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Silicon Valley product designer Chris Messina invented the now ubiquitous hashtag when he was searching for a way to organize the fast-moving Twitter stream. His early tweet, “How do you feel about using (#) pound for groups as in #barcamp [msg.]?” was met with criticisms that it was too “nerdy.”
But, Chris persevered. The Twittersphere realized the power of the hashtag when people started adding #sandiegofire to their tweets about a San Diego fire. Suddenly, it all made sense. Other Twitter users saw the value of adding hashtags to follow and engage in topical conversations on the network.
In 2009, Twitter made it possible to search via hashtags, which meant anyone could find accounts to follow or participate in conversations via hashtags. These days, everyone knows how useful hashtags are in finding relevant content. It’s easy to use a hashtag like #contentmarketing to find thousands of posts about that topic.
Yet, when hashtags are misused, viewers find themselves sorting
through stacks of posts looking for something specific. On the
flipside, content producers who misuse hashtags struggle with
having their content ignored.
Hashtags are now commonplace in the social media landscape. Besides Twitter, they’re essential on Instagram, and they’ve found their way on LinkedIn and Facebook too.
Proper hashtag usage is essential for brands to track mentions and respond effectively. They’re also important to keep an eye on industry trends, and the competition.
Here’s how to use hashtags effectively on each of these platforms, so you can optimize your social media strategy.How to Use Hashtags on Twitter
Let’s start at the beginning. As mentioned above, a Twitter user came up with the idea to help him and other participants categorize their tweets surrounding a topic, whether event, conversation, or otherwise. Without the hashtag, conversations could be lost, and the only way to find great content was to follow people and hope they provided it.
Hashtags brought structure to the fledgling social media network and made it easy to categorize conversations.
It wasn’t long before event organizers realized this was a
great idea. You can build awareness, excitement, AND categorize
messages surrounding an event simply by adding a hashtag. So, while
#barcamp may have been sufficient in the beginning, it wasn’t
long before #barcampphilly09, etc. became a thing. In fact,
whispers of “Is there a hashtag?” could be heard as people
entered a venue and wanted to tweet their whereabouts.
Now, locations and brands have claimed their hashtags. Branded hashtags allow companies to see what customers are saying about them, and engage in real-time conversation.
However, there is a risk to overusing hashtags on Twitter. Marketing analytics company TrackMaven discovered that engagement drops if you use more than two hashtags. Those with 18 characters or less perform well.
So, less is better here.
To find relevant hashtags, use the search function on Twitter to type in #topic. Since Twitter is a public platform, you’ll see all the hashtags related to that topic. You can follow brands, conversations, and even engage in topical Twitter chats. Turn Twitter chats into lively discussions on a particular topic, to occur monthly or weekly depending on who runs them.How to Use Hashtags Correctly on Instagram
If two hashtags are good, thirty must be better, right? At least that seems to be the thinking with the popular visual social media network. Instagram is hashtag driven, as anyone who’s ever looked at it can attest.
Since we’ve already established that hashtags are a way to
categorize your content so you can find and be found, you’ll want
to create an Instagram hashtag strategy that makes sense for your
brand. You can start by going to the search bar and typing in
#yourtopic. Instagram will show you all the photos and videos with
For example, if you run a juice bar in San Diego, then #freshjuice, #cleaneating, #sandiego are hashtags that can help you be found by your potential customers. Though you don’t need to limit yourself to 2 or 3. Instagram is the one tool where you can go a little crazy in your use of hashtags.
There have been studies, but there’s no agreed upon “perfect number.” However, Instagram’s limit is 30. The best thing you can do is experiment to find what works best for your Instagram account. Fortunately, it doesn’t take long to collect useful data.
For example, if you have a business Instagram account, then you can view your analytics to see how many people saw your post. You can even see your post’s reach and how your post was found, including a “from hashtag” metric. You can change up your hashtags to see which bring you the best results, then focus on those and drop the rest.
The best way to find the ones that work for your business is to watch what your competitors and customers use, and include those. You can even follow hashtags to find more topical accounts and put clickable hashtags in your bio to help people find you.
As you can see, there are lots of ways to use hashtags on Instagram. Unlike Twitter, using more than two hashtags on Instagram is good tactic for increasing your engagement and follows.How to Use Hashtags on Facebook
Facebook is a bit different when it comes hashtags. For one, Facebook profiles are often private, instead of public like Twitter and Instagram. The privacy settings on Facebook mean that most people use hashtags on their profiles to be tongue in cheek as they make a joke. Since their profiles are private, these hashtags won’t show up on a general search, but only among their friends.
To search for hashtags on Facebook, do head to the search bar just like on Twitter and Instagram and put in the topic you’re searching for, #hashtags, for example. You’ll get all the public facing hashtags on brands and influencer profiles. You can also click on an individual hashtag to see more related posts.
It is recommended that you use no more than 1-2 hashtags on Facebook. Many Facebook users are not hashtag savvy.How to Use Hashtags on LinkedIn
In the past year or two, LinkedIn has gotten into the hashtag game. It’s now encouraging users to follow certain hashtags and to add them to their posts. These tend to be broad, topical hashtags, like #business or #marketing.
You can add hashtags to your articles and updates on LinkedIn to help your content be found easier. While LinkedIn will suggest certain hashtags, you can add more specific ones by doing a search. You may find industry specific hashtags that narrow your niche. Best practice on LinkedIn is to add up to six hashtags.
