Category Archives: Social Media Advice

What is a Hashtag & how to use them on Twitter?

How to use Hashtags on Twitter

What is a Hashtag?

If you search “What is a Hashtag?” on Google this is what you get

hashtag
ˈhaʃtaɡ/
noun
  1. a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media sites such as Twitter to identify messages on a specific topic.
    “spammers often broadcast tweets with popular hashtags even if the tweet has nothing to do with them”

In simple terms this is what a Hashtag is but where people get confused is that you can use Hashtags in different ways.

Using the # (hash) sign to tag a word started out on Twitter in 2007 and was actually suggested by a Twitter user Chris Messina as a way to group tweets, it took a while to take off but now hashtags are all over Twitter and other Social Media Sites too.

Hashtags are basically a word or words that have the # sign at the start, they are often used for networking hours and chats so that people involved in the conversations can see what other people also taking part in the hour are tweeting about.  Here in Lincolnshire 2 popular hashtags are #LincsHour on a Monday evening between 8-9pm and #LincsConnect which can be used anytime.  Notice there is no space between the words, this is significant as if you use a space the only word that is tagged is the first word, so both hashtags would be #Lincs Hour rather than #LincsHour and #Lincs Connect rather than #LincsConnect.  If you put a hashtag into the search box on Twitter then a selection of Tweets with that hashtag in will be shown to you.

Searching a hashtag

How to use Hashtags?

As mentioned Hashtags are used for grouping tweets on networking hours, they are also used by TV programmes to encourage viewers to tweet while watching such as #SCD for Strictly Come Dancing or #TheVoice or whatever TV programmes you are interested in.

Hashtags can be used for events such as conferences, where a hashtag will be used to promote the event before it takes place and then also during the event by speakers, exhibitors and attendees.

Current affairs also have hashtags associated with them as this is something that people are interested in following and tweeting about.

You can create your own Hashtag just make sure it isn’t being used by anyone else, however if you are just starting out using Hashtags it makes more sense to use existing popular tags in your business or location.

Don’t over use Hashtags in a tweet, 2 hashtags per tweet is enough.

If you would like to read more about How to use Hashtags check out Mashable’s post

Popular Hashtags you might see

#FF or #FollowFriday I think this was the first hashtag I came across, the idea is you give a shoutout to people you think are worth following.

#LincsConnect This is for Lincolnshire people, businesses and charities and the idea is that people using it retweet other people’s tweets to help promote each other.

#SBS stands for Small Business Sunday and is a competition run by Theo Paphitis between 5pm-7.30pm on a Sunday, where businesses can tweet @TheoPaphitis using #SBS and describe their business, in the hope of being pick as one of the lucky 6 who get retweeted that week by Theo.  However searching for this hashtag will also give results for SBSnews.

What Hashtags do you use regularly and would recommend to other people?

Want to learn more about how to use Twitter to promote your business, then take a look at my 30 days to Twitter Success course

What do your Tweets say about your business?

What-do-your-tweets-say-about-your-business

Do you ever take a look at your Twitter feed?

Often when you are running a business you are so busy tweeting, you forget to check what your Twitter feed looks like to your ideal clients.  You might come across someone else’s profile and think they do too much retweeting or promotional tweeting but when was the last time you went to the Me section on Twitter and checked what your series of Tweets look like.

Is it balanced?

Is there a mix of retweets, promotional tweets (about your business), engaging tweets (where you are offering help or replying to tweets) or is there more of one type of tweet than another?

Check that you aren’t making these mistakes:

Too many promotional tweets

People don’t like to be constantly sold to on Social Media, share other people’s content that will be of interest to your ideal clients.

Too many Retweets

You share lots of great information as retweets but your own tweets get lost or you forget to tweet about your business.  If someone retweets something of mine I like to repay the favour and retweet something of theirs, but sometimes this is difficult if an account Retweets lots.

Boring or irrelevant tweets

Are you tweeting boring tweets because you can’t think of anything to tweet?  Do you feel the need to tweet what you had for breakfast?  Are your tweets relevant to your ideal clients?  Or are you tweeting to much personal information?  Think about what value your tweet gives to a prospective customer.

Being unprofessional or too negative

Do you make comments about a terrible demanding client that has annoyed you?  Are your tweets too negative?  Do you moan about your personal life on Twitter?

