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

5 Best Tips On Sharing Content

besttipsonsharingcontentHi everyone! It’s Holly here. I’m back once again to let you know a few tips I’ve picked up on sharing your blog content across the web so that even superstars like Johnny Depp can find it… A girl can only dream!

As we all have learned by now, blogging and content sharing go hand in hand. While having great content on your blog is definitely important, sharing that content is equally vital.

Imagine hosting a dinner party full of celebrities and forgetting to hand out the invitations. The dinner party has everything you could need to make it incredible, but no-one attends because you haven’t shared the information (or handed out the invitations). Blogging is no different. You could have an interview with Princess Kate Middleton on your blog where she gives you the inside scoop on her outfits for next season but if you forget to tell anyone that the interview exists, then no-one is going to look at it which is why sharing your content across the right platforms, using the right strategy and format is vital in making your content popular. Poor Kate..

Every time an actor stars in a new movie, you will see they are working the media circuit by appearing on chat shows and doing magazine shoots. This is because throughout these appearances, they are promoting their new releases to let the world know it exists. Celebrities are clever little creatures aren’t they? Well you can be equally as clever. Sharing blog content is a little bit different from appearing on chat shows, but it’s not necessarily hard to do.

So how can you share your content like the pros? Here, we take a look at different methods on how and where to share your content.

1 – Automatically share your content.

There are several platforms available that will automatically share your content to social media. Twitterfeed is the platform that many top bloggers use to share their content. Despite it’s name, Twitterfeed shares content across more platforms than just Twitter. Registering is as simple as entering in your details (name, email address, fingerprints.. (jokes)) and your social media handles. You will also be asked to allow Twitterfeed to post on your behalf thus allowing access on those platforms. Then, just sit back and watch as you let it do all the hard work for you. Twitterfeed shares content to Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and other platforms automatically, saving you time and effort. (meaning there’s time for creating more good content not to watch more episodes of Dr Phil on the television…)

It is also worth using programs such as Hootsuite and Buffer to schedule tweets to promote your posts at a later time to ensure you cover different worldwide time zones. When you go to sleep in the US & Canada, people in the UK are just waking up! Covering different time zones will give more people the chance to see your content.

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2 – Add A “Share this” link to every post

Have you ever been on a blog and noticed the blogger has their social icons and a “share this” link at the bottom of every post? Well that’s because they’re pretty savvy when it comes to sharing their content. That blogger is encouraging their readers to share their content for them meaning more people see it across different platforms. You could do your blog a huge favour by adding one of these social bars to your blog. Blogger offers an ‘add on’ for free and WordPress also have several plugins for this such as “Ultimate Social Media Icons” which will make things much simpler for you to implement.

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3 – Use The Blogging Community!

Bloggers are a supportive bunch and as long as you support them, they are quite happy to return the favour. Here are a few ways to use the blogging community to your advantage:

  • Comment on other blogs. This is something we have covered in previous blogs but it’s still a really good way to share your content. If you comment on other blogs with a relevant comment and drop your link at the end, that blogger and other commentors are more likely to visit your blog. Here’s an example of a good comment to leave:

“Please tell me this skirt is available to buy in the UK? I really want the red version to wear for my Christmas party. You look amazing in it! (insert your blog link here)”

By adding this kind of comment, you have asked a question (meaning the person is more likely to visit your blog to reply) and you’ve made the comment personal to the content proving that you’re not just looking to drop your link.

  • Join Twitter Chats! Every day different twitter chats are ongoing using different hashtags such as #lbloggers #fbloggers #bdib and #bbloggers. Hundreds of bloggers (and brands) join in these chats and talk to other bloggers and share each others content to their followers.

Joining a chat is really simple and anyone can do it. Just search on Twitter for one of the hashtags to see when a chat is live. You’ll be surprised at how many visitors you receive and also by how many blogger friends you will make!

3 – Competitions

Again, something else that has been touched on previously is competitions. Running your own competition on your blog is a fantastic way to share your content and encourage visitors. You don’t need a huge budget to run a competition, anything from a gift to a voucher works well and is welcomed with open arms on social media. In fact, it’s a visitor gold mine.

If for example you have a $20 voucher to give away, then write a post about the voucher on your blog and share it on social media encouraging your followers to “follow” and “retweet” your content. This method will literally have your content seen by thousands of users which will encourage more people to follow your blog. If you run a competition once per month, as an example. You are likely to see a decent increase in visitors and content sharing.

4 – Search Engines

Waiting for your new blog post to be picked up by the search engines can have you waiting for months on end. If you want Google, Bing and other search engines to pick up your content quickly, it might be worthwhile manually submitting your content. It’s really quick and easy to do and if you add the Bing and Google submission tools to your favourites as part of your blogging routine, it will quickly become something you automatically do. Search engines might still take some time to rank your content using this method but it is definitely worth trying out.

