Mar 30

Weekly Top 5 for Mar 30, 2015

By Janice Deleon

Our classes are just the start of the learning you get here at  Here are the additional resources available this week..


People talk in speech bubbles, isolated with clipping paths. Soc

#1. [WEBINAR EXCERPT] 3 Must-Have Google Analytics Reports for Small Business

Google Analytics can be overwhelming and frustrating to figure out. No more! Learn the only 3 reports you need in this excerpt from our members-only webinar . . . . (infographic included)

#2. How to Repurpose Your Content

This SMOC member is a jewelry designer and collaborated with a videographer to produce a behind-the-scenes video of how here designs are made.  During her 1:1 coaching, Maria showed her how to use that video on social media . . .

#3. How to Transition Friends to Your Facebook Business Page

One of the biggest questions at SMOC is “how can I get my friends to Like my Facebook business page?”  See Maria’s advice & example here . . .

#4. SMOC is #1 on Alltop with This Article

Our articles often are featured on Guy Kawasaki’s Alltop’s Most Topular Stories, but this week we made #1! See the article here . . .

#5. Use Your Website Assets in Your Online Marketing

During 1:1 coaching, Maria showed this SMOC member how to use the excellent assets on her website for marketing online . . .

google analytics 3 must-have reports
Mar 24

Google Analytics Made Simple [Webinar Excerpt]

By Janice Deleon

Watch this excerpt from this month’s members-only webinar to learn the three must-have Google Analytics reports for small business. Infographic and transcript are below the video:

Google Analytics Made Simple Learn the three must-have Google Analytics reports for small business
Members-Only Content
Webinar replay, slide deck, mp3 audio & checklist



google analytics 3 must-have reports



Maria Peagler: What are your three must have Google Analytics reports for small business? Hi, I’m Maria Peagler, founder of and I’m going to show you the three most important Google Analytics Reports you need to have for your small business. The first one is website traffic. It tells you how much traffic you’re getting, where you’re getting that traffic from and how long they’re staying on your website.

This is your website traffic report. It tells you how many visitors you’re getting, where they’re coming from, and more importantly, whether or not they like what they’re seeing on your website.

The second most important report is your top five pages and I call these your money pages. Here’s your top five pages report. It tells you the top five most popular pages on your website. What you need to take a look at is how long people are staying on those pages and whether or not they’re leaving after they come and visit that page only, because that tells you whether or not they like what they’re seeing on your website.

The third most important report is your bounce rate. Bounce rates tells you how many people leave your website after seeing only one page. The one thing to remember about a bounce rate is that a high bounce rate is bad, so you want to take a look at your Google Analytics and see which of your pages has the highest bounce rate and you want to fix that. You want to make sure that you can lower the bounce rate on that page and get people staying longer and coming back to your website.

If you like to get more information about Google Analytics for your small business, check out

weekly top 5 - puppy edition
Mar 23

Weekly Top 5 for Mar 23, 2015

By Janice Deleon

Our classes are just the start of the learning you get here at  Here are the additional resources available this week..

weekly top 5 - puppy edition


#1. Social Media Hacks You Can Use for More Engagement on ANY Network

Every business wants MORE engagement . . . well here are EASY hacks to get more engagement on ANY social network . . . .

#2. 3 Must-Have Google Analytics Reports for Small Business

Overwhelmed by the “firehose” of data that is Google Analytics? Maria breaks it down for small businesses in this 30-minute webinar, infographic, slide deck, mp3 and checklist . . .

#3. What Gets the Highest Engagement on Facebook in 2015?

NEW! Big development for Facebook business pages: a new type of post is getting the HIGHESt engagement by far.  Find out what it is here . . .

#4. CHEAT SHEET: 4 Social Media Engagement Hacks

Get this cheat sheet that makes it easy to get more engagement on any social network . . .

#5. 64 Tactics to Use on Facebook in 2015

Learn more about what gets results on Facebook in 2015 with this Slideshare presentation . . . .

hacks for more engagement across any platorm
Mar 17

Engagement Hacks to Use on Any Social Network

By Maria Peagler

hacks for more engagement across any platorm


“I need more engagement!”

Sound familiar?

Today I’m coming to the rescue with four no-fail hacks you can use on ANY social network to increase your engagement.

Let’s get started —

1. Use Video to Get Higher Engagement on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter

In 2015, video has the highest reach of any post type on Facebook. To be clear, that’s video uploaded to Facebook, not linked to from YouTube. Reach is the gateway to higher engagement, so you’re guaranteed to increase both using video.

Video is still unique on Instagram and Twitter: we’re used to images on Instagram and text-only tweets, so video is unique and attention-grabbing.  Use it and you’ll see your engagement skyrocket. On Jimmy Fallon’s Instagram page, he has only one video, but it gets more engagement than any of his photos:

video gets more engagement

The sole video on Jimmy Fallon’s Instagram page has more Likes & Comments than his photos



2. Use Visual Content to Get 180% More Engagement

visual storytelling maria peagler

In my interview with Visual Storytelling co-author Ekaterina Walter, she says “posts with visuals drive up to 180% more engagement than those without.”

Daniel Pink, in his book A Whole New Mind, discusses the importance of design in business, and visual content is a major part of that.

Simply put, text-only content is “old school.”  You need to engage your audience with compelling visuals to initiate a conversation and a reaction.

If you’re not a designer, don’t worry, you don’t need to be.  Check out my resources for doing it easily yourself:

Create a DIY Stock Photo Library

Use Canva to Repurpose One Photo into an Entire Library [VIDEO TUTORIAL]

3. Use Micro-Content to Engage Short Attention Spans

Yes, the human attention span is now less than that of a goldfish.

Don’t fight it.

Instead, repurpose your content into smaller pieces, called micro-content.

Here’s an example: for 2014, we gathered all of the resources we published (in addition to our classes) and created one long resource post that included over 100 links:

100 marketing resources from 2014

While that list is highly actionable, I knew that not everyone who read the post would get through the entire thing. So I was determined to get more mileage out of it than just one blog post.

