Hashtags: 3 Reasons Why They Are Good for Facebook

June 24, 2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli         return to JayVee Media Link LLC

Facebook and Hashtag figures shaking handsHashtags have finally arrived on Facebook.  They were greeted with fanfare from devotees of the feature, chagrin from a number of others, and renewed worry over how they might affect privacy settings.  So are they a good or a bad addition to Facebook?

Originally created for Twitter, many purists claim hashtags should not have come to that platform’s main competitor.  But they are widely used across many sites these days, including Pinterest, Google Plus, Vine and even Facebook’s own Instagram.  It was just a matter of time, as well as a dose of good reasoning. Here is why I believe hashtags on Facebook are a good thing:

1. functionality

hashtag under microscope

Hashtags make conversations searchable.  They categorize topics of discussion, making them more easily visible to people who wish to follow and/or participate in them.  On Facebook, specific hashtags may be found using the search bar.  Those who wish to add their voices to the conversation can do so directly from the search result page.  Hashtags also give brands an edge by making it easy for them to track activity related to their businesses.  And engaging in the broader forum allowed by hashtags may attract new fans and followers to those brands.

2. cross-platform compatibility

hashtag surrounded by social media platforms

Hashtagged topics and posts can be accessed on a profile even if they originated on another platform that supports the feature.  What a great way to pull in and contribute to a conversation that is trending throughout the social media world!  This cross-platform compatibility is another reason brands love that hashtags have expanded to Facebook.  The move completes the circle of major social networks businesses use, and hence must monitor.  And again, the ability of those brands to reach a broader audience across a multitude of social media platforms increases the opportunity to be liked and followed by new people, who may become customers.

3. Facebook privacy

Facebook’s admins have promised that the platform’s hashtags will respect users’ privacy settings.  That said, those settings need to be checked REGULARLY.  Facebook seems to like changing them.  So be vigilant and confirm your desired settings are in force before sending EVERY post!  As long as they are in effect, hashtags will respect them.

How do you feel about Facebook’s rollout of hashtags?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

See also:  “Hashtags Are Our Friends

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Google+: 6 Reasons To Be There Now!

June 3, 2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli            return to JayVee Media Link LLC

Google Plus has been the topic of much debate – and more than a little derision – until recently.  It was labeled a Facebook knock-off with the unfair advantage of having Google as its parent.  A large number of social media aficionados turned their noses up at the platform, predicting that it would never amount to anything significant.  It’s not often so many knowledgeable people would be wrong, but these days it looks as though that is exactly the case.  Boasting over 343 million users, the once maligned social media platform has grown to become the second largest on the internet. As it has evolved, a number of features have won the minds and hearts of many former naysayers:

1. Ranking

Google Plus profile page links boxYES, Google indexes its G+ platform’s posts for search ranking!  Instead of deriding that fact, more and more people are coming to embrace it.  Why not use the advantage it offers, considering how competitive the rankings game is?  Users maximize benefits through judicious use of niche keywords in their posts, and by including links to their websites, blog pages and other social media sites in the link section of their profile descriptions.

2. Post diversity

Google Plus hashtagged and tagged postGoogle Plus is likely the only major social media platform that supports every kind of post with no limitations.  Text, pictures, videos, even full blog posts are supported. As a nice bonus, we have the ability to format our posted text with bold, italic and strikethrough features.  Plus, downloadable files like pdfs and word documents can be shared directly on the platform. Posts on G+ are also very easy to target using hashtags and tagging.  For convenience, tagged people in our posts may respond via email.

3. Hangouts

No other social media platform offers a feature like Hangouts.  These on-air video chats allow wide ranging discussion among up to nine participants, complete with capabilities for slideshow presentations, screen sharing, and other collaborative activities via access to Google Drive.  They can be recorded for later posting, too.  The business possibilities offered by Hangouts are virtually limitless!

4. Communities

Google Plus’ Communities are fairly new, having been introduced last December.  Like groups or forums on other platforms, they allow easy connection and information sharing among people who have a common interest, business, etc.  We can join existing communities or create new ones.  Such involvement allows us direct lines of information about our particular interests, as well as an opportunity to share what we know with others who may not otherwise see our posts.

5. Business pages

Google Plus JayVee Media Link business page

Google Plus is one of the most business friendly of the popular social media platforms.  In addition to post diversity and huge cover pictures, we have the flexibility of opening up to 50 different business pages per gmail address.  This is great if we wish to feature different products or services, or even just to showcase different facets of our companies.

6. New design

Google Plus’ new interface is much more user friendly than it has ever been before.  Features are more easily accessible, post streams are cleaner (users can choose single or double column streams), and the revamped size for our cover pictures – 2120 pixels, or 16” by 9”- allows more room for unlimited visual representation than is offered on any other platform.

For all the above listed features, Google Plus is the social media place to be today.  Not having a presence on the platform is a serious liability considering all the vital tools and features available to those who establish a presence there.

Which is your favorite Google Plus feature?  One listed here, or another?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Hashtags Are Our Friends!

