The Art of Hashtag

Using hashtags is an art form.

The hashtag is one of the most misunderstood tools of social media. Though many people use them (often excessively), their true purpose sometimes gets lost.

There are no definitive rules for how, or when, to use a hashtag; but there are methods for using them effectively, depending on intention and purpose.

When used effectively, hashtags can connect people, across the world, and allow them to communicate. They can raise awareness for causes, ideas and brands. Hashtags have the power to prove we all have more in common than not.

But using them properly takes skill, forethought and creativity. There is an art to hashtags.

 

Hashtags are engagement tools.

When you break it down, Twitter is simply a group of people speaking to each other (sometimes themselves), in real time.

But from the outside looking in, Twitter can look like a lot of noise. It can be difficult to separate one conversation from another.

Unless you’re use a hashtag.

Hashtags are engagement tools which let people label their own conversation, and let others join. Placing a hashtag within a tweet makes it easy to find, through Twitter’s search bar. They can also start trends and movements.

 

What is a hashtag? How do I Use a Hashtag?

The most common question people have when the first create a Twitter account, is “what’s the @#$% is a hashtag?” It’s a confusing form of communication, that doesn’t easily relate to our standard way of speaking.

The closest comparison is non-verbal communication. The hashtag can sometimes put emphasis on a statement. Or it can add subtext.

Essentially, the hashtag adds context to your message. It’s like rolling your eyes, using air-quotes, or using hand gestures. In a static form of communication, like simple text, the hashtag adds flair.

But the first time you see it, the meaning is usually lost.

 

When Should I Use a Hashtag?

While new Twitter users may not understand the purpose of a hashtag, some social media veterans and millennials don’t fully get it either.

In my opinion, there are 3 main functional uses for the hashtag. Let me break it down.

 

Join the Conversation

A hashtag lets you connect with people talking about the same subject. Adding hashtags lets others discover a tweet through Twitter’s search bar. Once searched, every tweet that includes the hashtag is displayed.

For some hashtags, there may be a few tweets a minute, or hour. Other times, like during popular cultural events (the Super Bowl, The Voice season finale, or the police chasing a couple llamas across Arizona), several tweets per second can appear.

These popular cultural events, and the Twitter response to them, are called live tweeting, and involve a large group of people all talking about the same topic.

Live tweeting is the world’s largest, active conversation about the same topic.

Using hashtags lets people join the conversation, and connect with others (sometimes strangers) interested in the same subject.

When you want to communicate with others about a particular topic, hashtags can help you connect

 

Get Discovered

Twitter is a powerful two-way communication tool. Through the platform, people can speak directly to friends, strangers and public figures.

But sometimes people aren’t looking for a dialogue; instead preferring the soliloquy.

In 2010, Twitter reported performing 1.6 billion search queries per day. The current number is guaranteed to be higher, as there were only 50 million active Twitter users in 2010.  As of Q3 2015, there were over 300 million active users.

Twitter is one of the top search engines in the world, and it can be used as a source for sharing your message.

Hashtags can be used to help others discover a specific topic. Adding them to a tweet will allow it to appear when users search for that hashtag.

If you have a message to share, but don’t want to start a conversation, hashtags can help you categorize and store your message for future discovery.

However, there are many popular hashtags that are searched for regularly. Even more, some people track specific hashtags, and are alerted whenever a tweet is posted which includes it. While others have lists and filters which only show tweets using a specific hashtag.

Not only can a hashtag let you categorize your tweet for later discovery, it can be used to get discovered in real time.

 

Start a Trend

Most people and brands don’t have the type of influence, or clout, to start a Twitter trend without spending money on advertising.  But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible; just difficult.

A hashtag can become trending. This occurs when a large number of people tweet using the same hashtag. This often occurs during live tweeting events, but can happen naturally, or through persuasion.

People and brands with social influence often start trending hashtags. When celebrities, television shows, or other sources with large followings, encourage fans to use a specific hashtag, people generally oblige.

