The Entrepreneur’s Beginner’s Guide to Hashtags

How a Few Words Can Increase Social Media Engagement

I’m sure you’ve noticed there’s no shortage of social media techniques and tips out there!

But have you also noticed the majority of those tips focus on general info, like how to get more followers or likes, or how to post compelling content to engage your users?

Those resources are important, but I notice that sometimes hashtags get forgotten about.

They’re rarely mentioned in marketing articles, but they’re such a great tool for building your brand, raising awareness around marketing campaigns and engaging/entertaining your audience.

How Do Hashtags Work?

If you’re new to social media, I know it can seem overwhelming.

You may have seen these words with the # in front of them on social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest. (The hashtag actually got its start in 2007, when Twitter began using it to index keywords to make them more searchable.)

But what are these words supposed to do? Should you use them? Why are they seemingly random?

I’ve put together this guide to help you understand how to use hashtags (and what the heck they are!) so you can increase social media engagement and leads.

Think of hashtags as a way to categorize your content.

Ultimately, they help people find and share posts on a specific topic.

When you create your social media post, you take a word or words and put the pound sign (#) in front of it. If you use two words, don’t put a space between them. Now, the phrase is clickable and searchable on the social media platform the user is on.

Choosing the Right Hashtags

When done correctly, these tags can help you gain more exposure for your business and increase social media engagement. But like any social media strategy, you have to do your research and think before you post.

I’ll make this process easier for you. Here are 7 ways to start choosing the right hashtags:

1. Create them for events.

This is one of the best ways to increase excitement and engagement on your social media accounts. For example, the Cornucopia wine festival in Whistler shared many posts on their Twitter and Instagram accounts with the hashtag #Cornucopia2019, and so did their followers and attendees.

2. Tag famous people or big brands.

Take a look at what’s trending on Twitter, and try and incorporate it into your posts; but only if it’s relevant. People are going to know if you’re trying to force it or be fake.

Some examples are big sporting events, record releases by musicians, holidays and popular books. If someone who’s famous in your industry makes the news, you could use that tag in one of your posts.

3. Do your research.

Whether you are doing research on the latest news for an upcoming Canadian Federal election or hockey playoffs, you could do a hashtag search to find several posts on the subject.

Searching tags on social media platforms can be a perfect way to find new ideas and spy on your competition.

A great resource for searching popular hashtags is https://hashtagify.me/hashtag/tbt

4. Encourage sharing.

The more people who share your hashtag and use it in their posts, the more exposure, engagement and traffic you’re going to get.

You may remember the campaign #ShareACoke campaign. The company swapped out its iconic logo on 20-ounce bottles, replacing it with 250 of the most popular American names.

It was one of their most successful campaigns, leading to a 2% increase in soft-drink sales and lots of social media engagement as followers shared cans and bottles with their names on them.

5. Turn one tag into a campaign.

Many users “monitor” certain words, so focusing on one consistently can help you gain a following.

For instance, you could come up with a campaign with several posts around a specific product you offer, or a holiday promotion you’re doing.

6. Find some weekly post themes.

This is a simple way to tie in a trending tag with your business.

Some common themes include #throwbackthursday, where people post anything from past vacation pics to high school graduation photos; and #wisdomwednesday, where they share their advice on all sorts of topics.

I use #MotivationMonday and #TuesdayTip on our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels and often mix in other popular hashtags for optimal exposure.

7. Use humour.

People love to share funny stuff with others, whether it’s a trending meme or a relatable story. Here’s a hashtag late night talk show host Jimmy Fallon came up with to get people to share: #MyWorstCostume.

By understanding which hashtags will resonate with your target audience, you can tap into a whole world of people looking for exactly what you’re offering. So start brainstorming and researching how to add some fun and functional tags to your next post!

Need some hashtag help? We’ve created a whole social media division for entrepreneurs and small business owners who understand the importance of having a social media strategy but simply don’t have the time to make it happen on their own. Let’s connect.

10 Twitter Tips – How to Get Asked to the Dance

I have held a number of marketing leadership roles during my career and I am very comfortable with new technology. I have launched first mover products, started new business models and created totally new market segments within the technology industry. My point is I usually get things rather quickly, but I got to confess to you Twitter actually threw me for a loop for a while.

