How Hashtags Influence Digital Marketing

HashtagsMatter

For business owners or social media managers, developing fresh and new content can be a daunting task. But creating a fresh flow for posts across media channels is a necessity for any strategy! The goal is to develop content that reflects the brand and builds a community following. Most of the time you’re tasked with creating daily posts that engage your audience, creating dynamic graphics, finding topics of interest – yada yada yada. It’s a lot of work! But we promise, you’re totally overthinking it.

User Generated Content is LOVE

What separates big businesses on social media and smaller businesses on social media? The use of their audience base. Big businesses know that their audience is their most valuable source for credible, fan-approved content. This is known as User Generated Content (UGC). UGC conveys the very best parts of your brand or business. It’s authentic and is the very best proof that people are using your product or service in real life. And not only are they using it, they’re loving it enough to tell their friends! Businesses are able to use this as a source of positive imagery, quotes, testimonials, and experiences. Promoting your brand by standing behind your customers is one of the most transparent and honest ways to reach your audience.

For example, think of the photos you’d take while on vacation. You’re having a blast and snapping great photos of amazing things. Traveling can be a life-changing experience, and those photos are powerful! Travel companies, hotels, and destination spots are using social media to gather content submitted by their users and using those images to show you how much fun other people are having while using their products or services. And those photos depict real-life experiences. Notice the repetition there? Real.

92% of users trust earned media such as testimonials above targeted advertising. We’ve found ourselves in “an era of honesty” thanks to social media, and lucky for marketers, social media users are sharing their opinions and thoughts in ways that companies can leverage.

The argument for UGC has been made. But now the question is…how can companies gain easy access to that content?

Hashtags.

Hashtags Bring UGC Together

winning-photo
@gaylon_wampler on Instagram

It’s absolutely true that hashtags help connect the world. Through social justice movements and international news, hashtags pool together relative content.

National Geographic uses a hashtag to collect user-submitted photos of their travels, creating a sense of awe and inspiration among their followers. Using the hashtag #WanderlustContest, National Geographic tapped into a community of photographers, social media enthusiasts, and travelers who want to bring more visibility to their experience. Their goal was to attract users on Instagram, the photo-driven social media channel, to enter the contest. This equal exchange benefits the user and the marketer – giving exposure to users and re-enforcing National Geographic’s brand.

In this instance, users were entering a contest for a chance to win a prize. By using their hashtag, they were able to neatly analyze their submissions and create an online community where participants can browse other submissions. Users were able to see the hashtag and engage with other users – a win/win for building an online community and NG’s brand. They recognized what makes their audience special, garnered a buzz for their contest, and developed their strategy based around their designated hashtag.

Hashtags AREN’T Just for Contests!

Ideally, your business should offer an experience that sets it apart from its competitors. Be it your awesome customer service, amazing products, or hip atmosphere – your business needs to stand out.

Think of it this way: liveblogging and “livetweeting” is a new trend that affects hundreds of television shows, for instance, and their audience daily. Essentially, fans come together (mainly on Twitter) to react, in real-time, to the first telecast of a television show, . Users feel compelled to get involved, react, offer commentary, and it’s all thanks to the hashtag. For example, during the newest episode of Cake Boss, users will use #CakeBoss to react. This use spikes during live showings and will decrease when the television show isn’t running. The Cake Boss hashtag can be found being used on the show’s social media channels as well as by the fans, thus enhancing the digital reach of the show and integrating the user’s experience with their marketing strategy. Essentially, they’re making an every day occurrence into an event!

So how does a television show using a hashtag apply to your business? Simple! It creates conversation.

Community

 

Hashtags give users the chance to start a conversation. It is easy, simple, and allows users to feel like their voice matters. It’s not uncommon to see hashtags promoted on advertisements now, promoted for connecting the brand to the users as well as users to other users. Gathering UGC can be easy, but the main goal is to create an online community where users contribute freely.

#LoveLakeland is a local initiative that promotes love for the city of Lakeland, Florida.  In the hashtag on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, you’ll find many local businesses or residents who use the hashtag to promote the events of the city, positive experiences, and other reasons why they “love Lakeland”. This is not a contest or a timed campaign – it is an ongoing effort to create conversations and keep the community going strong. Since this is a community-driven hashtag, there is no “sole owner”, which allows businesses to take advantage of the content for their benefit. It increases the reach of their tweets, adds visibility and engages users.

