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Facebook Page Creation 101: The First Steps to Get Started

26Jun

If you have not already created a page for your business on Facebook, then today is the day!  You’ve probably been kicking around the idea for some time now and are ready, but maybe you are so unfamiliar with how Facebook works that the whole process is extremely daunting.

That’s where I come in.  I want to cover the BASICS of setting up and claiming your company’s Facebook real estate!  Let’s get started:

1. Find and Click the “Create a Page” button.  If you do not have a Facebook account, you will find this option on Facebook.com under the green “Sign Up” button.  If you already have a Facebook account, click the Facebook logo on the top left hand side of the screen (this will take you to your Newsfeed).  On the left hand column you will see “Pages” as one of the sections – click on the word “Pages” or “More”.  This will take you to the main “Pages” section and right at the top you will see the “Create a Page” button.  Just FYI – this button is also at the bottom of every page, but is hard to see as the information keeps populating on each page and pushing it down….so it is a little tricky to catch.

2.  Identify the Type of Business.  Once you click “Create a Page” you will be taken to the new page that gives you 6 business-type options to choose from.  These include:

  • Local Business of Place
  • Company, Organization or Institution
  • Brand or Product
  • Artist, Band or Public Figure
  • Entertainment
  • Cause or Community

Choose which of these describes your business the best.  My tip here is that some companies will have trouble deciding between Local Business or Place and Company, Organization or Institution.  My rule of thumb?  If you would like people to come into your location to purchase or do business, always choose Local Business or Place.  If you only have one location, but serve a national or international audience, choose Company, Organization or Institution.

3.  Choose Category and Add Company Name.  Once you click on the type of business, you need to choose a specific category for your business.  There is a drop-down menu where once you click, you will get a myriad of options.  The problem many companies have at this stage is that these categories can be a bit broad and not specific enough.  This means that you need to think bigger and really consider which of the categories fits you best.  Once you choose, add your company name in the space provided, check the box next to “I agree to Facebook Pages Terms” and click the “Get Started” button.

4.  3 Step Company Set Up. The next page will give you 3 prompts:

  • About
  • Profile Picture
  • Facebook Web Address

First is About.  You will need to add a description of your business.  This will show up under your logo when your page is live.  My top tip is to add a short description AND your full website to this.  So for example your website should look like this “http://citsprojects.in/clientprojects/thegoagencyusa” and not like this “www.thegoagencyusa.com”.  This will enable your website to be clickable directly from your homepage later.  Keep this BELOW 150 characters (including spaces) and all of the information will display properly.  Next, in the place where you can add you website – add ALL of your online links, exactly as shown above.  Add one at a time and then click the button next to the box that says “Add Another Site”.  This will give you another box to type in your next online hub.  Here are ours as an example – make sure that you type them EXACTLY as they appear in your browser bar: “http://citsprojects.in/clientprojects/thegoagencyusa http://www.twitter.com/thegoagency http://www.pinterest.com/thegoagency https://plus.google.com/b/110954320424153293004/110954320424153293004/posts http://www.linkedin.com/company/the-go-agency”

Then specify if your company is real and suitable for the category you choose on the previous screen and that you will be the official representation of your company on Facebook.  Once you have done this, click Save Info.

Now it is onto your profile picture, which is actually your company logo.  You want to make sure that this is sized to 200 x 200 pixels.  You must FIRST do this formatting before you upload.  Once you have your logo formatted, click “Upload From Computer”, choose file from your computer, wait for it to appear in the empty box and then click “Next”.

Now you must choose your Facebook Web Address.  There are two suggestions that I have for this: either use your company name or your website address.  This will make it easy for you to share with other people and for others to easily find you.  My only caveat is that if you are called “McKinney and Sons Plumbing” and your website address is “www.brokenpipesrus.com” I’ll suggest going with your company name.  It is up to you, but impossible to change later – so really have a good think before you choose.  If you need some more time to think, you can click Skip and do it later from your Admin panel.  If you are able to decide on one, add it and click “Set Address”.

And you are done!  You have just created your first Facebook Page!  Now I would suggest taking the tour that Facebook provides and begin diving in deeper to your setup options.  I have written many articles here about different ways to enhance your Facebook Business Page – so make sure to check these articles out to learn more about how to really brand yourself on Facebook and begin finding and engaging with your target market!

