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How to use Hastagify to find the perfect hashtags to rapidly grow your audience on Twitter


I am not sure if you are a bit like me. Have you had your head shoved under a pillow on the topic of hashtags. Do you know what they are you and how to use them? Well I am just learning to and today I want to share what hastags are and how you can use hastagify to find the right ones to use on Twitter for your business.

What are hashtags #

Hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages around a specific topic or category of interest. They are used heavily on Twitter and Instagram and to a lesser extent on Facebook. They basically allow you to search for similar content that has the same hashtag.

Anyone can create a hashtag at anytime simply by putting the # symbol in front of word.

With Twitter you need to enter the hashtag into the tweet itself. So you you are typing your tweet you need to think about how you can incorporate the hashtag into the words you are using. For example

#Entrepreneurs today need to have a #successmindset. Without it they will #fail

After a hashtag has been created, other Twitter users can use that hashtag in their own tweets to add to the larger conversation about that topic.

Here is an example of a post from Twitter. In the first post I used #mondatdreaming and #christmas

1. Hashtags get your content discovered

Hashtags are the way that your posts are discovered. This is how people search for topics that are interested in on social media. Its really not a new topic. We have been using categories and tags on blog posts for years. On social media there is only one way to search for interesting info and its via hashtags.

Hashtags give us the opportunity as small business owners to join conversations on topics that interest us and our customers. If you want your content, your conversation, your idea to be seen you need to use hashtags so it can be found.

2. Hashtags allow you to reach your ideal customer

So if you want your message to reach your audience of ideal customers you need to use hashtags. For example if you have an online pet store then you will want to find hashtags that are relevant to pet owners. For example #pets, #mypets or #petpic.

3. Hashtags allow you to hear what others are saying about you

You can monitor what others are saying about you from the hashtags about your business. This is a key point you should come up with a hashtag that is unique for your business. For example #yourbusinessname. In my case its #sarahdrysdale. It needs to be unique. Hopefully its all good!

4. Hashtags allow you to offer stella customer service

If you are following your hashtags you can watch for compliants or comments. Respond to this quickly and positively. This can have a very positive impact when other potential customers see the post.

5. Hashtags keep you up to date on your competitors and your industry

Keeping an eye on the hashtags used in your industry will keep you up to date on what your competitors are doing and the latest happenings in your industry. It means you can react and respond to this events, issues and news quickly. You can be part of the conversation by posting using the same hashtags.

How Hashtagify can help you discover the right hashtags for you

Hastagify is essentially a search engine for Twitter hashtags. It helps you to find the best and most used hashtags for the topics you want to post on. It will also show you who are the influencers for these hashtags. An influencer is someone who has a huge following.

Hashtagify shows you the top 10 hashtags related to the hashtag you entered. This is a free service. If you enter a tag with only a small number of uses it won't come up and you can try their paid service to find out more information.

Here is one of my search results in the image below.

So this with this tool you can:

  1. Find conversations to join
  2. See a visual representation of the relationship between the different tags
  3. See the most recent tweets for that tag in the right hand column
  4. Find out who the influencers are for that tag so you can connect with them.

Here are a couple of other tools you can use to help you with hashtags for Twitter:

  • Twitonomy
  • Tagboard

A few pointers

  1. Twitter's best practices suggest you not use more than two hashtags in the tweet. This can dilute their usefulness for other users, and makes the tweet really hard to read.

I would love to hear your tips on using Hashtags on twitter. What have your discovered?

Please note - I am not a social media guru. My goal is to share what I am learning as I learn it - so that it can help others learn and grow too.



{FREE EBOOK} - Struggling with Instagram for your business?

Are you using Instagram? Are you struggling with it? Or are you doing ok but want to do better? Hubspot and Iconsquare have just released a free ebook on 'How to use Instagram for Business'. You can sign up to get a copy

This ebook is a collaboration between two companies that know a lot about Instagram. Hubspot -which is one of the latest inbound marketing platforms in the world and Iconsquare which helps to manage your Instagram account from your desktop or mobile.

Have you been toying with the idea of using Instagram? Here is why you should use it. It is the fastest growing social media platform. It has 93% month over month audience growth. Do you target millennials? If so this is one of their platforms of choice.

This detailed guide walks you through:

1. Determining your goals

  • What you will be using Instagram for

2. Determining you metrics

  • Using data to draw conclusions
  • Defining value to management

3.  Determining brand guidelines

  • Staying on brand
  • High quality images
  • Typography Rules

4.  Test, repeat, optimise

  • Posting Schedule

5. The Anatomy of the Perfect Profile and Post

  • 9 ways to optimise you profile and posts

6.  9 Types of posts every marketer should try on Instagram

Along with lots of creative inspiration. Its a great guide if you are starting out with Instagram for the first time or if you have dabbled a bit but never really embraced it.


Task 1: Learn more about Instagram

If you are still not really sure what Instagram is and why you should use it.  - Get more info here - this post is quick and easy to read and will help you see why you should be on Instagram. Once you are convinced come and complete task 2 to 4.

Task 2: Print out the ebook and read it

If your like me - you need to return to the old work and print things out and read it. If your good at reading online - please print just the checklist

Task 3: Complete the checklist on page 39

The ebook includes a great checklist for you to work through the ideas and advice in the ebook. Print this out and work through it.

Task 4: Assess whether you are meeting the goals you set Instagram

After a month review the goals and metrics you set. Are you meeting the goals and metrics? If not try tweaking your posts, experiment with other post ideas or take a look at this free guide from Foundr on how to supercharge your Instagram reach.

If you need more help with Instagram or just want someone to hold you accountable for following through the the tips and tasks in this ebook. Contact us now to book a coaching session.



Shopify's Latest Commerce Report - 2014

Today Shopify released their latest commerce report for 2014. There were two charts in this report that I thought I would share and draw some conclusions from.

The first relates to social media as a tool for attracting sales. In 2014 we saw the biggest increase in social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest and Instragram bringing sales to online store. These platforms are a viable channel for bringing traffic to your website that converts. Google Organic Search and Paid Search like Ad Words are still the biggest sources of traffic and sales. But social media is growing, especially Facebook which holds the lions share as the graph shows below.