Overall, it is important that your reasoning for using a hashtag should always go back to the user. This is what makes organic hashtags like #LoveLakeland so great – they have no timer, no cost, and gives users access to an audience they wouldn’t have had before

#choosewisely

So, when you’re looking for a low-cost, quick, and constant source for digital marketing… think hashtags. By monitoring given hashtags and promoting their use, you’re able to gain valuable UGC. Fans and customers want to see the value in your business, so seeing other fans and customers happy and enjoying your services will speak volumes about your company.

Tap into your customers’ emotions. Sell feelings, not just a product. Sell experiences, not just a service. When you are making customers feel something, you are more likely to receive user generated content in return. How many times have you taken a picture of yourself at Disney World because you’re so incredibly happy? That feeling is unmatched and inspires actions – the kind your brand benefits from.

Choosing your hashtag should be simple, but your focus should be on the longevity of your brand. Build the experience with honesty, not obnoxious branded and sponsored content. Users on social media will engage with hashtags when they can relate and when they can integrate their lives with your brand.

So… get going! #GreatBlogPost #Awesomesauce #TotallyRelevantHashtagHere

Basic Tenets of Color Psychology. How Are People Perceiving Your Company?

In almost ever scenario we make decisions based on our perception. Studies have been conducted that show people will gravitate towards things that they perceive to be attractive.

Whether your suiting up for a potential date or ordering something from a drive through menu, let’s face it – you often choose to go with something that looks “good” to you.

Well, your potential prospects, customers and clients are reacting the same way. Through their visual instincts.

People tend to go with what their gut or emotions are telling them.

This varies based on the situation, goals or desired outcome an individual wants to achieve. Let’s take two contrasting examples to showcase a point:

First we’ll take an obvious choice, McDonalds. Can you picture McDonald’s logo, its colors, the pictures the brand uses, how it displays its products? Of course you can.

Now view those same images in your mind again. How do they make you feel? Are they warm, inviting, nostalgic, exciting? I would put my money on the fact that these are the exact feelings you are having (or at least what a vast majority of people feel), even if you don’t eat there!

Ok, wipe those images out of your head for a moment. We’ll come back to them here shortly.

Have you got everything cleared yet?

Now for our second example picture the jewlery company, Tiffany’s.

Surprised? Well what are the first few images that come to your mind? Can you picture its logo? Maybe…maybe not, but can you picture the little boxes its jewelry comes in? What color is it? If you’re ever been into a Tiffany’s store can you think of the other colors, images, layout, and the fonts they choose to use?

Now take a moment and look deeper inside yourself. What feelings and thoughts are you starting to have? Are they more calming, more trusting, more sophisticated. Do you feel a sense of elegance?

Are you starting to see where I’m going with this? Compare the feelings and thoughts you had with both companies.

You may say to yourself, “Well these are two completely different industries. You’re comparing apples and oranges.” And you would be right to an extent.

But think of other similar companies such as Starbucks, Long John Silvers, or Zales, and Kay Jewelers. Each of these companies – within the same industry – provoke different feelings. Your perception of each company is different.

If you consider the basic tenets of color psychology, you’ll quickly realize your company’s branding is already conveying a message. The fact is color psychology IS sending a message (positive or negative), which encourages people to take a desired action, increase sales or compel them to feel a certain way about your company.

Whether or not you decide to review your company’s branding (logo, website design, font selection, imagery and product packaging), people WILL make decisions based on their perceptions. As an artist/designer, I believe how a company is represented in every visual design is a crucial consideration for all businesses.

What I am trying to get your brain on to in this post is the importance of thinking about how people are going to instinctively view and treat your company based on what they see, and how they feel about what they see. Your company colors, the fonts you choose, down to the imagery you use all play a role in the decisions your audience makes on a subconscious, instinctive level.

The final question I have for you:

Have you given any thought to how people (your prospects and customers) perceive your company?

Remember, EVERY visual component – your logo, your website, and all your marketing channels – are communicating an emotional message. I urge you to take serious thought into what message you want to communicate.

3 Benefits to Having a WordPress Site

Getting a website started can seem overwhelming. You might think it’s complicated or will take a large investment of money. WordPress makes it easy and cost-effective to build a website that does everything you need it to. Here are three reasons why having a WordPress site is good for
your business:

1. WordPress sites can save money

WordPress has a variety of tools that make it easy to maintain your website. Their use of themes, easy updates, plug-ins and widgets, and SEO-friendliness make it easy for even a beginner to maintain a website.

A fully coded, custom-designed HTML website can be costly. When you create a site in WordPress, you are given a seemingly endless amount of themes to choose from for your site, and they cost a lot less than a custom HTML site. There are themes to fit every business and industry, and the themes themselves are customizable.

