How to Connect with CCS

At CCS, we’re always looking to hear from our customers and friends and we want to make it as easy as possible for you to get in touch with us. There are several ways to get in contact with us at CCS as well as several reasons why you would want to.

First, if you’re ever in need of immediate assistance please pick up the phone and give us a call at 1-800-750-0494. You can also email us at support@candid.com. We have customer and tech support representatives available from 8am – 6pm Monday- Saturday to help you if there is ever a problem.

You can also reach our tech and customer support representatives directly! Whether you’re a new customer or someone who is familiar with our support staff, here are a few names that you should be familiar with and how to get in touch with them.

 

  • Monica Darley, Customer Support Manager – mdarley@candid.com 1-800-336-4550 ext. 482
  • Suzan Perkins, Customer Support Representative – suzanp@candid.com 1-800-336-4550 ext. 468
  • Allison Harwell, Customer Support Representative – Allison.harwell@candid.com 1-800-336-4550 ext. 467
  • John Sims, Tech Support Representative – john.sims@candid.com 1-800-336-4550 ext. 417
  • Darren Hanson, Tech Support Representative – darren@candid.com 1-800-336-4550 ext. 427
  • Christina Richardson, Tech Support Representative – Christina@candid.com 1-800-336-4550 ext. 473

 

We also have a very knowledgeable customer development staff with over 60+ years in the photographic industry. They’re goal is to help your business succeed as well as to guide you through the use of our software. They can also help answer questions regarding marketing your events, sales and booking, photography advice, and training on how to execute all kinds of events. Our customer development team is listed below along with their relevant contact information.

 

 

If you ever have any questions about billing or how the payment process works for Candid customers, feel free to contact Kassandra Coldiron in our accounting department. She can be reached at kassandra.coldiron@candid.com or by calling 1-800-336-4550 ext. 248.

Finally, besides giving us a call or sending us an email you can also connect with us via our social media channels. Here we post links to our newest blog posts, customer success stories, announcements regarding workshops and software updates and many other pieces of news and information from CCS. You can connect with us via our Facebook page at http://facebook.com/candidcolor or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/candidcolor.

Regardless of how you do it, we want to hear from you! So don’t be shy, connect with CCS today!

 

What You Need To Know About Facebook Timeline

If you’ve been paying attention to your Facebook page recently, you’ll have noticed it has a new look! That’s because on March 30th all Facebook pages were changed to the new timeline format. With the design change have also come some functionality changes as well as some new features that previously didn’t exist. So what’s changed?

Cover Photos

Probably the biggest design/aesthetic change for your Facebook page is the addition of a cover photo. The photo itself is essentially a giant banner located at the top of your Facebook page like the one below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s really the first branding opportunity you have when someone visits your page plus it’s a great way to make a good first impression. Be sure it accurately expresses the personality of your business, but be aware that there are some conditions when it comes to your cover photo. Your image can’t contain any contact information, prices, calls to action (“like this”) or any arrows directing people to certain parts of your page. Violating any of these terms could get you in hot water if Facebook ever found out.

No Default Landing Tabs

While Facebook hasn’t gotten rid of tabs entirely, they have begun to start shifting the focus of pages away from tabs and more towards an immersive user experience in the brand and its story. Before timeline, businesses could direct people who had not liked their page to a default landing tab filled with some kind of branded content. Now this is no longer the case, at least for people who come to your page organically. If you advertise your page with Facebook ads, you can still direct people who click to certain landing tabs with branded content.

Post Enhancements

While the act of posting hasn’t really changed, Facebook has added some new enhancements to make posting more interesting to someone engaging with your content.

  1. Pinning to the top – You now have the option to pin a single post to the top of your Facebook page, where it will remain for seven days no matter how much new content you post. This is great if you’ve got something important to tell your fan base and you don’t want it to get buried underneath future posts.
  2. Highlighting Posts – With Timeline, your posts will now appear down your page in two columns instead of just one, alternating from left to right. Instead of having a post appear on just one side of your timeline, you have the option of highlighting it – which makes it stretch out over both columns. This can come in quite handy if you have something important to say that you want to stand out, yet you don’t want to pin it to the top of your page.
  3. Milestones – A lot like highlighting posts, Milestones will highlight important events in the history of your company. This is a great engagement tool that can help immerse people in your company’s story and show them where you’ve been and where you’re going!