The most common reason to get a hashtag to trend is to raise awareness.

When people tweet with a specific hashtag, their Twitter followers see it; which in turn, can lead to them clicking the hashtag and discovering a large group of people using it as well. Out of curiosity, and fear of missing out (FOMA), these people will investigate and try to figure out what everyone is talking about. Before long, they’ll trace the hashtag back to its source, and possibly discover a new social influencer.

This is an effective form of branding and marketing, and can raise awareness through word-of-mouth.

But sometimes hashtag trends happen organically. If there is a cause that appeals to the masses, they may share the hashtag as well. This can often occur as a form of activism, but can be used whenever there is an idea or belief that unites people.

Starting hashtag trends are the best way to raise awareness, get discovered, and start a conversation. Not everyone has the power to do this, but when accomplished, the hashtag is at its most powerful.

 

Hashtags can be fun, or they can be powerful tools. They can add flair to your sentence, or unite a nation.

When used effectively, hashtags can spread a single message further than any other form of communication currently available in the world. A single hashtag can connect people of all beliefs, lifestyles and cultures, and can pass through borders with ease.

Their power is unmatched in communication, but too few people understand how to use them effectively. Using hashtags properly combines science and artistry.

To get the most out of them, you must learn the art of hashtag.

 

This blog was originally posted on “A Working Progress” @ BecauseYouGoogledMe.com

 

 

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LinkedIn Tips for Salespeople

LinkedIn Tips for Salespeople

LinkedIn is the professional’s social media platform. A great tool for salespeople.

As of Q1 ‘15, LinkedIn had 364 million users; 107 million in the U.S. alone.

The old, tried-and-true, sales techniques, of cold-calling, networking and prospecting still work. But with LinkedIn as an additional sales tool, these techniques can be improved.

Curated below are a few tools, tips and tricks that salespeople can use to optimize their lead generation skills. Included are some resources LinkedIn provides to members looking to get more out of their social media experience; along with tips from several successful online marketing gurus.

Sales Navigator

LinkedIn offers a (paid) service, called Sales Navigator. LinkedIn describes the service as follows:

LinkedIn Sales Navigator helps you find the right prospects, fast. With LinkedIn’s sophisticated algorithm, this sales tool gives you lead recommendations that are tailored to you. Easily save leads and follow updates of your prospects to turn cold calling into warm conversations.

An investment in this LinkedIn tool will greatly expand a salesperson’s, network and pool of potential leads. With advanced search features, lead-building tools and analytics, the Sales Navigator can enhance a salesperson’s tried-and-true techniques. The potential ROI for this tool makes worth consideration.

LinkedIn eBook

LinkedIn offers its very own free eBook, titled, 7 Social Selling Tips to Drive Revenue and Crush your Quote.

Portions of the eBook, its Table of Contents, and a brief introduction, can all be found in the link above.

The free eBook provides tips, such as:

  • Addressing Changing Buyer Behavior
  • Identifying the Right People in Target Organizations
  • Taking Advantage of Team Buying
  • Identifying the Right Topics to Talk About

The entire eBook can be downloaded, for free, simply by providing some personal information (most of which can be uploaded/auto-filled directly from your LinkedIn profile).

 

The 3 Step Approach

Jeff Molander is an adjunct digital marketing faculty member at Loyola University’s business school, and a self-proclaimed authority on social selling. Across Jeff’s website and social media profiles, are valuable social selling tips, tricks and techniques; most of which can be incorporated by salespeople across industries.

Jeff offers many tips for Using LinkedIn for Sales Prospecting and Leads, on his website. In addition, you can find multiple blogs, articles and online courses published on his site.

