What Are Hashtags and Why Should I Care?

What is a Hashtag for anyway?

A hashtag is used to group information by topic. They make searching easier and can elevate your reach on Social Media, making your content more easily found by people outside of your current followers!

Hashtags join your content (posts, tweets & grams) to a wider conversation! You could find fans, enthusiasts, influencers and more – but even better, they can find you. So the more the merrier, right? Not exactly.

Let’s look at how hashtags are used on different Social Media platforms.

Twitter

Hashtags are at home on Twitter. They belong there. Tweets without hashtags are pretty much ignored. There are some conventions you will need to keep in mind though.

Twitter is a busy place. You have 140 characters to make your point so you have to do it without any anything unnecessary – no frills! It can be tough to get your point across in such a brief manner, so it’s common for people to use Twitter to link to longer-form content. That link takes up some of your characters.

Tweets with photos perform better as they stand out in the newsfeed. But that photo is also going to eat away at your character limit too!

Mentioning people you think will like and respond to your content is a good way to get your tweets seen, but there’s even more characters used. Suddenly your message needs to fit into a smaller and smaller space. How can you let people know what your tweet is about?

Hashtags!

If your tweet refers to an industry, sector, or topic use those as a hashtag. This means people looking for information about that topic (who may have never heard of you) can still discover your tweet. If that tweet links to your blog or website – they can click through and read your content! You have gained a web visitor and potentially a new customer.

Some other things you can do with hashtags on Twitter:

  • Consider using your brand or product name – that way all your tweets are linked
  • Create unique event hashtags & promote these for people who like to ‘live tweet’
  • Be funny or convey tone

There are 3rd party tools to help you make better use of hashtags.

You can monitor a hashtag to see tweets that contain it, this can be used to keep tabs on your brand reputation, your competitors, your industry trends etc. Examples of free programs you can set up hashtag feeds are Tweetdeck & Hootsuite.

You can check for the popularity of hashtags, letting you see how likely your tweet will be found. You’ll need to find a hashtag popular enough but not saturated; try RiteTag or Hashtagify.me for this.

Chameleon’s top tips:

  1. Use an image in your tweets and 3 hashtags max. This will help extend reach without people ignoring it for looking spammy.
  2. Use third-party tools to help your understanding of hashtags and monitor those relevant to your niche

Instagram

Another place hashtags are at home is on Instagram!

Instagram has a much meatier character limit of 2200, but it’s a visual platform – so just because they are available to be used doesn’t mean you need to use them all. Your image selection matters much more than your caption, as after all that’s all it is, a caption to give context to your image.

Hashtags on Instagram have the same purpose as they do on Twitter, for the ease of search as they group posts by topic. Many Instagram users spend the majority of their time on the platform searching hashtags to see the latest and greatest in whatever they’re interested in.

So you can express yourself more freely on Instagram – plus you can use up to 30 hashtags! Again, don’t feel the need to use 30 just because you can, make them relevant to the photo and your niche. Brands will tend to post their hashtags in a comment under their caption to keep them a bit more ‘out of the way’ of users.

You can also use popular for sharing – say you’re in Perth, WA and you post a great photo of Perth, you could tag #soperth or #perthisok as they are large accounts that re-post tagged content. Getting your post re-posted (called a regram) can really raise your profile on he platform. There are plenty of accounts that share curated content and you should look into this as part of your hashtag homework.

Similar tools exist for Instagram hashtags, but there’s not as much choice as with Twitter. Hashtagify.me is good for looking up Instagram hashtags and seeing which ones have been used in conjunction with the ones you are using.

As with Twitter it makes sense to use a hashtag for your company or product. Do a search first to make sure it’s unique.

[bctt tweet=”Research & use Instagram hashtags that relate to your brand, your photo & your niche. Steer away from spammy ones like ‘instagood’ or ‘followme’ #instagram #hashtags” username=”carmalevene”]

Chameleon’s Top Tip: Research and use Instagram hashtags that relate to your brand, your photo and your niche, and steer away from the spammy ones like #instagood #followme etc.

Facebook

Facebook was slow to embrace hashtags, it was never really considered a place where you would do a lot of searching. More commonly people use Facebook’s newsfeed to connect with their friends and family – not to research brands or topics.

You can use hashtags on Facebook and they do still serve the same purpose as the other platforms, however people are not as receptive to seeing them and studies show Facebook posts with hashtags receive lower engagement from users.

If you are going to use hashtags in your digital marketing you can use them on Facebook to keep consistency. I use them from time to time but always leave a line break between the copy of the post to make them more ‘ignore-able’ to users.

Chameleon’s Top Tip: If you are going to use hashtags on Facebook, limit it to 3 max and try to put them at the end of your post, not littered throughout as this will put hashtag haters off your post altogether.

Things to remember about hashtags

You can use hashtags on Google+, Pinterest and Tumblr as well. We’re not going to go into further details on those channels in this post – but if you do want to know more about them, leave us a comment, we’d be happy to help you!

Do some research on the channels you want to use for your business, find out if they are hashtag friendly and what the individual conventions are; one tag doesn’t fit all.

Here are some hashtag facts you might like to know:

  • Most platforms don’t allow spaces in hashtags (Tumblr is an exception)
  • Hashtags can’t contain punctuation
  • Spaces must be left between hashtags
  • Hashtags can be tracked for reach using third-party software
  • There are popular hashtags like #TBT (Throwback Thursday) you can search for ones that might apply to your niche

#FAIL

An article on hashtags would be negligent if it didn’t warn you about possible issues with choosing a hashtag. There have been many bad examples!

We’re just going to leave you with probably our favourite – which involved a well-intentioned but badly thought out launch party tweet for a Susan Boyle album.

The hashtag that was chosen made it sound like an entirely different party altogether!

