Monthly Archives

January 2018

How to use Hashtags to Promote Your Local Business and Events

Social Media Management | Prairie Giraffe | Gillette Wyoming

What is a Hashtag?

You may have seen and heard the term hashtag. But, what is it? Why does it matter?

A hashtag is simply a keyword phrase, spelled out without spaces, with a pound sign (#) in front of it. For example, #InboundHour and #ChocolateLovers are both hashtags.

-Hubspot

So you see it’s simple, a Hashtag is a word, phrase, or set of characters behind a ‘#’ with no spaces. ie. #SmallBusinessSaturday, #ShopLocal, or #Caturday2018.

Hashtags were originally used to categorize and make searchable tweets and posts around a topic.

By using a hashtag you are telling the social channel you are posting on to categorize this post into a certain topic.

 

Why would I use a Hashtag?

Hashtags are a great way to drive organic traffic to your social media pages and then hopefully to your website as well.

By using a hashtag associated with your business or the customers of businesses like yours you are making it easier for people to discover you and your business. This can be particularly good for local businesses.

Prairie Giraffe is located in Gillette Wyoming. If I want to do business with other companies in Gillette Wyoming all I need to do is search the official Gillette Wyoming hashtag, #GilletteWy, and just for good measure, I’ll throw in a #ShopLocal.

Now I can see all the businesses who are promoting themselves and their posts as local to the Gillette community and are trying to encourage others to shop locally with them.

Shop Local | Prairie Giraffe | Gillette Wyoming

So you can see hashtags allow you to join in on the conversation and engage with a community of people and businesses you wouldn’t otherwise be connected to.

Unlike other groups and forums, the conversation doesn’t require management. There are positives and negatives to the lack of control. For one, anyone can use your hashtag. An example is #quotes, you will find millions of posts and there will be a lot of “noise”.

However, with a tag like #quotes, there will be tons of people who see that content. If you sell signs with inspirational quotes on them to hang in your home, you should use #quotes, but then also use something a little more targeted to your customers like #DreamLivingRoom, #HandPainted, and #ShopLocal.

The upside is anyone can use and see your hashtag. By using a hashtag in your posts you are joining a larger stream. You are opening up your content to a larger audience. People looking for your content.

Suppose you are wanting to get the word out to attendees of an event your business will be presenting at. You should start dropping in the events official Hashtag and those who are attending the event or otherwise searching that tag will see your posts in the stream of other posts with that same tag.

Use hashtags whenever you are wanting to get the word out to a larger community and engage with new people on social media.

We need to stop and just mention the use of Hashtags is only for social media. If you are using email to reach your customers then hashtags should not be used.

 

Using Hashtags to Promote Your Business

Hashtags are a great way to promote your business. As we mentioned before using hashtags allows you to enter the larger stream of posts and get seen by more people. Tags like #ShopLocal, #SmallBiz, #SmallBusinessSaturday are all good general tags for small businesses.

Other great small business tags are location specific. Like we mentioned before, the Gillette Wyoming Tag is #GilletteWy. By using this tag I am letting everyone who wants to shop in Gillette or is just searching for information about Gillette that we are a part of the community.

Hashtags such as #ShopLocal, #SmallBiz, #SmallBusinessSaturday are general hashtags. The more generic a tag and the more often it is used the bigger the cloud of posts that use it. Then there are hashtags that are more industry specific. We recommend using a mixture of both. You never know which tags are going to help you the most so use both.

General Tags

General tags like #quotes, #rainyday, #ShopLocal, #beautiful, #instagood, are super popular and reach a large audience. Your posts can be washed away in the noise, but also have the best chance of being seen by someone.

Industry Specific or Niche Tags

These are more specific and while they may never see the light of day, they stand the best chance of being gold. Someone searching a Niche tag are probably more passionate about what they are searching for and have a better chance of being fiercely loyal. Which is great for your brand!

#FeedFeed, #CoffeeShots, #OutdoorLife, #ApartmentTherapy, #vitamix are examples of niche tags.

These tags will have a much smaller audience than most of the general tags, but they have an audience that are more likely to engage with your brand and are much more likely to follow you.

You should use a mixture of niche hashtags and general/popular tags. You want your content and posts to be getting out to the most people as possible and at the same time attracting those looking for your products and services.

