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Archive for the ‘Twitter’ Category

Lead Generation and Trade Show Marketing for an IT Client

Posted by advantagemarketing on March 11, 2014

lead generation

Aujas, our California, New Jersey and India-based client, needed a lead generation and brand building strategy for the IBM Pulse conference and exhibit at the end of February. Teaming with their practice heads around the globe, Advantage Marketing brainstormed and developed their messaging, and then created display signage and service briefs to support their brand and promote their services.

We also ran Twitter and LinkedIn campaigns to promote their show presence. Aujas garnered well over 50 leads and lots of positive attention for their brand.

Thanks to Guiding Graphics for the design work and Graphic Marketing Group for printing – most of which was completed during one blizzard or another this February!

Need help with lead generation and brand strategies for trade shows or other marketing campaigns? Contact us for a complimentary initial consultation.

Posted in B2B marketing, brand building, Business, Consulting, lead generation, LinkedIn, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Professional service firm marketing, trade shows, Traditional marketing, Twitter | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Demystifying Hashtags

Posted by advantagemarketing on November 26, 2013

demystifying hashtags

What are hashtags and why should businesses use them in their social media? Find out in this post.

“What is a hashtag and how do I use it?”

This is a question I often get during my Getting Started in Social Media talk. Here’s what you need to know about hashtags and how to use them effectively.

All hashtags start with the familiar ‘#’ which, to those of us who remember touch tone phones, is also known as the pound sign. According to Uriel Alvarado on the Intelligent HQ blog, they were cooked up by Twitter user Chris Messina in 2007 and later embraced by Twitter. Hashtags allow users to engage in real-time conversations. With hashtags, you can create topics and group your own tweets with others on a similar theme. The tags can also be used as a symbol of belonging to a group with the same interest or opinion. A popular – or trending – hashtag can also indicate that something is trendy, cool, or topical.

Social Media Sites Supporting Hashtags

Today hashtags are used on many social media channels, not just Twitter. The graphic below shows some of the sites that now support hashtags.

social media sites supporting hashtags

Why use a hashtag?

Hashtags can be useful even to those who aren’t social media wonks or pop culture enthusiasts. They can be used to publicize news, especially fast-breaking or urgent stories (think #ArabSpring, which broke on Twitter before the national media picked it up).

Businesses can use hashtags to advertise, promote an event, or start a conversation with customers and followers. Consumers can share positive or negative experiences with a company or brand via hashtags. The #loveVerizon and #hateATT hashtags are two recent examples of consumer experience sharing.

Using a hashtag in a social media update gives context and content to your post. For example, if you were participating in my Getting Started in Social Media talk at the American Appraisers Association National Conference in New York City, you might have posted this update to Twitter:

Learning a lot about using #SocialMedia for #marketing my appraisal practice from @LMKasprzak at the #NatlConf2013

Someone reading the above post would know you were at the conference and, more importantly, that you were learning something to help you advance your appraisal practice. The reader could also click on the #NatlConf2013 hashtag and see other posts about national conference events.

If you create a hashtag, you can register it on, which also provides tracking. is another service that allows you to register and follow hashtags.  Although you can’t prevent others from using your hashtag, it may be useful to claim a hashtag that could be integral to discussion around a trademark, promotional campaign, or event, says Rebecca Murtagh on the Search Engine Watch blog. When you optimize conversations, content, and updates with hashtags, they become more visible to others on social media platforms and search engines, points out Murtagh.

Hashtags are also a great – and free! – research tool. If you want to know what your customers are talking about, what your competitors are doing, or how the media is treating a specific topic related to your product or service, track hashtags, says Murtagh. They are extremely useful in identifying the frequency and reach of topics, discussions, and tapping into audience sentiment.

