Trust is hard to win and easy to lose – easier than ever, in fact, in today’s world where news travels fast across multiple networks, driven by users, companies and organisations, as well as traditional publishers. 

Monitoring social media is now a full-time job for brands. But just reacting to events is no longer enough. Investing in digital communications to help build trust is crucial to any marketing strategy. 

The importance of this to brand guardians is highlighted in a recent piece of social listening research we carried out at Formative Content.

Chief marketing officers and comms bosses, the research reveals, regularly use the keyword “trust” when tweeting about content.

Why trust matters

Other research, too, shows that trust isn’t just a big concern for brands – it’s also a big opportunity.

According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, people trust businesses more than they do governments and the media. Almost three-quarters of people are worried about fake news, but a similar proportion look to company CEOs to take leadership on important issues.

So organisations have a chance to step into the void created by a lack of trust elsewhere. And the content they put out on social media will play a key part in this.

What’s the secret?

Creating content that builds trust requires a focus on quality and authenticity.

“Write about what you know” is the advice often given to budding novelists and it’s even more true for businesses. Companies that produce blogs and videos about things they understand are much more likely to be considered genuine sources of useful information.

Messages should articulate the views of the organisation with clarity. And, of course, honesty is a given – pretending to be something you’re not is likely to have the opposite effect to that you intended. 

Find the emotion

The most successful content makes a connection with the person reading or watching, and central to this is acknowledging that person is human. 

As I write in my forthcoming book on brand journalism, it is a mistake to ignore the emotional side of business communications.

Marketers and comms professionals all too often think that’s just for consumer brands.

People want to feel an affinity with anyone they’re buying from and trust is imperative in building that relationship. But you can’t just communicate and expect to get attention.

To be effective, content needs to embody the qualities that make the best journalism compelling. It must be relevant, reliable and credible. It needs to keep the reader engaged and offer a fresh perspective on an issue the audience cares about. 

The value of trust

In short, your content needs to deliver real value. If it does, it will help grow meaningful and enduring relationships with your audiences. Over time trust will grow, and in turn give a tangible boost the brand.

Marketing expert and author Michael Brenner says people want to learn new things, and expert thought leadership builds trust. He cites the example of consultancy Capgemini, which created a corporate storytelling website to showcase the talents of its consultants.

The initiative delivered nearly one million new visitors to its brand website and attracted more than 100,000 new followers to the firm’s LinkedIn page, as well as 1.8 million shares of their content. 

A boost in trust can directly impact on a company’s bottom line, according to a recent Accenture report

“In this age of transparency, how a company does things has become equally important to what it does,” says the report. 

“Companies need to very intentionally create a culture of building, maintaining and preserving trust, and bake it into their DNA, strategy and day-to-day operations.”

READ MORE:

Lessons in content marketing: Why your ‘why’ should come before your ‘what’

Consumer trust and digital skills will be key to business success in post-Brexit Britain

 

If you would like to know more about how Formative Content has helped build trust amongst client audiences, please email gay@formativecontent.com

About the author: Gay Flashman is the CEO and founder of Formative Content. In April, she was named in Thrive Global’s Top Female Creatives of 2019 list. Connect with her on LinkedIn here.

Today’s news that Facebook is changing its Newsfeed algorithm will undoubtedly have a major impact on those publishers, organisations and companies relying on the platform for much of their traffic, engagement or ad dollars.

In his statement, Mark Zuckerberg says that public content has been crowding out personal content on Facebook, as the volume of articles, videos and messages being created has exploded.

Facebook is now telling us they will promote on our news feeds the content with which we interact the most (especially between ourselves), rather than those messages we passively ingest. How should B2B content publishers respond to the news?

Think quality not quantity

We have, for some time, advised our clients to reduce the volume of their Facebook posts or face being ‘squeezed’ by the Facebook algorithm. Consider posting less, but make what you post of high quality. Where possible, reduce your automated posts and ‘generic’ posting.

Put audiences first

Think carefully about how you can develop content – of whatever format – that engages your target audience. Go back to the first principles of communication, i.e. What is keeping your audience awake at night, what is challenging them or concerning them? Take those issues and build content around the areas that are most likely to provoke reaction or comment.

Have a point of view

If you want to encourage dialogue then you need a point of view – what is your stand on a particular issue faced by your industry? Will your CEO get off the fence and talk about a concern or challenge to a sector? Having a strong point of view could stimulate the type of back and forth discussion that Facebook wants to see happen.