A picture of this in action would be as Prairie Giraffe we make the following post.

Social Media | Prairie Giraffe | Gillette Wyoming

 

You can see we used very generic tags like #seo and used some very niche tags like #OutsourcedCMO, which is limited to our industry. We want to be discovered by people looking for SEO advice and ultimately SEO services and we want to show up for someone looking for an Outsourced CMO service.

 

Using Hashtags to promote your events.

We’ve touched on it before, but events are great places for Hashtags. It doesn’t make sense for every business at the event to make a page or group about the event.

However, most events have official Hashtags. This allows all the news, conversation, announcements, and anything else surrounding the event to be gathered into one easily searchable place that doesn’t have to be managed.

Imagine you’re holding an event for wedding vendors. You create official Facebook and Instagram pages and you make a few announcements on that page. That’s great. But, by having an official Hashtag for the event, you allow people to join in on the conversation about your event. They can make announcements, tell their customers that they will be there, show off the products they are going to bring and more. Without having to be an admin of your page.

So if you are going to an event, it’s in your best interest to find out what the official Hashtag will be and start using it in your posts that pertain to the event. Are you announcing a product, are you bringing something special, do you just want everyone to know you’ll be there?

There is no downside to using the events official tag. You will be helping make the event a richer experience for everyone and if your competitors refuse to use the tag, you are going to stand out from them.

Another example – let’s suppose you are holding your own event. Nothing too big, just a special sale with some new products and a short class related to your industry. You need an official hashtag. What fun is a party if no one shows up? Imagine though if one of your excited attendees shares your hashtag.

Other people see your fan’s post and click the tag (since tags act as links). They now get to see what’s going on and that they would like to attend as well. You know people tend not to do things unless they are incentivized so you make a deal with your followers that if they like your page and share your hashtag in a post they will be entered into a drawing for a free product, which you hold after the class.

Now you are getting more shares than before and since the prize requires them to attend, even more, people are coming.

This is just an example of the power of Hashtags when used with your Social Media. We will go over more amazing things Hashtags can do in the future.

So get out there and #StartToday, #DontWait, #GrowthHacking, #SavvyBusiness.

 

How to Use Social Media at Trade Shows and Events

social media management | Prairie Giraffe | Wyoming

You’ve paid your fee’s, rented your tables, you’re purchasing your SWAG, and all your marketing signage is being cranked out by the local print shop. You might think you have all your bases covered, but what is going to drive people to your booth? Is this an “if you build it, they will come” situation?

While you will get a lot of people walking by wouldn’t it be better to get people to stop by and actually look for you because of what they have seen online?

Your social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) are places for you to let people know what’s going on with you and where you’re going to be. It’s a place for you to connect with your customers and attract new customers. Your channels are a community, not just a series of impersonal ads. Social media is about connection and engagement, not just “impressions”.

With that said you can use social media to reach those who are interested in your business or services or have done business with you in the past. A trade show or event is a perfect opportunity for you to connect with your customers and leads. So follow these tips to drive foot traffic to your booth and create a buzz around your product or services.

 

Before the Event

  1. Find out if the event has a specific hashtag for the event and use it on your Social Channels (ie. #NEWCAHomeShow). A few weeks and up to a month before the show start dropping in the official hashtag for the event into your announcements and posts. Hashtags are a great way to get your posts into a larger community (others using the same hashtag) and get noticed by people who have not liked or interacted with your page.
  2. Like and follow the pages and or social channels for the Event Sponsors, the Event Page (if there is one) and the Location. Such as the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce, NEWCA Home Show, and the Camplex. This is a great way to support the event sponsors and get updates about the event.
  3. Share the event on your business page. Let everyone know your booth number and what you will be selling. Linking to the events page or website is also a good idea and with help get the word out to others who may not have known about the event.
  4. Share pictures or videos of what your customers might look forward to seeing from your company at the show (This is a good time to launch a new product or service – start getting people excited).
  5. Take this pre-event time to invite people directly that you would like to see at the show. Visit your email list and send out an invite to past customers and leads, inviting them to come see your booth and let them know what they will be seeing from you there. Also, consider an incentive for these special invites (i.e for those who show the invite at the show, they get a coupon for 10% off, or even something as simple some of your higher end SWAG?)
  6. If you are a B2B business check out your LinkedIn Connections and send an invite to them as well. This can be a great way to get some face time with a decision maker who may have been too busy to come see you otherwise.