Other ways businesses can use hashtags include:

  • Tracking mentions on the social web
  • Finding influencers engaged in a topic.
  • Attending a conference virtually and expanding your network with people in your industry
  • Branding a presentation, webinar or keynote speech
  • Participating in Twitter Chats on topics of interest or in your industry
  • Dealing with a crisis
  • Building a community around a brand
  • Extracting customer insights

Using Hashtags Effectively

Now that you understand what hashtags are and how they can be used, let’s turn to social media expert John Cade for some pointers on how to create an effective hashtag:

  1. Skip punctuation, spaces and hyphens. Your hashtag should read #artappraisalservices not #art-appraisal-services. Anything following the first punctuation mark will show up as text that is not clickable, and therefore is not actually part of the hashtag.
  2. Keep hashtags short. Shorter hashtags are easier to remember and are easier to type, especially on a smart phone.
  3. Use no more than 3 hashtags per post. More than three hashtags is considered spammy and can annoy your followers.
  4. Go with upper and lower case. #NatlConf2013 is much easier to read than #natlconf2103.
  5. Avoid redundancy. Another common mistake, says Cade, is posting a tweet that includes a hashtag of a word mentioned earlier in the tweet. For example, the tweet, “I really like blogging about appraising art. #appraisingart” is more effective when it’s written “I really like blogging about #appraisingart.”

Do you have more questions about hashtags? Ask away in the Comments section below.

Do you need help integrating social media into your firm’s marketing? Let’s talk! Sign up for a complimentary marketing assessment to get started.

Other posts you might be interested in:

Does Social Media Fit into Your Professional Service Firm’s Marketing Plan?

How Consulting Firms Are Tweeting, Using Social Media

Posted in B2B marketing, Business, Marketing, Professional service firm marketing, small business, Social media marketing, Traditional marketing, Twitter | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Twitter’s Been Hacked. Don’t Leave Yourself at Risk

Posted by advantagemarketing on August 23, 2013

If you use social media sites, make sure you aren’t putting yourself at risk!

Twitter hacked

Take these steps to protect your social media accounts

Various media sources have reported that Twitter was recently breached and login credentials for 15,000 users have been leaked.  The leaked information included user IDs and associated tokens, which are used to connect Twitter accounts to third party applications.

If you have a personal Twitter account:

  • Change your password as soon as possible.
  • Consider updating your account settings to revoke third party application access.
  • If you use the same password to access other social media sites or emails accounts, change those passwords too.
  • Use different passwords and employ a complex password, that is, one that includes letters, numbers and symbols.

Be wary of suspicious emails asking you to supply a password or other information.  It may likely be a phishing attempt.

For more about phishing and scams, read Social Media’s Dark Side.

Posted in Business, Consulting, Management, Marketing, social media and phishing, Social media marketing, Twitter | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How Consulting Firms Are Tweeting, Using Social Media

Posted by advantagemarketing on August 22, 2013

consultants and social media

Twitter and Facebook aren’t a waste of time for consultants, according to recent studies

The recent Institute of Management Consultants buzz about consulting firms and social media was about how consultants are using Twitter and Facebook in their practices. Here’s the scoop as reported by IMC in its C2M Connections e-newsletter:

More Tweets and Retweets Required for Consulting Firms, Finds New Report

A new report from White Space examines top consulting firms use of Twitter to determine how consultants can best make use of the social media platform. White Space followed some 60 Twitter accounts belonging to consultancies including Accenture, Deloitte, and KPMG for five months and discovered that while the large consultancies had the most active accounts, sheer tweet volume did not determine whether an account was successful or not. Follower engagement, determined by the number of retweets compared to the number of followers, was actually the highest among the sector-specific accounts, such as @IBMbigdata.

The report ultimately recommends that consultants focus on growing the number of their tweets that get retweeted, rather than simply growing their user base or tweeting frequently, and as such focus on developing sector-specific material that can be disseminated through Twitter.