Susan Album Party became:

#susanalbumparty

Which (if you are a little slower on the uptake, or have a very clean mind) became:

Sus Anal Bum Party

The Venn diagram intersection of people who would attend both these parties would be interesting!

If you’re keen on reading more of these fails, there are loads! You can check some of them out in this article. It’s important to learn from other’s mistakes!

Wrapping Up

Hashtags are a great way to join in the conversation – and that’s what Social Media is about, being social! So with some quick research and a bit of care you can use hashtags to increase the reach of your content on Social Media and be found by more people looking for information about your industry.

[bctt tweet=”Hashtags are a great way to join in the conversation – and that’s what Social Media is about, being social! #hashtags #socialmedia” username=”carmalevene”]

We’d love to hear from you!

Did this article help you understand more about what hashtags do and how to use them? Leave us a comment or swing by our socials.

Instagram switches to an algorithmic newsfeed: why this is good news!

Instagram announced Tuesday that they would be introducing an algorithmic newsfeed. Sounds complicated. It probably is – for them; but for us users it’s not going to change how you use the platform much, if at all.

What it means is you’ll be going from a newsfeed of every post everyone you follow makes, to one more similar to Facebook’s – curated for you based on your activity.

Cue the complaining.

This has been an unpopular among users. Articles like this one from Pedestrian TV are everywhere! The #RIPinstagram hashtag was born – and widely used. But look at it from another perspective, this could be good news for the platform!

I think this is a great move, showing the platform’s ability to adapt and stay relevant in a fiercely competitive market. But let’s get to why people will THINK this is a bad idea, and it’s no mystery – they hate their Facebook newsfeed.

A friend of mine said to me recently “you get the newsfeed you deserve” and I completely agree! In fact, I couldn’t have said it better. If your Facebook newsfeed sucks – fix it! It’s easy. And before you go to close this article muttering that I must be delusional (or worse) let me tell you about my Facebook newsfeed.

Firstly: I have an advantage – I use Facebook for work; so it was really easy for me to justify cleaning up my newsfeed and training Facebook to show me things I’m interested in. And I’m going to let you in on a little secret before we get any further…

Facebook is the only Social Media platform that is so personal about how you use it, and by that I mean – on other platforms you are not obliged to be friends or follow people just because you know them! On all other platforms what you post is judged on its merit by (often) the general public. Unfollowing people is a regular thing, and no offence is (usually) meant by it.

But Facebook’s thought of differently. I must be friends with the people I know. I must not unfriend people. If I do HAVE to unfriend someone it’s going to be messy….only on this ONE platform. The others (Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram…) you follow people you are interested in seeing updates from!

Now that we have that revelation out of the way let’s proceed. My newsfeed; I AM HOOKED. Even as someone who is on Facebook 8+ hours a day I can not get enough! How is that possible?

I trained Facebook to show me things I’m interested in and they deliver me that content.

Let me explain.

Unfollow

You can unfollow people you still want to have as “friends” so that you don’t see their updates. If you have friends that post things that are of no interest to you, but you want to remain friends – unfollow them. Also that overly political friend during elections, or the person who’s updates throw you into a rage. UNFOLLOW, they’ll never know. You can still stalk their profile when you’re in the mood but you’ll be in control.

Unlike/See First

Facebook has been around for 12 years. Some of the stuff you liked, you might not like anymore. Unlike them. While you are doing a little page audit, the ones you do want to see more of – ask Facebook to show you their posts first. Hover over the like button and choose “see first” rather than default. These pages posts will be bumped into your newsfeed as they happen.

Maybe this feature will eventually roll out on Instagram too?

Interact

Facebook assumes you like the things you like. Seems simple. If you like the status of a girl you went to high school with – you’ll see more of her statuses. Choose to interact with the people you want to hear from on your newsfeed more frequently. And the ones you don’t want to see unfollow (as above) or just stop interacting with them.

If you ‘like’ pages and you actually like them, not felt obliged to like (your friends electrical business page) or a band you liked 10 years ago, interact with their content. Like their posts, comment, share, tag people, the more you perform these actions on their content the more likely you’ll see more from them in your newsfeed.

We can assume this same theory will apply to the Instagram algorithm.

Use Lists

I’m not sure this feature will come to Instagram, but it can be helpful on Facebook. You can list people and pages to give you a separate newsfeed of just the interest/people. For example, I have listed people I have met via work and not kept in touch with by the name of the workplace. If I wanted to see their updates, I would navigate to the list and there they would be. No need to have them in my main newsfeed.

With pages I have lists of client pages, and industries. I make industry lists of the clients I work with to keep track of current news in their niche – without it hitting my main newsfeed.

Groups

I’m part of some groups on Facebook, as many of you would be too. Some of them are very active, and to reduce notifications and newsfeed placements you can control what activities within the group Facebook will alert you to.

SO?

So – I’m pretty sure you’ll agree that my Facebook newsfeed has been carefully curated and shaped over time to give me the best experience from it. I recognise that this is not the case for most people, but why would you put up with something you don’t like when you can change it?

You can have the newsfeed you deserve!

Back to Instagram…

Anyhow – back to Instagram’s announcement.

They claim you currently only see 30% of posts – wouldn’t you want to make this count?

“You may be surprised to learn that people miss on average 70 percent of their feeds. As Instagram has grown, it’s become harder to keep up with all the photos and videos people share. This means you often don’t see the posts you might care about the most.”

Quintly did a study of 10,000 Instagram profile to discover that engagement rates and follower growth were in decline. Yep, already.

There are more users, meaning more competition in the newsfeed (many of them brands) plus the paid appearances that were opened up to the public last year, resulting in a crowded experience; and not everyone’s content is created equal.

Which brings me to my main point, you don’t need to see everything in chronological order!

Say your cousin posts 7 photos of their cat. Do you need to see all 7 of those photos in a row? Of course not. And yes, you could unfollow your cousin…I probably would.

