Tag Archives: social media

3 Rules For Small Businesses Using Hashtags

As a small business, you’re likely on social media and if you’re on social media, you’ve seen hashtags; phrases that are preceded by a “#” symbol. Hashtags have been in use for years and are a popular way to label social media posts and connect conversations. Hashtags can be a great way for small business marketers to get people talking about their brands, products and services on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Tumbler and Pinterest. People also Google hashtags.

Hashtags can also increase visibility and impressions. In fact, Twitter found that individuals can see a 100% increase in engagement by using hashtags while brands can see a 50% increase. So let’s look at three rules for your small business to follow when using hashtags.

3 Rules For Small Businesses Using Hashtags Continue reading


5 Ways to Build Better Social Media Communities

Social media has quickly emerged as a primary platform for engaging your customers and generating awareness about your company, products and promotions. But social media marketing is still so new that best practices quickly turn into ineffective gimmicks. The key is to start with a good community so you have a built-in audience for your products and services, regardless of the latest trend. So let’s look at five ways to build better social media communities for your small business.

The first step to any marketing channel plan is understanding its capabilities. Social media, for example, is used to build awareness, engage with a specific, targeted community and generate leads. So be sure you use this channel to promote these goals and then measure against them. Continue reading

5 Can’t-Live-Without Social Media Tools

Social media eats up content like a monster, and staying on top of all the scheduling, engagement, and reporting can be exhausting. Just 5% of small business owners outsource their social media marketing and email newsletters, so if you don’t have the luxury of hiring a staff, you could spend all day posting, engaging,and tracking your accounts. Luckily there are some tools to help, so let’s take a look at five can’t-live-without social media tools.


1. Hootsuite


Hootsuite is a staple of small business social media marketing, and for good reason. From a single platform you can post, schedule posts, and access analytics. Using their streams, you can monitor social channels for company or product mentions, competitors, or a variety of other keywords.  It’s free to sign up and just $9.99/mo for more profiles and features. The mobile app can be a bit clunky, and it still only integrates with a few social channels, but they’re the main ones you’ll use, so it’s definitely a social media tool you can’t live without.

2. Sprout Social


Sprout Social is a robust social media management platform you need if you’re a very social business. Like Hootsuite, you can post, schedule, and monitor your social accounts from a single dashboard but it’s in their analytics that Sprout Social really shines. They visualize data so even if you don’t have a Ph.D. in statistical analysis, you can still make informed decisions about timing, engagement, content, etc. Sprout also has a terrific CRM tool that gives you access to an entire history of conversations between you and a customer. Sign up for a free trial and pay $39-99/mo after.

3. Cyfe


Using a wide variety of widgets that enable everything from advertising to email to SEO, Cyfe allows you to monitor all your online activities, not just social, from one centralized location. Add a variety of different profiles to the social media widget to track all your social accounts starting at just $14 – $19/mo for unlimited everything, making it a must-use  and affordable social media tool.

4. Buffer


Simply put: Buffer is the one social media automation tool you can’t live without. With a single click, you can share and schedule content, ensuring your accounts never sleep, even when you do. The mobile app is great and they provide pretty good analytics. The best feature might just be their suggested posts, which brings content to you, saving you more time than ever. It’s free to start and just $10/mo after that.



IFTTT (If This Then That) is an automation tools that will save you so much time you’ll wonder how you lived without it. Using a variety of “recipes,” you simple tell this app that if something happens (someone sends you a DM on Twitter), to automatically do something (send you a text message). With millions of recipes integrating a huge variety of internet services, IFTTT is a great tool for simplifying your social media activities.

Want more social media tools? Sign up for our Social Media Toolkit webinar on October 7 at 10 am Pacific/1 pm Eastern to go deeper and make your social media marketing easier and more effective.

Image: PhotoSpin

Social Media Tools, Tips & Tricks


By Jill Kennedy, Founder of That’s the Idea

It’s the beginning of the week and you want to post content on your Facebook and Twitter accounts. You post a status and a few tweets. Thursday rolls around and you realize you haven’t posted since. You had a lot of meetings this week and it was hard to schedule social media into your plan.

How do you adapt this rising and essential marketing tool without falling behind in your most important tasks?

1. Set aside some time early in the week.

Set three to four hours aside each week and research your industry’s news updates, stories and fun and interesting articles. Prepare thoughts and questions to go along with each article that can be used to engage your audience. Consider which hashtags you would use and who you could tag in your posts to spark a conversation.

2. Schedule your content. 

Using tools like Hootsuite to manage all of your major accounts from one platform will help you sort your content. Decide on two to three times a day when you would like to post content, focusing mainly on Monday-Friday. Think about when your audience is most engaged online and schedule posts at that time.

3. Get free market research.

If you have a company website, sign it up on Google Analytics. This super easy tool will provide you with statistical information on who is viewing your website. You can use these results to cater to your audience demographic. To set it up, check out this informative “how to” page.

4. Write your own content.

Do what comes naturally and write about your expertise once a week. Talk about trends in your industry, your own personal experiences in the industry, why it is good to invest in your industry’s products or services, guides on how to best use your product or service and general interest pieces that your audience will enjoy. Choose an interesting title that will make your audience curious and don’t forget to let them know you wrote it.

5. Always incorporate visuals.

As users scroll down their feeds, they will stop for captivating or moving images. If a relevant photo or video comes up in your research, share it with your audience. Even if your post is text-based, add a visual to draw in the audience.

6. Allot time once a day to respond to audience feedback.

Humans are prone to check their social media regularly. To avoid getting caught up in it, choose a time at the end of your work day to answer any comments or questions the audience has given you about your shared content. Make sure your answers are honest and personable. Social media allows you to connect with new leads so always be prepared to converse with the audience.