6 Ways to Market Your Business (and Make Money) with Pinterest

“I love Pinterest because it makes me money,” wrote Charles Huff, author of How to Sell on Etsy with Pinterest, and he’s right; Pinterest users spend between $140 and $180 per order on average. Facebook and Twitter shoppers only spend $60 to $80. It’s clear that the future of social media marketing lies in visual platforms, and therefore marketing with Pinterest is vital. But marketing effectively with Pinterest is another story. Here are 6 ways you can effectively make money with Pinterest, while effectively marketing your business all along:

  1. Pin with a purpose, use “Call-to-Action” templates
    You’ve pinned an image with your brand. Viewers like the image and they re-pin it. Great, you’re getting your name out there. But what if you could actually increase the chances of turning those people who are merely just re-pinning into…customers? Adding a special “call-to-action button” on your pin will not only improve click through rates by 1,300% but will increase the chance of people taking a step closer to becoming a customer- whether its receiving a coupon, entering a contest, joining an email list, or showing them another one of your products. Here are 50 free customizable “Call-to-Action” templates.
  2. Make it easy to re-pin
    You want people to be able to re-pin your content easily. By building in a “pin it” button or “follow” tab on your content, you make it so much easier for people to pin your content on their boards. This will help people interact and engage with your brand more easily.Pinterest teaches you how to build these buttons or widgets with very simple steps. You can also use the “hover pin,” which allows a “pin it” button to appear when your mouse hovers over the image.
  3. Sometimes you should “Rich Pin,” instead of just Pin
    If you want to use your pin to try and sell a product or tell someone the location of your store, use “rich pins.” They’re just pins with extra information. For example, “product pins” include information on where to buy the product, availability, and real time pricing- if there’s a drop in price, your pinners will be notified. Pinterest pins that include prices get 36% more likes than those that don’t have them. “Place pins” are equally effective. After taking a picture of your newly designed display window, wouldn’t it be wonderful if people could get a map to your store to come see the window (and of course, potentially buy products) in person? “Place pins” give pinners a map, address, and phone number of the pin. Learn how to use “rich pins” here.
  4. Don’t #Pindump
    You always hear “quality over quantity”- and that goes with Pinterest too. Pinning too often is not good for you or your brand. It risks annoying your followers, making your brand look weak and desperate for attention (you don’t want to be that brand). View the platform as a gallery where you upload significant products or cool pictures of your product. Keep the rest of your inventory images on your website.
  5. Pin different content (or else it gets boring)
    True or False: Pins are for images only. False! You can pin videos, audio, podcasts, or slideshows as well. People consume a wide range of content these days- you can’t win with just pictures and text. Adding variety to the type of content you pin will allow a wider range of people to engage with your brand. As you know, online video is extremely popular these days- especially short videos with a lot of information in a short period of time. Podcasts are also a creative way to build relationships with your potential customers.
  6. Use this secret formula for getting more repins
    70% of brand engagement on Pinterest is generated by users- not brands. Therefore: You. Must. Get. That. Repin. It really gets the conversation going, involves users, and creates a following. While there is no “secret” formula to getting a repin (oops, sorry about the title!), here are some helpful tips on getting repins:
  7. Use this secret formula for getting more repins
    Images that include red or orange hues are twice as likely to get repins than images with blue hues. Images with several dominant colors get 3.25 times more pins than images with just one dominant color.
    Images with good lighting (medium lightness for users to see) are repinned 20 more times than images with bad lighting and that are too dark. Images without a face receive 23% more repins that those that do. Of course, don’t get too caught up on trying to follow a systematic approach to getting repinned. You need to give your brand some personality too. Join the conversation and repin things yourself; follow, like, and comment on pins that are related to your industry. You want to always be engaging with other users- after all, it’s all about social marketing right?

Source: Pinterest



Twitter With New “Buy” Button

Two days ago Twitter officially announced a new "Buy" button that can be embedded in tweets to allow users to buy a product with a couple of clicks. For now the feature is limited to a "small percentage" of users on its mobile app only.

However, it's an important announcement as it could signal the next evolution for social platforms as they move from being not just a place to connect and share content, but also important engines for social fuelled "discovery commerce". 

In their blog post, Twitter goes on to say, “This is an early step in our building functionality into Twitter to make shopping from mobile devices convenient and easy, hopefully even fun.”

The social media giant began dropping hints and signals that something like this might be coming when it hired former Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard to lead its commerce team over a year ago. Speculation only increased when a tech news blog got its hands on a mock-up of the Buy Now button a few months back and users began discovering the buttons sporadically as part of Twitter's initial beta tests. 

To start, Twitter will be testing the feature with a select group of artists, brands, and nonprofit organizations.

With people becoming more and more comfortable with completing transactions on their mobile devices, be it their smartphone or tablet, mobile commerce will continue to evolve quickly, and its something we've been watching and planning for very closely here at Shopify



10 Social Media Accounts You Can Learn From

Social media is by far one of the best ways that you can market your business. A large percentage of the population are now using social media in some capacity, around 73% of adults as of September 2013. It is for this reason that you need to be active on social media and using it to grow your business. 

But how do you choose which social media platform to use? This is a great question because every social media outlet is different. Some work differently than others because of the kind of audience they attract. For example, a popular Twitter account may not work so well on LinkedIn.

You need to spend a bit of time working out which social media platform is going to be the most beneficial for your business and what kind of audience it mostly attracts. A great way to help you work out which outlet to use is to analyze the following 10 social media accounts below and how they use these platforms to effectively promote and grow their businesses.

How To Market Your Horse Business (Facebook)
Facebook is the most popular social media platform in the world, in particular among teens. The problem is in making your message stand out amongst all of the noise on Facebook.

There is one shining example of this and that is an account called How To Market Your Horse Business. 

This account has won numerous awards since its inception such as 2012 Social Media Examiner’s Top 10 Facebook Business Page, and has been featured as “9 Businesses Doing Facebook Right”, “5 Facebook Pages We All Aspire To”, to name just a couple of their many accolades.

The reason that this is a page you should learn from is because it found its niche and offers advice from an industry leader. They also do a great job of user engagement and this is something that every Facebook page should be doing. It also does a great job visually of branding itself with the cover photo both horse and marketing related. If you want to learn how to market your business via Facebook then this is a great place to start.