What about interruptive brand messages or people who post terrible photos, or spam accounts? Should their content be ‘worth’ the same newsfeed space as people spending hours crafting the perfect post with the perfect image every time?

Are 7 photos of your cousin’s cat of more interest to you as say, one awesome National Geographic post?

Why would they be considered equal? And incidentally if you don’t follow National Geographic on Instagram, check them out.

Look at Twitter – without lists the newsfeed became so crowded and yet so devoid of value. Eventually Twitter adapted, but many say too late (I’m not convinced it’s completely irrelevant – yet) and they lost traction as a Social Media powerhouse. It’s too early to tell how or if the algorithmic newsfeed is going to work for them long-term, and to be fair they have some other challenges too.

A non-chronological, algorithmic newsfeed is the only way to go for Instagram. It’s full!

You can’t and won’t scroll for days. The great posts will be too few and far between. Something has to go, and it will be the stuff you don’t care about. And if it isn’t you can easily fix it by training it like I have done with my Facebook newsfeed.

Remember how much outrage there always was any time Facebook changed a major feature? The tantrums, the vows to quit Facebook flung about, and then: we got over it.

I can only remember one of the features we got upset about (changing to “timeline”) and there were loads more, they just aren’t memorable.

Facebook meme

If we looked back at what Facebook was like when it came out we’d hardly recognise it! But we keep using it. The same will be true for Instagram. You never know, you might even like the changes…

What do you think? We’d love to hear your feedback! Is it #RIPinstagram or will we all get get used to the change?

NEW – Local Insights: Find out about the people nearby your business!

I have a new client page that just got access to insights (the tab at the top of your page where you can look at your stats, you need 30 likes to gain access) and noticed something new!

Local Insights!

How many people walk or drive past your business every day? What if you could find out more about who they are?

Well, now you can – thanks to Facebook!

New Local Insights

Here’s where you can find it what it looks like:

local insights

We posted recently that insights had been upgraded. But this is new again. Insights into the Facebook users in a radius of your page!

It’s been broken down into sections; Activity & Peak Hours, Demographic Info and Ad Performance so I’ll go through the information available set by step with some screen shots.

Firstly let’s get a closer look at the map! You can choose a radium of 50 or 150 meters from the address of your business page, so the data is hyper-local. You can choose data from a week, month or quarter to look at.

map

You can see who is the most popular demographic nearby and the busiest time for Facebook foot traffic to the area.

Activity & Peak Hours

With the People Nearby section you can look at hourly, weekly, and historical data plus view your page check-ins. And there’s no surprise there’s a prompt to create a Local Awareness ad here too.

nearby

Demographic Info

Learn more about the demographics of the people (on Facebook) who are in your local area. See their gender, age bracket and whether they are “local” or not to the area. Local is defined as living less than 200km away.

demographics

Ad Performance

As this feature was found on a new page, there’s not much here to really delve into. It can be assumed that this data will allow you to benchmark your Local Awareness campaigns by percentage and improve them with time and testing.

ad performance

Why is this exciting?

Knowing more about the people in your business’ local area can help you make better results from your Social Media efforts. If you know which people are nearby and at what times you can create tailored hyper-local content to attract their attention. You would be able to promote a lunch special, a sale item or a happy hour, for example, to people already in the area at the time.

And if this didn’t get enough traction organically, you could use some advertising budget on expanding your local reach.

Not only can you create hyper-local time sensitive content for your markets, you may be able to make wider business decisions too! Say you are a local pizza store thinking about expanding to open for lunch, you could find out how many people are nearby during that period that fit your diner demographic. Very cool!

With the population becoming more mobile, as marketers we need ways tap into that. It’s less effective to target ads to people who live in the vicinity when you’re only open business hours, as most of them will be at work – being able to target people nearby as they walk past your door with a snappy sales message, a promotion or something that grabs their attention could be a game changer for your business.

Facebook understands this and has started adding features such as this one, which I’m sure will be expanded in the future!

What do you think about this addition to your insights? Would you be more likely to use Local Awareness ads on Facebook now?

Feel free to leave us a comment, or swing by our socials – and as always, if you would like help with setting up your own Local Awareness campaign don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Social Media Marketing loves your Email Database (and vice versa) – How & Why you should let them be together

I like to say Email Database Marketing and Social Media Marketing are best friends. Let’s explore why your business benefits from the combined power of these 2 digital marketing methods – especially if you have a small marketing budget!

I’ve collected some awesome articles from some digital marketing heavyweights to help convince you that you can’t have ultimate success in one without the other, and how to go about setting up this integrated approach!

Neil Patel describes Social Media as “the new kid” and explains why and how to integrate your email and social marketing, he even includes a downloadable cheat sheet in his article “How to Integrate Email Marketing With Your Social Media Efforts” it’s a long read but includes many step-by-step instructions, screen shots and stats to get you started.

Neil starts by demonstrating that Email Marketing is one of the easiest and most effective digital tactics, and is far from “dead”

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Top Takeaways from Neils’ Article

Social Media and Email Marketing work together because they serve different contexts to different sections of your target audience.

Email is a closer relationship with your customer because they have given you permission to enter their inbox. Social Media is public and therefore less close; but a great way to collect those valuable email subscribers, and re-target them.

Email has a higher customer lifetime value (CLV) than social media platforms.

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You can increase your email content exposure by including social share icons inside your emails. As per Get Response, social sharing boosts email CTR by 158%.

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His Step-by-Step guides to uploading your email database to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn

Then his subsequent Step-by-Step guide to using these lists to target specific advertising messages or paid advertising – RETARGETING.

