Inside TES – How We Use Social Media

Inside TES – How We Use Social Media

In the previous post, How to Use Hashtags to Grow Your Business, we laid out some tips on how to leverage hashtags for greater levels of post engagement and greater traffic to your social pages and website. If you are a beginning social media manager, and/or working to build up a newly established brand, do not be discouraged if your posts do not go viral right away.

The first 6 months are the hardest in terms of effort versus growth. The same post made by your account might get 10 likes, but it could easily get 100 likes if made by an account with 1k followers. We would not blame you for asking yourself “If my best effort only equates to X number of likes, why bother?” Instead, we would remind you that everyone starts at zero.

How do we know all of this? Because we have been there. In its hometown of Norwalk, CT, The Eva Site has an established and solid foundation that developed largely by word of mouth, from reviews exchanged in person, not on Facebook or Twitter. Now that we are based in Portland, OR, apart from our longtime clients, we are faced with the challenge of sharing our story and capabilities all on our own.

 

Post content that your community cares about

 

Here’s where social media comes in. Nothing about our new community is traditional, and that goes for marketing strategy, too. They do not want advertisements that use fluorescent pink, bold print, and BIG discounts left on their windshields. Rather, they want high-quality content, aligned with their interests, left where they have opted in to receive such communications.

This is called content marketing, and social media is one of its primary vehicles. Our content is hosted on The Eva Site website, but we use social media to promote and track  it.

 

                               

Let’s also note that your work needs to be good to grow. It does not have to be your best work from the start, but it needs to develop and engage with people. Leave your old posts up there, too; people love seeing progress and it will keep you humble. Showing commitment and consistency in your online presence is worthwhile in itself.

Speaking of consistency, one thing that we have prided ourselves on from the beginning is how we use visual assets to maintain harmony across our social media accounts. The main aim of the visual asset game is to complement the information you’re trying to present – be that a product, a service, a blog post, etc. – with an eye-catching image or graphic. Visual assets make your information easier to understand, reference, and digest.

Note: The biggest hitch is adjusting your assets to meet the size requirements of the particular site you are posting to. Here’s your go-to social media image size chart.

 

Use visual assets to increase post engagement

 

Above, you will notice a shift from text-based assets to visual assets. Through analysis of our Facebook page, we noticed that posts with visual assets get a significantly higher engagement rate than text or link posts. At the same time, we noticed that Facebook was clearly creating the environment to encourage brands to switch to visual-based posts. In 2013, they even put some regulations as to how and to which extent overlay-text on photos and images can be used. Learn more here.

Since TES began offering social media support, our experimentation has focused on developing content strategies for our clients that keep up with the latest trends, which include visual assets, hashtags, and content showcasing real people and real moments, which create authentic connections with viewers.   

     

Greater Norwalk Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is a longtime client that we have had the pleasure to help increase its reach, both into the community and on social media. They recently received coverage by local station News 12, which we re-broadcast on their Facebook page, reaching 1,500+ additional viewers! Look closely at the posts above, and you will notice that the the first significantly outperformed the second. Because the only discrepancy between them is the use of #News12, we are taking this as proof of the power of hashtags.                                                                                                                                              

 

     

 

Needless to say, hashtags are our latest obsession. We have read countless articles by Social Media Marketing experts, such as A Simple System to Find the 30 Most Effective Hashtags, and worked through old-fashioned trial and error, to identify the most effective hashtags for each of our diverse roster of clients, who range from tech companies to tax preparers. To continue with the GNHCC example, we focus their social media content around a hyperlocal audience, tailoring keywords and hashtags to resound with those living nearby. For the most part, people love where they live, and are likely to search the name of their city, county, or state, to discover more about its history and culture. Our use of #Norwalk, #Fairfield, and # CT in the posts above, was based on this assumption.

 

Treat today’s follower as tomorrow’s customer

 

Our #1 priority in social media marketing is brand awareness, to get clients’ accounts organically noticed by prospective customers. And then comes engagement. As mentioned above, the TES social media engagement strategy rests on content, content, content. Aside from The Eva Site account, a great case study for this is By The Book Taxes, another client subscribed to our Social Media Support service. When tax season arrived, we started aligning content to anxious taxpayers, with particular tax issues to solve, such as students, parents, and the elderly. Our goal was to show account followers how personal a service By The Book provides, and to genuinely answer their questions. Even if we did not secure their business this year, we secured their trust and confidence, which opens the door to next year.

 

               

 

It is hard to believe that what we do today can have an impact a year from now, especially on social media, where the feeds are long and attention spans short; but consider the weight of a first impression. First impressions have a profound effect on our everyday lives. We use them to determine who we should approach and who we should avoid. They can be a deciding factor in our choice of a romantic partner, as well as our choice of a romantic restaurant.

While you can plan a first date, you can not plan someone’s first impression of your business. Any social media post could be the one, and it is a scary thought – however, the fear is what will keep you accountable to maintaining the standards you held on the first date across the next stages of relationship. It is important to remember that social media is a relationship building platform, and that all relationships, personal or professional, develop from the cumulative effect of positive words and actions over time.

