Tagged: hashtags

Shortcuts to Avoid in Social Media

042313-shortcutShortcuts are something that are used in almost every facet of life. Be it keyboard shortcuts or a quicker way to get home from work, people like to do things the easiest way possible.  We have automation tools that allow for advanced programming of Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and even Instagram.  But where do we draw the line between convenience and practicality?  Does automation of posts deserve the bad reputation it has? We personally feel that automation has it’s place, but it require supplemental monitoring to make it effective.  Here we are going to go through some social media shortcuts that you should avoid with your pages.

1) Pre-Scheduling for Events

This seems like a no brainer, but you should avoid scheduling your posts in advance of a real time event.  If, for example, you have programmed tweets talking about a specific driver in an upcoming race, it could backfire on you if something about the event changes. The driver could be injured before the race or the weather may cause a delay.  Stick to posting real time updates on events if you cover them to prevent this from happening.

2) Auto-Replies

One on one communication should never be automated. Whether it’s thanking someone for following you or answering a message, you should always do these yourself. There is no better way to turn off a new follower than to send them an automated thank you.

3) Posting the Same Message Across Multiple Networks

This is where automation gets the most flak from critics.  A lot of times when using automation tools to schedule messages in advance, you can schedule the same message across multiple networks. For example, you may send out a message as a tweet and as a Facebook update.  Unfortunately, this is pretty noticeable to followers. After all, it’s still a little weird seeing a lot of hashtags on Facebook if you are cross posting from Instagram or Twitter.  We recommend tailoring each message you send out for the network you are posting on.  What makes for a good tweet may not translate that easily to Google Plus and so on.

4) Sending Connection Invites Without Personalizing

For networks like LinkedIn, you can send a message along with your invitation to connect.  There is a standard message already in the template, but you should take the time to make it personal. People will know if you just sent them the boiler plate message, so make sure to put your own spin on it.  Explain why you want to connect or how being connected to you will be beneficial to that person. Don’t risk looking like a spammer with the standard message.

password5) Using A Simple Password

Most people use the same password for everything. Be careful of doing this, especially with an easy password. Social accounts get hacked all the time for one reason or another, so stay on top of your accounts with solidly difficult passwords.  Also be sure to change them every so often to keep your accounts as secure as possible. The process for getting your accounts back after they’ve been hacked can be difficult and sometimes not possible. Better to be safe than sorry in this case.

6) Buying Likes

Did you know that some companies offer ‘likes’ for a price? These businesses create thousands of fake accounts to generate likes for their clients. Facebook has caught onto this scheme and actually punishes pages that do this by limiting their organic reach.  Avoid buying into any scam that is supposed to bring you likes on your page, it will end up doing more harm than good.

7) Only Retweeting/Sharing

Retweeting is good for networking and spreading other’s messages if they are in line with your brand. The same goes for sharing on Facebook.  Only retweeting and sharing, however, shows your audience that you don’t have anything original or unique to offer. Use the retweet and share buttons sparingly so as not to oversaturate your followers. Otherwise why should someone follow you when they can get the message from the other source?

8) Inviting Every Friend to Like Your Pages

Annoying your friends with constant invites to like pages they aren’t the targeted market for will actually hurt your reach. You want to make sure you are reaching the right audience for your brand with your ad campaigns.  Stick to trying to gain a following of appropriate customers.

tagging-on-facebook9) Tagging Irrelevant People

This is probably one of the worst things you could do with your social pages. Under no circumstances should you tag people in an update that have nothing to do with your message. Get permission from anyone you want to tag before you associate them with your company and only then tag them if they are relevant.  You will get more exposure by tagging, but it will backfire if it doesn’t make sense.

These are just a few things you should avoid with your pages. Social media management isn’t easy, but if you make sure you aren’t taking the wrong shortcuts, you will do just fine. Good luck and happy posting.

 

Big Brand Facebook Tactics that Work for Any Business

Well-Known World Brand LogotypesThe most challenging part of social media management is staying active and engaging. Big brands like Oreo, Nike and Target have dedicated marketing departments that spend all their time coming up with great fresh content. Following the cues of these brands is something any business, no matter how small, can do.  We are going to go over some of the ways these companies keep their fan base coming back, so that you may be able to make your pages more engaging.

