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5 Ways you should be using Facebook #Hashtags (and a few sprinkles on how you definitely shouldn’t )

  
  
  
  
  

It’s been beaten and mocked. Sodden with shame by Jimmy Fallon and Jonah Hill and aligned with ‘selfie’ and ‘food porn’ too often. Now opponents doubt it’s relevance on the (still relevant) social network Facebook. Yes, Facebook is still relevant.

We, of course, are referring to our ol’ friend, the hashtag. As a friend, we are here to show you how to augment your Facebook strategy by implementing purposeful, timely, and engaging tags without subjecting your fans to #hashbaggery. We’re here to help, and to warn.

1. Ground your hash tags in #reality, not #groundyourhashtagsinreality

We’ve seen #thistypeofhashtaguse on social before. But you’re a stoic and reputable organization that wants to be taken seriously. By implementing unwieldy hashtags that are more than 3 words, you lose the ability to contribute and join a conversation on real-life, viable and sensible topics. Brands would be more successful designing and implementing their hashtags categorically. Keep your hashtags to one or two word combinations and be specific. Anything else is probably too long-winded to understand or replicate.

2. Integrate, promote, track, and drive your multi-platform social contests.

You may have already held social contests for users via Twitter and Instagram, where tracking your branded hash tags has been possible for quite some time. Facebook is presumably one of your earliest adoptions of social, and there’s a chance you’ve ignored them when it comes to contests. With the introduction of hash tag support last year, user-generated contests tracked by specific hash tags can now include Facebook, making your tag-driven contests more dynamic by being multi-platform.

As an added perk, your social media manager will appreciate that content can be designed to fit all platforms, streamlining the writing process while saving your organization time and resources.

3. Hug your neighbor.

The best and brightest brands understand that being a part of conversations in your surrounding area may draw the attention of someone who may not have otherwise cared about you. Is the restaurant next door to your shop having a promotion or grand opening? Give it a shout-out on Facebook using its official hashtag. Don’t want to shout out? Take a look at who is using the tag for some insights on your geographic market. It’s all about being a good neighbor.

4. Be limited.

Limit! Limit! Limit! #posts #that #look #like #this are not only difficult to read but show a lack of vision and creativity. This may be acceptable on Twitter, but the sentiment towards hash tags on Facebook is that they are new and annoying. Why push any buttons? Using only 1 hash tag per post is a strategic way to drive conversation around a single event without being overzealous and off-putting. Presumably, your goal for each post is to drive traffic, interest, or awareness to a given topic or event, so 1 hash tag is plenty.

5. One for good measure.

When it comes to tracking, using a hash tag once every few posts allows you to monitor and report on engagement for updates that include hash tags vs. those without them. By having these insights, you can make better decisions on how to use tags moving forward. Content is king but measurement is everything, so keep your hash tagging on Facebook few and far between.

Facebook hash tagging can be an effective way to drive conversation around your brand. The practice is critical to measuring engagement while saving social media managers time in developing multi-channel content. At the end of the day, remain strategic and use proper judgment when implementing tags on Facebook; otherwise you may find yourself more alienating than engaging.

Mindshare 2.0: Crowdsourced Social Media

  
  
  
  
  

By now you probably had heard of the term "crowdsourcing" (more fun than outsourcing, less fun than crowdsurfing), but did you see this mindblowing article from Cracked on examples of things crowds do better than experts? I had to reevaluate my opinion of all the dudes who spent most of their time playing "Halo" in their dorm rooms freshman year.

Ok, so we as social marketers may not be fighting pirates or carrying out life-changing scientific research, but there are plenty of ways we, too, can use crowdsourcing to achieve far more than we could on our own. Here are a few examples of crowdsourcing at work in the social media realm.

Support Japan

1) Disguising the usual boring call-to-action within an interactive game can drive increased participation and generate invaluable social exposure for causes and charities. To aid fundraising efforts following the March 2011 tsunami disaster in Japan, game guru Zynga partnered with non-profit Save the Children and integrated user donations into their game interfaces. Were social gamers on board? Well, in approximately 36 hours of launching the donation game features Zynga had raised a cool $1 million. The Zynga campaign even grabbed the attention of Lady Gaga, who personally contributed $1.5 million. Now that's social media for social good.

2) Developing win-win partnerships enables companies and/or individuals to combine their strengths for often a fraction of cost and with many symbiotic benefits. Scenario: You need a creative video that really steps outside what your brand has done before, and you need it in under 2 months and on a tight budget. Answer: have your pick from dozens of entries through PopTent, which hosts your project's assignment and gathers submissions from videographers, animators, and other filmmakers. It's a win-win situation where companies have their selection from truly creative work, and creators can build their portfolios through a focused project while having a shot at getting chosen and - also important - getting paid.

3) Crowdsourcing across multiple platforms boosts your campaign's reach and overall engagement. Upping the ante from inviting fans to create their next donut, Dunkin' Donuts utilized Facebook and Pandora to promote their icy Coolatta drinks. The campaign integrated two popular social media channels by inviting their fans to use Facebook to contribute their favorite summer jam to a Coolatta summer music station featured on Pandora. Dunkin' Donuts' message of "mixology" came through loud and clear on both platforms and held consumer attention by generating conversation about music, summer, and kicking back with a cool drink on a hot day. 

As you can see, the most skillful social marketing taps the collective power and creativity of its followers by appealing to our natural tendencies to play, be creative, and communicate about things we enjoy. The most successful campaigns take this strategy one step further by integrating social sharing into the very framework of the campaign. If it's engagement we're after, crowdsourcing can be surefire way to get folks in on the conversation.

Please feel free to share any other cool uses of crowdsourcing in the comments. And if you'll excuse me, I'll be getting back to FrontierVille.

- Melissa Komadina

Jeep’s Game is Mud

  
  
  
  
  

Stick_mudAs any Jeep owner can attest, they like getting dirty.  Mud is a sense of pride for them, and they’re hesitant to wash off any remaining clumps of dirt from their last off-roading adventure.  With this new contest, Jeep is giving its consumers exactly what they’re looking for.  In fact, the muddier you get, the better your chances of winning.

The contest, which will debut at the opening day of the State Fair of Texas, is designed to fit into Jeep’s attributes of a "go anywhere, do anything lifestyle."  According to John Plecha, Director – Jeep Marketing & Global Communications, "It is only fitting that we create an event like the ‘Jeep Stick in the Mud’ challenge to give consumers a chance to personify the Wrangler by getting muddy themselves."

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