“For consulting firms Twitter offers a chance not only to get your content into the hands of people who want it, but to gain an understanding about what engages people and what doesn’t,” says Source senior research manager Rachel Ainsworth. From “More Tweets and Retweets Required for Consulting Firms, Finds New Report”  – Source for Consulting (07/29/13).

How Social Makes Professional Services Teams More Successful

Social media such as Twitter and Facebook can cause a loss of productivity in the workplace and some companies have even banned their use, but business use of social media tools also has the potential to improve workplace communication and collaboration, creating a more productive environment for professional services firms.

Storing discussions in feeds and on profiles or within groups allows any employee to review the complete history at any time. Social media is also a great improvement over email, which limits conversations to the individuals directly connected to the conversation. Email is useful for communicating with people within one’s existing network, but social media offers “ambient awareness” or feedback from less-connected people in the company. Conversation streams can include knowledge and documents with easy access and search capabilities. Employees can “follow” documents customers or projects, keeping knowledge in context and allowing teams to collaborate more effectively. From “How Social Makes Professional Services Teams More Successful”  Consulting Magazine (07/13) Ashton, Debbie

Read more about how professional service firms can use social media to market their firms.

Posted in Consulting, Facebook, Marketing, Professional service firm marketing, Social media marketing, Twitter | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Big Blue Blogs? IBM Goes Social

Posted by advantagemarketing on September 15, 2011

By Loraine Kasprzak, CMC

IBM and social media

Watson. Big Blue. Lotus. What comes to mind when you read these words? Most of us associate them with IBM, the Fortune 50 technology and consulting company. What you might not associate with IBM is social media, but the company is going social in a big way. By 2012, 90-95% of IBM’s marketing budget will be spent on social and digital tactics, including social and online media, blogging, online communities, and content delivery.

I had the opportunity to talk to Leslie Reiser, Program Director for Worldwide Digital Marketing, IBM General Business, about how IBM is using social media and digital marketing today. Leslie’s team markets IBM’s solutions to mid-market B2B companies.

Here’s the first part of our conversation:

How is IBM using digital and social marketing?

The Watson supercomputer – besides winning Jeopardy’s Man vs. Machine Challenge – is a very good example of how we approach social using a Paid-Owned-Earned Media model. There’s a Watson Facebook page and Twitter presence, a website, plus YouTube videos and online community. There’s press and blogger coverage along with paid advertising.

For mid-market solutions specifically, we started with infoboom, a community where we could listen to and provide content for leaders of midsize businesses. This is evolving to a new stage of social collaboration* with a simplified social media presence where we have fewer Twitter handles and just one Facebook page and a LinkedIn group.

Our websites are now optimized for search. So now clients can find us more easily, and partners can interact more easily. Clients can come directly to one of our sites, find us via search, or come in through paid ads and landing pages.

We also rebuilt our middle market portal so that it can provide deep-level solution content. We are making it as seamless as possible for a client to go among the deeper content, wherever it originates. Based on the behavior and intent of the user, the portal gets them to the right content so that they get what they need. For example, if someone is looking for a cloud solution, they can find the discussion threads all in one place at the portal.

With over 400,000 employees worldwide, IBM has considerable intellectual capital. How are you leveraging this in your social marketing?

People are looking for expertise, credibility and authenticity from us.  We identified our “rock stars” – the true experts in the company – and assessed their social media readiness and what they could share. We began evangelizing these people and their knowledge – promoting our expertise and credibility.

We also developed an expertise locator tool – it’s internal now, but we’re beginning to surface it outside the company. It includes profiles of employees – that they add themselves – by skill and willingness to be available by expertise and proficiency.

Getting so many employees on board with social must be a big task. How are you doing it?

It’s no doubt we’re a large company, with disparate goals across brands, teams, and regions. We knew starting out that we’d have to integrate social behavior into the corporate culture, if we hoped to be successful. We needed to address a traditional management culture so we got our senior execs involved and sold it to them first. This way they’d get their people involved.