Social Media tips:

  • Use contests to collect email addresses
  • Use your cover page ‘call to action’ buttons to collect subscribers
  • Use Facebook Groups for subscriber-only interaction
  • Retargeting

Email Marketing Tips:

  • Use photos to ‘put a face to the name’ in your emails
  • Use unsubscribe prompts to try not to lose subscribers
  • Add an email sign-up to your website and social media channels
  • Use social media sharing buttons/links in your emails and prompt your subscribers to follow/like you

Read the whole original article:

How to Integrate Email Marketing With Your Social Media Efforts

Social Network Social Media Technology Communication Concept

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next is Buffer. Buffer is a Social Media Scheduling tool, helping you post content across multiple channels easily – a handy tool indeed!

They also write a very informative blog, which has just been named Social Media Examiner’s Top Ten Social Media Blogs.

In this post titled “6 Creative ways to integrate Social Media and Email Marketing” they give away some little-known tactics to getting more traffic and engagement by combining the power of Social Media and Email – and again this article is packed with practical how to’s!

Top Takeaways from Buffer’s Article

Few people make buying decisions anymore based on information from a single medium. So when marketers focus all their energy on one channel, they could be missing out on other opportunities and the natural rhythms of the buying cycle.

You need Email and Social Media to cross-promote your products and services, it re-enforces your messaging and makes sure you remain top of mind when your audience are ready to purchase.

They outline 6 top tips – which are:

  1. Upload Email Database to Social Media Channels (as we discussed – but they add Google+)
  2. Retargeting (we’ll leave this one here too)
  3. Let Social Send Emails For You – this one is new, let’s discuss below
  4. Automation – we have covered this, but Buffer suggest a different tactic which we’ll explore further in a moment
  5. Collect Emails from Social Media – via lead magnet or subscription app/Facebook call to action in the cover photo
  6. Create a Facebook Group for Subscribers – covered

So, we’ve already discussed some of these points above – let’s move straight on to number 3 in our list, Let Social Send Emails For You, how does this work? They’re talking about LinkedIn Groups!

If you are on LinekdIn and you haven’t taken the time to manually unsubscribe from every group you have joined you are probably drowning under a sea of LinekdIn emails…

linkedIn

LinkedIn send email updates of group discussions, so all you need to do to reach someone’s inbox (rather than the folder or burner email we all use for email sign-ups) is to contribute your content to these group discussions.

Now obviously you can’t just post your content and run, and it has to be of value to the group members. But what a novel idea! I hadn’t thought of trying this tactic but I’ll definitely be giving it a go myself. I’ll let you know how it turns out 🙂

On point number 4, Automation Buffer use a tactic I also haven’t tried before.

It goes like this; post a social media update, send it to your email database prompting them to share it (they call it “seed it with shares”) and once the share count is up nice and high, send an email to influencers to share it.

The influencers will see the value of the content due to the “seeded” shares and will be more likely to share it to their own audiences. Buffer describe a tool called Send Bloom which integrates with Gmail and allows you to send these influencer emails automatically.

Not only a total time-saver, but coming from your Gmail makes it so much more personal!

Just quickly we’ll discuss a Lead Magnet as mentioned in number 5 of our list, it’ll be discussed at length in the final article and is an integral part of Digital Marketing!

A Lead Magnet is something people will be prepared to give up their email address for – thus making them a lead. An example of this could be a downloadable how-to guide or indeed Neil Patel’s Cheat Sheet discussed in the first section of this article!

kh-facebook-ad-lead-magnet
Example of a Lead Magent turned into a Facebook Ad

Most people won’t subscribe to your emails without being offered something of value, so think about what you could use as a lead magnet for your business!

If you want to dig in deeper the full article link is below.

6 Creative ways to integrate Social Media and Email Marketing

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One of my favourite Social Media Marketing resources – Social Media Examiner has many, many articles regarding Social Media and Email Marketing integration. Here is one of their most recent publications on the subject, written by Kristi Hines.

This one’s called “How to Improve Your Email Marketing With Social Media” and covers Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter again, with helpful screen shots and how to’s.

It’s focus is on improving the strength of your email database using social media.

Top Takeaways from Social Media Examiner’s Article

Promote your Lead Magnet, or Resources section of your website on your social media channels – so people land on your “squeeze page” (the landing page you make to collect their email in exchange for your Lead Magnet/Resource) resulting in subscriber growth.

Also use your Social Media channels to test headlines to use in your Email Marketing. As you re-post your content (not everyone saw it the first time, right?) you can change-up the titles and images.

You can infer that the one with the most engagement is the “best” one and use these headlines when creating your emails.

Here’s some more tips, broken down by channel.

Facebook

  • Include your subscribe link in your Short Description
  • Make an app to collect email addresses (try WooBox or ShortStack for this)
  • Use your Call To Action button on your Cover Photo
  • Set up Facebook Ads to your Lead Magnet/Squeeze Page
  • Use a Lookalike Audience to target people who “Look Like” your email database subscribers

Twitter

  • Use your bio to promote your Lead Magnet
  • Use Twitter Lead Cards – explained below
  • Use Promoted Tweets to increase the reach of your Lead Cards

A Lead Card is a way for people to leave you with their details without leaving Twitter. Think of it as a mini-squeeze page.

LinkedIn

  •  Promote your Lead Magnet in the Projects and Publications sections of your LinkedIn profile

Pinterest

  • Pin your Lead Magnet – this can be done multiple times with varying images.

Instagram

  • Use the link in your bio to send people to your Lead Magnet/Squeeze Page

General

Make sharing easy! Include Social Media sharing buttons and links on your Squeeze Page and your Lead Magnet.

Read the full article, explaining exactly how to set up your Twitter Lead Cards below.

How to Improve Your Email Marketing With Social Media

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So here you have it – the world’s top Digital Marketers agree that Social Media and Email Marketing are best friends! Time to dig out that excel spreadsheet and pass it on to your social media team!

We’d love to hear your feedback! What are your thoughts on Email Marketing and Social Media integration? Leave us a comment here or stop by any of our Social Media channels.