Taco Bell (Twitter)
Twitter is another giant of the social media world being the second most popular platform globally. There are some 58 million tweets that are being sent everyday so it can seem difficult to make yourself stand out.

Taco Bell is one food giant that has earned their reputation on Twitter and this is because of the way they post tweets. They keep everything lighthearted and comical. It’s fun and entertaining, and gives people a great experience. Even when users criticize them they still respond with a witty comeback and don’t take it personally. 

This is not all they do well though. They also use hashtags properly, promote new products, and have fun with holidays and other events. They do everything well from engaging their users, connecting with influencers, understanding their niche, etc. This kind of interaction is great for the kind of younger audience Twitter attracts.

There is a very good reason they won Ad Age’s coveted Marketer of the Year Award for 2013 so learn from Taco Bell’s example. 

AppleOne (LinkedIn)
LinkedIn is by far the most popular professional network online with a registered user base of 300 million people in over 200 countries and territories. However, LinkedIn is different to Facebook and Twitter, generally attracts a different type of audience so your approach needs to be different.

AppleOne is an employment company that was founded in 1964 and they are a great example of using and managing a LinkedIn page. One thing they do particularly well is excluding images and rich media. This makes their page stand out when they do share an interesting article with a high quality image that grabs your attention. They also do a great job at explaining what they do on their profile.

They have done such a good job with their page that it was included in the Best LinkedIn Company Pages 2013.

Blue Bottle (Instagram)
Instagram is a great social media platform for your business especially if you rely on images. This is another hugely popular social media platform with 200 million active users who share 60 million pictures per day. 

One brand that you should take notice of on Instagram is Blue Bottle Cafe. The reason this works so well for them is because it allows them to showcase their pastries and lattes with great designs. They also upload photos of their employees in their cafe. This allows you to get a sense of what the cafe is like and helps to add some personalisation to their business.

Blue Bottle Cafe is a great example to follow if you are a business that could use images to promote your business.

Travel Channel (Pinterest)
Pinterest is another image based social media platform and this one has been growing rapidly in popularity. This is a great platform to be focusing on if you have a business that has anything to do with images so things like travel, food, DIY, etc. This outlet has 70 million registered users who check out pages 2.5 billion times per month.

One of the top brands you should learn from on here is Travel Channel. What they do great here is break up their boards. For example they have a board for Europe, castles, destinations, hotels, and they even have a board for foods around the world. They have found their niche within the travel industry and they have a specific audience that they market to. 

This is a great account that you can learn from if you want to create an account on Pinterest.

Dutch Photo Walk (Google Plus)
Everyone knows how popular Google is but not everyone knows how popular Plus is. Google Plus has over 540 million users who share and post content every month. 

Google Plus has amazing potential because of its ability to connect with YouTube, maps, and search. There is one account in particular that has realised this amazing potential and that is Dutch Photo Walk. 

This account is by a group of people who love to take scenic walks throughout the Netherlands. They then take pictures and share them on Google which is a great way to connect with users. They go one step further though and create a Hangout where people discuss the post-walk. 

They understand Google Plus well and are a great example of how you can use this platform to connect with other Google services and products. 

The White House (Tumblr)
Tumblr is growing in popularity especially in regards to mobile usage. It might come as a surprise to many people but one account that uses Tumblr well is the White House. 

Some people may not find the White House all that interesting but what they do well is post great content. One day you might see the Marine One taking off from the front lawn, the next you might see a picture of all the living Presidents chatting. 

Another thing they do well is tapping into the spirit of holidays and events. For example their image of eggs in front of the White House with the caption: GET EGGCITED: Today’s the White House Easter Egg Roll. This helps people get into the spirit of any events that may be presently occurring.

The reason why the White House account is so effective is because they share content in a way that is witty, fun, and effective. Not only that but it shows users a behind the scenes look at the White House which piques curiosity for many people.

Jethro Ames (Vine)
Vine is a new social media platform but one that has immense potential for future growth. Since Vine began in April 2013 it has become the most downloaded app in the App store. Video is going to be an important piece of content in the future with predictions that by 2016 55% of internet traffic will consist of video.

If you are looking for a great example of how to use Vine then take a look at Jethro Ames. This guy has perfected the stop-motion video clip and he’s become so good at it that many brands such as GE, The Coffee Bean, Comedy Central, etc, have hired him to work on their videos.

Ames has become such a well known figure on Vine because of his trademark style. He keeps things simple, engaging, and shareable. His trademark style that he has become so well known for is pretty simple to. He takes things like Pac-Man and uses them to play with food. Basically he’ll take something that is nostalgic and use it in his own style for creating his videos. It’s a simple but effective technique that he has made his own.

16 Handles (Snapchat)
Snapchat is another image based social media platform that is enjoying growing success. There are roughly 26 million users in the US who share 400 million snaps per day.

Whilst some brands are hesitant to embrace Snapchat, others are more keen to jump on board. For example, the account 16 Handles is one company that has jumped on board and they are having great success with Snapchat. They are a New York City yoghurt shop that have used Snapchat successfully for running promotions. In fact, they are the first company to run a Snapchat marketing campaign with its ‘Snappy New Year’ campaign.

This was a simple idea they used that got users engaged. What they did was ask users to take a picture of themselves eating yoghurt and send it to the 16 Handles Snapchat account. Their reward for participating was a coupon that gave them 16-100% off a purchase. The promotion was successful for the company as they had 1,400 interactions.

Snapchat is a platform that is new for marketers but 16 Handles were able to take a tried and trusted tactic- a competition, and apply it to a new format with success. They are a great example of how to use this platform to promote a business.

Absolut (Whatsapp)
Over 450 million people use this app every month with 70% active per day. In four years this app has outgrown Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Skype, and Twitter. This represents great opportunity for marketers especially when you consider how popular mobile usage is nowadays.

Absolut Vodka was the first brand to run a marketing campaign using this app. It promoted the launch of its new Limited Edition Absolut Unique in Argentina. Included as part of its promotion, the company offered two tickets for the public to its exclusive launch party. What they had to do was convince a fictional character called “Sven” through Whatsapp that they were worthy of entry. It was fun, it was engaging, and it worked. More than 1000 messages via audio, images, and video were sent. They also got around 600 new customers because of the buzz it generated.