I repurposed that list into an infographic, allowing me to post the list on Pinterest in a visual way. Instead of listing every resource, I pulled out several and highlighted them in this infographic:

100 marketing resources infographic

100 marketing resources from 2014

Repurposing the text-only list allows me to share it on visual social networks like Pinterest

That long list of links would never have made it onto Pinterest, but the infographic turned those resources into highly shareable and engaging content perfect for this visual social network.

Finally, I took one resource from that list and created micro-content to share on Instagram and Twitter:

micro content created for instagram

I took one tactic from the list of 100 and created a small visual for it

Creating micro-content from that list engaged part of my audience who would never have read that long list of resources. I repurposed that content into different forms, eliciting more engagement from my followers.

4. Share Other People’s Content

This is a tactic often referred to as a best practice in relationship marketing, but it also pays off in terms of engagement.

Last week, the most shared post on the Facebook page wasn’t my own content. It was an article I shared from Entrepreneur on what makes someone “likeable” —

share others content for higher engagement

This post got more organic reach, likes, and shares than any other post on my page last week. The cute photo Entrepreneur used also made it highly “shareable” and reinforces #2 on this list — visual content.

Engagement Hacks Checklist

Use this handy checklist as your guide to getting higher engagement no matter which social network you use:

engagement hacks checklist

Share this Image On Your Site

Which Hack Will You Use?

None of these hacks are difficult: you don’t need to be a coder, graphic designer, or videographer to do them. Each of them is within reach of small business owners who want more engagement from their audience.

Pick the hack that seems most natural to you or that will appeal to your audience the most and start there.

Your engagement thank you for it.

Mar 16

Weekly Top 5 for Mar 16, 2015

By Janice Deleon

Our classes are just the start of the learning you get here at  Here are the additional resources available this week..

Colorful cupcakes with flowers


#1. 4 Easy Ways to Make Money with Social Media Marketing

Once you’ve established your brand’s social media marketing, here’s the big question: is it making money for you? If not, learn these 4 easy “hacks” you can do to change that . . .

#2. 1:1 Coaching Each Month for Members

Every month SMOC members get private coaching with Maria, along with the coaching recording and transcript. Need help with your website, business plan, or social media? Get your help here . . .

#3. Social Media Certification for Each Class

When SMOC members complete all the lessons in a class, they get a certificate, suitable for framing.  Do you need social media certification? Get it here . . . .

#4. What’s the #1 Thing You Wished You Understood Better About Marketing?

That’s the question Maria posed to members in the SMOC mastermind group.  See their answers here . . .

#5. Social Media Strategy Template & Spreadsheet

Get your simple fill-in-the-blanks in this template & worksheet to develop your unique social media strategy . . .

profitable social media markteting
Mar 10

4 Easy Ways to Make Money with Your Social Media Marketing

By Maria Peagler

profitable social media markteting

I’m going to reveal a closely guarded secret that you won’t hear from anyone else . . .

Too many businesses never see a dime from their social media marketing.

Don’t let that be you. I’m going to show you exactly how to make money from your social media marketing.

These tactics aren’t about engagement, relationships, or fans. They’re about profiting from the time you spend marketing your business.

Follow these steps and you will see a huge return on your social media marketing.

1. Develop Your Social Media Marketing Strategy in 60 Seconds

social media strategy template spreadsheet

Use this spreadsheet to develop your own social media strategy in 60 seconds

Yes, it’s really possible with the help from my template & spreadsheet, and I show you exactly how in this post..  It guides you, step-by-step, through the important questions you need to answer to reach your target audience, profitably.  If you’d like to go even deeper into developing your strategy, take my free Social Media Strategy Class. It’s the first stop for members here at

2. Build Your Online Store

your first online store

Once you’ve got your strategy developed, you’re ready to start making sales. Even if you’re a local business, having an online store can be an additional revenue stream for you.

Building an online store can be a nightmare: it’s the most difficult part of having any online presence, as there are multiple moving pieces to it, and if you’re new to the process, it’s easy to make the wrong decision. You need to identify whether you’ll take PayPal, credit cards, be PCI compliant (don’t know what this is?), and more.


3. Get More Sales from the Website You’ve Already Got

more sales website thumbnail

What if you’re doing social media marketing and have an online store, but you’re not seeing much in the way of sales?

You’re not alone.

We see this often for our social media services clients. They can’t figure out why they’re not making more money from their business (time for some tough love here). It’s usually because their website isn’t doing its job.

No one likes to hear that. It’s like saying “your baby is ugly.” You’ve spent a lot of money on your website, and you’re proud of it. I get it. I’ve been there. But you need to understand what website elements you need to have to actually make money from it.

Big Secret: most web designers have no idea what these elements are. They have a formula for making websites that works for them, not necessarily for you.

Tips like these and significantly more are covered in


4. Automate Parts of Your Social Media Marketing

how to automate social media marketing

Your time is valuable and you need to spend it on the tasks that are profitable. Small business owners have too many demands on their time to waste it on tasks they can automate.

I’m a big fan of taking the menial parts of marketing and putting them on auto-pilot. It saves me time, but more importantly, saves my brain for the more important decisions in my business, allowing me to focus on those.

In, you get classes on every major social network, infographics, webinars, and 1:1 coaching with me. I hope to see you inside


Is your business a “hobby” or is it a real money-maker? These four elements make the difference between social marketing that drains your time or makes you profitable. If you have questions about these tactics or need help, consider becoming a member of Members get 1:1 coaching with me every month, and get advice on how to do the hard work of making their businesses profitable.

Mar 09

Weekly Top 5 for Mar 9, 2015

By Janice Deleon

Our classes are just the start of the learning you get here at  Here are the additional resources available this week..

#1. Google Analytics Made Simple: Live Webinar + Recording + MP3 Audio + Infographic

Learn the three must-have Google Analytics reports your business needs (and avoid data overwhelm!). Don’t miss this essential webinar on March 19 . . .

#2. How to Use Hashtags on Your Hangtags

New to the Swipe File this week: a great example of a jewelry brand using hashtags on their hangtags to create a buzz on Instagram . . .

#3. How to Use a Facebook Ad to Market Vacation Rentals

This SMOC member has a vacation rental business and wants to know how to market them on social media.  See Maria’s example using a Facebook ad to book direct . . .

