2014 in review – My First Year Blogging!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,200 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 37 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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4 Benefits of Using Hashtags

All over the Internet, people use hashtags to find information and hold conversations. They are even used as language in face-to-face conversations! They have so many uses to help readers find your content and spread your brand name.

Take the #HipmunkCityLove hashtag as an example. Hipmunk, a travel-booking and review site, uses hashtags to spread the love about various cities, including Cancun in the city reviews I wrote for them. Not only does the hashtag spread the word about Hipmunk, but it also allows travelers to share insider information about cities and learn about places they want to visit. To get in on the hashtag game, learn about these four benefits.

Spreading Brand Name

Image via Flickr by melenita2012

Image via Flickr by melenita2012

Like word-of-mouth marketing, social media gives you an amazing opportunity to spread your brandĀ  further than you normally can. Hashtags that catch the eye are a great way to do this. Branded hashtags have immediate business recognition, but areĀ not shared as widely unless the marketing message behind it is really engaging.

If you use a hashtag that supports a conversation related to your business without your name in it, you have a better chance of spreading it. Without a direct reference to your brand, however, people may not associate your business with it. If you start an active conversational strategy where you are commenting and sharing every positive use of the hashtag, people will more easily associate your brand with the hashtag.

Starting a Conversation

Via Flickr by mikecogh

Via Flickr by mikecogh

When you create a hashtag, you are starting a specific conversation about a topic related to your business or industry. People love chatting on social and sharing media in relation to hashtags. If the conversation you are trying to start is interesting enough, people will happily join in.

A precaution: make the hashtag specific so people cannot make any negative commentary. The label #McDStories is an example of a hijacked hashtag. McDonald’s wanted people to share their awesome experiences at McDonald’s. Instead, the audiences used the hashtag as permission to complain about their bad experiences.

Convert Customers and Increase Sales

Via Flickr by mikecogh

Via Flickr by mikecogh

If you have a product you sell, you can create a hashtag around it. This works great if it is a new, anxiously anticipated item, or a very popular product. Encourage people to take photos of themselves using the product and share the images with the hashtag. To incite more interest, offer a prize or reward for the best picture or most creative use of your product. This media sharing will greatly improve your brand reach, converting new customers who want to try your product, and increasing sales.

Positive Customer Service

Via Flickr by cogdogblog

Via Flickr by cogdogblog

When you start and participate in the hashtag conversation, it acts as customer service. People who enjoy your conversation will remember your contributions, creating positive feelings about your brand. This positivity will stick, giving your audience great customer service before they even buy!

The benefits of using hashtags are enormous. Not participating actually puts your business at a disadvantage. Even if you simply join hashtag conversations without creating your own, you need to get in the conversation.