their witty humor. They've recently created and successfully executed a campaign called #AskEileen that has taken the Twitter world by storm. The backstory behind #AskEileen consists of a grandson asking Wendy's if his grandmother, being a die hard lover of Wendy's, could take over the Wendy's Twitter account for her 99th birthday. When Wendy's said Yes to this comical endeavor, it went viral and #AskEileen became a slogan that Wendy's lovers won't forget! The whole day of 1/10 was documented on Twitter via Periscope and photos of Eileen's birthday surrounded around Wendy's. With this long winded story in mind, think outside the box when coming up with campaigns to promote your business. This doesn't have to mean executing a  Twitter takeover from a 99 year old woman, but it could be something different that would encourage other followers to follow along.  (To read more about #AskEileen, click HERE)

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Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 9.57.46 AM

3) CHARMIN

Although their slogan is Charmin Ultra, Less is More  (We all know you sang that in your head), their Twitter account has more laughs and ironic humor than most. Charming is sure to use relevant topics in the news to promote their business in a humorous way. By using puns and relevant material related to toilet paper, they incorporate the trending hashtags into their daily content. Create a fun graphic or comical Twitter poll to get users involved with your brand during a time when everyone has an opinion.

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Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 10.19.30 AM

4) DOVE

If there's one brand that knows how to effectively tap into their audience, it's Dove. Although they sell products to men AND women, they're conscious to use a feminine voice when delivering their message via social media. Dove is aware that the majority of their consumer base is women; therefore, their social media presence is heavily geared towards women. Take a tip from Dove's rule book and get to know your audience. Post with them in mind rather than posting to just acquire likes.

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Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 10.46.19 AM

5) CHOBANI

You know your brand more than anyone else does. Think outside the box on how consumers view and use your brand. This is what Chobani did by posting different ways to use their yogurt products beyond just eating it with a spoon and granola. This approach inspires their consumers to try their product in a new way. (We even tried greek yogurt on chili the other night... and it was delicious). Don't miss out on the opportunity to reinvent your brand on social media by showing it in a new way that your followers may not be used to.

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Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 11.12.25 AM

6) NIKELAB

If you love the clean look that is so popular right now on social media, we suggest being inspired by the NikeLab account on Instagram. They deliver their branding in a clean way while still being bada**. Perhaps you could attempt to create your own version of this look by using color blocking with your brand colors and specific product placement or even using only black and white products.

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Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 11.28.38 AM

We hope that this blogpost has inspired you to innovate your social media accounts using unique content! Share your inspiration with us by tagging us at @SocialApeMKTG on Twitter!

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Social Ape's Guide to Social Media Tools

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Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 2.41.49 PM

After years of working in Social Media Marketing, we've tested plenty of tools to help us to be more productive and organized. So that you don't have to, we've compiled a list of the best tools and apps that we use on a regular basis.

Facebook

  • Facebook Pages Manager
    • The Facebook Pages Manager app allows you to manage your Facebook business pages within a separate app, rather than managing them through your personal Facebook app
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  • Messenger
    • This is the newest way to communicate directly through Facebook. To be able to send or receive messages from anyone on Facebook mobile, you'll need to have this app on your phone. Bonus: Its setup is similar to text messaging.

Twitter

  • Bit.ly
    •  Bit.ly is a website and mobile app that shortens links as well as tracks analytics information of the amount of clicks on each link.
  • Canva
    •  Along with being a great photo editor and graphic design tool, Canva also can resize images to the exact dimension of any social media post. Canva for Work (a paid version) also offers a "Magic Resize" option that will resize your images to the different dimensions you may need.
  • Giphy
    • This website works as the ultimate database for GIFs! If you want to share a GIF on Twitter or other social networks, you can look them up on Giphy by emotion or keyword and select which one best represents your content.

Instagram

  • Repost
    • This is an easy way to repost photos from other Instagram accounts while still giving them credit. The Repost app will directly upload the photo to your Instagram account and then allow you to copy and paste the original caption and photos that you are reposting. We use this quite often to repost photos from fans of our clients'  businesses!
  • Layout
    • This app automatically works with your Instagram app to make cool layouts with your photos. Once downloaded, you'll see the icon at the bottom right of your Instagram app and it will allow you to make layouts with the photos straight from your camera roll.
  • Boomerang
    • This is a similar app to Layout for Instagram, but it lets you make mini videos that are uploaded straight to your Instagram account. The videos only last a couple seconds but are a fun way to show your business' brand without using just a single photo.
    • Stop Motion
      • We use the Stop Motion app to make stop motion animation videos. It's really easy to use and you can edit the mini video within the app, which is a really nice feature. The app allows you to take still photos and then the compile them together to make a short video.

