Tag Archives: social media

Get More Out of Your Hashtags

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Spend any kind of time on social media and you will quickly become familiar with some of the most basic, common hashtags. Consider #tbt, #wcw, #selfie, #sorrynotsorry—all of these trendy tags represent cross-cultural idioms that immediately position a tweet, a Facebook post, or an Instagram image within a larger conversational context.

As a small business owner, you should absolutely be using these hashtags to leverage these popular trends; they’re a great way to get your content noticed and appreciated. With that said, the common nature of these hashtags is their downfall as well as their saving grace: While they can prove helpful in generating engagement, they also do little to help your brand stand out from the crowd.

That’s what makes it advantageous to develop some of your own, customized hashtags—some little taglines or catchphrases that you “own” and that speak directly to your brand. These ultimately help create a brand identity that is specific rather than generic, and they reveal the true creativity behind your content marketing efforts.

Of course it is important to be thoughtful in creating your custom hashtags. To help get your creative juices flowing, we have three dos and one don’t for custom hashtagging.

  1. DO add your name to your hashtags. If you want a hashtag that immediately points back to your brand, there is no better way to achieve it than by inserting your name into the hashtag. For example, Grammar Chic, Inc. has a client named Kip, and on Twitter we position some of his insights and sayings with the #tipsfromkip hashtag.
  2. DO be funny, where appropriate. Hashtags present a great avenue for humor, even if you’re essentially making up words or concepts. We know of one company that sells steaks and ribs, and it tags many of its posts with the clever, defiant-sounding #unvegan hashtag.
  3. DO offer immediate value. Sometimes the best hashtags aren’t necessarily clever; they just offer something beneficial, something readers will immediately zero in on as value-adding. We work with a home improvement company that often does hashtag series such as #Roofing101 or #RemodelingMadeSimple, and these posts tend to get a lot of shares and favorites.
  4. DON’’T leave your hashtags too open-ended. A final warning: Don’t leave your hashtags open to hijackers. We all know the story of McDonald’s and its ill-fated #McDStories campaign. Customers were supposed to share positive memories from McDonald’s, but instead shared tweets about getting food poisoning and the like. Make sure you maintain some level of control over your hashtags.

Want our creative team to help you brainstorm some unique hashtags? Just give us a call at 803-831-7444, or visit www.grammarchic.net today!

 

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Make the Most of Your Twitter Bio

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Here’s a quick exercise for business owners: Tell us what your company is, what it does, and what value it offers to the consumer. And oh yeah: Keep it to 160 characters or less.

Of course, this exercise is not at all hypothetical. It’s the very real challenge that faces business owners as they strive to write perfectly pithy, powerful Twitter bios. When someone stumbles across your Twitter page, or you come up in a Twitter search, your bio is what’s going to pull them in, what’s going to convey your company’s vision and values, and what’s ultimately going to establish what your Twitter feed is all about.

That’s a tall order for just 160 characters.

Yet, coming up with a powerful Twitter bio is not an impossible task. Here are a few tips for making the most out of those scant 160 characters.

  • Focus on the nuts and bolts—on memorable and specific nouns and verbs. You don’t want to waste time with connecting words or prepositions if you don’t have to. For example, don’t say something like Ace Plumbing is a full-service plumbing and drain cleaning company. Make it more like this: Ace Plumbing: Plumbing. Drain Cleaning. Emergency Services. Septic Services. And so on.
  • Make sure the bio aligns with your posts. If yours is an HOA management company but you’re using your tweets to share basic homeowner tips, your bio should reflect that. Make it something about how you try to make things easier for homeowners and communities.
  • If at all possible, use your Twitter bio to link to other relevant content. What does somebody do if they want to read more about you? Hopefully, they can click over to your blog, company website, or About Us page to get more than 160 characters of information!
  • Use the full space you’re allotted. Brevity is nice, but if you’re only using 35 characters then you’re simply giving up prime online real estate.
  • Make sure to incorporate some basic keywords and phrases that relate to your industry. What are the primary search terms people use to find your company website? Those are likely good phrases to include in the bio.
  • Remember that your Twitter bio is not meant to be static! Spruce it up from time to time. Play with different wordings. Change the bio every few months.

Sure: Your Twitter bio is just going to be a line or two. But there’s no reason why you shouldn’t make those lines count. To learn more, contact Grammar Chic, Inc. today. Call 803-831-7444, or visit http://www.grammarchic.net.

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Should Your Business Be on Tumblr?