WordPress makes it easy to update your website. If you find yourself needing to change an image or post an article, you can do it yourself. This means you won’t have to turn to a web designer every time a change is needed.

It’s easy to add plug-ins and widgets to your WordPress site. This is great for things like Google Analytics, web advertising, and social media integration.

Because WordPress is SEO-friendly, it requires less time and money to gain the online exposure you want. Once you have selected the best keywords for your business and your target audience, it’s easy to incorporate them into your content and update them if needed. You’re also able to add titles and descriptions when uploading images, which also supports your
SEO efforts.

2. WordPress sites can increase brand awareness

There are many features WordPress has that can help increase your brand’s online visibility. By utilizing these, you have a greater chance of your brand reaching more people.

You know blogging plays an important role in increasing your brand awareness, but how do you get started? Blogs are built into the WordPress platform, so no need to look any further! This makes it easy to create and share awesome content.

It’s easy to connect your WordPress site with your social media accounts. Even though your WordPress site is strong and search engine-friendly on its own, it’s good to connect your site to your social media platforms to gain more exposure. This allows you to share posts and pages on your site with your social media audience.

WordPress also makes it easy to customize your site to fit in with your branding. Your themes, colors, and fonts can all be customized to represent your brand.

3. WordPress makes capturing leads easy

WordPress allows you to capture the information you want from people visiting your site, turning them into leads. You want to make sure you get certain information like their name and email address so you can follow up with them.

It’s easy to add forms to your website, allowing you to capture their information and provide them with an offer in exchange for their information. This makes it easy to gain leads from your WordPress site, and turn website traffic into prospective buyers. Once you know they are interested in what you have to offer, it’s easy to continue to share your awesome content with them via email.

Are you ready to take your business’s website to a whole new level? Contact our team and let’s discuss how Maximize can help you expand your online reach with a customized WordPress website tailored to your brand!

 










5 Quick and Easy Ways to Incorporate Branding into Twitter

42% of companies have acquired a customer through Twitter. That means in 140 characters, they have managed to make enough of an impression to move someone through to the next phase of the sales process. That’s crazy to think about! Whether you’re just getting your Twitter started or have one that really needs some work, here are 5 ways to incorporate your business’ branding into Twitter.

1. Your Handle

You Twitter handle is your @NAME. Its what p people use to connect with you and you will be tweeting under. This makes it an important part of carrying your branding over to Twitter. Make sure it has something to do with your business, and isn’t something random. It may be hard to think of a good one if your company’s name is already taken, but taking the time to come up with something that doesn’t include numbers or an underscore will be super beneficial to you.

2. Your Profile Photo

Your profile photo should be your logo. It best represents your company and will be attached to everything you tweet. You want to make sure your logo looks good at a few different sizes because it will be scaled down in some places. On your profile it will appear at 73×73 px. When Twitter recommends for someone to follow you via the “Who To Follow” feature, it will be scaled down to 48×48 px. The smallest size you have to worry about your logo looking good at is 24×24 px, the size your photo will be when it appears in someone’s Twitter feed.

3. Your Header Image

Your header image (similar to Facebook’s cover photo) is what appears at the top of your Twitter behind your profile photo and bio information. This can be a great way to tie in the branding from your current marketing campaigns! Just keep in mind that the minimum dimensions for this are 1252×626 px and it has to be under 5MB, so you may have to create an image especially for this area.

4. Hashtags

That’s right, you can make your own hashtag. Like your handle, it should be unique to you and have some thought put into it. It can be as simple as the tagline you’re using. Think along the lines of Taco Bell’s “#WakeUpLiveMas.” When you see #WakeUpLiveMas, you know it has to do with Taco Bell’s breakfast promotion. Additionally if you come up with something really clever and promote it, yes, you can promote your hashtag, you may capture the attention of someone that could become a new customer for you down the line. Do not underestimate the power of the hashtag!

5. Shared Images

You know you have to provide your audience with helpful and engaging content, but how do you put your company’s unique touch on it? Create images and share them! One way to do this is to incorporate information from your helpful and engaging blog posts. When promoting your most recent blog post on Twitter, have an image to attach that’s styled along with your branding. It should contain a line or fact from your blog post. An awesome image will carry your branding over to what you’re sharing on Twitter, as well as provide a visually appealing and interesting preview of your blog post. These images will be shown in your follower’s Twitter feeds as 435×375 px, but if they are larger they will be shown at full size when clicked. You can either post images that are 435×375 px, or post larger ones that look good when scaled down to that size, it’s up to you.