This is great example of how to use Whatsapp for promotional purposes. 

In Conclusion
Social media is something you should absolutely be using to market and grow your business. If you don’t then you are putting yourself behind every other business in your industry that is. If you are unfamiliar with these social media platforms and how to use them to grow your business then you can use the examples above. They are all examples of social media done well and you can learn a lot from them.





How to Increase YouTube Rankings

If you are not using YouTube to generate web traffic to your business, it’s about time that you start because there is some great potential to build publicity for your business and your brand using YouTube. YouTube is world’s second largest search engine so it’s well worth your time learning about how you can use this tool to help generate traffic for your business.

One of the great things about YouTube is that you can optimise your video content so it ranks well in search engines. In this article I’m going to show you how you can use YouTube to generate even more search traffic than what you could get with Yahoo and Bing.

You need to start with a video
It is easier than ever to create a video that you can put on YouTube. You can use the camera on your phone, or a proper video recorder to record your videos. The main thing to remember is that your content is valid.

It is very easy to use and YouTube is such a great source of traffic. Here are some of the key reasons why you should be using this platform:

  • There are over 1 billion people using this service
  • There were over a trillion YouTube views in 2011
  • There are 4 billion views on the service every day
  • There are over 100 hours of video added to YouTube added every minute
  • There are 1 billion average YouTube mobile video views per day
  • 40% of YouTube traffic comes from mobile sources
  • YouTube has experienced growth of traffic of 52.86% since 2013

There are plenty of statistics you could point to as proof as to why you should use YouTube to increase your web traffic. The bottom line is that YouTube is a massive source of traffic you should be using.

How SEO and YouTube Works
There are two specific categories that YouTube ranks content for. These are Video Content and User Engagement and these are the two areas that should be your focus when it comes to using SEO with YouTube. However, it is very important to remember that SEO for YouTube doesn’t work in quite the same way as SEO for Google.

It should be noted that the search query in YouTube does not have the ability to tell if a video is relevant to a users search query. If you know how YouTube ranks content you will know how you can optimise your video for YouTube’s SEO.

YouTube’s SEO
There are some key things to remember with YouTube’s SEO:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Tags used
  • Transcription
  • Your channel authority
  • Delivery of your content

This is the basic way in which YouTube distributes and ranks video content based on its search engine function. One great thing with YouTube’s search engine is that you can control it as a publisher, meaning if you optimise your content properly you’ll have few problems in getting it ranked highly.

Another great thing to note with YouTube and SEO is that you don’t need a high level of User Engagement to rank highly for your videos. Instead, it’s about how well you understand YouTube’s SEO.

The Importance of the Title
The title is one of the most important aspects of YouTube’s SEO. There is going to be a lot of content out there that is similar to yours so you need to stand out and the easiest way you can do this is with a clear and unique title. 

The title is where you optimise your video for SEO and is arguably the most important component. The reason this is so important is because it influences your CTR (click through rate).

Just like with Google you need to make sure your content is high quality and relevant to the audience. You shouldn’t sacrifice the quality of your content just to rank highly. Be sure to include the keywords in the title tag and make sure it relates to the video itself.

The Importance of the Description
The video description box is your one real chance where you can really describe and define your video. This will be most beneficial for users who look for your video content primarily through YouTube rather than Google. 

The point of this information is to increase the CTR and provide users with some basic information about what they are going to get when they access your content. Show users in your description that your video will be beneficial for them.

YouTube is such a great way to increase publicity for your business and your brand that you’d be crazy not to use it. It is very simple to make a video and they are a great way to sum up a lot of content in a short period of time. It is very easy to rank highly for videos that are relevant to your business and this is something you should be using if you want to generate some extra web traffic outside of the usual channels.



Pinterest vs. Twitter: Which is Best for my Business?

Social media is a powerful marketing tool for your business. If you haven’t started using social media to market your business then it’s about time you started. The question you now may be asking is, which social media platform should I use?

It’s a good question to ask considering how many social media platforms are now available.  You need to use the platform that is going to give you the best results for your business because each of the platforms have a different audience. We all know about Facebook but this is used more commonly to keep in touch with family and friends. Then there is LinkedIn, which is most commonly used by professionals and is great for networking. Google + tends to attract a more techie kind of crowd.

Then we have Twitter and Pinterest. Twitter is one of the most popular platforms of social media with close to 676 million registered users and 115 million monthly active users. 

Twitter is also a powerful tool for marketing. It has become wildly important for many businesses ever since it introduced paid advertising. Now many businesses are using Twitter to promote their businesses through Tweets that are promoted to customers and prospects on the network. 

However, we also have Pinterest, which is a visual social media platform. Images have taken off in the social media sphere ever since Instagram and now the fast growing Pinterest is adding to the popularity of images. Images have become a powerful way to grab people’s attention and spread messages and many businesses realise how powerful this can be for their business.

Pinterest is relatively new on the social media scene, launching in 2010, and experiencing a surge of growth in 2013. They have 70 million users worldwide but the most important statistic of all for businesses is that about 70% of users are on Pinterest to help them make a buying decision. It has also recently been announced that brands like General Mills, Expedia, and Gap are participating in the first ever paid ads on Pinterest.

So which is to be for Your Business? Pinterest of Twitter?
To put it simply, this depends entirely on your audience and where your audience is going to find your message. Keep reading.

Pintrest Perks
Just because Pinterest is gaining momentum and popularity doesn’t mean you should be using it. You need to take into consideration the type of audience you have first. If you are a business in the food, travel, or DIY crafts, then your business will benefit from using Pinterest. This is because these types of audiences are the most active on this platform. For example, cooking and dining makes up 66% of activity. On Twitter that percentage is 42%. Twitter might be strong in this field but it doesn’t even come close to Pinterest.

However, the biggest advantage of Pinterest is that 83% of its users are women. This might not mean much to you at first but consider this. Women have a better retention rate than men do and they become more active. In other words, Pinterest has the most potential for an engaging and interactive social media campaign. 

Secondly women also view Pinterest as a reliable source of information and advice so if you wanted to establish brand loyalty then this is a great place to start.