These are some things that might affect how people perceive you and your business via your tweets, however you need to decide what is appropriate for you, as a business person, to share.  It might be that you have a following built around a grumpy persona who complains about different things.  Or that you are a mummy blogger who writes about post natal depression or a particular disease you suffer from.  However, it is generally a good idea not to share anything you wouldn’t be happy sharing if you were at a networking event.

I hope you found this useful, if so please share it or pin it.  If you would like some training on how to use Social Media more effectively or help on producing a Social Media Strategy then get in touch.

 

 

Pinterest – Top 10 tips for getting referral traffic to your site

Pinterest-How-to-generate-referral-traffic

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest may be a relatively small social media site in relationship to the likes of Facebook, but do not underestimate it, it is a powerful site if used correctly.  Every Social Media site is different and to get the most out of each Social Media site it makes sense to find out how to use that particular site and join in the community.  Although Pinterest is grouped within Social Media, it is quite different to Facebook and Twitter, and you might find it helpful to think of it as a mini search engine, as people that love Pinterest and use it regularly will go there and search for things they love and want to pin. Social-Media-Lincs-on-Pinterest I use Pinterest to organise blog posts that I may need to refer back to and that I think my followers will find useful.  I also pin for fun, fashion, gift and home ideas I like, Dr Who, recipes that I will most probably never get round to making, Green living and motivational quotes.

So who is using Pinterest?

Is your ideal customer a women between 25-44 years old, who is educated and is a middle to high earner?  Then you should think seriously about starting to use Pinterest.  If your business is in any one of these categories you definitely need to be on Pinterest, Food & Drink, Crafts, Women’s Fashion, Weddings, Travel.

So here are my top 10 tips for getting more out of Pinterest

1) Always make sure you link your pins

Because one of the great things about Pinterest is the quality free referal traffic this is one thing you do not want to get wrong.  An unlinked pin will say image, next to like on the pin rather than visit site, an unlinked pin will just take you to a jpeg image rather than the specific page that the image was pinned from.  To make pinning easier add the pin it button to your tool bar, go to help in Pinterest to get the right pin it button for your browser.  Always link a pin to the page where you found it, as the idea is you are making your content easy to find, if you send me to your home page rather than the blog post or product page I won’t bother trying to search your site I’ll just leave. Example-of-unlinked-pin Great pin but it doesn’t take you to the blog post.

2) Start thinking of Pinterest as a search engine rather than Social Media site

When Pinterest started out it was seen as a Social Media site for sharing and collating images, however it is so much more.  People who love Pinterest will use the search facility in Pinterest before they go to Google to find information and products.  Do you sell products? Ever thought of using Pinterest as an online catalogue?  Keep an eye out for people that are pinning your products directly from your site and repin those pins.  There are 3 ways you can search on Pinterest – pins, boards and pinners so this is where you want to be adding keywords in different areas of Pinterest so that you get found for your keywords.

3) Always complete your profile

As with all other social media sites always complete your profile with a profile pic and complete the bio using keywords that you want your business to be found for, so that if someone is using your keywords and searching in Pinners you will appear.  If you are using Pinterest for business you should have set up a business account.  Linking your Pinterest account to your Twitter account is a good idea as then you can share some of your pins on Twitter so that existing followers can see you are on Pinterest as well.  Don’t Tweet all your pins though.

4) Titles of boards

Although Pinterest is based on pictures you need to use words in the right places to get your pins found via search as mentioned in 2.  The first place to use keywords is in the titles of your boards so if you are a wedding planner rather than naming boards, cakes, dresses, jewellery, shoes, hairstyles, etc you need to use the words that your clients will be typing into search such as chocolate wedding cakes, vintage wedding dresses, Gothic themed weddings so that your boards and pins will be found in search.  Your boards and pins will also come up in Google searches too if they described well.  If you have an about me board call it your name or business name for example Jackie Elton/Social Media Lincs rather than about me. Cake-boards-on-Pinterest The difference between using cakes as a title and wedding cakes as a title for your board. Wedding-cake-boards-on-Pinterest Also if you have been on Pinterest for a while and you may have boards called Products I Love, Books worth reading, Animals, My style, For the Home.  (These were generic boards that were present when you opened your Pinterest account.)  If they have a lot of pins on change their names to Social Media Books worth reading or something that sets you apart from all the other boards with those titles.  Don’t believe me, do a search using those board titles and see how many boards appear.  However, if you don’t have many pins on these boards, repin the pins and delete the boards.  You want your Pinterest account to stand out and look professional. Generic-boards-on-Pinterest Examples of “products I love” boards

