Social Media 101: How to Use Hashtags to Grow Your Audience

We’ve all heard of them. Many of us have even used them. But the real question is, how can we use hashtags to grow our audience?

First, let’s start with the basic definition.

Hashtag: a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media websites and applications, especially Twitter, to identify messages on a specific topic.

But that’s not all. The implementation of hashtags is constantly evolving with social media platforms, and with technology in general. They extend themselves to a community of people who are searching for new, inspiring content on a daily basis, which is exactly why you should be utilizing them.

Like everything else, hashtags require research. But where do you begin?

Step 1: Identify your target audience. I may sound like broken record here, but audience identification and research go hand-in-hand, in more ways than one. You need to know exactly who you’re looking to attract before you can create effective content to do just that.

Step 2: Search hashtags on Twitter and Instagram. After establishing your target audience and the content they figuratively subscribe to, pinpoint the hashtags they’re using and searching for. Get in the mind of your audience. Think about what tags they might search for on Twitter or Instagram (Facebook doesn’t use hashtags as much). If you’re an author, #bookstoread and #bookstagram are popular, community-based hashtags that many bookworms use when looking for new reading material. Complete a search of your own to see which posts get the most traction.

Step 3: Analyze and implement. What hashtags seem to be working for other people in your niche? What patterns do you see? Do the tags pertain to your content? If so, adopt them!

It’s also important to incorporate as many relevant hashtags as you can find, according to Jumper Media. Instagram allows a maximum of 30 hashtags per post, so don’t be afraid to use as many as you see fit. It will only widen your post’s reach and give you and your content more exposure.

The beauty of hashtags is the fact that they’re community-based; therefore, it’s up to you to figure out what community (or communities) you want to tap into. Although the specific tags may seem rather trite and adolescent, use them anyway. It’s simply the nature of the hashtag.

For more on content strategizing, check out our latest post.

Happy hashtagging!

Social Media 101: Content Strategizing the 2019 Way

If you read our recent blog post Social Media 101: Branding the 2019 Way, you’ll know just how critical it is to do social media marketing rather than banking only on traditional media to spread the word about your product/service/brand. You also might’ve been left wondering how to go about branding on social media. Well, we have you covered there, too—and the answer is content strategizing.

The most important aspect of social media branding is implementing a strategy behind the content you are going to put out in the world. Perhaps you are already plugged in to the major platforms but haven’t seen results in your engagement levels or follower count. Perhaps you’re starting from square one. Either way, it’s crucial to formulate a strategy before you post. Ask yourself:

  • Who is my target audience?
  • What is that audience’s age demographic?
  • What social channels are they on?
  • Why should they care about me and my brand?
  • How can I showcase my brand in a way that will attract them?
  • What content do I already have available?
  • What content do I need to create for effective brand display?
  • What do I bring to the table that my competitors don’t, and how can I present that through my social channels?

It’s important to know your target audience inside and out. Having inside knowledge about key groups will tell you exactly what channels they populate. Here’s a breakdown, according to a 2019 study done by Sprout Social:

Users on Facebook: 74% female, 62% male

  • 51% of 13-17 year olds
  • 81% of 18-29 year olds
  • 78% of 30-49 year olds
  • 65% of 50-64 year olds
  • 41% of 65+ year olds

Users on Instagram: 39% female, 30% male

  • 72% of 13-17 year olds
  • 64% of 18-29 year olds
  • 40% of 30-49 year olds
  • 21% of 50-64 year olds
  • 10% of 65+ year olds

Users on Twitter: 24% female, 23% male

  • 32% of 13-17 year olds
  • 40% of 18-29 year olds
  • 27% of 30-49 year olds
  • 19% of 50-64 year olds
  • 8% of 65+ year olds

Users on LinkedIn: 25% female, 25% male

  • 29% of 18-29 year olds
  • 33% of 30-49 year olds
  • 24% of 50-64 year olds
  • 9% of 65+ year olds

Users on Snapchat: 31% female, 23% male

  • 69% of 13-17 year olds
  • 68% of 18-29 year olds
  • 26% of 30-49 year olds
  • 10% of 50-64 year olds
  • 3% of 65+ year olds

TikTok is also becoming a popular outlet for the younger demographic. Nonetheless, identifying and creating on-brand content that caters to a specific audience is the key to success in any niche. You want to highlight what makes your brand unique while keeping your audience’s expectations in mind.

From there, develop a content calendar to keep yourself organized and pay attention to your social media analytics. It may be beneficial to look into different scheduling services like Hootsuite and Loomly (we have used both) that can also track engagement levels, relevant hashtags, and other important metrics. Knowledge is power.

Bottom line: You want your content to be true to who you are as a brand while capturing the essence of what you do and why you’re important.

To learn more about the importance of social media in business, check out our recent blog.

Social Media 101: Branding the 2019 Way

You might notice that, in your regular grocery-shopping routine, there are always those go-to items that undeniably end up in your cart at checkout. I’m not just talking about the core food groups. Think about bananas. Sure, they might all taste the same, or even ring in at similar prices, but you’re still always reaching for Chiquita or Dole brand.