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Tumblr is often regarded as one of the underdogs of social media, and it is as much maligned as it is celebrated—but you write it off at your own peril. Since it was launched in 2007, the site has consistently ranked among the top 15 websites in the United States—no small thing. Right now there are more than 132 million Tumblr blogs, so in terms of popularity alone, Tumblr is a heavy hitter.

That doesn’t mean that every small business needs to implement Tumblr, any more than every small business needs its own podcast, its own YouTube page, or its own Instagram account. It’s not for everyone, but it is advantageous for many—and understanding the pros and cons of Tumblr can help you determine whether it’s a good fit for your own content marketing toolbox.

Weighing Tumblr—the Good and the Bad

In case you don’t know, Tumblr is essentially a micro-blogging site, allowing users to post video, audio, images, and short pieces of written content. The idea behind Tumblr is that you’re creating a catalog of compact, standalone, easily digestible pieces of content.

There are some obvious points of appeal:

  • Tumblr is popular among many users because of its incredible simplicity; it’s quick and easy to set up and customize a Tumblr page and then to update it regularly. Like Twitter, it flourishes because it keeps things fairly simple and straightforward.
  • Tumblr offers an important way to reach a young demographic. There are more than 34 million Internet users across the world who say they actively use Tumblr on a monthly basis, and nearly half of them are between 16 and 24. Some companies won’t have much interest in reaching this user group, but many will.
  • Tumblr allows you to use Google Analytics to track key metrics.
  • Tumblr pages are indexed by Google and provide some significant SEO momentum.
  • Finally: It’s free!

With those benefits duly noted, small businesses thinking about adding Tumblr to their content marketing arsenal may also want to heed these caveats:

  • While updating Tumblr is fairly easy, it does take a real commitment to regular updates. While companies can often get away with just a single Facebook or Google+ post per day—with much more than that turning off users—the Tumblr community accepts and perhaps even embraces more frequent posting, to the tune of 10 or 15 posts per day.
  • Tumblr is not a place for sharing news or trending articles; it’s a place for content with a fairly long shelf life. In other words, you need to be willing to produce evergreen content if you’re using Tumblr.
  • The youth-oriented approach of Tumblr—combined with the fact that it has at various times been popular among adult entertainment companies—means that it doesn’t quite have the same reputation as other social networks. It is useful, no question—but could it also be somewhat undignified for certain industries that aren’t chasing young consumers?

Ultimately, the question of Tumblr’s appropriateness is one that individual businesses must answer for themselves—but make sure your answer is an informed one. To learn more about Tumblr, contact Grammar Chic, Inc. today and inquire about a free content marketing consultation: Call 804-831-7444 or visit www.grammarchic.net.

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Secrets of LinkedIn: How to Take Your Job Search to the Next Level

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How much do you know about LinkedIn? Most of us are aware of its status as the premier social network for professional development and corporate outreach—the “Facebook for work,” as some call it. Certainly, for those seeking to land new employment, knowing the ins and outs of LinkedIn can make a world of difference.

That’s a slightly more complicated task than you might think, though: Like most social networks, it is possible to spend a great deal of time on LinkedIn and still have only a surface understanding of its true power and usefulness.

The truth is, when you really know your way around LinkedIn, it can prove a powerful tool for researching and preparing for job interviews—and more. Consider these not-so-well-known LinkedIn strategies:

Research the Recommendations

Generally speaking, people write recommendations for other people and companies based on their own values—on the things that really matter to them. If you find someone who has written a number of recommendations based on strong customer service ability, for instance, it probably means that this recommendation writer is truly passionate about customer service. Before going in for a job interview, try to find the LinkedIn page of the person you’ll be interviewing with; check his or her recommendations for some insights into the person’s true values and priorities.

Check the Status

On a related note, some business and personal LinkedIn pages will include some regular status updates. Not all LinkedIn users post statuses, of course, but for the ones who do, make sure you do a little research—especially when preparing for an interview. Again, this is simply a good way of discovering the values of the company you’re about to interview with. (You can “follow” companies you’re interested in, by the way, to really keep up to date with them.)

Look for Power Networkers

What do we mean when we refer to a power networker? We mean anyone with more than 200 LinkedIn connections. Typically, these folks love to help others, and they live for networking. If you have any kind of an established relationship with these folks, it is highly advantageous to reach out to them and ask if they could introduce you to some potential employers.

