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Category Archive: Social Media Marketing

  1. 10 Free Tools to Master Social Media Marketing

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    Social media marketing isn’t as easy as people think it is. It’s more than just posting an update for your business every once in a while; if you want to get a steady stream of revenue and build a passionate audience about your brand, you have to go all-out, managing and cultivating a community while accurately measuring and analyzing your impact.

    Fortunately, you don’t have to do this alone. Thanks to the increasing popularity of social media marketing, there are dozens of free tools available to help you keep your community under control and break new ground in your social strategies.

    Here are 10 of our favorites:

    1. Hootsuite.

    articleimage784hootsuite

    You’ve likely heard of Hootsuite before, and you’ve heard of it for a reason. It’s one of the best and most comprehensive social media tools available on the web, and it has full integration with most social media platforms you’ll need, like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Social post scheduling is the shining feature here and the one most commonly associated with the platform, but Hootsuite also features weekly analytics data and a handful of team delegation/task management features that make it useful for social media team members working together. There’s a free version and a paid version, though the paid version is still relatively inexpensive.

    2. Social Mention.

    articleimage784socialmention

    Social Mention is a search-based tool that works similarly to Google alerts. However, instead of providing alerts for news and information on certain keywords, Social Mention provides monitoring for more than 80 different social media platforms, including all the biggies—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and so on. If you so choose, you can opt in for daily or weekly email digests featuring all the mentions of your chosen keywords during that time period, and there’s even an API to integrate it into your site. It also helps you measure the impact of your brand with metrics related to the frequency, positivity, diversity, and consistency of mentions.

    3. Followerwonk.

    articleimage784followerwonk

    Followerwonk is a niche tool, so it may not be useful for everybody, but for companies actively involved on Twitter, it’s extremely beneficial. Through Followerwonk, you’ll be able to retrieve detailed analyses of your followers and Twitter activity. All you have to do is enter your username, and you’ll receive information on your followers as well as the people you follow. This information includes when your followers are most often online, how influential your followers are, and how active your followers are. It’s very useful in better understanding your audience.

    4. Addict-o-matic.

    Addict-o-matic is a fairly straightforward tool, which is great news if you’re just looking for something simple to add to your lineup of social listening and analytics platforms. Through Addict-o-matic, you can perform searches to discover new trending topics, or monitor the web for mentions and discussions around your brand. Using whatever keywords you choose, the search tool will scour the web on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, and Flickr to find new mentions and instances that could be useful for you. It’s a near-perfect social listening tool that’s perfect for finding new things to talk about.

    5. HowSociable.

    If you’re looking for a general idea of how impactful and how successful your brand is in the social world, HowSociable is a perfect tool for the job. Using a free account, you’ll be able to monitor your progress on 12 popular social platforms—you can unlock 24 others with a relatively inexpensive “pro” level account. HowSociable will use information like your total following, your engagement, your total number of shares, and other tidbits to calculate an influence score you can use to ballpark your reach and influence. You can also use the tool to compare yourself against your competitors.

    6. IceRocket.

    IceRocket offers monitoring and analysis of a number of different platforms and languages, with interactive graphs that allow customization on the fly. It’s ideal if you want to keep a passive eye on developments in a given community, since they have more than 200 million different blogs at their disposal in their database. It’s perfect to find new trending topics and get a glimpse of your impact and reputation on the web.

    7. Sprout Social.

    Sprout Social is an all-in-one tool that allows active management of multiple social profiles on multiple different platforms. While LinkedIn is not currently supported, there is full integration with Facebook and Twitter. Through Sprout, users can schedule posts for the future and review them in a queue, assign and manage tasks to other team members on the platform, discover new content through social listening software, and view and manage regular reports on your progress. However, the free version of the program does not come with the same features as the paid version.

    8. TweetReach.

    TweetReach is similar to Followerwonk, at least in the sense that it’s a platform exclusive to Twitter. TweetReach, however, is specifically intended to help you figure out how far your tweets are travelling, and what you can do to maximize the reach of your tweets. For any tweet you study, or for your profile as a whole, you’ll be able to estimate the total number of accounts you’ve reached, including how many impressions you’ve achieved and how many shares got you to that point. You’ll also be able to view charts and graphs that detail your progress and compare your present and past efforts.

    9. Google Analytics.

    If you aren’t using Google Analytics as part of your social strategy, it’s time to integrate it immediately. Head to the Acquisition tab to see a breakdown of your incoming traffic. This should give you a general idea of the success of your social campaign (at least in terms of site traffic compared to other sources). You’ll also be able to see a breakdown of which social profiles generate the most traffic within that span of users, and where those users are going. For example, you’ll be able to see which syndicated links tend to attract the most users, and you can adjust your posting strategy accordingly.

    10. SumAll.

    SumAll is especially useful if you’re managing multiple different accounts for your company, since it aggregates them into one interactive analytics platform. For example, SumAll features integration with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, as well as non-social media accounts like Google Analytics and PayPal. SumAll is specifically intended to serve small business owners, so if you fit that description, you’ll probably find use with it. You can also customize reports, so on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, you’ll be able to get a snapshot of your progress on all fronts.

    These tools aren’t necessary to be successful in a social media campaign, but they are extremely useful if you’re serious about getting results. Social listening software, scheduling features, and analytic insights are all important components of a long-term, uninterrupted engagement strategy.

    Since all these tools are free, you don’t have anything to lose. Try a few of them out as a trial, and get a feel for what you want and need in a social media solution. Of course, if you want to get serious about social media marketing, but don’t have the money or resources, you can always consult with us—we’re experts!

  2. The 6 Biggest Social Media Mistakes of 2014

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    Social media can be a dangerous place. One wrong tweet can start a chain reaction of disgust, concern, or even hatred directed at your brand, and once that post is public—there’s nothing you can do to erase the fact that it happened.

    2014 was a great year for social media marketers, with brand-new platforms and a still-growing audience of users on every major channel, but it was also a year filled with unfortunate mistakes by some major brands.

    Take a look at some of the worst social media blunders we witnessed in 2014, and learn from them so you don’t repeat the same mistakes in the coming year:

    1. U.S. Airways Tweets an Inappropriate Photo.

    articleimage783Airways Tweets an Inappropriate Photo

    If you were paying close attention to Twitter in 2014, you no doubt saw or heard about the embarrassing gaffe made by U.S. Airways back in April. The company tweeted a pornographic photo for the masses to see—and even though they took it down almost immediately, the image was captured and re-shared by the masses, making U.S. Airways the subject of revulsion and mockery for days.

    The reason for the error was innocent enough. A fan had tweeted the photo to the company, and a social manager accidentally copied the URL to that photo instead of a URL he/she intended to tweet. It’s a mistake anybody could have made, but it’s also a mistake that anybody could have caught—if they were checking the links of their posts before posting. Take this as a lesson in proofreading; even if you’re confident in your abilities, double check the accuracy of each of your links before posting them.

