What the Hashtag!

by: Kenneth Cossin

How to Properly Use a Hashtag in Your Social Media

What the Hashtag!

Don’t freak out!  I am sure that you have seen the proliferation of the hashtag on television today, and you may be asking yourself why this little symbol has become so ubiquitous.  As most of us know, it has been used in many different forms of communication and technology from telephones, voicemail systems, programming languages, etc, but today, it has really gained a lot of traction in social media.  Often, the hashtag is overused, because there is not much thought behind its real function in social media.  Also, we hear so many mentions of hashtags every day in the media that we just think that it must be important, therefore, we must use them, too.  I bet some of us have even caught ourselves saying things like, “[Hashtag], #NotMyProblem” or something of the like to get a laugh or two.  Well, this little mark has a lot more functionality than just to gain laughs or to annoy social media users.

Make Previous Posts Findable

What is a hashag anyway?  It is a pound sign or hash (#) that is placed at the beginning of a word or phrase that makes your social media posts searchable.  For example, one can denote #USA or #USAFlorida at the end of a social media post to make the post findable or searchable after the post is made.  When a post is created with the hashtag, you can go back to search for this chosen word or phrase without having to remember everything that you posted.  To explain further, posts with a particular hashtag can be aggregated to tell a story, provide information, supply metrics for measurement, create social media trends, track results, or a plethora of other uses.  These uses are only limited by your imagination.

Make Topics Searchable

Hashtags are used by most social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, etc.  The hashtag can help users of the platform to locate accounts that they wish to follow – that is, accounts that strategically fit into their interests.  For example, let’s say that you want to follow some great marketers on Twitter that publish/promote content about the marketing field.  You could perform a search, “#Marketing” on Twitter to locate all tweets containing this hashtag.  A majority of the results will not only provide you with interesting information on the marketing field but also provide you with Twitter users that have tweeted this interesting information.

Using a hashtag effectively starts with knowing how many hashtags to use and how to be strategic with its use.  A great rule of thumb is to use no more than three.  Also, know what search keywords are important to your tweet.  These keywords or key phrases should be hashtagged in your post.  Note that overusing hashtags affects your post’s readability.  You can read some of my thoughts on this subject in my article, “3 Quick Tips on Writing a Readable Tweet,” that helps explain hashtag usage further.

Make Hashtags Easy

When developing a hashtag for your tweetups, daily posts, etc, make sure that you use a hashtag that is easy to remember, easy to type, and not trademarked.

For example, for a tweetup, remember that the people tweeting are probably using a mobile device.  Therefore, don’t use a combination of capital letters and numbers.  Having to switch your virtual keyboard is a nightmare on a mobile device when you’re trying to be quick and efficient.  So, maybe use #entnews instead of #EntNews or #EntNews10.  Also, keeping it short and sweet is important.  The more typing someone must do, the more room there is for errors.

Steer clear of using trademarked names, as this can not only cause confusion but also create a potentially messy situation with the owner of that trademarked name.  Just play it safe and be creative in your choices.

So, next time you hear the word hashtag being used in the media, you will know what it means and how to use it properly.  While this catchphrase may fade from the short attention span of television and the viewing public, it will most likely continue its functionality in the social media world — that is, until something more catchy comes along!

photo credit: bunnysvintagevictory.blogspot.com

6 Ways To Increase Your Social Value

by: Kenneth Cossin

Building social value or clout requires a lot of time and effort. Therefore, planning out your journey to success can be daunting. I offer you six tips to get started. Be diligent in your effort; that is, set aside scheduled time for these tasks to be successful.


Connect with industry experts

A great way to start out is to discover what parts of an industry you are interested in. For example, if you are passionate about internet marketing, you may want to connect with blogging, social media, Analytics, SEO, or mobile experts. You can follow people in your specific niche or choose to follow people in all of these internet marketing categories.

Interview experts

A great way to gain valuable information for your blog and your followers is to do some interviews with them. Ask industry experts if they would be willing to give you an hour of their time for an interview. Give them details regarding your topic of interest and a list of interview questions. Therefore, you both will be prepared. You may have to ask a hundred people before you get one “yes,” but be persistent.

If you are going to publish these interviews on your blog, be sure to get permission and a signed release to use their likeness and record them. Having interviews for your blog readers to watch is always a great way to build your audience.

Write guest blog posts

Why not share the love? Be willing to write guest posts for popular blogs that have a great following. You can get your name out to others that read your guest posts while building your trust and authority. Also, be willing to let others guest blog on your blog. Doing so will help them build their trust and authority while you gain the mutual benefit of their knowledge.

Be inquisitive

Understand that in life, you are always going to be learning. So, why not seek out new knowledge? You will be surprised at the new things that you can learn each day if you take just a few moments to read and listen to the people around you. Be sure to make an extra point of applying the new knowledge and ideas regarding your industry.

Go to industry events

Most of us know that going to industry events provides a great networking opportunity. In addition to listening closely to the great presentations at these events, be sure to walk around and introduce yourself in the halls to everyone. Don’t be surprised if the most unlikely person you talk to winds up being the person that helps you out the most!

Monitor your brand

This goes without saying, no matter what social media platforms you choose to be part of, monitoring your brand, your tweets, your posts on Facebook, regularly updating your LinkedIn profile, and so on is imperative. Anything that detracts from the message you are trying to give people is extraneous. Therefore, get rid of it. Also, know that even the nicest people still judge. Be sure that what you put out there is what you would want them to judge you on.

These tips are just the beginning of your quest to finding social value. As you learn and practice, you will find that some things work better than others for you. Use what you know and what works best for you. Be open to new ideas and suggestions no matter how seasoned of an expert you are, and remember to stay inquisitive.

