Facebook Hashtags - what are they and how do they work?

Facebook intoduced hashtags and we want to make sure you understand what they are and how they work.  

We’ve been talking about doing video for a long time and we’re starting to actually to produce them (exciting!)

Watch the video and let us know in the comments what you think and if you have any other questions.  And if it was helpful, we’d love if you would share it!


Why Instagram is good for your business

Instagram is a free photo sharing app for android and iOS devices that turns everyone into a photographer. Since it’s inception in 2010, this photo sharing platform has grown by leaps and bounds and now boasts over 90 million users who are posting about 40 million photos a day, generating nearly 8,500 “likes” per second.

Instagram allows users to take a photo, apply photo filters and captions and share it through a variety of social networking services including Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and on Instagram itself. Instagram is sort of like Twitter, except instead of connecting with others using 140 characters or less, you’re connecting through the sharing of photos.


Add Some Personality To Your Business

If you’re wondering why we’re talking about Instagram, thinking that it’s just some fad for the young, you should know that it’s also an effective tool to add to your business’ social media strategy.  If you’ve already established a business presence on other social networks, you can leverage Instagram’s potential by sharing what’s going on in your office across multiple networks. It can help highlight your products and services but it can also help humanize your business by allowing you to share pictures of what’s happening in your office. In addition to sharing images of your new products and services, you can post pictures of your staff parties, office mascots, crazy hat day, employee of the month, whatever.  It’s also a way for you to take your customers with you to trade shows or promotional events so your audience can get a feel for your brand by learning about the events or causes you attend, support or sponsor.

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

By adding captions to your photos before you upload them, you can increase the potential for customer engagement - by asking questions, including calls to action or posting tips online. Whether you have a brick and mortar or online business, you can increase interactions with your audience by beginning the conversation through images and captions. You can even use hashtags to help you organize your photos and to help your Instagram connections to find photos on topics that interest them (like your products).


Take a look at 5 Awesome Examples of Instagram marketing from real brands.

Reward Your Audience

Everyone loves to win and Instagram is the perfect platform to hold contests to promote your business. Asking your customers to share pictures of themselves using or promoting your products in order to win free stuff is a great way to go. Instagram can be an effective and fun way to get Instagram users and other lovers of social media talking about who you are and what you do.

Some say that taking your business online can dehumanize the customer experience. When you’re looking to build trust in what you offer, this can be a bad thing. Instagram lets you put a face, literally, on your business efforts in ways that can be targeted to help build confidence in you and your brand. And that’s always good for business.

Are you using Instagram yet? If you have any questions on how Instagram could help enhance your social media strategy, we’d be happy to help.

Buzz and Brilliance: Week ending Mar 23

Over the week we go through a lot of content - news and blog posts, how tos and conceptual posts on the state of the internet.  Every Sunday we share some of our favourites with you.

Check out the links and let us know in the comments if you have any questions or if you read any great posts this week!


I’m always trying to learn more, and always looking for the time to do it.  That’s why I love podcasts - they’re perfect for when you’re driving or cleaning.  Amy Porterfield has a relatively new podcast that I’m really enjoying, am learning from and being inspired to action by. Check it out. 

Why should you have a blog and be creating niche content?  It’s one of the best ways ways to increase visability for what you do.  Add search engine optimization and measuring and reacting to that information and you have the top three online marketing action points in this article by Lee Frederikson

Are you fairly certain you’d have nothing to say if you had a blog?  Here are some great ideas on generating ideas for content that people will find really interesting on Copyblogger. 


Twitter turned SEVEN this week!!! Hard to believe it’s been that long since the network got its start, but it’s true. I loved reading this Twitter story on Social North from Craig Silva. Be sure to share your twitter story in the comments!

There are some interesting insights in this article from Ilana Rabinowitz on Social Media Explorer. The clear message in traditional advertising seems to be (from her limited viewing) a move to more personal. So, now we need to apply that to social network interactions. My personal view is that we can indeed offer a personal touch. It’s simply a matter of altering how you communicate.