    2. Chevy Spokesman Makes an Unfortunate Blunder.

    During the World Series MVP Award for 2014, a Chevy spokesman mentioned that the Chevy Colorado “combines class winning and leading, um, you know, technology and stuff.” Ordinarily, a mistake like this is bound to be exploited, leading thousands to social media to mock the spokesman and berate the brand.

    However, Chevy was a step ahead of the game. They took ownership of the mistake and flaunted it rather than trying to ignore it. They tweeted a picture of the vehicle with a caption that read “You know… class leading technology and stuff.” The image was a hit, getting shared thousands of times, and spawning the emergence of two trending hashtags, including #chevyguy. This is an example of how to take a mistake and prevent it from escalating negatively—take ownership of it, and don’t be afraid to humanize your brand. It worked out well for Chevy.

    3. Apple’s iPhone 6 Gets Praise From Beyond the Grave.

    articleimage783 Apple’s iPhone 6 Gets Praise From Beyond the Grave

    Ordinarily, celebrity endorsements are valuable. So valuable that companies are willing to pay celebrities millions in order to say some kind words about the brand. When Apple started fishing for celebrity endorsements for the iPhone 6, nothing was out of the ordinary.

    However, Apple accidentally published a post featuring praise from Joan Rivers, only a short time after her death in 2014. Clearly a mistake, it was later revealed that the post was scheduled far in advance, and wasn’t removed in a timely manner. The offending post was quickly removed when the error was realized, but the damage was already done. Take this as a lesson in placing too much trust in your post scheduler. These scheduling tools can be very useful, but “setting and forgetting” can be dangerous. Be sure to check your post queues regularly and weed out any posts that may no longer be appropriate.

    4. Facebook Tries to Get Sneaky.

    articleimage783 Facebook Tries to Get Sneaky

    One of the biggest social media mistakes of the year was made by one of the biggest social media companies. Facebook’s privacy policy and default privacy settings are no stranger to public attention. The company changes its privacy settings on a regular basis, and while the majority of users wouldn’t abandon the platform for making those changes, most people feel they deserve to be kept abreast of them.

    The problem came in 2014 when the Facebook app allowed access to the phone’s built-in camera, without explicitly asking for user permission. When users discovered this, the blowback was enormous, and Facebook had some serious apologizing to do. If they would have disclosed this default setting upfront with their users, the negativity of the situation could have been mostly—if not completely—avoided. Users value and demand openness from their favored brands.

    5. DiGiorno Misunderstands a Powerful Hashtag.

    DiGiorno made a seemingly innocent mistake that cost them a great deal of respect in their social community. Without knowing the story behind the hashtag #WhyIStayed, DiGiorno’s tweet “#WhyIStayed You had pizza” seems like a clever way for a brand to use a popular hashtag to engage with its readers.

    However, DiGiorno failed to research the hashtag before they started using it for their own gain. In reality, the hashtag was used by victims of domestic abuse to raise awareness on the issue and provide support to others in abusive relationships. Using this sensitive hashtag for a promotion incited a serious and understandable backlash from the community. Fortunately, DiGiorno recovered tactfully. They fully acknowledged their mistake, explained the reasons why it was made, and made a personal apology to anyone who expressed their anger, frustration, or disappointment toward the brand. While some of the damage was likely permanent, DiGiorno’s sensitivity to the situation prevented it from getting any worse.

    6. Delta Airlines Fails to Research Ghana.

    The United States played Ghana in the World Cup, and in an effort to gain some visibility from the showdown, Delta Airlines promoted an image intended to represent the match. The United States, appropriately, was represented by the Statue of Liberty. For Ghana, they chose a giraffe. There was only one problem: Ghana doesn’t have a native giraffe population, and is not commonly associated with the animal in any way.

    The key lesson here is to do your research before posting. One person’s assumption that there were giraffes in Ghana led to an embarrassment that affected the entire brand. Even if you’re confident in your assumptions, do a quick search to make sure that you’re right.

    The fast-paced nature and immediate public scrutiny of social media make it difficult to get involved with the medium and never make a mistake. As a social media manager, it is almost a guarantee that you’ll send out something erroneously or carelessly—but you still need to learn from the mistakes of others.

    Take the time to review your information before sending it out—that means doing research to make sure your facts are accurate, double checking to make sure your assumptions are correct, and proofreading to ensure you haven’t made an egregious error after copying and pasting. That also means checking your schedule queue multiple times to ensure the relevance and appropriateness of your coming posts.

    In the event that you do make a major mistake, the best thing you can do is be open and honest about it. Delete the post immediately if it is offensive, but don’t try to hide the fact that you made a mistake. Apologize publicly, and address your audience’s concerns individually and personally; it may take some time, but it is possible to restore your reputation and earn the forgiveness of your fans.

  3. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn: Which Drives The Most Traffic?

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    There are dozens of popular social media platforms out there, each with its own advantages, disadvantages, and unique niche audience. Choosing which platforms to include in your social media strategy can be problematic, especially for business owners new to the world of digital marketing. Most business owners choose to go with at least one of, if not all of the “big three” platforms in the social media world—Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but understanding which one of those drives the most traffic can help you better allocate and manage your time when it comes to posting and engaging your audience.

    Clearly, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn all have sizable audiences and easy management platforms, but which one is going to be the most effective for your business?

    Facebook

    articleimage759facebook

    Facebook is the most popular social media platform in the world, and it’s usually the go-to choice for business owners just getting started in social media marketing. However, its demographic mix and primary function make it a secondary choice for most businesses.

    Total Potential Traffic

    Facebook has more than 1.2 billion active monthly users, which is an impressive number, making it any business owner’s first choice in terms of total market potential. However, just because there are 1.2 billion users doesn’t mean you’ll be able to reach that many individuals.

    Demographic Mix

    Just about everyone uses Facebook, so finding the perfect demographic for your product shouldn’t be a problem. The large pool of users makes it so even niche audiences have decent representation on the platform. It may be hard to track down those specific users (unless you’re using Facebook’s advertising platform, which we’ll touch on later), so don’t necessarily count on those niche demographic opportunities.

    Engagement Opportunities

    Facebook allows you to broadcast to everyone who likes or follows your page, but getting people to like and follow your page can be difficult. Unless you direct a sizable pool of existing customers to your Facebook profile or use an ad campaign to direct traffic immediately, building up your initial audience can be extremely difficult. Even then, Facebook’s complex news feed algorithm make it so you can’t guarantee the visibility of your posts—unless of course, you resort to “boosting” them with paid advertising.

    Advertising Options

    Facebook’s ad platform is very effective, and relatively inexpensive. Whether you’re attracting new likes or directing traffic to your main site, the options are all very affordable, and the analytics platform helps you determine exactly how effective your strategy was. You can also filter out exactly the type of people you want to see your ad—down to age, gender, geographic location, and interests.

