How Twitter Hashtags can Improve Your Engagement and Develop Your Brand

As mentioned in an earlier blog post, hashtags are important to social media marketing for several reasons. However, I want to focus on Twitter hashtags because the use of hashtags can vary across different social media networks. On Twitter, they are used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. As a marketer, hashtags are a way to engage your brand with your market.

Twitter users created Hashtags organically as a way to categorize content. If you’re trying to market your business on Twitter and you’re not using hashtags, shame on you. No sugarcoating this one. In my opinion, hashtags are a necessity to Twitter marketing. Why? Well…

  • It makes it easier to find, filter, and engage in targeted discussions. You are instantly linking a post to a group of others.
  • You can find likeminded people that you can help and learn from. Hashtags update a group of likeminded users on that topic in real time.
  • Helps you organically attract your ideal audience. If someone searches for your hashtag or puts the same hashtag in a tweet, you know they are interested.
  • You can measure and analyze performance of social media with hashtags.
  • If you use the same hashtags across different social networks, you can cross-market and engage your audience on different channels such as Facebook, Instagram, and Google+.
  • Hashtags increase brand awareness and your following.
  • By using hashtags on Twitter, you build a community around your brand and industry.

I think I made my point. Hashtags are important for social media marketing, especially on Twitter! Here are a couple strategies to keep in mind when #hashtagging:

  • Don’t spam. Over-tagging a tweet with too many hashtags devalues the strength of a hashtag. Twitter recommends using no more than two hashtags per tweet. Spamming hashtags is not good for your business’ reputation.
  • Be trendy. In other words, use trending hashtags. Trending hashtags are topics that have become very popular on Twitter, or the most talked about right now. Since these are continuously changing, you should engage in the trend by using the hashtag right away and in real time. These tweets probably won’t be scheduled, but when you use them, your content has the ability to be seen by more than just your followers.

REMEMBER: Only use trending hashtags if they are relevant to you industry or business. SocialTimes has a great article explaining how and when a trending hashtag can help your marketing efforts here.

  • Brand your tags. Branding and campaign hashtags are hashtags that are specifically for your business. Using this strategy can differentiate your business on Twitter.
    • A branding hashtag can be your company name, tagline or something unique to your product/service. This is unique to your business and it can be used like a signature tag. Once you get people to use them, your brand gets marketed. For example, Nike uses #JustDoIt. Try to choose just one hashtag to speak for your brand. This will strengthen consumer awareness and develop your brand.

Nike; Just Do It

Campaign hashtags are used for each marketing campaign. Make a unique hashtag for sales or promotions. Your campaign will get extended reach once people start noticing the hashtag and using it. Once again, Nike is a great example for using campaign hashtags. Recently, they introduced the Nike Tech Book and they are using the hashtag #techpack.

Nike; Techpack; Nike Tech Book

Here are seven examples of brands that successfully used campaign hashtags.

  • Use content hashtags. These are just typical hashtags you use in your posts that are not branded and not necessarily trending at the moment. Content hashtags simply just relate to your content. They can improve the SEO of your posts and extend your posts’ reach. Some examples are #socialmedia, #contentmarketing, and #seo.
  • Be clear and recognizable. If your hashtag is too hard to remember or too long, no one will use it. Keep the hashtag clear, to the point, and easy to remember. If it’s too complicated and not obvious, your hashtag will not work how you want it to.

It’s a good idea to research hashtags for your niche or industry. Here are some tools to use to find relevant and trending hashtags:

  • Hashtagify– you can find and get insight on hashtags
  • Twitter search
  • Tweetchat – Allows you to be part of a community chat through a hashtag
  • Twubs – Follow hashtags and find conversations.

Utilize hashtags wisely. Once you start using them correctly, your brand and business should see positive effects towards awareness and reach!

