3 Amazing Twitter Hashtag Campaigns

I have been writing for Hipmunk, a travel booking company that gives awesome city and hotel reviews, with excellent deals for every destination. The experience has been so much fun, and I have admired their #HipmunkCityLove campaign on Twitter. Their campaign encourages everyone to share their favorite cities they have traveled to, or what they love about their own city. Not only is it fun to share, but people who are looking for their next escape get a real look at what makes each destination so great!

The #HipmunkCityLove campaign made me think about other great hashtag campaigns. Every brand wants to start an excellent hashtag campaign that captures interest, commentary, and shares of its target audience. Many times, these hashtags flop miserably. This raises the question: what makes up a great hashtag campaign? Here are three examples of great hashtags from brands, and why they were successful.

#soirritating

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Unlike many hashtag campaigns that brands start, Edge Shave Gel started the #soirritating hashtag without any real mention of their brand name or product description. They pointed out how irritating it was to get razor burn and other nuisances from bad razors or shaving gel. They invited everyone else on Twitter to post what irritated them the most, even unrelated to shaving!

Edge even tried to solve their problems by sending people different products to make their irritation go away. For example, one woman said her husband refusal to wear his hearing aid was #soirritating. In response, Edge sent her a megaphone to use to speak with him.

The brand realized you could not have much conversation around shaving, and social media is all about talking. Opening their brand to allow the audience to share irritations about their day or life, gave them many new customers. Much like having a friend complain about aspects of life, these followers became forever fans of the shaving gel company.

#kindofabigdeal

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To celebrate their partnership with Verizon Wireless, RadioShack hosted a hashtag campaign titled #kindofabigdeal. What made this hashtag unique was that RadioShack conducted it in real-time! RadioShack placed a bunch of Verizon phones on a table. Anytime someone Tweeted with the #kindofabigdeal hashtag, the phones would vibrate in response. All the vibration caused a phone to fall of the table and the Tweeter that caused that last vibration won the phone. Not only did people win a free phone by participating, both brands received a ton of Tweets and attention.

#tweetfromtheseat

CHARMINYES

Thanks to that little fudge pile emoticon on so many phones these days, talking about “bathroom time” has become the norm. Charmin, makers of crazy-soft toilet paper, took advantage of the open bathroom conversation with their hashtag #tweetfromtheseat. They encouraged people to start Tweeting during their regular bathroom schedule with the hashtag, and it had a great response!

The hashtag did so well because Charmin took advantage of their fun and quirky brand personality to create a campaign. The language is full of funny doublespeak and insinuations, all the while telling their audience to take an action (which they gladly did!). What made it more successful was the six best potty Tweets using the hashtag won tickets to the Superbowl.

Each of these campaigns introduced innovation into the hashtag world. These campaigns were not simply asking people to talk about something. Instead, they did something different in a space that social media conversations do not happen in.

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Should You Choose Facebook or Twitter for the Start of Your Social Presence?

When a business decides it’s time to keep up and get their brand on social, it is extremely overwhelming. There are many social network options, but most new-to-social businesses settle on Facebook or Twitter as their first online marketing platform.

Via Flickr by Jason Howie

Via Flickr by Jason Howie

Why is this? Well, Facebook and Twitter are warring clans for the dominion of social media. While Facebook is the innovator that amped social media into what it is today, Twitter was ahead of the curve in creating a new form of social networking. Since their rise to popularity, Twitter and Facebook have been borrowing site layouts, keywords, hashtags, content formatting, and algorithms from each other. Much like the rivalry between Microsoft and Apple, Facebook and Twitter are in a casual war.

So, when businesses are new to social, they gravitate towards one of the two giants. They have a tried and tested layout that attracts users from every demographic. No matter what your business is, you can find your audience in the folds of one of these platforms.

But which one do you choose? If you only have enough time or room in your budget for one, you have to look at who your target audience is.