Welcome aboard!

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Questions to Ask Your Next Website Designer or “How to Ensure Your Designer Won’t Go Rogue”

1
25Jun

I can’t tell you the number of people that call The Go! Agency to enquire about our website design service who, after spending 5 minutes on the phone with them, tell us quite forthrightly that “I’m coming off of a very bad experience with my current website designer.”  At first this was a bit of a surprise, mostly because of the frequency at which it happened…but then I saw a trend.

These people were not asking the right questions to vet the website designer or firm that they had chosen in the past.  This could have happened for many reasons: they were desperate to get started quickly, motivated by price, or just not well versed (or interested enough) in what the process actually involved.

This happened again recently and it got me a little overheated.  So I thought – let’s give everyone some useful questions to ask a potential website designer in order to make a more informed decision.

The following questions are not suggestions, they are essential to ask when you are vetting a website design provider.

  1. What platform will you use to build the website? For example Dreamweaver, Joomla, WordPress, traditional HTML, etc.
  2. What will I need to supply to you in terms of content?
  3. What is your suggestion when it comes to hosting?
  4. Will you supply me with a sample before moving forward with the building of the site?
  5. How many times can I make changes after you deliver the final website for review?
  6. What is the timeline in best and worst case scenario?
  7. How many people will be working on my website?
  8. Are the team members at your office location, or are you outsourcing the work?
  9. What are the hours where your team will be available and responsive to questions?
  10. With your proposal, can you send samples of at least 5 websites you have designed and provide at least 2 testimonials or references that I can call on?
  11. Once you have completed the website and it is live, is it 100% property?  Will you turn over all passwords, login information and associated information that I need to properly manage my website?
  12. After you build the website and it is live, will I be able to easily go into the backend and make changes?
  13. Is there handover training and support provided?
  14. When the contract has been delivered, what happens if there are problems in two months time?
  15. What is the rate for any future changes not covered by the contract?

And then the best question of all:

Can you add the answers to these questions to the agreement/contract when and if we move forward?

These questions should create a win/win scenario if you are dealing with a reputable firm.  The answers should come fast and quick.  Why?  Because they are so well-versed with this type of questioning and are secure and informed about their service and process.  If the firm gets annoyed with you or gives you a bad vibe EVER – they are not the ones to work with.

When it comes to choosing a firm to provide your website design you need to trust them, like them and have an open and easy dialogue with them – both initially and throughout the entire process.  Without this, you are already headed towards disaster.  If the firm is mean, rude or have awful manners on the sales call – just think how they are going to be when you ask questions.  They will immediately push you to a beholden position, which is not a position of power.

Know what you want, know how to get it and always try to be an informed customer/client.  I’m not saying micro-manage the project, but feel confident, comfortable and informed before choosing your next website design provider.

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Step-By-Step: How to Do a Competitive Analysis on Social Media

24Jun

One of the things I tell prospective clients, as well as those interested in exploring the value of social media marketing for their company, is that one of the most important reasons to become involved with the social media world is to keep, or gain, a competitive edge over your competition.

I’ve spoken before about the importance of claiming your social media real estate and monitoring your brand and brand sentiment on social media, but another item that I want to share with you is how to do a competitive analysis for your company on social media.

While this seems like a daunting task, or even a time waster for some, what this will enable you to do is to gain lots of intel into how your direct competitors are using social media and where you need to be in order to gain the advantage.

Just think about it.  If your major competitors are at a trade show, odds are that you will be as well.  If your major competitors are placing advertising in a popular trade magazine, odds are that you will be using this vehicle to promote as well.  Depending on your industry the list can go many different ways.  But one of the rules of business is that if you want to gain a competitive advantage, then you must be highly visible in as many places as your target market resides.

What I want to show you here is how to develop a step by step competitive analysis using social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  As each of these sites have different functions and terminology, I want to provide an overview that you will be able to apply to each site.

Step 1: Compile a List of Competitors.  First, create a short list which includes direct competitors of various size.  This will help you understand how each segment of your competition is using social media to their advantage.  Create this list within an Excel spreadsheet for ease of use and reference.

