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  • How To Build An Effective Hashtag Campaign

    Monday, January 12, 2015 by
    Hashtag Campaign Hashtags have slowly become a part of the popular culture, especially the digital culture. Over time they’ve grown to become a central part of an effective social media campaign. However, if you’re just getting started with using hashtags they can be overwhelming, and frankly a bit confusing. Once you get the hang of using hashtags it will get much easier, but it’s important to know the basics so you have a better chance at running an effective campaign from the start.  

    What Is A Hashtag?

    In a way, hashtags can be seen as keywords. They allow for the aggregation of information that’s all based around a certain topic. Originally, hashtags were used by Twitter as a way to categorize their messages. Since their inception hashtags have grown across other platforms as well, including Instagram, Flickr, Vine, and more recently Facebook. For instance, if you’re posting a picture of a tasty cup of coffee on Instagram, you may tag that picture with the hashtag #coffeelove. Or, if you’re posting a picture of a beautiful sunset, you could use the hashtag #sunset. Of course, hashtags apply to more than just pictures. In order to utilize the power of hashtags for your business it’s crucial you create your own. You may be able to reach new followers by hopping on existing hashtags, but to truly create the buzz you’re looking for you’ll want to get creative. A successful hashtag campaign will help to build awareness for your brand or business, or even promote certain contests or giveaways you might be running.  

    Rules For An Effective Hashtag Campaign

    The most effective hashtags are short, sweet and inspire action. To get to that point it’s going to take a little work, but it’ll be well worth it.   1. Be Unique, But Not Too Unique When you’re creating your own hashtag you’ll want to make sure it’s unique and memorable. If you already have a company hashtag you’ll want to improvise on this to show association, but still have enough difference so it stands out. When it comes to length try not to overcomplicate things. Face it, no one will remember a hashtag that’s a sentence long, but it will also be hard to differentiate from other tags if it’s only a few letters long. Finding the right balance is crucial. Your hashtag also needs to be relevant to the campaign you’re trying to run. For example, if you’re trying to create a hashtag around an event make sure the hashtag alludes to what the event is actually about. Once you’ve come up with a unique, catchy, easy to remember, and slightly descriptive hashtag, then it’s time to move on.   2. Use It Across Multiple Channels As was mentioned earlier, hashtags are useful across multiple social media platforms. When you’re executing your campaign you’ll want to have a presence on the social media platforms your audience hangs out at. People use different social media platforms for different purposes, but your hashtag can help weave a thread back to your business throughout all these seemingly disparate networks. This will help your hashtag get more exposure across more social channels, which will increase the likelihood of your campaign catching fire. Secondly, this will help people remember your hashtag, as they’ll be exposed to it in multiple settings.   3. Always Research First You’d hate to tweet your super unique, extremely creative hashtag only to realize that another person has been using the hashtag for an entirely different purpose. This would not only be detrimental to the success of your campaign, but could also result in serious customer backlash. It’s always worth it to spend time researching potential hashtags to see what comes up. Make sure you check across multiple platforms as well. By doing this beforehand you could avoid a seriously embarrassing incident for your company.   Overall, an effective hashtag campaign is all about using a memorable hashtag at the right time, all in service of your customers. The steps above will get you going in the right direction.  
    Photo Credit: quinn.anya via compfight
  • Fighting Spam On Your Social Ads

    Friday, December 5, 2014 by
    The world of social media is supposed to be just that - social. It's a place where people can freely speak their mind about a product, brand, or their favorite cat (we're looking at you Grumpy cat). This can be amazingly wonderful for some advertisers, but then it can also be their worst enemy. This post will cover the negative effects of social on social (Twitter and Facebook) ads and how you can fight them. Fighting Comment Spam  


    The most common type of spam on Twitter originate from fake accounts posting affiliate links or links to their products. These users are essentially riding the curtails of legitimate advertisers in order to get some visibility for free. How effective is this for them? We don't know.
    Another type of spam comes from upset users. Although we all try our best to provide the absolute best products available, there will always be someone that is unsatisfied for some reason. These users can be very vocal about their opinions on social channels, even attempting to hijack otherwise civil threads with hate comments.
    Fortunately with Twitter, you'll be able to see comments on any of your posts coming through your notifications. So if you're watching your notifications, you'll be able to quickly identify spam. The downside is that you can't delete any of these comments, deserved or not. You can mark them as spam, but the chance of them being removed is very slim.
    For Twitter, you really have two options.
    • Leave the tweet alone and hope the spam doesn't get noticed
    • Delete the tweet and recreate it in the campaign

    The second option is one of the worst options because, as many advertisers will know, Twitter rewards engagement. So if you have a tweet that has a lot of favorites and retweets, the tweet will tend to show more often. Although, Twitter does reward freshness, so it is overall a balancing act and a judgement call.  