1) Holidays and Events

Heineken held a Instagram scavenger hunt content ahead of the U.S. Open Men’s final for a chance to win tickets. Fans had to search for clues in a mosaic of Instagram photos that would ultimately lead them to nine pairs of tennis tickets. In order to prove they had found the next clue, users had to comment on the correct photo with the codeword “#SHHH.” You can host promotions or games through your own social media channels the same way while capitalizing on an upcoming event or holiday.  Reward your fans for participation and they will continue to engage with you.

2) Crowdsourcing

Facebook and Instagram are great places to ask people for content. By asking your fans for their input, you can easily generate new content that is centered around your customers. Again, reward your fans for their input by acknowledging them and showing appreciation.  Someone take a picture of using your product? Feature their photo on your own pages as a shout out. People really appreciate being noticed by brands or companies that they use, so share the love with your fan base.

3) Fun

Humor is a great way to humanize your brand. It shows that your company can have fun and wants to share that with others.  Skittles and Old Spice do a very good job of engaging fans with nonsensical humor. If you can make your fans laugh they are much more likely to share your content and possibly let it go viral.

70-20-104) 70/20/10

Almost all the major brands that have successful social pages follow the rule of 70/20/10. That means the 70% of their content is information that is valuable to their followers in some way. This can be tips, tricks, contests, Q&A chats or anything else that does more for your customer than it does for you.  20% of your content should be shared from other sources to show that you acknowledge other companies, brands or even your fans. Share articles written by industry publications, or user submitted photos and videos. The last 10% of your content should be self-promotional. This is where you show off your products and services.  Apply this rule to your content and see it take off.

5) Customer Service

Daily upkeep of your social pages mostly includes responding to fans. Liking or encouraging good comments, answering questions and handling complaints is something that should be done often. This humanizes your brand and shows that you are active and involved with your followers. Take the time to respond to everything you get and make sure to tag the relevant people.

6) Consistancy

Quite simply, you should make sure that there is at least one post every few days on all of your social networks.  If you focus on just a few, it’s ok to post every day.  The most important thing is that you are consistently making posts so your fans know your page isn’t dead.  Take care not to over post or you’ll risk driving away your audience.

7) Storytelling

Video is a great way to tell your brand’s story. Oreo is definitely a brand who has utilized video to it’s fullest extent. They generally keep their videos simple using stop motion and viewer submitted content to engage their fans.  Your videos don’t have to be long or big productions thanks to Vine and Instagram Video.  These networks are free to use and are easy to navigate.  You can also use hashtags to categorize your posts and get your message out to a wider audience.

Four-seasons8) Capture the Seasons

As the seasons change, capture the feel of each one.  Fans know you are current and thinking about something other than your business if you play into the seasons of the year. Tie your brand or company into your messages. Change your profile picture or cover photos to keep with the changing times.

There are many ways to keep your audience engaged like the big guys do if you are willing to get a little creative. Play around with your posts to see what resonates most with your fans.  It’s all trial and error. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. There really is no wrong answer on how to best connect with your followers.  Take risks and you may see them pay off in the long run.  Good luck and happy posting!

Choosing the Right Network for Your Business

Hand holding a Social Media 3d SphereWe spend quite a bit of time explaining what to do and what not to do when it comes to your social media strategy.  From what times to post, how to use certain networks and how to maximize your pages engagement, we like to cover our bases in social media.  We haven’t, however, really talked about choosing the social networks that best fit your business.  We strongly advise against joining every social network with your business because you will end up spreading yourself too thin. Instead, focus on the networks that are most active for your industry and will suit your business best. I’m going to break down each of the most popular networks by what they can do for you.

Facebook: The most popular social network across the board, so it would be very advantageous to have a page here if you already don’t.  Facebook offers the ability to post various multi-media like photos and videos with ease. Another perk is that Facebook has it’s own metrics built in for easy monitoring, not to mention you can schedule your posts in advance. Having an active presence on Facebook is essential for small and large businesses alike.

Twitter: Has a large population as well, but more for updates and news. If you are interested in branching out, Twitter can help you reach a less targeted audience than Facebook. This is also the birthplace of the hashtag, so utilize them if you are going to tweet.

Instagram: Very popular with millennials due to heavy visuals. Recently introduced 15 second video capability to much success. Great for businesses that have tangible products or services. Also uses hashtags to reach a broader audience.

LinkedIn: Professional networking site. Profiles of users are based around careers and exchanging information.  Establish yourself as an expert in your industry here by getting involved in groups.

google-plus-1Google+: Not as many active users as other sites but great for the technical crowd.  LOTS of SEO benefits by Google automatically indexing any content posted to Google+. The interface is similar to Facebook for multi-media postings, so be sure to link your website with lots of images.

