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Start Tagging on Facebook, It’s Time

label_tagTwitter and Facebook both offer the ability to tag people and pages. Twitter got us in the habit of using that @ sign early by offering the instant gratification of alerting friends and creating conversation. Facebook introduced tagging later on, though. Although tagging a page alerts the owner and might display the original post on a condensed sidebar, Facebook lacks the quick amplification of something like a retweet.

Well, it’s time to get in the habit of tagging relevant pages on Facebook. Big changes to the newsfeed algorithm will affect who can see the posts that your page makes. Facebook will soon be showing your updates to the fans of pages you’ve tagged whether they’ve liked your page or not. Here are some tips for making the most of this new feature:

googleplay tagged on faceook post1) Tag retailers

This one is simple. If your album is on iTunes and you’re sharing an iTunes link, tag iTunes’ Facebook page in the post (or Amazon or Spotify or Rdio, etc.). Just make sure you’re tagging only one retailer per post. Facebook won’t want to show a post including Spotify tags to Amazon’s followers since the content is inaccurate and irrelevant to the fan base.

2) Tag similar, relevant artists

Posting about tour dates? Tag the other bands that are also on the tour. If an album has guest appearances, tag the artist appearing on the track(s). Tag the director of a new video and tag the blog or website it’s premiered on. The information in your post is interesting to the fans of the pages you are tagging, so make sure you share this info with them, too.

spam facebook post3) Be relevant

Notice a word that I keep repeating? Facebook isn’t going to share just any tagged content with any page. Facebook wants to increase the reach of content by matching it to potential fans that will genuinely find the post interesting. Facebook doesn’t want a crazy spam situation where every band is posting a link to purchase their music and then tagging @Pepsi @LadyGaga @KanyeWest @Ford to try to get the post in front of everyone possible.

4) Be patient

Just like everything on the internet, this will probably lead to a lot of complaints. Algorithms need data to better themselves and there will probably be quick changes and less-than-perfect user experiences as this new feature is integrated into the newsfeed.

For more info on making the most of your Facebook posts, check out our best practices guide.

#HashtagsHere #HashtagsThere #HashtagsEverywhere

hashtagA few weeks ago, a client asked me what the best practice is when it comes to using hashtags. After looking into how we’ve used hashtags at The Orchard and digging up some good examples I’ve witnessed, here are the key takeaways I’d like to share… 

#WhatIsAHashtag

The definition according to Twitter:

The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keyword or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorise messages.

For example, “Headline acts announced for #Glastonbury2014.”

#HowToUseHashtags

No spaces should be used when writing/creating a hashtag. It doesn’t matter if your hashtag contains multiple words, you can still group them together. If you want to differentiate between words, use capitals instead, e.g. #RapGod. Uppercase letters will not alter the search results, so if you search for #RapGod you’ll get the same results as #rapgod.

Don’t overuse hashtags, use a maximum of two or three in your posts. Use too many and your followers may think you are spamming.

Try to keep the hashtag short, for example, you can shorten #TheMarshallMathersLP2 to #MMLP2.

You can define your hashtags by using directories like tagdef.com. In addition to giving your hashtag a definition and listing, tagdef also allows you to search for the meaning of existing tags like #oomf.

Numbers are supported e.g. #Glastonbury2014. However punctuation marks are not.

Hashtags can occur at the beginning, middle or end of your post.

#SupportingPlatforms

Some of the social media platforms that support hashtags include:

Twitter: Twitter is where the concept of the modern hashtag began. Twitter hashtags are mainly used to denote specific topics of conversation, the “Trends” sidebar of your Twitter feed curates a list of hashtags you might be interested in, based on your tweets. Clicking on a hashtag word in any message will show you all other tweets marked by that keyword.

Facebook: Facebook added hashtag support in June 2013. Hashtags on Facebook aren’t used as much as they are on Twitter. Nevertheless like Twitter, using hashtags on Facebook turns topics and phrases into clickable links in your post. When you click a hashtag, you’ll see a feed of posts that include that hashtag.

Instagram: Hashtags can be used to accompany photos shared on Instagram and help you discover new accounts and gain followers.