    The Bottom Line

    Facebook has a huge potential audience, bigger than any other platform, but it’s hard to get the interest of that potential audience unless you use paid advertising as a boost. If you’re looking for sheer numbers and can afford to complement your strategy with ads, Facebook is a good choice. If you’re looking to build an audience for free, the other two will probably yield more traffic.

    Twitter

    articleimage759twitter

    Twitter, like Facebook, boosts a large audience, and while the demographic limitations are somewhat restrictive, Twitter has far more options for business owners looking to build an audience organically.

    Total Potential Traffic

    Twitter has about 284 million monthly active users, which pales in comparison to Facebook’s 1.2 billion, but is still a sizable crowd.

    Demographic Mix

    Twitter users tend to be younger than Facebook users (though there are exceptions to every rule). However, Twitter users also tend to be more talkative than their Facebook counterparts, making them easier to engage with under some circumstances.

    Engagement Opportunities

    Engagement potential on Twitter is the platform’s greatest strength. First, Twitter users are all public, so it’s much easier to track down and engage with new potential followers than it is on Facebook. Second, Twitter posts are short and news feeds are constantly updated, so you can get away with posting much more material than you could at Facebook, with virtually no risk of annoying your user base. Finally, open public conversations make it easier to build relationships with individuals while simultaneously improving your reputation to new potential followers.

    Because of these reasons, it’s relatively simple—though time-consuming—to build an audience organically and from scratch on Twitter.

    Advertising Options

    Like Facebook, Twitter has an advertising platform. However, you might find that your advertising dollars don’t go as far on Twitter as they do on Facebook. The total potential audience is narrower, and the analytics platform isn’t quite as insightful.

    The Bottom Line

    Twitter is an incredibly valuable platform for the business owner who wants to build an audience without resorting to paid advertising. While it doesn’t bolster quite as much total potential traffic as Facebook, the means to getting relevant traffic are simpler due to Twitter’s public and fast-paced interface.

    LinkedIn

    articleimage759linkdin

    LinkedIn is generally geared toward professionals, using resumes instead of personal profiles to showcase candidates. It’s a perfect opportunity for service-based and B2B companies to hunt down the perfect leads, though some business owners might find the total traffic potential lacking.

    Total Potential Traffic

    LinkedIn bolsters about 300 million monthly active users, slightly more than Twitter, but these users tend to use the platform more sparingly than their Facebook or Twitter counterparts.

    Demographic Mix

    LinkedIn is almost exclusively used by people trying to advance their careers in one way or another. LinkedIn demographics tend to be older and more professional, and the resume-like nature of profiles tends to limit insights on personal interests. This makes the platform ideal for businesses searching for specific professionals as potential leads, but nearly useless for other businesses.

    Engagement Opportunities

    LinkedIn has more engagement opportunities than Facebook; it’s hard to get much attention from updating your company page, but if you start or regularly participate in a Group, you should be able to build a reputation for yourself and generate a moderate following. Be prepared for more in-depth one-on-one conversations than the typical broadcast-based communications of the other platforms.

    Advertising Options                           

    LinkedIn does offer an advertising service, similar to Facebook, though nowhere near as comprehensive. This may be an option for B2B companies looking to rapidly accelerate their growth, but free engagements in LinkedIn Groups are generally a better use of your time.

    The Bottom Line

    LinkedIn has a respectable total audience, but you’re only going to benefit from that audience if you’re looking for specific individual professionals as potential leads. LinkedIn doesn’t have the broadcast power that Facebook or Twitter does, but you can make great impressions by taking advantage of their Groups pages (either by starting a Group or joining one that already exists).

    If you’re looking to dramatically increase your brand visibility online and get the most for your money when it comes to social SEO benefits, your best bet is to claim a presence on all of the “big three” platforms. They’re free to claim and easy to update, so you might as well nab all three as early as possible and update them on a regular basis.

    However, the platform you spend the most time on is going to be up to your ultimate goals as well as the composition of your business.

  4. 5 Psychology Studies that Provide Insight for Social Marketing

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    Social media marketing is a new field, and as such it’s been met with many differing opinions. Some view it as a fad while some hail it as the ultimate marketing channel. Some claim its benefits can’t be objectively measure, while others have tied their following numbers directly to an increase in revenue.

    No matter how much you’ve gotten involved with the medium in the past, a series of new psychology studies can help you better understand how social media has become such a powerful tool in our lives, and how social media marketers can take advantage of it. Read up on five of these important studies below:

    Princeton University Discovers the Importance of First Impressions

    articleimage757Princeton University Discovers the Importance of Fi

    Most people already realize the vital importance of first impressions. It’s why we dress up for interviews and meetings, and why we try to look and act our best on first dates. But a recent study from Princeton University suggests that first impressions can be based on incredibly subtle qualities—and are incredibly important in the social media world.

    In the study, participants were exposed to pairs of faces. Two sets of one identical pair were shown to separate groups of participants so that each participant would view the same two faces, but with slight alterations in their facial expressions. A subtle change in expression was more than enough to cause groups of people to significantly prefer one face over the other—people tended to trust one person more than the other, the person who was smiling, after briefly glimpsing each face.

    As a social marketer, you need to be wary that your followers’ first impressions of your online presence are going to set the tone for your entire relationship. Make sure your branding is consistent at all times, and each new piece of content you push out should in some way leave a lasting impression with the people who are seeing your brand for the first time. You should also take the time to welcome new followers individually and personally, to leave them with a positive first impression.

    The University of California Finds How Emotions Spread Online

    articleimage757University of Queensland

    When someone’s having a bad day at the office, they tend to bring down the mood of the entire place. When someone’s lively and having a great time, that jubilance is likely to spread. It seems intuitive that emotions are somewhat contagious, but much of that has to do with subtle things like body language and tonality, right?

    Actually, the University of California recently found that when a strong emotional reaction or sentiment is shared online, that feeling can spread socially just as it can in the real world. For example, let’s say you share something exciting. Your friends and followers who read that exciting statement are going to be more likely to post something exciting on their own over the course of the next few days, especially if they read more exciting posts in the meantime.

    Knowing that emotions are contagious, you can specifically create situations where people begin to associate your brand with positive feelings. For example, if you share something happy or funny and encourage your followers to do the same, you’ll introduce a wave of positivity throughout all your followers and followers’ followers. Strong emotional responses tend to generate more shares and more attention, so do what you can to introduce strong positive feelings whenever you can.

    Ipsos Finds Not All Sharers Are Equal

    Though not a Psychology study per say, Ipsos’s research into who shares what online and why shows us much about the nature of social sharing. According to this research, about one quarter of all people share “everything” or “most things” on their social media profiles, indicating a great willingness to divulge the details of their lives to the general public. However, another one fifth of the general population tends to share nothing at all.

