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Facebook Gets in the Hashtag Game

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Hashtags are a tremendous way to connect with target audiences across multiple social networks, so it was great news recently when Facebook announced that it is now recognizing hashtags in its news streams.

Now, when you click on a hashtag – any phrase with the # symbol before it – you’ll get a feed of comments using the hashtag. You can also search for hashtags and write posts directly from the hashtag feed.
Let’s say you sell kayaks and are interested in connecting with kayak enthusiasts in your market area. You can now search for local people talking on Facebook about “kayaking,” or write a post – “Anyone going #kayaking this weekend?” This could lead to online conversations with local enthusiasts.

According to Facebook: “Every day, hundreds of millions of people use Facebook to share their thoughts on big moments happening all around them. Whether it’s talking about a favorite television show, cheering on a hometown sports team or engaging with friends during a breaking news event – people on Facebook connect with their friends about what’s taking place all over the world.

“To bring these conversations more to the forefront, we will be rolling out a series of features that surface some of the interesting discussions people are having about public events, people and topics. As a first step, we are beginning to roll out hashtags on Facebook.”

This greatly expands the traditional channels that Facebook users have typically used to create the possibilities for organic and campaign-driven chat rooms.

As a Facebook spokesperson explained, “Like other Facebook marketing tools, hashtags allow you to join and drive the conversations happening about your business. We recommend you search for and view real-time public conversations and test strategies to drive those conversations using hashtags.”

Hashtags are actually a part of a bigger initiative, according to Facebook, which notes that, “hashtags are just the beginning of a plan to “bring these conversations more to the forefront.” In the near future, you can expect to see more Facebook features that allow “public conversations,” such as trending hashtags.
I recommend that you give Facebook hashtags a test drive; find out the topics that are the most popular with your target audiences and think about how you can become part of the conversation. Use hashtags to engage with your target audiences and find out what they are thinking; that’s a lot less expensive than doing a focus group!

Are you using Facebook hashtags yet? I would love to hear from you.

Three Online “Must-do’s” for Online Presence

Monday, May 20th, 2013

We had the pleasure recently of speaking at the annual ITDG dealer conference, a conference for tire dealers and a great group of folks who truly epitomize why independent dealers remain the dominant channel for selling tires in America.

 

Our topic was social media/online marketing, and our challenge was covering such a large, important subject in a relatively short period of time.  We decided to focus on three areas that we believe are of critical importance to any one looking to make an online presence with their business:

 

Mobile Website

Consider this:

  • More people on planet Earth own a mobile phone (5.1 billion) than own a toothbrush (4.2 billion).  I’m not sure how Mobile Marketing Asia knows how many people own a toothbrush, but in addition to providing a truly gross factoid, they are pointing out the undeniable ubiquity of mobile phones.  Also consider that more than half of mobile phones today are smartphones; a percentage that is growing by leaps and bounds.

 

  • 70 percent of all mobile searches result in action within one hour.

 

  • 95 percent of smartphone users looked up local information, and out of those, 61 percent called and 59 percent visited the business.

It is important to understand the difference between a mobile-optimized website and a website that will pull up on a mobile phone.  A mobile-optimized site gives the consumer everything he or she needs immediately and is easily viewable on the phone screen. This can be something as minimal as click icons for the phone, email and directions to your place of business or event, as well as your current promotional offers or information you are giving at the time.

 

This is totally different from your standard website where the consumer has to search around and resize the information to find what they are most interested in – your business!

So we are talking about two different sites – one for mobile searches and your traditional website for the larger desktop and laptop screens.  The Googlebot-Mobile crawler recognizes searches from mobile phones and directs users to mobile-optimized sites; though 100 percent recognition is not here yet.  In the meantime, make sure your mobile site links to your traditional site and vice versa.

 

Facebook Graph Search

Facebook Graph Search is a game changer.  With Graph Search, a person can check his or her Facebook friends’ views on brands. In the case of our tire dealer friends let’s say you are a consumer considering buying tires from ACME Tire.  You can find out if any of your friends “like” ACME Tire and get their opinions.   Traditional search engines return relevant content from the entire web; Facebook’s Graph Search returns highly personalized content from the searcher’s own personal network (social graph).

 

Graph Search will launch system-wide later this year.  What should tire dealers do to prepare?  First, if you are a multi-store business, manage your corporate page but also build out pages for each store location.  Make sure the store information is complete and correct, and links to your corporate page.

 

Secondly, build your fan base!  Facebook advertising is a great way to do this.  The more fans you have, the more potential references you will have in Graph Search.  Also, engage with your fans; the more interactions a page receives the more likely it will appear in Graph Search results.