#4. What’s the Proper Recognition for a Facebook Like?

An SMOC member wants to know what the best way is to acknowledge a new friend on her personal profile.  See Maria’s answer here . . .

#5. How to Find a Facebook Post in a Group

This SMOC member belongs to multiple Facebook groups and wants to know how she can go back and find a post in them from the past.  Maria gave her a couple of hacks here . . .

Google Analytics made simple
Mar 03

Google Analytics Made Simple: Live Webinar + Recording + MP3 Audio + Infographic

By Maria Peagler

Google Analytics made simple


Free webinar Thurs, March 19 @1pm EDT/6pm GMT.  Join Maria Peagler for this brief live webinar:

  • Learn the three must-have Google Analytics reports for small business
  • Thurs Mar 19, 1pm EDT, 6pm GMT
  • 30-Minute Webinar + On-Demand recording + MP3 Audio + Infographic
  • $297.00 value FREE for Members (Membership is $57 per month, cancel easily anytime.)

Get Webinar FREE with SMOC Membership
Already a member?  Your webinar access codes will arrive in your Inbox a few days before the webinar.

Overwhelmed by Google Analytics’ Firehose of Data?

You’re not alone.

The good news is you don’t have to be a data geek or love numbers to use Google Analytics for your business.

You just have to know where to look . . . . what to look for . . . . and how to analyze what you see.

Fortunately, I’m giving you the keys to unlock the treasure-trove of data inside Google Analytics.

In this month’s 30-minute, members-only webinar, you’ll get the exact steps you need to:

  • identify how much traffic your website is getting (and who’s sending those visitors)
  • discover your most profitable pages (and how to increase their value)
  • find out if visitors LOVE your website or if they’re LEAVING in droves
  • and more!

Plus, plenty of time for Q&A, so come with questions, so sign up today!

Get Your $297.00 Webinar ticket FREE When You Join Today

Purchase your Webinar ticket for $297.00 now, or get it free when you join as a Member today for $57 per month. Cancel easily anytime. is a continuous service, including instant access to over 200 online lessons valued at $1,997.00 plus $397.00 worth of new Bonus Webinars & infographics each month, billed to your payment card every 30 days at the lowest rate then in effect, currently just $57.

In total, you’ll get instant access to $2,297.00 (and growing!) worth of practical Members-Only training to grow your business using social media. Membership helps you:

#1. Get Access to One Billion Customers in 10 Minutes

Learn how to identify the social networks best for your unique business, then build a profile that turns more visitors into paying customers. SMOC brings you ‘what works’  training that cuts through the noise & crushes social media overwhelm.

Members  instantly access how-to videos, screen shots, checklists, infographics, and case studies — tools which can be put to work on your website & social networking right away.

#2. Get More Fans in Less Time

Discover how to get fans & connections without spending all day in social media.  You really can post to all of your social networks in as little as 15 minutes a day, and you’ll learn how to generate content & posts that get your business noticed, attract fans, and turn them into paying customers.

Members immediately get their hands on how-to checklists (like 13 Ways to Get More Facebook Fans), videos that teach you how to do search engine optimization yourself, and real-life examples of successful small businesses who’ve achieved great success.

#3. Customize Your Learning Track

Online training is often a one-sized fits all plan, but not for SMOC Members.  You’ll get a customized social media assessment that details the optimum social networks for your unique career path & industry, and you can use it as your guide for what classes you’ll need (Members are often surprised at the results).   Plus, Members can instantly access:

  • hands-on video tutorials
  • monthly social media makeovers (for your website or any social network)
  • bonus webinars that dive deep into profitable tactics
  • infographics to print as your cheat sheets
  • a private community forum
  • 1:1 private coaching

#4. Get 1:1 Coaching Plus Networking with Other Business Owners

Members get instant access to a private online community of peers eager to connect and discuss what’s worked and what hasn’t for them.

Each month, members also get 1:1 coaching time with Maria where you can get feedback on your website, advice on your business plan, help with your social media marketing, you name it — it’s your time!

Plus, your Membership includes a complimentary pass to SMOC’s monthly Bonus Webinar or virtual workshop focused on a hot social media business topic — ranging from one & done posting to getting listed on search results — with plenty of time for extended Q&As . The webinar alone is a value of $297.00 per month.

As a member you’ll get immediate access to all the materials on the site plus that month’s Bonus Webinar. After that, you’ll be billed the lowest available monthly fee (currently just $57) via convenient automated billing. It’s risk-free and guaranteed, you can easily cancel at any time.

So why not join today and see how can help your business grow!

Get Webinar FREE with SMOC Membership

weekly top 5 - puppy edition
Mar 02

Weekly Top 5 for Mar 2, 2015

By Janice Deleon

Our classes are just the start of the learning you get here at  Here are the additional resources available this week..


#1. Can Mobile Users Find Your Website [WEBINAR EXCERPT]

Find out if your business is missing out on the biggest trend of 2015 in this sneak peek at last month’s bonus webinar . . .

#2. SWIPE FILE: How to WOW Potential Customers with Testimonials

One of best ways to motivate people to trust you is with testimonials from current clients. Check out this clever way to WOW people with amazing testimonials . . .

#3. How to Get More Traffic to Your Website Using Social Media

Yes, you can drive traffic to your website with social media. But the whole process is often fuzzy to entrepeneurs. Here’s a step-by-step case study of how a simple tweet drove traffic to this website . . .

#4. The Oscars Use of Hashtags in 2015

The Oscars has become so much more than award show for celebrities only. Now fans can join in the experience using social media . . .

#5. Why Your Social Media Marketing Isn’t Generating Revenue

You’re using social media marketing, but not seeing any revenue from your effort? Learn how to change that here . . .

Feb 24

Can Mobile Users Find Your Business? [Webinar Excerpt]

By Maria Peagler

The growth of smartphone and tablet users is big news for small business: can those users find you online? If not, you’re missing out on new customers, because they’re going to your competition to buy.

Watch this excerpt from this month’s members-only webinar on getting more mobile business.  Get the webinar for FREE when you become a member of through the end of February only!

