Using Hashtags Effectively On Social Media

IMG_1389Everyone from Kimye to Politicians use hashtags on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Some people even use it in day to day conversations nowadays. #Guilty.

I have a love hate relationship with hashtags. When they are used correctly, they add to your content and attract new followers/customers/UFO’s. Used wrongly, and they can be pretty annoying to see. Sometimes you see people typing a 20 character status on Twitter and use the extra 120 characters on hashtags – #wrongwaytousethem! There’s a thin line between tolerated and completely intolerable. So, lucky for all of you, I am here to tell you how to use them effectively to benefit your business or blog.

Being a Blogger of almost five years means you get to hear about all of the funny mistakes I’ve made over the years, knowing you will never face the embarrassment of making the mistakes I have. I once posted a picture on Instagram of my cat and used the hashtags “#cutecat” “#CatsofInstagram” and uhm… “#Faceoftheday”. For starters, I had clicked the option to automatically share my Instagram posts to twitter and Facebook and because of this “catsofinstagram” was completely irrelevant on the other platforms. Aside from that, let’s move onto the elephant in the status “Face Of The Day” obviously does not relate whatsoever to my cat picture. I only used it because it was a popular hashtag. I ended up receiving about 5/6 notifications telling me I was using “Click Bait” (where people use catchy titles or hashtags to encourage people to click on the item despite it being irrelevant) and those people unfollowed me. I didn’t even have an excuse for it, I genuinely just wanted more people to see my status. #Fail.

So, moving on to using them the right way…

Frequency Of Hashtags

Twitter was the originator of the hashtag. Originally, people thought the idea would never catch on but Twitter blatantly have had the last laugh with hashtags being used across all social platforms from Instagram to Facebook and even Pinterest.

According to Twitter, using two hasthtags in your status doubles the chances of engagement, meaning you’re more likely to receive a comment, a ‘like’ or even a follow. If you’re really lucky, you might even be retweeted which opens the door to many more people. With that said, using three hashtags actually drops this chance by 17%. Facebook is a hub of hashtags, but personally, I use only one hashtag at the most.

For Instagram, people don’t really seem to be too put off by hashtags and I think that’s partly because they don’t look so dominant in statuses – for example, the image is the dominant feature of the post and the hashtags are written in blue making them less prominent than the black you see on Twitter or Facebook. Feel free to go wild with hashtags on Instagram but always keep them relevant. We all know that #fitspiration or #f4f are popular hashtags but they’re no good to you or your visitors unless your image relates to them. If, for example, you are in the beauty industry and are posting an image of lipsticks, then you might opt to use “#beauty #makeup #lipstagram #lipsticks #faceoftheday #pretty #bbloggers” – all of these are relative to the content meaning you’re more likely to get interaction from the people who see your post, such as a ‘like’, ‘comment’ or ‘follow’ (if you’re really lucky, you might even get a regram which is basically Instagram’s version of Retweeting).

It’s also a good idea to use your business name as a hashtag to help spread the word about your brand. It’s also a good way to keep track of others talking about your business as it’s likely they will use the hashtag.

IMG_1392Research Your Hashtags

You needn’t pluck hashtags from thin air or be in the know about which ones work best, you can use online tools which will help you decide which hashtags will work best for you. I use Hashtagify.me for research, and if your business has a local presence, you might want to consider using Trendsmap which is tailored to your preferred location.

Aside from that, you may want to try doing your own research. You could try using one hashtag across your social media platforms for one week and see how they perform before trying a different hashtag the following week and so on. This will help tailor your results to your very own business and will make it much more personalised rather than from a wide demographic.

Communities

Mainly on Twitter, but also on Instagram, are communities who have similar interests and they all use a specific hashtag where those people will ‘like’ or interact in some way. These communities also host ‘tweetchats’ on Twitter where once or twice a week users gather and use the hashtag to participate in a discussion which has a different theme each time. This sounds a little bit complicated so I’ll give an example. As a beauty and fashion blogger, I obviously participate in related chats. Hashtags used for these are #bbloggers or #fbloggers and each week, a new host will tweet a question using the hashtag. For example:

“Welcome to #fbloggers – Q1 – What are your thoughts on runway to high street fashion?”