Timeline is a great new layout for your Facebook page that includes a lot of new and interesting tools to help your business reach and engage with your followers. Use it effectively and watch your presence on Facebook grow! For other information on how to grow your sports photography business, contact our Customer Development Department at 1-800-336-4550.

Finding Your Voice in Social Media

Just be yourself. It sounds like a cheap mannerism that girls tell guys when they ask for advice the day before they’re about to go on a date (and it’s actually pretty sound advice). But this is also very relevant when it comes to social media marketing. Having an engaging and unique brand voice is key to the success of your social marketing efforts. Many businesses have problems with this, primarily because they try to sound too formal and more like a business. They would rather play it safe then step outside of their comfort zone and try something new. But on the other hand, there are a few companies out there who definitely get it right. Check out the post from skittles below…

 

Can you tell me what break dancing turtles have to do with candy? Nothing, and that’s the point. You just don’t see many businesses acting the way skittles does on Facebook. Their random musings are so unique that people can’t help but interact with them and they provide a huge draw for people to keep visiting their page. I’m not saying you should go quite this overboard when it comes to your own voice, but gone are the days when businesses should act like businesses. I’ll let you in on a little secret; people don’t want to have a conversation with a business. They want to talk to a person and that’s what social media does. It provides a human element that businesses have lacked in recent years. It’s OK to go a little bit crazy when posting content to your Facebook or Twitter. There’s a great analogy regarding this that I’d like to share with all of you, don’t be a mullet brand. Because people don’t want business all the time, eventually they want to get to the party in the back. So how about this, instead of talking to your fans as if they were your customers, try talking to them as if they were your friends and just be yourself

A Purple Cow: Is Your Social Media Remarkable?

A few months ago I discovered a man by the name of Seth Godin. He’s a marketing guru who  has written numerous books, countless papers and manifestos on all things marketing. It’s one of his ideas that I want to  talk to you about today. When driving around, really any part of the country, you’re bound to run into a cow. It happens, they’re everywhere. But, when you drive by a cow your probably not going to stop to look and say “Wow, it’s a cow!” This is because cows are boring. You see them almost everywhere and you’ve seen them countless times, so this makes them invisible to most people. However, if you were driving down the road and saw a cow that was purple you are more than likely going to take notice. Heck, you might even pull over and try to touch it. Why? Because a purple cow is remarkable. It’s something that the majority of people haven’t seen before and it forces them to take notice. At least for awhile, because if all cows were purple than that would cause them to become invisible to us again after a certain amount of time.  

The same principle applies to your social media efforts. If you keep giving people cows, you’re not getting the most out of your social media marketing. People are on Facebook and Twitter because they want to find the latest most interesting stuff to talk about. So give it to them! For example, if you created an amazing new product there is nothing wrong with telling people about it. That would probably peek some people’s interest. But what if on top of that you gave a video demonstration of how that product worked? That would be remarkable. You have the same opportunity to do some amazing stuff using Social Media. To get people excited and talking about what your business is doing. Don’t waste it by giving people boring, ordinary stuff. Go out and be extraordinary and force people to take notice.

Candid Color Systems Presents our first webinar streamed LIVE via Facebook!

January 21st at 1 P.M. CST will mark the first ever Candid Color Systems Webinar streamed live via the Candid Color Systems Facebook page! This webinar covering “The Best Way to Shoot Attitude Panos” will include a live video demonstration by CCS Customer Development Specialist Brian Speers. Customers will see first-hand exactly how to shoot subjects for Attitude Panos. Attendees will also be able to ask Brian questions in real time using their Facebook profiles! We ask that attendees please arrive 5 to 10 minutes early to ensure that their connection and program is working properly. To join our live streaming webinar:

1. You will need to log into your Facebook account and go to http://facebook.com/candidcolor.

2. Once on candid’s facebook page, click on the tab labeled “Livestream.”

3. Once you have selected the “Livestream” tab, allow the program to load then select the button on the screen that says “click to watch.”