5) Describe all boards & Categorise your boards

As I have mentioned you want to be putting your keywords in places that help your profile, boards and pins to be found.  Therefore describe what you board is about, such as Vintage wedding ideas including wedding cakes, dresses and ideas for venues.  Add your boards to categories, some businesses fit into the available categories easier than others, like weddings, travel or food and drink, opposed to Green Living.  This means if someone is browsing via categories your pins might be found. categories-Pinterst

6) Describe pins

When I started out on Pinterest several years ago, when it was relatively new, I didn’t know what I was doing and I wasn’t using it for business.  I would pin something and the description would be something like gorgeous, love it, wow, pretty.  Apologies if you ever find any of my early pins.  Obviously from a keyword and Search Engine perspective these are useless.  Don’t use too many words but do describe your pins using keywords.

7) Create your own unique images

80% of pins are repins, this is an important statistic, if you want to stand out on Pinterest.  It basically means that there are a lot of the same pins on Pinterest, so if you create your own pinnable images for your blog posts then these will stand out and if they get repinned they stand a higher chance of being repinned.  There are so many great, easy to use design programmes and apps that there is no excuse for not producing your own visual content.  Canva.com is easy to use as is PicMonkey if you like taking pictures with your phone PicsArt is a great app.  I use it for creating quote pictures.  If you are really short on time and aren’t good at design then make some quote images using Quozio.com.

Read my post about creating your own images to share on Social Media for some ideas on what you could create.  You can also pin YouTube videos, so if you create your own YouTube videos you can pin them too.

8) Re-arrange your boards

The first 8 or 10 boards are the first thing someone sees when they click on your profile so it is the first impression they get of your business.  However, if in the middle of summer the first board they see is a Christmas ideas board followed by a Valentine themed party board, they may not bother looking further down your boards and see your Summer Party ideas board or your great about me board.

9) Cover Images

Cover images are really important firstly these are bigger and are what people will notice when they first come to your profile, so they need to be beautiful and a good representation of your individual boards and your business in general.  They are what make people want to see what else is on your boards.  The Cover Image is usually the first pin that you pin on a board so if that isn’t the best cover image change it by hovering over the cover image and then click change cover.

10) Secret Boards

Use Secret boards to pin things that you don’t want your followers to see, this could be ideas for a new product or project, pins from competitors, blog post that you find interesting but that don’t fit with your business brand.

There is more to Pinterest than I can put in one post but these are the basics and some of the common things that people could do better.

This article first appear in issue 10 of Business Rocks online magazine.  If you would like to work with me to get Pinterest working for you, send me an email at socialmedialincs@gmail.com or fill in the contact form.

Monday Motivation – Working with an expert

Work with a Social Media trainer

Work with a Social Media trainer

Social Media is relatively easy to use, most people have used Facebook for quite a while before starting a business so why do you need to find a good Social Media Trainer?  Because there are lots of Facebook business pages with very few likes and very little interaction.  Yes you could buy some likes but that is a waste of your money, far better to invest the money in learning how to use Social Media successfully yourself.  Lots of people say they are too busy to do their own Social Media but you don’t have to spend hours on Social Media if you learn how to use it efficiently and effectively.

Successful Social Media isn’t about the number of likes it is about the level of interaction you get from your followers and that depends on you being consistent and sharing quality, relevant and useful information with your followers, but to do this you need to know the basics of how to use the different Social Media sites.   Yes you can spend a lot of time reading blog posts about Social Media and trialing what works but the problem is there is a lot of information out there and not all of it is of high quality.

So save yourself some time and money by finding a Social Media trainer and work with them to make your business a success on Social Media.

If you would like to find out more about working with me get in touch, either using the contact form or give me a ring for a quick chat.  Let me know what Social Media platform you would like help with in the comments below.

