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Why and How to Use Branded Hashtags for Your Local Business

Why and How to Use Branded Hashtags for Your Local Business
11Mar

One of the most common misconceptions I hear is that branded hashtags are only for national/multinational businesses. Untrue. Hashtags that are made by and for your local business can be great, provided you know what you’re doing.

If you’ll let me rant a little, I want to explain how you can make branded hashtags work for your local business. You don’t have to be Amazon to pull this off, people!

Why Do You Want Branded Hashtags?
Most of the time, getting your brand in front of new eyes is going to mean spending a healthy sum on advertisements. While that investment can be 100% worth it, wouldn’t it be nice to have a free alternative to supplement it?

That’s where branded hashtags come in. When you create a hashtag for your customers to share, you’re essentially having them advertise your business for free, directly to their friends and family. And personal referrals are effective! So for exactly $0, you get someone with a meaningful connection to other people in your target demographic to talk about how great your business is. Sounds like a good deal, right?

Beyond that, you’ve got a way to create a community around your brand. When people search your hashtag, they have the chance to see what other people love about your business. Then they can talk to your other customers, and bam, you’ve got local buzz going at no cost to you!

What makes this especially useful for local businesses? Bigger brands benefit from a wider audience, but the local proximity can work to your advantage, too. Think about it: people are a lot more likely to tell their friends about a local business than a huge corporation. Why would you rave on Twitter about how great Amazon is when everyone is already a fan of the company?

You’re much more likely to talk about that Thai place you found on accident, and that’s your advantage here. People want to show their friends new things, and when you make a branded hashtag, you make it easier for people to tell their friends all about how great your business is!

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How Do You Make Branded Hashtags Work for You?
When brainstorming ideas for a brand hashtag, keep it simple. You can go with your company name, but you might want to try for something a little more interesting. Short, easy-to-spell taglines are always good. KitKat’s hashtag #HaveABreak is a great example—it’s creative, it’s short, and it plays on their tagline.

Let’s say your Italian restaurant is called Gino’s Pizza; your hashtag might be #DinnerAtGinos or #GinosGrub. These are some basic ideas, but don’t be afraid to take a hard look at your brand and see what you have to play with!

Once you have a hashtag, start using it! If you’re not sharing content with the tag, nobody else will, either. But when it becomes a staple in your social media updates, people are much more likely to take notice and use it themselves.

This is not something you want to put in place and forget about. Track the tag, especially as it starts becoming more popular in your community! You can set up a Google keyword tracker or just make checking the hashtag part of your daily site work on each platform.

Respond to customers (whether they’re praising or ranting about you) and take this opportunity to guide the conversation about your brand. People are going to talk about your business no matter what, so you may as well make sure the conversation is favoring you!

Try This New Strategy
I find that a lot of local businesses have stagnant social media strategies, and you don’t want that! Keep things fresh by trying out a branded hashtag and see what you’ve been missing out on. Branded hashtags offer you unique benefits as a local business—make the most of them!

Are you still feeling a little lost on how to use a branded hashtag for your business? Let’s talk about it over your free consultation with The Go! Agency!

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GoTV Episode 5

On Episode 5 of GoTV Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency's CEO, talks about Instagram's hidden hashtags, Facebook's smart device, and Twitter ads.
5Oct

Thanks for stopping by Go!TV! As always, we’re thrilled to be your source for the latest news in the world of social media advertising. Let’s see what’s happening this week!

Instagram

Instagram Tests a New Feature Allowing Hidden Hashtags
Don’t you hate the look of 30 hashtags clogging up the space after a well-thought-out Instagram post? Well, that may be a struggle of the past. Instagram is tinkering with a new option that would allow you to add hashtags in a separate, hidden space that would preserve the aesthetic integrity of your original post. It’s worth noting that this feature may not be implemented, but it’s a promising sign that Instagram is looking into less obstructive ways for users to hashtag their posts.

Jane Manchun Wong
Social Media Today

Facebook

Facebook May Launch its Smart Home Device Next Week
Rumors are circulating that Facebook is about to launch its new smart speaker, “Portal,” next week. Cheddar reported that Portal will be functionally similar to Amazon’s Echo Show and, most interestingly, Facebook’s new smart home device will be able to interface with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. If true, this would hint at a possible exchange between the two giants wherein Portal has access to Amazon and Amazon devices may be Facebook-connectable.

While these are undeniably exciting prospects, brand trust for Facebook is notably low amid allegations of user data misuse. For this reason, it’s expected that Facebook’s face-recognizing camera will have a feature that allows users to cover the wide-angle lens when their Portal isn’t in use.