Anyone searching for the hashtag on Twitter (using the search feature) will be shown this tweet and any other tweets using the same hashtag. By responding or contributing to the chat, you will definitely see some interaction. I regularly receive around 10 new followers in each hour long chat (and I’m not even the host!). Just be sure to interact with other people by replying to them with a comment, or retweeting people. Be sure to always use the hashtag in your responses so other people can see them too. Just be smart with it – if you have success using a hashtag, be sure to use it as often as you can (just not more than once in one status as we have already discussed).

If you’re lucky enough to be the host for the chat (you can either start your own chat or request to be the host for another one by contacting the appropriate hashtag profile) then you can get literally hundreds of new followers – I hosted a chat once and it was trending for an hour because of the amount of interactions there were. It really is a follower goldmine.So, now that you know all about how to use hashtags, it’s time to get to work! We here at Purely Social would love to hear all about your success with hashtags and if you have any questions, please feel free to comment below or drop us a tweet @purelysocialtip

Thanks so much for reading this article! I look forward to returning with more useful information to help your business or brand.

Holly

Cracking the Deep Web: How to Get Steady Customers Fast and Free

Hi Guys, Mika here!

As you know, we’ve been increasing our team to include a few new bloggers varying in expertise. The newest member of our team, Leah Zitter, has a wealth of experience in SEO and the deep web. This week’s article is an introduction to just that. Enjoy! 

visible web

Three years ago, I used the Deep Web to promote my website that offers hidden jobs for freelancers. As far as I know, I was and remain the first person to do so.

I invested three hours a week using Deep Web engines.

Within that first month, I gathered 375 visitors.

What is the Deep Web?

The Deep Web consists of all sites that are hidden from search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, or DogPile. Regular search engines can only retrieve information from pages that are accessible to it or that are large enough to be discovered. But there are many other groups on sites such as Twitter, Behance, Ryze, forums, password-protected business sites, Tumblr, Reddit, or up-and-coming blogs that are inaccessible because they are too small, password-secured, or not registered with search engines.

The science journal Nature notes that Google only indexes 16 percent of the surface Web and misses all of the Deep Web. This means that about 3000 out of 1 web pages are hidden from engines. Think of the ocean and the hiddenness below. The ocean is your worldwide web. Underneath is your deep or invisible web. This is where your clients chat.

I sought tools that could probe this hiddenness so that I could connect with them.

Why I used the Deep Web

Part of the reason I turned to the Deep Web was because I was looking for other ways to conduct free surveys. I also wanted to probe my targeted person’s subconscious needs. I wanted to connect with them in as real a way as I could and show them I could help them. For that to occur, writing articles was not enough. I wanted to talk with them; to capture their words for help so that I could refer them to my service. Along the way I sought their opinion. The engines that probe the deep web helped me do this. They helped me make some of my posts viral.

I collected 78 FB followers from zero in 2 months and gathered references from those who tweeted their thanks.

Method

I spent 8 months tracking down uncommon engines that dated since 2000. I investigated those that survived. Engines dip in and out of existence regularly, so, for instance, I wrote a few articles on MetaSearch.org only to have that amazing search engine die within months of those articles  being published.

I also read books on the deep web such as The invisible Web: uncovering information sources search engines can’t see by Chris Sherman and kept up-to-date with events on the Deep Web via researchbuzz.me.

Thirdly, I probed and used some of the methods of certain HR recruiters who had devised their own systems for spooning out hidden names.

Most important, I am a research scientist with an advanced degree in logic and formal training in Search Engine Marking. I used that training to fiddle with different keywords and algorithms running some for a few months before adding or replacing with others to see which terms, posts and sites were most popular and effective.

Here are the results.

Deep Web Engines: Top 3 for advertising and marketing on forums and groups

Boardreader – You’ll want to use the ‘Advanced Search’ to help you make the most of this site. Few engines need as exact keywords as this does. Surprisingly, I found the Imbd option helpful.

Omgili –‘Oh My Gosh I Like It’ really does help you find communities, message boards, and discussion threads on any topic. Type in your key words (I used ‘looking for freelance _’) and access Discussion Posts or Blog Posts. You may find News Articles helpful.