    If you're using Facebook's "Boost Post" option, your ads are your posts on your page and you can easily filter through the posts with comments. However, if you're using dark posts, then this is a much more involved process.
    Similar to Twitter, the most comment type of spam is affiliate links, product links, and even profile or page links. On Facebook, these can be deleted and abusive users easily banned.
    The next type of spam essentially consists of generally nonsensical, but positive comments. Mostly these are emojis and smiley faces. There are rumors that some fake accounts are created for specific purposes and these users click / comment in order to appear active. While we can't verify this information, we aren't going to usually delete the positive messages.
    Currently, Facebook doesn't notify page administrators of comments on ads. However, they do notify for likes, which seems slightly backwards. However, here are 3 methods of finding your comments on newsfeed and mobile ads.
    1. Manually Go Through Each Campaign I generally separate ad sets by display type. This makes it easier to go through all ads in these ads set in the campaign manager. The process is listed below:
    • Click ad name so a view of the ad will drop down
    • Look at view of ad to see if there are any comments
    • If there are comments, click "Ad Preview"
    • If this has a newsfeed element, you can click "View in Newsfeed"
    • This will open the demo in your newsfeed and you can click comments
    • Remove spam as needed
      2. Manually Save Links To Add in Spreadsheets This is a tedious process, especially for those that create a lot of ads. To start, you'll need to complete the steps in number 1 above. Then follow these:
    • In the demo view, hit the arrow on the top right of the post
    • Click save post
    • Go to your saved posts (you can get there by clicking this link)
    • Click the post
    • Copy URL and put in spreadsheet
    • Delete saved post

    The reason you have to delete the saved post is because you can only save one post per page.   3. Power Editor To The Rescue This is the most efficient method I have discovered thus far. If you haven't used the power editor before, don't worry; it's really pretty easy for mass edits. This helps grab all the posts you need (and the post IDs), and start viewing the posts. Here's the process you'll need.
    • Visit power editor (click here)
    • Download your ad account
    • Click the active section on the left for campaigns to grab just the active campaigns
    • Select all campaigns (if you filtered ad sets by display then you can select all those ad sets)
    • Click the export import button on the top. (Button has two arrows)
    • Choose Export Selected or Export All
    • Open the downloaded document
    • Play with the data until you have the "Ad ID" of your newsfeed and mobile ads
    • Ad ID looks similar to a:602000000000
    • Move these to a different document / spreadsheet / tab
    • Do a replace with CTRL + F to replace a: with

    Your results will look like a string of lines similar to
    If you notice in the spreadsheet, there's a "Preview Link" column. I have not yet been able to successfully see the newsfeed links by using this. That's why I suggest appending the Ad IDs to the URL above.
    This process makes it easier to run through the list in a few minutes to go through the comments. If you wish to have multiple people, you'll need to have them listed at least as an Analyzer on the Facebook account so that they can see the demo links.  


    Remember, not all of the comments and tweets on your ads are spam. Do keep an eye out for general support requests and other beneficial interactions as well.
    It is always important to be responsive and helpful via your social channels.

    Update 6/16/15

    Recently, Facebook made a change to make this a little easier. Maybe they saw this post? We'd like to think so. Facebook has done a better job of adding the notifications for comments on all posts. However, if you're running a lot of ads, you'll probably miss some of the notifications. So you can use the steps below to find the posts to modify their links. To see comments on your ads, it's still a manual process. You you (or the person going through the ads) will need to have access to the advertising account. To see the comments, you have a couple of options to find them: Campaign Manager or in Power Editor. The steps for both are listed below:   Campaign Management Dashboard From there, click the campaign, then the ad set, and you will be at the ad level. Click the specific ads that you want and you'll see a small preview of the ad. On the right, you'll see the following (check the screenshot 1 below). Click "View Post Permalink With Comments" (screenshot 2).   Screenshot 1 Find Facebook Ad Preview   Screenshot 2 View Facebook Ad With Comments   Power Editor There are two ways to find these in Power Editor. Both of which require you to be within the Ads tab. The first option is within the table for the ads. Just scroll all the way to the right and you'll see the "Preview Link" column (screenshot 3). The second option is to select the ad. Right below the ad preview, you'll see the options in screenshot 4 below.   Screenshot 3 Power Editor Preview Facebook Ad   Screenshot 4 Preview Facebook Ad Power Editor   This will take you to the ad where you can reply to the comments or delete them. If you have your own suggestions about fighting spam on your social ads, let us know the comments below!
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  • Twitter Email List Targeting

