Category Archives for "Pinterest"

Dec 15

Best of the Best for 2015: Social Media Articles, Case Studies, Infographics, Videos & More

By Maria Peagler


This is a post you're gonna want to bookmark.

As 2015 comes to a close, we wanted to gift-wrap our best advice in a tidy package — our most popular articles, case studies, infographics, and interviews from this year — making them easy for you to find and use.

2015 was a year bringing great change to online marketing, including:

  • Facebook rolled out photo carousel posts, a unified experience across all devices, and the safety-check feature
  • Twitter increased their 140-character limit and added emoticons
  • Instagram now offers advertising
  • Pinterest rolled out buyable pins to those using major shopping carts
  • LinkedIn bought and, becoming a more comprehensive business-to-business platform

It can be tough to keep up with all the changes, and even more challenging to identify which of all those new features are truly relevant to your business.

What Will You Get in This Guide?

The Best of the Best of 2015: ​Social Media Articles, Case Studies, Infographics and Interviews is a comprehensive look at the state of social media for small business owners, crowdsourced by your peers.

This guide offers the most popular content we published on our blog in 2015, and gives you a choice of how to consume it:

  • Want a deep dive into a topic? Check out the ultimate guides.
  • Just want a quick overview? Download the infographics.
  • Learn better by watching?​ Review our best videos of 2015.
  • ​Like to listen to your favorite podcast while you work out? Listen to our most popular interview.
  • No matter what business you're in or how you like to learn, you'll find something here for you.

Our Best Social Media Articles of 2015

These 10 articles on social media marketing cover overall strategy to individual networks.  Mastering social media is a continual process, one that never stops. So even if you "knew it all" last year, what works for your brand this year is completely different.

After 25 years of computer training, and over five here at, I've found there's a common thread running through the journey to grow, improve, and innovate: the feeling of being overwhelmed with the constant change in digital marketing.

These articles are address that challenge, and are the most popular here at for 2015, as identified by organic searchers from Google:​

Who Sees My Stuff on Facebook? Business Page vs. Personal Profile
Do you want over a billion people seeing your family vacation photos? Didn't think so. Do you want over a[...]
Social Media Strategy Template: Develop Your Social Media Strategy in 60 Seconds [Version 2.0]
[UPDATED FOR 2016] — download your free social media strategy template and worksheet, and learn how to develop your unique[...]
7 Surprising Secrets I’ve Learned from Beauty Vloggers
7 Surprising Secrets I've Learned from Beauty Vloggers. Beauty vloggers are not professional marketers, but they are CRUSHING traditional branding[...]
Ekaterina Walter Interview – Author of Visual Storytelling
I just finished reading The Power of Visual Storytelling:  How to Use Visuals, Video, and Social Media to Market Your[...]
What You Need to Know BEFORE You Do Social Media Marketing in Europe
  What You Need to Know BEFORE You Do Social Media Marketing in Europe A primer for U.S. brands on[...]
Instagram for Small Business: Three Master Marketers
Editor’s Note:  Amanda Jensen is a summer intern at  She’s a student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism[...]

Want to grow your business in 30 days using social media marketing? Click here to get your free infographic & week-by-week guide to learn how.

Our Best Social Media Infographics of 2015

​Infographics are the most popular content we develop here at they serve as your one-page guide to success in figuring out hashtags, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more.

These infographics are the most popular here at for 2015, as identified by organic searchers from Google:​

The Ultimate Guide to Hashtags [INFOGRAPHIC]
<< Click on the infographic to download your own full-size version. Hashtags are ONE constant in an ever-changing social media[...]
Facebook Marketing Infographic 2015 Edition
I've updated our Facebook Marketing Infographic for 2015 to reflect the newest tactics that work in a crowded Facebook environment harder[...]
The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Local Business [INFOGRAPHIC]
ALL NEW FOR 2015! << Click on the infographic to download your own full-size version. How do you decide where[...]
LinkedIn Networking Infographic
Notice how much LinkedIn has changed this year?  It's practically an entirely new social network. How can you make sure[...]

Want to grow your business in 30 days using social media marketing? Click here to get your free infographic & week-by-week guide to learn how.

Our Best Interviews of 2015

​I'm a huge reader, and I enjoy interviewing the great minds whose books I've read, whose workshops I've attended at conferences, and bringing you the little-known voice you might not have heard of previously.

These interviews cover a broad range of topics most relevant to overwhelmed business owners: how to be uber-productive, what it takes to run a successful crowdfunding campaign, the rise of visual content, and even getting over 70% of your business from Twitter:

How Six-Figure Working Moms Make Time for Work, Play, and Family
How often do you hear "you can't have it all?" That's a myth, according to Laura Vanderkam, author of I Know How[...]
How to Get Over 70% of Your Business from Twitter: Interview with Patty Farmer
Think twitter is just for celebrities? This interview is about to bust that myth wide open . . . Patty[...]
How to Run a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign – Interview with Ebony Love, LoveBug Studios
Have you considered crowdfunding your next project? If so, you definitely want to listen to today's interview with Ebony Love,[...]
Ekaterina Walter Interview – Author of Visual Storytelling
I just finished reading The Power of Visual Storytelling:  How to Use Visuals, Video, and Social Media to Market Your[...]
Interview with 168 Hours Author Laura Vanderkam: Get the Book Free!
"I don't have time!" Do you say this often?  I hear it repeatedly from my clients: "I don't have time[...]

Want to grow your business in 30 days using social media marketing? Click here to get your free infographic & week-by-week guide to learn how.

Our Best Social Media Case Studies of 2015

​Case studies are the powerhouse of content: they prove that success is possible using online marketing, and teach you exactly how to get results.