    However, this data varies wildly both by region and by other demographics such as age and gender. Obviously, as a social marketer, you want to find an audience that shares your content as much as possible. The more your content is shared, the more visibility it’s going to get, and the more traffic and interest you’ll generate as a result.

    The key takeaway here is to write content that’s customized for the segments of your audience who are prone to sharing “everything” they encounter on the web. It may take you some time to figure this out, but if you can take advantage of this segment, you’ll maximize your content’s sharing potential.

    The University of Queensland Demonstrates the Sense of Community Online

    articleimage757 University of Queensland Demonstrates the Sense

    Communities function organically in the real world. When a person engages with a group, he/she feels more connected to the group, and vice versa. However, the online community has unique means of engagement—brands can interact with thousands of people simultaneously, while those people can respond or engage in conversations on their own.

    A recent study from the University of Queensland showed that users who were active posters on respective Facebook communities tended to feel more connected to those communities than inactive participants. This is somewhat intuitive; after all, if someone feels less connected to a community, he/she would certainly feel less inclined to post regularly.

    However, there is an important lesson here for social marketers. Engaging with your users in the form of a stream of content and responses to comments simply isn’t enough to foster a sense of community within your following. You have to find a way to get your followers actively involved with your page. If you can manage to influence more people to actively participate, you’ll cultivate a much greater sense of community amongst your own followers, and as a result, people will feel closer to your brand.

    Pew Research Center Identifies the Place of Influencers in Social Media

    The Pew Research Center recently published an article that identifies “power users” as the culprits behind the phenomenon we’ve all experienced—there are far more people consuming content on social media than there are producing content. These “power users” are responsible for the vast majority of all posts and tend to have the greatest followings as a result.

    As a social marketer, there are two things you can take away from this. First, you can woo these “power users” early on to increase your chances of getting shared and seen, not to mention building your following by dipping into those users’ followings. Second, if you eventually build yourself into your own “power user,” you can become a much greater influencer in your field. The key is to make yourself known as an authority by posting valuable, unique pieces of content and getting involved in as many conversations as possible pertaining to your field of expertise.

    Understanding the psychology behind social media use and interactions is the first step to building a social presence that makes an impact. If you can cater your strategy to your most valuable audience segments, make a great first impression, stimulate positive emotions and eventually build yourself into a social media “power user,” you can tap into the untold potential of the marketing channel and dramatically increase the traffic to your site. Beyond that, truly get to know your followers and give them the content they want to read.

  5. How to Make Your Job Easier as a Social Media Manager

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    The life of a social media manager is a hectic one. You’re responsible for monitoring, managing, and measuring the growth of your entire company’s social media presence, and that means constantly coming up with new ideas, checking for new comments, and staying ahead of new developments. Every time you catch up on tasks, a new pile of tasks is waiting for you, and there’s never an end to the stream of content you’re responsible for maintaining.

    It is a challenging and stressful responsibility, but fortunately, there are a number of strategies which can help you manage the chaos and make your job easier as a social media manager:

    Focus Your Strategy by Eliminating Unused Social Profiles

    If you’re like most social media managers, you’ve probably claimed a profile for your company on every conceivable social profile—you’ve got the biggies like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but you’ve also got some small-time players like Snapchat, Vine, and some new up-and-coming network that nobody’s using yet.

    Take a look at the response rates and incoming traffic from your individual profiles. Are any of them significantly lacking compared to the others? For example, if you spend half an hour a day on Pinterest and you’re only bringing in a few new visitors a week, you may want to consider eliminating that work and putting it toward something more valuable, especially if that means enjoying a less frantic schedule. Don’t waste your time on inactive social profiles. Quality is better than quantity.

    Use a Scheduling Tool

    articleimage754 Use a Scheduling Tool

    If you aren’t already, pick up a scheduling tool for your posts like HootSuite or Sprout Social. It’s going to make your life much easier.

    Rather than timing your posts appropriately, or trying to schedule each set of posts for each social media profile, a social scheduler will allow you to schedule the posts for each of your profiles and manage that schedule all in one platform. If you plan it right, you could schedule your posts more than a month in advance and virtually eliminate the time it takes to draft and plan out the timing for each one.

    As a bonus, these scheduling tools usually come paired with some kind of analytics tool, so you can easily look back and measure the impact of your work.

    Dig Into Your History for Inspiration

    If you’re having trouble coming up with new ideas for posts or if you’re spending too much time brainstorming when you could be doing something else, try looking into your company’s own past for inspiration. Look to blogs you’ve posted a few years ago and see if they’re relevant enough to rewrite. Find new headlines to reintroduce links to your newest content. Look at your older social media posts and see if you can rework them or follow up on them with a new idea.

    The key here is to preserve some level of variation. Don’t repost your older content verbatim, but feel free to dress it up in new packaging. Doing so can eliminate hours of your workweek and keep your content streams just as full as they were before.

    Jump Into Pre-existing Conversations

    articleimage754 Jump Into Pre-existing Conversations

    Part of the job of a social media manager is to facilitate great discussions that stimulate community growth and help your company appear as an expert in the field. Typically, managers try and start their own conversations with open-ended questions and debatable subjects. While this is a good strategy, you can save time and cut right to the chase by hijacking conversations that already exist.

    Look to fellow members of your industry or other influencers for discussions that are already in progress. Jump on as a participant, or share the post on your own feed, inviting your users to chime in with their own ideas. Doing so is a shortcut that could save you a couple hours a week, depending on how much discussion you usually facilitate.

    Form Custom Lists and News Feeds

    articleimage754 Form Custom Lists and News Feeds

    Most social sites allow you to create custom news feeds that give you exactly the type of information and content you’re looking for. For example, Twitter allows its users to create “lists” of the people they follow, grouping them into categories based on subject matter, relationship status, or pretty much any other qualities. Creating and maintaining lists like this can help you zero in on the exact content you need to learn or draw inspiration from.

    Similarly, you could subscribe to a free blog reader program, which can generate new reading material for you automatically based on a pre-existing set of preferences. Either way, you’ll eliminate the amount of time you spend searching for news or potential material to base your posts on.

    Find a Social Listening Tool

    Social listening is an automated tool that can help you stay apprised of any developments on your social media profiles—without checking into each profile individually. Rather than checking for new comments, posts, and mentions on each of your individual profiles and doing manual searches for mentions of your company name, a social listening tool is able to aggregate any activity of types you specify. For example, you’ll get an alert any time your name is mentioned on a social profile, or any time a user posts a new comment on your news feed.

    Once you’ve set your listening tool up reliably, you can virtually eliminate all the logging in and logging out that comes with social media management.