Via Flickr by mkhmarketing

Via Flickr by mkhmarketing

For larger businesses that have a target audience that spans across the country, Twitter is your best bet. The audience of Twitter is vast and the platform makes it easy for your audience to interact with your brand. As long as you understand how to craft your messages, use hashtags, create a conversation, and how often to post, Twitter is going to be your best platform.

Via Flickr by Ricky-Lai

Via Flickr by Ricky-Lai

For the smaller or localized businesses, head to Facebook. The users want to interact on a more personal level with Facebook. They want to have conversations with their brand and stay up-to-date on what is going on. Local businesses thrive on Facebook because the people want to support their city and create relationships with owners. They also love bragging about that awesome boutique on Main Street or the greatest tacos ever at the 3rd Street Mexican restaurant. You are likely to get high interaction and more referrals on Facebook.

However, I highly recommend you get on both. My starting price for my social media services cover both Facebook and Twitter posts. This is because I believe businesses need to be on both and it does not take up a great deal of extra time to create different messaging for each platform. Your audience is not restricted to one platform. There will be some of your audience on Facebook but not on Twitter and vice versa. To stretch your reach as far as possible, starting on both Facebook and Twitter will give you excellent leverage.

Originally posted on LinkedIn

Is Twitter a Better Job Tool than LinkedIn?

Everyone knows LinkedIn is the social media king when it comes to job search, candidate search, and promoting a company or business. But I learned something recently that shocked my knowledge and made me question my social media industry knowledge – Twitter might be a more effective job tool.

Via Pixabay by Nemo

Via Pixabay by Nemo

Some background: A couple of months ago I received a mysterious email from a local startup, asking if I could come in for an interview. I spoke with the woman on the phone, came to their office for an interview, and have been working with them as a brand consultant and social media manager ever since.

I assumed when I was headhunted that the startup found me on LinkedIn. After all, I just started publishing on the platform and it is THE career networking site. I was surprised to find out a few weeks later that she actually found me via Twitter. Amazed, I asked what she did. The startup searched for social media in combination with my area – Kansas City, MO. I was one of the names that came up and my Twitter profile and messaging was the most appealing to her out of all the candidates.

Not only did this interaction make me extremely proud of my profile engagement, but it also opened my eyes as a social media manager. Companies who go digital head straight to LinkedIn to create a company page, get their employees on the site, and headhunt for new opportunities. Individuals who want to network for career advancement and are actively looking for job opportunities get on LinkedIn, customize their profile, and start applying to job openings.

Via Pixabay by tiffanytlcbm

Via Pixabay by tiffanytlcbm

Here is the problem – LinkedIn is so business professional that it is stuffy. There is an unspoken code of ethics, as if the users are constantly in their job interview mode (you know, that mode you get in when you are great at everything and can adapt to whatever the job interviewer wants). LinkedIn is flooded with people vying for positions and trying to B2B market effectively. It can be hard to sort through the noise to find people, especially since LinkedIn’s search function and strange connection rules make it hard to reach people.

Yet Twitter is the opposite. Even if people are looking for job opportunities, they go on Twitter to share industry knowledge, talk about their real lives, and communicate with others in similar professions. Twitter users are more real. They are not actively trying to find jobs on the platform, but do hope someone loves their content enough to follow them.

That means Twitter users are on their A-game to be the best selves they can be. This is different from the fake job interview-self that is the greatest at everything. Twitter users vent when they are frustrated, brag when they overcome challenges, and share personal photos and stories of their life. If you want to get to the heart of who someone is – go to Twitter.

Via Pixabay by Unsplash

Via Pixabay by Unsplash

That is what the startup I joined decided to do. Without even realizing I was being headhunted, I was appealing enough for that company that they considered me the perfect fit and solution to their problems. On LinkedIn, I am too focused on bragging about myself to do much else.