Because we focus on small business owners here at, you won't find the usual Starbucks, Domino's, or REI case studies. Instead, you'll see those small brands that are the backbone of the U.S. economy: photographers, consultants, retailers, artists, yoga teachers, heating & air brands, jewelers, gyms, and more.​

These case studies are the most popular here at for 2015, as identified by organic searchers from Google:​

30-Day Action Plan to Grow Your Business with Social Media Marketing

Need more customers? Increased visibility? Additional sales? Learn how to grow your business in 30 days using social media marketing

social media case studies small business
Dec 01

15 All New Social Media Case Studies for Small Business

By Maria Peagler

social media case studies small business

Who doesn't love a good case study?

There's no better way to learn than from someone who's been successful achieving what you need to do.

In 2013, we published a comprehensive list of 13 social media marketing case studies exclusively for small business (all featured SMOC members).

As we close out 2015, I wanted to share even more, all-new case studies: 15 for 2015.​

Each of the case studies below features tactics that work exclusively for small business. Each is unique: some offer infographics, other video, others checklists. But all of them offer lessons you can immediately take away and use today:

30-Day Action Plan to Grow Your Business with Social Media Marketing

Need more customers? Increased visibility? Additional sales? Learn how to grow your business in 30 days using social media marketing

Here are the same case studies, in list format:

  1. [PDF DOWNLOAD] The ultimate guide to social media tagging
  2. Social media sales secrets - vlog & transcript
  3. How a New York-city based solopreneur pivoted for greater revenue
  4. How three small businesses are beating their big-box competitors
  5. The ultimate guide to hashtags [INFOGRAPHIC]
  6. How to raise 200% of your crowdfunding goal in 7 days
  7. How to use social media marketing as your ONLY means of promotion
  8. 7 surprising secrets I've learned from beauty vloggers
  9. How a local candy store capitalized on television coverage using social media marketing
  10. How a local meat market uses Facebook for marketing
  11. Instagram for small business: three case studies of master marketers
  12. How a local hair salon uses social media marketing to fill their chairs every day
  13. How to turn one piece of content into 30 days worth of marketing
  14. Easy Facebook ads on a budget [WEBINAR EXCERPT]
  15. How a solopreneur generated 1,200% ROI on a $50 Facebook ad
Nov 03

31 Social Media Marketing Resources from 3rd Quarter of 2015

By Janice Deleon

3rd quarter smoc

Every week here at we give you a list of our most recent resources with our Weekly Top 5: your lessons, infographics, webinars, and articles. We’ve gathered all those resources from 3rd quarter of the year into one GINORMOUS list for you, making it uber-easy to find what you need to grow your business using social media marketing.


Social Media Strategy

  1. Grow Your Business in 30 Days Using Social Media Marketing
  2. How to Use Social Media Tagging – the Ultimate Guide & INFOGRAPHIC
  3. Two-Minute Video: Create Your Own Stock Photo Library Using Canva
  4. How to Run Your Business on a Chromebook for Less Than $300
  5. Tips for Entrepreneurs from a Top UpWork VA
  6. [QUIZ] What’s the Best Social Network for Your Business?
  7. Are You Wasting Money on Marketing?
  8. CHEAT SHEET: 4 Social Media Engagement Hacks [CLASSIC]
  9. Most Popular Articles from the First Half of 2015
  10. Marketing Challenging Brands — Vlog and Transcript
  11. Six-Figure Working Moms Keep One-Week Time Diary: What They Do Differently
  12. [VIDEO] Secrets to Getting Sales for Small Business Using Social Media


  1. [INFOGRAPHIC} A Baker’s Dozen Tactics to Monetize Your Facebook Fans *
  2. Who Sees My Stuff on Facebook? Business Page vs Personal Profile [INFOGRAPHIC]
  3. How to Get Leads from Your Facebook Business Page *
  4. Updated Facebook 102: Customizing Your Facebook Page *


  1. How to Reach Your Goals EVERY Time [WEBINAR EXCERPT]
  2. [WEBINAR EXCERPT] Broadcasting with Periscope & Blab for Small Business
  3. Periscope & Blab for Your Small Business [WEBINAR REPLAY & RESOURCES] *
  4. BONUS Videos in Twitter Success System Webinar *
  5. [WEBINAR EXCERPT] How I Got to Google’s First Page in 90 Days


  1. [NEW] Instagram 101 Class Updated for New User Interface *
  2. What’s New in Instagram for 2015? *


  1. How to Get Your Video Content Retweeted on Twitter *
  2. Our Most Popular How-To Interviews: 70% of Your Business from Twitter, 200% of Crowdfunding Goal in 7 Days & More
  3. Twitter Image Sizes Cheat Sheet


  1. [VIDEO] How to Create a Hyperlinked Infographic Using Google Slides


  1. Watch Videos on YouTube


  1. Download Presentations from Slideshare
  2. How a New York City Based Small Business Pivoted for Greater Revenue [SLIDESHARE]


  1. Get More Enagement with Your Social Media Swipe File

* Indicates Members-Only Content

social media tagging infographic fi
Oct 13

[PDF DOWNLOAD] The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Tagging [UPDATED 2016]

By Maria Peagler

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

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

[UPDATED 2016]

“Tag — you’re it!”

In a nutshell, that’s what a social media tag does: allows you to notify a friend or business you’ve mentioned them on that social network.

No, they’re not “it,” but they been talked about. And curiosity will prompt them to check out what you’ve said (good or bad).

Every major social network offers the ability to tag: who you can tag, how you do it, and the effect it has is what this guide is all about.

A tag is not a hashtag: a tag identifies a person or brand and notifies them they’ve been mentioned in a post.  A hashtag is a word or phrase describing the content or context of your post and helps people find it.

