The use of the number sign (#) to signify a category online dates back to the 1990s on Internet Relay Chat (IRC). This idea evolved into what we now know as the “hashtag,” which was popularized by Twitter. The first Tweet containing a hashtag was sent out by designer Chris Messina in 2007 and simply read, “how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?” We’ve come a long way since then.
Nearly eight years later, hashtags have saturated social media and permeated pop culture. Nearly every social media platform has integrated hashtags. Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon even created a viral sketch all about saying “hashtag” in conversations. There is no doubt that this tool is here to stay.
Businesses cannot ignore this trend. It’s important that executives learn to use hashtags for online marketing. They drive traffic, engagement, and ultimately, profits. So, how can you make sure your business is using hashtags to the greatest effect? Here are some helpful tips.
1. Know Which Sites Use Hashtags
Trying to use hashtags on a platform that doesn’t support them could hurt your marketing efforts. As of March 2015, these are the social media sites that allow hashtags: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest. Social media is always changing, so that list may grow substantially.
2. Obey the Rules
Of course, all hashtags begin with the number symbol. Other special characters and punctuation are not allowed. #Duncan/Day would not be a successful hashtag because of the slash. Similarly, any space will end the hashtag. #Duncan Day would show up as only #Duncan because of the space before “Day.”
Numbers can be tricky as well. While they are allowed, hashtags cannot contain only numbers. #2015 would be unsuccessful, while #Oscars2015 was a trending hashtag this year.
3. Make It Relevant
It’s tempting to just add a trending hashtag to your post. After all, more people will see it, right? While that may be true, using irrelevant hashtags will only hurt businesses in the long run. Savvy consumers will read such a post as spam, and their impressions will not be positive.
4. Use Existing, Searchable Hashtags…Sometimes
While you certainly don’t want to hijack existing hashtags and use them in irrelevant ways, it is still perfectly acceptable to use established hashtags. For example, if you are posting an image with an inspirational quote on Instagram, you can use #InspirationalQuote. Users who search this, and there are many who do, will welcome your image. You might even gain some new followers.
There are other times when it is best to come up with your own hashtag, however. If your post is part of a larger campaign, you are asking users to respond to a question, or you are hosting an event, your business will benefit from a unique hashtag. For example, suppose we opened up a question and answer session on the Duncan/Day Twitter feed. If we did this, we would ask people to use something like #AskDuncanDay in their Tweets to us. This way, we could easily search all questions.
5. Make it Clear and Concise
The whole point of a hashtag is to let readers know what the post is about. Avoid using too many hashtags in a post. Sure, more people may find the post, but it will be confusing and look like spam. It’s better to use one perfect hashtag than 10 so-so ones.
Another way to make your hashtags clear is to avoid making them too long and complicated. #ThisIsALongHashtagAndNotEffective #NobodyWouldEverSearchThisOffTheTopOfTheirHead
6. It’s All in the Timing
This should be obvious, but #ThrowbackThursday isn’t effective if you post it on Friday. Make sure whatever you use is timely. That way, you get more engagement and exposure.
Follow these simple rules and your social media accounts should be #winning in no time. If your business is in need of a social media marketing strategy or any other branding help, call Duncan/Day Advertising.
Teenagers do stupid things sometimes. This is not a revolutionary thing to say, and it is not unique to today’s teens. It’s just a fact of life. The teenage years are a time to find boundaries by pushing them, and that often involves saying or doing something ridiculous. As a mom, I’m all too familiar with this fact.
Think about the dumbest thing you did in your teenage years. Remember that time your friends convinced you to break the rules, or when raging hormones drove you to say something uncharacteristically offensive. What if your current bosses, clients, friends, and family could see it all?
In a world where social media is king, that’s exactly the type of future today’s kids face. Every thought becomes a tweet. Every dumb action becomes a video on YouTube. And it all stays in the public record forever.
Sure, you can press the delete button, but it is nearly impossible to truly erase anything from the Internet. Consider this: the Library of Congress records of every single tweet that is sent, even the ones that are deleted. Anyone interested in reading any of the hundreds of billions of tweets can easily access them.
That’s just one of the many ways what we post online stays public forever. Screenshots, cache copies, and search engines designed specifically to find deleted posts all ensure that no online content ever truly disappears. So what does that mean for today’s youth?
In short, it means that everything they do has the potential to follow them around for the rest of their lives. Although they may change, grow, and mature as they transition into adulthood, prospective employers will be able to judge them based on who they were as teens. This issue has already caused trouble for many young people.