Tips on Successful Instagram Marketing for Your Business

Recently, Instagram has reached 400 million monthly active users! It’s safe to say that at least some of your target market is on Instagram. This mobile app was made for sharing photos and 30-second videos, but it is so much more than that. It’s a platform for your brand and your brand’s voice.

Almost anyone can use Instagram to market his or her business. It’s especially effective for product and service based businesses (@starbucks), e-commerce sites and physical locations (@Nike and @Strangedonuts), and people who don’t even have a website yet (@SimpleGreenSmoothies). Instagram is perfect for marketing a business because it is mobile, grabs attention, it’s quick and easy to use, and not to mention, the 400 million and growing active users! It brings in the most qualified leads because if people click on your link in your bio, you know they are interested. If I haven’t convinced you how awesome Instagram is for marketing yet, here’s some statistics that might make you reconsider.

Like I said before, Instagram is more than just posting a picture and hoping people will like it. For business marketing, there are key factors that go into posting that picture. What should the caption be? Will this picture grab people’s attention? What do I want people to do after seeing this picture? If people go to my bio, what will they see and/or think? It’s not as hard as it sounds, you just have to put in the time and effort; just like any other marketing strategy.

In order to have a successful Instagram account for your business, follow these simple tips and you’ll be on your way to making a voice and presence for your brand!

  • Track traffic. Use a customized link shortener to track traffic coming from your Instagram account to your website. This will let you know how well your account is driving traffic and leads. I use bitly.com, which makes a link exclusively for your bio.
  • Have a clear brand representation. The colors, look and feel, and your brand message should be consistent across the board. Instagram is a tool to visualize your brand and you want others to be able to recognize you with one photo. An account that does a good job at having a clear brand representation is @victoriassecret.
  • Posts should have visual interest. Think of each and every photo you post as the front cover of a magazine or the featured photo of an article. For your business, photos posted should look professional. Make sure the lighting is perfect, the focus is right, and the content is interesting. Even if your brand doesn’t have a visual focus such as food and clothing, find the beauty in your brand. Take pictures in the office, at events, and of clients.
  • Get more followers. In order to get more followers without paying for them, try tagging people in comments, post daily, use geotags and hashtags, and cross-promote your partners. Share the love!
  • Use strategic descriptions. You need to figure out what is going to work best for your business. Build off your blog, use symbols and emojis, and embrace the hashtag. With smart and strategic descriptions or captions of your photos, you will help expose your account and content to more people.
  • DO NOT over post! Everyone’s experienced this before. You start following a friend and they feel the need to post every single picture from the night before. You either quickly scroll through the feed until their name disappears or you give up entirely and click the ‘unfollow’ button. Instagram is a lot different than Facebook. Do not create an album of your night out on someone’s Instagram feed. Don’t oversaturate and you won’t lose followers you already have.
  • Promote your account everywhere. Just like you have a ‘Like’ button for Facebook on your website, email, blog, and newsletter, you should put a ‘follow’ button for Instagram on everything. Anywhere your brand is present and visible, you should be promoting your Instagram account along with all other social media accounts. Build your following and maximize engagement with these followers.

Once you start posting regularly [not too often], find your brand’s voice, and build a following, you should start seeing a positive effect on website traffic and leads. Use Instagram to make people love your business and brand!

7 Tips on How to Promote Your Brand’s Presence on Pinterest

Facebook and Twitter are known essentials for business and marketing, but some forget about other social media channels, such as Pinterest. Pinterest has so much potential to effectively market your business. It is a platform that could improve your reach, drive traffic to your site, and build your brand as an industry thought-leader.

Think about it. How many people do you know, most likely women, go to Pinterest for ideas on home improvement, DIY projects, style trends, recipes, workouts, etc.? I could go on. But my point is, there is a very large following on Pinterest that you could be reaching! Also, the new DIY Promoted Pins feature allows you to connect more with users through Pins that show up in search and category feeds.