We’re going to take a look at three things that are very important for a small business owner to be aware of and to be preparing for if you have not already. I am going to be showing you some statistics. I am not usually a numbers person but I’m going to be showing you some statistics that go along with all this that make the case for being ready for mobile.

The three things that we’re going to look at are mobile traffic, which is are you getting mobile traffic to your business, are you getting it to your website, and if so, how much? That’s an important question, because if you’re getting any more than 25% of your business from mobile you really need to have a plan for accommodating those mobile customers. We’re going to talk about what I need to do to have your website mobile ready, and finally, how to be able to take payments from mobile buyers. We’re going to take a look at all three, and as always I will be showing you the most simple, elegant ways to do all these. Not complicated, not hugely expensive, but what’s the best way for a small business to approach these.

The first thing you need to know is am I getting mobile traffic. If you are a brick and mortar location you can simply ask people how they found out about you, and did they do it from their smartphone or did they do it from home on their desktop or laptop. You also want to be taking a look at your website and how much traffic your website is getting from mobile customers. There’s actually a pretty simple way of doing this.

But before we take a look at that I want to show you the case for getting mobile traffic and the trend that’s happening in mobile. These are statistics from from our Google Analytics account. This shows us how much of our traffic to our website is coming from desktop vs mobile vs tablet. Now starting in 2012 almost 90% of our traffic was desktop, this big blue circle here. Only 5% was coming from mobile and only 5% was coming from a tablet.

Now in 2013 that desktop traffic dropped by almost 10%. We’re now down to 81%. Mobile more than doubled from 5% to 11 and tablet had a smaller increase from 5 to 8%. Now last year we saw a significant drop in desktop traffic, and again, mobile traffic increased now to 16% and tablet is staying steady at about 8%. I’m predicting that we’ll see more of this as we go through 2015. I think you’ll see desktop drop down to probably around in the 60%, and in 2016 we’ll probably be looking at a half and half scenario.

That’s a really, really important thing to know, is how many of your website visitors and in-store traffic visitors are coming for their mobile phones. Now that was a global figure that I was showing you before. These trends are globally. Just here in the United States it’s actually even more so. Desktop has dropped from 75 to 71% and almost 20% mobile traffic. That’s a significant increase in mobile visitors. You really need to make your business mobile-friendly.

How do you know how much traffic you’re getting from mobile visitors? You want to use Google Analytics, and I’m going to show you how to do that right now. Try that again.

Feb 23

Weekly Top 5 for Feb 23, 2015

By Janice Deleon

Our classes are just the start of the learning you get here at  Here are the additional resources available this week..

Colorful cupcakes with flowers

#1. Can Mobile Users Find Your Website? Webinar Replay & Resources

Members: Watch the replay here and get all the resources with it! Mobile is THE biggest trend of 2015, and you’ll get all its benefits after getting this 30-minute webinar, mp3 audio, slide deck, and infographic . . .

#2. The Ultimate Guide to Hashtags

What the heck’s a hashtag? Feel like you need a hashtag-to-English dictionary to decipher them all? Not anymore.  This in-depth guide offers 64 hashtag tactics and over 20 examples . . .

#3. The State of Social Media for Small Business [CLASSIC]

Surprising results from a survey of 300 small business owners: how do they use social media, what’s their biggest challenge, and some surprising discoveries, all in a handy hand-drawn infographic you can embed on your website . . . .

#4. Member Question Re: Dark Social Media

This SMOC member wanted clarification on “dark social media” and how it would affect her social algorithm.  See Maria’s response here . . .

#5. Your Post Repinned Over 100 Times on Pinterest?

Maria shared how one of SMOC’s posts was repinned on Pinterest over 100 times in the last month . . .

Feb 17

The Ultimate Guide to Hashtags [INFOGRAPHIC]

By Maria Peagler

Click to download a full-size version of the infographic

<< Click on the infographic to download your own full-size version.

Hashtags are ONE constant in an ever-changing social media world. So what are they and how can they help you in your online marketing?

Rely on the Ultimate Guide to Hashtags infographic and this blog post, where I demystify the hashtag and everything you ever wanted to know about it but didn’t know to ask. Browse the explanations of each tactic, why it’s important, and what it can do for you.

Remember to share this infographic with your own network, using the #hashtagprimer hashtag.





1. Hashtag is a # symbol used before a word

The hashtag is the pound symbol (#) preceding a word used online, in television, and in print media. For example, the hashtag #BreakingBad identifies the television show and would display on-screen during episodes.

2. Hashtags were created by users on Twitter

Hashtags were invented by Twitter users who were frustrated over the lack of a robust search feature to find tweets based on topics they were interested in.  Creating the hashtag made it easier to search Twitter for topical content.

3.  Hashtags offer a simple way to organize & search for content

Hashtags provide an excellent way to make your posts easily found by others. For example, #SXSW15 identifies a post about the South by Southwest conference in Austin for 2015, making it easy to find tweets about the event, who’s attending, and more.

4.  Twitter turns a hashtag into a hyperlink

Twitter turns each hashtag into a hyperlink that, when clicked, will show all the recent tweets for that hashtag.  It’s a great way to see what others are saying about that topic and to find people with common interests.

5.  Hashtags are popular with the media and fans

All types of media — online, network, cable, and print — quickly adopted the hashtag and use it encourage fans to tweet about live events and shows.  You’ll often see a hashtag at the bottom of the screen when watching your favorite show.

6.  Hashtags help to brand your messaging

Hashtags provide an easy to way to brand your content, whether using your own hashtag or one identifying it with a popular trend. Look at how four different brands use variations of the #superbowl hashtag to brand their tweets:

the ultimate guide to hashtags

The NFL and the SuperBowl use the official #SB49 hashtag for SuperBowl 49


The ultimate guide to hashtags

AdAge uses the standard #superbowl hashtag to brand their article


ultimate guide to hashtags

StubHub created their own hashtag #SuperBall, branding an event surrounding the SuperBowl


Tips like these and significantly more are covered in

7.  Hashtags can provide colorful commentary

Using just the right hashtag can give your message a completely new twist. #awkward, #winning, and #fail add an ironic twist to a tweet, such as “Best hashtag ever for an @NFL press conference #flexball #fail,” when the Gillette Flexball was shown on the backdrop of the Patriots “deflate-gate” press conference: scrn_2015-01-22_05-36-54_PM

8.  Use local hashtags

Using a local hashtag for your city  makes it easy for people to identify where you’re located, and easy to find you in search results.  Using a hashtag like #ATL, #NYC, #LA, #CHI, and others immediately give your tweet its own “geolocator.”