4. After this you’ll be viewing our live webinar! One or two ads may pop up in the beginning of the presentation, but you should be able to ski these and will see no more ads unless you exit out and come back to the webinar. We look forward to everyone attending and hope you will find this fun and informational!!

Facebook Marketing for Your Photography Business: How It Works and What you need to know/Part 2

Last week we discussed some of the reasons why you need to have your business on Facebook as well as discussed the first step in the Facebook marketing funnel. Today we’re going to finish that conversation with the last 3 steps that make Facebook marketing work.

The second step in the funnel is Interest. So now you’ve started generating awareness about your business and people have begun to visit your page. This is where creativity is king. Because, this is the step where you need to show people why you are better than your competition and why they should pay you for your services as a photographer. Many successful businesses on Facebook use a custom landing tab like the one pictured below.

                                                                                                                                                           This is one of the best ways to interest people in your page. It’s a general rule of thumb that people who are not fans of your page first be sent to your custom landing tab. This helps to peak consumer interest as well as increase conversions of Facebook users into fans. However, because this would require some knowledge of HTML, web design, and a working knowledge of Facebook, it is not a must. Although it would be helpful if you can get someone to help you set this up on your page. Other ways to generate interest include keeping your page updated and free of spam as well as making sure all your information is correct and easy to find. You can also direct people to your reviews tab (comes standard on every page) once you have people that have given your business good reviews.

Demand is the third step in the marketing funnel. Once people have found and “Liked” your page you now have to create a desire for your product or service. This is done through wall posts and other updates to your fans. Here, content is key. Studies show that posts with some type of rich media attached (i.e. photos, videos, website links etc.) are much more likely to be engaged with by fans as well as have a better chance at being read. Being photographers, we have a unique opportunity when it comes to photo uploading and sharing. People love to look at pictures, it’s that simple. When posting updates to fans, try incorporating a photo or even a photo album along with the post. Maybe a party pic of the week, a level 2 product for those of you that shoot youth sports or even uploading a video of bid day activities would be a great idea. You need to give your fans a reason to come back and interact with your page and photos are a great way to do it!

Now comes the last step, action. This is what you’ve been waiting for. You’ve made someone aware of your page, they were interested enough to like it and now they are just itching to hire you as a photographer or buy prints from one of your events. At this stage, having a clean and easy to navigate page is very important. If someone can’t find the information to call you or maybe you don’t have your web address posted then how are people going to book your services for events or get to your website to buy prints? Make sure everything is updated with all the correct information and avoid something like that happening to you.

Facebook marketing is not as simple as some people might think. It takes time and dedication to get an active Facebook following that will show a measurable ROI (return on investment) for your business. But it can be done! To get more great tips and tricks from the snapshots blog as well as examples of Facebook and other social media marketing techniques you can check out our own Facebook efforts at http://facebook.com/candidcolor or on twitter at http://twitter.com/candidcolor or http://twitter.com/prophotoadvice.

Facebook Marketing for Your Photography Business: How It Works and What you need to know/ Part 1

By now, all of you should know the reasons why Facebook (and pretty much all social media) marketing is important and should be considered an integral part of your overall marketing strategy. But, just in case you missed reading my previous articles I’ll recap a few things for you.

• Have you ever heard the old adage “Fish where the fish are”? Facebook now has more than 500 million members worldwide. The people that you want to market yourself to, they’re on Facebook. You should be too.

• On average people in the U.S. spend 6 hours per month on Facebook. This is more than Bing/MSN, Yahoo! and Google combined.

• Being in the photography business, we have a unique opportunity on Facebook when it comes to photos. Users upload and view more than 14 million photos daily. Needless to say, people love to look at photos.

• Finally, it’s free! While advertising your page within Facebook will cost you some money, creating a page and socially optimizing your website and other marketing materials is absolutely free! The only thing it will cost you is a little bit of your time.

So how does Facebook marketing work exactly? What steps do you need to take to make Facebook work for your business? Traditionally there are four steps when it comes to Facebook Marketing. We like to call this the Facebook marketing funnel and it’s demonstrated below.