Why can’t I follow any more Twitter Accounts when I am following 2001 accounts

Twitter Followers/Following

How to prevent an uneven ratio of Following to Followers on Twitter

When you are starting out on Twitter, following 2001 other accounts on Twitter, seems something you don’t need to think about, however if you try to keep your folllowing/follower ratio roughly 1:1 it will save you time later on.  Here are the magic numbers that Twitter has set to stop spammers, once you are following 2001 people on Twitter you won’t be able to follow anyone else until you have 1819 followers and then after that you can only follow 10% more people than are following you.

For example if you have 2,000 followers you will be able to follow upto 2,200 people.

Here is what Twitter says about following limits

How can you keep a ratio of 1:1

  • Firstly make sure your profile is up to date with a picture and good bio describing you and what you tweet about, this will help people to see you as a real person/business not a spammer, so more people are likely to follow you back.
  • Start by following people you already know and who know you
  • Follow and engage with people on networking hours, such as #Lincshour or #Womeninbiz, by following and engaging with people that are active on Twitter you will quickly build a friendly network of followers that will engage with you and may retweet your tweets.
  • Being seen to be actively involved in conversations on Twitter will also help you to be seen by others and show you as someone that is friendly and approachable rather than someone who is only their to promote themselves.
  • Follow people who are interested in similiar things to you.

When starting out on Twitter alot of people get involved in follow back events, I’ll follow you in the hope you will follow me.  This is okay if all you care about are the number of followers you have, however it doesn’t build a network of interested and engaged followers.

In 2014 I will be launching my Social Media Online Training course, which will train people to use Twitter & Pinterest to grow their business by building a community of engaged followers that love what you do and share it with their community.  Sign up to my email newsletter to find out more and be able to join at a incredible price only available to my newsletter subscribers.

If you have found this useful please share it with your community.

Why is it important to use images in your blog posts?

Meercats - using images in blog posts

Is it wrong to use cute animals like Meercats to promote your buisness?

If you read any basic article about starting your own blog, somewhere it will mention the importance of using images in your posts.  This post is not just about why you should use images in your blog posts but why you should use your own unique images rather than stock photos.  At present I have 2 blogs, Green and Natural Living and Social Media Lincs, I have always found it easier to use my own unique images in my Green and Natural Living blog as I take my camera with me when I am out and about, or I take my own photos of things I am sent to review.   However using your own images for a business advice or social media advice blog is harder but it is possible and there are reasons why you should use your own images.

  1. Social Media sites are becoming more image based so having an image or 2 in your blog post will make it look better when shared.
  2. Pinterest is a great way to generate traffic to your blog, as it is image based if your blog post doesn’t have quality images people won’t want to pin it.
  3. Using stock photos means that other people might also use the same image, so they don’t help your business stand out.
  4. Orginal images stand out on all Social Media channels and are more likely to be shared especially on Pinterest.
  5. Using your own images means you don’t ever have to worry about copyright.

With todays technology it is easy to get creative with images, using a digital camera and free software such as Picasa you can produce images with text on quite easily, as I have done above, as well as creating collages using different images.  Once you have mastered Picasa, you can also use it to create images to use with all your social media sites like your facebook cover pic and google header image, and even your blog header as I have done.  Here is a great video tutorial on how to use Picasa to design a Facebook Cover pic and here is a useful infographic – ultimate social media sizing cheat sheet by Lunametrics with all the dimensions of different parts of social media profiles.

If you don’t fancy doing this yourself why not contact Ali at Creative Hands Marketing for some help with designs work.

You can also create Wordles to use in blog posts like the one below that I did for a post about Pinterest or you could create your own infographics, although I haven’t done my own infographic yet.

I love Pinterest

Wordle about Pinterest

I hope this has been useful. For more links to informative blog posts and infographics follow my boards on Pinterest.  Please let me know if you get creative with images on your blog by leaving me a comment below.

 

Pinterest Video Tutorial

A while ago I wrote a post about Pinning Images from Facebook and linking them back to the Facebook page that they were from, well today I have done my first video tutorial on that very subject and it also shows the new Pinterest layout too.

I hope you like this video please leave any comments below.

 

Can any business use Pinterest?

I love Pinterest

Pinterest is a great social media site to promote your business, it isn’t as frantic as other social media sites so what you share will remain searchable and visible for longer.  Pinterest is a brilliant tool for businesses that have good images of products, which can then be linked back to a site where the products can be purchased.  However, even businesses without products with pretty pictures can use it to build their brand identity and help prospective customers get a feel for the business.

