Tuesday, 27 February 2018

How frequently should you use hashtags to engage with your audience properly

Image from Flickr user Esther Vargas. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

With the ever increasing use of social media, hashtags have been ubiquitous. The pound (hash, #) sign turns a word or group of words accompanying the sign into a searchable link. It makes your post more searchable, allows you to follow a certain ongoing conversation in social media and search user-generated content.  

However, in spite of the usability of hashtags we’re often not sure on how to use them properly – how frequently use them in our posts in different social media platforms. As suggested by social media experts, each platform has its own specialty and we need to add hashtags to our posts accordingly.

Facebook posts without a hashtag fare better than those with a hashtag, recommends Andrew Hutchinson in SocialMediaToday.

However, social media experts recommend using 1 or 2 sensible hashtags, especially industry specific, event specific or campaign specific (if you’re using it for a campaign) for maximum interaction.

Use of branded (specific to your brand or company) and community hashtags are a must to interact with your followers on Instagram. While the branded hashtags help you get most loyal followers to engage and improve brand awareness, community hashtags help you make your content more discoverable and build your audience.

However, you make sure you bundle up all your hashtags at the end of the post rather than putting them in between the post.

Experts suggest using more than 10 hashtags in your Instagram posts, but make sure you don’t use more than 30 tags. As Instagram Help Center suggests, don’t use more than 30 tags on a single photo/video. If you do so, your comment won’t get posted.

Don’t use more than two hashtags in a Twitter post and keep your hashtags relevant to what you’re tweeting about.

Make sure to generate your own specific hashtags during special events so as to track the ongoing conversation and engage with like-minded people.

Though it was useless using hashtags in your LinkedIn posts earlier, I would suggest using 1-2 hashtags in a LinkedIn post. LinkedIn Help suggests: “There are no limits to the number of hashtags that can be added to each article, but you should choose your hashtags wisely, so they reach the most suitable members for that article.

Want to know more? Here’s a pin detailing the use of hashtags.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

How to live-tweet and reach a wider audience

Image from Flickr user hjw223. (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Thinking of live-tweeting during one of your much awaited conferences?

Though it seems a simple task, if not planned well it can go haywire. So proper planning is a must to reach a wider audience.

Decide on a hashtag
Before you jump into tweeting, decide on a hashtag to be used during the programme. Keep it simple – for example, if it’s a report launch, keep the hashtag as #ReportNameLaunch. Since the hashtags aren’t case sensitive, it can be typed as #reportnamelaunch, but the former one provides better readability.

Make sure the live-tweeters use the hashtag in each of their tweets.

Assign the tasks
It’s always better to form a team and assign the tasks rather than everybody tweeting the same thing.

At least two dedicated tweeters are a must to spread the word. Rest of the team can re-tweet and comment on their tweets. The two of them can meet beforehand and decide on how to go ahead with the tweeting – things like who takes care of which part of the speaker quotes.

Get the technology right
Make sure the live-tweeters are well connected to the WiFi or have enough balance in their cellphones to tweet throughout the session.

At least one live-tweeter should use TweetDeck so that they can follow the hashtag conversations with much ease.

Don’t forget the language and grammar
Check the spellings and the sentences before you push the ‘tweet’ button. Since you can’t edit the tweets later, it’s wise to check the sentence structure.

Refrain from using the shortened forms like 2day, 4U, etc. – now you don’t have the 140 characters restriction on Twitter any more.

Get to know the speakers
Research a bit about the speakers, collect their Twitter handles and put them on a spreadsheet with short bio and links to their articles published online. It will be handy to link them to their relevant quotes.

Make sure to add the hashtag and speaker Twitter handle while tweeting. It will make the tweet credible and help start a conversation.

Before clicking the pictures, taking the videos and tweeting them, make sure to talk to the speakers beforehand. Some of them might not be comfortable being tagged in the tweets.

Finally, some handy tips
Use speaker quotes and add their Tweeter handles. However, if you’re starting with the speaker handle, don’t forget to add a dot (.) before the handle (.@SpeakerHandle) so that it reaches everybody.

If you’re not a fast typing person or lose track of the conversation, don’t panic. You can write a note on a notebook or pad and tweet it later during the session.

Ask tweeters to send their questions during the session. Feel free to approach the speakers to get the answers and then tweet it to the person who sent the question.

You can also take some short videos or quotes from the audience and tweet them.

Retweet others. It is a good idea to set up a stream in your dashboard. It’s easy from there to share and comment on what people are tweeting.

Thanks to the Global Voices Summit 2017 social media team. A large chunk of this piece has been prepared from the notes and guidelines circulated to the live-tweeting team.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

If you deliver a consistent product, place and promotion don’t matter much

The chicken leg pieces are lip-smackingly good.

The other day, I was going gaga over the accessibility factor to make your products reach more and more customers. And I fell flat when I visited this eatery in a remote corner of Mid-Western Nepal.

And let me share with you this gem of wisdom: You don't need to be stationed at an accessible place if you deliver consistent taste to your customers!

Puri Leg Pieces, a small eatery at an awkward place, defies all the theories of marketing. This restaurant is located at Khairapur which is almost an hour's drive from Nepalgunj in Mid-Western Nepal and the roads aren't great either. However, people flock to this place to taste the chicken leg pieces, fried in cooking oil with spices added to enhance the taste. They serve the pieces with tomato chutney and let me tell you it's amazing!