Webring – Find people and groups who share your interest. It is small (because its relatively new) but its members are more earnest than on FaceBook and you can engage with them at greater length than you can on Twitter.

Deep Web Engines: Top 3 for advertising and marketing on social media

Socialbearing.com – This engine helps you drill Twitter. It is excellent for tracking real-time conversations.

Twazzup.com – This is a new all-in-one Twitter search engine. Twitter has other search engines that you can use such as OneRiot and Louis Gray, but the helpful thing about Twazzup is that you can type in whatever interests you and Twitter returns all – noise and all.

Smashfuse.com – Terrific. Smashfuse travels FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, Vimeo, Tumblr, and Flickr among others. It is also fast. Minuses: It lacks advanced options. (I add date or country to the keyword or I simply use general keywords. The latter option is probably best).

Deep Web Engines: Top 2 for advertising and marketing on blogs

Blogsearchengine.org – This engine swims through stumbleupon and delicious. Minus: It lacks advanced options.

MeltwaterIceRocket.com – This is one of the most powerful blog search engines. It searches blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and sites on the worldwide web. I  use the advanced search options to type in certain words such as ‘ paying submissions’, the date (‘today only’) and tag – which searches for words in the post. Example [tag: writer telecommutes].

Deep Web Engines: Top 3 for getting eyeball-boggling content

Dotmos.com – It helps you dig news in your field that you may less likely see on the common search engines. I use it for real-time conversation and for creating content.

GigablastGigablast is an open source engine. You’ll find its advanced search options below the blue border of its title. I sometimes also use ‘Ixquick’.

Tiptop insight engine – This engine captures news. If you’re savvy with your keywords, it can help you capture real-time conversations. The engine needs permission from Twitter to grant you access but it digs up from pages that are well beyond Twitter.

Interesting, right? Feel free to reach out in the on twitter, via email, or in the comments below with any questions, comments, or if you need help implementing. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

 

Top Five Tips For Blogging Success

IMG_0671

The road to success is always paved with pot holes. It can be a bit of a bumpy ride sometimes, but if you know the right roads to take, you can bypass those potholes and have success without the hardship.

Take it from me. I learned the hard way! It is very easy to get lost on your way to the end game. I started out my career as a blogger simply reviewing products and begging PR firms to send me products. I did not realise that no one wants to read posts from someone bragging about how much free loot they managed to bag, not to mention that no one would even find that post. Turns out simply writing content and putting it online doesn’t mean it will automatically go viral if you don’t promote it (see our post on the best ways to share content here). As time went by, I soon learned how to perfect my blogging technique. Here are my Top Tips for Blogging Success to make your journey a little bit easier.

1 – Platform

Deciding which blogging platform to use can be tricky. However, it is an important decision to make! Changing your mind once you have established your blog can be very tricky and highly time consuming. There are two preferred platforms that bloggers use: WordPress and Blogger.

WordPress is a platform designed for more advanced users who may have experience in using plugins and HTML. The platform allows users to add more features into their blog and to incorporate downloadable features. WordPress itself is free to use, however you may need to buy a hosting package if you’d like a custom domain (Hostgator is popular amongst bloggers). Many of the plugins and templates are free to download and use, but there are premium paid for versions that provide more options.

Blogger on the other hand is a completely free platform which hosts your blog. The platform is open source and allows new users to design their blog at just the click of a few buttons. To add to this, the simple to use platform is also owned by Google which means it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

To summarise, if you know your way around the web and are pretty good with coding and would like customizable options, then WordPress could be the option for you. If you’re new to blogging or web design as a whole, and have limited to no budget, and prefer a more turn-key option then Blogger is likely to be your preferred option.

2 – Timing

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Timing your blog posts to publish on a specific day and time can prove to be successful with your visitors. Us humans are creatures of habit and so letting your visitors know that you will be posting new content on a certain day or time will encourage regular visitors to return at that time.

Timing your blog posts also helps you to target different time zones. For example, if you have a business in New York but think people in the UK will be interested in your content, then there’s a five hour time difference to take into consideration. Scheduling your blog post at 2pm UK time (9am New York) will mean New Yorkers will wake up to read it before work or whilst commuting, whereas the Brits will read it in either their lunch or coffee breaks. Scheduling is available on both WordPress and Blogger.