Make sure your hashtags are easy to read. Here is your general checklist:
- Capitalize every word.
- #MontegoBay18 is easier to read than #montegobay18.
- No spaces between words.
- Proofreading is important.
- A misspelled hashtag is a wasted effort, because your content is less likely to reach the intended user.
As you can see, using hashtags to find and categorize topics is
not new. The practice started on Twitter where it because a
mainstay, though it wasn’t until Instagram appeared in 2012 that
another social media network really adopted them. Facebook and
LinkedIn have been late adopters of the hashtag.
In 2019, creating a solid hashtag strategy – especially on Instagram – is key to increasing your followers and engagement. Are you using them as well as you could?
Marketers don’t always have incentives to use more automation to drive their activities, but those who do often see more benefits across the board, according to new research.
MIT Sloan Management and Google recently teamed up to conduct the “Improving Strategic Execution with Machine Learning” report and found that 82 percent of marketers with incentives to use marketing automation have functional KPIs that help them develop an integrated view of their target customers. This is compared to just 47 percent without incentives who said the same.
Sixty-five percent of markers who have incentives to use marketing automation said they can easily drill down to see the underlying data and analytic components that are aggregated into their KPIs. This is compared to just 28 percent without incentives who said the same.Marketers’ Success with Email Marketing Automation
While automation can help with many marketing tactics, such as email, not all marketers have implemented this methodology into their strategy.
GetResponse and SmartInsights published the “Email Marketing and Automation Excellence 2018” report, and statistics indicated that 28 percent of marketers consider themselves to be “basic” when it comes to email marketing automation. Just eight percent of respondents said that they use all email marketing automation features and optimize them to get the best results.
Despite these statistics, marketers still heavily lean toward email above all other tactics, thanks in part to its effectiveness. Three out of 10 marketers ranked their email marketing effectiveness as at least “good” and an additional 18 percent said it was “excellent.”
Generating high quality leads through LinkedIn for a B2B company can be a daunting task. With many targeting options, ad formats and goals strategies, creating a plan that is successful takes time and effort. With 52% of companies planning on increasing LinkedIn ad spend in 2019, it is important to understand how to effectively use that additional budget to improve qualified lead totals.
Last year, we discussed various ways that companies can find B2B success with LinkedIn ads. For today’s post, we will be drilling down further for companies that want to improve their overall lead quality utilizing the platform.Create an Effective Audience List
Before coming up with an ad strategy on LinkedIn, it’s important to take a step back and understand who the specific audience that an advertiser wants to acquire is.
Unlike other objectives for social media advertising, such as engagement and website visits, trying to acquire quality leads involves choosing the correct audience that will ultimately buy the product or service. For quality leads specifically, this includes targeting key decision makers and higher level executives.
Thankfully, LinkedIn makes targeting these users easy. They offer advertisers a variety of different ways to create an audience, including:
- Job Titles & Function
- Company Size & Location
Once the audience has been created, it must be determined what should be offered to acquire their information. Some offer examples may include:
- White Paper/Case Study
- More Information
- Free Demo
The specific offer that should be used needs to be based on where an advertiser wants the leads of fall in the funnel. For example, if an advertiser wants a user who is ready to buy immediately, an ad focusing on key product/service features, offering a free trial, would be the best approach.
On the other hand, if getting a steady flow of beginning-of-the-funnel leads is important, a lighter, informational piece of content, like a white paper, should be offered.Utilize Sponsored Content Lead Gen Ads
There are a wide variety of ad formats that LinkedIn offers, including sponsored content, carousel, video, and text ads. For acquiring leads on LinkedIn, the best type of format is a sponsored content ad, utilizing the LinkedIn Lead Gen feature.
With Lead Gen, advertisers are able to have a form directly in the ad. This allows for potential customers to give their information without having to leave LinkedIn.
The form fields are chosen by the advertiser, and there is a wide variety of possibilities and combinations. Once the user fills out a form, LinkedIn tracks the information right in an excel document.
This document can be easily exported, or transferred directly into compatible CRM’s, such as Salesforce or, more recently, HubSpot.Create High Quality Images
Like any other social media platforms, images can go a long way in the success of any ad. There are a few tips when making an image for a LinkedIn ad, which include:
- Choose the Right Format – When creating a sponsored ad, it is important to make sure the ad is 1200 x 627 px, and is no more than 100MP. Any difference here can result in an ad not displaying correctly.
- Eye Catching – An ad should pop out and engage the desired audience. There are lots of images on a LinkedIn feed, so it is important to use one that stands out.
- Call-To-Action – The main call to action should be visible so the user knows the next steps needed from them.
Pairing a great image with a sponsored content ad will ultimately result in quality lead generation success.Target Existing Users
Not all leads on LinkedIn need to be new users. Marketing towards users that are familiar with a company’s product or service is a great way to improve qualified leads.
LinkedIn offers a variety of ways to create audiences based on existing users, including:
- Remarketing Code – Target users who have been on a company’s site.
- Customer Match – Target users who are on an email list.
Once the list is created, messages and offers targeted directly towards them should be created. Getting these users to interact further with the company and creating a new dialog can help transform old leads into qualified leads.Conclusion
When it comes to social media advertising, LinkedIn is the perfect choice to help improve a company’s qualified lead totals. While there are many goals that can be achieved on LinkedIn, acquiring quality leads is where the social media platform shines above the rest. As we continue in 2019, LinkedIn should not be ignored by any company when planning their future ad strategy.