    Wednesday, September 24, 2014 by
    Target On Twitter With Email   For those of you who have been using social media advertising, you may know that Facebook has allowed for email list targeting for some time now. This feature is great because you can strictly target those users in your email list. Companies can even use their existing client lists to target them on Facebook for customer promotions and increasing customer value. Now, Twitter has entered the game with the option to upload lists to target with ads.  

    Why Email Targeting?

    With email targeting, you can direct ads straight to those who you believe are the best for your promotion. For example, you have a list of customers who bought Product A and you're having a sale on Product B that is a really good complementary item for Product A. Instead of emailing everyone on this list, you can run a campaign on Twitter to let them know about the sale. Or you can have an integrated campaign to email them and promote to them on Twitter.  

    Is It Just Email Targeting?

    No. You can create a targeted audience with different types of lists. Email is usually what most businesses have from their clients. Not all request phone numbers. You can create lists with the following information:
    • Email
    • Phone Numbers
    • Twitter User Names
    • Twitter User IDs
    • Mobile Advertising IDs

    How To Create A Targeted Audience

    Creating a targeted audience with Twitter is pretty simple. First you will need to have a list generated from your CRM or email software. Then you will just need to follow these steps.   1. Click Tools on your Twitter Ads navigation bar. Then select Audience Manager. twitter-audience-maker   2. Click "Create Audience" on the upper right side of the UI. Audience Manager on Twitter

    Here is a picture of the @HostGator audience manager. These are small lists for a specific purpose.


    3. Give your list a name, then choose the type of list you are uploading. Remember that it will need to be a .csv or .txt file.


    4. Select the type of audience you're uploading


    5. Upload your file


    Things To Consider

    Read the Twitter Ads Terms of Service. You don't want your account banned for doing something you shouldn't be doing.   Update your privacy policy about customer information being used for advertising if it isn't already in there.   Separate your lists. Perhaps I just like granularity, but I like to see that we have 10k emails and 5k phone numbers that converted to targeted Twitter users. It was interesting to see.   On that same note, use multiple lists! Sometimes the email your customer gives isn't the one they used for Twitter but the phone number is. You don't want to miss out on being able to target them. For our lists, cell phone numbers matched up more than home phone numbers.   Don't expect to launch a campaign immediately after uploading the list. It can take several hours for Twitter to match the contents on the list with users. I tend to upload my list before I go home for the day so that I can start the campaign the next day.   Match rate will be lower than Facebook custom audiences. With the same list, Facebook matched 4,400 users and Twitter only matched approximately 1,100.   Audience matches of less than 500 will be listed as too small and you will not be able to advertise to them.   That's it about Twitter email list and audience targeting. Please feel free to ask any questions or express concerns in the comments below!
  • Facebook Ads Update: September 2014

    Friday, August 22, 2014 by
    Facebook-Ads-Update-Sept-2014 In March of this year, Facebook made some changes to the way in which ad campaigns are managed; essentially providing for better campaign management via increased granularity. This allowed for significantly better A/B testing; one example being the ability to split mobile ads into a unique ad set separate from regular newsfeed ads, which proved to be exceptionally helpful. Eight months later, they're at it again with a new update.  

    Advertising Update 2014

    Facebook Ad Structure   On August 13th, Patricia Lai posted news on the Facebook PMD about new changes in the structure of campaigns.  For those who like to exercise as much control as possible over their campaigns, these will again be welcomed changes. Let's take a closer look.  

    What You Should Know

    Ad Changes On Facebook   The biggest change for the September 2014 update is highlighted in the picture above. You may remember back in March, Facebook updated the campaign structure as follows:
    • Campaign: Objective
    • Ad Set: Schedule and Budget
    • Ad: Creative, Placement, Targeting and Bidding
    The most notable change was the introduction of the ad set. For this update, Facebook will be reversing the roles of ads and ad sets.   With the new structure, it will look more like this:
    • Campaign: Objective
    • Ad Set: Schedule, Budget, Bidding, Targeting and Placement
    • Ad: Creative

    When Is The Change?