Even if you don’t use the DIY Promoted Pin feature on Pinterest, you should still build your brand presence and promote your business. Here are 7 tips for you on how to promote your brand’s presence on Pinterest:

  1. Know your audience. You should know if you should even be spending time on Pinterest for marketing. Know that mostly women use Pinterest between the ages of 15 and 29. If your audience is primarily men, you might want to rethink your strategy.
  2. Be interesting. Think like a content marketer and not an advertiser. People will Pin interesting content, such as blog posts, videos, and DIY/How-To’s. Social Media Examiner explains how you create content on Pinterest that is engaging here.
  3. Send pins to customer’s email inbox. Include some of your Pins in your newsletter. You can include a screenshot of pin with clickable link on the image. This will bring your readers to that Pin on Pinterest where they can also see your other Pins.
  4. Find popular and relevant group boards. You can’t search for popular group boards through Pinterest, but PinGroupie is a tool that helps. Follow these boards and Pin on them so you can find inspiration and reach more people.
  5. Cross-promote your Pinterest presence. People aren’t just going to “stumble” upon your Pinterest account. Cross-promote on other social media platforms and get a “Follow” button to put on your blog and website.
    • Pin it for later. You can add an image to your blog post that is shareable to Pinterest. Pin the image to Pinterest and link it back to the blog post. You can also share the blog post to Facebook and add the link to the Pin. Your call-to-action should be something like “Pin it for later.”
  6. Buyable Pins. Adding a “Buy it” button to your Pins is a good way for people to purchase your products through Pinterest. Many people browse on Pinterest, so it’s a great tool that makes it easier for users and effective for you. Here are 6 strategies for using Buyable Pins. 
  7. Track pins from competitors. This is not only to check up on your competition, but it’s also a way to look for inspiration. Also, check the board of people who are already pinning your Pins. They might have related content!

Pinterest may not always be top of mind for marketers, but if you think a lot of your potential leads use Pinterest, get on board! Expand your business’ reach, authority and presence with Pinterest, and keep these tips in mind.

5 Ways to Reap the Benefits of a LinkedIn Company Page

Most people think of LinkedIn as a tool to find employees and post job openings. Well, you’re part of they way there. Finding job applicants is a huge benefit to LinkedIn, but it’s not the only one!

With a Company Page, you can also find new leads and build and grow professional relationships. Here are 5 ways to reap the benefits of LinkedIn:

  1. Tell your story. A LinkedIn Company Page helps others learn about your business and brand. Raise brand awareness.
    • In your company description, you should address your audience, tell them what’s in it for them and why they should follow you, add links to your site(s) and/or include a call-to-action.
  2. Create shareable content. Company Pages also give you an opportunity to establish expertise and build trust. Educate potential customers with your own content as well as content you share from others. This improves your presence and enhances your credibility.Gather, repurpose and customize existing content and create new content for easy branding.
    • Help your prospects. Create content that is going to help them.
    • Encourage your employees to share your content. Social Media Examiner goes more into depth on how to do this here.
  3. Create status updates. Post daily to stay top of mind and provide value. Try to create the opportunity for engagement and conversations with your target audience.
    • Increase engagement with personal and positive stories, sharing a video, sharing an image, and using appropriate tagging. Links, images and videos get the best engagement.
    • Introduce new products and services. Drive business results and educate others on your product/service.
  4. Find job candidates. Promote career opportunities and search for qualified candidates. Here’s an article from LinkedIn on how to find the exact employee’s you’re looking for. 
  5. Improve your ranking. A Company Page is way to drive people to your website and gives you just another outlet to promote your company and content. Include keywords in your company description, as well as links and call-to-actions within your updates and posts.

By creating a LinkedIn Company Page, you are taking advantage of a free marketing tool. You can build your professional network, increase exposure, and attract new business with increased credibility. LinkedIn can be used for so much more than just a “job-posting tool,” and it’s time to fully take advantage of its benefits for your business!

