How To Use Hashtags For Small To Medium Sized Business (SMB) Marketers

twitter hashtag #LongIslandCity | kinetic knowledgeHashtags should be a part of your social media strategy! For those small to medium sized businesses out of the loop, Twitter is where the concept got popular; however, virtually ALL social networks NOW service hashtags! 

For the SMB it’s a huge opportunity to broaden visibility or, better yet, for ‘broader content marketing reach‘ amongst qualified individuals actually searching for information on a particular subject. While there is no direct SEO value in hashtags, they will increase the search- ability of content… and interaction with content leads to signals that do improve SEO

Hashtags Defined

Simply put, hashtags are created by pairing a number sign (#) with a word or phrase. By adding the #hashtag to your latest tweet or status entry you can simultaneously have it enter a place where similar information is being aggregated. Think of #hashtags as social network bookmarks for the automatic & continuous collection of Facebook Post With Hashtags | Kinetic Knowledge Facebookcontent related to that particular topic. For instance, posting a message with #SmallBiz to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus or other social networks will add it to a live aggregation of posts that include the same #SmallBiz hashtag. If you target B to B marketers, they may just find you there.

SMB HashTag Mistakes To Avoid!

Like with any content online, exercise caution! There are some embarrassing #hashtag minefields out there so don’t ever forget to research them before using them. Take a look at the #hashtag in the social network you are working to see what it’s being used for and avoid any potentially embarrassing mistakes:

  1. Deaf Ears: Understand why a hashtag exists or why people are using it. If no one is paying attention, the effort of adding it will be wasted. And know that the vast majority of hashtags are met with web-wide indifference, so look for where there’s opportunity first.
  2. Desperate: Don’t overwhelm posts and tweets with too many #hashtags. It’s never appealing to readers and it certainly can make you look desperate.  Maybe 2- 4 maximum is best practice. 
  3. Hijacking: Don’t be the problem! Don’t hijack social media with worthless entries and as a result, undermine its value for the people you seek. Certainly not if you want value from Hashtags yourself. Per Nick Denton of Gawker fame, “The idea of harnessing the intelligence of readership has been lost in the quest for Facebook likes. For many, readers have become synonymous with hateful commenters. It’s time for a renewed push to realize some of the original dreams of the web.”
  4. Bad Taste: The Kenneth Cole brand has had a couple poor taste tweets now, but Facebook Hashtagsduring the fighting in Cairo when they tweeted with the hashtag #Cairo, “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo – KC” they were ripped apart in the media and online for their insensitivity. 
  5. Too Risky: Skittles invited people to tweet about them and then allowed that activity to hit their home page. Amidst all the activity that ensued there were some horrible tweets they may have regretted being visible on their home page. McDonalds wanted to have a collection of customer love stories so they invited ‘love story’ tweets to #McDStories. Unfortunately people tweeted some awful things about their food and the campaign was shut down within a couple hours.
  6. Unrelated Conversations: Entenmann’s tweeted, “Who’s #notguilty about eating all the tasty treats they want?!”; thereby, entering themselves into a conversation that had no place for ‘baked treat marketing’. There was backlash and soon thereafter they felt compelled to tweet again “Sorry everyone, we should have checked the trending hashtag first.”


SMB Hashtag Marketing Tips!

  1. Use Camel Case: When using a hashtag with more than one word, capitalize each word = #SmallBiz. Hashtag searches are NOT case sensitive and forgetting capitalization won’t decrease visibility, but it will make longer hashtags much easier to read.
  2. Target: Enter tweets or status with hashtags only where you can target qualified clients. For instance, it’s likely many small to medium sized marketers follow #SmallBiz #SMB #marketiGoogle Plus Hashtagsng for advice and resources. All three are highly active hashtags, but they may not be as useful for the business to consumer (B To C) marketer!
  3. For Sales Add #sales, #ShopLocal +#(your city or town):  If you are running a sale these hashtags may be key to spreading the word! Even if shoppers don’t search the hashtag in Twitter, related coupon sites or local magazines or even blogs may share them with their audience.
  4. For Jobs Add #jobs, #networking, #hiring: Professionals use Twitter to search and it’s only likely they will use the same method in other social networks servicing hashtags. Post a job with the hashtag #jobs or #hiring or #networking, alongside the position and people on the hunt will find it!
  5. Create New Conversations: For the SMB, create conversations that might serve a local area, a neighborhood, town or county like #TorontoHomes. If the new conversation takes off it may keep your brand visible for a very long run!
  6. Track Target Conversations:  It can be set up in a HooteSuite or TweetDeck account, and depending on who’s entering what into that stream of targeted hashtag consciousness, there may be business at stake! If you’re a real estate agent in Honolulu, it’d be nice to see people tweeting in real- time about how much they want a Honolulu HI Condo with a view of the water. And there’d be nothing stopping you from direct messaging in real- time with some great waterfront listing information!