The Advantages of Twitter
This doesn’t mean that Twitter doesn’t have some incredible benefits. In terms of gender Twitter is more balanced. Twitter also has more users who live in cities and it’s the preferred choice when it comes to the tech industry. 

But Twitter’s biggest advantage is that it can be used with other social networks, websites and emails. The passive nature of Twitter means it is great for driving traffic to other social media outlets like Pinterest. This is a feature that other social media platforms don’t have and it places Twitter with a distinct advantage in this area. Twitter is also great for customer service with many people tweeting a brand with their questions rather than sending an email.

Disadvantages Pinterest and Twitter Present
Each of the platforms has their unique advantages but they also have their cons.
Arguably Pinterest’s biggest con is that it’s favoured by women. The problem with this is obvious, it’s not going to reach everyone. It has a specific niche that is not ideal for other fields like say sport. A football team would have a hard time on Pinterest for example because of the nature of the audience.

Pinterest does generate more leads than Twitter but it doesn’t drive as much traffic as Twitter. 

Twitter isn’t flawless either. One of the biggest problems with Twitter is the fact that there are millions of tweets flying around everyday so it’s easy to get lost in them all. Not only that but Tweets are limited to only 140 characters, which can be frustrating sometimes. If you have a long message you want to broadcast to the world then it is difficult to do so on Twitter.

In Conclusion
There are both pros and cons to both Pinterest and Twitter and the one you should use depends entirely on your audience. Once you’ve figured out your audience you’ll have a better idea of which social media platform to focus on and once you’ve got that figured out, you’ll have a powerful marketing tool at your disposal.

Which platform do you prefer and why? 



Grow Your Social Media

Grow Your Social Media with these 5 Key Steps

Social media is enormous! So enormous in fact it accounts to 40% of all time spent online. Social media has created a new way for consumers to discover brands and for marketers to reach out further to potential customers. Incredibly 93% of marketers today say that they use social media for business growth. Last year (2013) saw a outpouring in popularity for platforms including Pinterest, Instagram and Vine. This year we’re expecting even more sites to pick up traction including Google’s own Google+ which is becoming an essential part of people’s daily lives.

However, to make the most of this incredible marketing channel, here are five essential steps you should adopt for successful social media marketing.

Plan your strategy
A clear digital strategy is essential for successfully driving sales and leads from social media. 25% of small businesses do not have any strategy in place for their social media marketing. Appreciate that each social network has its own audience demographic and that you should make your choice as to which platforms best suit your business based on their target customers.
Here are some demographic differences between some of the leading networks.

  • Facebook is the leading social media network, with 67% of people online using it.
  • 60% of these Facebook users are female.
  • A 28 years old female is the average user on Twitter.
  • 18–29 year olds tend to be the primary user of Instagram.
  • Pinterest is heavily used by the female gender, with 80% of users being female and those, which have higher education and higher earnings.

With these in mind, you need to take the time to research your customer. What is their personality type? What is their lifestyle? What value can you add for them online?

Having selected the appropriate channels, monitor what your competition is doing. What is working for them? Start creating a social content calendar, as this will help you to organize, plan ahead and remain consistent with a social content schedule.

Quality content is vital
There is no denying that audience engagement is vastly improved with quality content. This can make the difference between your content being shared across multiple platforms and helps to generate more interest in a brand. Quality content also makes a difference when it comes to your organic SEO.
So what exactly do we mean by quality content?

  • Informative
  • Sharable
  • Actionable
  • Relevance to your target audience

To write like a master you need to embrace humor but also promote authoritative knowledge of the subject, your industry and your audience. With content being so crucial to social success, you, as a social media marketer, should experiment to see what works best for you, even if they are successes or failures.

Visuals engage
A study by the University of Harvard shows that 70% of all Facebook activity revolves around the posting of images and that 44% of all users are more likely to interact with brands if they use pictures in their posts. On top of that 121% more shares were generated when using professional quality photos with an average of 90.64 shares per post.

Because of this love for visuals, social networks like Vine, Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram are becoming increasingly more popular. You need to think ahead and create your strategy incorporating images at every opportunity.

Don’t forget, when scrolling down a Facebook newsfeed, it is the images, which secure the most feed space, increasing brand visibility, and decreasing the chances it is missed. This is especially true on mobile devices, as images greatly increase the visibility of a post. Furthermore, studies have shown that people are more likely to remember the contents of a post when accompanied with a striking image.

Don’t forget to be active and responsive
When your customers flock to your business’ social platforms to post comments, don’t forget, they are going to expect you to be social as well. Microsoft and Xbox are two excellent examples (among many businesses), which openly embrace Twitter for customer relations and support.
Boasting an impressive 1.3 million tweets, the Xbox support profile is one of the most active and responsive brand feeds on Twitter. It even goes so far as to call itself “the most responsive brand on Twitter”.

With an average of just 42 minutes per response to feed mentions, the Microsoft Support Twitter feed is lightening fast when compared to traditional customer service outlets.

With this in mind you need to remember that simply responding is not enough. If you are too automated with your responses it could get you into trouble through inappropriate responses. Responding with a generic reply could inadvertently promote negative attention and you could be seen to be uncaring. Public perception is a big deal when it comes to social media, as customers want to feel that they’re interacting with a human instead of an automated response robot.

Get your ruler out and measure those metrics
Although there are hundreds of millions of social media interactions every day and the majority of businesses embrace the power of social media marketing, incredibly 25% have no strategy in place to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns.
I can bet that through the time and money you spend on social media marketing, you’ll want to see a return on your investment. Measuring metrics is one the best ways to measure activity and to see where it can be improved.
A few metrics which you should definitely keep track of are:

  • Click through rates from posts onto your business profile
  • The number of shares you receive across various networks
  • Conversion rates
  • Website traffic generated from social channels. (You may even find activity coming from platforms you don’t even use)

As with traditional marketing, one of the main goals of social media marketing is to increase sales. On the same hand maintaining brand awareness is just as important. By monitoring these key metrics you can adjust your social media tactics to increase efficiency and return on investment. Which let’s be honest, is the bottom line for determining whether any marketing strategy is effective.

Social media must be employed if you want to be successful in business. By failing to plan and measure results, you’re setting yourself up for a fall. Listen to what your audience is saying and engage at every opportunity.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and gained some insights into making the most out of your social presence.