If you are starting to tweet, stick with it. It takes a little time to understand its purpose and value. From a business perspective, the benefits are not as obvious as Search Engine Marketing, using Facebook or blogging like I am doing now. Micro blogging on Twitter really is its own unique animal. Similar to advice I have provided before regarding Social Media, to get the hang of it you really need to just jump in and start doing it.

Twitter Etiquette: As with all the Social Media venues, there is a protocol and a set of etiquette you will want to be aware of and follow. The faster you pick these up the quicker you will grow a loyal following. It doesn’t matter what drum beat you march to, there is a group, a community and a Twitter feed for you. Don’t wait to get asked to the dance, just start dancing. It can become rather addicting and very rewarding when you start to see the benefits. Here are 10 tips I have learned that should be helpful in getting you started.

  1. Ask topical questions: People on Twitter like to get engaged in back and forth conversations. Questions are a good thought starters and a great way to get a dialog going. It’s an easy way to get started and to test the water when you first start tweeting.
  2. Post useful facts, tips and content: In addition to the short conversations, most people are on Twitter to find out information. It’s the whole “give to get” thing. Make sure you are giving value to the community and the people who are following you. Unless you are a famous person, you should focus on posting interesting facts, helpful tips and valuable free content.
  3. Say thank you: It is common Twitter etiquette to say thank you when someone decides to follow you, adds you to a list or retweets one of your tweets. Do it frequently.
  4. Acknowledge others: Retweeting other people’s tweets is a form of acknowledgment. You should also acknowledge the other person by adding a comment to your retweets, i.e., great tip, helpful info, thanks for sharing, etc.
  5. Ask for Twitter help: Tell people what you are looking for or what you are interested in. It’s also OK to ask for help on how to best use Twitter and leverage the tools that area available. People on Twitter want to engage with you and they like to help.
  6. Introduce yourself: When you gain followers send them a personal note and introduce yourself. Tell them something about yourself so they can connect with you. You can do this in a direct message or some people do it in the public Twitter feed.
  7. Answer other people’s questions: Respond to other people’s questions that ask. Try to always add value by giving a thoughtful answer and maybe even give them a helpful link on the topic they have tweeted about. Be honest, real and show your personality.
  8. Inform people when you add them to your Twitter list: Give your friends a shout-out to let them know when you add them to your Twitter lists. Another way to acknowledge them and to give them recognition.
  9. When you get added to a list say thank you: When you get added to a list usually that means you share the same interests with them. Say thank you and tell them something about yourself. Make the connection and keep the conversation going.
  10. Attend Twitter events: People following live events can be identified by the hashtag. If you decide to jump in on an event first introduce yourself. Follow up with a direct message to those you had similar interests with and that you valued their contributions.

Twitter for Business: Twitter like other forms of Social Media is all about giving to the community or in this case the crowd that follows you. Before you get accepted you need to first give value. If you are seen as only there to sell something (self interest), people will not respond to you. You should use it to showcase your thought leadership and to create brand differentiation by providing unique and valuable content. Customers want to buy from people they like and respect. Once they have an affinity for your expertise they will reward you. It’s OK to open up and show your personality. Social Media is based on trust and making connections that provide a mutual benefit. Like-minded people will follow you.

Given my background in technology, it is hard to acknowledge, as I bite my lip, that I was dumb founded at first with Twitter. Its value to business is not obvious. However, after several months of use and some trial and error I’ve got to tell you that it really is an amazing form of communications and it should be included as part of your Social Media playbook. Once you take the right steps you’ll get the swing of things and find your rhythm. Twitter is not difficult. No matter if you are a Boomer, Gen Xer, Gen Yer or part of the Lost Generation, if you understand some of the basic protocols, etiquette and ways to engage the crowd, you will soon find value in Twitter.

How to Promote Your Business Using Social Media Tools

Business promotion can be done in a very quick manner through social media tools. Presently, it is the fastest way to reach customers as most people are regular internet users. Social media tools are not as expensive and cumbersome as the traditional marketing methods. Before hiring a social media company, you need to establish your marketing requirements. There are numerous social-media options and a prestigious company dealing with this would advise you to use a proper combination so that the maximum number of people can know about your services. For instance, you can get a streaming video uploaded on a commonly visited website or post a link on a social communication platform. In addition to that, you can post a video link on your company website instead of promoting the video directly.

It is very important hire a marketing company because you cannot market your products online on your own. Such companies are aware of the tips and tweaks which can increase the online visitors of your websites and the customers of your services. Hence, getting professional help can make lot of difference.