 

The Takeaway

 

So, yes, the first six months are the hardest, but once they have passed, your work is not done. Keep showing up for your followers at every stage of the relationship, from their first post like to their first visit to your website, and you just might see them transformed into loyal customers. And, while you are investing in them, we will be investing in you, uncovering best practices and sharing them here. We hope to continue this series of blog posts and would love to know what topics in social media marketing interest or puzzle you. Please email kayla.kennett@theevasite.com.

Written by Kay Kennett, TES Marketing Associate

How to Use Hashtags to Grow Your Business

How to Use Hashtags to Grow Your Business

A hashtag is a textual marker that helps social media users archive their posts by topic, find posts on a topic of their choice, or discover trending topics. Hashtags can be one word, or a phrase. For example, “coffee” could be a hashtag, and so could “latte art.” To create a hashtag, place the pound sign (#) before the word or phrase, and avoid using any spaces or punctuation. So, #coffee and #latteart are the hashtag versions of these words/phrases.

How-to-Use-Hashtags-to-Grow-Your-Business

There are 85,540,480 posts using #coffee on Instagram. A single #coffee Twitter post was retweeted 1,100 times.

A hashtag automatically becomes a clickable link when posted. Anyone who clicks on it is brought to a page that features a feed of all the most recent posts that contain the hashtag. Originally, hashtags were for ease of searching and categorizing posts. But, as with all great inventions, they have evolved from their original intention to coordinate communications, promotion, and events, to spread breaking news, and to follow the progress of television shows.

If you are analytical and creative, the hashtag could be your latest tool to building your personal brand or business. Here is how to use it:

 

Use hashtags to search for topics related to your industry

In the left sidebar of your home feed on Twitter.com, or in the search tab of the Twitter mobile app, you will see a list of trending topics according to your geographical location, but what is trending is not always what is most relevant for your brand. Note: Instagram features a feed of trending posts, but does not rank hashtags in this way. You must enter a particular hashtag in the search tab to check its popularity.

#coffee_tag_cloud

What topics relevant to your industry are being discussed on social media? Use Hashtagify.me to find out.

So, you will definitely want to identify which topics are trending in your industry. A great search engine for this is Hashtagify.me, as it shows you the top 10 hashtags related to a particular keyword. What keywords should you target? Say you are in the restaurant industry. You could start by searching the type of restaurant and/or type of cuisine you offer. For example, #diner or #brunch.

#brunch_recent_post

From #brunch to #bottomlessmimosas, follow what potential customers are talking about on social media, and let them know what type of champagne your restaurant uses in its mimosa!  

Use these to get in on conversations that are happening now

The search results will pull up all recent posts using that hashtag. Pick a few posts to follow, and get in on them! Answer questions, and generally provide valuable information. This will help build your influence, and boost your reputation as an authority in your industry.

Find out what hashtags influencers are using

Watch for particularly popular posts. These may have been published by an influencer in your industry. Influencers use social media to brand themselves within a specific industry, by promoting content that coincides with their values and interests. They perform extensive research and testing into which content and hashtags are most effective with their audience, often in an effort to attract business partners who will pay them for mentions on social media. This is called influencer marketing. If you are fortunate enough to have someone with a large social media following in your network, you might consider asking them for a free shout-out

IG_Influencer_pdxfood

Portland and LA-based food writer Jen Stevenson, @jenlikestoeat, has 12.5k followers and more than a little insight into the #pdxfood scene.

Create your own hashtags

Once you have created a list of the hashtags that your ideal audiences are using and searching, take some time to sit down and brainstorm how to string them together in a way that is uniquely yours. Before you jump in and copy from others, know that YOU are the expert of your particular community and customer base. Do not be afraid to experiment. You can always plug your hashtag into one of the tools above to check its analytics.

Hashtag_ Generator_#portlandcoffee

You know, as well as everyone, that Portland loves itself as much as it loves its coffee. You want to create a hashtag that brings both loves together. Hashtag Generator is here to help!

 

Create branded hashtags

So far, this article has been focused on the use of community hashtags. Community hashtags are those that connect like-minded users around a specific topic. They are a great way to improve the searchability of your posts, gain followers, and grow your online community. However, because they are more general, and do not necessarily have anything to do with your brand, it is important to also utilize branded hashtags. Branded hashtags are those that include your company’s name, tagline, or the name of one of your products or services. They give your existing followers a fun way to share your brand with their friends, and engage them on a deeper level — the key to developing them as clients.

Branded_tag_#stumptown

If you are running a campaign or contest, having a brand hashtag can help drive participation and engagement.

Promote Your Hashtag

Simply using your hashtag is not enough for your followers to catch on. Once it has been used once or twice, it is time to start promoting it. However, since hashtags are now common in our everyday lives, you do not have to overtly explain or preface its use in your promotion. Some places to share your hashtag include:

  • Your Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook bios,
  • Your Facebook event, or live event presentation;
  • Your product labels, flyers, stickers, or other promotional materials.