    Block Your Time

    It’s easier to manage your time when you can visualize it in chunks and segregate it based on your priorities. It’s too easy to lose track of time when you’re reading the news for inspiration or scrolling through news feeds and search results for new comments.

    Block your time out every day to overcome this—set a firm schedule, such as one hour dedicated to checking emails and checking news feeds, a half hour dedicated to reading news, and an hour dedicated to scheduling posts. Keep yourself accountable for maintaining those timetables, and you’ll be able to effectively avoid spending unnecessary time on low-priority items.

    Set Up Automatic Reporting

    Measuring and analyzing your results is one of the most important functions of a social media manager. On a weekly basis, you should be logging in to each profile and Google Analytics to measure your effectiveness and make adjustments to your strategy for the future.

    However, it’s much easier if you set up automatic reporting whenever possible, so you can take a look at consistent metrics at a glance. For example, in Google Analytics, it’s possible to have yourself emailed a PDF for each report you typically view, for any time period you set. Most social management platforms offer similar functionality to report new likes, follows, and shares.

    Your job as a social media manager may never be “easy,” but it can be made easier by applying these strategies. By eliminating some of your unnecessary work, automating the tasks that can be automated, and creating an environment that allows you to thrive, you can maximize your productivity and increase your impact in the social world. Not only will your job be easier to handle, but you might even see a boost in your followings as well!

  6. How to Grow Your Social Media Channels on a Budget

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    Social media has become one of the most powerful forces on the internet in recent years. It is now used for far more than socializing. Both online and offline businesses realize that they need a strong social media presence if they are to become leaders in their industries. Yet it can be challenging to build a following on social media. As more and more social sites spring up, how do you allocate your time and resources? How can you build up your following without a large advertising budget? In this article, we’ll be looking at some of the best low cost strategies to build your influence on social media sites.

    articleimage304 Choose Your Social Media Platforms

    Choose Your Social Media Platforms

    For a while, when people spoke of social media marketing, they were primarily talking about Facebook and Twitter. While these remain the two most popular social media platforms, they now have lots of competition. There is Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr and many others. If current trends continue, the number of social media sites will continue to grow at a rapid pace.

    While this provides you with many ways to reach your audience, it can also be a problem. You only have so much time to devote to building your following on these sites. If you spread yourself too thin, there is the danger that your efforts will be diluted and you won’t get the maximum benefits from any site. For this reason, it’s a good idea to limit your focus to a few social media sites.

    Facebook and Twitter are still worthwhile for just about any business. Beyond this, you have to consider which sites go best with your business model. If you do business to business marketing, LinkedIn is a must. This is the best site for connecting with other businesses. If you have a product or service that is visual in any way, you should utilize sites such as Pinterest and/or Instagram. Google+ is good for building circles of people who share certain interests. Another good thing about this network is that it can be integrated with other Google services, such as Google Hangouts. The latter can be useful for holding conferences or webinars.

    The point is that you should carefully consider which social sites can best serve your interests. Since they are free to join, it can be tempting to join every site that sends you an invitation. Keep in mind, though, that you will see more powerful results if you consolidate your efforts.

    articleimage304Build a Community

    Build a Community

    Rather than thinking of your Facebook page and other social media pages as sales pages, think in terms of building a community. This requires you to do more than simply talk about your product or business. Share useful information that will be of interest to your audience. Identify a basic theme for your page, something that is broader than simply your business. It’s fine to discuss your business, but you also want to fit it into the context of a wider community. This gives people a reason to log on to your pages and to share your messages.

    It’s also good to post content that’s more personal or entertaining, even it’s not directly related to your business. This helps you build community, and it makes your content more shareable. Certain types of content are more likely to be shared than others. Videos, images and infographics are more likely to be shared than articles. This type of visually oriented content is also good for community building, as it’s entertaining and engaging.

    Make Use of Branding

    Along with building community, you also want to make effective use of branding. While these may seem to be inconsistent approaches, they are really two sides to the same coin. All of your social media pages and online properties should contain your logo and make people aware of your identity.

    This doesn’t mean you always have to be promoting. Even when you are posting something that is meant to be entertaining or informative, however, you should not let people forget whose page it is. Take a look at the Facebook pages of high profile companies such as Starbucks. Their logo is visible with every post, which helps them build brand awareness no matter what they are posting about.

    Leverage the Power of Groups

    Groups are a powerful tool that allow you to interact with people with whom you share interests. For businesses, they can be an effective way to communicate with potential prospects. Not every social platform has groups, but many, including Facebook and LinkedIn do. You can both join existing groups and start ones of your own.

    If you’re looking for groups to join, it’s best to find ones that have large memberships. This way you’ll have lots of discussions to choose from. Social media groups operate in a manner similar to discussion forums. People start and respond to conversations. Don’t make the mistake of spamming groups with promotional messages. The idea here is to become active with online communities and contribute in a helpful way. People can find out about your business by checking out your profile.

    Create Incentives For People to Connect With You

    Social media is extremely competitive nowadays. People also have very short attention spans. That’s why it’s essential to provide real incentives for people to like or follow you. One way to do this is to create contests, sweepstakes or giveaways. It’s not hard to this with all of the apps out there for setting up contests and such.

    There are various ways to incentivize your pages. These include:

    • Give away free samples of your product.
    • Have a free trial for your service.
    • Run a contest where people send in photos, videos, recipes, stories, poems, etc.
    • Reward people for sharing the contest with others -e.g. give them additional entries if they get others to sign up.

    articleimage304Be Active and Interactive on Social Media

    Be Active and Interactive on Social Media

    In order to get the most of social media channels, you must be very active on them. You should post at least once daily on each of your sites, preferably several times. With Twitter, you can use one of the many tools, such as Hootsuite, that allow you to automate posting. You could create most of your tweets for the week at one time and schedule them to be released on a certain schedule.

    Remember that with Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and many other sites, it’s easy for your post to get buried. For this reason it’s necessary to post frequently, as only a small portion of your followers are likely to see any particular post. Another strategy to help you reach more people is to post at different times of day, as different portions of your audience are likely to log on at different times.

    You also have to be interactive. This means posting items that invite audience feedback. Ask questions and run polls and surveys. Interactivity also requires you to answer comments and questions posted by others. You should, in fact, strive to answer everything that’s posted, unless it’s spam of course. These don’t have to be long responses, unless the question warrants it. If someone pays you a compliment, take the time to thank them. You should also reply to any complaints or criticisms as soon as possible.