Organization/Productivity

  • Evernote
    • This is an awesome free app that works as a digital notebook to keep work notes that can be shared between team members. It converts from your desktop to your phone through the mobile app and is organized into notebooks. Each notebook is then organized into notes. (The Pro version allows for sharing with team members.)
  • Hootsuite/Sproutsocial
    • Hootsuite and Sprout Social are the two scheduling tools that we use. We've found that these are the easiest dashboards to keep social media posts organized in one place. These dashboards also show the posts scheduled in calendar form, which is a great way to see upcoming content.
  • Google Drive
    •  Do we even have to explain the epicness of Google Drive!? We use this tool for our content calendars, sharing documents and much more. It’s such an easy and effective way of sharing information among different team members as well as with clients and other partners.
  • Google Calendar
    • Google Calendar is a great way to manage your online calendar by allowing you to quickly add events and invite others to those events. Google Calendar also syncs with your mobile phone so that when new events are added, you can also access them while on the go. We use Google Calendar to keep our schedule organized as well as invite clients to meetings.
    • Buffer
      • We use buffer as a scheduling tool for Pinterest because you can set distinct times you want different pieces of content posted and it will ensure that your content will be posted within that time frame.
      • Any.do
        • This tool is a digital checklist that transfers from your desktop to your phone and back that keeps track of any lists that you need to make. Whether it’s your grocery list or your to-do list before lunchtime, it’s a really cool tool that allows you to make lists. As you check off your list items, they turn from blue to gray and are moved to the bottom of the list. This app is great for those who need lots of lists to cross off!

Have any other tools or apps that you use for social media or business productivity and organization? Let us know by replying to this email or tweeting us at @socialapemktg.

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5 Pinterest Tips to Optimize your Marketing Efforts

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Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 11.07.57 AM

There are many tricks of the trade when it comes to representing your brand well on Pinterest. With this in mind, we've compiled a list of the top five that we feel to be the most important when using Pinterest for your business. Enjoy!

1) Make sure your Pinterest name and profile picture are relevant to your brand

  • This is highly important to ensure that viewers will know that the Pinterest account and board are specifically related to your company or personal brand.
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Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 2.43.30 PM

2) Know the right times to pin.

  • As most of us know, browsing Pinterest is usually an evening activity for most. With that said, if you have a scheduling tool to post pins from (We use Buffer), be sure to schedule them after work hours for higher reach!

3) Cross-advertise on other platforms.

  • Sometimes it’s hard to get your name and brand out there on Pinterest, but an easy way to advertise for free is to tweet and post on your company’s Facebook about your Pinterest account. This way you get your name out there and as your friends/followers on Twitter and Facebook pin from your boards, it’ll cause a chain reaction for their Pinterest followers to see your material.
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Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 10.27.07 AM

4) Be strategic with your boards.

  • When choosing what categories you want for your company’s boards, be strategic! If you write blog posts for the company, make a board for that. If you have seasonal merchandise, then make a whole board around it. It’s smart to categorize your boards as specifically as you can in order to better advertise those pins within the board!
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Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 2.46.13 PM

5) Keep up with your Pinterest Analytics.

  • This is a great way to keep track of what’s working and what isn’t. Take time out once a month to see which pins are doing well and which ones you could do without. This will help you continue to improve your content that you put out. We love the All-time option to see what our best pins were and how we can make more pins like those specific pieces of content!
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Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 2.41.56 PM

We hope you enjoy these tips for optimizing your Pinterest marketing. Know of any other great Pinterest tips? Tweet us at @SocialApeMktg!

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Looking back at Social Ape in 2015

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Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 4.05.58 PM

2015 was a great year for Social Ape and with 2016 quickly approaching we wanted to take some time to look back at the last year.

A lot has changed this year including the hiring of Maghen Grice and Savannah Buck. Maghen unfortunately left us to move to sunny California but she's still a huge supporter of Social Ape from the west coast!