Step 2: Locate and Record Their Social Media Locations.  On your spreadsheet, create columns for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and any other relevant social media sites to your industry (such as Pinterest and YouTube).  Then go through each competitor and find their page on each site.  Copy and paste the hyperlink to each profile in the spreadsheet accordingly.

Step 3:  Record Their Network Numbers.  On your spreadsheet, go through each social media profile and record their numbers (Likes, Follows) so that you can track growth.  For example, if a company has 50 Likes and week after week it stays at 50, their marketing is not bringing in new people.

Step 4: Look at Their Insights.  Facebook and LinkedIn currently have this capability where you can click on “Insights” and see the demographics of the people connected to said profile.  This can be useful in seeing if your competitors social strategy is effective.

Step 5:  Track Updates Versus Engagement.  Take a look at their updates and see what they are posting.  Then take a look at how many comments, likes or shares they are receiving with each post.  This will show you how engaged their audience is.  My only caveat to this is if your industry involves lots of privacy issues – transparent engagement may not be the top factor I would consider during the analysis.

Step 6:  How Are They Branding Themselves?  Look at the combination of their imagery, logos, descriptions and updates to track how they are branding themselves.  Does it look slick and professional?  Does it stay true to the company message?

Step 7:  Time for Overall Analysis.  Now that you have gone through and looked at the major points of the profile, compare where your competitors are with where you are.  How do you stack up against your competition?  Are there any tips that you can take from their strategy that you can apply to your own?  What are they doing right?  What are they doing wrong? While you go through the profiles, make sure to jot down notes in your spreadsheet for things that you want to keep an eye on.  This helps to remember important items on the fly.

Now, how often should you do this?  I would suggest a minimum of once a month.  This will keep you fresh and up-to-date with your competitors strategy and success rate on social media.

This simple 7 step process will not only help you come to terms with how your competition is using social media, it will also show you how valuable it is going to be for your company moving forward.  If you are not on sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – your competition will be.  And if you are not there to steer the conversation about your company, products and services, who is going to do it?

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Quick Admin Set-Up Tips for Your Facebook Business Page

21Jun

Setting up a Facebook Page for the first time can be a slightly confusing endeavor.  If you have just decided that you are going to throw your marketing hat into the Facebook ring, there are many aspects of proper page setup that you are going to have to know.

On the front end (your visible Page) you will need to focus on such items as: creating your perfect logo image, initial description, cover image, custom tabs and first posts.  But were you aware that there is an entire back-end that is not entirely visible to the public eye?

In this blog I want to give you 10 quick tips to getting your Facebook Page back-end setup effectively.  You will be able to access this dashboard of options by clicking the Edit Page button, and then choosing Edit Settings on your Admin Panel (see image in post). Once the page is pulled up, you will see options going down the left hand side.

My 10 suggestions for you, by tab:

Your Settings Tab
1.  Make sure that the boxes are checked for: Similar Page Suggestions, Posting Preferences, Email Notifications and Onsite Notification.

Manage Permissions Tab
2. Page Visibility:  if while you setup the page you do not want it to be seen, check Unpublish page.  When you are ready for people to see it – uncheck the box next to Unpublish page.

3.  Tagging Ability: I suggest you uncheck the box next to Tagging Ability as this can be a source of spam on your Page.

4.  Messages:  put a check in the box next to Show “Message” button on Page.

5.  Replies: make sure to check the box so that you allow replies to comments on your Page.

Basic Information:
6.  Category: make sure your company is in the correct category.

7.  Sub-categories: type and choose sub-categories for your business.

8.  Address:  add your address to enjoy the map feature/places feature on your page.

9.  Make sure that you fill in the following COMPLETELY: Short Description, Company Overview, Description, General Information Mission, Products and more.  Different pages have different options – make sure that you fill out the information fully, as this is the information that will be visible on your page.  Pack it with keywords and don’t forget to add your contact information.  In the Website tab, add links to ALL of your online hubs (including other social media hubs).  It may look messy in the box, but it will be in column form, and hyperlinked, on your live Page.

Profile Picture
10.  Edit Thumbnail: click on this (which is a link under your logo) and a small box will pop up.  Make sure that you have a check in the box next to “Scale to Fit”.  This will scale your logo to look professional in posts and elsewhere on Facebook.