  7. The Lazy Man’s Guide to Managing Social Media Profiles

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    As the year 2014 gains momentum, the efficacy and importance of social media channels continues to grow. And whether you are attempting to build your business brand or simply widen your sphere of influence in the online world, maintaining interesting and informative social media profiles can help you accomplish this objective. Nevertheless, lazy people may feel that their unwillingness to devote extensive energy and resources to profile development might preclude them from accomplishing their personal and/or professional goals for social media use. Yet a lackadaisical disposition need not make the cookie crumble. If you are lazy yet want to manage your social media profiles with excellence and expedience, the following four strategies can be of great help to you:

    articleimage177 Use Social Media Management Tools

    1. Use Social Media Management Tools.

    Lazy individuals who want to ensure that their social media profiles remain in excellent condition should note that social media management tools can help. For example, Digsby offers social network support that enables users to both check their status updates and send their own updates via Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Another option is Seesmic, which operates as a social media management powerhouse that is available for almost every type of mobile device and operating system in existence. TweetDeck is another type of social media application that you can use to manage your profile. With TweetDeck, you will have the ability to customize the application such that it displays exactly what you’d like to see, whether that be Twitter mentions, wall updates, etc. One of the perks that results from TweetDeck use is the fact that you can synchronize layouts and settings across computers. TweetDeck supports a variety of social media channels, including but not limited to Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google Buzz.

    The social media management tools you can use to optimize your profile does not end there. Yet another tool you can use is Socialite, a social media app that monitors and updates channels such as Digg, Flickr, and Twitter. To facilitate your social media profile management processes, Socialite will organize the general dissemination of information across your networks with tools like filters and time lines so you can quickly access the information that’s most important or relevant to you. Last but certainly not least on the list of social media management tools is Hootsuite. Hootsuite provides users with an interface that enables them to view Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook in a moment. Additionally, Hootsuite enables users to set up specific times for messages to be sent so there is no need to worry about missing a loved one’s birthday or some similarly significant event. Recently, Hootsuite created a custom analytics platform that enables users to see which status updates and tweets garnered the most interest and attention as well as when people within your social network chose to look at your page.

    articleimage177hiretheprofessionals

    2. Hire Professionals.

    If you are serious about devoting as little time and attention as possible to social media profile management, you should consider hiring professionals to do it for you. Generally, these individuals will possess the education and experience necessary to ensure that each of your social media profiles remains in top condition (according to how you define “top condition,” of course.) You will typically be able to find social media profile management professionals in a plethora of places such as internet marketing agencies. In some cases, it may be advantageous for you to select a professional who works for a social media marketing company to maintain your profiles. This can be helpful given that these professionals often possess key insights regarding how to optimize a social media profile in order to engage the client’s target market.

    articleimage177 Just Update The Photo

    3. Just Update The Photo.

    Individuals who want to ensure that their social media profiles remain in stellar shape without spending time on them should note that simply updating the photo can help accomplish this objective. This is the case for several reasons, including the fact that research indicates that online readers are more drawn to visual media than typed text. Since this is the case, periodically updating your social media profile with an interesting and/or aesthetically appealing photo can engage your audience while simultaneously giving your profile a “current” look. The great thing about updating your social media profile photo is that it can generally be done in a matter of minutes. And for people who are just briefly glancing at your profile to see if there have been any updates, it creates the impression of constant activity and change, two very important components of social media profile management. To make the most of this technique, add a brief yet descriptive, personalized message that summarizes the photo for your audience.

    4. Add A Video.

    The ideology and praxis undergirding this principle parallels that of the photo strategy. Basically, adding a video to your profile is a quick way to keep it looking current. Moreover, your audience is much more likely to watch a video you post than they are to read any article links you include. To make this strategy as effective as possible, ask your audience for feedback regarding the video form and content. Once you begin engaging people in this type of way, they are more likely to spend time on your profile page, thereby boosting your conversion rates and/or popularity.

    5. Adopt A “No Nonsense” Attitude.

    People who don’t want to spend a ton of time managing their social media profiles don’t have to, especially if they adopt a “no nonsense” attitude when it comes to their accounts. Specifically, letting your subscribers and fans know what type of social interaction you will and will not tolerate can preclude you from having to spend time and energy deleting inappropriate comments, unfollowing people, or reporting individuals to the appropriate social media authorities. If you don’t want to have to spend your precious time monitoring your profile for the presence of messages or posts that detract from the image you’re attempting to present, make a point to let everyone know what you deem acceptable and unacceptable.

    Other Considerations

    People who are interested in optimizing their social media profiles generally do so for commercial or social purposes. In either event, there are other strategies that can work synergistically with the maintenance of a high quality social media profile in order to help it gain interest from the public. One of the strategies that can be employed to accomplish this objective include systematically tweeting links during prime time (5 pm ET). Like the other strategies discussed above, this type of activity is ideal for lazy people who don’t want to spend a lot of time using social media to accomplish their goals.

    Summing It All Up

    Although the development and maintenance of excellent social media profiles can be the key to business growth and/or the expansion of one’s online presence, many people do not have the time and internal motivation necessary to make it happen. Yet lazy people do not have to let their slothful attitude preclude them from accomplishing personal and/or professional goals through social media. By implementing some or all of the strategies outlined above, any lazy individual hoping to build and sustain an excellent social media profile can do so.

  8. Why Customizing Your Social Media Pages Can Increase Followers

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    articleimage135Why Customizing Your Social

    Having a presence on social media can help you expand your brand, increase personal product sales or generally help you spread the word about something that you are passionate about. For businesses, social media is great for customer outreach and promoting new goods and services. If you run your own social media page or run a social media page for an employer, how can customizing your page increase the number of followers that it gets?

    articleimage135 Don't Come Across as Spam

    Don’t Come Across as Spam

    There are thousands of spam social media accounts that do nothing but post links, send direct messages and otherwise make it harder to see the benefits of using social media. If your page doesn’t contain a picture or some type of customized text, people may think that you are running a spam account.

    When people suspect that you are running a spam account, they will not want to follow you. In some cases, you may even be blocked by other users and flagged as spam. If enough people flag your account as spam, whoever runs the social network may decide to permanently ban your account.

    In extreme circumstances, your IP address may be banned in an effort to ensure that you do not try to create any new accounts. For an individual user, this can be problematic as it can be costly to either change your IP or have to go elsewhere to access a social network. For companies, it is almost impossible to run a business without having access to social media. Therefore, make sure that social media accounts have some level of customization to ensure that they are not seen as spam.

    Customization Is Good for SEO

    Writing a custom profile allows whoever wrote the profile to insert keywords or phrases that can be found in search engine results pages. This means that your social profile can be found even if your new follower has never used that particular social platform in the past.

    For instance, a user who is searching for basketball shoes may stumble upon your Twitter profile because it had the words basketball shoes in them. Companies that sell basketball shoes or other athletic apparel can use these keywords to attract customers just by having their social profiles rank highly in the search results.

    The same thing applies for any pictures or other content that you place inside of your profile. A great picture could be placed on a site such as Pinterest and then go viral as others pin it to their boards or share it with their social contacts.