The Social Chameleons can be contacted to help you with your Social Media and Email Database Marketing. Feel free to email by clicking here, or fill out the form on the contact page.

Integration: Commonly Misspelt & Undervalued

Some of you already place a value on making sure the marketing of your business is integrated, and by this we mean using consistent messaging and branding – but more than that; by making sure the types of marketing you do and platforms you use are supporting each other to maximum benefit. Integrating your marketing will help you in increasing your brand’s awareness, helping to build strong communities, and saving you time and money.

Awareness

We need to keep our brand elements and messaging consistent so people recognise what our business does and stands for, also making it easier for users to find us and subsequently buy our things and use our services. But just as importantly we need to make sure none of our marketing platforms operate in a vacuum.

For example – if you have an amazing new glossy brochure of all your products, why wouldn’t you use it on your website too? Why not pin the items individually to your Pinterest boards, post on Facebook where people could get hold of your shiny masterpiece – or better yet, make a Facebook app to house it so people can see it from there.

You could target some advertising directly to it, and send the web link to your email subscribers. Then with the help of Google Analytics, your email software metrics and Facebook Insights you can track your views, clicks, etc to see what kind of impact it had.

This is just  a small example of how digital, social, print, and email marketing can all come together – and it might sound like more effort than just producing the brochure alone; but what’s the point spending time making a stunning brochure if you’re not going to make sure as many interested people see it as possible? That would be more of a waste for sure, because we all know we’re only as strong as our weakest link.

But this doesn’t mean you have to do all of this yourself! There are people who can help you in your business and outside of it. Having an integrated marketing strategy doesn’t mean you must have a huge marketing budget and a large team with endless resources. It just means you have a plan – and that plan is thought out to ensure all your channels speak the same language and support your messaging.

Having worked on many social media accounts in the past few years, The Chameleons know the difference between companies that do this well and those that struggle. We’ve seen many lost opportunities where businesses have had major events, sales or received awards and not communicated this to their teams, missing the chance to increase awareness – but more than that in the case of social; letting their audience feel part of their band at grass-roots level.

Growing Your Communities

Your social media communities (providing they have been built the right way) are interested in your business. They want to know about what’s happening in your world because they feel like they are friends with your brand. How would your friends feel if you went to a party without telling them? Or won an award without sharing it with them? Once they found out they might start to question your commitment to the friendship.

Email Marketing & Social Media can work hand in hand: with you being able to convert your customer database to social followers and vice versa. And don’t forget to upload your database to Facebook to use them to help your advertising targeting as mentioned in this previous blog post.

You can also use your offline efforts to promote your social communities. Make sure collateral like business cards and flyers contain your social icons, and use internal venue signage to encourage people to check in, review or follow you while they are in store.

Time Is Money

At the end of the day having an integrated strategy might take more time to come up with, but when you’re ready to roll out you’ll have all the necessary tools to make your efforts a success – without needing to resort to ad hoc methods that ultimately leave you further out-of-pocket.

Often marketing can be about playing a long game, building awareness and trust of your brand. Doing this consistently across all your channels will help you reach this goal more quickly than deciding on Wednesday to do a newspaper campaign that starts Thursday without giving your other channels the time to plan their part.

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As the famous African proverb says “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”

Social Media: What Does it all MEAN?

So you have decided to “do” social media for your business. Great! Why? What are you hoping it will help you achieve? It’s knowing the answer to this question that will determine whether your efforts will bear fruit, and the reason so many businesses fail, or simply give up on their social media (or indeed any online or offline) marketing.

The Chameleons hear all the time about how “Facebook doesn’t work” and “Facebook advertising is a waste of money” and “Social Media can’t help my business sell our products” These statements are mostly wrong, but it all depends on what you want out of it as to how you need to go about executing your strategy.

[bctt tweet=”It can be as simple as merely knowing what you want to achieve and taking the steps to do it.”]

It’s pretty simple when you think about it, but because we all use social media profiles we are often blinded to the realities of using it from a business perspective. Let’s take something that’s been around for a bit longer as an example of what we mean, like Television for instance.

Old TV

 

If you were a brand that sold kids toys – would you make a TV ad with lots of dark, gloomy colours? Would you use formal language? Would you show those ads late at night? Of course not! Why? Because it’s not going to [marketing cliché alert] speak to the desired demographic.

It’s the same with social media. You need to understand who your target market is, how they interact online, which platforms they use and try to [another cliché alert] speak their language.

Ok, we get it – but how?

Well, we don’t think there’s one magical recipe for working this out. In the old days there were focus groups, surveys and buyer personas – and yeah, they’re still around, but what it all boils down to is finding out what your customers and potential customers want and need.

[bctt tweet=”You need to understand who your target market is, how they interact online, which platforms they use and try to speak their language.”]

Big brands spend loads of money doing this, often tracking your spending habits with fancy reward programs to give them insight into your spending behaviour. But what can you do as a small business or a brand just starting out?

Ask your customers. Network with other people in your industry who understand your specific industry challenges. Ask people who use your competitors why they chose them and not you. Use what it is that makes your business different and work this into your strategy. And when we say strategy we don’t mean write a 60 page university-style marketing document.

It can be as simple as merely knowing what you want to achieve and taking the steps to do it. Your social media success will not just happen. It needs to be built, crafted, nurtured…do we sound a bit crazy? Maybe. But we’re crazy about doing a great job at social media marketing, and that’s what you become when you promote your brand on social media, social media marketers! It’s probably one of the many hats you wear as someone with a small business!

So back to your goals; here are a couple of quick examples of social media goals your business may have and how you might go about achieving them:

Say you are a new brand, at first you may just want some likes on your Facebook page to give you a little credibility. As social media marketers we can tell you likes don’t matter – but we know that there’s a certain gravity to a page that has fans – the same way you don’t trust eating at an empty restaurant. If this is a short-term goal for your brand you will need to harness the power of your networks.