5 Tools for Innovatively Marketing with Live Stream Video

Live streaming is on the rise. Living in the NOW is what people want.

Live broadcasting’s popularity has enticed companies to take advantage and market in a cheap and effective way. It’s a valuable tool that can benefit your business in numerous ways. Live streaming can be very engaging, is mobile and desktop friendly, and gives your real-time audience an opt-in to watch your video. Your message can be controlled and you can see real-time stats to see how your content is performing as it’s live.

If that’s not convincing enough, here’s some numbers:

  • 74% of Internet traffic in 2017 will be video
  • 64% of people are more likely to buy a product after watching a video about it

Live streaming video allows you to create content that answers the community’s questions. Here are the 5 best tools (in my opinion) for live stream video:

  • Meerkat – Designed to allow anyone with an iPhone or iPad to stream live video that connects through Twitter.
    • Connect to your Twitter account. Meerkat allows you to tweet links to your live stream. When the stream starts, a tweet will be sent out with the live feed link with the hashtag #meerkat.
    • Engage with viewers and see what live streams are happening in that moment and search by hashtags.
    • Schedule your live stream. “Schedule” meaning you can post it on your other social media channels and let people know when you will be live streaming.
    • When you end your broadcast, it prompts you to save your content and put in a call-to-action for viewers.
    • Cameo. Invite friends on the mobile app to take over your livestream for 60 seconds.
  • Periscope – Periscope is Twitter’s new live streaming video app. It’s very similar to Meerkat in terms of purpose and functionality, but differs in features and overall look.
    • Over 2 million people are watching and using Periscope. That’s a lot of people!
    • Gives you a profile with a timeline.
    • Share behind-the-scenes peek at their brand experience
    • Connect to your Twitter account, like Meerkat, and put out tweets when the stream starts.
    • Anyone who follows you gets a notification to tune in.
    • You can use it to talk about a blog posted earlier that day, building trust and rapport.
  • Facebook Live Mentions – The new streaming feature for VIP users.
    • You must have a verified page or person account to use this app. In other words, you must be a public figure or verified company.
    • It is a different app than Facebook and Facebook Messenger.
    • Shoot interactive video that will appear on the News Feeds of anyone who follows your page.
    • These videos stream ONLY on Facebook.
  • Google+ Hangouts on Air – Publicly broadcast your Hangouts and stream them live on Google Plus and YouTube.
    • The broadcast is automatically recorded and saved on your YouTube channel and Google+ homepage.
    • You can embed the video and stream it live on a website.
    • Host interactive conversations. Take questions in advance and answer the most popular ones live.
  • Blab.IM – Live streaming meets the Brady Bunch.
    • Allows streaming conversations with just a push of a button.
    • Take part in real-time conversations on a variety of searchable topics.
    • Participate from phone and web camera from desktop (only one that you can use desktop)
    • Very easy to share to Twitter.
    • Can be deleted or saved for later viewing.

Brands such as Doritos, Spotify and Wendy’s, have been quick to respond to live streaming apps. They have found ways to incorporate it into their digital marketing strategy. Live streaming is an extremely cost effective way to reach your audience and build your brand!

How Passion Pages on Facebook Can Help Market Your Business

Passion Page; Facebook

You might be wondering what a Passion Page is. Chances are, you’ve already encountered and engaged with a lot of Passion Pages! They’re pages on Facebook that focus on a specific theme or idea. Passion Pages are meant to be a gathering place for people who love something.

As a business owner, you’re probably now asking, “Why should I care?” No, a Passion Page doesn’t focus on the public face of your company or brand and it’s not selling a service or product. But Passion Pages get loads of organic reach without have to spend a dime on Facebook advertising! They get some of the most likes, comments, and shares on all of Facebook. You might want to create a Passion Page outside of your business page if you’re a new business trying to gain an audience, if you’re having a hard time juggling an image on your business page with different types of content, and if you want to gain an audience that you will know has an interest in your company and it’s mission.