In the tweet shown below, I’m linking to an infographic on how to use a Google search to find anything online. I used the tag @Google to notify them I mentioned them in my tweet; I used the hashtag #search to increase the visibility of the tweet:

@Google "taps" them on the shoulder to say "you've been mentioned;" #search helps people find the tweet

@Google “taps” them on the shoulder to say “you’ve been mentioned;” #search helps people find the tweet

See the difference? A tag notifies one person/brand directly; a hashtag allows a wider group of people to find your content.




1. Tags is a @ symbol used before a name

A tag is the “at” symbol (@) preceding a person’s or brand’s name on a social network. For example, if you wanted to tag Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, you would use @Tim_Cook (Apple is conspicuously absent from Twitter, however). You’ll see over 17 screenshots of tags in this guide (scroll to see them).

2. Tags can be a person’s name

You can tag a person on every social network using the exact spelling of their name on that account. And their account name may be different on various social networks. I’m @mariapeagler on Instagram, but @sm_onlineclass on Twitter.  Most social networks will display the person’s account name and avatar as you type, so you can select the correct one.

3.  Tags can be a business’ name

All major social networks allow you to tag a business in your posts. However, many limit the ability of a brand to tag a person for privacy reasons (I give you all the details later in this comprehensive guide).

4.  Tells them of your mention

A tag tells the person/brand that you’ve mentioned them in a post and identifies you as the person who did it.

5.  They get a notification

When you’re tagged on social media, you get a message in your notifications area identifying who tagged you; click on it to see the post itself.

6.  Gives people a “heads up”

A tag is literally a “heads up — you’ve been mentioned” courtesy.  Social media can be a noisy, overwhelming place, and tags notify users of they’ve been named in a post in case they’ve missed it.

7.  Tags are public; notifications are private

Because tags are visible in a social media post itself, anyone who has permission to see it will be able to see your tag. However, the notification you receive from the social network is private.

8.  Works on personal & business accounts

Tagging works on both personal and business accounts for every major social network (Slideshare is an exception currently. However, since their purchase by LinkedIn, I expect tagging will be added as a feature soon).


Tips like these and significantly more are covered in



9. Use @ in Mentions & Replies

You can tag Twitter users when you mention them in a tweet. A specific type of mention is called a reply. The difference between the two? I clear it up in #10 and #11

10. Mentions is a tag in tweet body

A Twitter mention is when you tag someone in the body of a tweet. When you tag another Twitter user, they’ll get a message linking to your tweet in their Notifications tab.

social media tagging twitter mention

Mention example: I tagged author Ekaterina Walter in the body of this tweet; she got a msg linking to it in her Notifications tab


social media tagging evernote example

The Power of a Mention: I tagged Evernote in a tweet, which notified them. They saw it, retweeted it, and over 400K people learned of my brand in just one day.

Want to mention someone at the beginning of a tweet, but it’s not a reply? You can do that too: just type a period at the beginning of the tweet, like this Pantene did here:

sm tags twitter mention period

11. Replies begin a tweet

A Twitter reply is usually a response to someone else’s tweet. Use a tag at the beginning of a reply; by doing so, the only people who will see it in their timeline will be those who follow both you and the other user.

social media tagging twitter reply

Because I tagged @Ross_Behrens at the beginning of this tweet, only Ross and the people following both of us will see it

12.  Use tags in tweets or photos

You can tag someone in a tweet or by tagging them in a photo you upload to Twitter.  Here I uploaded an infographic to Twitter and tagged the business I featured in it by clicking on Who’s in this photo?:

social media tagging photo twitter


13.  Search Twitter using tags

You can search for a user’s tag natively on Twitter or by searching for their tag on Google.  Searching for @RisingStarRes on Google search returns Lynda Spiegel (see her tag in #12).

14.  Use “via @WSJ” to credit

An easy way to credit the source of content or a link in your tweet is to end it with “via @username.” So the tweet “On ‘Big Bang,’ hiding jokes are a science via @WSJ” tags the Wall Street Journal and also gives them credit. While they use their own shortened & branded URL, most brands don’t, and this is a simple way to source them.

15.  Use mentions as testimonials

An easy way to provide a public testimonial is to tweet it and tag the brand in it. Easy for you to do, and great publicity for the brand.  In the tweet below, @thedreamregister offered a testimonial about her membership with and tagged us in it:

social media tagging testimonial twitter


16. Tag up to 10 people in a photo

Tagging people in your photo? You can tag up to 10 of them on Twitter.

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



17. Use @ in caption text

The area below the photo in Instagram is called the caption, and this is where you can tag a person or brand using the @ symbol.

18. Can use anywhere in caption

You can tag an Instagram user anywhere in the body of the caption; unlike Twitter, it doesn’t matter where it appears.  The effect is the same: the user gets notification they were tagged on a post.

19.  Can tag people in a photos

You can also tag other Instagram users in a photo by clicking on the image and adding their username, as shown below:

social media tagging instagram

Tap the screen to add a tag to a photo on Instagram


20. Use tags to link to other Instagram accts

Old Spice created a simulated game by tagging its other accounts in an image and setting up the scenario in the caption:

instagram tags old spce gaming

Instagram created a game-like post by setting up a simulated environment and tagged its image with its other accounts as the game’s next steps

21.  Tag users & add emojis

Add some extra life to your Instagram captions by tagging another user and adding emojis to reinforce your message.  Instagram users love their emojis, and it gets the conversation going.

22.  Use tags to showcase products

If your brand offers multiple products and each has its own Instagram account, tag them in your images.  Those tags will act as a hyperlink to take users to the product accounts.

23.  Host a Follow & Tag contest

Want a simple contest for Instagram? Require users to 1) follow your account, and 2) tag a friend on your post. That both gains new followers for you and generates more visibility.

24.  Tag wisely using post etiquette

Instagram tends to have a lot of spam tagging and hashtags, so set yourself apart by being different: only tag those people, brands, or influencers who are relevant to your account.  Don’t tag Oprah in hopes she’ll see you and promote your next book.