Once you have these setup, you may want to circle back and really go through each one of these tabs to see all of the settings available to make sure that you have it all setup accordingly and try your hand at enhancing your settings.  Also (especially on the Basic Information tab), toggle back from your live page and back-end to see where improvements can be made.

Want more tips?  Drop by and Like us on Facebook here!

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10 Ways to Successfully Use TweetDeck to Manage Your Twitter Marketing

20Jun

For many people, Twitter seems to be the most confusing of all of the social media channels.  It’s fast.  It’s brief. It involves what seems like code.  It looks messy and confusing…and the list goes on.

I remember when I first started using Twitter I had the same misgivings, but stuck it out and over time the power and effectiveness of this marketing channel became very clear.

But this was in the days before there were third party applications available that would help you manage your Twitter marketing strategy.  If you are getting into Twitter marketing now, you are lucky to have the opportunity to enjoy many of the free or inexpensive Twitter applications which can make managing your Twitter marketing campaign much more effective.

One of my go-to tools is TweetDeck.

A word of caution before we move on.  If you are just starting out with Twitter, I suggest you make yourself familiar with Twitter.com FIRST, learn the terminology of Twitter second, THEN open a TweetDeck account and explore its capabilities.

Back to TweetDeck.  What can I say, I think you will absolutely love the capabilities of this platform.  Getting started is easy: go to TweetDeck.com and sign up for a free account.  Once setup, add you Twitter account and you are ready to start exploring the many different features.

The first thing that you will notice is that TweetDeck uses columns to organize the data.  Each column contains a different batch of information that you specify and add.  This platform is highly customizable, so you can focus on the aspects that you think are important to your business.  Make a mistake?  Columns are easy to edit, delete and move.

Here are just some of the benefits of using TweetDeck and suggestions on how to use it to save time, frustration and garner higher results for your marketing efforts on Twitter:

1.  Track Your Mentions:  By creating a column to track your Mentions, you can keep up with all of the people that are interacting with you in the public stream (and respond).

2.  Track Your Direct Messages (DM):  Create a column for your Messages (DM) and you will be able to track and reply.

3.  Create Custom Searches:  Use the Search column to look up keyword phrases that your customers would use to find products/services similar to what you offer.  Great for prospecting!

4.  Interact with Your Twitter List:  Have you created a custom list on Twitter.com?  If so, you can add it as a column here and interact with it in real-time.

5.  Keep Up With Interactions: You can easily add a column which shows all of your interactions as and when they happen.

6.  See Who Followed You: Create a column for Followers and you can see who recently followed you and engage with them.

7.  Keep Up With Your Activity: Track your Twitter account’s activity level by adding the Activity column.

8.  Use the Mobile App on Your Smart Phone: Get all of the platform’s capabilities on the go.

9.  Manage Multiple Accounts: You are able to add multiple accounts, so manage all of your Twitter accounts in one place.

10.  Keep Up With Trends: You can add the Trends column to see what is trending in the Twitterverse in real-time.

And this is scratching the surface.  I think that if you jump onto TweetDeck and have a click around, you will see that it is definitely something that can be valuable to your Twitter marketing strategy and daily efforts.  It gives you a more organized view of Twitter in order for you to focus your marketing more effectively.

Again, before using a service such as this, you need to have a strategy, predefined targets and a daily schedule in place.  Without these pieces there are no tools out there that can make you more successful.  

Make sure to follow me and The Go! Agency on Twitter today.  Don’t forget to say hello and feel free to ask any questions that you may have.

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10 Ways to Choose the Perfect LinkedIn Groups to Market Your Business

19Jun

Before I have written about the power of LinkedIn and one of its most popular features: LinkedIn Groups.  I’ve discussed the power of using these groups to get your message in front of an audience of thousands, how to create your own custom group and even how to get the most out of the administration panel of your group page.  What I have never discussed is arguably one of the most important factors:

How to choose the perfect LinkedIn Groups to market your business!

As I’m asked this question again and again, I thought I would take a moment and give you  10 criteria on how to choose and join the right groups to support your online marketing efforts using LinkedIn.