 

Manage Your Local Business Listings

Changes in search algorithms have made it easier than ever for small businesses to harness the power of local search.  According to Google, 73 percent of all online activity is related to local content.

 

More than ever it is important to have your site listed. Brand Recognition continues to be as important as it has been. Things like SEO and Google rankings can play an important role in your businesses life or death.

 

It is estimated that more than 80 percent of consumers do online research before they purchase tires.  If you pay attention to these three areas, you will make sure that they will find you through local business listings, see what their friends have to say about you, and be able to find your key information quickly and easily from a mobile phone.

 

–       Christine Taylor

Trucking Industry is Getting Social

Friday, April 15th, 2011

I walked the floor at the recent Mid America Trucking Show to get an idea of how quickly the trucking industry is adopting social media and the latest digital technologies.

I found that some companies are very engaged, others are in the process of becoming more involved, and others are sticking their head in the sand – believing that they will lose “control” if they put themselves out there in social media.   Guys, you are already “out there.”  Web 2.0 technologies have significantly shifted the power from institutions to the people.  Get with the program!

Anecdotally speaking, I saw a lot more social media activity than at last year’s show.  The show’s Twitter hashtag was very active, companies were using social media to drive booth traffic, and it was clear that social media is playing a greater role in marketing strategies for many.

 

I liked what I saw from Michelin.  They are actively listening to their customers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., and according to Michelin Marketing Communications Manager Bianca Hogan, the company has established procedures for engaging with advocates and responding to detractors (when a response is appropriate).

It was music to my ears when Ryan Fisher, account manager with Michelin agency Jackson Marketing Group, described how they conducted research at another trucking show to find out which social media platforms are most used by drivers and owner operators.  We see the opposite all too often; companies wanting to jump into Facebook, Twitter or something else before really analyzing how, where and why their target audiences are using social media.  For the record, they found Facebook to be the main platform with Twitter and YouTube also very popular.  Facebook and YouTube are a great way for these road warriors to stay in touch, personally and professionally, while Twitter is good for sharing the latest news on road delays, weather conditions, etc.

Joan O’Clair, corporate communications and social media manager for TravelCenters of America and Petro Stopping Centers, explained that the company has launched a popular iPhone app. to help customers check fuel prices, utilize the company’s emergency road service and much more.  Phase II of the app. is on its way with restaurant specials and more.

Magnus Koeck, vice president of marketing and brand development for Volvo Trucks North America, said Volvo Trucks has been involved in social media for some time in Europe.  Koeck said he has challenged his team to learn more about New Media because it is obvious that Volvo Trucks’ customers are spending more and more time online.  He said they will soon be adding a digital media specialist to the marketing staff.

It was also great to see the traditional media integrating social media into their offerings.  We had a great conversation with Deborah and Evin Lockridge about how they are using Twitter and other New Media tools at Heavy Duty Trucking magazine.

Then there was the speaker who warned the audience not to get involved in Facebook for security reasons.  Yes, you have to be aware of security issues and have a social media policy in place.  But advising not to get involved is akin to a transportation company in the early part of the 20th Century sticking with mules and wagons because you could lose control of a motorized vehicle’s steering wheel.

 

 

 

What happens at SxSW is not on Twitter

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

So, my very trusting bosses, John and Christine handed me the credit card and sent me off to SxSW.  This geek version of spring break brings all the brightest minds in digital media together to paint the town red in Austin, TX.

I have attended several sessions which vary from growing communities to becoming a better manager, of which I did attend ( for John and Christine’s peace of mind).  Many of the sessions I attended lacked the meat that I was hoping but I’m also trying to avoid the run of the mill topics that we’re all sick of hearing of.  SxSW does offer a great mixture of novice, intermediate and advanced sessions and organizes in such a way that you can focus on certain tracks to get the most value.

Sunday evening I was invited to Co-Host a party SE@SX which was sponsored by PGiSloane Berrent put on a fantastic event and gave an opportunity for the local leadership of Charlotte, Atlanta, Orlando, Raleigh and New Orleans a chance to network and share their experiences about being a Southerner in the tech industry.  It’s pretty incredible the events and growth that are happening in the South and I encourage you to check out the Louisiana Economic Development initiative and the start-up community in Raleigh, North Carolina aka The Triangle.   I fortunately had Dave Delaney standing next to me to represent Nashville and we highlighted our PodCamp, BarCamp, Geek Breakfast and of course, Social Media Club Nashville.  I walked away from this event being so inspired to make stronger connections with the S.E. cities who are truly doing amazing things that I want to be apart of.