3 – Topics

Whether you’re a fashion blogger or a holistic therapist letting your visitors know about what you have to offer, it’s important you choose the right topics to not only attract new visitors but to keep those visitors on your blog.

Writing controversial posts may bring in a few visitors but in terms of gaining credibility for your business, it certainly won’t do much good. Many bloggers write about topics that answer a question. This provides information for your visitors and encourages them to browse around the rest of your blog. For example, if you have a Holistic Therapy business, try writing about the benefits of holistic therapy in comparison to other methods, or perhaps a blog post highlighting a specific ailment that holistic therapy has successfully treated. These areas are fairly non controversial and will provide useful information to those reading. By veering off topic, your visitors will become confused as to what your blog is actually about.

4 – Design

Keeping your blog simple and easy to navigate through is just as important as having any content at all. Ever visited a successful website that was full of graphics and a loud background with obnoxious writing? No, that’s because users don’t find a ‘busy’ blog, a ‘friendly’ website. Many Bloggers choose to stick to a white background and accentuate it with one or two colours in the navigation or sidebar and banner. Every blog has a decent amount of photography which in itself adds colour to the blog.

In terms of photography, ensure you make your photo’s large and clear without being overly edited. Don’t stretch the photos or you risk significantly reducing the picture quality. Aside from that, whether you choose to use a big fancy camera or a cell phone camera, your photo’s will be one of the main attractions of your blog.

5 – Social Media

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Promotion is key to blogging success which is something we have talked about previously here on Purely Social Media. Many people leave out promoting their content on social media or tweet about it once and think ‘that’ll do’, however the truth is that your blog will never reach the masses unless you shove it in people’s faces and let them know it exists.

Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are three of the most popular social media platforms amongst bloggers and all can be managed using different platforms such as Hootsuite or Buffer where you can schedule your social media updates in advance. Scheduling your social media updates means you can take the time to carefully plan what you wish to say in your status and creating links to be included. A good job is never a hurried one!

The value of social media to your blog or business is invaluable. All it takes is for someone popular to retweet something you’ve said and it can receive thousands of visitors overnight. For those of us who are not quite fortunate enough to have famous fans, social media is vital whether you have twenty or twenty thousand followers. One more person seeing your content is one more than you had before.

Finally for social media, it’s important to use your platforms to interact with your followers/visitors. Whether you have a blog or a shop, it’s useful for helping with any issues or customer services. If you interact with your followers, you gain trust in your website and business which will encourage returning visitors and customers.

Summary

These five tips will definitely steer you and your blog in the right direction without spending a single dollar. I could easily have written a dozen more things to help you on your way but having a successful blog won’t happen overnight and you certainly can’t learn everything there is to know about blogging overnight either (trust me, it’s taken me more than three years and I’m still learnng!)

Until next time, make sure you let us know your thoughts by commenting or by tweeting us @purelysocialtip

Social Media Strategies Your Business Depends On

purelysocialmedia

Note to our readers:

Hey guys! It’s been a while. We’ve been super busy trying to build our brand and tending to our clients.  But we’re back and coming at you with more posts on a more regular basis. 

We’ve decided to work with freelance bloggers to help diversify the information that we bring to you, as well as stabilize our post frequency, so you have something to read from us on a very regular basis. This week’s article is written by Holly Sturgeon, a beauty and fashion blogger from the UK who has a passion for social media and loves to dig up information to bring to you guys. Welcome to the team, Holly! Hope you all enjoy!

Back in the days our businesses depended on local and national advertising in Newspapers, on Radio and Television. Whilst those things are still important for spreading the word about your business, other options, (Free options at that – Thanks us later!) are now available.

Social Media has pretty much dominated our lives over the past few years with more than 307 million monthly average users on Twitter alone. You might use social media for keeping track of your favourite celebs or for sharing your cute cat pictures rather than for promoting your business, but sharing your content on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (or any other of the numerous social media platforms that are available) could actually prove to be quite fruitful.

Ever scrolled through your news feed on Facebook or Twitter and seen a blogger or business letting you know all about their latest product or service? Of course you have! Well that’s because those businesses have started their own social media campaigns and began promoting themselves by using different social media strategies including the one’s we’re about to mention.