Hashtags Summarized

It’s obvious that hashtags can be a blessing when it comes to your marketing; however there are as many pitfalls as there are opportunities. In order to promote your SMB in social media, think about clever ways to leverage hashtags that add value. If you haven’t yet, jump in with something easy; always watch what’s going on, experiment and be careful!

what has come of comments

 

A PROLIFERATION OF COMMENT SPAM!

While an old friend and I caught up yesterday, he mentioned an annoying form of comment spam he’s seeing more and more of. He described seemingly nice comments that appear to be generated by humans (because they make it through his Captcha defense to the moderation area of his site’s dashboard). While many of these comments have broken english, most also carry BAD or ‘irrelevant to the pages purpose’ links! And he’s likely no different than you and certainly not us here at Kinetic Knowledge! We’ve written about it before, but there’s no time like the present to sound the alarm. Especially because there is a proliferation of this activity!

WHY DOES IT HAPPEN? 

As some may be aware, comments have become a common place for spammers (or bad SEO firms, take your pick) to target back links! They’re looking for links from your trusted website’s comment area to their site (or their client sites). What used to be a direct reference to porn or prescription drugs NOW typically appears friendly or even complimentary. Do these look familiar to you?

 

    • “This is a topic that is near to my heart… Cheers!”
    • “I just encountered your site and really loved it. I’m going to add a bookmark, keep up the good work!”
    • “I really loved your blog, but noticed it doesn’t load quickly in my browser. I thought you might like to know.”
    • “Very interesting post, thanks for the great read!”

Nice, complimentary … right? No! Likely they are all spam so BEWARE! This is potentially a problem and if you approve bad links you not only reward the spammer, but potentially hurt your search engine rank. Granted the engines have likely factored knowledge of the practice into how their algorithms review a site’s content, but no need to take any chances. Worse, it can hurt trust with visitors who don’t approve. Even if you “nofollow” comment links it only prevents the spammer from getting points with Google. The link will always have potential to send readers to unrelated or even spam- based websites.

 

VIDEO: MODERATING COMMENTS IN YOUR DASHBOARD

 

MOST LOCAL PROSPECTS DON’T COMMENT ANYWAY

 

Per CT Real Estate Broker Linda Davis “Buyers and sellers typically research and then they get in touch direct via phone or email. The fact is, most consumers don’t socially network. What’s more, they may not want to discuss business matters publicly.” A Nielsen study shows that 90% of ‘onliners’ read, but do not comment; 9% comment some and 1% are just active. So, to make the obvious parallel, most of your existing or prospective clients DO NOT add comments to your site.

 

YOUR OPTIONS WITH COMMENTS

  1. Take the leap of faith that some good will come from comments, albeit moderated, making a regular review worth the effort
  2. No follow the links in comments to protect against any damage with search rank and allow them to fly, but as discussed above – this still exposes visitors to bad links
  3. Turn off comments on posts older than a certain timeframe, like maybe 90 days
  4. Just turn off comments

Bottom line- you need to understand the positives and negatives of social comments on your site. If you choose to have them, one way or another, be sure to review the affiliated links whether the comment itself is friendly, helpful or seemingly harmless! LIKE IT OR NOT, it is highly likely spammers are attempting to catch you off guard!

 

Facebook Open Graph Search | Kinetic KnowledgeWhat Is a ‘Social Graph’?

  The social graph in terms of the Internet has been referred to as “global mapping of everybody and how they are related.” Better yet it’s a giant graph meant to
demonstrate the personal relationships of Internet users … and Facebook wants to exploit it.

What Is ‘Social Graph Search’?

  And we all thought we were just sharing a few laughs with friends… Social graph search is search & search results based upon what we and our friends like or do. Facebook wants to expose all the personal information it has, currently the largest social database in the world, for their new pillar application ‘Social Graph Search’.

How Will It Be Used?

  It’s going to be search, but the results will be related to ‘connections’ [and possibly their connections’ connections] activity. Don’t get too excited yet, Social Graph Search is in beta testing and only available to a select few Facebookers’ right now. They say they have a long way to go with it, but as it’s rolled out early focus will be on searching people, photos, places and business pages. For individuals it might mean being able to search “what friends like to snowboard” maybe to find a travel mate for that vacation time coming due. For a business, say a Ski Resort, it might mean coming up in the results when individuals search and their friends have liked it. For instance, maybe “what resorts do friends like to snowboard”. 

Is It Important To Business?

  All marketers are going to want to be visible in an environment where lots of people search, especially if we can be on the positive end of people’s thoughts and activity. So while not a huge thing so far and certainly not a part of Facebook’s standard search yet, it’s likely to going to be very important. Maybe one day as important as the consumer visibility we all seek in Google now.