For example, if you own a hotel or B and B you can create boards with pictures showing your venue, the food it serves and local attractions.

If on the other hand you are a Virtual Administrator then you have to get a bit more creative and have boards that show your personality.  You could have boards with useful blog posts, your office and how to be more organised.

Remember for Pinterest, like other social media sites, content is still king.  So if you want to be repinned you need to have fantastic pictures, which link to good content.  Some of the most repinned images are quotes and recipes.

What do you like to repin? Let me know in a comment below.

If you would like to learn more about Pinterest have a look at my Pinterest Passion Coaching package.

Pinterest Passion Coaching

In January I will be launching my Pinterest Passion Coaching Package.  During 2012 it is likely that you have either read about Pinterest or heard someone talking about Pinterest or seen a tweet about someone Pinning something to a board on Pinterest.  You might have then thought “oh no!” not another Social Media site to keep upto date.

So why should you bother with Pinterest?

  • It is all about the links back to your site so it is great for referral traffic to your site, whether you have a blog or e-commerce site.
  • There are more women than men using it 79% female to 21% male, so if your ideal client is female it is a brilliant place to be.
  • It is a brilliant tool for telling the story of you and your business.  Helping people to know, like and trust you.

So if you want to take your pinterest account from this…

Heather Bestel Pinterest Account before working with me

To this…

Heather Bestel’s Pinterest Account after working with me

The above image shows what Heather was able to do after just one hour of coaching from me and here is what she said about working with me.

“I just loved my Pinterest Passion Coaching Session with Jackie!!! I’d heard everyone talking about Pinterest for ages but just hadn’t taken the first step. I wished I’d done it sooner now. Jackie was just the person I needed. During our session, she walked me through each step of the process until I felt confident to do it by myself. She was so patient and I learnt so much in such a short space of time. Now there’s no stopping me.”

During the Pinterest Passion Coaching Session I will show you how to:

  • Navigate Pinterest
  • Create boards
  • Update your profile
  • Add pins using the Pin It button
  • Upload your own pins and link to your site
  • Add prices to pins
  • Re-arrange your boards
  • Repin other people’s pins
  • Give you ideas on what boards to create to support your business branding

After your Pinterest Passion Coaching Session with me you will be pinning with confidence.  I will also give you feedback on your boards when you have set them up.

My Pinterest Passion coaching package is no longer available, however I still work with businesses and individuals so please contact me if you would like training on how to use Pinterest or me to manage your account.

Pinterest – Pinning a picture from Facebook & linking it back to Facebook

I love Facebook, there is so much fantastic content that is shared there and anyone that follows me will know I love my positive quotes.  I also love Pinterest, one of the many reasons I love Pinterest is that it is a great place to save and organise all the amazing pictures and quotes that I find.  However as some of you may realise you can’t pin directly from Facebook using the Pin It button, but you can add a pin manually and link it back to the place where you found it on Facebook.  It is a little tricky but I am a fan of linking back to the source of quality content and giving credit where credit is due.  So if I can direct people back to some of the brilliant positive pages on Facebook then that is what I do.

Here is a picture and quote that I want to Pin to one of my Pinterest boards.

A quote from Facebook I want to pin

Left click on the image you want to pin so that it opens. Then right click on the picture. So that the box with the options View Image, Copy Image and Copy image location are showing. Click Copy image location.  Next go to Pinterest and click add Pin and click paste to add the location link.

Then click Find Images.  Then make sure it is going to be added to the board you want and add some information, as you can see I also tell people where I have pinned it from.

Click pin it and it will appear on your board, however at this point it won’t be linked to where you found it on Facebook.  To do that you need to click Edit.

This is where it gets tricky.  Go back to Facebook where you have the picture open and copy the website url, which should end in theater.

Now go back to Pinterest where you have edit pin and deleted the link location that should end in jpeg and then paste in the url link from Facebook that you have just copied, then Save Pin.

Now if anyone opens and clicks on the picture it should take them to Facebook Wall Photos for that Facebook Page. So then hopefully people will look at and like the page.

Did you find this useful? Or do you know of an easier way to do this? Please leave a comment below.