We put social in terms leadership understands by establishing a consolidated dashboard with social sharing and engagement metrics to demonstrate the value back to the business. Not every social media aspect has a direct ROI, but we can show impact to the business through KPIs.

Our employees have different social proficiency levels and limited time and resources to participate in social behaviors. We needed to bring everyone along the learning curve and encourage participation, so we came up with a flexible model that all employees could leverage.

We also set up social marketing guidelines. Employees company-wide must sign and adhere to these guidelines. These aren’t “do’s and don’ts;” they’re meant to encourage IBMers to blog and participate in internal and external social networks.

We also have our Social Business portal, which is an internal site where employees can access tools – blogs, video, and podcasts – that they can leverage in their social networks. For example, employees could access the IBM Centennial materials via Social Business and then Tweet or blog about our milestone.

Another thing we did was get IBM alumni involved – there’s a very strong group who’re involved on Facebook and LinkedIn. This has been a great way to extend IBM’s capabilities. There are some very notable IBM alumni – such as Irving Wladawsky-Berger – who have an independent, well known presence in industry.

Next week’s post: IBM’s “lessons learned” in going social

* According to the infoboom site, beginning on October 1, 2011, infoboom will merge with several new and expanded IBM midsized business social media channels. The site won’t be available after Sept. 30, 2011.


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Posted in Business, LinkedIn, Marketing, Social media marketing, Twitter | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

How Businesses Can Take Advantage of Social Media

Posted by advantagemarketing on May 10, 2011

Discussing social media on WDVR FM

Technology Today host Rich Kazimir and I talked about how businesses can use social media to connect with customers

I was a guest last week on WDVR FM’s Technology Today radio broadcast. Host Rich Kazimir interviewed me about how small businesses can take advantage of social media. Here are some excerpts from our conversation.

Rich:  Can you start by telling us what social media is?

Loraine: The simplest way to look at social media is as a collection of tools for interacting online. That can be by posting content like photos or articles, or sending out short messages, called updates, to people who are following you. This is called social networking. The big social networking tools are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. And, of course, blogging.

There are other tools that help you track and share content you like – that’s called social bookmarking. Social bookmarking tools include Reddit, Stumbled Upon and Digg.

For business owners, social media is a great way offer valuable content that engages prospects and customers.

Rich: So if you had to summarize social media in a few words, you’d say…

Loraine: It’s a collection of tools that enable business owners to interact with their clients and prospects online.

Rich: How should business owners be thinking about social media?

Loraine: Business owners need to understand that social media is a conversation; it’s not a one-way push of their company’s advertising message. They need to think of it like a cocktail party – how you’d join a conversation when you walk in to the party. You wouldn’t just barge in and start talking. You’d listen – comment – ask a question – then offer your opinion.

The best way to use social media is to integrate it with your company’s other marketing tactics – like your website, trade show, or public speaking engagements.

Rich: Where should a business owner focus, especially when they’re getting started?

Loraine: First, owners need to understand that social media is content driven, and they need to have good content to contribute to the conversation.  So they need to start with a plan for developing content and what content they will use.

Owners should also realize that they don’t need to be on every social networking site. They can start by finding out where their customers and prospects are – then that’s where they need focus their efforts. It’s a good reason to give clients a call and ask them, are they reading blogs? Posting tweets?

Once owners know where their customers are, then they can go ahead and set up their own accounts on these applications – whether it’s Twitter or Facebook or another app. It’s free to set up accounts and if the owner is reasonably comfortable around email and the Internet, then they should be able to learn these apps pretty quickly. All the apps have online tutorials which make learning them a bit easier.

Rich: Can you give our audience some examples of companies who are using social media effectively?

Loraine: I’ve seen both large and small businesses use social media effectively as part of their marketing. Comcast mines Twitter for customer service issues and then responds fairly quickly… Office Depot just started a contest that integrated Facebook with email marketing – it’s their 2011 Official Small Business of NASCAR contest. This is targeted at growing their small business customer base.