  • Ask you friends and family to help by liking and sharing your page.
  • Set up your email signature and your website with social buttons so people know that you’re a social brand.
  • Always use the social media icons utilised by your brand on all your printed materials like flyers and menus.

Facebook keyboard

 

But mostly, and you’re probably not going to like this – you’re going to have to run some like ads. Remember, just like with the TV ad example – make sure they will resonate with your desired audience. Use imagery and language they relate to at the times they are watching and you’ll receive the best return.

Say your social media goal is to use it to get more people to your website – you could:

  • Run some web click ads!
  • Post relevant content from your website as links on your social platforms
  • Start a blog to share your original content
  • Have your developer embed some tracking pixels on your website to help you measure your social traffic
  • Set up Google analytics and monitor your social media refferals

Before you do this we suggest you make sure that your site is truly reflective of your brand and has strong messaging. We all know we skim read and make very quick decisions as to whether we stay on a website for more than a few seconds. You need to make sure those seconds count or all the advertising in the world won’t help.

There’s too many different goals you may have as a business to go through them all here – but we did want to touch on one more just quickly.

[bctt tweet=”Social Media is a conversation, and a huge part of conversation is listening!”]

Social Customer Service

Whatever your short terms goals for social media are – always bear in mind the customer service opportunities social media will present you. If you haven’t yet you will at some point have a customer reach out to you on your social media platforms for help with your brands product/s (or service/s) and you need to LISTEN to them.

Social is a conversation.

And a huge part of conversation is listening – and not just to the words but also the tone. If someone reaches out to you about your brand, positive or negative they want to be heard. Obviously positive feedback is much easier to handle, but negative comments are just as important, if not more so.

Someone has taken the time to tell you that something was wrong. Whether it was with the service, the product, the expectation wasn’t met, the delivery, the colour, size, fit – could be anything, but you have the advantage because they came to you so you can fix it. You know why someone is unhappy. That’s infinitely more helpful to your business than your product just not selling, right? Because odds are if one person says it, there are others thinking it too that weren’t “brave” enough to speak out.

conversation bubbles

 

Acknowledge!

This is why you must always take the time to acknowledge their concerns and not pass them of as an isolated incident, even if you’re sure they are. Other users can be waiting to see how you respond, judging whether they too should speak out based on how you handle the situation.

Flip it!

Anyone who has run a business knows that an unhappy client can often be won over into your most loyal fan if they are listened to, acknowledged and have their issues resolved to the best of your ability. And with social media you have the opportunity to do this publicly where you can turn around the opinions of more than the one upset customer, but the others following the progress of the interaction.

Seems a bit scary. Obviously we are referring to regular types of grievances, not major meltdowns or crises, which need to be dealt with in a more cautious way we may cover in a future post.

The last type of interaction with your social media following we want to cover is the neutral post. They aren’t happy clients or disgruntled (love that word – so fun to say) customers, they just have a need for further information about your brand. Embrace them, love them, be excited about the potential of doing business with them in the future! If someone wants to know more about your offerings they want you to talk them into using your business, so don’t leave them waiting and try to share as much friendly detail as you can. They’ll appreciate the effort and you’ll at least get some social media brownie points – and at most a nice fat sale.

So to finish here’s our top tips for what it’s all about:

  • Work out what you want out of your social media presence and plan for that outcome step by step (it won’t happen overnight)
  • Use your target demographics preferences to present your brands images, profile pictures, tone etc that appeal to THEM
  • Always answer ALL your comments as quickly and helpfully as you can
  • Don’t forget it’s SOCIAL – so listen to what your market is telling you

We hope this helps you to make a plan for your social media marketing and set you up for success! As always we’d love your feedback either as comments here or on our social platforms 🙂

Know Your Enemy

Ok, so that’s a bit of  dramatic title, we apologies for that – but we really want to stress to our readers that the more they know about the social media platforms they use for their businesses the better their efforts will work.

How can you create good posts, great content and awesome engagement if you don’t know how – or what the users (let’s call them people) are looking for?

To expand: How do you know how to promote your messages on Instagram if you don’t have an account and have never used it? How would you know what content people like, what types of interactions are commonplace, how often to post and what hashtags to use? We know there are loads of great tools out there to help us – but that doesn’t beat knowing.

PLUS you spend your precious time creating these posts – if you don’t make them count it can become a big drain!

So, where do we start?

[bctt tweet=”The Chameleon’s suggest that you have personal profiles on each of the platforms you use or intend to use for your business and suss them out!”]

Do you research and gain advice from the “big guys” like Social Media Examiner, Moz, and your favourite Thought Leaders in social so you stay up to date with trends and feature updates.

If it’s a new platform – maybe ask a millennial 😉

We’re going to start with a quick couple of things about Facebook, which will hopefully help you understand how you can improve your business page!

Facebook

1) You have a Facebook email address

You have a facebook email address which is yourname@facebook.com and it’s how messaging works.

2) Saving Posts

You can save posts to read later!

Ever seen something in your newsfeed you wanted to read but couldn’t at the time you saw it? Well you can click on the right arrow of posts that contain links (and some others) and click “Save Link” to add it to your “Saved” listing on the left hand side of your timeline. One of our chameleon’s described it in detail here.

[bctt tweet=”Did you know you can save posts on Facebook to read later?”]

3) Interest Lists

have a particular interest or hobby you like to read about? Find all the best content on that subject in the one place with Interest Lists. Create a list and then add pages or people who have relevant content! This gives you a whole new newsfeed just of those accounts you added about what you’re interested in!

A great way to stay up to date in what you like – and an awesome way to  curate content for your page.

Facebook interests

 

[bctt tweet=” Find all the best content on that subject in the one place with Facebook Interest Lists!”]