Much of the advice Jeff provides is helpful, especially to salespeople; and I suggest reviewing as much of it as time permits. But I’d like to concentrate on one specific tip Jeff offers:

Start using LinkedIn to:

  1. Answer: Answer your target customers’ common, everyday questions in ways that bring them toward your product.
  2. Provoke: Design interactions with prospects in ways that get them to ask you for MORE answers relating to their ultimate goal.
  3. Exchange: Provide comprehensive answers and solutions to prospects in exchange for their email address and/or other qualitative information.

Lead Generation

For the salesperson, LinkedIn can be a valuable a tool; with a very specific, and functional, purpose. But like all tools, with just a little creativity, it can be helpful in ways that go beyond its intentional function..

It is extremely important to fill out your entire LinkedIn profile. Not only will this provide a clear picture of your history, experience and abilities, but will make it easier for others to discover you via search.

Still, there are many more tips for finding LinkedIn success.

In an article written for SmallBizTrends.com, 13 members of the Young Entrepreneur Council were asked to provide creative tips for generating leads on LinkedIn.

The article is titled, 13 Creative Ways to Use LinkedIn for Lead Generation, and offers these tips and more:

  • Participate in discussions: “There are targeted discussion groups on LinkedIn for almost every niche imaginable….Give your expert knowledge freely, and start relationships in these groups.” – Patrick Conley
  • Research profile views: “LinkedIn has a feature that shows you people who visited your profile…Someone who spent time on your profile is likely a lead worth reaching out to.” – Devesh Dwivedi
  • Publish articles: “If you utilize LinkedIn to educate leads, you’ll provide more value and ultimately form stronger relationships.” – Kelsey Meyer

These tips provide a blueprint for how and where to start improving sales via LinkedIn. As the professional’s social media platform, LinkedIn can be an asset, in terms of networking, gathering prospects and nurturing leads.

Contact Me

If you’re interested in additional tips for improving your LinkedIn profile, increasing connections, and being discovered, connect with me on LinkedIn. Follow me on Twitter: @CuzYouGoogledMe and visit my website: www.BecauseYouGoogledMe.com.

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1st World Digital Marketing Problems

 

In essence, we must fail to succeed. – Daniel M. Christensen

What can you learn from reading LinkedIn updates? That everyone is an expert. Regardless of their field, every professional is convinced they must prove they have all the answers. Because of the inherent self-promotional attitude necessary, marketing professionals suffer from this “guru-mentality” at much higher percentages. Every marketer, especially in the digital realm, is convinced their methods will lead to success. They’ve tested, perfected and out-performed all of their peers.

The truth is, however, most digital marketers simply pick-and-choose segments of data, test results and insights to “Frankenstein” their own personal creed. No marketer likes to admit they’re still learning.

Luckily this method works. Too many executives, bosses and decision-makers know too little about the industry. They hear their business must exist online, but don’t know how truly make it grow. They understand social media is culture’s latest “fad,” and believe simply existing on Facebook will grow their business.

They want success, but don’t always believe in investing in true talent. True success comes from true talent. Talent’s the offspring of competition. To compete is to fail. And to fail is to learn. In essence, we must fail to succeed.

But before one can succeed, it is necessary to teach the inexperienced. In today’s corporate environment, all people, regardless of title, must keep social media in their mind. Today, no business-related action lives in isolation. It is crucial to include marketing teams in most business decisions, since each decision affects customers. And marketing teams are often the first point-of-contact for many customers. Whether through social media, email, or online review, customer’s opinions are often first heard by marketing teams.

Unfortunately, too many people are still unsure what digital marketing entails. It’s time we discussed today’s most common misconceptions.

1st World Digital Marketing Problems:

What my Boss thinks I do…

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What my Co-Workers think I do…

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What the Accounting Department thinks I do…

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What the Web Designer thinks I do…

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What the I.T. Guy thinks I do…

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What Google Search thinks I do…

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What my Customer’s Inbox thinks I do…

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What my Grandmother thinks I do…

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What my Friends think I do…

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What my Optometrist thinks I do…

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What Teenagers think I do…

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