You should select the social-media tools according to the nature of your products and services. For instance, if your company deals in electronic gadgets and you need to promote a new portable hard drive through social network media, you need to upload a video on one of the streaming websites. In this way, your users would be able to understand the functionality of this gadget. It is hard to understand how an electronic appliance works by reading text. Hence, using a video for promotional purposes would be an impressive practice which has a lot of positive impact on any campaign.

On the other hand, if you are providing educational services, creating a video for marketing purposes would not help a lot. Instead, a social-media company would advise you to upload information regarding your services on a social community website and post the related links along with it. Thus, the social-media options vary from one business to the other. As an entrepreneur, you need to analyze the promotional requirements of your business and take steps accordingly. Social-media is much faster as compared to all the other marketing methods. Along with that it is one of the interesting options as well. Most people are regular users of social community platforms as it is one of the best ways to get in touch with known people.

Instagram Marketing Tips for Your Business

Millions of people globally are now using Instagram. Instagram has made it easier to take pictures and share them with friends and many people enjoy doing this. Apart from networking, you can use Instagram in a more efficient way for marketing. Instagram is a great promotional tool you can use to promote your business online.

Tell the story using photos and videos

Photos are worth a thousand words and Instagram is all about pictures. If you are into Instagram for marketing purposes, then you ought to understand that random photos do not work. You need to post pictures of your product constantly. Posting pictures of your products is one of the best ways of increasing your brand awareness and boost sales of your products. The pictures do not necessarily need to be very professional. The key thing is having the pictures highlight the main features and functions of the goods you are promoting. The pictures should appeal vast audience on Instagram.

Videos too are important in Instagram marketing. You can create and share a video with your employees to promote the product at hand. You can also opt to do a live product review video and share it on Instagram. Pictures and videos are more appealing to many people than text files. Media files stand higher chances of going viral as people share them. They are also more memorable than text files. Create photos and videos that show your brand story and values. So images and videos are important if you want to improve your brand and sales.

Use quality media

To improve your visibility, you need to make and share high-quality photos and videos in your feeds. Where necessary, seek professional assistance or advice from a photographer. However, you can use a great camera to take sharp pictures. Try to get your images at best angles. Edit your photos for better results. Nowadays mobile phones are equipped with photo editing tools for this purpose. Instagram too has several photo editing tools. Apply this tools for your Instagram marketing purpose.

Connect with our followers

Maintaining contact with your customers is vital, particularly for developing business with a small market share. You can start by showing your clients that you are concerned about their feedback. You can achieve this by replying to their questions and comments. This will improve user-generated content and credibility as well as promote the visibility of your products and business. Your Instagram followers can significantly influence the success of your enterprise, and you should never underestimate them.

Use hashtags

Hashtags are relevant in Instagram marketing. You need to use them because Instagram users interact using hashtags. Hashtags allow users to make your contents searchable and are important if you want to increase your followers. Has tags like media can create a viral effect which is beneficial to your business. You can also take advantage of trending hashtags especially if the hashtags are related to your product. This is important because Instagram users can use hashtags to search for posts.

Use branded hashtag

You should include your business name in you hashtags. Use unique hashtags for a particular promotional campaign you run. Not only does this promote your campaign, but it also provides a unique hashtag for your clients to connect and share with other participants.

Have a friendly attitude to everyone

While carrying out your Instagram marketing, you need to understand that Instagram is a community composed of people with varied ideas, emotions, and background. Always be friendly to everyone and appreciate their time to connect with you on your page. Always ensure you listen to your clients.

Be active

Post at least once daily to keep things up to date and ensure your followers updated with the current happenings. You can experiment posting at varying times of the day to see which time your posts do best.

Consistency

Consistency is crucial in Instagram marketing. Be consistent in your postings and develop a theme that is prominent in your posts. Let your followers know what to expect from you.

Link your Instagram and Facebook accounts

Connect your Instagram and Facebook accounts to improve your marketing power. Nowadays, you can have an Instagram tab on your Facebook page. This allows you to share your Instagram posts to your Facebook followers if you have a fan page.

You can network with friends and the world via Instagram. Instagram can be used for marketing purposes. Instagram marketing can improve your brand’s visibility, increase sales, and consequently revenues. Consider the above mentioned Instagram marketing tips to achieve success.