Hashtags

You’re probably already familiar with hashtags, but just in case, hashtags are a convention in which groups of messages/posts/status updates are linked together by placing a hash symbol (#) directly before keywords. All of the major social networks including late comers Linkedin and Facebook implement hashtags in some form or fashion.

Twitter Party/Chat

A Twitter party is an online event using Twitter in which people converse about a given topic.

When hosting a Twitter Party you will need to choose a unique hashtag for users to tie their messages to your event. The uniqueness of your hashtag is very important to prevent random unrelated messages from crashing the party. Your hashtag should also ideally be easy to use and help bolster your brand.

Tips

  • Invite niche authorities to participate in your Twitter party.
  • Plan an optimal time such as after normal business hours, and send out invitations in advance
  • Use any available resources to promote the event including your website and other social networks.
  • Ask friends and followers to help get the word out.
  • Plan lots of input and questions to help the conversation flow.

Photo Challenge

The beauty of a photo challenge is that it can be held on any social network that supports photos including but not limited to Instagram, Flickr, Tumblr, Google+, Twitter, and Facebook. You can chose to use one network but a better option would be to hold your photo challenge/contest across multiple networks to reach more users.

Tips

  • Like a Twitter party you’ll want to use a good unique hashtag to help group your challenge photos.
  • You don’t have to send out invites for a photo challenge as they typically span across a number of days, or weeks (even up to a year).
  • Many brands have chosen their top challenge photos to appear on ads, broadcasts, and other high profile media, this could be a good incentive for people to participate in your challenge.
  • If republishing photos from a contest be sure to check licencing and restrictions for each social network you use.

Google+ Hangout

A Google+ Hangout event is heads and shoulders above the other alternatives mentioned here in terms of media richness and ability to perpetuate the conversation after the event is over. An “on air” hangout is live streamed to your Google+ page and YouTube channel, a live player can also be embedded in your website. On Air Hangouts are recorded and saved to YouTube and the recording can be edited, this is great for people who may not be able to participate but would still like so see the discussion later, as well as for technical discussions that people can refer back to.Although anyone can watch a public hangout they only host up to 10 people.

Tips

  • Schedule your hangout in the events section of your Google+ account.
  • Invite niche authorities to participate in your hangout.
  • Ask participants to login in prior to the start of the hangout in order to test audio and video.
  • Plan an optimal time such as after normal business hours.
  • Use any available resources to announce the event including your website and other social networks.
  • Ask friends and followers to help get the word out.
  • Plan lots of input and questions to help the conversation flow.

Facebook Chat

Currently hosting a Facebook chat entails having a conversation using Facebook’s recent comment replies/threaded comments feature. This may change in the future with website TechCrunch recently reporting that Facebook is testing a “Host Chat” room feature, but for now Facebook chats are relegated to post comments.

Tips

  • Use an attractive image for the post/status that will be used to host the chat
  • Invite authorities to participate in your Facebook chat.
  • As with other events plan an optimal time.
  • Use any available resources to promote the event including your website and other social networks.
  • Ask friends and followers to help get the word out.
  • Plan lots of input and questions to help the conversation flow.

Google Authorship

Authorship in Google SERPs has been around for over a year now and if you’re serious about driving engagement and building authority you really, really, really should have this in place already. It will basically turn each of your search result appearances into an opportunity to expand your audience and increase your brand recognition.

Setting it up is a two-step process

1.Add a link on your Google+ profile under the “contribute to” section back to your the blog/site you write for (in my case it would be: http://searchfactory.com.au/blog/author/wardell-l/).

2. Make sure your blog is set up to add authorship links on your posts back to your Google+ profile with rel=”author”(in my case it looks like this:<a href=”https://plus.google.com/118384773751482052289/” rel=”author”>Google Plus</a>).

If you have any SEO plugins installed on your blog the step two may be as simple as adding your Google+ url to your user info in the admin section of your blog.

With social media becoming an increasing ranking factor in seo it’s important to implement every tool at your disposal to stay ahead of the game. Do you have any success stories, or tips you’d add for the topics listed above?