What Should Business People Do?

 With Facebook Business pages, we want to keep gathering those likes. We want to be active posting specials, new products, blog posts and valuable comments by engagement and the number of fans is likely going to matter. You want to be sure you’ve been thorough in detailing your profile in the About page including an address and categories. For the local business Facebook’s Social Graph Search may even become more relevant than some of the big review directory sites, so be sure to jump in… and we’ll keep you informed as this evolves.

 

See Facebook Advertising Management

edmonton real estate market

Success With A Facebook Fan Page In Edmonton

While it can be difficult to quantify how Facebook measures up versus other marketing opportunities, it’s certainly a place to keep your circle of influence informed. And while feeding content from your primary brand is a start, top Edmonton AB Real Estate firm ‘The Schmidt Realty Group’ is rapidly accumulating a following … by finding efficient ways to participate:

Hi Kathy. Looks like you’re having a lot of success in Facebook. What are you guys doing with your page to get all those fans?

Thanks Chris! We have worked hard to develop a page worth following 🙂 Our page is less than one year old and we are constantly seeking to improve our online presence. When we first created our site with Kinetic we did a phone campaign as a team to check in with all our past clients and we had an exciting new website. Similarly with our new Facebook page we got in touch with our clients in a number of ways to let them know about it. We announced it in our monthly newsletter and every team member did a post on their own Facebook profile to invite people to visit our page. As well, we emailed our clients to invite them to check it out as well. And for our whole first year we have let people know that we will donate a dollar to Habitat for Humanity Edmonton for every new fan on our page!

Of course getting the fan is one thing, keeping them is another! We are very aware that we have to earn the right to those fans every day. In terms of content, we have a number of posting “streams” to keep it interesting and varied. I created a Facebook Team in my company, which consists of myself, our marketing coordinator and one of our realtors who not only has an interest in Facebook and social media, but who has a great sense of humor and is already active on Facebook herself. Each of us has a clear role. Danielle, our marketing coordinator, is responsible for consistency – ensuring that that we have a consistent presence on our page. To do this she posts our new listings (weekly, not daily as then it’s too much about “sales”), and she also posts information on new marketing approaches we are taking. I am responsible for credibility – this means that I ensure that there is information going on the page about the market and our local economy. I forward online articles about our economy or other items of interest to homeowners in our area to Danielle to post on the blog, and then these become part of our FB page as well. Natasha is responsible for personality 🙂 She collects stories from the team (and steals, with permission, from our team member’s own Facebook profiles) to give our fans a feel for who we are as people, and for our corporate culture. A lot of these posts are pretty funny, and some of them are just plain happy, like pictures of clients getting the keys to their new home. Together we form the Facebook Trifecta lol! And it seems to give us a good balance of content.

Also, it’s important to note that everything we do is connected. We post to our blog (thank you again Kinetic Knowledge!) and it automatically feeds to both Facebook and Twitter. All of our team members are also fans of our page and so they get the new posts in their own newsfeed. We encourage them to “share” a post once a week with their Facebook friends, and to add a personal comment to the post so that it is truly from them,

Wow, incredible discipline Kathy. Do you guys set & pursue any goals in particular?

Obviously it’s good to have a lot of fans, but in particular I hope that the people we already have relationships with will find enough value to be worthy of them following us. We are a referral based business and deepening our relationships with our clients is not only smart business, frankly it is a really fun way to do business as well. I love connecting with my own past clients on Facebook and having a company page is just one more way to stay in touch. Our next focus will be to engage our fans more in conversations on our page 🙂

So right now, its reinforcement of your brand & repeat impressions with people who know ‘The Schmidt Realty Group’. Has it been difficult to find the time?

By linking our FB page with our site, and by sharing the workload with our internal FB Team, it is not overwhelming for any of us. We have run contests from time to time as well to encourage other team members to send their photos and stories to Natasha to ensure she has lots of material to draw on.

Have you been able to generate new business?

Definitely! FB has brought us business, specifically through the personal profiles of our team members and their efforts to connect with people. It’s difficult to measure whether or not our page has brought us business on its own as it is all so inter-connected, however we recently hired a new staff member and the top two candidates looked at our page and really liked what they saw! So, while it might not be the first place people hear about us, I believe that increasingly it is a place where people will visit to decide if we are the kind of organization that they would like to work with. That’s why we focus so much on making sure our corporate culture rings through loud and clear on our page 🙂

Thanks for sharing this with everyone Kathy 🙂

My pleasure Chris! I hope it’s helpful to your readers! If I can make one final comment it would simply be this… Just start! Take the plunge into social media. Get your feet wet and learn by doing. If you wait till you’ve got it all figured out, the landscape will have changed again anyway 🙂 Start connecting today!