Vine: Hashtags on Vine are used to complement your videos to maximise sharability.

Google+: If you click on a hashtag in Google+, the search results will include the original hashtags as well as posts with similar tags and keywords.

Tumblr: Tumblr has a specific “Tag” section where you can add tags. These tags work in the same way as Twitter hashtags, organising post by topics, but the hash symbol is inserted automatically.

Pinterest: Pinterest hashtags can be used to mark and search for content.

… Continue Reading

The Elephant In The Room: Instagram Video > Vine

July 8, 2013 Marketing No Comments

vine-instagram-200pxCan we all just call out what everyone is thinking… Instagram Video wins.

I’ll actually start with why I am not too thrilled about admitting this. Instagram from its inception has been simple, clean and user friendly, and in my opinion part of its success can be attributed to catering to the insanely short social attention span of its users. You can scan through your Instagram photos and glean insight into what your friends or your favorite brands/bands/artists are doing within a matter of seconds. With the addition of Instagram Video, depending on how many of your friends are posting videos (5 million clips were loaded the first day of Instagram Video’s release), this will exponentially increase the time you have to spend on the App to check in on what’s goin’ on. I tend to feel like I have been spammed when I’m scrolling through my feed and see a video (Instaspamming? Sorry, had to).

All that said, Instagram still wins. It has better video quality and given the incredible success of Instagram already, has a built in scaleable fan and user base. It is also more viral than Vine, as it allows you to share on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, Email and Foursquare. As with most social tools, no one wants to feel left out so if all of your friends start to post videos on Instagram, you will eventually do it — I’ll give you a dollar if you don’t. Lastly, the 15-second format is a pleaser among the majority of agencies and brands as it is familiar ad-length/promo-length territory.

Let’s let Vine have some time to shine (after all we did write a nice blog post about this already which still holds true): its videos are embeddable, which is great, and Vine is far less imposing than Instagram Video is. Vine users know what they are getting with the App… now, Instagram is a crapshoot.

Finally, let’s discuss music marketing with video. At this moment in time, I think both of these vehicles are great ways to tease new content and convey your true personality within your social activity. If you have learned anything from this debate, it is that people are using and consuming social video content — if I were you, I’d use both until you see the scale tip completely (even though it’s on it’s way).

Cut the “Ribbon” on Your Digital Store

February 11, 2013 Marketing No Comments

Ribbon LogoSo you’re a band with a new digital track, T-shirt, or sellable product and you want to get it out to your fans? But there’s a problem. You don’t have a strong digital storefront and your followers constantly have to jump through a series of hoops and login forms to buy your stuff. Well, fear not idle salesmen. Ribbon, a payment startup company that recently closed a $1.6 million seed round, is here to cure your selling woes.

The AnglePad-backed company, based in San Francisco, allows you to sell to fans via Facebook, Twitter, your website, personal blog, or any other social media through a one-page checkout system. Whether you’re looking to sell digital, physical, or service products, Ribbon makes it simple. For digital products, the company hosts all of the files as well as the delivery of the product at the end of every sale. Both physical and service items are given simple checkout pages that can be linked to from anywhere on the web.

So, if you have a strong Twitter base, you can now leverage your feed to sell your swag. Simply include the Ribbon link in your Tweet and your followers will be able to preview and purchase your product directly from your stream. The service also provides sellers the ability to embed a “Ribbon Button” on their website or blog, allowing visitors to purchase items with a click of a button — e-commerce has never been so easy.

But just as e-commerce becomes even more manageable, the letter for digital sales is changing… to F-commerce. With the launch of Facebook in-stream payments, Facebook users now never need to leave the website to make a purchase. And with payment services like Ribbon, this means easier purchasing for your fans from your Facebook page. Paul Wall has already embraced the service, selling songs with the Ribbon Button on his website.

The best part about Ribbon is that sellers only pay the company when they make a sale (5% + 30 cents per transaction). Check out the Ribbon website to create your own account and get more information on the service.