25. Can tag people from profile

Facebook allows you the most freedom in tagging on your personal profile: from here, you can tag both people and brands.

26. Can tag only business from biz page

From your business page, you can tag only other businesses, for privacy reasons.  Remember that your Facebook posts are public, and your fans may not want their clickable tag appearing in your post.

In this Facebook post, I tagged the authors of a post I shared. I was able to tag Orbit Media Studios’ business page, they saw the post and responded to it, as did my fans.  Notice this post didn’t get a huge reach — only 21 people. It didn’t need to, because it reached the right people through social media tagging:

social tagging facebook engaging post

27.  Can tag people in photos

From your personal profile, you can tag both people and brands in a photo.  You cannot do either from your business page. However, the UEFA Champions League cleverly gets around that restriction by telling its fans to tag themselves in this photo:

tag yourself sm tag facebook

While you can’t tag a person from your business page, you can suggest your fans do it themselves

28.  Can tag in comments

Tagging is also available in post comments.  While you cannot tag a person from your business page, people can tag their own friends in a comment on your page or even your ad.  It’s an easy way for them to share content.

Men’s Health magazine suggests tagging a friend and liking their page. From the 55,000 Likes and almost 5,000 comments, I’d say it’s working:

sm tag facebook mens health


29.  Groups can tag their members

Facebook groups allow its members to tag each other in comments, so they get notifications of when they’ve been mentioned. In large groups, this allows members to stay engaged when there are far more posts than they’ll ever be able to read.

30.  Fans can tag friends in comment

An easy way to get more visibility for your posts is to encourage your fans to tag their friends in the comments on a post.  SHAPE magazine does this in their squat challenge:

sm tag facebook comments

31.  Ask fans to tag you biz in contest

Tag contests are popular on Facebook too.  Good Morning America had Garth Brooks surprise a Mom at her front door on Mother’s Day, and an easy way to promote the story was by suggesting fans “tag a mom you love in the comments.” While that didn’t enter them in the contest, it did increase the viewership of and buzz around the story:

sm tag gma facebook

GMA gets greater visibility for their Mother’s Day contest by encourage fans to “tag a Mom you love”

32.  Notifies you when tagged

No matter who does the tagging, you get notified in your Facebook menu when you’ve been tagged. It’s a smart way of cutting through the noise on Facebook to say “you’ve been mentioned!”


linkedin33. Tag using the @ symbol

Tag people and brands on LinkedIn using the @ symbol, as you do on other social network.

34. Tag in status updates or comments

You can tag LinkedIn users either in a status update or in comments on your own or others’ status updates.

35.  Tag a person in your network

LinkedIn limits you to tagging only those people you’re already connected with in your network.

36.  Tag a business

You can tag any business having a page on LinkedIn — no restrictions.

37. Tagged name gets notification

The LinkedIn account you tagged gets a notification in the upper right of their Main Menu.

38.  Tagged name links to profile

When you add a tag to your LinkedIn status update, that tag becomes a clickable hyperlink.

39.  Reply to people who tag you

It’s good etiquette to reply to people who tag you on LinkedIn.  They’re providing engagement, and you want to add your voice to the conversation and say “thanks!”

linkedin social media tags

This robust conversation on LinkedIn uses tags to directly address the participants

40.  Great way to start conversation

Tagging is an excellent way to start an intelligent conversation or ask for input on LinkedIn.

Google Plus

google plus41. Tag using the @ or + symbols

Google Plus allows you to tag other users with either the @ symbol or the + sign.

42. Can also tag using email

You can also tag someone on Google Plus using their email address. As you enter it, an autocomplete list will appear, and you can select their name from it.

43.  Can tag people & businesses

You can tag both people and brands on Google Plus. You can also tag people who are not in your Circles.

44.  Can tag in posts/comments

You can tag Google Plus users either in your posts or in comments (on your own post or in other’s posts).

45.  Tag people in Google Photos

Photos or images you upload to Google Plus are managed by their Google Photos application, which allows you to tag both people and businesses:

social media tagging google plus


46.  Feature called Tag People

While Google Photos calls this feature Tag People, you can also tag a business in a photo, as shown below:

google plus tag business photo

47. Tagged name gets notifications

You get notifications you’ve been tagged in an image in your Notifications icon at the top right. By clicking on it, you can see the images as well approve or reject any mentions you don’t want:

google plus notifications


48.  Choose where to receive notifications: desktop, mobile, email, sms, or push notifications

Google Plus has the largest number of notifications options of any social network: you automatically get notifications on desktop and mobile, but you can also have them delivered via email, sms on your smartphone, or by push notifications.



49. Tag using the @ symbol

Pinterest allows you to tag other users using the @ symbol: to tag me, you’d use @mariapeagler.

50. Tag in pin description

You can tag other users in the pin description, shown below the pin photo:

social media tagging pinterest

I was able to tag Marybeth because I follow her on Pinterest

51.  Tag in pin comments

You can also tag other Pinterest users in comments on a pin. While it’s unlikely to be as robust a conversation as you would have on Twitter or LinkedIn, those users will get a notification of your tag and see your mention.

52.  Can tag followers

Pinterest allows you to tag people who you follow. As I type @marybeth, Pinterest displays followers whose names match that and allows me to choose from them.

53.  Can also tag businesses

Want to tag a business on your Pinterest pin? No problem! You do need to follow them first: you can tag only those brands you follow.

54.  Notifies you when tagged

As with other social networks, Pinterest notifies you when you’ve been tagged either in a pin or a description.

55.  Great for contest entries

Run a contest on Pinterest and require entrants to tag your brand. You gain a new follower and get notified they’ve entered your contest.

56.  Cuts through visual clutter

Pinterest is overwhelming to some users because of all the visual stimulation (an artist friend says there’s just too much to look at!). So getting a notification helps to cut through the visual noise and gives a user a “heads up” when they’ve been mentioned.