    September 1st, the rollout will begin on Ads Manager, Ads Create Tool, and Power Editor. By mid-September the rollout should be complete and all advertisers will be able to start using the new structure on October 1st.   If you are an API developer, you will have at least 5 months to update your systems because they will need to work with the new system by January 2015 at the earliest.   Advertisers, if you are using Ads Manager, Ads Create Tool, or the Power Editor, then you will see this change soon. If you are using a third party tool, you may not notice the update until 2015.   As for your existing campaigns, you do not need to make any updates to them at this time. You can continue to run these until January. At that time, Facebook will have the option to migrate existing campaigns within the Ads Manager.  

    Major Hints For Coming Updates

    Facebook Ad Update "This will also pave the way for launching advanced delivery controls, audience management, and a campaign spend cap in the near future."   It is very exciting to see this platform evolve. Hopefully these new advanced controls will prove to be another useful evolution.   What do you think about these new changes and the path that Facebook is on with their advertising platform? Will it become everything that Adwords isn't, or just another platform that doesn't live up to the hype? Let us know in the comments!  

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  • What Is A Dark Post On Facebook?

    Friday, August 15, 2014 by

    The featured image on this article is not a post that you will find anywhere on the HostGator Facebook Page.  But yet many people have seen it. How? The answer: Dark Posts.


    Dark Post - What Is It?

    According to the definition from Google, a dark post is the following:

    An unpublished post is a status update, link share, video or photo that was never meant to be shared as an organic post. Staying true to its name, it’s never published but is only surfaced as an ad.

    Basically, it’s a Facebook post that you control exactly who sees it through ads. If you have seen the main image on this page on Facebook, then that means you have seen one of our dark posts targeting you.


    Why Dark Post?

    The purpose of these posts are to create a message for a specific goal without cluttering up the newsfeed for those who would see it as irrelevant. For example, if you’re trying to sell your services and all of your followers already use your services, then it wouldn’t make sense for them to see an ad on their newsfeed for your services. However, you still want to post a message for selling your services to drive sales. This is where dark posts come into play. You can create a dark post with a message to sell your services and use that to advertise to your target market.


    How To Create A Dark Post On Facebook

    Facebook has a video on creating dark posts and you can find it here. Unfortunately, this video is very outdated. The power editor no longer looks like it did in the video. This walkthrough will show you how to create a dark post so that you can put Facebook to work for your business. Please note, we will be using Google Chrome because the power editor doesn’t work in other browsers.


    1. Visit the Facebook Power Editor.



    2. Click “Download to Power Editor” and choose the choose the advertising account you wish to download. For many of you, there will only be one option. For those who manage accounts for multiple clients, make sure you select the correct account. You don’t want one client paying for the ads of another.


    3. Select the + sign under Campaigns.



    4. Determine the Campaign Name, Buying Type (I always choose auction), and the Objective. The Objective is what you’re trying to achieve with your ad (Generate leads, get website traffic, increase page likes, etc)



    5. Now that you’ve created your Campaign, click the Ads tabfacebook-ads


    6. Click the + sign again to create an ad


    7. Select the campaign you just created, create an ad set, and then name your ad. (You can also create your campaign from this point if you’d like) organize-facebook-campaign


    8. In the Creative tab, you can choose the Facebook Page that you wish to use for the ad and the post.


    9. Once you’ve selected the page, under Page Post, click the + at the right.



    10. From here you can choose the Post Type: Link, Photo, Video, Status, Offer. For this example, we’ll create a Link. I’ve set one up just for this article.



    11. Be sure to choose the option “This post will only be used as an ad”. It should already be selected but make sure it’s there.


    12. Review your post.



    Now that you’ve created your post, you can begin to use it for your ads. This article does not cover how to create ads and how to target customers but the opportunities are virtually endless. To get started, check out this article on basic Facebook ads. Be sure to come back to the blog as we will add more articles about more advanced Facebook methods such as targeting and optimization.


    Hopefully we have shed light on what a dark post is and you have found this information valuable. If you have any other questions about Facebook, please let us know in the comments. We will be more than happy to write about what you want to know.


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