Advisor Today - November/December 2015 - (Page 21)

Biz tech SOCIAL MEdIA By Jay York Hashtag Your Way to Social Media Relevance Effective hashtags are crucial for gaining exposure to your brand. B efore Twitter, the pound sign was a seldom-used part of the keyboard. Today, it's referred to as the hashtag, and it's used to categorize social media messages by keyword and gain more exposure in the process. Are you taking full advantage of its power? Your presence on social media sites, such as Twitter or Instagram, is intended to make you part of the online conversation, and the hashtag allows more people to find your contributions to that conversation. Without them, fewer people have the opportunity to view your content. Let's say 1,000 people follow you on Twitter, and you post a message. Not counting Retweets, only 1,000 people will see your post if you don't use a hashtag. Add a hashtag, though, and you start picking up momentum. The post has the potential of being seen by- and Retweeted by-those who search for that hashtag.  A common hashtag, such as #coffee, can position your post to be seen by potentially millions of people. But be warned. While there are great benefits to hashtags, there also are pitfalls. Hashtags don't come with exclusivity. Anyone can use them, so a hashtag can become a weapon that works both for you and against you. Critics of your brand may attempt to hijack your hashtag, putting you or your business in a bad light. A prime example of a hijacked hashtag occurred a few years ago when McDonald's, apparently hoping for a flattering conversation about the restaurant chain, introduced #McDStories on Twitter. #McDStories went viral, but not in a good way. The Twitter world had a field day tweeting unflattering tales of their alleged bad experiences with the restaurant. But don't let such cautionary tales deter you. March boldly into Since social media has become such a vital element of any comprehensive marketing strategy, understanding all of the nuances is critical. hashtagging, but do keep in mind these suggestions for getting the most out of your efforts: * Use proprietary hashtags. One of the advantages of a proprietary hashtag, such as the Orange is the New Black hashtag #OITNB, is that it is linked directly to your brand. It can be an acronym or your brand's name spelled out. These hashtags typically are not used as widely as a more generic hashtag, such as #advisor, but the goal is to brand yourself through the hashtag with the hope it could go viral. # * Don't overdo it. A post littered with too many hashtags can be difficult to read and may obscure your message. Twitter recommends using no more than two hashtags per Tweet. Three should be the maximum. A different etiquette exists on Instagram, where followers tend to tolerate excess hashtags. * Think geographically. If you are a local company that depends mainly on local clientele, a hashtag that links to your location works well. Hashtags such as #Seattle or #Atlanta drop you into numerous conversations about your hometown. Since social media has become such a vital element of any comprehensive marketing strategy, understanding all of the nuances is critical. A hashtag may not look like much, but it's a powerful, double-edged sword. If used correctly, it can greatly bolster your marketing reach. Used incorrectly, it can have adverse effects or unintended consequences. Jay York, senior digital marketing strategist for EMSI Public Relations (, is an Internet marketing expert. He has worked as marketing coordinator for an international IT training company, business development and branding manager for a startup restaurant management group, and CEO of his own social media management firm. Common Industry Hashtags #401K #Advisor #Benefits #Boomer #Boomers #CriticalIllness #DI #Disability #EmployeeBenefits #FinancialAdvice #FinancialNews #FinancialPlanning #FinPros #FinServ #HealthInsurance #Insurance #InsuranceNews #Investment #LifeInsurance #Liquidity #LongTermCare #LTCI #PersonalFinance #Retirement #WealthManagement #WholeLIfe #Work November/December 2015 | ADVISOR TODAY 21

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Advisor Today - November/December 2015

From the Editor
New Products
In Step with a Winner
Finding Success in the Chinese-American Market
Dealing with Client Confidentiality
Hashtag Your Way to Social Media Relevance
Starting the LTCI Conversation
From Term to Perm
Protecting the Downside with Allocation Adjustment
Jules Gaudreau: A NAIFA Success Story
Helping Clients Cope with Market Volatility
NAIFA Government Relations
Working with Single Women
Financial Planning FAQs of Small-Business Owners
Three Retirement Conversations to Have with Clients Today
The Advent of Robo-Advisors
Moving into the Retirement Space with 401(k) and 403(b) Plans
Moving the Sales Process Forward
Cultivating the African American Market
The Lighter Side of LIfe
Advertiser Index
Back Page

Advisor Today - November/December 2015