Speak with a human voice

For organisations and brands it’s even more important now that you speak with a ‘human voice’ and don’t publish bland PR information that doesn’t get any sort of response from clients. Encourage your audiences and customers to become your evangelists by developing messages that reflect the spirit and ethos of the company.

Be prepared to engage

If you start to create content that is designed to elicit discussion and debate between your followers then you will need to be more alert to those discussions, when and where they are taking place. Be ready to respond.

Develop live content

One area that the Facebook team specifically mentions that provokes more debate is live video. Live video is ridiculously easy to create and can be a straightforward way in which to engage with very niche and targeted B2B audiences.

Experiment with new approaches

The key outcome is engagement and dialogue, but that can be difficult to provoke. Consider ways in which you can encourage audiences to chat and engage with each other. This could be through carefully crafted thought leadership with a real point of view, it could be through humour or comedy, if that’s appropriate, or through responding to a piece of industry news with a live discussion or debate.

Create a strategy for Facebook groups

Groups will become a key aspect of future Facebook engagement. Consider how you can engage with key groups for your industry, sector or company using groups as well as straightforward page activity. See this great article from the team at Buffer for more insight.

Review and monitor

As never before, you should constantly review and monitor what works and what doesn’t for your audiences on Facebook. When you see that you have had success with a post, dissect what worked and why and aim to leverage that tactic again.

Broaden your engagement strategy

Finally, many of us have become dependent on Facebook for much of our organic traffic over recent years; today’s news is another reason to review your content strategy to ensure you maximise all possible platforms and routes to your audiences.

 

If you’d like us to help you get the most out of your social media strategy, get in touch. 

Email: office@formativecontent.com or call our team on +44 (0) 20 7206 2687.

Enjoyed this post? Read 10 ways to fill your content pipeline with quality content.

Gay Flashman - Formative

 

Gay Flashman is the CEO of Formative Content, creating corporate digital content to build reputation, brand and community for clients including the World Economic Forum, Tata Consultancy Services, the Varkey Foundation, Global Education & Skills Forum, FundForum International, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Nestle.

You’ve committed to creating regular content.

You might even have a reasonably stocked content calendar.

But what happens when the content ideas run dry? How do you make sure that you’re providing consistently engaging, quality content?

Your content hub or social media channels will start to dry up if they are left uncared for too long.

Your audiences will get bored and move on.

The good news is that there is a plethora of content out there waiting for you to make use of it.

As trained journalists, we’ve spent decades hunting out stories, chasing down leads and investigating hunches. Now we do this for our clients, to help ensure that they’re bringing their most powerful stories to the fore.

Here are 10 ways you can fill your content pipeline with cut-through content for your business:

  1. Use your subject matter experts. Every organisation has people who know a lot about particular subjects. Using interview techniques, you can extract information that will be of value to your audience and turn it into compelling stories.
  2. Put your people forward. Remember that people buy from people, so it helps to show the human side of your brand by sharing the stories that involve your teams.
  3. Audit your existing content. Not sure you have ‘content’? Think again. Existing assets such as blogs, web pages, FAQs, case studies, sales brochures, whitepapers, presentations, webinars, videos, advertising and any other marketing material all count (phew!). Repurpose this content into other useful forms for your blog,  social media or turn them into infographics.
  4. Look at the numbers. Examine website data with Google Analytics. See what content is most popular, how many clicks articles get, the time spent on them, etc. This can tell you what is working on your buy real clomid site, so you can create more content that hits the mark.
  5. What are people asking you? Use the comments section on your website, the questions your customer service team is asked, the problems your client-facing staff deal with on a day-to-day basis. Find the common problems your clients are facing and solve them. This provides real value.
  6. Use your keywords. There are tools that you can use to research what people are searching for in relation to your product or service. Google’s Keyword Planner tool or Buzzsumo can be used to create content that contains specific and trending keywords. Great content that ticks the SEO box.
  7. Search on social media. Twitter is one of my favourite research tools. Run a hashtag search to find out what conversations are being had in your business area. Use those hashtags to join in the conversation.
  8. Search in other places too. Look at questions posed on Q&A sites, online forums and LinkedIn groups related to your topics. Find the themes and use them to create different forms of relevant content.
  9. Keep a close eye on the competition. Look at what your competitors are posting to determine how you can do things better or differently. You may be able to fill some gaps but remember your content still must reflect your brand values, personality and tone of voice.
  10. Curate quality content. Don’t feel that all of your content should be original and your own. Sharing good quality third-party content is a great way of adding to your content pipeline.