57. Be innovative to grab attention

How can you be creative in using tags on social media? Can you create a “game” like Old Spice? What if you tag people or brands you mention in a blog post? Start small and have fun!

58. Tell a story using tags

Use tags to tell your brand’s story: tag your clients when you include them in a case study. Tag your vendors to recommend them. Tag influencers to say how they’ve inspired you.

59.  Host contest; entrants must tag you

Tags serve multiple purposes for contests: they gain new followers for your brand, reduce the workload (since you get notifications), and gain greater visibility for your brand.

60.  Use your tag in branding

Use your tag in your branding across the web.  Every infographic I do (including this one for social media tagging) includes my Twitter account tag @sm_onlineclass. Make it easy for people to tag you.

61.  Give credit with a tagged shout out

Impressed with an article? Tag the author.  Shared a great story? Tag the person or brand it’s about. Had a great experience at a restaurant? Take a photo of your meal and tag them on Instagram. Tagging is the EZ button for testimonials and reviews.

62.  Use tag on your products

Can you include a tag on your product packaging (or the product itself)?

63.  Use on SWAG giveaways

If you give away promotional freebies, be sure to include your social media tag on your products. It’s a reminder of your generosity and the product/service you offer.

64.  Tag relevant influencers (wisely)

Yes, I included this one before, but it bears repeating: if you’re tagging an influencer, be sure you have sufficient reason to. Don’t spam them. Be helpful, be relevant, and be authentic.

What’s your social media tag?

social media tagging infographic 300 Click HERE to download the full-size infographic[/ninja-popup]

Every small business can brand themselves and expand their influence using social media tags.

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 tags 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 #smtagprimer.

Share this #smtagprimer Infographic On Your Site

Share this Image On Your Site


google search secrets
Jul 28 Most Popular Infographics from the First Half of 2015

By Janice Deleon

most popular infographics

Infographics are some of the most popular resources we offer here at Here are member favorites from the first half of 2015:

1. The Ultimate Guide to Hashtags Infographic

hashtag infographic

Learn how to use a hashtag, what it is, and how it can help market your small business with over 64 different examples. FREE Infographic download.

2. Facebook Marketing Infographic 2015 Edition

One-page infographic with 64 tactics that get results on Facebook. How to make the most of your fans, posts, insights, get more engagement and more.

3. Instagram Marketing Strategies [INFOGRAPHIC]

64 Instagram marketing strategies mapped out in a handy one-page infographic, easy to print and use a checklist or marketing campaign generator.

4. The Ultimate Guide to Profitable LinkedIn Networking

64 actionable tactics for the new LinkedIn, including Profiles, Company Pages, Search, Gallery, Endorsements, Recommendations, Groups, and more.

5. The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Local Business

local marketing infographic2

64 actionable tactics for social media for local business, including Mobile, SEO, Instagram, Pinterest, and surprising recommendations that yield #1 results.

6. LinkedIn Sales Checklist: 5 Ways to Rock Your Profile to Generate Leads

LinkedIn Sales Checklist you can print & use as a guideline when networking. Learn the 5 essential steps you need to create profitable relationships in LinkedIn.


Jul 22 Most Popular Articles from the First Half of 2015

By Janice Deleon

most popular articles

Articles are some of the most popular resources we offer here at Here are member favorites from the first half of 2015:

1. Social Media for Professional vs. Personal Use: There’s A Difference

Confessions of a millennial intern who thought she was social media savvy. What she learned was that using social for business was completely different!

2. Social Media for Local Business [Case Study]: Hair Salon on Facebook

How can local businesses capitalize on social media marketing to compete with chains and online competition?

Social media for a local business case study shows how a #1 hair salon gets business & increases their branding using Facebook.

3. Creating an Action Plan for Your SMART Social Media Goals: Your Step-by-Step Guide

How to turn your SMART goals into an Action Plan. Step-by-step example of how to create your own plan for your unique business.

4. Why Large-Brand Case Studies Don’t Work for Small Business

Small business needs their own case studies: they don’t have the resources of large brands. Discover 13 case studies of SMB social media.

5. Google Analytics for WordPress: Easily Measure What Matters

Top 3 Metrics Businesses Need to Measure to get 80% of Their Profits from 20% of Their Efforts. Plus How to Install GA Without Code.

6. Visual Storytelling for Brands

How brands can use visual storytelling to make their marketing sticky: case studies of local retailers, b2b brands, and more.

7. What You Need to Know BEFORE You Do Social Media Marketing in Europe

A primer for U.S. brands on how to approach social media marketing in Europe. A guide to cultural differences, privacy concerns, corporate restrictions and more.

8. Social Media Strategy Template: Develop Your Social Media Strategy in 60 Seconds

Download your free social media strategy template and worksheet, and learn how to develop your unique social media marketing strategy for your business.

9. Instagram for Small Business: Three Master Marketers

Learn from three small businesses who have mastered Instagram to promote themselves: a realtor, a cupcake bakery, and a retail clothing boutique.

10.  7 Surprising Secrets I’ve Learned from Beauty Vloggers

Beauty vloggers are not professional marketers, but they are CRUSHING traditional branding & promotion with their own style. Find out how they do it.


Jul 14

32 Social Media Marketing Resources from 2nd Quarter of 2015

By Janice Deleon

Second Quarter list of 2015

Every week here at we give you a list of our most recent resources with our Weekly Top 5: your lessons, infographics, webinars, and articles. We’ve gathered all those resources from 2nd quarter of the year into one GINORMOUS list for you, making it uber-easy to find what you need to grow your business using social media marketing.