The absolute best part of SxSW has been the networking and connections made offline.  I was lucky enough to meet some big names in the game and look forward to growing those relationships which will hopefully, help the Nashville community.  I will always bring it back home!

Nearly every company in the Technology space is well represented here in Austin and I have to say, Microsoft and TechSet has hosted the best Blogger’s Lounge in the Austin Convention Center.  I earned the Mayorship of the Blogger’s Lounge on Foursquare for just over 4 hours before someone swiped it from me….grrr…..

Considering SxSW next year?  Here are some things you must do…

  1. Play the Foursquare game outside the Austin Convention Center with the Foursquare crew and win buttons.
  2. Eat as much Ironworks and Salt Lick BBQ – no words to explain this and you will thank me.
  3. Stop for injured Bicyclists and call 911.  I like to think I saved a guys life.
  4. Bring an umbrella for the one day it rains, silly me.
  5. Get on every VIP list possible because it’s not fun standing in line = Free drinks. =)
  6. Don’t go there with expectations, just have a good time and the opportunities will come.  Promise.

If you were not able to attend SxSW and want to capture the main takeaways here in Nashville, come to SxSW Nashville on Wednesday, March 24th.

Also, check out my Flickr Pictures to see what it was really like at SxSW!

Did I miss anything in Austin that you suggest I should check out next year?

“I love him, I love him and I don’t care who knows it!”

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Once upon a time there lived a Travelocity Gnome who was quite content living in a store on Beale Street in Memphis, TN called Tater Reds. …

Ok, ok really it goes something like this…

The JTMarCom team recently did some work for the Dunkin Donuts Franchisee in Memphis, TN so after a very successful day at work, John, Christine and Alex decided to take me out to the famous Blues scene in Memphis which is most notably located on Beale Street.  I grabbed a few drinks (3 shots of Jameson Irish Whiskey for me) while the others ate and we met some really interesting people at the restaurant who were in town for a Blues festival.  After leaving the restaurant, we lollygagged around to a few shops on the street and came upon Tater Reds, a local shop with crappy tourist stuff that appeals to drunk people.  After being mesmerized by all the autographed drum heads on the ceiling, I discovered who would soon become my new bestest bestest friend.


Travelocity is running a campaign in Memphis; they’ve stashed their famous Gnomes around the city and if you find one, snap a silly picture and submit it to their website/FB page and win a weekend stay in Memphis.  Alex and I snapped away and had a good ole’ time until……He fell down and broke his crown!

The store owner, Tater, was not amused and after a few minutes of staring at the ground in confusion, I decided I always wanted a Travelocity Gnome and it was only fate that this Gnome came into my life.  Again, after a few drinks this was a GREAT idea!  Tater insisted he’d be in big trouble with Travelocity (Did you know you can purchase the same Gnome I have on QVC for just over $30 w/ shipping & handling? http://bit.ly/5SPZPi )  and they would be charging him an arm, leg and crown for the loss so there was nothing else he could do but push this cost onto us.  I very happily obliged because this little Gnome didn’t deserve to be thrown away, he needed a good Gnome…oops, I mean home.

I tweeted “http://twitpic.com/yzbes – Alex & I paid $100 for the Travelocity Gnome we broke at Tater Reds just now. But who else has a GNOME?!?!?”

I received a response from the Travelocity Twitter account who passed along the email address of Joel Frey who is a big guy with Travelocity and after telling me it was one of the strangest Gnome related emails he’s ever received, he was more than happy to resolve the situation.

Tater received his Gnome from Travelocity corporate office but will not accept it as a replacement because it was a 9’’ Gnome instead of a 13’’ Gnome and it was wearing a sombrero and maracas..I say beggars can’t be choosers buddy so give me my $100 back!

If you ever check out Beale Street, I highly recommend you NOT drink Jameson Whiskey and get creative with Gnomes.

I hope this post makes my Grandma proud!

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Learning Twitter? Don’t Take Your Cues From These Agencies http://ow.ly/gNV5

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Twittorati Will Show You How Awesomely Fascinating Bloggers’ Lives Are (Or Not) http://ow.ly/gNfb

Monday, July 6th, 2009

How to Use Social Media for Lead Generation – Free Webinar http://ow.ly/gBYl

Monday, July 6th, 2009

RT @clickryan: RT @hyku: What does a basic data-set for social media tactics look like? http://bit.ly/3nTvg4

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

US Airways flight diverted because of naked passengerhttp://ow.ly/gpAS