Where to Use Hashtags




9. Twitter is the king of hashtags, especially #FF FollowFriday

Twitter is the dominant network for using hashtags. It’s where the hashtag was born, raised, and continues to thrive.  Twitter etiquette is to use one, two, or at most three hashtags.  Any more than that is #overkill.

10. Facebook started recognizing hashtags in 2014

Facebook jumped on the hashtag bandwagon in 2014, and now allows its users to search using hashtags.  Similar to Twitter, the etiquette here is to use one to three hashtags at the end of a post.  More than that is seen as spamming your fans. Note: In the past, Google has shown Facebook hashtagged content in its search results, as shown in the image below. This screen shot is from 2014, and as of 2015, they have discontinued it; but with Google, you never know if it will pop up again:

google indexes facebook results

Google displayed hashtag search results from Facebook & Twitter, as shown here. Clicking on the Facebook entry took you to the search results within it, as shown in the screen below

facebook hashtags linked on google

11. Instagram users make serious use of multiple hashtags

If hashtags originated on Twitter, Instagram users win the award for overuse of them. It’s not unusual to see Instagram posts with up to 25-30 hashtags, making the image easily found when people search. I don’t recommend using that many:  3-5 well-researched hashtags for your topic are certainly #enough.

Oprah uses just one hashtag to promote her upcoming cruise. But the commenter "spamming" her post is using far more.

Oprah uses just one hashtag to promote her upcoming cruise. But the commenter reaching out to her post is using far more (for his own purposes)


12.  Google+ automatically assigns hashtags to your posts based on your content

Google+ is unique from every other social network for this one reason: it assigns your posts hashtags based on the content in them.  You can still use hashtags of your own in the post, but if you don’t, Google+ tries its best to give your post at least one hashtag based on the words you used in the post.

Notice my post doesn't contain a single hashtag, but Google+ assigned it the #webinar hashtag based on its content

Notice my post doesn’t contain a single hashtag, but Google+ assigned it the #webinar hashtag based on its content


13.  Pinterest unofficially recognizes hashtags

Pinterest doesn’t natively use hashtags, but many people use multiple hashtags at the end of their pin description as a way to get found in search. Why not? It can’t hurt.

14.  Google displays the results of a hashtag used in search

If you search Google using a hashtag, it returns results from social networks and website/blog content.

google returns hashtag results in search

A Google search for #sm returns results from social networks and the web


15.  Tumblr users tag their content using hashtags

Tumblr bloggers use hashtags to identify their content, make it easily found in search, and add it to what Tumblr calls a “tag channel.” According to Pete Cashmore of Mashable, “Tumblr is getting into the real-time search game, allowing users to contribute to a tag channel and find others who share their interests. It’s a move that makes Tumblr more public: in its early days it was a fairly closed community.”

In, you get classes on every major social network, infographics, webinars, and 1:1 coaching with me. I hope to see you inside

How to Use Hashtags




16. Don’t use spaces in hashtags

If your hashtag is more than one word or a phrase, omit the spaces between the words, as shown below in #17.

17. #socialmedia not #social media

If you want to use the hashtag for social media, the correct usage is #socialmedia, not #social media. You can also use the abbreviation #sm instead.  However, be sure to research if you’re using the correct abbreviation.  Many hashtags use the same acronym, and you want to be directing people to the right content.

18. Use hashtags at the end of a message

While a hashtag helps to identify your content, it isn’t critical to conveying your message, so use it at the end of your message.  You don’t want to force people to wade through multiple hashtags to get to the heart of your tweet or post. twitter hashtags end of msg

19.  Abbreviate long phrases

Hashtags are especially helpful on Twitter and Instagram where you have limited space, so it makes sense to abbreviate your hashtag if it’s a long phrase.


Coca-Cola uses the abbreviation #MLK in their Instagram post about Martin Luther King Jr. Day


20.  #tbt for Throwback Thursday and #FF for Follow Friday

Throwback Thursday, or #tbt, is a social media tradition of posting a photo from a previous era (think 70’s bell bottoms or the 80’s ripped t-shirts). Follow Friday, or #FF, is a Twitter tradition of listing people whom you recommend others follow for their great tweets.


Johnathan uses #FF for Follow Friday to give his post context: these are the people he recommends you follow (and shows that rules are made to be broken, like using hashtags at the beginning of a post!)


21.  Create your own hashtags

There’s no rule about who creates or owns a hashtag (even though Coca-Cola is trying to trademark a couple), so feel free to brand your business by creating your own hashtag.

I branded my Slideshare presentation with #college2career to immediately identify it's purpose

I branded my Slideshare presentation with #college2career to immediately identify it’s purpose


22.  Audi created #WantAnR8

A great example of not only creating your own hashtag but building a buzz around product demand is Audi’s #WantAnR8 campaign. Audi, its dealers, owners, and wannabe owners all use the hashtag: scrn_2015-02-03_01-36-51_PM

23.  Use at events #SXSW15

A widely adopted use of hashtags is at events: conferences, sporting events, and concerts. South by Southwest uses the hashtag #SXSW15, abbreviated with the current year’s event. Simply use the hashtag in your post making it easy for others attending or shadowing the event to follow what’s happening.

24.  Learn popular hashtags

It’s important that you understand the most popular hashtags in your industry. Every field from accounting to consumer goods to schools and universities use hashtags to brand their messages.  The best way to learn which hashtags are appropriate for your market is to follow industry leaders on social media and observe how they use them, and which hashtags appear frequently.

Examples of Innovative Hashtags




25. #RT gives a shout out on Twitter as a retweet

One of the most common hashtags is #RT on Twitter, which is a retweet of someone’s tweet you liked. It’s considered a recommendation of their post, and some of the most retweeted content are funny and ironic tweets.

26. #NYC, #ATL, #austin all identify cities in a tweet

Use a local hashtag to identify yourself or your brand as being located in a city and proud of it!