Remember this when you get on social media. People can find you anywhere online. Reserving one part of your personality for LinkedIn while putting another side on Twitter does not separate the two versions of yourself. Whatever you put online reveals who you are. This same rule goes for brands. People can easily find you on multiple platforms and will compare that messaging you send out. Even though each platform has a slightly different audience and messaging construction, you cannot treat them as separate worlds that will never touch. Be authentic on every platform and you will see your goals achieved.

How to Choose the Best Social Media Platforms for Your Business

So you realize that you need to be social. But where do you start?

It can be overwhelming. There are numerous platforms and every social media advice website will tell you something different. Here is what it comes down to – you need to evaluate your brand message and your marketing goals and find platforms that match the “persona” of your business.

“But how do I know which platforms match my business?” Luckily, I am here as a social media expert to break it down the main platforms for you.

Via Flickr by marcopako

Via Flickr by marcopako

Facebook. Many say Facebook marketing is as dead as paper marketing, which, if you follow my posts, you know is not the case. It is good to have some Facebook presence no matter what your business is (however retail, restaurants, and local businesses do the best). It’s a numbers game – there are over 1.2 billion active users as of January 2014. You can’t ignore that big of platform. Granted, Facebook’s algorithms make it hard for your messages to reach that platform, but if you do a little bit of research you can greatly use organic reach Facebook to your advantage.

Via Flickr by mkhmarketing

Via Flickr by mkhmarketing

Twitter. With the right hashtags, you can do anything on Twitter. Yet the best businesses on Twitter are the opposite of the best businesses on Facebook. This is because retail, restaurants, and local businesses have a dedicated customer base while other businesses have more casual relationships with the audience. This is where Twitter comes in. Twitter allows you to connect with other businesses, prospective customers, and industry enthusiasts who will promote you for free – as long as you use the right hashtags. I insist the majority of my clients get both a Twitter and Facebook. They are the two powerhouse platforms you can’t ignore.

Via Flickr by Link Humans UK

Via Flickr by Link Humans UK

LinkedIn. LinkedIn is THE platform for B2B marketing. Yet LinkedIn can be tricky. You need to have one employee be the “face” of the company, meaning they create, manage, discuss, and make connections on the company’s behalf. It can be tricky to outsource your LinkedIn marketing. Usually it is best to do in house after researching the best way to use LinkedIn as a connector tool, not as a spam marketing robot.

Via Flickr Zack D. Smith

Via Flickr Zack D. Smith

Google+. I admit, I have a love-hate relationship with Google+. There is a lot to be desired and I don’t see its use as a social media platform – outside of its affiliation with Google. With Google’s search engine rules, having a Google+ page is practically a must. With a Google+ page, you get higher search engine rankings and more credibility in Google’s (AKA – Internet God’s) eyes. If you rely on high search engine rankings for your business, get a Google+ page.

Via Flickr marioanima

Via Flickr marioanima

YouTube. YouTube is more of a supplemental platform for your marketing plan. Only certain brands are good for YouTube. If you have the opportunity to make instructional videos, product reviews/highlights, or “commercials” online with your product or service, then YouTube is a great platform for you. Just make sure your videos are professional and high quality!

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Pinterest. Pinterest is a great platform if your business is highly visual. If you have high quality product photos or offer services that are eye-catching, get your boards started! The pinning platform is best for craft, home decor, home improvement, wedding, food-related, and retail businesses.

Via Flickr Play Among Friends

Via Flickr Play Among Friends

Instagram. Like Pinterest, Instagram is great for highly visual businesses. The difference in Instagram – you need to be very interactive as well. On Pinterest, you can get away with throwing up content without a whole lot of interaction. On Instagram, you have to be involved. You have to know the best filters, know the hashtags, and know your audience as well as constantly communicating with your audience.

Via Flickr by manoftaste.de

Via Flickr by manoftaste.de

Blog. Bottom line – blogs are important for pretty much every business. Blogs are your opportunity to showcase your knowledge about your industry. The golden rule is to never write an entire blog post as self-promotion. You should always blog to give away “free samples” of information to your audience so they want more.