Whether your business is a blog, a service or is product driven, your primary aim of using social media will doubtlessly be the same and that is to reach new audiences and welcome new customers to your business. Here are a few social media strategies your business depends on:

Advertise Your Social Media Accounts

Of course, the purpose of using social media is to promote your business but your business also needs to promote your social media. (hear us out!). Presuming you already have a website, ensure you put your Twitter or Facebook handles on your homepage and in your ‘contact’ page. Customers feel more secure knowing they can contact you instantly and so letting them contact you via social media for any customer issues is a great way to attract followers and of course encourages user engagement. It’s also vital to ensure that when you are sent a query or comment that you reply to each one individually and personally. Also ensure you deal with all ‘personal’ or account queries via direct message to ensure customer confidentiality. All of this will ensure that your followers will feel safe and this is likely to result in return business.

Content

In order for this to work, it is really important to ensure you keep your feed current. Using apps such as Buffer or Hootsuite, you can schedule posts to appear on your timeline at your preferred times. In terms of what content to publish, businesses should always keep things professional with a hint of humour. Retweeting controversial users or using foul language are definite no-no’s but posting up the odd cute cat picture (obsessed!) will keep your timeline current and will encourage users to engage by favouriting, liking or retweeting your status. You should also consider keeping your tweets short (under 100 characters) as shorter tweets are proven to attract 17% more engagement.

Timing

Timing your updates is also important. According to Social Media Scientist Dan Zarrella, Twitter engagement for brands increases by 17% at the weekend. It has also been proven that Twitter users who use their mobile phones to browse their newsfeeds are 181% to be on Twitter during their commute. Perhaps consider posting in the early morning. The same applies to Facebook and Instagram (we’ve all done it) as we are all more likely to browse through social media platforms out of boredom whilst travelling.

 Images

Here we go with the cute cat pictures again – You are twice as likely to receive comments, replies, likes, retweets etc if you post an image with a link. So whether you choose to post a picture of your latest service or even a picture of the office Christmas Tree, you are encouraging people to engage with your brand. Engagement = visitors = Followers = Customers which is the aim of the game.

Hashtags

The hashtag trend started on Twitter but is now actually popular across most social media platforms. At the end of your status, placing a relevant yet popular hashtag will mean that your tweet will reach new followers. In fact, of all the information and advice given in this blog, this is probably the most important and successful tip. Here’s an example of how to use a hashtag:

 “Spending the weekend decorating the office. #springcleaning “

 Anyone who types “spring cleaning” into the search bar on Twitter will be able to see your tweet, this also applies to Instagram and Pinterest. Using more popular hashtags, including ‘trending’ hashtags (which you will see on the left hand side of Twitter or on the right side of Facebook) will obviously mean your tweet reaches a bigger audience, but that also means that more people use that hashtag and so your tweet will be pushed down the newsfeed very quickly, leaving a limited amount of time for users to see your status.

If you use hashtags that are relevant to your status, you will reach new users that are genuinely interested in what you have to say meaning you are more likely to encourage engagement and receive more followers.

You might want to consider creating your own hashtag. For example if your business is called “purelysocial” (shameless plug – We’re not even sorry!) then type your status similar to this format:

 “There’s only 6 weeks left until Christmas, Are you prepared? #purelysocialmedia”

If someone retweets your status, their followers will see your business name in the tweet, despite the fact that you’re not directly advertising. Clever huh?

Competitions

Everyone wants something for nothing. We all have entered a competition at some stage in our lives, whether it was in a magazine or even just buying a lottery ticket. Running a competition on social media can prove to be extremely popular and will definitely encourage people to follow you. Whether you offer a service or a product, running a competition on social media where the users are required to “follow and share/retweet” your status to enter will mean you will get a follower, who will share your status with their followers, who will then share it with their followers and so on. It can result in hundreds of followers and will mean more people will visit your website. Using clever hashtags (such as #win, #competition and #giveaway) for this, like previously mentioned will see your competition reaching the masses.