5 – Summary

To summarise, sharing your content is probably equally as important as creating good content. Using word of mouth is great for telling people when a new shop has opened in your area, or to let people know that there’s a new yoga class opening but not so effective for letting people at the opposite side of the country (or even the world) know about your latest blog post, which is why these methods for sharing your content are so important.

If you have any tips and tricks to tell us, we would love to hear from you! Please feel free to comment below or tweet us at @purelysocialtip
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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

Is following clients on Instagram a good idea?

image via flickr

image via flickr

We’ve managed accounts for several fashion and beauty businesses and often encounter the question of whether or not it makes sense to follow clients. Most of you in the fashion and beauty industry make it a practice to only follow those on social media who are in the industry. This helps you to network with colleagues, keep abreast of the goings-on and trends within the industry, and get inspiration. These are all great reasons to do so and you should definitely continue to follow those in the industry, but our thought is this: Yes. You should also follow your clients. We’ve heard several reasons for not following clients from: “I don’t want clients’ posts to distract from what I would like to see: i.e. posts within my silo” to “What’s the point in following clients period?” or a variant of a KPI question.

Here’s our point:

By not following clients and potential clients, you’re missing the whole point of social media. This goes back to understanding why you’re on social media in the first place. If you are on social media to reinforce a relationship with current clients and expand your client base, then you absolutely need to have a two-way relationship with your followers. If not, then it’s useful for other things (we’ll talk about specifics later), but not necessary.

The entire purpose of social media is to break the fourth wall and open communication that previously was non-existent between businesses and their customers. How are you going to have a conversation with your clients if they can only visit you on your terms i.e, your page.

The benefits of having a two-way relationship extend to both intangible and tangible forms.

The intangible benefits:

  • Building a relationship.

you get to know your followers on their turf, as well as yours, and gain an insight into their lives. You also are now have more of an opportunity to listen and converse. For example, if a client posts a picture of the hairstyle you just did for her, you then have the opportunity to gain permission to repost and image. More content that you don’t have to create. Potential clients who see this can now see your work in a relatable setting.

  • Humanizing the brand.

By engaging with your clients and showing them that you are not a robot, and that you care about the welfare of your clients, you bring a human face to the brand. This means don’t just follow and lurk, engage! Like a photo, talk about something relevant, reply to comments.

Too many businesses ignore comments. If your page is getting swamped with comments, you’re obviously not going to have time to reply to each one individually, but keep an eye out for questions and potential clients seeking information. This can be the deciding factor between whether you gain a new client or lose a potential client. If you don’t have time during business hours, delegate someone to take shifts or set aside an hour or two each day where you make a point to browse through your notifications and answer questions. If you’re just starting out and get very few comments, you absolutely need to make it your duty to respond to everyone, question or not. Show that you care that they took the time to leave a comment.

  • Building trust.

Going back to the example of re-posting a client’s image of your handy work, this is also an opportunity to build trust. How many of us have gone to a hair or nail salon and left less than pleased and now do detailed research before trying any new place?   By posting your handy work from your client’s perspective, you’re developing a rapport and showcasing verifiable reviews from clients that love you i.e., building trust.

The tangible benefits:

Higher potential for new clientele.

New clients are important to growth; a business can’t survive solely on repeat customers. In order to significantly increase revenue, the fact is that you need new customers. You need more people buying your products and your services in order for significantly increase growth and, as a result, revenue. This means that some time should be spent focusing on how to bring in new clientele. This is not to say that you should take any focus off of current repeat clients, you definitely should not, as repeat clients are fundamental to sustaining business. On the other hand, if growth is your goal, new clients are how you get it. Social media gives you the opportunity to reach clients in a way that no other marketing platform does. It essentially puts clients right at your doorstep and opens the door to their lives. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen posts of people moving to a new area and looking for a new stylist, nail salon, and or boutique. It happens on a regular basis, why not benefit from it.

Where do you start?

  1. Pay attention to who likes your content and do a little bit of research. Check out their page, see where they’re located. If they’re in your area, follow them.
  2. Check out who likes the content of those in your industry. Some instafamous people in the industry have followers from all over the world. If you check the comments, you’ll see from time to time people comment “I wish you were in *insert town here*.” If they mention your town or surrounding areas, this is your cue to step up and promote yourself. Don’t get ahead of yourself, no sales pitch necessary. Simply “Our salon/ boutique is right here in ______, check out our content” will suffice.
  3. See if there are any Instagram pages dedicated to your city and see who follows them. Do a little bit of sleuthing and see if you can find target client. If so, follow them.
  4. Take a look at your discovery tab, as you like and follow more content that’s relevant to you, the Discovery tab will pull more useful content. Instagram has nearly perfected this algorithm. Take full advantage of it.
  5. If your feed is too clogged, create a separate page just for yourself as the owner so you can see only what you want to see. Click here for a few apps that can help you manage multiple Instagram accounts.

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.