There you have it: social media is manageable! Once you establish a rhythm, a lot can be accomplished in online marketing. Incorporating social media into your business will keep you educated and updated on industry discussion and more involved with potential customers.


About the Author:

Jill Kennedy is the owner of a start-up called, That’s the Idea, a social media management and content creation company in the Greater Toronto Area. Jill’s background in visual culture, professional writing and management, affords her the opportunity to educate business owners on the importance of social media marketing and provide content for their web platforms. Contact her through www.thatstheidea.ca.

How to Best Utilize Your Brand’s Twitter Analytics to Discover Essential Data

By Hilary Smith, Guest Contributor

10073432733_86c9f55212_cThese days, social media services have a lot more to offer brands than just another way to engage with their audience. Be it Facebook, Google Plus, or Twitter—all major social media services offer organizations access to detailed analytics tools in order to determine what works best with their audience, as well as what will maximize brand engagement.

Though this is most useful to small businesses with limited resources, it has also proven to be reassuring to executives who previously worried about transparency in social media.

Today, we’ll show you how to leverage Twitter’s built-in analytics tools to up your tweeting game and increase user engagement and brand identification.

Accessing Twitter Analytics

Getting access to Twitter’s built-in analytics tool is a bit more complicated than it might seem. If you don’t already have a Twitter advertiser’s account, you need to:

  1.     Set one up by going to their easy-to-use business advertising page.
  2.     After you complete the steps in the wizard, (you’ll need to provide some payment information—don’t worry, you won’t have to pay anything) you’ll be all set to begin working on your ad campaign.
  3.     Set it to start a few weeks in the future (you can cancel this later). Creating the ad campaign this way will give you access to Twitter Analytics.
  4.     Don’t forget to cancel the ad campaign you created before the start date, or it will run and you will be charged!

Getting around in Twitter Analytics

Twitter Analytics has four sections: Tweets, Followers, Twitter Cards, and a Settings menu where you can switch between accounts, edit the access privileges to the account, and other general functions.

Tweets Dashboard

Under the Tweets heading, you will be able to find information about —you guessed it—your tweets. Any messages you send here will be compiled and analyzed based on their performance. You can check out the month’s best-performing tweets and look at charts of your account’s performance over time.

Further down the page, your Tweets are broken down by three key analytic measurements: impressions (the number of times your tweet was seen), engagements (the number of users who interacted with your tweet in some way), and engagement rate (simply the number of engagements divided by the number of impressions). You basically want all of these numbers to be as big as possible.

Using the statistics here, you can find out a lot of really useful information. Ever wonder which day of the week is best for you? Or wanted to figure out your month-over-month improvement? This is the place to do that.

Followers Dashboard

Here is where it gets really interesting. Though some third-party services offer analytics of your tweets, the Followers Dashboard offers something that was unavailable until now: related topics. Now you can find out other things your followers are interested in, allowing you to tailor your tweets to appeal to your followers even more. What’s more, you can even see the top ten accounts that your fans also follow. Maybe some of these accounts would be a useful partner in a cross-promotion? The possibilities are endless.

Twitter Cards Dashboard

A relatively minor part of the analytics platform, this part helps you track the performance of your Twitter Cards—if you use them. Twitter Cards are a way to embed rich data like videos, app links, or photo galleries into single tweets without cramming cumbersome and ugly links into the short 140 characters you’re allowed. The dashboard for Twitter Cards is similar to the Tweets Dashboard.It also allows you to see impressions and engagement for your recent Twitter Cards.

Settings Menu

The Settings menu is a straightforward place where you can do a few vital things. You can adjust who has access to your Twitter account, which is important if you have a lot of employees working in your organization who might need to pull information from Analytics. Alternatively, if you’re the type of person who manages Twitter accounts for multiple clients, you can switch between the different Twitter Analytics accounts you’re granted access to.

Analytics: The Key to Twitter Success

Using Analytics, you have access to more information about your Twitter account’s performance than ever before. This introduction should get you started on Analytics and help you make the most of your Tweets. If and when you decide to spend money on promoting your tweets, you will be better suited to make decisions about how to spend that money to maximise impressions and engagement. Happy tweeting!

Hilary Smith is an online journalist, tech enthusiast, and entrepreneur. In addition to sharing her research on how brands can best utilize Twitter Analytics, her writing also covers eCommerce marketing, social media, globalization, and business communications.

How To Discover (And Manage) What People Are Saying About Your Brand On Social

Social media has given marketers and business owners alike unprecedented access to their customers. Monitoring what people are saying about your brand on social is easier than you might think, and can help you get out in front of a problem and, if done well, can have a positive impact on your bottom line. So let’s look at a few helpful tools small businesses can use to monitor what people are saying about their brand on social and how to respond.


Monitor Your Brand On Social

  1. Google Alerts

Setting an alert for your brand, keywords and even your competitors is low hanging reputation management fruit. Use advanced filters to get only web results and use quotation marks around your search so you’re more likely to only get the results you’re looking for. Continue reading

10 Tips for Leveraging Social Media for B2B

There’s plenty of content out there that offers tips on using social media to attract new customers, but the truth is: it’s a different animal completely for B2C companies than for B2Bs.

B2B Puzzle Showing Business To Business

If you sell to other businesses, you can’t use Twitter, Facebook, or any other site in quite the same way as you would if you sold to consumers. Here are 10 tips specifically designed for B2B small businesses like yours.

1. Know Who Your Buyer Is. You don’t sell to a company. You sell to people. Those people might be accountants or developers or executive management. Before you can successfully reach them on social, you have to know which role you’re catering to with content and updates. Continue reading