4) See & Manage your Facebook Ad Settings

Ironically you can only get to this from an ad, and when you’re looking for one it’s harder to find them – the rest of the time they seem to be everywhere!

Find out why you get targeted by advertisers on Facebook in a blog post a chameleon wrote here.

 

5) See where you are logged in to Facebook

You can find out where your Facebook account is logged in – the location, operating system and whether it’s mobile or desktop. You might be surprised where you are logged in, the first time I did this there was an old phone listed that hadn’t worked for 3 years!

Go to Security>Where Your Logged In and check for yourself.

Facebook log in

 

We recommend taking the time to familiarize yourself with your Facebook settings. This can help you become a better “user” of the platform, in turn helping you run your pages.

Facebook security settings

 

6) Graph Search

There have been many blog posts written on this subject – so we’re not going to cover it end to end in this one, but we probably will take another run at it at a later date.

Graph Search has been around for about 3 years – but you need to have your language selected as English US. This pains us as much as it might you – but it’s worth it as all updates from Facebook roll out to US users first! Graph Search means you can find all kinds of data about your friends, your page likers, and – well anything really! And they have now released this feature on mobile too.

This will be handy with your profile for finding “that post with the turkey recipe that Julie had around Christmas” or “That photo of Dad with the lawnmower” but this information can be incredibly powerful for brands.

Facebook graph search

 

Imagine you can search for which other pages are liked by people who like your page? You can! What about where they live, what they are interested in, where they go, how old they are? That too – the possibilities are endless!

Having this information can help you align your brand with other brands they love, help you post relevant and engaging content and teach you about what audiences your messages appeal to! You can use this info to determine if your online fans are the ones you were after and adjust your posting to suit if they aren’t – AND see whether your online fans are the same sort of people who love your brand in real life! Amazing, well worth leaving the “U” out of words like colour…

There’s some great article articles on Graph Search here for you – but stay tuned here too as we will definitely be going deeper into this one.

Facebook’s description

Social Media Examiner’s Blog Post

Moz Post

We hope that by better understanding the playing field you can gain insight into how your fans use social media and act more like a person than a branded self-promotion robot we often see, as no-one wants to follow those brands on social.

[bctt tweet=”Being good at social media is about being social after all!”]

//

Audience Participation

Hello! The Chameleons are back with another update designed to help you in the world of social media for your business! Today we would like to talk about Facebook advertising.

Now we’re probably going to speak about Facebook advertising from time to time, because (in our opinion) it currently has the cheapest targeting available to businesses. In general in our experience – and remember – all pages/accounts/industries can differ; it’s CPC (cost per click) is significantly lower than Google advertising. Now before the SEO and Adwords guys get all upset – there are many ways to interpret this and we’re not saying don’t pay for search, the more expensive clicks are probably better quality, after all we all know you get what you pay for…

 

 

But that is a discussion for another time! We want to tell you about some ways you might not know of to save time on your Facebook ad targeting and also unlock parts of the ad manager platform you might not know about!

We assume that MOST Facebook page admins have at some point paid to have their content seen so we didn’t want to start at the very beginning (if you haven’t and you do need to get back to basics drop us a comment, we’d be happy to help) but wanted to talk about Audiences.

[bctt tweet=”Audiences are a great way to help you save time and get the most out of your Facebook advertising budget!”]

 

pay peanuts, get monkeys

When you go into your Ads Manager on Facebook this will be the menu down the left hand side.

Facebook ads manager

 

The forth selection from the bottom is Audiences. Once you hit this you will see the different types of audiences you can create and how Facebook advertising can become faster and an integral part of your overall digital strategy.

CUSTOM AUDIENCES

The first option is Custom Audience. This is probably our favourite type of audience! Here you can upload your email database from Mailchimp or whichever eDM software you use straight to Facebook. This audience can be useful because Facebook will find anyone on that database who uses that email and you can target ads straight to them!

Imagine you sent a special offer via eDM, then followed it up with a “Did you get your special offer in your inbox” message? Creepy? Slightly, maybe – but being able to speak directly to your current VIP mailing list on Facebook – very powerful, especially if you have a large database.

custom audiences

 

[bctt tweet=”Website traffic is another awesome audience tool! You can use it to track your web traffic and re-target them on Facebook!”]

You can track specific pages and specific time frames of their visits, cross promoting your messages. An example would be you had a sale on a particular product for a week – the people who visited your site in that week on that page may or may not have purchased anything, but you know they had at least a passing interest in the product. Follow up with messaging about the sale being extended or a new product in this line being added and you can have a repeat visit with no guesswork or wasted money. You already know they were interested in that product so you didn’t have to try and target your ads to people who might like it!

The App Activity Custom Audience is specific to those who have an app – so we will leave this one for now.

LOOKALIKE AUDIENCES

Next on the list is the Lookalike Audience. We love this function!

You can ask Facebook to make you a list of people who closely resemble your current page likes, and because they share characteristics with your current fans – they could be fans of yours, right? Right!

Fcebook lookalike audiences

 

It’s really easy to set this up. Choose your previously added database that you made your Custom Audience from, a tracking pixel from your website (you may need a web-guy to help you with this) or select your page. Then choose a location that’s relevant to your needs.

For example if we wanted to do this for our Social Chameleons Facebook page we would use the name of the page as the source and Australia as the country.

Then you can use the slider to say how “alike” or “dis-alike” you want your audience to be, depending on your needs. If you want the most alike you will get a smaller audience. The less alike the larger the audience and potential reach but the less effective this is. You can mix and match to suit your target.

SAVED TARGET GROUPS

[bctt tweet=”Now – the one we all can use to save LOADS of time when making our ads – Saved Target Groups!”]