                                                                                                                                                            The first step in the Funnel is Awareness. This is Social Media Marketing’s primary function, to make people aware of and get to know your business. It is probably the single most important step when it comes to Facebook marketing. Lots of people take what is known as the “Field of Dreams” mentality when it comes to their Facebook pages. You know, “If you build it, they will come.” They assume that as long as they create a Facebook page, that people are going to find them and click “Like”. This is simply not true. While you might get a few followers by simply creating a page and then doing nothing to it, you will not get a substantial enough following to have any effect on your business. So how do you make someone aware of your Facebook page? The easiest way to do this is through placing Facebook ads. Think of it like this, when you first started your business did you just sit around waiting for someone to call you and book an event? Probably not, instead you probably went out and either made cold calls or put out advertisements that let people know about your business!

Facebook pages work in much the same way. If no one knows it’s there how are they going to “Like” it? In a recent study, 1,600 people were surveyed about Facebook pages. Of those 1,600 people 75% said they had liked a page because they had seen an advertisement for it. While advertising on Facebook will cost money, it is relatively cheap and you can spend as much or as little money as you want.

There are also a few free ways to promote your page. One way is to socially optimize your website and other marketing tools such as any emails you send out or even on paper proof sheets! Facebook provides numerous tools for web optimization such as the “Like” box (Pictured below) which encourages people that visit your website to “Like” your page without ever actually leaving your website (although they will need to be signed into Facebook for this to work).

                                                                                                                                                            You can also add a “Find us on Facebook” button to your email campaigns (that links to your page when clicked) as well as on Paper proof sheets if you have room!

                                                                                                                                                          Other free ways include getting your employees and other friends involved. Every page has a “suggest to friends” link that will allow you or anyone else to invite Facebook friends to become a fan of that page.

Facebook Basics for Photographers

Over the last 7 to 8 years the nation has been gripped by the ever growing phenomenon that is social networking. With over 300 million users worldwide, Facebook is by far and away the largest of all social sites.  Never before has it been so easy for people to connect with one another. Likewise, it has never been so easy for businesses to connect with current and potential consumers. Every business, whether it’s a major brand name like Coke or your photography studio, should have a Facebook Fan Page. The chance you get to interact directly with your customers, to get feedback and let them know what your business is doing is a can’t miss opportunity that many businesses aren’t taking advantage of.

 First, you need to know a few Facebook basics. There are two types of Facebook profiles. You have your personal profile page where all of your personal friends and information are located. There is also your business or “fan” page, where people go to find information and learn more about your business. You can have both a fan page and personal profile if you want, but Facebook no longer requires you to have both.

 A business fan page may be required if your business name is something other than your name.  Facebook has strict guidelines that require personal profile pages to only have names of people (not businesses) associated with them. As an example, the Glamour Shots® portrait studio could not have a personal page with first name “Glamour” and last name “Shots.”

  If you have a personal profile you can get what is called a vanity URL. A vanity URL is essentially a tag at the end of facebook.com that will send people directly to your profile without the need to search. Fan pages can also have a vanity URL, but Facebook requires that you have 1,000 fans or more before they allow you to get one. For example, the Glamour Shots “vanity” URL is facebook.com/glamourshots. 

 There are also two types of people on Facebook. Friends are people that you know personally. If people know who you are they can request to become your friend and vice versa. Fans are those people whom you don’t know personally, but are possibly a customer or just interested in learning more about your business. This is where having a personal profile linked to your fan page comes in handy. If your personal profile is linked to your fan page you can request that the friends you have on your personal page become fans on your fan page. With the click of a mouse you can send invites to all your friends to become a fan of your business page.

 There are several other ways to build up fans for your business page. Advertising your business or “fan” page is a great way to get fans. Facebook creates an ad based on the information you provide.  Anyone interested in your company can click the ad and become a fan of your page. Advertising on Facebook is also relatively inexpensive. You can select your target demographics (where you would like your ad to appear). You can also choose how much you want to spend on advertising per day.

 To garner more fans, besides inviting friends and advertising, being interactive is the key. If someone writes a post on your fan page wall, write them back! Let them know you are actively monitoring your page.  You also need your business page to be as interesting as possible so that fans will keep coming back. Start a dialogue with your fans by posting updates about your business on the fan page wall, upload photos to albums and so on. It is a great idea to put a link to your Facebook page on your web-site and in any emails you send to clients.

300 million people are out there waiting to hear about your business. Don’t keep them waiting for long!

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