Hashtags: Useful or Nuisance?

Are hashtags obsoleteWe have all seen them, use them or been annoyed by them when abused, something I call hashtag vomit.  Users who don’t understand hashtags tagging their post with so many irrelevant and annoying hashtags you just want to move on without reading the post.

It started on Twitter, Facebook unsuccessfully tried to incorporate them in posts, LinkedIn gave up on them, Instagram and Pinterest users swear by them but few actually understand their use and purpose.

By definition, A hashtag is a type of label used on social network and micro blogging platforms to make it easier for users to find messages with a specific theme or content. In short, hashtags are like keywords allowing readers to find content related to a subject and should be treated as such

Social media “gurus” have been promoting hashtags as essential to social media posts and content success, advising marketers to use hashtags as a critical  element of any high-performing social media update without educating their clients and the public about the way to effectively use them

The result has been hashtag vomit, what mainstream search engines would classify as spam.  We have seen updates and content with plethora of hashtags, some relevant most irrelevant for the sake of trying to maximize potential exposure.

The question has long been,  do hashtags actually work?

The answer is yes and no, depending on your purpose

Twitter recently released a study focused on direct response ads, which are intended to drive a specific result, like an app install or a website visit, suggesting that when these ads included a hashtag or mentioned another account, they didn’t perform well

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Politicians Idiot Guide To Twitter

idiot guide to Twitter8 years into the making, British members of parliaments were just issued an “idiot guide to Twitter” or, how to tweet without how to avoid being boring, pompous or sued.

The “idiot guide to Twitter” guide contains pearls of wisdom… or just some common sense advice to a real time communication tool like Twitter that can be extended to any social media platform.

  • Always tell the truth
  • Do not tweet while drunk
  • Only tweet when  ‘when you have something interesting or worthwhile to say’
  • Adopt a ’60-second rule’ before posting anything online, composing a message but then waiting ‘one minute before pressing the tweet button’.
  • Tweet about ‘almost anything’, including a mix constituency work, parliamentary activity and their personal life.
  • Tweet about things normal people are interested in like music, sport, films and TV. ‘But make it genuine, don’t fake an interest in your local football team or Coronation Street if that’s not your thing.’
  • It isn’t good practice to constantly retweet tweets that praise you, or even to sarcastically retweet tweets that criticise you. It is too aggrandising and pompous.’
  • Instead, favourite every tweet where someone says something nice or positive about you
  • Tweet yourself and be yourself, your team can help you, but can’t do it for you
  • Talk less than you listen
  • Tools make it easier and more effective
  • Tweets should never be deleted
  • Hashtags improve engagement, but should be used sparingly
  • Lists save you time
  • Your views aren’t your own
  • Photos and video make it more interesting

The “idiot guide to Twitter” was produced for Parliament by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and officials stated that it had not cost any money to the tax payer

What do you think…  chime in in the comment section

 

Is Your Website Mobile Friendly?

Is your website mobile friendlyIs your website mobile friendly or not, if it is not, you will want to know about April 21st

We’ve all heard and laughed at Geico’s commercial “Do you know what day it is”, April 21st is not hump day but if your website is not responsive (aka friendly to mobile devices like smart phones, I pads and other tablets) it’s the day Google will start penalize your rankings Continue reading

Facebook Algorithm Likes and Dislikes

Facebook algorithm likes and dislikesFacebook may not have a dislike button but its algorithm, so to speak, does and knowing what Facebook algorithm likes and dislikes greatly influences whether your post will show on your followers wall or not.

Knowing how it works, what it likes or dislikes will go a long way to get your post seen by your audience and improve your ROI.