 

Looking for some help finding the best things to fill your content pipeline? Get in touch today: Email: office@formativecontent.com or call our team on 01494 672 122.

We, as communicators, brands and organisations, are in a constant battle for the attention of the customer and consumer – and that makes maintaining our good reputations harder than ever. The public, including your target audience, are being served a constant stream of information and news – we’re all drowning in information!

In the last 60 seconds alone, almost half a million tweets have been sent and 500 hours of video uploaded to YouTube.

Not only are people being bombarded with information, but – as Edelman’s annual trust barometer tells us – much of this is not believed by customers.

How can you establish yourself and your brand in this market and really stand out?

Many brands are choosing to reinforce their reputation using targeted content – to build their audience and have a dialogue with their customer, whether B2B or B2C.

This form of storytelling is brand journalism.

How to create a brand journalism strategy to protect your online reputation:

  1. Clearly define your audience and their needs.

Make sure that you’re clear about who your audience is – it might be a wide or narrow target audience, demographic based – find out what their needs and concerns are. What’s keeping people awake at night, and how can you have relevance to their concerns?

  1. Deliver targeted and valuable insight

Once you’ve established what consumers concerns are, you need to offer some sort of solution. Show them some of your expertise, explain why your approach is different, present them with options.

  1. Be interesting; tap into the zeitgeist

It’s not enough just to provide solutions though, you also need to make your content interesting. Your content needs to tackle a new angle, or be engaging in some way. This is where the ‘journalism’ part comes into brand journalism. Seek out the stories that make your brand unique.

  1. Humanise your storytelling

Bring stories back to the people that they impact – for instance, the architect or factory worker – or find topics that resonate with them. Brand journalism is not about promoting your new widget or service. Make it as relevant as possible for the person reading it.

  1. Catch the attention, be visual

Once you’ve crafted your story, it needs to stand out in these viagra for sale online multiple social channels. There’s no point writing something if it doesn’t get read. Make sure your channels are visually rich and appealing by using images, videos, GIFs or memes. Will your social copy arrest the scroll?

  1. Constantly review your output

Once you’ve built your audience you need to keep engaging with them to maintain your position, relationship and reputation. Respond not just to those who are engaging with you, but respond to statistics – what’s working and what isn’t? Wherever you post, be clear on your objectives. Agree KPIs that will reflect exactly what you want from your campaigns or your content.

  1. Amplify and reuse content across platforms

Create it once, use it many times. Reworking and repurposing content across multiple platforms can give your messages extra mileage without costing you a lot in time or money. Consider the best use of your budget when amplifying your content – because with paid content taking precedence over organic, there are very good reasons why you should pay for social media advertising.

  1. Be agile & responsive

Don’t ‘set and forget’ with a campaign or comms approach. Good brand journalism involves consistently reviewing and assessing what’s working. Use this information to enhance your approach.

  1. Create evangelists for your brand

There are multiple ways of achieving this without spending money. Ask for quotes for journalistic pieces published across multiple platforms, re-publish specialist author content, or approach thinkers directly to have a dialogue with you.

  1. Finally, drive sales with insight

Brand journalism isn’t just about building your profile and reputation. It can deliver clear KPIs and a return on investment above and beyond reputational value.

 

Like this post? Read ‘Protect your online reputation with rock solid content’ 

 

To find out more about how we can help you create a brand journalism strategy that enhances your online reputation, get in touch.  

Email: office@formativecontent.com or call our team on 01494 672 122

Gay Flashman is founder and CEO of Formative Content, creating corporate digital content to build reputation, brand and community.

 

Formative Content is a UK based digital communications agency producing high quality content, live event coverage and strategic communications support for clients around the world.

The Formative Content offices have been unusually quiet over the past fortnight with our teams working on location around the world, providing digital event newsroom content for a number of our clients.

With many of our team members from journalistic backgrounds, providing live coverage for large-scale events is a familiar assignment. This, combined with our experience in social media and digital content, makes our approach to event coverage incredibly effective.

When you think about content in relation to an event, you might just focus on the component parts such as speaker presentations, and maybe a summary blog post and overview of how the event ran. But by infusing quality content throughout the full event lifecycle, you have an opportunity to create multiple touch points for audiences – which, if done right, can help you achieve your broader business objectives.