Hashtags might be on their way to Facebook and it’s got everyone talking about what this means, whether it will work and if it’s a valuable addition. In light of graph search, I’d say hashtags are going to make Facebook incredibly powerful. It will also mean (again) that people need to be careful of what they post.

Any time I see a post about social media and small businesses, I have to read it (Inkling Media). I think this one is particularly poignant for me because I’ve rarely met a small biz owner who wasn’t passionate about what they do. So, even if they aren’t passionate about social media, sharing about what they do online shouldn’t be a hard sell. Right?

The Media Mesh

Case Study: The facts about buying Twitter “followers”

Facebook Page Guidelines: The rules have changed for cover photos…again

How to set up or change your Facebook vanity URLs

App of the Week - Discussion

There’s a new app from Google called Keep - it’s essentially another version of Evernote (or One Note, Springpad or a number of others out there.) I’m inclined to agree with Om Malik that I won’t be using it. Even if I have to pay $50 a year to ensure Evernote sticks around, I trust them to do so more than I ever will a free Google service. This, my friends, is why I’m happy to pay for apps that are valuable to me. ~Karen

Leave us a comment and tell us what some of your favourite reads were this week!

How I grew my twitter following

A question that we often get from clients and prospects is, “How do I get more followers/fans?” Twitter is usually the hardest to understand, especially when someone is just starting out.

My Twitter Story

I joined twitter in 2008. I didn’t even sign myself up, so I finally looked at my account about 3 weeks after it was opened. I sent out the obligatory first tweet…something along the lines of, “So, this is twitter. Whazzup.” (Kidding. My first tweet was much more lame.) I think I even followed a few people. Then I tweeted a couple more times and decided that the whole thing stunk. I walked away and didn’t come back for several months. I was in marketing and I’d heard so much about how good twitter was and I had a desire to figure out why.

My second, third, fourth and up to my twentieth visit, I still wasn’t convinced. Then, one day about eight months after I joined, it all clicked into place. I had not only a clear idea of how amazing this tool was, but I could also see exactly what kind of strategy I could implement for the business I worked for at the time. It wasn’t an easy process. I forced myself to use Twitter until I figured out what I could do with it. Every minute of that time was worth it.

Once I had figured out what I was doing, I used Twitter better. This led to some interesting interactions with brands around customer service that solidified my thoughts on how businesses could use it.

My experiences have been primarily personal up until the last year and a half. I’ve used Twitter to grow several blogs. I’ve used it to converse and build relationships with people I call my friends. I’ve used it to share my thoughts and other information that I believe is relevant to others. For most of the time I’ve been on Twitter, I have not applied a strategy to what, when or how I tweet. While that could work for businesses, it’s certainly not going to work nearly as effectively as having a solid plan.

I recently surpassed 4,000 followers, which is really not a lot considering how long I’ve been on Twitter. It is, however, a good following and you can get there too.

Here are a few things I did that went a long way to growing my following:

1) Get involved in the conversation.

There are so many awesome people on Twitter and when you start chatting with them, you can make connections. This is relationship-building at its simplest. Jump into conversations. Don’t be intimidated. Be personable and don’t make a sales pitch.

2) Twitter parties and hashtags!

I participated in a 3-days-long “Twitter party” in 2010 that was a satire of a major conference that was happening at the time. It was done in good fun and was motivated out of a desire for those of us who couldn’t attend the conference to have a good time. Hundreds of people jumped into this hashtag and I gained 250 followers in those three days. 

These aren’t typical results from using a hashtag, but it illustrates how participation in a community (the hashtag) and conversing (I chatted with so many new people!) can grow your audience. Businesses have to be professional, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be personable.

3) Follow people on lists.

I guesstimate that more than half the people who follow me (and probably 2/3 that I follow) are from Ottawa or near Ottawa. I connected with many of them through a hashtag (#BOLOttawa in 2010) and later that summer, lists were rolled out. I’m on many “Ottawa” lists. I have looked at those lists to see who I’m not following and connect with them because I want to know the people in my community. I call this targeted following.