27.  Fashionistas use #ootd to show off their “outfit of the day”

Beauty and fashion bloggers use the #ootd hashtag to share their outfit of the day. It’s a great way for readers to find fashion inspiration, and the bloggers gain new followers.

28.  #socialmedia, #entrepreneur

Hashtags identifying your industry are a great way to give context to a post. #socialmedia and #entrepreneur are just two of the hundreds of hashtags that identify yourself and your content as relevant to your field.

29.  Television encourages viewer engagement for #breakingbad, #idol, #xfactor

Television shows commonly display their hashtag on screen during an episode, encouraging viewers to live tweet about the show.  Networks often generate more buzz by making the show’s stars available afterward to chat with viewers on twitter.

30.  Recommend colleagues with Follow Friday #FF on Twitter

A Twitter tradition is to recommend new followers, colleagues, and those you admire by tagging them with the Follow Friday hashtag. The tweet “#FF @MarketingMel @PattyFarmer @EbonyLove @EkaterinaWalter awesome #interviews” would recommend those entrepreneurs as people I’ve interviewed and recommend.

31.  Hashtags help raise awareness and funding for #curechildhoodcancer

Hashtags aren’t limited to for-profit brands. Causes like #curechildhoodcancer have run highly successful fundraising campaigns using a branded hashtag. One of the most successful non-profit campaigns was the #icebucketchallenge for ALS in 2014.

32.  Charlie Sheen’s #winning is best known, most ironic hashtag #fail

Probably the most ironic, and well-known hashtag is #winning, used by Charlie Sheen during his personal meltdown. What #hashtag do you want your brand to be known for?

Branding Your Business with Hashtags




33. Southwest paints #bagsflyfree on their airplanes

Southwest is famous for not charging travelers for checking a bag, so they display the #bagsflyfree hashtag in big bold letters ON their planes.  Where better to advertise than at the airport to travelers who DID pay to check their luggage?

Happy customers love to share their Southwest #bagsflyfree experience

Happy customers love to share their Southwest #bagsflyfree experience


34. Lancome encouraged celebrated their clients with #BareSelfie

While Dove is famous for using real women in their television and print ads, Lancome brilliantly encouraged women to take a selfie without makeup and tag it #BareSelfie, as part of a marketing campaign for a new serum. It generated 500 photos with the hashtag, and website sales were converting at four percent.

35.  Lexus teamed with Instagrammers with #LexusInstaFilm

Lexus collaborated with over 200 Instagrammers to generate a stop motion film using Instagram photos. Tagged with #LexusInstaFilm, the campaign generated 1,000 new followers on the social network.

36.  Coke so successful with #smilewithacoke they’ve applied for a trademark

Generations fondly remember commercials & jingles singing Have a Coke and a smile, and the newest version for the 21st century is #smilewithacoke. Now they’re applying for a trademark to protect it.

37. LiquidWeb hosting offers helpful #lwtips on Twitter

One of the best ways to connect with potential customers is by being helpful, and LiquidWeb hosting does that on Twitter by offering #lwtips

38.  LinkedIn encouraged users to predict what the year would bring #BigIdeas2015

LinkedIn tapped into the “new year, new predictions” habit of many bloggers and thought leaders with their #BigIdeas2015 hashtag.  They started the post series with big names like Richard Branson, then encouraged their users to write their own LinkedIn posts using the hashtag: #bigideas2015 linkedin hashtag

39.  Dell computers sets up #DellLounge at industry trade shows

At its major trade shows, Dell Computers sets up an elaborate lounge for people to stop by, see their latest innovations, and take photos of themselves tagged #DellLounge.  They team up with movie studios to show their movies on Dell computers, with charities who need exposure, and more, all in the lounge. They make #DellLounge a social destination at trade shows. Their marketing strategy is brilliant, resulting in trade show attendees generating massive buzz for Dell.

40.  Who doesn’t love to share about a Wendy’s #Frosty?

Do customers love your products and share them with their friends? Then create a hashtag for them! Wendy’s uses the #Frosty hashtag on Twitter to announce the proceeds of coupon books going to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption: wendy's #frosty hashtag

Hashtag Etiquette




41. Use relevant hashtags

Stick to hashtags that are topical to your content. Don’t resort to “hashtag spam” by using hashtags that are popular but have nothing to do with your message.

42. Twitter etiquette allows one to three hashtags

Since a tweet is a brief 140 characters, limit your hashtags to only those most relevant to your content: from one to three hashtags.

43.  Instagram reigns with up to 30 hashtags

Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per image (yes, really).  Why you need that many is frankly beyond me, unless you’re trying to over-promote yourself. It’s not unusual to see Instagram images with 10 – 20 hashtags.

44.  Use hashtags at the end of your message

The most important element of your message is the content, whether text or visual. So don’t force people to wade through your sea of hashtags to get to the good stuff — because they likely won’t.

45.  Keep hashtags short

As much as I would love to use my brand name in a hashtag, is just too long. So I stick to #sm or #socialmedia. Some Instagrammers use long hashtags like #curlyhairdontcare, but they’re often tagging personal photos instead of brand images.

46.  Use them to brand your content

No matter what social network you’re using, you can use hashtags to brand your content. I’m using #hashtagprimer for this post, and LinkedIn used #BigIdeas2015 for their post series.

47.  Use hashtags to brand your event

Event marketing routinely takes advantage of a hashtag to promote the event, the people speaking & attending, as well as the great images and takeaways attendees love to share.  Make sure that your guests know the appropriate hashtag to use at the event by announcing it at the beginning of each session.