    As more and more people find and share content through your social profile, the search engines will push your profiles higher and higher up the search results. The end result is a social presence that can drive conversions and sales just as well as any website or sales page.

    articleimage135Spread Your Unique Message copy

    Spread Your Unique Message

    Anyone who posts on social media should be doing their best to promote their own unique brand. Whether you are an individual or a large company, everyone should have their own logo, brand name and slogan that they can use when communicating to others about themselves and what they hope to accomplish.

    When you use a generic profile template or don’t have a lot to say within your profile, those who are interested in following you don’t have a reason to do so. Why should anyone follow you when it looks like you do the same thing that dozens of other companies already do?

    By using your own unique message within your profile, you give people a reason to follow you and to encourage others to follow you. As the Internet continues to grow, it is rare to see something new or fresh being done. Therefore, you can garner a lot more favor for your social media presence if you are doing something that no one else is doing.

    Offer Customers a Financial Reason to Follow You

    Customizing your social media pages gives you the opportunity to do things that other companies or individuals have not even thought of yet. For example, you could offer coupons or free products to those who tweet a link to your social media profile or help get others to follow or interact with your social media page.

    Depending on how large and influential your social media presence is, you could offer people the ability to post on your page in exchange for prizes or other items that people would find useful. While it is not a good practice to trade follows or links, you could offer to mention any follower who retweets something that you posted. That could result in new followers for your page as well as the page of your followers.

    Create an Interactive Page

    New followers will flock to your page if you create some sort of interactive component to it. By adding games or links to games, you can give your followers a reason to stay on your page and recommend it to others.

    Adding a high score tracker, the ability to share high scores on followers’ pages and otherwise allowing people to engage in friendly competition, you increase the likelihood of people that your social media page will be among the most liked on the Internet.

    Another benefit to those who run a social media page is that these games could become larger than the page itself. This can help build your brand and offer a new product or service that can help make your company more money.

    Nobody Likes Boring

    Your social media page needs to be created just like any other advertisement would. It should be focus tested before it gets sent out to the general public. In addition, A/B tests should be conducted to see which words, colors and fonts elicit the best reaction from your customers.

    Using an analytics page can help you determine which features on your page get the most clicks, the most mentions and the most generally positive feedback. This can be beneficial to both your page and your company as a whole. If people think that your Facebook page is boring or poorly crafted, those people may also think that your company is poor run.

    If this is the case, those who are already following you may be less inclined to do so in the future. Those who have stopped following you may tell their friends not to follow you or leave bad reviews about your page on other sites.

    It is important to keep in mind that you don’t need to go overboard to be exciting and fresh to those who find your page. All you need to do is create a good message, use the right colors and include some level of interactivity. A simple crossword puzzle or word search app may be enough to get people flocking to your page.

    Social media is important to companies and individuals alike. If you are not doing something unique with your page, you could be seen as spam or unappealing to those who want to follow you. Therefore, do your best to create something that is fun, new and is appealing to as many people within your target market as possible.

  9. Which Social Networks Are Absolutely Necessary for Businesses?

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    articleimage30whatissocialmedia

    Using social media today is essential whether you are trying to grow an online presence for a personal blog or a corporate website. Regardless of your purpose of launching a website, knowing which social networks are absolutely necessary for business is a way to get started with your own social media marketing plan. Understanding the importance of social media marketing and how it can help you to take your own business to the next level of success is a way for you to get even more out of campaigns you launch online.

    What is Social Media Marketing?

    Social media marketing is online marketing that uses networks to share content, news and other relevant information for your brand to all of your hundreds or thousands of followers. Implementing a social media marketing plan is ideal whether you want to promote a local business or if you are seeking new methods of sharing your business and brand internationally.

    Facebook

    articleimage30facebook

    Facebook is still the leading online social network worldwide, with more than 1 billion accounts registered to the site itself. When you want to promote you business online, doing so is possible with the use of both Facebook Pages as well as Facebook Ads.

    Setting up a Facebook page can be done with your personal Facebook account, allowing you to select a name for your Facebook page that matches or that is relevant to your brand or company name. If possible, set all social media accounts to the same name to help with getting followers in less time and with less campaigning efforts. Facebook Pages give you the ability to upload and share photos, video and other media with online followers and virtual “vans” instantly. Additionally, you can also track the visits to your Facebook pages as well as the metrics of all pages you manage on Facebook for free, regardless of the size of your business.

    It is also possible to use Facebook Ads to begin sharing more information and advertisements regarding your brand or business online. Using Facebook Ads is a way for you to generate online advertising campaigns for specific target demographics and audiences you want tor each. With Facebook Ads, you have the ability to select the age group, gender, location and even specific interests, hobbies or keywords that you want to target when reaching specific individuals using Facebook itself to promote your business.

    Using hashtags which were originally for Twitter users is now also possible with Facebook. Facebook hashtags allow you to find other members using the site while also giving you more opportunities to be found by others who are interested in similar content as you. The more familiar you get with the use of hashtags online, the easier it becomes to reach out and communicate with any target demographic or audience you are interested in.

    Twitter

    articleimage30twitter

    Twitter is another social network that is a must when you are running a business and looking for new methods of promoting your brand or growing your online presence. Using Twitter is not only a way for you to grow the number of online followers you have for your business, but it also provides new opportunities for networking and meeting others who are also involved in the same industry as you professionally.

    Twitter is free to use and can be access with the use of both computers and mobile phones, regardless of the operating system you are using. Although Twitter is limited to submitting updates that are less than 140 characters each, it provides a platform of using “hashtags”, which help to connect and find other users with shared interests and relevant hobbies.

    Using Twitter is highly recommended if you are seeking new methods and opportunities of connecting with your following and audience online on a deeper and more personal level. Speaking directly to Twitter users who follow your business or brand online is one of the best ways to boost brand loyalty and your overall reputation. When you want to truly connect with your audience or the following you have online who are also customers, be sure to interact with users who send Direct Messages or Tweets to your account specifically, which helps to build a mutual respect between you and your customers.

    Instagram

    Instagram is a leading photo and video-sharing online social network that works well for both personal and business-related accounts. Using Instagram is a way to connect with all of your mobile users who also use the app regularly. Instagram gives you an additional platform to share photos of your daily life while also sharing updates in regards to new products and services you have available to offer to potential customers and your followers online.

    Instagram is ideal if you share marketing products, services or even real merchandise with your users regularly. Additionally, it is also ideal if you have established a brand image that fits well with photos and video media and your audience. The more you know about the type of images and video media your audience prefers, the easier it is to create content that is well-liked and shared using additional social media platforms.

    Pinterest

    Pinterest is a fast-growing online social network that can also be extremely beneficial to businesses of any nature, regardless of whether they are locally or internationally-based. Pinterest gives registered members the ability to generate and save links and other images or content found on the web using organized virtual pin boards. When you have a business, website or brand online you want to promote, you can do so by sharing your products or the services you have to offer with the use of your own business-based Pinterest account.