Paid for Ads

No-one really wants to pay for something if they can achieve similar results for free but we thought we should cover all options available to your business. Of course, there are paid options available on both Facebook and Twitter where you can start a campaign which see’s the platform advertise your service on newsfeeds. You might have seen “promoted” statuses on Twitter which are paid for advertisements and the ads on the right hand side of Facebook are also paid for. Advertising this way is definitely useful for those who have a budget to work with but can also be an expensive way of experimenting with social media.

Using social media can increase your customers greatly and is definitely something your business will depend on if you want to increase exposure online. Keep an eye on this blog for more tips on using social media to promote your business and feel free to submit your questions!

Until then, feel free to share your cute cat pictures with us @Purelysocialtip

Social Media Strategy Template

Originally posted on Scoop.it under Social Media News http://www.scoop.it/t/social-media-news-source

Originally posted on Scoop.it under Social Media News
http://www.scoop.it/t/social-media-news-source

Marketing Content to Millennials  

Influencing

When thinking about social media marketing, it is important to think about who your audience is and how to ensure that they are aware that you exist. Content marketing is crucial to this i.e. making sure that the content you produce is relatable to your target market. Today’s topic is Millennials. The term “Millennials” refers to the group of people who started to reach adulthood around the year 2000 (currently ages 18-37), aka Generation Y: the Tech Generation. Millennials make up 25 percent of the population, which presents them with the power to have a serious impact on the GDP. Much like Baby Boomers in the 1990s, Millennials have the power to lift the GDP at least a percentage point higher than current levels. By the year 2020, Millennials will make up nearly 50% of the workforce and account for 30% of retail sales. If Millennials are even a portion of your target market, you need to make sure that you know how to reach them.

Studies show that the Age of Technology is having more than just a technological impact on Millennials. It is actually changing the biological make-up of Millennial consumers, as they are now rebuilt to multitask and seek reward for committing their time to consuming brand content. This is why generic sales pitches on social media doesn’t work for this group. Millennials require interaction in order to engage with a brand.

According to a study by Yahoo, Millennials desire:

  • To immerse in content
  • To satisfy fandom
  • To be “in the know”
  • To have the necessary resources to succeed

Knowing these 4 things about Millenials, it can be deducted that successful content needs:

  • To have depth
  • Be current on pop culture
  • Include facts on specific, relevant topics
  • Include tips for success

The difficult part of creating content that fits these specifications is molding it to fit into the restrictions of the social media platforms you’re using. How do you provide depth in an image on Instagram or give a tip for success in under 140 characters? How do you create content as a brand that consumers will want to engage with? A Yahoo study gives 7 helpful tips that we’ve elaborated on for relevance.

  • BE BriefKeep It Simple and Sweet.
    • DON’T over complicate a simple idea to make it more appealing, it will only deter audiences. Creativity is always a good skill to use in creating content, but you need to make sure that your ideas remain clear and concise throughout.
    • DO remember what your initial point is and make sure that it is still apparent even after all the primping and fluffing is over.
  • BE Entertaining & Humorous – Have fun with your content.
    • DON’T keep it cut and dry and strictly business.
    • DO find a cool way to integrate humor into your content to make it entertaining. Put your own twist on a current meme to make it relevant to your industry. Find a trending hashtag that you can make relevant to your industry and jump in on the conversation.
  • BE Fresh & Unique – Dare to be different.
    • DON’T do the same thing you’re competitor is doing. You’ll only blend in with the noise.
    • DO Keep an eye on what you’re competitor is doing and see how you can execute it better or differently. While it’s important to be aware of your competitor’s actions, copying is frowned upon and you could risk getting called out and tarnishing your brand.
  • BE Informative/educational – Sharing is caring!
    • DON’T be secretive and unapproachable. Gone are the days when brands were thought of as this unknown superior that could do no wrong. Brands are now expected to loosen up and communicate with their consumers.
    • DO provide your target market with helpful information that they can apply to their lives. Tell them something they don’t know. Tell them something that they would like to know about you, about your industry, something applicable to their future business… with you.
  • BE Relevant to the individual – Customer is key
    • DON’T group your customer into one large faceless, nameless, passionless lump.
    • DO practice targeted marketing efforts. As a business professional, your bottom line is obviously first in your mind, but do not forget about your customer’s wants and needs. To ensure that your content is relevant to the individual, you must get to know the individual demographics in which your customers lie and strategize on how to meet their needs.