 

At the Event

It’s the big day! Don’t lose the momentum you’ve been working hard to create. Keep people interested with the following:

  1. Post a picture of your booth. Make sure to let people know where at the show to find you. Circle your space on the event map and post it with the picture. Make finding you as easy as possible.
  2. Go LIVE! Show your customers what they are missing and what you have to offer. Use Facebook live or Instagram Stories to show people where you are, what you are doing, and talk a little bit about your products and services. This would be a great time to talk about the value your product brings. What makes you different. Chances are some of your competitors are going to be at the show and this is a great way to stand out.
  3. Encourage customers to take pictures of your booth and post it on your page! Offering a small incentive (discount on products or services if they do) or a chance at a prize!
  4. This is a great time to collect “Likes” – a Like can be used as an entry for any raffles you are doing (you could also collect emails as well).
  5. You are going to get busy at the event. Keep the buzz going by scheduling posts, tweets, or updates before the show to post during the show.

 

After the Event

  1. Announce the winners of any drawings in a live video at your location so people know where you are located.
  2. Follow up on emails or leads you collected. Don’t let those leads grow cold. Follow-up with anyone you collected contact information from. This is really an opportunity to impress. Even if someone didn’t have a question, but just gave you their email in exchange for a free gift, send them a thank you for stopping by your booth. This is a great way to remind them of you without being too “salesy” right out of the gate.
  3. And most importantly keep the momentum going – If you generated a lot of new likes don’t lose their interest! Take advantage of all your new followers and keep them engaged with interesting and exciting information about your products or services!

 

These are just a few ideas to help you get the most out of your next Trade Show or Event. Check back for more tips, advice, and strategies and be sure to follow the NEWCA Home Show page on Facebook! Of course, if all of this sounds Greek (or geek) to you, we would love to discuss the ways we can help. 

 

 

How to Focus Your Ads on Real Buyers

adwords | Prairie Giraffe | Wyoming

You set up your first campaigns on AdWords. You researched all the different options. You avoided the pitfall of AdWords Express and you launch your campaign.

You are selling Widgets. The finest Widgets in the industry. You read all the blog posts and know everything there is to know about how to choose the top keywords related to your Widgets.

Your ad copy is great, your call to actions are on point, and from all your research you are pretty sure you will place near the top.

Then something happens:

A month goes by and you aren’t getting as many good leads as you thought you should be getting. You go in and look at your campaigns and everything looks right. You are getting a good number of clicks. People just aren’t buying like you thought they would.

Perplexed you click on the little button labeled Search Terms.

There are searches for “blue widgets”, “red widgets near me”, “widgets for sale”, etc. Further down the page, you start seeing “cheap widgets”, “how to make your own widgets”, “free widgets”, etc.

No Negative Keywords

You have just made an expensive mistake, but an incredibly common one. You didn’t set any negative keywords.

Negative keywords are keywords you don’t want your ads to show for. Some keywords you should add to all of your campaigns if you’re selling a service are:

  • How to
  • Cheap or cheapest
  • where to buy
  • Price

If you’re selling a product:

  • How to
  • Cheap or cheapest
  • Price
  • Make

There are many others but those are good safe words to block right from the start. The goal is to avoid price shoppers so you don’t spend money on people who are not looking to buy. Some you won’t know until it’s too late.

If you are advertising for a restoration company who cleans up smoke damage. You may not know to add “smoking” to your negative keywords, until you get a search for “how does smoking affect your body.”

In this case, you should probably add smoking as a negative keyword and maybe consider changing smoke damage to an exact match or more restrictive match type. You probably just fell victim to broad match and now you are paying $5 for someone who wasn’t even looking for your services.

 

Age and Gender Demographics

Now that you’ve set up some negative keywords and are stopping unwanted clicks from people who aren’t even looking for what your selling. It’s time to go over to campaigns and then demographics.

Look at age and gender. If you own a business that primarily caters to women it may be a good idea to narrow and target your advertising to women.

Or take a look at how old your average conversion is. Some will be Unknown, but there can be some interesting and useful insights. For instance, if it costs $20 to convert a 34-year-old at 12%, but $12 to convert a 60-year-old at 34% CTR.