So, here we go, Facebook algorithm likes and dislikes:

What Facebook algorithm loves:

  • Posts with lots of comments
  • Posts with lots of likes
  • Post types with photos videos (posted to Facebook instead of linked) or status update
  • Posts that reference a trending topic but don’t abuse it
  • Posts that receive a high volume of likes, comments, or shares in a short time
  • Posts with links, there is a way Facebook prefers it done
  • Videos uploaded to Facebook (instead of just linked) with a large number of views or long viewing time
  • Posts that tag other pages
  • Posts that your friends like or comment on
  • Posts from pages that have a lot of interactions
  • Post types with a lot of interactions
  • Posts from pages that have completed profile information (about tab)
  • Posts from pages whose fan base overlaps with the fan base  of recognized quality pages
  • Original images and videos not previously referenced in the Open Graph
  • Original Links

What Facebook algorithm dislike:

  • Clickbait
  • Frequently circulated content and repeated posts (duplicate content)
  • Like-baiting now banned by Facebook
  • Posts that include spam links
  • Text-only status updates from pages (no photos or graphics)
  • Posts that are frequently hidden or reported (a sign of low quality)
  • Posts that contain the words “like, comment, or share”
  • Posts with unusual engagement patterns or schemes (a like-baiting signal)
  • Posts that are classified as memes by Facebook (memes are images withf overlayed text)

Facebook Bans Like Gating

Facebook bans fan gatingIf you have been using the “like gating” technique it’s time to stop, as of November 4th Facebook bans like gating

If you don’t know what fan gating is, like gating is enticing your followers to like your page ot posts in exchange for freebies

Harshdeep Singh, a software engineer at Facebook, wrote in an August blog post that  people “like pages because they want to connect and hear from the businesses, not because of artificial incentives”.

The ultimate goal of Social media is to build relationships and banning the practice will force brands and organizations to create  quality content that engages their audiences and builds relationships instead of relying on technical tricks

No doubt some marketers will suffer but ultimately, building better relationship with quality content will lead to better quality likes and more engaged audiences.

In addition, social media should be a means to an end, no matter what you do you do not control the medium and one of your goals should be to get the data on followers out of the platform and into a platform you have more control over like traffic to your website or building your mailing list.  Building better relationships will help you build better quality mailing lists more engage traffic to your websites and ultimately generate more ROI

Stopping Spam in LinkedIn Discussion Groups

Stopping Spam in LinkedIn Discussion GroupsWe all know spam has become a plague in LinkedIn discussion groups and the big challenge for most owners is stopping spam in LinkedIn discussion groups.

I a previous post, I showed how to spot fake LinkedIn profiles, usually created for the sole purpose of spamming.  Spotting them and banning them is one of the steps you can take to help manage the problem.  LinkedIn gives us other tools to help us and if you know them and know how to use them, you can help make the group discussion a much better experience for your users and stem the flow of users leaving because of the spam. Continue reading

How to Preserve Your Privacy on Facebook

In light of the changes Facebook recently sneaked in privacy settings, it is important for users to adapt and understand how you can still preserve your privacy on Facebook, at least some if not most of it.

If you elected to keep your profile private and out of the Facebook search feature, well no more.  Now anybody can find your profile if you have one of Facebook.

The change was announced in a Facebook blog post (see bellow) by the company “Chief Privacy Officer”???  Michael Richter.  Yes, they do have a CPO although it seems privacy is really a second thought when it comes to Facebook and some other social media platforms.

“The (previous)setting also made Facebook’s search feature feel broken at times. For example, people told us that they found it confusing when they tried looking for someone who they knew personally and couldn’t find them in search results, or when two people were in a Facebook Group and then couldn’t find each other through search

Although I can see the second point, the first point was what keeping a profile “private” was about.

Now mind you, let’s say only 5% of Facebook 1.2B users opted for that privacy setting, that’s 60 million users, roughly the population of a country like France.

If you elected to keep your profile out of searches, well, it’s not going to happen but there is a lot you can do, it’s going to take some work though.

The first thing you need to do is segment your “friends” list. Segmenting is another word for creating groups of friends (called “Lists” on Facebook) based on their interests in order to show them what they will be interested in.

If you don’t have hundreds, that will be really quick, otherwise it will be time consuming but well worth your time if you value your privacy.  And if your profile was set as private I assume you do.  Follow these quick steps Continue reading