March 18, 2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                 return to JayVee Media Link LLC

hashtag in magnifyiing glassHashtags.  As social media newbies, every one of us was most likely intimidated by them. We didn’t understand them, couldn’t comprehend their purpose, and their omnipresence was more than a little scary!  What WAS that little tic tac toe sign before all those words?  At that time we had no idea how very important those symbols were, and how helpful they would come to be as we struggled to keep our posts from getting lost among the hundreds of others washing over our chosen profiles each day.

Hashtags got their start on Twitter.  Once confined to that platform, they are now used widely on several others, including Google Plus, Instagram, Pinterest, and likely soon, Facebook – where they were met with resistance not so long ago.

Simply put, hashtags represent categories. If a post contains a specific hashtag, that post is grouped into a file with other posts that also contain that hashtagged word or phrase.  There are several advantages to this grouping method.  The subject of our categorized posts is easier to track.  We need only revisit the hashtagged term.  Equally importantly, it enables us to more easily locate other messages on the same topic.  Sharing information and opinions on the subject – including with others to whom we are not otherwise connected – can be accomplished smoothly.  This in turn affords us an opportunity to forge new connections as we demonstrate our expertise in the hastagged topic.

Hashtags are also used to “house” chats on specific topics. They make it easy to locate a particular chat.  They also help to keep the discussion focused on the topic, and to respond within the targeted circle of discussion.

Of course, all good features come with disclaimers.  We must use hashtags carefully.  If we wish to create a targeted group, we need to test the term we want to use before adopting it.  If it doesn’t already exist, we must take care to consider whether it can be “hijacked” for other purposes – e.g., if it is too general.  If it does exist, it’s important to be sure our posts are appropriate to add to it.  There is a chance the term that is already in existence carries discussions of a different meaning than the one we intend.

Lastly, we must take care not to abuse hashtags, or to overuse them.    Otherwise they become spammy.  While we may use more than one in a post, we should hashtag only the one or two keywords/phrases that have the most relevance to the topic of the message we are posting.

On which social media platforms do YOU use hashtags?  How many do you average in a message?  Please share your hashtag in the sunthoughts in the comments section below!

Twitter: Terrible…or Terribly Misunderstood?

July 9, 2012

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                                    return to JayVee Media Link LLC

Twitter new logo“Twitter?  Ugh!  I HATE Twitter!”  That is the reaction I often get when I recommend the platform as a business building tool in new clients’ social media marketing toolboxes.  In spite of its wild popularity among business owners who grasp the vast potential Twitter holds, those who are less well informed about social media marketing seriously misunderstand the channel…and underrate its value to their companies.

The biggest complaint about Twitter that I hear from new clients stems from their notions that everyone on the platform does nothing but tweet nonsensical minutiae about their personal lives.  The second biggest grievance I hear is that the channel spreads users’ messages too widely to ever be useful to them.  Objections like these are quickly put to rest when my clients learn a few facts about Twitter:

Targeted Searches

It is easy to build a following that is very specific to one’s niche by using Twitter’s search tool.  There are other related sites, like Twellow, that also offer this service.  But the one built into the platform is very easy to use, and returns the best results I have seen.  Just type in some relevant keywords and click the search button.  While not necessary for this activity, it is helpful to precede the words with the hashtag symbol (#).  Follow any accounts that look like good potential matches; Twitter etiquette dictates that the vast majority will follow back.  Of course, be sure to message a note of thanks to those people who do, which helps set the stage for engagement.  But don’t try selling right off the bat.  On Twitter, as on every other social media platform, the name of the game is relationship building.  Pitches must come later.

Twitter search example

Sharing Information

As we build and engage our targeted Twitter followers, we become immersed in a constant stream of the freshest industry information available, posting almost as it is breaking.  Think of it as the most valuable instant messaging system we can join.  We can contribute our expertise as well as benefit from that of our peers at the uppermost levels of our niches.  The best way to grow our following further is to demonstrate our knowledge, and to be willing to help by freely sharing it.  The best way to service our clients is to operate with the most cutting edge information we can find.  Twitter is one of the best resources for both sides of this business equation.

Hitting proper targets for our expertise

We can target our messages to those who will potentially benefit the most, and hence stand the best chance of becoming clients, by using one of the same tools that helped us locate relevant followers in the first place.  Hashtags are invaluable for this process.  They also categorize our messages by subject or niche, making them easy to find.  As with all great tools, however, be sure to use them wisely – and avoid overuse.

Twitter hashtag and driving traffic examples

Driving traffic

By posting links in our tweets, we can use Twitter to drive traffic to our websites, our blog pages, and to our other social media platforms.  In fact, Twitter has the potential to drive more traffic than almost any other channel.

Brand identification

Twitter allows much latitude for businesses to advertise their branding.  Almost everything from a profile’s background image to the colors of its text can be configured to match a company’s branding.  This is very significant, as uniform appearance across a website and all social media channels strengthens a company’s identification and instills confidence in its customers.

Twitter branding example JayVee Media Link

Whether new to social media marketing or not, every business owner needs to understand the importance of using a Twitter account.  For any of the above mentioned necessary activities, the platform is an invaluable tool.

Do you get pushback when you speak of Twitter to your clients?  How do you handle a negative reaction toward this important social media tool?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!