A recent survey found that 1 in 10 young people were rejected for a job because of something they posted on social media. As these communication platforms become more pervasive and easily accessible, it’s reasonable to expect that these numbers may continue to rise. This is an alarming thought to any parent.
What teens post online could also affect their college prospects. Scott Fitch, the basketball coach at Fairport High School, realized this about three years ago when one of his players lost the chance at a college scholarship. When the concerned coach asked why, he was told that one of the student’s tweets did not represent the university.
The tweet in question was not criminal or drug-related in any way. It was just a teen using foul language and not thinking before posting. Since then, Fitch has dedicated himself to teaching students and parents about social media. As Brandon Chambers, an assistant men’s basketball coach at Marymount (Virginia) University, wisely tweeted, “Never let a 140 character tweet cost you a $140,000 scholarship.”
So what can parents do to help their children create smart social media habits? Education is the key to success here. First, teach yourself everything you can about social media. Know which platforms your children are using, and understand how each of them work.
Then, educate your children about the dangers of social media. Teach them to value privacy. Help them understand that how they present themselves today will affect who they become. Most importantly, make it an ongoing conversation.
There is no doubt that social media is changing the way children and teens will experience the world. In many ways, it can be daunting for parents to raise kids in such an environment. However, with knowledge and open communication, we can all navigate these choppy waters and sail into a bright future.
Although the benefits of social media marketing are widely understood, many business owners and executives are understandably overwhelmed by the idea. There seems to be a new social media app popping up every week. Each one has its own set of rules, written or not. It’s easy to find yourself wondering how you can find time in your busy schedule to update each platform regularly. However, there’s no reason to fret.
Not every business needs to use every social media site. For example, someone who sells handmade items might use Pinterest and Facebook, but skip on Twitter and LinkedIn. On the other hand, a company that focuses on business-to-business marketing might focus on LinkedIn and leave Pinterest alone. To help you decide which social media outlets are right for your business, we’ve broken down a few of the big ones:
This is the big kahuna, the bad mamma-jamma, the King Kong of social media. After all, 30 million small business owners have Facebook pages. While the market is saturated, your competitors are almost certainly on Facebook.
Consumers expect to find any business they want to on Facebook. For this reason, it is recommended that most businesses invest resources into creating and maintaining a page.
When you create a Facebook fan page, you are able to see the exact demographics of the page’s fans. You know their locations, ages and genders. You also see when they are online, how your fans compare to Facebook overall, and many other incredible insights. This allows you to tailor posts to the people who like your page.
Overall, Facebook has 890 million site users and 745 million mobile users each day. Women are 10% more likely to use this social media outlet. Facebook is primarily used by people 25 years or older, but it does boast over 50 million younger users.
Twitter gets its quirky name from a word meaning, “a short, inconsequential burst of information.” With its 140-character limit, the social media outlet has lived up to that definition. Twitter is the best way to get easily digestible tidbits of information directly to consumers.
Due to its direct and savvy style, Twitter has become a must-have for celebrities and brands that wish to foster a deeper connection with their fans. When used correctly, Twitter will allow a brand’s followers to feel as though they have direct access to the brand. This gives followers a sense of loyalty that is invaluable to your business.
288 million people around the world use Twitter at least once per month. From those accounts, 500 million Tweets are sent each day. As far as ages go, Twitter is more spread out than many people assume. Although 55% of people with active accounts are under 50 years of age, more than 30 million people are between 50 and 64 years. 80% of people who use Twitter do so on their mobile device. This is important to keep in mind when posting links.
It’s all about the images with this Facebook-owned platform. While it’s known for hosting pictures of food, Instagram has become so much more. You can find memes, inspirational quotes, tips and recipes right alongside the copious amount of selfies. It’s particularly great for any company that produces something tangible and visually compelling.
Instagram has about 200 million active users, half of which access the app at least once per day. This huge percentage of daily users shows the dedication Instagram fans have for their beloved social media platform. The age demographic for Instagram is quite young, with 74 million users between 18 and 29 years of age.
Brands do very well on Instagram. The top 50 brands have an average of 1.5 million followers each. The brand with the most followers is The Ellen Show, which adds nearly 300,000 followers each month. The combination of humor and community interaction is likely what makes this account so successful.
Pinterest is a small, but mighty force in the social media world. From home improvement and crafting, to fitness and fashion, users can search for posts by topics. Then, users pin posts to their own boards to look at later. One user may have plenty of boards – one for wedding planning, one for healthy recipes, one for unhealthy recipes, and another for DIY crafts. The possibilities are endless.