Social Media Promotion Ideas

Running promotions on social media sites is a great way to drum up excitement, gain exposure, increase engagement, and increase your follower count. If you've never run a promotion on social media, the idea may be overwhelming. Below are a few ideas from GroSocial to get you started:

  • Run a photo contest. Photo contests are a fantastic way to get your community involved. Ask followers to post their own photos of them interacting with your product in some way. In order to win the contest, entrants need to get the most votes. Guess how they get votes? By sharing their photos with their social networks and asking their friends to vote. What does this mean for your Facebook page? More traffic and more potential new fans.
  • Run a challenge. This too can involve encouraging fans to post photos of themselves though it doesn't necessarily involve getting votes. For example, Revlon’s “red lipstick” challenge encouraged Facebook users to post photos of themselves wearing red lipstick and then sharing their photos with their friends.
  • Hold an essay contest. Photos are highly shareable, which is why photo contests are so popular. However, compelling stories are a great way to drive engagement, too. For example, you could run a contest asking fans to share their inspirational pet rescue stories, business success stories, adventure of a lifetime stories, and so on and then either pick the winner at random, have a panel of judges, or use a voting system.
  • Hold a caption contest. Post a funny photo and ask fans to submit captions. You could offer a small prize to the winner or hold the contest purely for bragging rights. Either way, caption contests are a great way to get a lot of people engaging, liking, commenting, and sharing your post. Caption contests are also a lot of fun, and they allow your followers to share their wittiness.
  • Hold a trivia contest. Again, you could award a small prize to the winner or hold the contest just for fun. You could also award a desirable product or service from your business.
  • Hold a “how many jelly beans” contest. Remember having to guess how many jelly beans were in a pickle jar? Use a variation of this concept by posting a photo of a large quantity of your products and asking fans to guess how many. For example, a grocer might post a photo of a pyramid of tomatoes (how many tomatoes) while an accountant might post a photo of a stack of papers representing the latest IRS regulation (how many pages).

These are but a few ideas for holding a social media promotion. What types of promotions have worked for you? Share your ideas in the comments section below.



Brief History Of Social Media

Social media are Internet sites where people interact freely, sharing and discussing information about each other and their lives, using a multimedia mix of personal words, pictures, videos and audio.
What’s your first memory of social media?
Twitter, perhaps? Or maybe Facebook?
If you’re of a certain age, you’ll likely remember when MySpace was very much numero uno amongst all social platforms. Roll the years back a little further, and you could have been one of the (relatively) few who were amongst the pioneers of modern social networking on Friendster.

But here’s the thing: the history of social media actually goes back a lot further, and its roots can be found in blogging, Google, AOL, ICQ, the beginnings of the world wide web and, perhaps surprisingly, CompuServe. This infographic from Creative Ramblings takes a closer look at the history of social media, 1969-2012.

CompuServe was the first major commercial Internet service provider for the public in the United States. Using a technology known then as dial-up, it dominated the field through the 1980s and remained a major player until the mid-1990s.

The first email was delivered.

Two Chicago computer hobbyists invented the bulletin board system (BBS) to inform friends of meetings, make announcements and share information through postings. It was the rudimentary beginning of a small virtual community. Trolling and flame wars began.

Usenet was an early bulletin board that connected Duke University and the University of North Carolina.

The Prodigy online service was introduced. Later, it grew to become the second-largest online service provider in 1990, with 465,000 subscribers compared with CompuServe's 600,000. In 1994, Prodigy pioneered sales of dial-up connections to the World Wide Web and hosting services for Web publishers. Subsequently, it was resold repeatedly and now is part of AT&T.

The America Online (AOL) service opened.

British engineer Tim Berners-Lee began work at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research, in Switzerland), on what was to become the World Wide Web.

Tripod opened as a community online for college students and young adults.

CERN donated the WWW technology to the world.
Students at NCSA (National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) displayed the first graphical browser, Mosaic, and Web pages as we know them today were born.
More than 200 Web servers were online.

Beverly Hills Internet (BHI) started Geocities, which allowed users to create their own websites modeled after types of urban areas. GeoCities would cross the one million member mark by 1997. There were 38 million user Web pages on GeoCities before it was shut down for United States users in 2009. Yahoo, which opened as a major Internet search engine and index in 1994, owns GeoCities today and offers it only as a web hosting service for Japan.
More than 1,500 Web servers were online in 1994 and people were referring to the Internet as the Information Superhighway.
EarthLink started up as an online service provider.

Newsweek headlines an article: The Internet? Bah! Hype alert: Why cyberspace isn't, and will never be, nirvana.   read it here »

The Web had one million sites.
Blogging begins. lets users create profiles and list friends.
AOL Instant Messenger lets users chat.
Blackboard is founded as an online course management system for educators and learners.

Google opens as a major Internet search engine and index.

Friends Reunited, remembered as the first online social network to achieve prominence, was founded in Great Britain to relocate past school pals.

In the world of business and commerce, the bubble burst and the future online seemed bleak as the millennium turned.
Seventy million computers were connected to the Internet.

Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia and world's largest wiki, was started.
Apple started selling iPods.

Friendster, a social networking website, was opened to the public in the U.S. and grew to 3 million users in three months.
AOL had 34 million members.

MySpace. another social networking website, was launched as a clone of Friendster.
Linden Lab opened the virtual world Second Life on the Internet.
LinkedIn was started as a business-oriented social networking site for professionals.
There were more than 3 billion Web pages.
Apple introduced the online music service iTunes.

Facebook, another social networking website, was started for students at Harvard College. It was referred to at the time as a college version of Friendster.
MySpace surpassed Friendster in page views.
Podcasting began on the Internet.
Flickr image hosting website opened.
Digg was founded as a social news website where people shared stories found across the Internet.

Bebo, an acronym for Blog Early, Blog Often, was started as another social networking website.
News Corporation, a global media company founded by Rupert Murdoch, with holdings in film, television, cable, magazines, newspapers and book publishing, purchased MySpace.
Facebook launched a version for high school students.
Friends Reunited, now with 15 million members, was sold to the British television company ITV.
YouTube began storing and retrieving videos.
There were more than 8 billion Web pages.

