The Do’s and Don’ts of Using Hashtags

The Do’s and Don’ts of Using Hashtags

Friends don’t let friends #use #too #many #hashtags During my social media training courses and consultancies, I’m almost always asked the questions “what is a hashtag?” and “when should I use one?”, and the concept of hashtags is probably one of the more challenging lessons of anyone new user to twitter or instagram.  As succinctly as I can, here are the answers to those questions: What is a hashtag? Wikipedia says “A hashtag is a type of label or metadata tag used on social network and microblogging services which makes it easier for users to find messages with a specific theme or content.” It’s a specific conversation topic. For example #MWL17 (Marketing Week Live), #BBCQT (BBC Question Time), #FACup, #UKBusinessLunch, etc. It’s a chance to offer a view on a particular topic and to be part of a conversation. What is it not? This (taken from an actual tweet)…  When should I use one? Before you add a hashtag to your social media posts, use the search tools to understand how it’s currently being used. Ask youself why you are using it? If it’s only because you want your tweet to be seen by more people, then is it worth it? One article I read on Buffer said “Tweets with one or more hashtag are 55 percent more likely to be retweeted.” However, when a tweet contains more than two hashtags, engagement actually drops by an average of 17%. Read that again: “actually drops“. Also, search in twitter and instagram to understand who else is using the hashtag. For example,  I’ve just seen a tweet that said “15 Top...
Where You Should Go For Your Blog Writing Inspiration

Where You Should Go For Your Blog Writing Inspiration

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing” – Benjamin Franklin.  Let’s kick this off by saying that this isn’t a post to convince you that you need to write a blog. If you Google “does my business need a blog?” there are over 280 million pages to cover that topic, while remembering that many businesses have grown successfully without one. I will post a few stats though: Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads. (Source: DemandMetric) 69% of marketers say content is superior to direct mail and PR. (Source: Custom Content Council) The most common content marketing delivery mechanism is social media, used by 87% of marketers. (Source: CMI) The one thing I will say for blogs at this point, is that they’re a valuable content to help your social media goals as well as having SEO benefits. Back to this post though, which is designed to offer some suggestions about where your content ideas could come from. So, in no particular order, here goes: Inbound Customer Contact – What questions are your customers and prospects asking of you – through forms, phones calls, emails, tweets, etc? What do they want to know that could form the content of a blog post? Competitors – What are your competitors talking about and what angle could you write from, that is relevant to your audience? Social Media Search – Search for your keywords on twitter, Linkedin, etc. that could tell you what your target audience are talking about and asking of each other. Forums & Groups – For example,...
Dealing With Your Social Media Mistakes

Dealing With Your Social Media Mistakes

“I was born to make mistakes not to fake perfection.” – Drake I recently wrote a blog, “How to Deal With the Bad and Ugly Comments on Social Media”, which looked at how to deal with the any negative comments that you may receive on your social media pages. But what if you’re the one making the faux pas? How do you come back from that? In this instance, I’m not talking about grammatical errors or using too many hashtags. That’s for another post. Firstly, remember that you’re only human. Most of the mistakes I come across are extremely small and stem from having the confidence to try stuff out.  In many cases, mistakes can humanise our businesses, which add to the story and personality that we’re trying to convey. Waitrose One of my favourite examples, included in  – which also highlights that these things happen to big brands as well as small ones – comes from the supermarket chain, Waitrose. In September 2012, they invited their twitter followers to finish this sentence “I shop at Waitrose because…” The idea of the exercise was to encourage customers to praise their shops, e.g. their service or range of products. What they received was largely anything but that and the tweets that followed included: “I shop at Waitrose because Clarrisa’s pony just WILL NOT eat ASDA Value straw.” “I shop at Waitrose because I don’t like being surrounded by poor people.” “I shop at Waitrose because the toilet paper is made from 24ct gold thread. (Unless it’s the Essentials range)” “I shop at Waitrose because I want to prove to Jeremy Kyle...
How to Deal With the Bad and Ugly Comments on Social Media

How to Deal With the Bad and Ugly Comments on Social Media

“Disaster gave me two things: a moment to react and a decision to overcome” – Michael Dooley, NYTimes Bestselling Author and Entrepreneur. I read an article this week from Inc.com contributor Jessica Stillman, entitled “How to Bounce Back from a Social Media Disaster”. It reminded me of an increasing number of stories of epic social media fails that happen from people who forget they’re on a global network, or from people who should just steer clear of social media. The particular one that stands out, which I included in my book and still use on training courses today, comes from the beautiful city of Bath, in the West of England. The story goes like this… In February 2014, a woman visited a deli in Bath for a cake and coffee. After her visit, she left the following feedback on the deli’s Facebook page: “The cakes looked amazing and I wanted to try every single one BUT the cakes were on very open display with every customer essentially leaning over them to order.” She added “”So, all the cakes were getting breathed on (or worse) by every single passing person, plus the staff. Which is a crying shame as they really did look extremely good. But due to the above, we just had coffee.” The sensible response from the deli would have been to accept the feedback as it was intended, i.e. constructive and good natured, and respond with words such as “Thank you for your feedback which we’ve taken on board and have now bought covers for the cakes. We hope you come back and try them soon.” However,...
Social Media Is, And Always Has Been, Free. Or Is It?

Social Media Is, And Always Has Been, Free. Or Is It?

“Nothing in the world is free” – My Dad There are many reasons why the adoption of Social Media, as we know it today, was so rapid: e.g. Easy access – mobile technology, increase in Wi-Fi and 3G coverage, etc. The concept of sharing is deeply ingrained within us One of the other reasons, of course, is that social media is – and always has been – free. Or is it? Of course, I know you get that creating a Facebook page or group is free. Signing up to Twitter is free. Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn are all… free! However, I want you to consider this for a moment: How much do you invoice your customers for your time? £400 a day? £900? More? Let’s work on the lower end of that amount, for the purpose of this blog. Now, how much time do you spend, on average, on your social media activity each day? 1 hour? More? If you spend an hour a day (collectively or in one go) and charge £400 a day, then one week on social media amounts to £200 a week to your business*. Do you still think social media is free? In any downturn of a business, and every business has one, you need to justify the expense of all areas to a business, either to yourself or the number crunchers. That’s easily done for time spent on sales or the billable work that is charged to a customer. But how do you justify your time spent planning and delivering good social media content? Action Point You need to know that your hours spent...
Social Media and the Rule of Quality

Social Media and the Rule of Quality

When you’re sourcing content that you what to share on social media, remember that “quality beats quantity”. I guest that many of you want to consistently post articles, links, etc., and there are some great scheduling apps to help you to do this, but it also has to be valuable to your audience. For example, quality content is: Entertaining, Educational, or Empowering, and definitely, Relevant to your audience Also, and quite often, social media accounts will post links to sites in the belief that it’s all ‘relevant content’ because of the headline. But how relevant is it really? This may sound obvious, but take time to read the posts that have been suggested to you, or appear to you when searching for keywords, rather than blindly adding them as social media content. If not, you could be sharing content that’s either unhelpful or is poor quality, and which could impact how your followers perceive your knowledge or experience. Quality is not what you put into your social media activity; it is what your audience gets out of it. Action Point Focus on sharing the best content – rather than any content, simply because it’s quick and could double the number of social media posts that you make. Add your own comment to the post or tweet – that explains why you’re posting it and why it’s relevant to your...