So how can you be successful with a Passion Page? It needs to have a purpose and strategy and it should be based around your mission statement and company values.

  • Study Passion Pages that are doing well. Some popular passion pages are:
  • Not every audience will respond to a Passion Page. It depends on what type of business you are. To research if your audience will respond, do a survey/poll on your company fan page or send out a survey to current subscribers.
    • Ask questions about specific values and interests while also tying in your products/services rather than directly asking if they would follow a Passion Page.
  • Create content around themes that your audience is passionate about and then post to Facebook.
  • Share content from your company sites. Directing fans to your site is a huge way to gain leads and get your company name noticed. It is, in fact, the whole goal of a Passion Page.
  • Make an emotional connection with your fanbase. Emotions grab people and catch their interest.
  • Create content that is meant to be shared. By sharing content, your reach and views increase.

The great thing about experimenting with a Passion Page is that it’s free! The goal is to gain the attention, interest and engagement from your fanbase. Eventually, when your Passion Page gets enough fans, you can connect your name to it, like “I Love My Family (FamlyShare.com).” A Passion Page is just another tool to silently market your business that is organic, has a large reach, and it’s free!

Your Monthly Social Media Marketing “News Feed”

Every once in a while, I like to see what the latest news is in the social media industry. I decided to do a “News Feed” once a month to fill you in on the new social media marketing trends and tools.

Let’s be honest. In today’s world, technology is constantly changing. It’s hard to keep up! I do social media as a living, and I’m not going to lie, I even find it difficult to keep up with all the new app updates and whatnot. But, if you’re not up to date on the new social media trends and new tools you could use to market your business, you’re missing out on opportunities.

So, on that note, here’s some great articles I found that will get you up to date! These new trends/tools might be something to consider when marketing your brand on social media.


Twitter:

Facebook:

LinkedIn:

Snapchat:

Pinterest:


Just think. All of these updates happened within one month! If you’re a social media marketer or business owner, this should give you a hint to check social media marketing news and trends daily or weekly.

5 Traits Your Tweets Should Have for Successful Twitter Marketing

Although there are many social media platforms that have surfaced over the years, Facebook and Twitter still dominate the social media-marketing world. They have allowed businesses to grow exponentially by increasing their fan base and building their brands.

You might be asking, is there a reason to use Facebook and Twitter?

My answer to you is, of course! Although they both allow you to interact and communicate with customers and potential clients, Facebook and Twitter work differently. For instance, Facebook is simply a (complex) social network and Twitter is more of a blog platform. The major marketing factors that differentiate Twitter are:

  • Message outreach is smaller, so response time and spreading the word is faster.
  • You use Twitter for brand identity instead of business relationship
  • Twitter reacts rather than starting a conversation.

If you’re already on Twitter, great! But there’s always room for improvement and to build your following and engagement. If your Tweets have these 5 traits, your Twitter marketing should be solid and consistent.

  1. Be a good listener. Listen and observe to other businesses and your followers. See what other businesses in your industry are doing on Twitter. You can use similar methods that you like, or you can find out what you don’t want to do. Also, discover what your clients want. Search in Twitter commonly used hashtags your followers are using and the conversations they’re having.
  2. Have personality. Share valuable content in your own voice. Twitter is a platform so create your brand’s identity. That identity has to have a voice and personality. Let it shine.
  3. Be a nerd. Use keywords in your Tweets and let others know that you are an expert in what you do. Twitter shares 5 tips here for using keywords.
  4. Sharing is caring. Share links and communicate less. On Facebook, you always want to start a conversation and communicate with your audience. On Twitter, it’s a little different. Of course, conversation doesn’t have a negative effect on your business, but it’s not what motivates people to follow you. This study explains the busted myth. On Twitter, you want to react, rather than asking for a response. Your content, personality, and the links you share are the key components to motivating people to follow you.
  5. Be friendly. Try to get retweeted by Twitter influencers. Just like Facebook, it’s important to network with social influencers and build relationships with them. Then, you can feel comfortable asking them to share your content once you have compelling and important content to share.