Stand Out—in the Right Way

Finally, note that your LinkedIn profile needs to be accurate and up to date, but it also needs to be appealing to employers. First impressions are everything, so while you do need to stand out from the rest of the pack, you don’t want to do so in a way that immediately causes employers to lose interest. The photo, headline, and job titles are especially important. Don’t include anything weird or annoying after your name—you just need your name, not a catchphrase or a phone number—and make sure your job titles are all ones that will be non-threatening to employers. For example, you may have owned your own company in the past, but an employer does not want to risk butting heads with another strong-willed entrepreneur—so you might call yourself General Manager, instead.

None of these tips are guaranteed to win you a job, but they can help you to go into interviews fully prepared—and also to ensure that, when employers follow up with you on LinkedIn, they like what they see.

Grammar Chic is more than happy to offer professional LinkedIn profile building and other career services; to learn more, visit www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444803-831-7444.

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Twitter: How to Use this Powerful Marketing Tool Effectively and Create Eye-popping Tweets

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Though Twitter encourages content creators to get their point across in 140 characters or less, this doesn’t mean that tweets have to lack information. In fact, a well-crafted tweet can grab a reader’s attention and get them clicking on an important link or story.

While it should theoretically feel easier to write a message when you only have so much space, in many ways this task proves difficult.  If you go over the 140-character limit, your message will get truncated. To avoid this, the author must get the point across in a short yet clear way. To craft a tweet that will stand out in a near-constant stream of updates, here are some thoughts:

Rewrite your message with Twitter in mind

You know what you want to say, but now it’s about condensing that thought so it’s appropriate for Twitter. For those who are not natural editors, this is often a difficult task. It’s important to preserve the root of the message, without going over your character limit. This may mean getting creative when it comes to cutting out unnecessary words.

Find an alternative way to say the same thing

While your original tweet may put you far over the character limit, there’s probably a way to get the same message across using less characters. Can you use other words or insert contractions in order to make the tweet 140 characters or less? Find shorter synonyms whenever possible, but as you do this, make sure that the replacement word conveys the proper meaning of what you’re trying to say.

Stay away from abbreviations

While some abbreviations are perfectly acceptable in text messages, when tweeting from a business account you should stay away from using online slang such as “lol” and “brb.” While these terms are commonly understood, they’re not professional and can make your company look unprofessional.

Use the active voice

The active voice is more pleasant to read, and also frequently uses less characters than the passive voice. Try to write in the active voice whenever you’re composing a tweet.

Don’t feel afraid about hash tags

Hash tags are useful when you’re trying to get your point across in a brief way. They can replace lengthy words and phrases to help you create a tweet that makes sense but is still less than 140 characters. Don’t shy away from using hash tags as you go about crafting the perfect Twitter message.

If you’re feeling uncertain about how to get your business’s message across using social media platforms like Twitter, feel free to contact Grammar Chic, Inc. for some professional advice and pointers. Our team is able to provide guidance about how to utilize your business’s Twitter account to speak directly to your target audience and get the most out of this great marketing tool.

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Blog Writing Tips: Bad Habits to Drop in Order to Better Your Blog

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It’s a common occurrence, here at Grammar Chic, for business owners and individuals alike to contact us for help with blog writing.  While it’s true that we manage a variety of different blogs on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, and I certainly don’t want to divert business, the fact is, blog writing is something that a person can do with relative ease if they are disciplined enough.  At the same time, it must be noted that, according to a statistic posted by Olivia Root on Business2Community, “Within a 24 hour period, two million blog posts are written.”

Yikes!

Root goes onto talk about some interesting rules that any blogger or online marketer needs to consider as they write their own material for use on the Internet, as this idea of “content marketing” means that there is a lot of generic or irrelevant information put out there at the same time.  While Google may reward a website or a blog that creates compelling content, there is still a lot of information to sift through.

Here are some simple rules that you must adhere to if you are thinking about managing and writing your own blog.

  • Stop being a cliché. Do not use buzzwords if you aren’t going to provide specific guidelines.  This means writing an article and having a catchy headline do absolutely no good if you aren’t also providing specific advice.
  • Have a title that represents what the post is about.  Oftentimes, writers can begin writing a blog post or an article with their headline already laid out; however, once they start writing, a new article emerges that has different content from what the headline originally promises.  While there still may be some helpful advice in the post, readers will feel misled.  Therefore, if you plan on writing about one subject, stick to it.  If you are unsure about whether or not you actually wrote about what you had originally planned, I suggest you find an editor who can critique your work.
  • Use stock photos with a purpose.  Simply put, most Internet surfers are highly visual people and, as much as I like to talk about how writing is important, the same can be said regarding graphics.  In her article, Root notes that eye tracking studies have actually shown that “people ignore big, feel-good images that function purely as decoration.”  She also goes on to state that “people who looked at a webpage that featured a generic photo serving as pure filler, completely ignored the photo and focused solely on the text.”  I think the point of the matter is that visuals and text must be compelling in order to convince a reader to stick around.
  • Write in a way to which readers can relate.  I’m not saying that you have to be overly simplistic, but if you use words or phrases that the average reader cannot comprehend you are not going to build your readership.  Just as readers will reject you for being boring, they will do the same if your vocabulary doesn’t fit your audience.