The lady running the place said, "We sell 40 chickens and make 50,000 Nepali rupees ($ 500) every day." They have introduced some interesting recipes which isn't found at other places. In addition, they make money from selling liquor and beverages.

Her family migrated from the hilly district Dailekh to Bhurigaun in Bardia some 10 years ago and they had rented the space with a small building in Khairapur to run their business.

When I asked about the recipe of her success, she said, “It’s all hard work and the consistent taste is paying off.” But she didn’t divulge her trade secret. “Does Cocacola share its secret?” she asked.

Within an hour’s stay at the famous Puri Leg Pieces, I deduced these nuggets of knowledge.  

Quality product is the key to attracting customers. It should be different than what others are offering in the market. Something ‘out of the box’!

Consistency of the product is another step towards success. The customers come to you for that special attribute of your product.

Ability to deliver the demand is a must trait to retain the customers. If they come to you and you’re not able to cater to their demands, they won’t return again.

Controlling the willingness to grow is another factor that will always help your business grow with time. It’s always good to have a bigger pie in the industry but you must be sure that you’re well established before you spread your wings. I remember the wise words of the lady at the restaurant. She said, “Ghati herera had nilnu (meaning: cut your coat according to your cloth).

Trade secret is something you’ll need to maintain although it’s all about sharing in today’s world. Why in the world would anybody come to you if they find the same thing everywhere?

Word of mouth advertising is still the best way to sell your products. People have returned to the ‘referrals’ and it’s still a huge hit in this age of social media boom.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Simplicity matters

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci

I always had the feeling ‘simplicity is the most beautiful attribute’ and whenever I was asked to coordinate the design of either a book cover or an annual report, I would opt for the simplest designs. But, the units placing the orders would want to go ahead with jazzy, colourful and heavily designed stuff. And I sometimes struggled to convince them how simple designs work better.

However, I had with me this simple but highly effective advertising campaign to show them. I have been a great fan of this campaign since my working days as a copywriter in an advertising agency.

 Artwork by Doug Lyon, Lyon Advertising. Used with permission.

The campaign was created by Doug Lyon of the Lyon Advertising to generate awareness for Austin’s newest hair salon.

The website states: “RESULT: Campaign has been running for over 10 years and has won numerous industry awards.”
See why and how simplicity works!

Are you now convinced that simplicity matters?

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Have your ever thought about these hidden messages in brand logos?

Designers and advertisers are creative, crazy and cryptic. And while designing a logo for a brand they try hiding some key messages in the logos. Not always, but they try their best to do it!

So why do they do it?

As Thompson’s rules of ad-making say, they try to do something different; they draw; and they train their eyes to see. They see patterns in everything they glance at.

And that’s why they try to hide messages related to the product in the logo, attracting the subliminal mind to the product.

Some of the most talked about brand logos with hidden messages are FedEx, Amazon, Toblerone, Baskin Robbins among others.

If you look carefully between the ‘E’ and ‘x’ in the FedEx logo, you’ll see a white arrow pointing to right. It signifies forward motion.

In the Amazon logo, a yellow arrow runs from ‘a’ to ‘z’ trying to say that they sell everything from A to Z.

In the Toblerone logo, you’ll see a dancing beer in the mountain. It has been dedicated to Bern, the city of bears, where the chocolate was developed.

Now look at the Baskin Robbins logo. The pink and blue ‘BR’ has pink ‘31’ hidden in it. It denotes the 31 flavours the ice-cream brand offers – one for each day in a month!

Want to know more?

Here is a list of brand logos with messages hidden inside them. 

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

How to avoid too many emails and work duplication in your team

Getting too many emails from your team members? Being invited to too many meetings? Do your team members end up doing same work?

Now there’s a solution to all these. And your team will just need to install ‘Slack’, a messaging app for teamwork.

I have been using Slack for the last one year and find it extremely useful.

The best thing about Slack is you can create channels for a project, a topic, a team or for anything that needs to be discussed in your team.

At our workplace we have separate channels for each team and whenever a team member has to announce anything related to the team, she or he can give a shout in the channel. No need to send emails to all team members!

It also avoids work duplication. If one of your team members has already started working on one of the documents and sends a message across the channel, none of you in the team will work on the same document. However, if any team member wants suggestions or comments on any document, she or he can drag and drop the document to the channel and request feedback. The document can also be placed online and the link can be shared across the channel. It’s easy!

Just like any other instant messaging app, Slack has a provision of sending direct messages to your team members. And it can be either to an individual or a small group with not others peeking into the issue.  

Even direct calls or video calls can be made in any channel or direct message group from the app itself.

As I mentioned earlier, the drag and drop facility is very handy in sharing any documents or links with your team or team members.

So, if you haven’t used Slack yet, start using it and save your time!

The below infographics, though a little old, explains why people are using Slack.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Can you train your brain for better productivity?

What do you do to boost your creativity?

The answers differ from individual to individual. Some like to meditate. Some go on a lonesome walk. Others listen to music. Then some get a kick out of watching movies.

So, can you train your brain to be more creative?

The answer is – yes, you can obviously train your brain for better productivity.

Want to learn more?

Here’s an infographic by Wrike that tells you how to focus, save time, prioritise and get motivated for better results.