When in doubt, use the 80/20 rule. When it comes to any social media platform for marketing, remember: people want to be engaged and entertained. 80% of your Tweets should be interactive, educational and entertaining. The rest of your Tweets, 20%, can be promotional.

Twitter can and will effect your business’s brand, sales and leads. You just have to experiment and find out what works best for you. Try to incorporate these 5 traits within your Tweets. and you’ll get the hang of Twitter marketing in no time.

10 Tips on Launching a Social Media Giveaway for Your Business

Yesterday, I joined in on a meeting with a potential client to pitch a proposal. The prospect had a lot of questions and reservations about using social media for marketing his business. Once he asked about how we can help him launch a giveaway on his Facebook page, his interest peaked.

Promotions and giveaways on social media can be extremely beneficial to one’s business. Why? It can build and engage your audience, build customer loyalty by showing customers you care, and capture leads by collecting valuable data. You can reach a large number of marketing objectives with promotional giveaways on social media.

How? Well, let me tell you how with these 10 tips!

  1. Have objectives. Make your objective of the promotion benefit your business. Do you want to increase awareness of a new product, collect leads, increase sales, or increase social media followers? There are many objectives your business can have, but make sure they’re not insubstantial, like increasing page views or increasing your already-large fan base. With that objective, figure out what you’re giving away and why people would want it from you.
  2. Know your audience. As with any social media content, you must know your audience. Use the appropriate language and use context that they will be interested in.
  3. Use the right platform. You could use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Snapchat; the options are endless. Or you could use all social media platforms your business has. Just choose the one that will be most effective and the one most of your audience is using.
  4. Plan ahead. There’s a lot that goes into planning and scheduling a social media promotion. More than you might think. When will the promotion be launched? When do entries open/close and when do you draw or choose a winner? What’s the date you will announce the winner? Have a timeline that you can rely on.
  5. Partner with social influencers. Do your research. Find a blogger within your interest or industry that has social influence and research what partners they’ve had in the past. Use software or a blogger talent agency to find the right influencer. Once you find them, pitch your promotion, draft a contract, set up clear goals, and schedule payments. Social Media Examiner dives into How to Partner with Influencers for Social Media Giveaways.
  6. Embrace the visuals. We all know that posts with visuals get more engagement. In fact, 3 major social media platforms (Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat) rely heavily on visuals. Try to use a branded image along with separate images to correspond with the current giveaway (cover/profile images, logo, headers, landing pages, thank you pages, emails, etc.).
  7. Keep it simple, stupid. Don’t assume that followers will do anything to win your giveaway. If you set up too long of a process to enter, most people will unlikely go through with the entry. Include rules, but don’t make people jump through hoops just to enter. What do you want them to do? Include an action word in your promotion, such as Like, Comment, Share, Post, or Fill out.
  8. Launch party! Do a test run with some friends or colleagues. Make sure the entries are going through to the analytics. Reach out to people on social media, especially social media influencers, and convince them to promote your sweepstakes. Post your promotional giveaway multiple times. Don’t assume it will promote itself.
  9. Once the giveaway is launched, you’re not done working! Follow-up with contestants through email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Remind them of your contest and make sure it stays relevant until it’s over. Select and announce a winner and remember to remove the promotion from all platforms.
  10. Finally, create an internal assessment report, collect data, and share your results. This is the whole reason you promoted this giveaway, right? Once it’s over, don’t forget why you did it in the first place.

Launching a social media sweepstakes is more than just posting once and hoping you get results. So much goes into it, so do your research! These 10 tips should help you get the right start! For additional info and to learn how to not waste your money on a social media giveaway, check out Inc.com‘s article here.