How can you create quality content for your event?

A dynamic, long-term plan is at the heart of good content strategy. These 5 tips will help you focus and ensure the make the most of your event.   

1. Really understand why you’re running the event

There was a time when events were run just for the sake of having an event, or maybe because there was marketing budget left to spend. These days organisations are a lot more savvy about the events they’re running and they’re part of a broader sales target. To be able to create quality content that delivers, you need to spend some time upfront to understand:

•    What the business objectives are and what the event objectives are that feed into them

•    Who the people are you’re talking to – the buyers, the influencers, your employees

•    What your key messages are for each of those audience groups – what do you want people to take away from the event

 

2. Create an end to end content plan

An event isn’t just about one day on a calendar anymore and it doesn’t happen in isolation. Start your plan well in advance of the actual event dates – take into account how you will use your blog, social media and other marketing channels to start to create a buzz around your event in the lead up to invitations being sent out.

What topics will excite your potential audience and persuade them to attend in person? How can you share that content so it reaches the right people and makes them want to tell their friends about it? Create your Digital Action Plan, taking into account what you want to be talking tadalafil for sale about before, during and after it happens. Don’t forget to link back to the objectives, key messages and audience you identified in the first step.

 

3. Allow for flexibility

While having a content plan is important, you’ll need to factor in room to listen to the wider conversation – what are people talking about on social media that might be relevant to your event, speakers or content? What other news, trends or stories might lend themselves to fuel your content?

Keeping an ear to the ground and being responsive will keep your content agile and relevant to your audience. Remember though, don’t try to respond to everything – keep your objectives and strategy in mind.

 

4. Share the event experience with those who can’t make it

The joy of technology means that we don’t just have to rely on the people in a room to help us achieve higher level objectives. Live streaming, Twitter coverage and fast-turnaround video are ideal for keeping the outside world informed.

We do this for a lot of our clients and also see tech and gaming events doing a great job of this.

 

5. Track, measure, nurture

It might be stating the obvious, but the best way to assess whether your content is working for you, is to measure it. Before you start, take stock of your analytics across social media, your website, brand health and other indicators that link back to your overall objectives. Then run analytics regularly throughout the event period. Did your content reach the right people? How can you make sure that you continue to talk to the people who loved your content, to nurture the relationships that you’ve started to form?

Don’t just use an event as a hit and run – take the time to follow up. That way you’ll have a better idea of how to shape and improve your content for your next event.

Given the right kind of focus, quality content can really help to elevate an event from being just a meeting, to being something that can leave a lasting impression, for all the right reasons.

If you want help making the most of your content, please do get in touch. You can also download our report, The Future of Events: The Challenge of Digital for further insights into how technology is changing the shape of events.

Formative Content is a UK based content marketing agency producing high quality content, live event coverage and strategic communications support for clients around the world.

The theme of the 2017 World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos was ‘responsive leadership’. But how can business leaders demonstrate responsive leadership in the way that they communicate in a world of alternative facts and geopolitical shifts?

Move above the mediocre

With the fire-hose of information available today, we’re all drowning in a sea of mediocre thinking; never has there been such an opportunity for high quality insight to cut through.

If you are proud of your organisation’s knowledge, expertise and thinking then now is the time to start telling the story yourself, and have confidence in how you deliver those messages.

‘You’ can be your own news team; your executives, innovators and staff can be the stars of your own narratives. Search engines, curators, re-publishers, platform owners – and audiences – are craving clever, unadulterated insight and thinking. This gives brands, organisations, companies the opportunity to own the narrative around their area of expertise – or at least to play a major part in shaping that narrative and how it lands with audiences.

So how should leaders respond?

1. Communicate authentically

Firstly, it’s not enough to throw in references to #liveauthentic – your organisation must live and breathe your ethos and values, backing words up with action. Build trust with stories that resonate with your target audiences and grow a conversation with evidence of your openness. You no longer need the filter of a journalist or publisher to give credibility to your message – but you do need to be open about what you do and how you do it.

 

2. Tell people what they want to hear

That’s not a literal request, more it’s about focusing on the pain points of your audience. This is Comms 101; what’s the problem your audience has to solve and how can you add value to that debate, challenge or conundrum? Many people are frustrated because no-one is listening to them.

 

3. Be brave

Those brands who are brash and honest about their activity risk direct engagement and criticism, but they also earn the right to have a voice in our fast-changing world on the platforms where much of the discussion and debate is raging. Bring transparency to your actions, knowledge and experience.