One thing to keep in mind before we begin: it is extremely easy to join and leave LinkedIn groups.  So the groups that you choose you will not be saddled with to the end of days.  You are always able to leave groups that are a poor fit and try out new ones that can be more suitable.  Also, you are allowed to join a maximum of 50 groups on LinkedIn.  As many require a group manager to “OK” your request, it can delay you joining groups at a fast past.  But slow and steady wins the race – stay patient and you will receive.

Here are my 10 criteria for choosing the perfect LinkedIn Groups for your business:

  1. Choose Niche Keywords First.  It is tempting when first searching the GROUPS section of LinkedIn to go for terms like “ceo” or “hospitality”.  My suggestion is to first go uber niche with your search and get specific.  Think about who your exact target market is, and then use that as your search criteria.  For example, skip just using “hospitality” and go for “hotel managers florida”.  If you put your search between quotes, you will see the ONLY groups with this phrase in their description.  While it may turn up less results than a general search, it will be extremely targeted and you may just find a gem.
  2. Read the Group Description.  The description, which appears under the title of the group on the results page, should give you a good idea about who the group is targeted to and what types of discussions are fine to be posted.  Make sure that this matches the type of content that you would like to use to engage and the audience is suitable.
  3. Check the Group Activity Level.  It is always better to be in an active group.  Below the group description, there is a grey line of text that will tell you about the activity level of the group.  My favorites are “Very Active”, but “Active” is good as well.
  4. Check the Number of New Discussions Created.  If the activity level is not present, you need to go to the next check which would be the number of discussions posted per month (this will be found at the same place below the group description).  If in a 30 day period there were only 9 discussions and the group has 12,345 members – it would not be a group that I would join immediately as it seems pretty inactive.
  5. How Many of the Group Members Are in Your Network?  The green text at the bottom of each search result will give you the number of the group members that are also members of your LinkedIn network (in the form of connections).  If you have a very targeted LinkedIn network, this number is a good indication if the group is on target for you.
  6. Does One Person Post All the Discussions?  Once you join a group (or if an open group, when you look at the main discussions page) look to see if one or two members are monopolizing the conversations/discussions.  If this is the case, I tend to leave the group and keep a note to circle back later.  As a new member, it is hard to break through in a group where certain members are posting new discussions extremely frequently, so it is better to go with a group that has less competition.
  7. Explore “Similar”.  If you find a group that is spot on using the criteria above, make sure to click on the green link at the bottom of the description that says “Similar”.  This is a great way to discover harder-to-find groups that can be right on target for your marketing.
  8. Beware of Brand Groups.  You will see that some groups have a brand name in their title, description and/or logo.  While some are membership groups only for members of the company’s team, there are others that function as a normal group but have their members of staff marketing in it consistently.  I try to avoid these as comments and discussions can be held in moderation and never be posted, making it extremely challenging to engage and connect with other group members.
  9. Open Groups are Good, But Can Be Spammy.  There are many groups that you are immediately able to join without going through a vetting process with the group manager.  While these Open Groups allow you to quickly join the conversation, make sure to look at the first page of discussion posts to see if they are mostly self-promotional or filled with job seekers.  If you see this, I would leave the group (unless this is a market you are trying to target).
  10.  Where Does the Group Manager Belong?  This is a close second to using the “Similar” link under the group description.  You will be able to see (sometimes before and sometimes after) who the group manager is.  Click on their name, go to their profile and then scroll down to the bottom of their profile where there groups are listed.  Go through their groups to see if there are other ones there that may benefit your business.

Now you should be able to properly and effectively choose a LinkedIn Group that fits your company’s targets and needs.  It is up to you to generate good solid discussions, add to discussions and engage with other group members.  But this is much easier when you are in the right spot and in front of an audience you are familiar with.

I’d like to invite you to join my own LinkedIn Group: feel free to ask any questions that you have!  Click here to join!

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Why Interns Aren’t Your Social Media Marketing Mentors

18Jun

With many companies working smarter in this challenging economic climate, business owners and managers alike are looking for inexpensive solutions to solve their operating, marketing and sales problems.