Social Media Strategy

  1. How to Turn a Potential PR Disaster into an Opportunity
  2. Help! My Marketing Isn’t Sexy!
  3. Could This Be the Perfect Social Media Post? *
  4. Secrets to Increasing Sales for Small Business Using Social Media Marketing
  5. How to Go on Vacation without Abandoning Your Business
  6. Announces New Online Social Media Certificate Training 
  7. How a New York City-Based Small Business Pivoted for Greater Revenue [CASE STUDY]
  8. How Georgetown Cupcakes Uses Social Media to Keep Customers Coming Back for More
  9. How to “Productize” Your Service Business for Easier Revenue
  10. Social Marketing 2015 — Babies Edition
  11. Small Business vs. Big Business: Tactics You Can Use to Beat Big Business
  12. CHEAT SHEET: 4 Social Media Engagement Hacks
  13. 4 Easy Ways to Make Money with Social Media Marketing
  14. Social Media Strategy Template & Spreadsheet
  15. How to Get More Traffic to Your Website Using Social Media *
  16. Why Your Social Media Marketing Isn’t Generating Revenue



  1. The EASIEST Way to Get Facebook Fans — Updated! *
  2. New Privacy Options in Facebook *
  3. What Gets the Highest Engagement on Facebook in 2015?


  1. How to Craft an Irresistible Offer [WEBINAR EXCERPT]
  2. How to Craft an Irresistible Offer Your Competition Will Want to Steal [Webinar Replay] *
  3. Branding Your Small Business [WEBINAR EXCERPT]
  4. [WEBINAR EXCERPT] Drive Sales from Instagram & Pinterest
  5. [WEBINAR EXCERPT] 3 Must-Have Google Analytics Reports for Small Business
  6. Can Mobile Users Find Your Website [WEBINAR EXCERPT]


  1. Make Instagram Contests Easy *
  2. Want to Sell Clothes Online? You Can Use Instagram for That!

Instagram & Pinterest

  1. Instagram & Pinterest Sales Checklist


  1. 7 Ways to Say Thank You on Twitter

Google Plus

  1. 7 Google Search Secrets to Find Anything Online


  1. How to Use Hashtags on Your Hangtags *
  2. The Oscars Use of Hashtags in 2015 *


  1. SWIPE FILE: How to WOW Potential Customers with Testimonials *

* Indicates Members-Only Content

Socialmediaonlineclasses certificate seal
May 19 Announces Online Social Media Certificate Training

By Maria Peagler

Socialmediaonlineclasses certificate seal is now offering a full, online social media certificate training program.

I’ve waited quite a while to debut this, as I wanted it to be the best social media certificate available anywhere — university, private, online, offline — at an affordable cost.

So here are the details:

What is the Online Social Media Certificate?

It’s an online certificate program designed for people who want to be professional social media managers, for agencies who need training for their new hires, for consultants who want to add social media marketing to their services, and anyone who wants proof they are on the leading-edge of what works in social media marketing today.

The certificate program includes 56 hours of classes, webinars, articles, and a final exam.  The entire curriculum is shown below (click to download the PDF):

Socialmediaonlineclasses online social media certificate program


The all-inclusive program includes classes on EVERY major social network, webinars on strategy & management, case studies, mobile marketing, visual content, and more.

Plus, you get 1:1 coaching with founder Maria Peagler, who will mentor you in your studies and in landing your dream job and/or clients.

Finally, once you pass your final exam, you can be listed in our social media certified consultants directory.

How Long Does the Program Take to Complete?

Our certificate program contains 56 hours of instruction in multimedia classes, video webinars, articles, and infographics.  However, it’s completely self-paced. How long it takes you to complete depends on your skill level and experience.  Some people take two hours to complete a class, others need two months.  You go at your own pace.  You have one full year from your date of enrollment to complete the program.

How Much Does the Program Cost?

The online social media certificate program at costs $897, which is all-inclusive: the entire curriculum, coaching with founder Maria Peagler, and your final exam.  I’m proud to offer a superior training program at an affordable cost that doesn’t place an undue burden of student loan debt on our members.

What is Required to Earn My Certificate?

To earn your certificate, you must take a final exam which is approximately 100 questions, and score at least 75%. You have only one opportunity to take the exam and pass it.  You can purchase additional opportunities to take the exam for $150 each.

How is Your Certificate Program Different Than Those Offered Elsewhere?

Excellent question, and I’m glad you asked! Our program is unique in these ways:

  • entire curriculum is up-to-date with what works NOW in social media marketing, not six months ago or last year
  • you get 1:1 coaching every month with founder Maria Peagler
  • you learn how to get ROI on every major social network for your clients
  • you learn from a teacher who DOES social media marketing every day to earn her full-time living
  • you learn search engine optimization, mobile marketing, visual content, and other topics not covered by other programs
  • all this at a cost not requiring you to take out student loans

Why Do I Need to Renew My Certificate?

Because social media marketing changes so quickly, it’s imperative that your skills reflect the latest tactics, techniques, and strategies that work for social networks as they operate now, not as they did last year.  And employers and clients need to know that your skills are up-to-date.

Most major certifications require retraining, including CPR, lifeguarding, and other critical skills.

When you renew your certification for $150 each year, you get access to the entire curriculum for an additional three months so you can update your skill set.

When Can I Start?

Right now. Our program is live, and you can proudly earn & display your certificate within 30 days when you enroll today.

Apr 29

How to Get Sales Using Instagram & Pinterest [WEBINAR EXCERPT]

By Janice Deleon

Watch this webinar excerpt to see how one tiny brand sells out of their inventory in less than 24 hours. Every. Day.  You can get the full webinar FREE here.

Get Webinar FREE with SMOC Membership

Video Transcript

Maria Peagler: Let’s sum up what it takes to sell on Instagram. The easiest thing for you to do is just post to your website or your blog or wherever it is on social media and just say, “Hey, on the blog today here’s what I’m doing. On Facebook today, here’s what I’m doing.” Just remind people, “Hey, there’s something new going on here. Here’s where you can find this.” Something that’s not quite as easy but it’s still pretty easy is something called micro content. This is what I do. I do a lot of info graphics but those are really too big to post on Instagram.