Let’s leave the supermarket behind and head to your favorite gadget store. Why do loyal Apple consumers go back to iPhone time and again, even when the newest model retails for over $1000? There are certainly other options that offer competitive hardware. The reason is because, from bananas to mobile devices, the most successful businesses strategically brand. Chiquita and Apple established their distinctive brands at a time when most media was only disseminated through a few channels; print, radio, and television.

Business owners at present-day are overwhelmed with options. Yet, many up-and-comers make the mistake of focusing efforts on penetrating the already over-saturated legacy media. Not only are these channels over-crowded, they are incredibly expensive due to the high demand. Last year’s Superbowl host network charged $5.25 million for one 30-second commercial. But even the well-established companies with bigger budgets are turning to the new wave of branding in 2019: social media. Here are three reasons why your business needs social media branding:

The audience. So much of the world is on social media. It is even predicted that the U.S. population will spend more time on social media/mobile devices than on TV by the end of this year. Social media host a wealth of loyal niche communities. With clear messaging and focused branding, these communities can quickly become your repeat-consumers.

The price point. Like any promotional content on a popular medium, ads on social media can be pricey. Luckily, there is more to this strategy than paid advertisements. Channels like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat are a one-stop shop. You can create your own original content in-house, free of charge. The average user is bombarded daily with big-budget marketing. In fact, 86% of people on social crave authentic content rather than expertly-crafted material from ad agencies. Stand out in the crowded market and create something to which your audience can authentically relate, without breaking the bank!

The immediacy. We’ve talked about the ways social media branding is useful, but how will you know it’s working? There is a way, and unlike mail surveys or television polls, you won’t have to wait weeks and months to see results. Simply start a poll on your desired outlet. The media mentioned above offer  functions where you can pose a question with two or more answer options, and users can select their response. These polls can run any where from one day to one week. Once the poll closes, you instantly have your results – you can even see votes as they are happening.

Traditional media are already at capacity. Rather than beating your head against the wall trying to break into an incredibly competitive market, take matters into your own hands. Use freely available social media and make your mark today.

Publicity 101: The Importance of Tracking Your Pitching

While tracking the outlets you’ve pitched in hopes of procuring reviews, features or interviews for you and your book isn’t the most exciting process there ever was, it sure is important.

Why, you ask? Firstly, it saves valuable time and money. Arguably just as important, tracking the outlets, contact names, contact emails, phone numbers, addresses, contact positions and outcomes will not only keep you organized, but also stop you from pitching the same people twice. No one enjoys getting the same copy and pasted message more than once.

Your personal running record of contact information acts as a good reference sheet for future pitches as well. For example, we’re currently launching a media campaign for the third installment of Chris Babu’s Initiation series (more on that to come—stay tuned!). Having worked on the second book, The Expedition, and documenting every pitched outlet while noting those who ran our pieces in the past gives us a better idea of who we should re-pitch for the new book.

In other words, because of our record-keeping, we know who is more likely to say yes, who only offers paid reviews, who only works with local authors, and so on. You’ve already spent countless hours on outlet research. Why start over for every pitch? Tracking your work is also crucial for determining when to follow up. Sometimes all it takes is a friendly check-in via email or phone to yield a response.

Now that we’ve covered why it’s essential to track your pitching, you may be wondering how exactly you should track. Lucky for you, there are plenty of tracker templates and organizers out there that make it easy for you to input key information. Even an Excel spreadsheet does the trick. Below you can find a sample format:

Want more information on how to curate the perfect media list? Check out our five-step process.

Leonardo’s Science Workshop by Heidi Olinger

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

LEONARDO’S SCIENCE WORKSHOP
Invent, Create, and Make STEAM Projects Like a Genius 

Leonardo da Vinci was a jack of all trades. He loved to learn, and, as a result, left behind a legacy of contributions to both the arts and sciences. Inspired by his versatility, LEONARDO’S SCIENCE WORKSHOP (Quarto Publishing, January 2019, Original Trade Paperback, 978-1-63159-524-0, $29.99) by Heidi Olinger offers a fun-filled assortment of exciting science experiments that stimulate the minds of students, parents and teachers alike.

This book proudly champions all things STEAM—science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics—while simultaneously incorporating elements of design.

As the founder of Pretty Brainy, a nonprofit organization focused on STEAM service learning, Olinger boldly proves that there is no boundary between practicality and creativity.

What’s important is that Leonardo did not think of art as separate from science or science as separate from engineering. His investigations as scientist and engineer strengthened his art because he understood anatomy, physics, nature, and geometry.”

Covering topics like physics, molecules, gravity, graphic design, and even recycling, LEONARDO’S SCIENCE WORKSHOP provides approachable explanations coupled with step-by-step experiment instructions anyone can perform at home or in the classroom. Whether you’re learning the logistics behind a bird in flight or designing wearable plastic fabrics, readers are guaranteed to glean a lesson in science and originality.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Heidi Olinger is a writer and founder of Pretty Brainy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that creates STEAM service learning to inspire and prepare girls to innovate, problem-solve, and lead in the 21st century. Heidi has taught at the University of Colorado at Boulder where she focused on experimental pedagogy and practices that prioritized students and their learning. She currently lives in Colorado with her rescue dog, Patches. Visit her at www.prettybrainy.com or www.heidiolinger.com.