Cheddar
Social Media Today

Twitter

Twitter Test Expands Ads to Include Timelines on Third-Party Sites
Twitter may finally expand its advertising options! Their new test allows advertisers to include their promoted content within timelines embedded on third-party websites. While it’s not expected to be a game-changer in the world of Twitter advertisements, this expansion would offer creative businesses another opportunity to get their content in front of the right audience.

Marketing Land
Social Media Today

And that wraps up this week’s Go!TV episode! We can’t wait to see you next week! If you enjoyed this episode, you’re going to get a lot out of our podcast and our blog!

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Are You Fluent In Instagram? Insta-Terms You Need to Know

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22Aug

Social media and the internet had a certain impact on language. We have become quicker, shorter, perhaps even more impatient. Regardless, tools such as acronyms and hashtags gave us new ways to communicate, much like shorthand did decades prior. Above all other social media platforms, Instagram takes this to a new level.

Instagram brings a whole separate, unique culture to social media marketing. We could say it’s because it’s more imagery focused as opposed to text, or we could say it targets a younger demographic. But when it comes down to it, it promotes a fun way to connect. Even as a marketer, you need to learn how to speak as the Instagramers do when trying to promote your brand online. As such, you will need to learn very specific terms. Here are some of the most common terms that people use:

Regram – This is the equivalent of a retweet on Instagram. This term denotes that this post is originally someone else’s content, and you’re trying to spread the word.

LB (like back) – This is a common term used on Instagram. If someone comments “LB” on your post, they are hoping you will like them in return. Like Twitter, reciprocation is a large part of connecting with new people.

S4S (share for share) – We’re not recommending you use this one, but this is a common term that is supposed to boost engagement. However, this hashtag tends to be associated with spam accounts. It can be helpful to know what exactly #S4S and these other terms stand for, even if you don’t partake in them.

DM (Direct Message) – Like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIN, direct messages are a way to send private messages out to anyone you wish.

Filters – Due to Instagram’s primary use on smartphones, they offer fun filters to add to photos. People have begun using these so much that Instagram has become known for this particular feature. Additionally, #nofilter designates an unaltered photo, which is supposed to express how the subject of the picture doesn’t need any help to look good.

Hashtags – We have seen hashtags reign supreme on Facebook and Twitter, but it’s suggested that a post to has up to 10 of these tags. Some to look out for – and use in your marketing – are #TBT (Throwback Thursday), #FBF (Flashback Friday), #IGDaily, and many, many others.

Each social media site has unspoken rules on how to communicate. As you can see, Instagram is no different. There are many various ways to interact with fellow social media users, and marketers have a responsibility to their brand to adapt.

What do you think of these Instagram terms? Do you have any others? Comment below!

 

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Hashtag Your Holiday! Why The Calendar Is Your Social Media Friend

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4Jul

Happy Fourth of July! As Americans celebrate their Independence Day, fireworks will set off, hot dogs will be grilled, and beer will be slurped all throughout the fifty states. Meanwhile, our fun moments will be documented online via social media. These are the kind of days social media was made for! We will see tweets upon tweets of firework videos and Facebook status updates wishing America a  Happy Birthday in the coming hours. Guess what? Your business needs to join in the fun.

Social media marketing rocks holidays. They bring inspiration to the writers, deliver a massive amount of content, and by using appropriate hashtags, your posts will show up on a whole lot more screens than traditional content. By acknowledging a special time which customers are most likely participating in, you will be showing the humanity of your company which is a key goal in social media marketing. You want to be involved in the community you are reaching out to.

Of course, Independence Day isn’t the only holiday and each festive time brings its unique array of content curation ideas. When December rolls around, you are in for some holiday overload so a nice balance of holiday-centric posts and business-centric updates will give your audience room to breathe. You should not ignore a holiday, even if you are a bit of a Scrooge. Every year, Google catches heat for not acknowledging Easter Sunday with their Google Doodles. You don’t want that kind of publicity.

There are also holidays beyond those that the Post Office acknowledges. Each industry has awareness months and niche holidays that pertain to its demographic. They can range from events like Breast Cancer Awareness Month (which is October) and National Ice Cream Day (which is coming up on the 17th! Get your scoopers ready). No joke, every single day is a holiday, sometimes two or three of them on the same day. A little bit of research will give you a plethora of things to celebrate.

From a strict business sense, you should use social media marketing to take advantage of holiday shopping rushes. Between Black Friday specials to Back to School sales, the Sunday Paper inserts have nothing on a boosted Facebook post. So, get your Santa hat on and light those sparklers, because your business will benefit from participating in these special fun days.
What holiday posting techniques does your business utilize? Comment below!

