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.

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

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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!

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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.

8 Crucial Lessons I learned from The Social Chameleon – Guest Blog By MJ Satterthwaite

As a small business owner entering into the world of social media was rather daunting and not to mention time consuming. Lucky for me…I met Carma, The Social Chameleon!

If you are about to embark on a social media journey, here’s the 8 crucial lessons I am thankful not to have learned the hard way!

1. Chat…and someone will chat back!

Conversations evolve if you start them. Social media is the perfect platform to use to engage in a two-way communication strategy with your target audience. You are always doing something interesting in business, so share it! You’ll be surprised at the response when you do.

2. Get in the saddle.. the horse is bolting!

If you are not actively building your business brand on a digital platform you are not connecting with all of your target market. If you haven’t engaged a Social Media Specialist you are riding bare-back; fun for a while but damaging long term! Invest in a professional and enjoy the ride.

3. Provoke thought

Always ask a question or elicit an opinion when you post; encourage your target market to engage with you. End users shape and mold the future of your business….so listen; listen actively!

4. Develop and stick to a Social Media Strategic Plan

The Social Chameleon knows I am not so good at this one! I always get excited and post more than we scheduled! Agree to a plan and stick to it; your audience gets used to hearing from you and will start to look forward to your interactions.

5. Don’t just ‘give it a go!’

Always seek professional advice. You wouldn’t buy a car without learning to drive; so what makes you think you can navigate the world of digital media without an instructor! We enlisted a professional to ensure that our messages were always congruent with our brand messaging and that we were on track to connect with our target audience.

6. Blog! Create! Seek thought credibility

Be passionate about what you do and share it! You go into business as an enthusiast and often a specialist on a particular topic; share your insight with others. Gaining ‘thought credibility’ from your target audience is the best gift they can afford you.

7. It takes time!

Social media marketing takes time, as the Pantene commercial states “It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen!’ If your strategy is aligned with your vision and your messaging hits the mark; your target market will engage once they know you are there. Time, patience, persistence; you need to take a longer term view than you may be used to in business; once planned your vision will become more than a dream.

8. Be awesome; be authentic; be you!

Know who you are and what you want out of the digital world. Is it sales you are after? An increase in brand awareness? To be seen as a thought leader in your field? The approach you adopt will be different depending on the outcome you seek.

There is one similarity regardless; always stand out from the crowd; be awesome; be authentic; be you!

 


Maria-Jane has customised and delivered initiatives for the Department of Housing, Department of Transport, Royal Perth Hospital, Princess Margaret Hospital, Armadale Health Services, West Australian Police, Western Australian Museums, WorkCover, Colonial Leisure Group, Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group, Holyoake, Brightwater Care Group, The Centre for Cerebral Palsy, Paramount Health, Airflite, Air Services Australia, Automotive Holdings Group, AMCAP/Covs, Western Australian Cricket Association, Fulton Hogan, Ertech, Western Power, Logsys Power Services, Future Grid, Perth Power Lines, Mobile MOUSe, Home Base Expo, Australian College of Beauty Therapy and the Australasian Academy of Cosmetic Dermal Science, just to name just a few.

Nobody Googles the Yellow Pages

As a business, do you have an advertising strategy? If you do – when did you last review its success in generating you business? If the answer is ‘a while ago’ or even, ‘I don’t know’ then it probably needs your attention.

Does your strategy use the latest data, technology and metrics to make sure it reaches your target demographic? Here are some tips to help you assess your current efforts.

Use Current Technology

Recently I saw a renowned law firm’s advert on tv and it surprised and perplexed my marketing brain that it is still exactly the same advert it has always been. True, in reality this may not be forever but if you think in terms of advertising – it may as well be a lifetime.

If you don’t know which advert I’m talking about, here’s a quick word picture: A man has an accident at work or a woman gets rear-ended at some traffic lights and then the advert cuts to the injured person sitting in bed, covered in bandages, plaster casts and neck braces. For whatever reason they have a copy of the Yellow Pages handy, just within arm’s reach and the tag line of the advert is “Insert Lawyer Name Here- see us on the back of the Yellow Pages- we’ve been there for years”.

Glossing over the convenient narrative of having the Yellow Pages in bed with you when you’re injured I’m just going to ask the obvious – why are they STILL using the Yellow Pages? The only reason I would have the Yellow Pages in bed with me when injured would be to prop up my injured leg!

With the ability to google anything these days from your electronic gadget of choice, why would you use an actual directory made of paper? I believe that using the Yellow Pages dates this company’s advertising campaign and to me, signifies that the advert was created when this way of searching for a business was still current.

No-one Googles ‘Yellow Pages’

Gone are the days when your paper directory was your bible and you could look up any business – from an architect to a piano tuner.

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Metrics

So why do they still use this advert? The simple answer is money. The company would have paid considerable money creating the ad and are now still spending money paying for slots on television.

The extended answer is: it’s worked for them in the past – so why change. But how do you know your customers are coming from the Yellow Pages? Digital marketing has the advantage over traditional in that every click, every page view is measurable!

Consult The Data

Who are your trying to reach with your messages? Where do they like to spend their time? Use research to determine where your target market is most likely to see and absorb your latest product, offer or sale. If your market is Baby Boomers or older, maybe the Yellow Pages isn’t the worst choice, but for anyone else it seems like a throwback to a long-gone era.

If having an ad in any form of print media worked for you 10-15 years ago – great but as times change so should your approach. Your clients more than likely have moved to different methods of sourcing information, especially with the never-ending development of apps, search engines and websites. If you are wondering why your advertising return on investment is not as great as you had hoped – maybe it is time to have a closer look at how your potential market would try to find you.

But I’m not saying all directories are bad.

Here are two examples of online directories that are current and seem to be very successful in what they do:

Bean Hunter (where you can search for decent coffee shops near you) is simple, categorised, local and interactive. Not only can you add pictures of the shop, you can also add images of menu items, show off your latte art and write reviews – it is consumer assessed and feedback is instant.

Hotels Combined They have a modern, simple, successful advert on tv that has a simple message – use us for cheap accommodation. They compare prices from different accommodation providers for you in mere moments and save you trawling the internet for deals. They even have a strangely masculine polar bear as their mascot which makes it oddly memorable.

Why do these two examples fare better in my opinion? Because they live solely online and this is the way most people look up information these days.

Also, Hotels Combined and Bean Hunter (and many others) succeed as “online directories” because they offer MORE than just a list of businesses. They have incentives. It’s like joining a community. The online directories also have the ability for community members to write reviews, add pictures and give so much more information than you could get before!

Peer evaluations, though one person’s opinion and always should be taken with a grain of salt, are what makes them better and more informative. Bean hunter/Zomato/etc. are the same – they all rely on user input. This is the next step up. Helping people choose from the list, not just providing one.

With the Yellow Pages – a business had to pay to have a small written ad published and you had no further information.

Essentially what I’m saying is that it is important to regularly review your advertising strategy. Connecting efficiently with your clients through the most appropriate medium is going to be the key factor in ensuring you are getting maximum ROI. In some cases this could be through an online directory, in others it is ensuring your business is visible on google or social media.

The way your potential clients search for your business will have drastically changed in the last 5, 10, 15 years and your advertising strategy should reflect this progression. Either that or stay the same and risk becoming invisible or obsolete!

Handy Hint – If you want to stop receiving these pointless books of yellow paper, go to Directory Select to unsubscribe your address and also return old directories.

Sounds like a win-win!