If you are thinking about managing and writing your own blog, follow these tips but also commit to a writing strategy.  If you are confused about how to do this don’t feel frustrated and certainly don’t give up.  Give Grammar Chic, Inc. a call today at 803-831-7444.

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Resume Writing Blunders, Errors and Trends: A Look Back on 2012

Over the course of the past year, I was invited by a recruiting network that I am partnered with to deliver a series of lectures and webinars on the ever-evolving subject of resume writing.  Even in light of the job market showing some signs of improvement, there are still countless job seekers out there who are looking for help with the document they use as their calling card with potential employers.  And while it seems as if there is a lot of misinformation available on the Internet, here are some general themes I regularly comment on:

  • Objective vs. Summary of Qualifications:  The one big no-no that I frequently see, both on resumes that land in the Grammar Chic, Inc. recruiting in-box as well as on resumes I am working on improving or rewriting, is the presence of an objective.  Let me state for the record, this is an outdated concept.  Your objective IS to get a job and if you have one of these kisses of death on your existing resume, you could very well be screening yourself out of the process.  Understand that many firms, both large and small, are using keyword scanning technology in their recruiting process.  This means that if your resume is lacking a Summary of Qualifications or Core Competency section within the first 1/3 of the document, you could be passed over.  Finally, even if your resume is receiving some human touch, if you have an objective, you could be communicating a strong message that says, “This resume has not been updated in the past decade.”
  • Little Mistakes that Make a Negative Impression:  The list is long here, but consider these items:
    • Never include references on your resume, whether personal or professional.  Only provide references if it is requested of you.
    • Including pictures, logos or graphics.  It’s amazing what some people feel is appropriate to include on a resume. Graphics and logos should be left off as should pictures or head shots.  Believe it or not, unless you are a model or an actor, if you include a picture on your resume, the potential employer is not allowed to store the resume on file for future consideration.  The reason?  Issues of racial or ethnic discrimination could be raised, amongst a host of other legal issues.  Therefore, leave the picture off.
    • Including personal social media accounts that draw attention to unprofessional behavior, risqué photos, controversial opinions, etc.  I have started speaking about using social media in a job search and have referenced this particular topic in webinars.  Ultimately, social media can be a great tool, especially if it provides continuity across platforms, meaning your paper resume and electronic networking resources, such as LinkedIn, are synched.  However, it becomes an issue if the line is blurred between personal and professional.  If you use Facebook or Twitter on a personal level, you should not only leave this off the header of your resume, but you should also be employing privacy settings so a potential employer cannot access this information prior to inviting you in for an interview.  Social media is a great tool, but if used in the wrong way, can hurt you in a job search.
    • Lack of accomplishments and measurable results.  If your resume simply provides a laundry list of what you did on a daily basis for an organization without actually exhibiting how those responsibilities or actions positively impacted a company, your resume could need an overhaul.  Ultimately, you need to show how you helped your employer, whether through revenue generating efforts, time saving methods, etc.  There has to be a measureable result that gets a potential employer thinking about what you would bring to the table at their organization.
    • Typos and other errors.  Let’s just say if you spell the name of the company that you are applying to wrong or say that you are “deetail oriented” without employing the use of spell check, you probably won’t get called for an interview.

Taking all of this into consideration, creating a resume that accurately highlights your background and effectively promotes you to a potential employer can feel like a daunting exercise.  This is especially intimidating when the majority of HR officials report that they only spend approximately 30 seconds reviewing a resume before they decide if they are interested in the candidate or not.  Therefore, if you are in the middle of a job search and are afraid to go it alone, reach out to the resume writing pros at www.grammarchic.net.  My team can craft a document for you that is up-to-date with changing technology, while also proficiently highlighting your skills and background.  The way I see it, your resume should sing your praises, and Grammar Chic, Inc. can ensure that your document hits all of the right notes.

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