 

4. Be prepared to listen

It’s also worth remembering that social media should not merely be seen as a tool for promotion but as a tool for discussion. Many companies are still hesitant to have a real discussion with their customers. The fear is they aren’t in control of the message or that it opens the door to negative comments. And the reality is that’s almost certainly the case.

However, by dealing with any criticism in an open and honest way and amending corporate practices as a direct result, you can win the hearts and minds of existing and new customers.

 

5. Tell the wider story

Every organisation has a story to tell, but not all organisations viagra online arizona have found their storytelling mojo. Begin with the subject areas and insights that will pique the interest of your audiences, your clients or future clients. Don’t choose the didactic or the obvious and don’t just focus on your present offering – instead believe that you have earned the right to talk to them on a wider set of issues, tangential perhaps to your core business, but nonetheless relevant.

Think ahead and discuss where the industry is heading and offer opinions. Find and uncover your own corporate stories, that give an added dimension or some evidence to your corporate mantra or maxim. And enable your staff to tell their own stories to make it more authentic.

 

6. Take the long-term view

Don’t expect instant results. A positive reputation is built over a period of time (even if it can be lost in an instant). It requires patience and the willingness to think beyond quarterly targets or reporting, or the occasional criticism or negative headline. Instead strong leaders need to set out their long-term vision and encourage staff to go on the journey with them.

 

7. Take the message direct to your audience

In a world of ‘alternative facts’ there is a space for brands to cut through with their own thinking on those subjects where they have insight and knowledge. Social media platforms, bespoke online channels, targeted outreach, direct engagement – all of these allow brands to deliver information straight to the door of their target audience, with no interference or additional layer of publishing context.

 

8. Compartmentalise your audiences

Channelization – creating bespoke, quality content for a range of different audiences – is already eminently possible, if not a little labour intensive, but it will become ever more straightforward to achieve as AI and intelligent tools become ubiquitous. The ‘long tail’ of information can be delivered direct to the audience, however you want to cut it.

All of this requires strong leadership. For some companies, authentic storytelling comes naturally. For many others, it’s still safer to let others speak on their behalf. There’s no doubt that it requires bravery to enter into a genuine debate with your stakeholders; but there’s never been a better time to do so. And the prize is worth it.

We are all looking for credible and authentic voices on which to base our opinions and decisions. By being more inclusive, more open and more responsive, companies can reach their audiences in new ways and change the nature of their relationships with them for the better.

 

Gay Flashman is the Founder and CEO of Formative Content.

You can follow Gay on Twitter: @g_flashman

Formative Content is a UK based content marketing agency producing high quality content, live event coverage and strategic communications support for clients around the world.

More than a third of event organisers acknowledge they will need to be agile and innovative if they are to withstand the pressures of technological developments combined with an unstable economy. That’s the finding in an industry report following a series of surveys involving hundreds of attendees and organisers of business events. Over 90% of organisers believe their industry does has a secure future, but 35% of them concede that they will need to adapt to survive.

 

Of the survey participants who had attended a business event recently, almost half went primarily for the networking. And events organisers ranked people’s need for connection as one of the key elements that will serve to secure the future of events

 

Even in a world where we are hooked to our mobiles, tablets and screens, what people are seeking is even more connection.”

 

In a separate survey of over 200 business professionals, events and conferences came out as the top means of gaining industry insights, learning and connecting, with 27.5% placing this first. In second position for gaining insights were social media, blogs and online content with 17.9% of the vote. It follows then, that combining the potential where to buy clomiphene tablets impact of both to enhance the audience experience could be a powerful combination.

 

Many of the applications and possibilities for online content and social media are not yet being exploited fully by the majority of large-scale business event organisers.

 

From video to live blogging and tweeting, the opportunities to share takeaways and support connection amongst delegates – not to mention a wider audience – are ever expanding.

 

Being part of the conversation – and staying relevant  – is the goal.

 

“Key to that relevance is building communication across all appropriate platforms through intelligent, useful and interesting content,” explains Gay Flashman, former Channel 4 News Managing Editor and CEO of Formative Content, a journalist-led content marketing agency. “You must offer comprehensive coverage and content before, during and after the event, ensuring longevity of engagement and a boost to your brand or event’s credibility throughout the calendar year.”