48. Use hashtags to brand contests and run them across multiple platforms

YesToCarrots ran a great promotion called #YesToColor, and announced it via email. I received this email from them asking customers who had purchased from their online store to enter the contest and use the hashtag #YesToColor.  Notice they did not specify which social network or online platform to use.  It didn’t matter.  They could search for the hashtag using Google, HootSuite, SproutSocial, or other social media marketing management tools to find all the entrants and the buzz they generated: #yestocolor hashtag contest

Search Using Hashtags

hashtag search

49. Makes content easy to find

Want to find the latest entries in Jimmy Fallon’s hashtag of the week? Search Twitter for it or click on the hashtag from Twitter to see the entries.  Here are the tweets for #WhyImSingle (the hashtag for Valentine’s Day):

A Google search displays the results for the #whyimsingle hashtag

A Google search displays the results for the #whyimsingle hashtag


See a tweet with the #whyImsingle hashtag? Click on it and Twitter shows you all the tweets using it


50. Use hashtags in search engines

Notice I searched Google for the #WhyImSingle hashtag? It shows me the results not just on Twitter, but across the web from sources like HuffingtonPost, YouTube, Tumblr and more. Doing a hashtag search from a search engine doesn’t limit you to one particular social network, so it’s great for finding hashtags across platforms.

51.  Search for content within a social network using a hashtag

Looking for a hashtagged post within a social network? Most let you search within the platform for hashtags. The results will vary by network and their privacy policies. For example, Facebook will return hashtagged content from people you’re friends with and public pages.  You won’t see hashtagged content from people you aren’t friends with.

52.  Hashtags are clickable in almost every major social network

Just as I clicked on #whyImsingle in Twitter, you can do the same to find inspiration for #weddingbouquets in Pinterest. In fact, you can click on a hashtag from almost every social network and it will display posts using it: scrn_2015-02-13_03-38-41_PM

53.  Find messages across online channels

Searching for a hashtag from a search engine returns results from multiple online channels, not just social networks, as shown in #49 and #50.

54.  Motivated users find you

Hashtags make it dead simple for people looking for your brand or content to find you. Be sure to clearly announce which hashtags you’re using and people will find a path to your brand.

55.  Great for contest entries

Running a contest but don’t want to limit it to just a single social network? No problem. Tell contest entrants to tag their #entry using your hashtag, and you can search for them in Google, Bing, Hootsuite, or other social media management tool.  You’ll get more buzz and more entries.

56.  Use in email & chat to make topics easier to find

While you don’t get any marketing buzz from this tactic, some people do use hashtags for their own purposes in email and chat.  Using a hashtag #Introduction in the subject line of an email makes it much easier to find later than searching for “introduction” which will likely return too many results.

Marketing Using Hashtags




57. Brand your contests using a hashtag

Follow the excellent example from YesToCarrots in tactic #48: brand your contest using a unique hashtag. It immediately makes the contest buzzworthy. They were able to run the contest across multiple social networks, allowing customers to post where it was easy for them, all using the same hashtag.

58. Hashtags provide cohesive cross-platform messaging

Every social network has its own etiquette and rules: Twitter is limited to 140 characters while there’s almost no limit for Facebook. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags while Twitter discourages more than three. By using a single hashtag for your marketing campaign, you can follow those guidelines and still successfully brand your message.

59.  Use in visual content: images, video

Smart brands use hashtags even in their visual content, like images and video (notice #hashtagprimer on the infographic on this blog post?). While it’s not searchable or SEO-worthy, it does provide a cohesive marketing message, and educates your audience on the proper hashtag to use when mentioning your brand on social media.

The Nobel Prize organization branded this video of Patti Smith signing Bob Dylan’s Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall with the hashtag #NobelPrize:

60.  Let people tell their stories

The best writing & marketing tells just enough to get people motivated to tell their own stories.  Fiction authors know this, and often leave out important details in a story to let readers form their own stories and meaning.  Do the same with your marketing: people had diverse reasons for #IWantAnR8, but the sentiment was the same.  Why they wanted one was the power of that marketing campaign (tactic #22).

61.  Domino’s #LetsDoLunch offered a discount for all customers

Domino’s UK ran a savvy hashtag promotion: for every customer who tweeted #LetsDoLunch within a specific timeframe, they took one pence off the price of a pizza. The resulting price went from £15.99 to £7.74 ($24.56 to 11.89), and everyone else ordering during that time got the discount too (including people who didn’t tweet). The key to success was a group effort and a sizable resulting discount.

62.  Know your reputation: #McDStories

Before you run a hashtag promotion, be clear on what your brand reputation is.  If you have too many negative stories for customers to tell, don’t encourage them. McDonalds asked people to share their #McDStories on Twitter, and the result was horror stories of disgusting food and terrible service.  What they had hoped to be a successful hashtag promotion turned into a bashtag fest.

63.  Use on SWAG giveaways

If your business gives away great SWAG, brand the items with a hashtag, motivating the lucky recipients to thank you publicly on social media.  You’ll likely see lots of photos and happy people with your giveaways.

64.  Identify your brand as local

Know the phrase, “all politics is local?” The same can be said for business: “all business is local.” Take advantage of your brick-and-mortar location by identifying your brand as local using a hashtag. If you’re traveling on business or doing a promotional tour, definitely use the hashtags for the cities you’ll be visiting.

What hashtags are a fit for your small business? Are you using them?

[ninja-popup ID=16864] Click HERE to download the full-size infographic[/ninja-popup]

Every small business has a tremendous opportunity to increase their visibility using the simple hashtag.

Go through this post again and identify which tactics best fit your business. You don’t have to completely change the way you market your brand; instead, simply start using a hashtag in your social media posts, visual content, and contests.

Use this infographic as a “to do list” of tactics, and experiment with a few to see which ones generate the most buzz and results for your brand. Don’t forget to let me know which ones worked for you, using the hashtag #hashtagprimer.

Share this #hashtagprimer Infographic On Your Site

Top 5 at
Feb 16

Weekly Top 5 for Feb 16, 2015

By Janice Deleon

Our classes are just the start of the learning you get here at  Here are the additional resources available this week..

#1. NEW! Social Media Strategy Template & Spreadsheet

Are you doing social media marketing without a strategy? Need to update your existing strategy for 2015? Fill in the blanks in this template & worksheet and you’re done . . .

#2. The One Simple Step that Increases Facebook Reach Exponentially!

Facebook isn’t about to announce this tactic, but I’ve found a simple “tweak” that increases your organic reach (people who see your post without advertising). Members – see the example I demonstrated in the SMOC Mastermind group here . . .

#3. Do Local Directories Help a Local Business’ SEO?

An SMOC member wants to know if she should pay $500 to have a her website submitted to local directories.  Is it worth it? See Maria’s advice here . . .