I do a very small version with one fact on it and I do a shortened link that people can remember to type in their URL in their browser. Because you cannot link to anything on Instagram on your post unless it is in your profile. That’s the only thing you can do, so I do it this way. Then, finally it’s more involved but do like Fox and Fawn and give people an EZ Button. They came up with a really really smart way for people to buy directly from them on Instagram by having their credit card on file and just saying, “Ring me up.” I just think it’s genius. They are doing really well.

The key to getting Instagram sales is having a clear photo. Here’s Elise’s journal photos and she’s got details about when and where to buy. They sell out within a day. Be very detailed in your description. Fox and Fawn in their profile gave you everything that you needed to know. They don’t put holds on items, no returns. Call their telephone number to purchase, where they are. They’re very detailed in their descriptions. Things sell out within an hour. This sweatshirt sold within an hour. Give people an easy way to do it. Theirs was a comment with, “Ring me up.” That is Instagram.

Now we’re going to move on to Pinterest which works completely differently. Pinterest works on both the mobile and desktop so there are no limitations there. The one thing that you really need to understand is Pinterest drives traffic and it drives a lot of it. If you are looking to get traffic to your website, Pinterest will do it for you. It is the number one driver of traffic of any social network. More than Twitter, more than YouTube, certainly more than Instagram. It is a huge driver of traffic to your website.

There are a couple things that you need to do on Pinterest. One is to have a really good image. Again, it doesn’t need to be professional but there are some things that you can do to get a really good image that gets a lot of likes, re-pins and traffic. Here’s what it is. You are actually going to get this template that you can use or give to your graphic designer. This is one of the goodies you’re going to get.

The original blog post appears here.

small business featured image
Apr 14

Small Business Tactics You Can Use to Compete Against Big Box Competitors

By Maria Peagler

Small Business Tactics You Can Use to Compete Against Big Box Competitors

small business featured image

I got a call from a floral shop owner in a small town, and she was scared . . .

One of the HUGE online floral brands was running Google ads that made them “appear” to be local.

They had a big budget, an ad agency . . .

And they were taking away her business.

What could she do?

We developed a strategy in her personal coaching sessions with me (included with her membership), she took classes here at to learn search engine optimization and tactics only local businesses can use.  She developed a unique strategy based on her shop and her location, enabling her to compete against those bigger brands and take away THEIR business.

How? That’s what this post is all about —

1. Don’t Try to Win Shoppers on Price

If you’re s small brand who is competing against an online retailer or big box store, the price battle is one you’ll lose.

Ultimately, however, you’ll come out the winner.


Because shoppers who buy based on the lowest price are NEVER loyal: they go with whomever has the lowest price at the time. They’re also demanding, difficult to please, and rarely satisfied.

Let someone else have those clients — you don’t need the headache.

So first, realize you won’t win over everyone, nor do you want to.


2. Offer Specialized Products the Big Brands Can’t

Every floral shop offers wedding and funeral bouquets. But what don’t they offer?

  • Floral arrangements based on the colors of local high school and college teams
  • Themed arrangements for the local festival and celebrations
  • Participation in local cultural events
  • Specialized same-day delivery to local hospitals

Last year a family friend was in a horrific accident and recovering in an Atlanta hospital.  I wanted to send a special floral bouquet, but because I’m over an hour away, I didn’t know which florists specialized in delivering to that hospital or even if she could receive flowers.

I made one phone call to the hospital, and found out that yes, this patient could receive flowers, and they even recommended a local florist who specialized in same-day deliveries:  Peachtree Petals.

small business compete big box peachtree petals

Peachtree Petals has a dedicated page on their website telling you which local hospitals they deliver to. They even have a same-day count-down timer to let you know how long you have to place an order.

They offered a dedicated website page for local hospital floral deliveries, reassuring me that they did deliver to the hospital I needed, and could do so within the SAME day.

Later in this post I’ll share related resources you can use for powerful tactics available only to local businesses.

Here’s another incredible small business: a local Alpharetta, Georgia bakery called Mama Bakes Safe Cakes.  While that may sound like an odd name, any mother whose child has food allergies can immediately identify with what this unique bakery has to offer: allergen-free baked goods.

small business big box competitors mama bakes safe cakes alpharetta ga

You can find cupcakes in any grocery store, Wal-Mart and Target across the country.  What you can’t find is a bakery that can assure you that their baked goods were prepared in an allergen-free environment and are safe for your child to eat.

Specialized bakeries can charge prices for one cupcake that would buy six cupcakes at a grocery store, because it’s challenging to find bakeries that specialize in allergen-free products.  Peace-of-mind for parents comes with a higher price tag they are more than happy to pay.

Score one for the little guys!

3. Show the People Behind Your Small Business

Who’s the face of Home Depot, Starbucks, or Target?

No one.

Here’s where small businesses can win BIG: let your customers get to know the people behind your business.

The secret to capturing the hearts of your customers is your PEOPLE. They are the ones who greet us as we come through the door, who ask us how our families are doing, who know what we want for dinner before we even order.  All of these special touches make your store feel like HOME when we walk through the door.

No big box retailer can come close to that.

The Woodbridge Inn is a small restaurant in Jasper, Georgia, located in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains. Owner Hans Rueffert is carrying on the tradition his father Joe started in running the business:

woodbridge inn small business compete against big retailers

Hans competed in the Food Network Star reality competition, does local cooking shows, and has fought a fierce battle with stomach cancer.  Locals know Hans, his family, and his story because he freely shares them:

hans rueffert gluten free woodbridge inn small business

One evening this winter my husband and I were enjoying dinner at the the Woodbridge Inn when Hans came out with his new baby Heidi, and introduced her to every single table. We talked food, family, and connected over a great meal prepared by great people:

baby heidi woodbridge inn small business jasper ga




4. Participate in Local Events

Peachtree Petal’s Facebook page shows their talented designers participating in at the High Museum of Art’s “Art in Bloom” event.  No online retailer can show this kind of local support!

small business compete big box

Peachtree Petals participates in local cultural events. You get to know the people behind the brand.