A lot of the time you may be searching for the same types of people to share your messages with. Sometimes you are really switched on – thinking of heaps of great ways to match interests or locations or behaviours, and other times you can draw a blank, OR you just need to shave some time off what can be a laborious task, plugging in all the required fields. Either way the Saved Target Group is for you!

[bctt tweet=”You can save your favourite (read: most effective) target groups so you don’t have to go through the rigmarole of targeting every time!”] Super handy.

Once you have harnessed the power of these Audiences you can add them into your ad creation and see how this affects your target size, and often removes the need to use interest targeting all together!

Remember – ad targeting on Facebook is all about trial and error, using a blend of different images, different copy (text) and mixing up your targeting until you hit that sweet spot where your hard earned dollars stretch the furthest and your content find homes with people who value it.

Have questions? Leave us a comment or swing by our Facebook page or our Tumblr 🙂

//

Copyright & Copywrong | How Not To Steal Images

Something we’ve been most wanting to write about for some time is copyright. How to avoid ripping off creators, and getting yourself in trouble by following the rules of sourcing images correctly, so it’s fitting that this is our first blog post.

It’s a pretty contentious issue  – especially among graphic designers, photographers and artists to name a few, yet some social media publishers are completely unaware! That’s right – we want to talk about image use in Social Media.

Everyone knows great posts need great content – and great content needs great images. It’s a simple fact that people are more inclined to notice your blog post, article or any other type of message if it has a killer, eye-catching image associated. But where do these images come from?

That can be the tricky part. Great images are not generally free to use. If you’re just starting out on your social media journey you may not know that there are rules associated with using images, and just Googling isn’t really going to cut it.

copyright

First, let’s go back to the beginning, why would using someone’s image not be ok? There’s more at stake here than just “that photo is mine – not yours” like in primary school. Photographers, designers and artists make their living from creating beautiful imagery. If everyone took it for free how would they get paid? If they weren’t being paid how long would they continue making beautiful imagery?

Image Use in Social Media

Copyright

Images are subject to copyright – which protect the creator of the image from having it used without their permission. Seems pretty fair, right? But it’s a bit more complicated than that unfortunately.

Obviously you can go about contacting the original creator of the image to ask if you can use it, although this can be difficult to ascertain and often too time consuming for the constructs of social media.

Fair Use

We think WhatIs.com had an excellent definition:

Fair use is a legal concept that allows the reproduction of copyrighted material for certain purposes without obtaining permission and without paying a fee or royalty. Purposes permitting the application of fair use generally include review, news reporting, teaching, or scholarly research. The idea of fair use originally arose for written works. But with the advent of digital technology and the Internet, fair use has sometimes been applied to the redistribution of musical works, photographs, videos, and computer programs.

So you CAN use images under Fair Use – but be careful, you will want to be sure the image is being used to demonstrate something for the public purpose – not necessarily your agenda.

copyright

Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a way the creator of the image can allow its use under certain conditions. These conditions are generally to do with attribution (declaring the creator of the image), modification (whether you use the image in its original form or alter it), and whether the use is commercial or non-commercial.

Just a quick note – your business Facebook page should generally be considered commercial use.

There are loads of great ways to find Creative Commons images:

copyright

 

Images found under Creative Commons will not always be of good quality and attribution may not always be the most desirable.

Public Domain

Some images fall into the Public Domain, meaning they have been released to be used by the creator, the copyright holder has died or copyright is unable to be established. This is often the case with historical photos. Photos and images that have been released into the Public Domain is where we spend most of our image searching time and recommend you do too!

All content curators have their favourite Public Domain sites to find these images and our current favourite is Pixabay.com simply for the searchability and range of images available. We are going to give you a nice long list at the bottom of this post that we have been curating for some time with a lot of excellent options, because basically we really like you and we want to help!

Create Your Own

Of course, sometimes no matter how hard you search you will need to create your own images, or at the very least – enhance the ones you have been provided. We feel you shudder, don’t worry! You do NOT have to be a designer to do this. There are a few really great image creation tools if, like us, you are not fluent in Photoshop.

copyright

Our absolute favourite right now is Canva and we’ll tell you why – it’s super easy to use, has loads of free icons, backgrounds, fonts etc and can really enhance your content and so quickly.

Simply watermarking an image takes a mere second and creating an infographic won’t take valuable days – PLUS they have templates so you don’t have to remember all the specific sizes for each social media platform – very handy.

Pay

Obviously if your budget allows it you can buy stock images. There are a few places but the most popular are Shutterstock and Getty Images.

copyright

Sharing

If you have your heart set on an image and you know you aren’t going to be able to use it in your works – consider sharing it from the original source. Many websites have images sharing functionality for you to share images to your social platforms, allowing you to add your own comment. If this is not the case try the creators’ social media accounts. If they have posted the image to say, Facebook, you can share that to your own page with your own comment. Bear in mind that their original text will also appear under the image too.

Sharing is a great way to be social with your community and we recommend sharing content from other accounts anyway – plus you get to use the image without fear!

To recap – check out where your images come from and be mindful of the need to attribute the original creator. Here’s an awesome flow chart from the legends at Lifehacker to help you!

copyright

We hope we have given some clarity to the use of images for social media.

We never want you to have to take down your content because you were ordered to do so by the original creator, or upset any artists by accidentally using their work without their permission.

We’d love your feedback! Leave us a comment or drop by our social media channels – and sharing is caring, feel free to share this with someone you think might get something out of it.

 

Our List of Public Domain or Image Creation/Alteration Sites

Download the full list of free image sites we’ve collected HERE for free!

We recommend finding your favourites and bookmarking them in a folder for easy use 🙂

Also you can sign up to sites like Death to Stock Photo and receive a new set of great photos to your inbox every month.

Let us know your favourites!

Or sign up to receive our newsletter for any updates and tips we find that might be useful, we never spam.



Related Articles:

Social Media Examiner

Ultimate Guide to Copyright