Armed with this info, you can adjust your bid to increase when dealing with the younger harder to convert demographic. This may not always be a good idea. But, since you know it’s cheaper to convert the 60-year-old you can divert that budget to the harder to convert customer and increase your conversions all around.

Or go the opposite direction. Reduce the bid for the harder to convert audience so your ad moves further down the page. That way you are more likely to only get noticed by those who are really interested in your products or services and are actually reading the copy on the search results.

You don’t want to pay for people who are just clicking on the top of the page.

Location Filtering

Where does your customer live? If you are selling in a particular city you need to limit the locations where your ads will show.

By default, your ads will try to show to the whole US. This is a costly mistake. You will be amazed how fast you can blow through your daily budget by advertising to the entire country when you only work in a small area.

To set this up go to your Campaign and then settings. Then Locations. Enter the location you want to advertise in. Zip code, city, county, state, etc. Don’t forget to save your selection.

 

These are just a few of the options you have to narrow your audience and start attracting more serious buyers. Let us know if you have questions. We’d love to help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEO Priorities for the New Year

seo, gillette, wyoming, prairie giraffe, search engine optimization

It’s a new year. It’s winter. Maybe business is a little slower and you have a little extra time on your hands.

Now is a good time to go over your site and commit some of this extra time to getting these SEO tasks completed. After all, waiting is not doing you any favors.

Here we go:

HTTPS

It’s been a whole year since Google started penalizing websites for not being secure. Whether it’s through “shaming” or actually penalizing your sites position in search results.

It’s easier than ever to get an SSL certificate. Don’t put it off anymore. Some hosts will even install an SSL for you.

If you know what you’re doing head on over to Namecheap and purchase your SSL. They have a great tool to help you choose the correct type and if you host with Namecheap installing it is pretty doable.

If you host with someone else, Comodo or Namecheap have installation, verification, and all the other steps you have to perform in order to get your site using your SSL Certificate.

Once your SSL is installed on your cPanel or hosting account, you will need to replace the URL’s on your website with HTTP, with URL’s that start with HTTPS. There are several tools to help your or a Simple SSL plugin that automatically changes URL’s to HTTPS and redirects visitors to the HTTPS version of your pages.

If you don’t want to learn to install server and site security let us know. We can give you some options.

Mobile Experience

AMP

AMP Project is geared toward making the web mobile friendly. With Code that plays well with mobile devices and loads quickly.

The Accelerated Mobile Pages (“AMP”) Project is an open source initiative that came out of discussions between publishers and technology companies about the need to improve the entire mobile content ecosystem for everyone — publishers, consumer platforms, advertisers, creators, and users.

– AMP Project

Add AMP support to your WordPress website with the AMP plugin from Automatic.  It’s easy and will help your site to be ready as the internet as a whole becomes more and more mobile.

When activating the AMP Plugin or any other plugin on your live site make sure you create a backup. Don’t cause a catastrophe you can’t come back from while trying to improve your site.

 

Responsive

In 2018 and beyond you need a mobile responsive site as a minimum. Your site needs to be able to resize and function correctly on a smartphone.

Head over to this responsive website tester from responsinator.com and test your site. If it either breaks or looks exactly the same no matter what size screen you are using then you have a serious problem.

If your site is not responsive and you don’t know how to make it responsive, contact us or give us a call. We can give you some options to make your site mobile friendly.

 

Build Some Links

Reach out to those sources you have not had time to contact yet and look for link building opportunities.

Who in your industry can you guest blog for?

Who would be willing to feature your business on their blog? Is there a product you use frequently who would be willing to feature your case study on their social media and link to you from their product pages?

 

Local Citations

If you have been putting off cleaning up your Local Citations or getting listed now is a perfect time to get those taken care of.

Are there any local citations you need to sign up for and are there citations with incorrect information? Go through and audit your local citations and make sure your Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) are correct.

Having the wrong information out there can negatively affect your local SEO and “confuses” search engines.

Moz has a great infographic of what they have found to be the citation hierarchy and is a great place to find some you may either be missing or not thought of before.

 

In conclusion:

A lot of these are low hanging fruit and some are much more technical. It’s the new year. So set some goals for your website’s SEO and set out to accomplish them. As always, let us know if you need a hand. We’d love to help!