    Using Pinterest for business is possible by uploading and sharing links from your own website while also sharing original photos using the network itself. When you use Pinterest for business, you can also add specific tags to each one of the pieces of content you upload before sharing it live with your followers and other members of Pinterests who are online.

    LinkedIn

    Although LinkedIn is ideally for professionals to post their resumes and simply connect with others they have worked with in the past, it is also highly recommended for individuals who consider themselves to be entrepreneurs. Registering a LinkedIn account is free and gives you the ability to not only boost your professional image and reputation online, but it also gives you even more opportunities to connect and network with professionals who may become potential business associates or partners in the future.

    Putting LinkedIn to use when you are managing or operating a business is highly advisable whether you are looking to networking with all professionals in your industry or if you simply want to find other local business owners in your local area to connect and network with professionally yourself.

    Understanding which social networks are absolutely necessary for businesses and brands today is a way for you to stay ahead of potential competitors online while also improving brand recognition and credibility as a company overall. The more actively involved and engaged you are with the social media pages and accounts you manage for your business, the easier it becomes to build long-lasting, loyal relationships with your online visitors and potential customers or clients.

     

  10. The Difference Between Hashtag Strategy and Hashtag Spam

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    The introduction of Twitter’s hashtags in 2007 represented a defining moment in the history of social media, and hashtags have become a defining element of social media platforms since then. While they were originally restricted to use on Twitter alone, other platforms now use it as well. Used correctly, hashtags are a powerful means of communicating with others; when abused, hashtags can be a severe nuisance. Here are a few ways to use hashtags appropriately.

    Hashtags 101

    articleimage28hashtag101

    Hashtags allow you to mark posts. If you’re writing about a live event, hashtags allow people to find your messages when posting about the event. On Twitter, hashtags appear in the “Trending” section, and people interested in sharing their thoughts can use them to reach out to others. For marketers and others trying to reach out online, hashtags deliver a number of obvious advantages as they make your posts far easier to find through searching.

    Hashtags are for Relevant Posts

    Unfortunately, hashtag spam has become common on Twitter and other platforms that use them, and those who search for trending hashtags will be bombarded with unrelated posts from people trying to capture attention. Often, these posts say nothing of value and implore readers to follow a particular account. These posts will often contain multiple hashtags. While this sort of abuse was common in the past, Twitter users will find it to be less common today.

    Twitter’s Battle Against Hashtag Spam

    Twitter has a number of sophisticated algorithms that can detect hashtag abuse, and these algorithms ban countless accounts on a daily basis. However, they have a relatively high threshold, which allows them to avoid banning chatty users who simply love hashtags. Twitter also allows users to report hashtag spam, and a high percentage of reported accounts are eventually banned. In spite of Twitter’s efforts, many accounts still regularly engage in hashtag spam by staying just below the threshold that would trigger a ban.

    The Main Reason to Avoid Hashtag Spamming

    Even though there are ways to spam hashtags without triggering an account review, there is another reason to avoid hashtag spamming: It doesn’t work. Twitter users know spam when they see it, and, as with regular spam, they know to avoid it. A great deal of effort is needed to attract a single follower through spam, and the number of users who will avoid your account because of spam will be much higher. Twitter users are savvy, and they learn to instinctively ignore anything that approaches hashtag spam.

    How to Use Hashtags

    articleimage28twitterbattleagaintshashtag

    When using hashtags, it is important to use no more than a single hashtag per post on average. While it is sometimes appropriate to use two hashtags, using three or more is rarely wise. Only use hashtags that are relevant, and avoid using a hashtag that is only marginally related just because it is trending. By following these guidelines, you can reduce the likelihood of triggering a review significantly. However, using hashtags effectively for reaching out will require more than just avoiding upsetting users.

    Brand Hashtags

    Even if you use other hashtag strategies, you’ll likely want to establish a hashtag for your brand. Fortunately, it is easy to search for posts to see if your desired hashtag is already in use, and choosing a new hashtag makes it easier for people to find information about what you do. In addition, hashtag branding makes it easier for others to communicate with you and for you to find out what others are saying about your account. Short hashtags are better than longer ones, so favor hashtags with as few characters as possible.

    Hashtag Campaigns

    One of the best ways to spread information about a promotion or special event it to use a hashtag associated with it. Users can discuss your event with each other, and hashtags can make your event seem a bit more official. It is important to only tag relevant posts with your campaign’s hashtag, and overusing it can be a bit annoying. The potential power of hashtag campaigns is significant, and a great campaign even has a chance of ending up in the trending section.

    Social Media is Social

    Before discussing using trending tags, it is important to be sure that you’re using social media the right way. It is meant to be social, so make sure you’re using it in a social manner. Users don’t want to read posts about your company, product or service all day, and refusing to post about anything unrelated to your company will keep your list of followers small. Post funny information; link to interesting articles. You might want to avoid controversial topics and edgy material, but find entertaining or informative content and share it with your followers. Doing so allows you to using trending hashtags without looking like you’re abusing the system.

    Trending Hashtags

    articleimage28howtousehashtag

    When a topic is trending, many users search about it. If you have a great post, users might check out your account and follow it. Scan the trending section, and discover what people are talking about. If you have something useful to say, do so while attaching the trending hashtag. Multiple posts are acceptable, but don’t post too frequently, and spread your posts out over time to reach new people who are searching. Your posts don’t necessarily have to have anything to do with your business, and you don’t want to inject marketing content where it doesn’t fit naturally. That said, have some fun, and feel free to post funny or insightful information.

    Ask for Feedback

    Some of the most powerful posts are questions as they allow you to engage with users. In addition, responses to your question will appear when users search for a particular hashtag, which can spread you account quite far. Make sure to engage with users, and answer any questions they might have. Social media is meant to be interactive, so talk with users as much as possible. Remember to keep using hashtags where they’re appropriate.

    Be a Social Media User

    Social media is fun, so don’t use it exclusively for marketing your business. Try to spend a bit of free time using Twitter and other platforms that support hashtags, and learn why people enjoy using them so much. You might be surprised at how much fun they are to use. By regularly using social media platforms, you’ll develop an instinct and be able to determine what hashtags and strategies are likely to work. When you’re devising your own strategy, you won’t have to wonder how users will respond; you’ll know.

    Hashtags can be powerful tools used in the right hands, but too many people succumb to cheap tricks in an attempt to draw attention. However, not all attention on social media is positive, and spamming hashtags can quickly cause users to avoid you indefinitely. Always ask how you would respond to a particular tactic. If it would cause you to look elsewhere, reconsider using it, and try to develop a more effective means of reaching out. However, don’t be afraid to take a few risks. Posting messages is free, and there is no harm in trying a strategy that fails. As long as you avoid upsetting users and don’t spam social media platforms, you are free to try as many strategies as you want.

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