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Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 2.51.15 PM

We also had the opportunity to work on a few amazing campaigns this year including the #GivingTuesdayCLT campaign and 2015 Kingsport Oktoberfest. Along with these great campaigns, we took on Dick Stevens Jerky Mix and pearl. Dentistry as new clients!

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Dick stevens
Dick stevens

In 2015 we also threw a 3-Year Anniversary Party with many clients and friends in attendance. We are always so amazed by the support of the people in the Charlotte community!

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Photo Jul 29, 4 39 40 PM
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Photo Jul 29, 4 45 37 PM

Lastly, we also moved offices this year and are now situated in our new home at Hygge, a co-working space in Uptown Charlotte. If you're ever in the area please stop by to say Hey!

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With so many accomplishments and great memories in 2015, we're so excited to see what 2016 will bring! Thank you to ALL of you for your support and referrals this year. We couldn't be more appreciative of you. Cheers to 2016!!

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#GivingTuesdayCLT Kickoff Event

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Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 12.51.15 PM

Yesterday marked the official kickoff of #GivingTuesdayCLT and we're so excited to be helping with such an amazing campaign. Social Ape was in attendance and handled all social media throughout the event.

There were lots of cool products given away in the raffle such as a lamp from Dan Cordero, A Charlotte Checkers Night Out Package, a case of wine from the Winestore, and a $250 gift certificate from HK Centers.

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It was great having local celebrities come out to support the campaign including The Charlotte Checkers and Checkmates as well as Lindsay from The Ace & TJ Show who emceed the event.

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Many of the nonprofits involved in the campaign came to celebrate and drink the delicious beer that Heist Brewery specially brewed for #GivingTuesdayCLT. The "My Gift" beer was a huge hit and tasted even better knowing a portion of the proceed went towards the campaign. Polka Dot Bake Shop also made beautiful GivingTuesdayCLT sugar cookies for guests to enjoy as well!

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The stand-in photo board made for the event by Ladianne Henderson of Fly Spoon Studios was definitely a highlight. We had a great time when it was our turn to take a photo with the board! :)

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If you'd like to get involved in the #GivingTuesdayCLT campaign, please visit the campaign website. You can also follow SHARE Charlotte on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to get updates on the campaign and upcoming events. We have three weeks to raise $2 million so be sure to #GetYourGiveOn!

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WeLoveCLT Takeover

Blog 11:4
Blog 11:4

Social Ape had the awesome opportunity to “take over” the WeLoveCLT Instagram account this past Monday. @WeLoveCLT is solely a takeover account that allows local businesses in Charlotte to showcase their company culture as well as show what it’s like behind-the-scenes on a daily basis at their company. It was such a blast showing the 12K followers of the @WeLoveCLT account what we do at Social Ape Marketing!

Our day started off in a meeting with SHARE Charlotte and Google Fiber to discuss the upcoming #GivingTuesdayCLT campaign. Google Fiber is a Presenting Sponsor of this year’s campaign and we’re thrilled to have them on board!

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Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 1.44.09 PM

After the #GivingTuesdayCLT meeting, we ventured back to the office and were very excited to share the adorable North Carolina state cutting boards we received in the mail. These boards will be put in referral baskets to show special thanks to our friends that send us business!

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Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 1.49.53 PM

Next, we made our way to Rhino Market, a local favorite of ours (and super close to the office) for a grilled cheese and vegetable soup. If you were wondering, that is pumpernickel toast, not burnt bread! It was super delicious. :)

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Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 1.52.45 PM

After lunch we made a pit stop on the way back to work to take a few photos of the Panthers Bank of America stadium for our client Dick Stevens Jerky Mix. Even though it was raining, we were able to get a great shot and hosted a fun Facebook contest that evening on the Dick Stevens Facebook page.

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Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 1.55.21 PM

Along with taking photos for our clients, we also worked on a Stop Animation video for Dick Stevens as well. It was hard to not eat all of the moving parts consisting of jerky, nuts, and berries but we were actually able to record the video afterall.  ;)

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Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 1.57.00 PM

What better way to end the day than at the Panthers game? We were pretty excited to see 383 likes on our gameday photo. Rain or shine, we love our Carolina Panthers!

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Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 1.59.26 PM

It was such a fun experience showing everyone how much fun we have on a daily basis at Social Ape! If you are interested in taking over the WeLoveCLT Instagram account, follow @WeLoveCLT and the instructions to take over are in the bio!

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