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Tag, You’re It! The Importance of Tagging in Social Media Engagement

tag-would-you-rather-5
16Jun

If you are executing social media marketing campaigns for your company, the odds are that you are encountering a foreign language.  Not necessarily a foreign language in terms of continent, but in terms of social media lingo.

Social media lingo is one of the biggest barriers to entry for many companies.  Learning a whole new “online language” is not something that many rapidly growing businesses have time to learn, or even the patience to deal with.

But with that said, if you want to start generating leads for your business on social media, you need to learn a few key terms.

In order to gain more engagement with your content, it needs to be optimized for social media so that the largest audience will be exposed to it.  The first optimization tool was hashtags (which I have written about previously) and the second I want to discuss here is Tags.

Tags are generally referred to as a keyword or term assigned to a piece of information. This kind of tag helps describe an item and allows it to be found again by browsing or searching. I want to stick with one aspect of that definition and go into more detail.

Tagging on social media is a way of connecting YOUR social media content with another person, company, topic, or event.  So whereas hashtags connect general KEYWORDS together (such as #socialmedia, #onlinemarketing, #contentstrategy), tags connect social media content to specific social media accounts.

Whereas a hashtag uses the “#” symbol, you would tag another account by using the “@“ symbol.

For example, say I wanted to tag The Go! Agency in a Facebook update. This is how it would look as you type it:

“There is nothing worse than not being able to get people to read the social media content that you are writing.  Try these quick tips to increase your Facebook Page’s engagement, courtesy of @The Go! Agency.”

Now, when you put the tag into Facebook (not through a third-party tool like Hootsuite), when you type the @ and then begin typing “The Go”, you will see a drop-down list appear and you choose The Go! Agency from the list.  So when you post the same update above it would look like this:

“There is nothing worse than not being able to get people to read the social media content that you are writing.  Try these quick tips to increase your Facebook Page’s engagement, courtesy of The Go! Agency.”

As you can see The Go! Agency is underlined in the post.  This is now hyperlinked to The Go! Agency’s page.  By doing this, if I am posting this tagged post on my personal Facebook Page or another Facebook Page, The Go! Agency would not only be notified about the post, but if they allow posts from others on their Page, it would show up.

This will not only increase the number of eyes that your post will receive, but this will increase engagement.

Think about it like this: tagging helps you get in front of a whole new audience – one that you normally wouldn’t be able to access.

Let’s go for a multiple tagged post and see what that looks like…

Say I am an Austin, Texas-based pharmacist who owns a range of pharmacies in the area.  Here is an update that I might share with my audience.

“If you are located in the Austin, Texas area – I’m sure you have heard about the wave of sinus infections that have been making the rounds lately.  It is always good to keep up with the latest pharmacist-recommended health products.  Here is a list of all of the pharmacist-recommended health products of 2015: http://ow.ly/OowWp”

Now this is a terrific update.  It targets the appropriate local market, it talks about a current event, and offers a list of engaging helpful information for the target consumer.  But it might only be seen by a small few.  Why don’t we enhance it so that it can get more views.

Take two:

“If you are located in the @Austin, Texas area – I’m sure you have heard about the wave of sinus infections that have been making the rounds lately.  It is always good to keep up with the latest pharmacist-recommended health products.  Here is a list of all of the pharmacist-recommended health products of 2015, brought to you by @Yahoo Health: http://ow.ly/OowWp”

Now, let’s look at that same post with added hashtags:

“If you are located in the @Austin, Texas area – I’m sure you have heard about the wave of #sinusinfections that have been making the rounds lately.  It is always good to keep up with the latest pharmacist-recommended health products.  Here is a list of all of the pharmacist-recommended health products of 2015, brought to you by @Yahoo Health: http://ow.ly/OowWp #SouthCongress #SunsetValley #AndersonMill”

The hashtags increase the optimization of the post by pointing out the keywords that people may use to search for this topic or like topics (sinus infections).  To increase the local focus, the pharmacist tagged the areas of Austin where he has locations (South Congress, Sunset Valley and Anderson Mill).

Now this is very specific Facebook tagging.  Let’s quickly look at how you would tag content on different social media sites:

*Facebook: You tag another account using the “@“ symbol.  If you are using your Facebook Page, you are ONLY able to tag other Facebook Pages. If you are tagging from your PERSONAL Facebook Profile, you are able to tag both Facebook Pages AND Facebook Profiles. These tags ONLY work when you post natively on Facebook.  When I say “natively” I mean directly to Facebook and not using a third-party tool.