On Mama Bakes Safe Cake’s Facebook page is a “thank you” from a runner delighted to be greeted with allergen-free cupcakes after finishing a local road race:

mama bakes safe cakes local participation small business


Ultimately, big box retailers don’t know your town’s people, their stories, nor will they win their loyalties with low prices.  Connection, incredible service, and specialized products will set your small business apart and allow it to thrive, even when you hear the FEE-FI-FO-FUM of giant big-box retailers approaching.

No worries. You’ve got this.

Small Business vs Big Business Checklist

Use this handy checklist as your guide to offering a specialized experience no big brand retailer can match:

beat big box competitors infographic

Share this Image On Your Site

Related Resources

The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Local Business

Social Media for Local Business Webinar

Search Engine Optimization 101 Class


Apr 06

65 Social Media Marketing Resources from 1st Quarter of 2015

By Janice Deleon


Every week here at we give you a list of our most recent resources with our Weekly Top 5: your lessons, infographics, webinars, and articles. We’ve gathered all those resources from 1st quarter of the year into one GINORMOUS list for you, making it uber-easy to find what you need to grow your business using social media marketing.


Social Media Strategy

  1. 1:1 Coaching Each Month for Members  *
  2. 4 Easy Ways to Make Money with Social Media Marketing
  3. Be More Efficient in 2015 by Identifying Your Top 20%
  4. CHEAT SHEET: 4 Social Media Engagement Hacks *
  5. Emailing Leads from a Trade Show – is that SPAM? *
  6. How to Crowdfund Your Business
  7. How to Get More Traffic to Your Website Using Social Media
  8. How to Repurpose Your Content  *
  9. How to Run a Profitable Flash Sale *
  10. Member Question Re: Dark Social Media *
  11. My Favorite 15+ Books for Small Business Owners 
  12. Need More Traffic to Your Website? Think Again! 
  13. New Private Mastermind Group for Members    *
  14. NEW! Social Media Strategy Template & Spreadsheet *
  15. One-on-One Coaching for Members     *
  16. SMOC is #1 on Alltop with This Article  *
  17. Social Media Certification for Each Class *
  18. Social Media Hacks You Can Use for More Engagement on ANY Network
  19. Social Media Strategy Template *
  20. Social Media Strategy Template & Spreadsheet *
  21. Start 2015 with an Updated Social Media Action Plan
  22. SWIPE FILE: How to WOW Potential Customers with Testimonials *
  23. The Oscars Use of Hashtags in 2015
  24. The State of Social Media for Small Business [CLASSIC]
  25. The Ultimate Guide to Hashtags
  26. This Surprising Social Network Outperforms All Others
  27. Use Your Website Assets in Your Online Marketing *
  28. VIDEO – How to Find Your Target Market *
  29. What’s the #1 Thing You Wished You Understood Better About Marketing?
  30. Why Your Social Media Marketing Isn’t Generating Revenue
  31. Best Books for Small Business Owners [INFOGRAPHIC]
  32. Content Generation Infographic  *
  33. Vote for Your Favorite Version of Our Classic Infographic *



  1. 64 Tactics to Use on Facebook in 2015
  2. Brand New for 2015: Facebook Marketing [INFOGRAPHIC]
  3. Facebook Changes Post Scheduling Options   *
  4. Great Example of a Simple Business Video *
  5. How to Do Business-to-Business Networking on Facebook *
  6. How to Find a Facebook Post in a Group *
  7. How to Transition Friends to Your Facebook Business Page *
  8. How to Use a Facebook Ad to Market Vacation Rentals *
  9. How to Use Hashtags on Your Hangtags *
  10. NEW CLASS! Facebook Advertising on a Budget  *
  11. New Facebook Advertising Lessons in Facebook 103  *
  12. New Facebook Private Group for Members *
  13. The One Simple Step that Increases Facebook Reach Exponentially!  *
  14. Website Images Won’t Appear on Facebook Post Links *
  15. What Gets the Highest Engagement on Facebook in 2015?
  16. What’s the Proper Recognition for a Facebook Like? *


  1. [WEBINAR EXCERPT] 3 Must-Have Google Analytics Reports for Small Business *
  2. Can Mobile Users Find Your Business? Webinar, Slide Deck, Audio & Infographic *
  3. Can Mobile Users Find Your Website [WEBINAR EXCERPT] *
  4. Can Mobile Users Find Your Website? Webinar Replay & Resources *
  5. How to Automate Your Social Media Marketing: [Webinar EXCERPT] *
  6. How to Protect Your Business from Hackers: [Webinar Excerpt] *
  7. How to Protect Your Business from Hackers: Webinar Replay *
  8. THURSDAY: How to Protect Your Business from Hackers – Webinar, Slide Deck, Audio & Infographic


  1. Your Post Repinned Over 100 Times on Pinterest? 


  1. [INTERVIEW] How an Entrepreneur Gets Over 70% of Her Business from Twitter

Google Plus

  1. 3 Must-Have Google Analytics Reports for Small Business
  2. Google Analytics Made Simple: Live Webinar + Recording + MP3 Audio + Infographic *


  1. LinkedIn Fixes Their BIG Mistake of 2014


  1. Help! I Have Multiple YouTube Channels and Don’t Know How to Fix It! *


  1. Do Local Directories Help a Local Business’ SEO? *

* Indicates Members-Only Content

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.

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?

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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.

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