Originally posted on LinkedIn

More Characters on Twitter?! New Retweet with Comment Feature

Twitter announced this week that they are testing out a new feature for the platform – Retweet with Comment. This new feature gives you more characters on Twitter to use at your disposal – providing you are adding commentary to a post you are retweeting.

Essentially, Retweet with Comment allows you to preserve the original Tweet in a Twitter Card. For those who don’t know, a Twitter Card is a feature that allows posts on Twitter to be media-rich. If someone uses a Twitter Card, they will link to a website in a post and Twitter will show a preview of the post or the main image below the Tweet.

Via Tech Crunch

If the feature is released to all users, you can choose to Retweet with Comment, keep the full original Tweet in a media preview (or Twitter Card) and then add your own comments with the RT. The benefit – you get a full 140 characters to express your thoughts.

The goal behind this feature is to start meaningful conversations on Twitter. Users currently can have one-on-one conversations by replying to each other. Anyone who wants to join in can view the full conversation, but rarely does this happen unless you are participating in a Twitter Chat. Likewise, many users need the full 140 character to express their thoughts or explain their link. This leaves users who want to RT their content and add their commentary very little room to do so.

Via Tech Crunch

There have been so many times where I want to add commentary to a RT only to cut down my thoughts, remove my hashtags, or alter the user’s content I am RT. I hate doing all of those things. With this new feature, I can preserve the entire original Tweet without feeling guilty about altering their voice or style and still say everything I want to say. More people can view the conversation easily and join in.

The 140 character limit is what makes Twitter special and causes people to get more creative with their posts. But often it is a limitation. With more features like this, Twitter can evolve into a more thoughtful conversational host.

Image Credit: Tech Crunch Original Article

My Controversial Opinion on The Weather Channel’s Social Media Fail

One of my social media buddies Jessica Wooldridge Tweeted me and a few other gurus our opinion on The Weather Channel’s social media fail moment. I read what happened and found I had way more opinions than could fit in 140 characters. I am writing a blog post giving my opinion as a social media marketer representing multiple companies on how The Weather Channel employee handled the situation. Hopefully my opinion can be a learning opportunity for businesses trying to learn the ways of Twitter.

Fort Worth City Council Member Joel Burns Tweeted a simple complaint to The Weather Channel, asking them to change the photo on the app. When he opened the weather for his city, the app displayed a photo of Dallas instead of Fort Worth. He wanted to see his city, not Dallas.

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The Weather Channel did not respond after his Tweet sent at 7:05 AM. Burns Tweeted again at 7:40, just 35 minutes later, saying:

weather channel twitter

Okay, I get it. The Weather Channel is not perfect. I especially hate the update to their app that happened about a year ago. The interface is sensitive and poorly laid out and it can be a pain to find weather in a different city. However, Burns only waited 35 minutes before deleting the app.

Yes, you need to respond to complaints as a company. Yes, you need to do it in a timely manner. But a timely manner means within a couple hours, not 35 minutes. For all you know, the social media team was in a weekly strategy meeting since it was Monday.

Not only that, but Burns was outright rude about the “poor customer service.” He is the same as a customer in a restaurant who asks the waitress for more napkins on a busy Friday night and then is infuriated when they are not brought back in under five minutes, nixing her tip. His wording and vengeful tone was extremely rude and unprofessional. Which led to a frustrated social media team at The Weather Channel to respond:

weather channel twitter 2

 

Alright. Here we go.

The Weather Channel responded a minute later. This could mean they were on the whole time and ignoring Burns. Or it could mean they just started looking through their Tweets and were responding to things when his Tweet caught their eye and they became frustrated. Regardless, they responded at the wrong time with the wrong thing.

Companies ALWAYS need to be the bigger person when confronted with complaints and unruly customers. The same goes for this interaction between Burns and The Weather Channel. They should have apologized without the sarcastic comment. It was unprofessional and inappropriate.