 

Pro Tips

  • If you are creating a hashtag of your own, search its popularity in advance. If you use too specific or long a phrase, there is simply no chance anyone will ever use it. Alternatively, if you use too generic a hashtag, everyone will be using it, resulting in your post getting buried under a constant stream of new posts. To keep with the example of coffee, the sweet spot is somewhere between #coffee and #thirdwavecoffeeshopspdx.
  • Search the popularity of spelling variants of your hashtag, and use some (if not all) of those with 100,000+ posts associated with it. For example, #latteartist and latteartgram are popular variants of #latteart, which could attract similar, but different, markets, such as coffee shop customers, baristas, and owners.
  • Add hashtags as a comments instead of including them in the caption. Captions always remain displayed below your post, and with too many ​hashtags added to it, it can look spammy and pull focus away from the actual description. When you post hashtags in a comment, it will become hidden if you receive enough additional comments, and you can also delete the comment later if you choose.
  • If you are running a campaign or contest, having a brand hashtag can help drive participation and engagement. It will also organize all the posts that are tagged with it on a hashtag page. This is helpful if you are using the hashtag to collect entries for a promotion or contest submissions, or looking for content to “re-post” onto your account.
  • Do not make it completely obvious that your hashtag is a marketing initiative. People are hesitant to reuse a brand name or slogan, but are more inclined to participate if you use creative catch phrases.

 

The Takeaway

Hashtags are an important part of discovery on social media, allowing brands to gain exposure to specific areas of interest and niche groups. While they may not drive exponential sales growth, they give your ideal audiences an organic way to discover you through the topics that interest them.
Wrote by Kayla Kennett – TES Team

Are you ready for Gutenberg​? – The New WordPress editor

Are you ready for Gutenberg​? – The New WordPress editor

WordPress 5.0 is launching soon and set to take the WordPress community by a storm. The update includes changes that will be hard for users to get used to, particularly the new WordPress editor, known as Gutenberg, after another invention that revolutionized publishing — Johannes Gutenberg’s “movable type” printing press. They called it Gutenberg for a reason.

Note: The WordPress editor is the central workhub for content creation. It provides a basic, but effective, means of entering content into your pages in preparation for publishing or updating an already published page.

WordPress wants as much feedback and real-world testing as possible, so they’ve released the Gutenberg editor as a plugin for anyone to try. So far, it has received an average rating of 2.7/5 stars with 165 one star reviews.

 

Are-you-ready-for-Gutenberg

 

What happens if you agree with the critical user above, that Gutenberg poses too great a threat to your workflow than it’s worth? Read on for our recommendations.

Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, Gutenberg is coming. If, like us, you believe that the best way to prepare for change is to start before it happens, download the Gutenberg plugin for your site, and run through one of the three usability tests yourself.

Are-you-ready-for-Gutenberg_02

Comparing Gutenberg vs current editor, you will first notice a much cleaner, more uniform editing screen.

There is a striking visual difference between the current WordPress editor and the Gutenberg editor that will be hard to miss. The editing screen is much cleaner and more uniform, with most of the advanced features either hidden or unified within the builder, i.e. the customizer, widgets. The impetus for this shift is partly competition with Medium, which WordPress blogger Daniel Pataki describes as “beautiful; giv[ing] you plenty of breathing space to write your content.”

Are-you-ready-for-Gutenberg_03
 

The Gutenberg editor bears a strong resemblance to Medium. Read more about Medium vs WordPress here.  

However, WordPress’ stated mission behind the project  is “to make building rich web content easier and more intuitive, democratizing publishing — and work — for everyone, regardless of technical ability.” The current WordPress editor hasn’t had many changes over the years, and requires a lot of us to utilize shortcodes and HTML to make things work. Many features of WordPress 5.0, including Gutenberg, are an attempt to make the platform more accessible to and user-friendly for the general user, such as a blogger or small business owner.

So, what’s the problem? Isn’t digital equity a good thing? The problem, in short, is that Gutenberg will make sites break. A large number of developers, freelancers and agencies don’t use page builder plugins, but rather a combination of custom fields and meta boxes, to give clients the ability to display their content in a controlled and prescribed style. With WordPress 5.0 installed, the next time they edit a post created in this way, things won’t look right. Additionally, certain plugins may break, such as those used to support custom post types, creating additional work for plugin designers, and/or rendering their work obsolete.

So, what to do? Before WordPress 5.0 lands, take the time to backup your website, by downloading all of the files to your local computer or Dropbox, and copy/pasting your web copy into a Word document. If you do so in HTML mode, it will be easier to maintain your custom formatting. As mentioned in the review above, one way to prevent your site from breaking is to enable the Classic Editor plugin now, and configure it to revert to the old editor.  We understand your reluctance (trust us  – we feel it) to upgrade to the newer version of a software when you are happy with the performance of the previous one. However, WordPress 5.0 will be bringing major security updates and bug fixes, so updating your website to 5.0 is not much of a choice but a necessity.

 
Wrote by Kayla Kennett – TES Team