A couple small businesses I’ve seen would be – one of my clients – who is working on integrating their current email marketing with Facebook and Twitter to grow their customer base. I also work with an IT security startup – Aujas – and they are using an electronic newsletter, website, WordPress blog, as well as a white paper marketing campaign and industry trade shows.

Rich: I’ve seen businesses start to use social media, but then they seem to lose momentum and stop putting out new content. How can businesses stick with it?

Loraine: Losing momentum is a big problem, especially when a business owner has so much else on their plate. One thing an owner can do is see what content they already have developed for their business and repurpose it. For example, a how-to manual or a non-confidential email to a customer can be the basis for great blog posts.

It’s also perfectly ok to hire knowledgeable content developers who will work with you to develop your message – to write blog posts or tweets.

Rich: Aren’t there also tools that can help a business owner with social media – like Tweet Deck? Can you talk about those?

Loraine: Tweet Deck, Social Oomph, Hoot Suite are all great tools for helping an owner schedule and promote their content through Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. They’re all free tools too – some have premium paid subscriptions, but the free accounts work well.  These tools also have online tutorials, which can be a big help.

Rich: What would you recommend as the starting point for the small business owner listening tonight?

Loraine: Definitely start by asking your customers what social media they’re using. Learn those tools and get your company profiles set up. Then you can see what content you already have that you can repurpose. You’ll be off and running.

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Posted in Business, LinkedIn, Marketing, Social media marketing, Twitter | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Quick Start Social Media Coaching for Executives, Professionals and Small Business Owners

Posted by advantagemarketing on April 12, 2011

social media coaching

1-on-1 coaching can help you come up to speed quickly on social media

Are you new to social media and not sure where you should start or how social media can help you achieve your business or professional objectives?

Try some one-on-one coaching. It can help you come up to speed quickly and use social media tools more effectively.

Advantage Marketing offers Quick Start Social Media Coaching for executives, professionals and small business owners.

“Busy executives often don’t know where to start with social media – it can seem overwhelming because there are so many different platforms,” Loraine Kasprzak, Advantage Marketing Managing Director, notes. “Quick Start Social Media Coaching simplifies social media and help execs use these tools to further their business and professional goals.”

The Quick Start individualized coaching sessions cover LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, the three social media platforms most commonly used by business professionals and B2B marketers. “We work with our coaching clients until they understand the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ and feel comfortable using these tools,” says Loraine. She has personally trained many executives and small business owners on social media tools and strategies.

With the Advantage Marketing Quick Start Social Media Coaching, business executives and professionals can

  • Learn LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter basics
  • Discover how to set up and optimize their social media profiles
  • Start building their network of connections
  • Learn how to interact with their network effectively
  • Find out how using social media can support their business and professional objectives

Advantage Marketing is offering special pricing for a limited time to introduce this new service. For more information or to register for one-on-one sessions, contact us via email or call 908.233.6265.

Posted in B2B marketing, Business, Facebook, LinkedIn, Marketing, Social media coaching, Twitter | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

7 Ways to Make Twitter Work for You Right Now

Posted by advantagemarketing on February 23, 2011

Audience engagement is the goal of these 7 easy to use Twitter tips

By Loraine Kasprzak, CMC

Here are 7 of the tips I’m sharing now with Advantage Marketing clients for getting more out of Twitter – whether it be more newsletter subscribers, blog readers, Facebook “likes”, or face-to-face meetings. 

  • Set up an automatic direct message (“DM”) so that when someone follows you on Twitter, they get a link to your newsletter, blog, Facebook page, or website.