*LinkedIn: From your LinkedIn account you are able to tag BOTH people and companies by using the “@“ symbol.  This will only work if you post natively on LinkedIn and not through a third party scheduling tool.

*Twitter: This is where the social media tag originated from.  Here you simply add the @ symbol and then the account’s username you want to tag.  For example if you wanted to tag me in a post on Twitter it would be something like this: “Struggling with understanding tags? Check out this great new post by @ChrisGoAgency.”  The best part?  You CAN use a third-party tool to schedule and get the same effect.  You do not have to post natively to Twitter to gain the benefits of tagging.

There are many other sites that I could mention here, but these tend to be the most popular for new companies just jumping into the “tagging”, “hashtagging”, and social media optimization process.

Remember, by tagging another company you will increase the size of your audience as well as the amount of engagement that you can expect on your posts.  Have any questions – please ask!

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What the #Hashtag?! The Simple Explanation of What Hashtags Are and How They Are Used

Hashtag Notification Concept
8Jun

Anytime that I do a one-on-one consultation, group training class, or speech – there are a myriad of questions that I am generally asked:

How can I generate leads on social media?
I don’t have any time. How can I do social media?
What’s the ROI of social media?

Over the past year I have noticed an interesting trend: the basic questions have now been replaced with more advanced questions such as:

How does social media advertising work?
How can I increase engagement by 2% per month?
How can I create visuals on a regular basis on a time-poor schedule?

Let me stop us here. What excites me about the evolution of the social media conversation is that more and more people are gaining a solid baseline understanding of how to use social media, and are now trying to understand the more difficult topics that will help improve their engagement levels.

Getting back to the point here, the one question I am asked more than any other is: What the heck is a hashtag?!

A hashtag is a type of label used on specific social media sites which makes it easier for users to find social media updates (or messages) with a specific theme or specific content. In basic terms, a hashtag indexes a post to be about a certain topic, rather than just mentioning it in the conversation so that is can easily be found and referenced.

To create and use a hashtag, you simply place the hash character (or number sign) # in front of a word or unspaced phrase. This can be placed in the main text of a message like this:

Have you heard about The Social Marketing Academy? If not, it is time to enroll now for free #socialmedia classes! http://ow.ly/O1myl

Or, it can be placed at the end of the message like this:

Have you heard about The Social Marketing Academy? If not, it is time to enroll now! http://ow.ly/O1myl #socialmedia

Once you use this hashtag (and post the content), the hashtag will be hyperlinked. By clicking on the hashtag in a message, it will show all of the results within that social media site that include the same hashtag. Also, other users can search using that hashtag to pull up all of the content site-wide that have that hashtag.

Which sites currently use hashtags? Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest…but this is growing all of the time!

So, why use it? To see and be seen!

See: Hashtags allow you to easily search for information on the social media sites listed above. This is valuable as you are not only able to follow topics and keywords, but you can also follow major events. For example, if you are exhibiting at a Chiropractors National Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, the conference should have a hashtag. Possibly, #Chiro2015. By keying that into a search on the sites listed above, you will be able to find ALL of the people that are discussing the convention…many of which are actually there on the floor walking right past your booth. So imagine the power when you tweet this on Twitter:

Are your feet tired of walking the exhibition floor yet? Stop by Booth C122 and get a free massage and enter to win an iPad mini! #Chiro2015

Also, by following this hashtag you will be able to learn what public opinion is like on the event, and gather lots of valuable feedback in real-time that you can use to your advantage.

Be Seen: The example above involved a bit of the “Be Seen” aspect, but if you are experiencing extremely low levels of engagement on your social media accounts, hashtags can open you up into a whole new audience that is currently not being exposed to your content.

For example, if you would normally share an update on Facebook like this:

Are you struggling with your bills? There is a lot of power in consolidating your debt and our debt management services can help! Make sure to drop into our office in Austin for a free financial checkup!

Now, let’s look at how you might write that same post with hashtags:

Are you struggling with your bills? There is a lot of power in consolidating your debt, and our #debtmanagement services can help! Make sure to drop into our office in Austin, #Texas for a free financial checkup!

By hashtagging “debt management” we were able to enter the post into searches for all of the people seeking debt management services. By hashtagging Texas, we are entering into all of the conversations about the state. We didn’t choose to hashtag Austin as it is a very common name and would not bring in the quality results that we were looking for.

As you can see, hashtags have a lot of value and can really open up your content to an entirely new market that you thought to be out of reach. They also help you join conversations in a meaningful way in real-time, that will bring your brand more exposure and credibility.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and get #hashtagging!

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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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