Republished with permission from Marko Saric of How to Make My Blog.  Original post: http://www.howtomakemyblog.com/social-media-2/social-value/

photo credit: NewToWallpapers.com

6 Great Storytelling Tips For Bloggers

by: Kenneth Cossin

Coming up with topic ideas for your blog can be very frustrating at times. Below, I offer some great storytelling tips to help get your content ideas flowing. If you need more blog ideas, check out this list of 31 types of ideas you can post.

Stories usually tell about a journey, whether it is a personal passage, a conflict, or a challenge. Along this journey, we hope that the hero will transform into a better version of himself. As bloggers we need to capture and translate these same concepts into our blogging to better engage our readers. Here’s what you can do:

Gather Your Raw Materials

Keep a journal of your topics and decide on what categories they fall into whether you are providing tips, tricks, creative ideas, suggestions, or opinions. For example, think about how we categorize films into genres of comedy, drama, thriller, and so on. The categorization process is the same.

Outline your ideas and jot down key words as they come to you. As a rule of thumb, make sure that you can express your ideas in about 800 words or less.

Break Down Your Story into Segments

Create a compelling introduction that grabs your reader’s attention within the first 2-3 sentences. If your reader is not continuing on with your entry after the first few seconds, he will quickly move on to another one. Touch on your key points clearly and concisely. That is, be detailed but brief. While this statement is rather vague, try spicing your reading up with a sprinkling of adjectives – not too many or you’ll lose your reader in the details.

Give your reader a sense of conclusion, a sense of closure. Therefore, briefly summarize your points at the end.

Use Visuals

Relate the concepts you are trying to present to something that people use or do every day. Use photos, videos, and podcasts to help visually draw in your reader. While videos and podcasts take a lot of time in terms of planning, coordinating, setting up, recording, and post-production, there are many simple tools that you can use as an individual to accomplish this goal.

Use Analogies

Telling stories often incorporates complex ideas. Therefore, it is always a good idea if you can relate an everyday task to what you are explaining. Also, you will want to make sure that your analogy relates directly and translates easily to the complex idea. For example, if you are showing someone how to play a grand piano, you may wish to equate it to playing darts or some other simpler task that still requires a keen sense of accuracy.

Leave out the Sub-plots

Note that there is no time for sub-plots to your blog entries. Sub-plots detract from the overall story that you are trying to tell. Be sure to remain brief and to the point.

Build to an Epic Conclusion

What is your reader getting from reading your blog post? Is it knowledge, ideas, solutions, answers to questions… Or is it simply them wishing they got those 10 minutes back in their life? Make your reader feel like it was worth their while to spend time with your post. Make it dazzle them; make it epic.

In summary, your blog posts should always be something that you are proud of. Bring creativity and excitement to your work through storytelling.

 

Republished with permission from Marko Saric of How to Make My Blog.  Original post: http://www.howtomakemyblog.com/writing/storytelling-tips/

3 Quick Tips on Writing a Readable Tweet

by: Kenneth Cossin

I know there are so many ways to write a tweet, but are you writing yours to make it easily readable by your followers?  I can guarantee that your readers are not likely to read what you are tweeting if they cannot read it quickly.  Here are my tips on writing a good tweet.

Verify the Link You are Sending

Make sure that the link to the article, story, video, photo, etc. you are sending is well-written  and easy to read with no misspellings, the video plays and is short and sweet, and the photos are attention-grabbing.

Use Hashtags in the Correct Locations

Use hastags in sentences to a minimum.  Place them at the end so as to not interrupt the flow of reading.  Overuse of hashtags makes your tweets look like gibberish.

Place Usernames after Your Links

Typically we will put a Twtter username when we are mentioning someone because of an article they wrote.  Be sure not to place the usernames strewn about throughout the tweet.

Example of a Bad Tweet

#Apple @MacRumors releases the new #iPad #Mini http://boguslink.notreal

Example of a Good Tweet

Apple releases the new iPad Mini http://boguslink.notreal via @MacRumors #Apple #iPad

Great Idea to Help Build Your Blog Followers

by: Kenneth Cossin

We all love deals and incentives, and we especially love things that are free, right?  So, why not apply this simple concept to our blogs?

We write blog posts and create great content to our blogs in hopes that our readers will gain knowledge and insight from our hard work.  It is not easy coming up with new content, and many times when we start creating the content, we really aren’t sure how it will be recieved by our audience.

By putting forth a deal or incentive to have new followers or to keep your current followers, you can always create a deal or incentive, such as a contest, to entice audience members that land on your blog to not only read what you write but to sign up to follow your blog.

Thus, for all the new members that sign up for MY blog within the next five days of my post, I will enter your name into a random drawing to receive some Full Sail University swag!  Please follow the rules within the following form to enter.

Top 3 Social Media Outlets

by: Kenneth Cossin

What three social media outlets do you use most?  This question is answered differently for each person, but I believe that there are three that will come out on top.  They are Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  Google+ runs a distant 4th.

by spinsucks.com

In the world of marketing, the three aforementioned social media outlets are heavily used today.  Facebook is ingrained in our everyday lives, Twitter is a great way for business to reach and connect with other like-minded companies, and LinkedIn provides an avenue for individuals to share their personal knowledge with companies and to get discovered.  Therefore, these three social media tools provide the most exposure with minimal effort.

Just a few years ago, this list of social media outlets was different, and in the future, I am sure it will change again.  Maybe Google+ will move up in the rankings if Google can make their product more intuitive and user-friendly.  Other social media outlets, such as StumbleUpon, Digg, and Reddit may have potential, but they do not offer what these three top social media outlets do.  It will be interesting to see where social media takes us in the near future.