#4. This Surprising Social Network Outperforms All Others

You’ll be surprised at the findings of this exhaustive study.  Key takeaways for your business to see higher ROI from your social media marketing . . .

#5. Website Images Won’t Appear on Facebook Post Links

This member has a beautiful travel website and blog, but when he posts a link to them on Facebook, the images won’t display.  Find out this simple work-around here . . . .

social media strategy template
Feb 10

Social Media Strategy Template: Develop Your Social Media Strategy in 60 Seconds [Version 2.0]

By Maria Peagler

[UPDATED FOR 2016] — download your free social media strategy template and worksheet, and learn how to develop your unique social media marketing strategy for your business.

social media strategy template

If you’ve been using social media marketing but haven’t seen results . . .

. . . then it’s time for a do-over.

And it starts with identifying which social network is your low-hanging fruit: where can you get the BIG win in the shortest amount of time?

That’s what the Social Media Strategy Template and worksheet will do for you: help you develop and optimize a no-fail social media marketing strategy unique for your business. turns five this month, and I’ve learned much about how people use social media marketing to promote their brands.  People usually assume Facebook is the first place they should start, when it could be that it’s totally the wrong platform for them.

So here’s a step-by-step process for developing the perfect social media strategy using our template . . .

1. Who’s Your Most Profitable Customer?

All your social media marketing efforts will be for nothing if you’re not reaching the right people.  Who are your customers? Even better, who are your most profitable customers?

Here’s a hint . . . it’s NOT everyone.

I’m surprised at entrepreneurs who can’t answer this question. Or, if they can, they are often too vague. Be obsessively specific here. While we all would love to think everyone will want our products, it just isn’t so.

Identify your potential customers down to their:

  • age
  • sex
  • education level
  • income level
  • what publications they read
  • what websites they visit
  • what their budget is
  • are they local or nationwide

Use the Social Media Strategy Template and Spreadsheet as your guide to identify your target audience (link is to my free Social Media Strategy class).


2. What Are Your Goals?

Don’t know?

That’s okay — you’re in good company.  I have clients who are ranked #1 in their industry nationwide, making seven figures, who’ve told me “I don’t know what social media marketing can do for me.”

Let’s take a look . . .

The top three goals for members here at are:

  1. Grow my business
  2. Increase my sales
  3. Get more visibility

Other common goals are to get more traffic to my website, launch a new product, develop a personal brand, and do fundraising for a non-profit.

You can achieve all those goals with social media marketing.

Ask yourself: what do you NEED to accomplish with social media marketing? Use the template and spreadsheet as a guide to answer questions to help you identify your primary goals (click to download).

social media strategy template spreadsheet

Download this spreadsheet to build your social media strategy

Which social networks can help you reach your goals? That’s what you’ll answer in #3 . . .

3. Where Are Your Customers?

What’s the primary social network your customers use? Once you’ve identified who your most profitable customers are (step #1), you can identify where they are in social media.

It’s likely they use more than one social network, but don’t feel like you need to be on ALL of them.  You want to fit your marketing to the optimal social network:

  • where your customers are
  • has the ability to help you reach your goals

For example, if you are a local florist and use Instagram to show beautiful photos of your arrangements, that’s great for increasing your visibility among potential customers. But, if your goal is to drive traffic to your website or get people into your shop, Instagram can’t do that for you:

Poppies and Posies shares gorgeous photos of their flowers & arrangements on Instagram

Poppies and Posies shares gorgeous photos of their flowers & arrangements on Instagram

Google+ and Facebook are much better choices for driving traffic. Why?

  • Google+ (even if your customers don’t use it) helps you build a robust Google local business page (that your customers see when they ARE searching for a local florist)
  • The majority of your customers are using Facebook.  Offer Facebook fans a Valentine’s Day special, or even better, offer them an exclusive during your slow season.

If you need help identifying which social network is best for your business, take this 60-second quiz to find out.

4. When Will You Communicate?

How often do you plan to post to your social networks — multiple times per day, once per day, or a few times a week? (Be realistic about your schedule and what you can accomplish.)

What I’ve found is that most entrepreneurs get excited about starting their social media marketing, post for a month or two, and either get frustrated over a technical issue or life gets in the way.

And they stop . . .

. . . then it gets even more difficult to restart. It’s cumbersome because they’ve lost their proficiency with their social networking, and they end up having to re-learn the basics:

When did you last post on your social networks?

That’s okay — we all have stuff that gets in the way.

However, I do have a recommendation that makes it much easier to continue your social media marketing even during your busy season or when life throws you a curve ball — an editorial calendar.

They’re also called a content development schedule — call them what you like — but by identifying what you’ll be posting about each month and eventually each week, you make social media marketing much easier (and far more likely to be consistent with it).

5. What Differentiates You?

They key to making a connection with potential customers in any form of marketing is the right message at the right time.

The right message is one that sets your brand apart, differentiating it from the competition and as a perfect fit for your ideal customers.

Differentiating your brand is often the hardest step in developing a social media strategy (even for the professionals).  So let’s take a look at some brands who do it well:

ImagiBrand clearly differentiates themselves directly on their Twitter profile by saying “Every brand has a story. Let’s have some fun with yours!” What a great motto — you know if you hire them you’re going to get a company with a great sense of humor:


Molly McGrory, a real estate broker who sells over $100K in her own listings from social media alone, brands herself as a real estate agent who can sell your home quickly, shown here in this Facebook post:molly mcgrory branding

Getting some ideas for your own marketing?

6. How Will You Execute?

The devil is in the details, isn’t it? The perfect social media strategy won’t produce results until you execute it consistently.  So how do you do that?

Make it so simple you can’t fail.  You’ve already identified the elements of your strategy — now you need to combine those into a simple, elegant action plan for your social media marketing.

To do that, download the spreadsheet that accompanies the social media strategy template (you can get both of these in my free Social Media Strategy Class). The spreadsheets guides you, step-by-step, through each of the six elements, plus what you need to have in place to put your strategy into action, helping you to identify:

  1. what you need to learn to do your social media marketing
  2. what tools you need to use
  3. who is responsible for doing your social media marketing
  4. how will you measure success