MySpace was the most popular social networking site in the U.S. However, based on monthly unique visitors, Facebook would take away that lead later, in 2008.
Twitter was launched as a social networking and microblogging site, enabling members to send and receive 140-character messages called tweets.
Facebook membership was expanded and opened to anyone over age 13.
Google had indexed more than 25 billion web pages, 400 million queries per day, 1.3 billion images, and more than a billion Usenet messages.

Microsoft bought a stake in Facebook.
Facebook initiated Facebook Platform which let third-party developers create applications (apps) for the site.
Facebook launched its Beacon advertising system, which exposed user purchasing activity. Beacon sent data from external websites to Facebook so targeted advertisements could be presented. The civic action group and many others protested it as an invasion of privacy. Beacon was shut down in 2009.
Apple released the iPhone multimedia and Internet smartphone.

Facebook surpassed MySpace in the total number of monthly unique visitors. Meanwhile, Facebook tried unsuccessfully to buy Twitter.
Bebo was purchased by AOL. Later, AOL would re-sell the relatively-unsuccessful social media site.

Facebook ranked as the most-used social network worldwide with more than 200 million. The site's traffic was twice that of MySpace.
Citizen journalists everywhere were electrified when Twitter broke a hard news story about a plane crash in the Hudson River. The New York Times later reported a user on a ferry had sent a tweet, "There's a plane in the Hudson. I'm on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy."
Unfriend was the New Oxford American Dictionary word of the year.
Microsoft's Bing joined Yahoo and Google as major search engines on the Internet.
ITV sold the relatively-unsuccessful Friends Reunited social media site to Brightsolid Limited.
It's estimated that a quarter of Earth's population used the Internet.
Google saw one trillion unique URLs – after eliminating duplicate entries.
The Internet had at least 27 billion web pages and could have had as many as 58 billion web pages. They changed so many times a day it was nearly impossible to count.

Facebook's rapid growth moved it above 400 million users, while MySpace users declined to 57 million users, down from a peak of about 75 million.
To compete with Facebook and Twitter, Google launched Buzz, a social networking site integrated with the company's Gmail. It was reported that in the first week, millions of Gmail users created 9 million posts.
Apple released the iPad tablet computer with advanced multimedia and Internet capabilities.
AOL sold the relatively-unsuccessful Bebo social media site to Criterion Capital Partners.
The Democratic National Committee advertised for a social networks manager to oversee President Barack Obama's accounts on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.
It was estimated the population of Internet users was 1.97 billion. That was almost 30 percent of the global population.
The Internet had surpassed newspapers as a primary way for Americans to get news, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project. The Internet was the third most popular news platform, with many users looking to social media and personalized feeds for news. National and local TV stations were strong, but the Internet was ahead of national and local newspapers.

Social media were accessible from virtually anywhere and had become an integral part of our daily lives with more than 550 million people on Facebook, 65 million tweets sent through Twitter each day, and 2 billion video views every day on YouTube. LinkedIn has 90 million professional users.
Social media commerce was on the rise along with mobile social media via smartphones and tablet computers.
Public sharing of so much personal information via social media sites raised concern over privacy.
Apple introduced the Ping social network for music and integrated with iTunes.
Both MySpace and Bebo were redesigned and updated to compete with the far more successful social networks Facebook and Twitter.
It was estimated Internet users would double by 2015 to a global total of some four billion users, or nearly 60 percent of Earth's population.

Ever more people are connecting to the Internet for longer periods of time. Some 2 billion people around the world use the Internet and social media, while 213 million Americans use the Internet via computers while 52 million use the Web via smartphone and 55 million use it via tablets. People also connect to the Internet via handheld music players, game consoles, Internet-enabled TVs and e-readers.
It is estimated Internet users would double by 2015 to a global total of some four billion users, or nearly 60 percent of Earth's population.
Social media has come of age with more people using smartphones and tables to access social networks. New sites emerge and catch on. The top ten social networks are Facebook, Blogger, Twitter, Wordpress, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr, MySpace and Wikia.
More than half of adults 25-34 use social media at the office. Almost a third of young adults 18-24 use social media in the bathroom. All use social networks to stay connected with acquaintances, be informed and be amused.
Advertisers look to social "likes" to enhance brand visibility.
Facebook reached a billion users in 2012.
YouTube has more than 800 million users each month with more than 1 trillion views per year or around 140 views for every person on Earth. Seventy percent of YouTube traffic comes from outside the U.S. YouTube is local in 43 countries and uses 60 languages. Some 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute with more than 4 billion hours of video watched each month on YouTube.
Apple closed the Ping social network in 2012 and improved iTunes.
Public sharing of so much personal information via social media continues to elevate privacy concerns.

YouTube topped one billion monthly users with 4 billion views per day, and launched paid channels to provide content creators with a means of earning revenue.
Facebook user total climbed to 1.11 billion.
Twitter had 500 million registered users, with more than 200 million active.
Apple's customers have downloaded over 50 billion apps and the company again improved iTunes, even as iPads were revolutionizing social games.
Yahoo purchased Tumblr blogging-social media network, with 170 million users and 100 million blogs.
Flickr had 87 million users and stored 8 billion photos, while Instagram had 100 million users storing 4 billion photos.
LinkedIn had 225 million users, while MySpace had 25 million users.
Pinterest had 48.7 million users, while WordPress hosted 74 million blogs.
Dropbox had more than 100 million users with 1 billion files uploaded daily.
Google+ had 343 million users.
Reddit had 69.9 million monthly users, with 4.8 billion monthly page views.
The People's Liberation Army of China and the Syrian Electronic Army rose among the gaggle of infamous hackers.
Privacy concerns continued over public sharing of personal information on social networks.
There were 156 million blogs. Blogs, online videos and podcasts continue to be staples for marketers.
An Australian survey found 34 percent of social network users logged on at work, 13 percent at school, and 18 percent in the car, while 44 percent used social networks in bed, 7 percent in the bathroom, and 6 percent in the toilet.
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station regularly tweeted live from space to a global audience.
Social media advertising in the U.S. at the end of 2013 stood at US$6.2 billion.