Here’s what  @AtlNonProfitPro uses:

Thanks for following Atlanta NonProfit Professionals. Join us for our monthly Career Growth and Social Networking events held all over Atlanta

And @DebBC’s:

Thanks for following! Looking forward to connecting with you! Stop by and become a fan on FB

  • Use a service such as HootSuite or TweetDeck to schedule your tweets. Then set up a monthly Tweet that says, “Hey! Have you signed up for our newsletter…” or whatever action you want followers to take.
  • Retweet. Even if you don’t have the time to create your own tweets, retweeting shows you are an active part of the community, and not just pushing your own agenda. Retweeting also has the happy consequence of getting others’ followers to follow you.
  • Tweet and retweet more frequently. The more you show up in your followers’ tweet streams, the more top-of-mind you are. 3-6 tweets/retweets per day is something you can more than likely fit into your busy schedule.
  • Add relevant photos to your tweets. Research has shown that Tweets with photos attached can boost engagement.
  • Register your Twitter account with Listorious. This service is free, and it allows people to find and follow you more easily on Twitter based on the keywords you select.
  • Set up your Twitter profile – don’t leave this real estate empty – and populate it with relevant keywords. Be sure to include a photo and your website or blog URL. Your profile helps people decide if they want to follow you.

Pressed for time? Advantage Marketing consultants can get you set up on social media tools like Twitter and help you create valuable content to share. Contact Advantage Marketing today.


Posted in B2B marketing, Business, Marketing, Social media marketing, Twitter | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Do You Speak Twitter? Top 10 Twitter Terms You Should Know

Posted by advantagemarketing on October 5, 2010

Twitter screen shot

An example of a Twitter timeline

By Loraine Kasprzak, CMC

If you are a business owner new to social media, you probably don’t have a lot of time to mess around learning each of the tools. Twitter, the free microblogging service, is probably the easiest to put to use quickly, and is helpful for sharing news about your company and establishing your brand.

 As a neweeter – that is, someone new to Twitter – you’ll want to know some of the more important Twitterspeak terms before you get started. Here are my picks for the top 10 Twitter terms you need to know:

  1. Tweeting – the act of posting your 140-character message (“tweet”) on Twitter
  2. Tweeter or twitterer – a user of Twitter. You need to register for a free Twitter account to be able to use the service.
  3. Twitter timeline – a stream of tweets that are displayed on a user’s computer screen or mobile device. These are posts from tweeters whom the user has chosen to follow.
  4. Fail whale – the graphic that appears on your screen when Twitter experiences an outage. Signifies that it’s time to take a break from tweeting.
  5. Followers – those who get your tweets in their Twitter timeline. While some social media gurus say the more followers the better, I believe having a dozen or so of the right followers can be just as effective for building your brand and promoting your company.
  6. Retweet (RT) – when you repost someone else’s informative, valuable tweet to share it with your followers. Retweeting is one of the best ways to show you are engaged in the Twitter community.
  7. Tweet-back – bringing a previous tweet conversation or reference back into the current conversation
  8. Hashtag – when you add a ‘#’ – which is called a hashtag – to a word or term in your tweet, it adds the tweet to a category that is searchable in Twitter. Using #marketing in a tweet, for example, means that post will be found by anyone searching on the keyword “marketing”.
  9. Drive-by-tweet – a quick post between tasks
  10. Non-tweep – someone who doesn’t understand or use Twitter

 And here are three more just for fun: 


You'll see the Fail Whale when Twitter crashes

  1. Ashton Kutcher – your kids will be impressed that you know Ashton Kutcher, besides being Demi Moore’s husband, is a social media guru wildly popular on Twitter. At last count, he had over 5.8 million followers.
  2. Tweeterboxes – twitterers who tweet too much (see Ashton Kutcher).
  3. Tweeps – Twitter people who follow each other from one social network site to another.

Thanks to Mashable, which was the source for some of these definitions. For a more extensive list, check out their Twitterspeak article.

What are some other words or phrases that business owners who are new to Twitter should know? Share your thoughts in the Comment section below.

Posted in Social media marketing, Twitter | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »


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