4) Face time is the best time.

I’ve attended many tweetups where I’ve met so many people. Making a connection online is a process that cannot be valued enough, but taking that online connection offline solidifies and strengthens it. Don’t forget to get out into the community and connect in person.

5) Watch others in your industry.

Maybe it’s a competitor. Maybe it’s your suppliers, distributors or other associates. Who do they follow? Who do they list? And, even better, who is following them? This is another way to do targeted following so that the audience you grow will be relevant. 

Now, go get started!

It doesn’t have to take a great deal of time to do this. You can add five minutes a day to the ten you’re already spending on Twitter. Spend ten minutes today making a list of accounts to check and spend five minutes a day on targeted following. Make it a goal to follow 100 new people per month and tell us how you do!

I’d love to hear your Twitter story. Leave me a comment with how you’ve grown your audience and connected with others.

Social SEO and You Part 3 – Twitter

 I’m thrilled to have Brandon back for part three of his Social SEO and You guest post series (post 1 and post 2), this time about Twitter. Enjoy!

Brandon is a consultant, business marketing grad, strategist, house music junkie, avid reader, speaker, and coffee fiend. He likes to make and break stuff, currently working in the Light Apps division at Corel and the CEO of his own start-up Incentify.

You can find him @BrandonWaselnuk

I want to start this post with a nice be caveat, Twitter and SEO are a pretty big unknown for the most part, there’s lots of news/research/posts that both say Twitter does and does not help your SEO. Therefore this post will cover the areas in which there are some pretty proven facts on it helping your website’s SEO as well as a lot around how to help your ‘Twitter SEO’ meaning – Helping you get found on Twitter, which will help you personally lead people to your site.

Key Factors

Here are three quick facts on Twitter and how it relates to SEO:

  • The more @replys you get to a tweet, the higher your SEO – Now the debate is on whether this just helps that tweet become more relevant in Twitter (proven fact) and if it also helps the link inside that tweet (unknown at this point)

  • The more retweets you get, the higher your SEO – Same rules as above

  • Make your Bio Count – This is a huge deal, it’s not only how you represent yourself to others but it also plays a pretty big role in SEO, Google actually indexes your bio. Therefore if someone Googles your name it’s very likely you’re Twitter will pop up and they get that bio blurb, it’ll also help your website (if you link to that in your bio) etc.


How to Create Success

A lot of you who are good with Twitter will recognize most of these points, they are simple yet many overlook these easy guidelines sometimes.

  • Allow for ‘Quote retweeting’, try to keep tweets to 120 characters to allow, basically when people want to add their own message on your tweet. Eg. “Amazing graphs! RT: @blah….”

  • Use Link shorteners such as Hootsuite and Bit.ly for metric tracking and to reduce character spend

  • Above all be ‘real’; twitter is a giant conversation so be conversational, you wouldn’t want a dude on the street wearing a sandwich board to offer you a flier with coupons? So don’t do it in Twitter

  • Use appropriate hashtags (#awesome) for reach expansion, but don’t get crazy with them!

  • Get out and help others, retweet them, respond to them, they’ll pay it back

  • Try to spread tweets out over the day, often tweet just never ‘bulk tweet’ (5 posts at the same time for example)

  • Promote Blog sites as it’s an easy glide path for twitter users, from short conversations to longer opinions where they can still comment and engage


Build ‘Followers’, Links, and PageRank

Twitter internally links your followers to your profile; therefore higher PageRank followers give your page a boost as well. Meaning, if you have high clout big names on Twitter following you, it’ll boost you in the process. FYI PageRank is basically Google’s term for the spot at which your page shows up in a Google search.

Thanks a Ton

I hope this helps you out a bit and I love questions so if you have any please leave them in the comments and I’ll answer to the best of my abilities!


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