Some 85 percent of the 7.1 billion people in the world have access to the Internet.
For instance, China's Internet population reaches 632 million. For the first time, more new Internet users ventured online with a mobile device – smartphone or tablet – than with a PC.
Many countries around the globe now are heavily engaged with social media including the United States, Canada, the U.K., Russia, the Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Turkey, Israel, The Philippines, India, China, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela and several countries of the Middle East and Africa.
About 25 percent of the world's total population uses social media, while three-quarters of the online population uses one or more social networking sites.
Popular social media sites include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+.
Around the world, there are some 1.28 billion Facebook users, with 540 million on YouTube, 187 million on LinkedIn, and 255 million on Twitter.
The U.S. has nearly 200 million social media users, as does Western Europe and also Central and Eastern Europe. China has more than 400 million. Across all of Asia there are more than 900 million.
The Arab world has about 55 million users of Facebook and 3.7 million users of Twitter.
Similarly, Facebook dominates Kenya's social media with 3.8 million users. That's about 10 percent of the population of the small African nation. Linkedin has 1.5 million users, Twitter has 650,000, and Google+ has 350,000.
Facebook turned 10 years old, ancient on the social media landscape. Already teens are tiring of it and moving on to Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.
Large retailers use television advertising to drive interest in their Facebook pages and Twitter streams. Social media is widely used for customer service.
Millions of people have friended a brand on Facebook.



How fast is Shopify?

Page response time has a big impact on ecommerce conversion rates, so it's important to choose a platform that's not going be slow for your customers.

Research by Amazon has shown that a 100ms delay on your page load can cause a 7% reduction in conversions.  If you sell $1000 per day and aren't optimisde yet, that's potentially an extra $25,550 per year waiting for you if you can increase your site speed by 0.1 second!

Whatever the platform, we have a lot of tips on the post above on how to speed up your site. For those of you using Shopify, you won't have access to make a lot of those changes. Don't fear - you are already running on a modern masterpiece of infrastructure, the details of which are below.

Shopify technical infrastructure
Shopify is built on a huge, reliable and state of the art infrastructure, the specification of which in early 2014 was:

  • 1700 CPU cores
  • 6 TB of RAM
  • 200 TB of Storage

This is used to power around 100,000 online stores. Shopify also makes extensive use of caching and a large content delivery network.

The result
The result is a superfast 80 millisecond page response time whilst handling around 500,000 (yes, half a million) hits per minute.

Hope that helps! For more Shopify advice, why not subscribe to our newsletter?

We use Shopify for our websites - want to try it out?



16 Instagram Tips for Business

Instagram is a powerful branding tool for businesses of all types. This mobile social media platform has been having a huge growth of users lately and has surpassed 200 Million users making it presently the fastest growing network. Some businesses have a hard time initially with Instagram but with these Instagram tips for businesses, you’re sure to grow your brand while avoiding any consequences.

  1. Make your profile public – If you’re trying to use Instagram for business, your profile better be set to being PUBLIC. I knew one woman with a small business that changed her personal Instagram account to her business account and didn’t understand why she wasn’t seeing results. She has initially set her account to private and forgot. Make sure everything is public.
  2. Make the most of your bio – Your bio is one of the most important elements on Instagram if you are going to use it for business. Use a reliable image for your picture that matches others you’ve used on social media. If possible, use the same username as you do on Twitter and Facebook. This will make you easier to find, tag and mention.
  3. Bio URL – The URL in your bio is the ONLY outbound link possible on Instagram, so make sure you are making the most of it. One thing to remember is that you can change it as frequently as you’d like, so do so as needed. You can make it go to your homepage, blog, landing page and more.
  4. Blend videos with your photos – Most companies never post videos, they might get a bit less engagement (photos are 1.5X more) but they tend to have a greater brand impact. Only 6% of brands post videos, I say stand out from the pack. Don’t be a stat chaser and post some videos!
  5. Remember to use #hashtags – Hashtags are the best way to be discovered by new users, make sure to use them. Unlike Twitter, people tend to use more hashtags on Instagram. My rule of thumb is to use as many relevant hashtags as you’d like but don’t go crazy (over 7 and you’re starting to look spammy.) Relevancy is the key when using hashtags, don’t just newsjack hashtags.
  6. Variety is the spice of life – You ever meet someone that only talks about themselves? Chances are if they’re your friends, they might not stay that way for long. Same thing goes for social media. Talk about topical events, share other people’s posts, and mix things up. Remember to try and entertain people first. Don’t ever be too promotional.
  7. Take better photos & use less filters – There are some basic rules to photography you can follow for better pictures. Think about your composition for a few seconds before you take a shot. Try and avoid leaning on filters every time to correct bad photographs. I like filters just don’t overdo it.
  8. Respond to comments – If someone takes the time out of their day to cooperate with you, respond accordingly. Thank them for any praise and answer any questions they might have. Remember, social media is about engaging with others and establishing relationships.
  9. Follow your followers back – Everyone likes to grow their following, try and follow back your new followers; this goes especially for when you feel that they are a good fit for you.
  10. Showcase your employees – People love to get a behind the scene look from companies. It’s also a great way to show appreciation for your workers. If it’s someone’s birthday and they are blowing out candles, post it on Instagram.
  11. Feature Instagram channel on Facebook – Did you know Facebook provides a way to feature your Instagram photos on your page? Just click here to add a tab to your Facebook page.
  12. Show appreciation to your followers – If your followers take a great picture of your product or service, ask them if you would be allowed to share it. Give them a little shout out and share their picture on Instagram or even your other social channels.
  13. Embed photos on your website – Instagram now allows you to embed photos from both your fans and your own account. This is another way to show your application to people.
  14. Show your brands story – Try and convey a true sense of your brand to your followers. If your company has a long history, look to the past for inspiration. Get creative and be authentic.
  15. Work with other brands – Even if you’re a local nail boutique, you can reach out to other brands (you don’t need to be a multinational.) Try your vendors that supply your nail polish, if you do work for a local events company reach out to them. Cross marketing is free and helps everyone involved.
  16. Ask questions – Questions always have the highest engagement. Interact with your customers within your comments section by asking them questions such as, how they use your products. Ask questions about their lifestyles to engage with them!

Instagram is a great social media platform for brands. Using some of these tips will sure to grow and improve your exposure.

Do you have any tips of your own? Post them below. We would love to hear about your experience.