As we all know, there is a fine line between being savvy and being cheap, so in order to perpetuate the successful running of your company it is important to look at all of the factors around the inexpensive solution to make sure that it is a sound one.  Quality.  Experience. Reputation.  These are all factors that would come into the decision making process when looking to replace a member of staff, a supplier or a marketing method (such as advertising).

But why when it comes to social media marketing do companies forget this operating basis and go for a cheap solution that rarely touches all three of these important factors?

What I’m referring to is the almighty social media intern: the be all and end all of many organization’s social media strategy.  Now don’t get me wrong, I think interns are the best thing since sliced bread.  They are eager to help and learn and, if managed properly, can provide a rewarding experience for your company and employees.

The problem is I see many organizations taking on interns to specifically handle their social media marketing.  Not only their social media marketing day-to-day, but companies are asking their interns to build their entire social media department and strategy.

Is it the misconception that youth = social media savvy?  In many cases, I do believe this is the case and here is the problem.  While a younger person may be more well-versed on HOW social media works, do they truly know how to use it to market your company…or any business for that matter?

Also, if this is the first time that they are marketing using social media, is it a good idea to have them create and manage your social media reputation?

The answer?  Absolutely not.  I need to be frank with you here.  This is your business and the person/team that you want handling your social media marketing needs to be vetted through the same processes that you go through when choosing a new member of staff, supplier or marketing/sales channel.  They need to be experienced, have quality references, have quality work samples and understand your business.

Another issue is that using an intern will not illustrate the success that you can experience on social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.  Using a summer intern to create a Facebook page and put out posts it not social media marketing and probably won’t bring you lots of attention, engagement or even LIKES.  I’ve spoke with many companies that don’t believe social media marketing works, because “we had an intern working on these sites for the past few months and didn’t see any results.”  Well, why should you?  You just let a part-time intern manage your social media marketing campaign entirely (many times without any guidance).

Let’s get one thing straight: I am not down on having interns do social media marketing.  What I am down on is using interns to “test” social media for you.  This is the job of your head of marketing or the social media marketing company that you outsource to.  These people will know the vision of your company, your marketing goals, your ethics, and have a vested interested in your success through creating a synergistic social media marketing STRATEGY.  Having someone off the street come in and create your entire social media strategy, part-time for credit, is not the answer.

When it comes to your social media marketing strategy, I’m sorry to say that the easy and inexpensive answer is not always the correct one.

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HashTags: Why You Need Them and How to Use Them

17Jun

I’m sure that you have heard about Hashtags before in social media, and maybe even know what they look like or have tried your hand at using them yourself.  But do you know why you need them and how to use them?

If you do not know how to use hashtags, it is time to sit up and take notice.  The reason being is that hashtags are now being used by Facebook (at the time of this writing, they are slowly being rolled out to Facebook users worldwide).  This should be a game changer for many online marketers as before this news, if the company did not use Twitter, they figured that there was no sense in learning how to properly use Hashtags.

But this has all changed now.

Let’s dive right in and discover exactly what a hashtag is.  A hashtag looks like this: #.  The hashtag becomes activated when it is paired with a keyword like so: #environment.  Let’s break this down further.  The “#” sign before the word environment signifies it as a hashtag and the word environment is the keyword used to identify which conversations on Twitter or Facebook to link your update to.  Why does this matter?  This will pop your tweet or update into a category of people talking about the subject #environment.  You see, after you create your hashtag and send a tweet or update, it will become hyperlinked.  If you click the hyperlink, it will take you to the stream of EVERYBODY site-wide speaking about #environment.  Talk about exposure, eh?

So, how do you create your own?  Simply add the # sign in front of the keyword that you would like to use to enter your update into a stream of conversation.  If you want to use a phrase, don’t use spaces.  For example: #socialmedia instead of #social media.  For the second one “social” will be the only phrase that is associated with that hashtag.

Why use them?  You would be surprised about the extra exposure that you will receive.

First, as stated above, when you use a hashtag you are being connected to other conversations on Twitter and Facebook where people are talking about the same topic – so obviously a fantastic way to get in front of not only a targeted market, but a targeted topic and conversation.

Going above and beyond this fact, posts with hashtags are proven to get two times the amount of exposure!

So that is Hashtag 101 – go out there and create your first one and share it with the team and I @thegoagency using the hashtag #myfirsthashtag.

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