Pinterest: Like Instagram, a good tool for brand exposure with visual elements of products, services, etc. Followers can repin your pins, so great for putting on contests. Can be used to drive traffic to your website.

Youtube: The second largest search engine after Google, Youtube is a powerful social networking tool using video. Showing off your work, doing a product demo, or highlighting customer testimonials all make for great video and are a worthwhile investment for your brand.

We’ve just scratched the surface of what social networks can do for you, so be sure to look for more in-depth breakdowns of social media marketing on our Youtube channel or here on our blog.  Good luck and happy networking!

Using Hashtags

hashtags

In the tide of social media feeds it can be difficult to keep your posts above the waterline.  Thus, the Hashtag was born in 2009 on Twitter as a solution to this problem. The best way to explain a hashtag is a way of grouping information together. Since 2009 many other of the most popular social networking sites have adopted it’s use as well.

The main problem with hashtags is that many people don’t understand them.

To someone new to Twitter, putting the “#” in front of words looks like nonsense, but don’t avoid using them.  Connecting your content with others using the hashtag ensures it’s getting to the audience that is interested.  Use hashtags that are already being used in your industry as well as a few of your own to join in the community of dialog.

Another benefit of using hashtags is connecting your business to people you don’t already know.

You will appear in the stream of the hashtag which can lead to new resources and opportunities.  Relevant posts tracked through hashtags help build your audience and community. They help people sort through the clutter to focus on what they truly care about, so make sure you are giving it to them.

Being consistent with the use of your hashtags and sticking to them increases visibility.  Don’t be discouraged if something doesn’t take off right away because exposure takes time.  Reshare other’s content, keeping the original information, hashtags and poster but add your own hashtags as well.  Associating your spin on shared content not only lets people know you are participating in what others post, but you have something to add.

If your hashtag is interesting, it will generate activity. twitter

Participating in live conversations on Twitter, tracked via hashtag, is a great way to get your name and brand out there. Many live events has special hashtags so that event organizers can track what people are saying about it and provide feedback.  Schedule conversations with your audience and enjoy hearing what your fans have to say.

Being afraid of making mistakes on social media should not deter your from experimenting with new ways to generate content.  Hashtags are a simple way to branch out and connect to others, so use them.  Be be aware, there is a fine line between participating and overuse. If done correctly, hashtags could help elevate your brand to a new level.

Facebook Hashtags are for the Birds

Facebook.HashtagIf all of social media is a like a huge party where everyone is talking at once, hashtags are like signs telling people where to go to join a conversation that is relevant to certain topics.  Facebook, a social network built on real, person to person connections, is more like a dinner party with the people you know. Unfortunately, Facebook is still trying to get into the huge party but seems to find itself out of place. At it’s core, Facebook is not really well suited for hashtags, which are designed to help break into public conversations on networks like Twitter and Instagram.

Hashtags are a way to give your content an extra boost of visibility to anyone who is interested in your subject matter.

Sites like Twitter and Instagram are not built around a users real identity, a stipulation that Facebook is fairly strict about.  Tweets have a shelf life of approximately 3 minutes and most users only look at their feed, whereas Facebook posts are tied directly to who you are and are easy to back track through.  This idea of near anonymity on Twitter helps makes the hashtag the only real way to connect with other people that you don’t know.

Very little communication on Facebook is meant for people that the users don’t know, making the user of hashtags relatively irrelevant.

Also, hashtags on Facebook are still subject to privacy settings, meaning that if you use a hashtag, only the people allowed to view your page can see it.  Facebook has spent years telling it’s users to be careful about their privacy because of the personal nature of the profiles, so it only makes sense now that platform wide hashtags don’t work the same way as Twitter.

Additionally, Facebook is not subjected to the limited character count of Twitter, so the metadata hashtags provide is not as useful in helping define posts. Hashtags connect tweets and Instagram posts to other posts like it, something that again goes against it’s primary function.  Some research suggests that using hashtags on Facebook actually hurt the engagement of the posts they were used in.

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The study, done by Edgerank Checker, only measured pages, not profiles and how users were clicking them. For businesses, this means it’s detrimental to your overall engagement to use hashtags because users simply don’t click them.

Ultimately, it comes down to people versus thoughts.

Facebook is for peer to peer connection and Twitter is a platform designed to share short thoughts.  So for now, Facebook can stick to being what it’s good at and leave the #hashtagging to Instagram and Twitter.