Back That Stat Up

Pie ChartSocial Media is a beast. Am I right? And don’t even get me started on Social Media Analytics. One day the world is reeling about one service, one hot new tool, and just when you think you’ve got it… you wake up to something harder, better, faster, stronger. I’ve found it to be essential that when you’re managing social aspects of your band/label or company you learn to love the hunt for new services and go with the flow.

So now that you’ve got me started… I wanted to take this post to tout a few of my fave social media analytics sites that have a FREE or small membership fee version that is useful for tracking The Orchard’s social media activity. I know you can piecemeal a bunch of different tools together but I try to keep as much under one (or two) umbrella(s) as I can, though I do manage  our Twitter activity and Facebook activity separately. I’d also love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on how you analyze your social media profiles and activity, so if you have any suggestions, hit me up in the comments!

Hootsuite (Twitter)

I don’t use Twitter direct anymore. I only use Hootsuite, main reasons being timed tweets and analytics. We usually have a large amount of news that we want to blast out to the world, so instead of hitting you all at once, I can space them out throughout the day. Alternatively, if I have a busy day, I can schedule as many as I like to post throughout the day and then let ‘em fly! Their analytics tool is robust and since we fork over the minimal monthly fee for their Pro Package ($5.99), I can customize what reports we generate so only the Orchard-applicable info is included. I do gather Facebook analytics with Hootsuite in addition to Twitter because it pulls directly from Facebook Insights (it’s nice to have it all in one analytics report). That said, I don’t publish actual Facebook activity using Hootsuite because you cannot tag your posts, which is mega important for us.

Crowdbooster (Twitter)

Great potential here. You can access daily follower increases, top tweets and top influential followers. You can schedule tweets here, too. They’re still hammering out custom date range counts, which is very valuable to me and this is one of the main reasons I haven’t fully committed to Crowdbooster, yet. It’s also difficult to dig deep into each stat they report and break it down further. I’ve emailed with the CEO and he’s assured me they are working on fixing the date range issue (I appreciated the quick feedback). I like these guys, not just for their platform that seems to keep getting better, but especially for their customer service!

TweetStats (Twitter)

Light-hearted company voice (their tag line is: In ur Tweets, Graphin’ Your Stats!) and accuracy take lead over fancy interface, but this service delivers stats impressively and that may be enough. If you’re looking to identify when you’re tweeting most (density), who you interact with most, and which interface you’re using most, TweetStats is great. If you catch them on a busy time of day, it could take up to 5 minutes or so to load, but it’s worth the wait. I have to admit, I prefer the more user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing dashboards of other services but still appreciate these guys for cutting through all the b.s. and delivering solid stats.

Question for Readers: I’m still looking for the most accurate RT count per month (not total retweets)! I know I can manually count RTs but have you heard of anything less labor intensive?

Facebook/Facebook Insights

Well, to be honest, I really don’t dig Facebook Insights. Luckily, I’m only tracking very basic analytics such as likes/post reach/people talking about this etc., which I can get through Hootsuite and track together with my Twitter analytics there. There are also quite a few hoops you have to go through to get data from a certain date range (for some stats you want within a defined time period, you have to download the spreadsheet then sift through that, instead of just getting it straight from the Insights dashboard). That said, I’m pretty much 100% Facebook when it comes to actually posting, capturing data and interacting socially.

I’m waiting for the day that my wildest social media dreams are met with a full, comprehensive dashboard that handles all my social media profiles. Yes, yes… there are websites that can put all of your social profiles in one place to view (Cyfe for instance), however, I have not found that any are more functional, efficient or accurate than using separate services or tools to analyze each.

Thanks to these products for helping me along… I’m looking forward to seeing who beats out who amongst the multitude of services — new and not-as-new — that offer social media analytics. I’ve checked out the following and for different reasons, they haven’t met all of my needs but I will keep them on my list to “keep an eye on:” PeopleBrowsr, Twenty Feet, SocialBro.

Happy trackin’!

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About The Orchard

The Orchard is a pioneering music, video and film distribution company and top-ranked Multi Channel Network operating in more than 25 global markets. Founded in 1997, we empower businesses and creators in the entertainment industry.

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