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.