Pinterest is overwhelmingly female, with most of its 70 million users identifying as such. Most of the site’s users are parents, too. Interestingly, 28% of users make over $100,000 per year. Clearly, Pinterest has demographics that can be valuable to many brands. While, yes, 70 million users is small potatoes compared to some of the others on this list, don’t write off Pinterest just yet.
If you are an online retailer or blogger whose target demographic is women under 50, it’s worth considering. For businesses on Pinterest, referral traffic percentages are on the rise. That means more users are going from the Pinterest page to the website than ever before.
LinkedIn means business. It allows users to have an online resume, search for jobs, and network with colleagues. It is often underutilized by businesses looking to use social media to drive sales. Due to its business-oriented nature, this social platform is best used for B2B marketing.
LinkedIn has the oldest and most wealthy users. Over one-third of the 300 million LinkedIn users are over the age of 50. Also, over 60% of users make at least $75,000 per year. If this sounds like your demographic, do not pass on LinkedIn.
In order to make the best decision possible, you’ll need a firm grasp on what each social platform is about. Then, analyze the demographics and compare them to your target audience. If you need help with social media marketing or any other branding efforts, feel free to contact Duncan/Day Advertising. As a full-service agency, we are more than willing to assist you in your efforts.
Every year, millions of Americans tune in to watch the glitz, glamour and gold of the Oscars. They watch stars draped in luxurious gowns parade down the red carpet. They listen to acceptance speeches, laugh with the host, and squeal at the sight of the hottest new actors. However, what the audience doesn’t see is the boatloads of cash being spent by advertisers and moviemakers to create this special night.
Because live events often escape the stronghold of digital recording services like TiVo, they make the perfect hosts for big time advertisements. Some of the largest companies in the world spend millions of dollars to grab 30 seconds of screen time that will not get the fast-forward treatment. In fact, for the 2015 Oscars, a 30-second commercial spot cost $1.95 million. For a 3-hour telecast, that should put about $100 million into ABC’s pockets. This number marks an estimated 8% increase over the previous year.
Armed with an engaging commercial, advertisers can be sure that is a solid investment. With live, widely watched television events like the Oscars, social media buzz is all but guaranteed. Brands that make funny, intelligent, and entertaining ads know that they can get in on this buzz. If it’s good enough, the commercial will even go viral. That’s as good as Oscar gold.
Advertisers aren’t the only people making it rain at the Academy Awards. Movie studios spend millions of dollars vying for a Best Picture win. Part of this expense is mailing DVD screeners to each of the thousands of academy members. When they add marketing materials, pay for everyone involved in the campaign, and other expenses, winning Best Picture can cost a pretty penny.
As we see with Oscar advertising, Best Picture campaigns can be well worth the investment. Best Picture winners can expect to see around a 15% increase in sales after the big night. That may not seem like much, but when you consider the scale of movie budgets, that can mean up to $15 million.
Big bucks and Hollywood are inextricably linked. Never is that more clear than when you look at the money behind the little gold statue. As it turns out, all that glitters really is gold.
Let this sink in for a moment: before cell phones, we never had to ask where anyone was. If we were talking to someone, we knew the answer to that question. It’s obvious that rapidly evolving technology has fundamentally changed the way we communicate with one another. Like everything else, press releases have adjusted to accommodate new technology.
A bygone era
Before the widespread use of the Internet, press releases were simply text documents that were faxed to media outlets. If the information was interesting enough, it got a mention in the next day’s paper or on the nightly news. This was an elegantly simple process compared to what the public relations world faces today.
Now, many young people in the work force haven’t ever successfully used a fax machine. Instead, press releases are distributed via email, Facebook, Twitter, and company blogs. This means that news outlets and consumers are receiving press releases at the same time.
The new face of press releases
Instead of cutting out the middleman, marketing professionals have invited consumers to the party. Essentially, the most loyal consumers can act as media outlets as well. They read the press release, like it, and share it with their social network. The number of potential mouthpieces for the company has grown exponentially and nobody has to listen to those annoying fax machine noises. Winning!
To further complicated things, press releases now consist of much more than text. Because it is all web-based, it has become the norm to include photos, videos and links with the release. This makes the content more engaging and gives reporters a starting point for their research.
Of course, it can’t be all sunshine and roses. There are some unique challenges that companies may face when distributing press releases. For example, media outlets have come to expect quicker, more engaging content. While the fax machine was annoying at times, text was easy enough to write. Now, they expect professional graphics, videos and websites.
Not every company has the resources to staff an entire department just for producing this content. Luckily, Duncan/Day is here to help. If you need a hand in navigating the world of press releases, give us a call.