However, what Burns said was also unprofessional and inappropriate. He WAS bullying. It doesn’t matter that he was bullying a corporation and not a person. It is still bullying. As a political figure, that is terrifying. People quickly rallied behind Burns, scorning The Weather Channel and how horrible they were to BUrns.

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The Weather Channel should not have responded that way. But in this incident, no one is recognizing that Burns was unprofessional, inappropriate, and yes bullying. All things you do NOT want in a city council member. The Weather Channel would have been the winner in this incident if they had responded apologetically and been the bigger person while RT what Burns said. This would highlight how poorly Burns behaved and The Weather Channel would have been a great social media example.

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The person who Tweeted the sarcasm should not be fired. That person should be reprimanded and The Weather Channel should have protocols in place for future incidents. But everyone is ignoring the bad behavior of Burns on Twitter. This is being overshadowed by The Weather Channel’s fail. It needs to be discussed.

5 Main Strategies for Twitter Marketing (And Other General Tips)

Twitter is one of the most popular social media tools. Most businesses integrate a Twitter account with their marketing plan, but many do not have the best strategies of how to use it. Developing a comprehensive Twitter strategy will allow you to extend your outreach, increase engagement, and increase lead generation.

Via Flickr by Garrett Heath

To extend outreach, businesses need to do five main things:

  1. Use hashtags. Utilizing effective hashtags is the first thing you need to do get the attention of followers. If you come up with a creative hashtag that relates to your company while being fun, you can show up in the top Tweets list. For example, if you sell pizza, you could start a hashtag campaign of #funnypizzadelivery where Twitter users can tell stories of funny pizza deliveries they have ordered or received.
  2. Register in directories. Directories will help you find new followers in your city, other leaders in your industry, and anyone who shares the company’s hobbies and ideas. Registering your business Twitter in these directories will help you get more followers.
  3. Build an attractive profile. Your profile needs to be customized with your company’s colors in the design. You should also have a picture of the logo as the profile picture.
  4. Follow relevant people. Find and follow people who are experts in your industry so you can retweet their content and gain new followers. You can also follow customers who Tweet to you or retweet you.
  5. Be consistent with your posts. Figure out the best format for your Tweets and follow it every time you compose one. This will help make your profile look uniform and make people become fond of retweeting your content.

Increasing fan engagement depends entirely on the kind of content you produce. It should be creative and non-promotional. Try to make Tweets that are emotional, such as being funny, controversial, or moving. Tweets need to be genuine and relevant as well. Consider creating and running fun contests that engage users and cause more to follow you. For example, a sketch artist once offered to create a sketch of his first 200,000 followers. This campaign helped him gain hundreds of thousands of new followers and got them engaged and interested in his art.

Via Flickr by eldh

To get more lead generation on Twitter, you need to follow certain guidelines.

  • Practice active monitoring in order to respond quickly to followers and be helpful.
  • Let the customer’s needs guide you to figure out what kind of content to Tweet.
  • Keep monitoring feedback from customers, competitors, and employees and make timely adjustments to products, services, and campaigns.
  • Mix paid campaigns with grassroots campaigns in order to get more brand awareness and seem more authentic to your customers.

Via Flickr by Brood_wich

You should also utilize Twitter Analytics to see the results of your efforts. Analytics can help you understand how followers grow, how the quality of the content engages internal and external influencers, and how effective the campaign is in driving sales and lead generation. Twitter Analytics provides businesses with:

  • An understanding of how effectively Twitter integrates on their website.
  • Understand how much your website content is being shared on Twitter.
  • See the amount of traffic you get to your website that is directed from Twitter.

Lastly, you need to follow through with your Twitter campaigns and communication from followers. If you have a contest or campaign that requires participation from followers, make sure when it is over you give the winning followers their prize. If you have a small number of followers asking questions, answer them. If there are a large number of followers, pick and choose a few to answer so users know you are engaged and reading their Tweets. This helps them feel loyal to the brand.

Do you have any special Twitter tips that helped your marketing strategy? Let me know in comments or on Twitter @HS_Writing!