Maintaining website content

Two thirds of the event attendees surveyed expect events to have a live website and active coverage well in advance of, and for some weeks after, the event.

More than a third would go a step further, expecting a year-round online presence to be considered credible.

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So, you’re doing well with your first forays into corporate social media, but you are struggling to develop and institute a hashtag strategy. More importantly, no-one can really explain to you what the benefit of doing so really is!

Hashtags are the words, or group of words, that follow the # symbol and are commonly used across Twitter, Instagram, as well as Facebook (increasingly) and other social sites like Google+ and Pinterest. They’re a way to group or link material, to create a basic ‘taxonomy’ which helps to draw attention to your brand or organisation, or to an incident, event or campaign.

Hashtags can be long-standing or quick hits that appear from the world of social media then quickly disappear. So how might they be useful for your corporate comms and marketing?

Brand Hashtags

It will help your search success, and help to build more engagement around your brand or organisation if you start to tag your own content with a specific hashtag – it’ll also make your content easier to search and segment. Think #ABNAMRO, #Natwest, #Westpac and #schroders as examples from the banking sector.

I notice that EY is using #EYITEM across its Pinterest boards at the moment, as well as a liberal smattering of #EY to group its own content across multiple social media platforms. The website ‘hub’ for this content includes a feed of Tweets on the right hand side of the page, constantly refreshed and driving engagement around the hashtag discussion.

Product hashtags

It’s straightforward to build a hashtag around a particular product. Intel has the marketing muscle and engagement already to do this successfully – this may be possible if you have a unique product, or if you wish to develop a corporate ‘story’ around a particular invention or development you have made (for instance, #postitnotes).

Intel is building a content campaign around its Intel tablets, using its own #inteltablets. The company has created content on Facebook – and the company PR team appears to be working with some Mummy and technology bloggers to share this technology (the bloggers I came across were disclosing this relationship) and are sharing videos on Vine and encouraging their network toshare stories and posts on Twitter.

Corporate Social Responsibility hashtags

Your organisation might be considering building PR and comms messaging around its corporate social responsibility – there are multiple hashtags in the CSR arena to which you can affiliate or link your organisation’s work or activity. These include #socialgood, #volunteer and #CSR.

Walmart in the US, for instance, has used #feedingamerica and #socialgood on its Pinterest pageto aggregate and link its name/work/content to these campaigns. There is a balance between hijacking hashtags for the corporate good versus using them in a considered manner against credible, bona fide corporate social responsibility activity. Make sure you opt for the latter approach to ensure you’re maintaining an authentic and credible dialogue in your social media spaces.

Chat or webinar hashtags

These sit alongside the ‘event hashtags’ as another way to group or ‘tag’ your content. Create a hashtag around a particular event (the SXSW2014 is as good an example as any) and solicit ideas, content and questions around this.

I was at the News:Rewired conference in London last month where delegates were able to link up with each other, and share content for others to follow in their networks, using the targeted #newsrw.

Take a look at Bechtel’s use of #webuildrail to garner questions for its webinar from one of its rail experts.

Thought Leadership/Sector Hashtags

Whatever your business or sector, you have insight and a story to deliver. Consider the trend in wearable technology – if you tap #wearables or #wearabletech into Google you will see a feed of the most recent posts on Google+ containing that hashtag, to see who is promoting or posting on the subject. This provides a great opportunity to share research and insight across any relevant subject where you know your organisation can add value to the discussion and potentially build reputation and advocacy as a result.

BP uses this technique with its #BPstats on Twitter and beyond – a way to group discussion around its brand and help to build more positive engagement around its reputation.

So if you are in the financial services industry and you would like to gain more attention for your content, you might want to tag it with a hashtag that is popular within those circles and groups that might favour and share your content.

Google+ enables you to explore different hashtags (via the search box at the top your account page) and will provide alternative options for hashtags that you might want to use – this can be useful if you’re building a campaign or content and want to use a selection of hashtags, for instance.

Corporate Crisis Hashtags

If you work in an organisation that needs to manage crisis or reputational issues, hashtags can be extremely useful when created carefully and managed well.

A good example referenced in a blog by humanitarian technology expert Patrick Meier is the hashtags used by the Filipino government during the floods that took place there in December 2012. There’s some more great insight from Meier on his website here. If you or your organisation has a crisis response plan, then inclusion of a hashtag strategy is a vital component of that plan. In this instance, the Government prescribed the hashtags it was planning to use to share vital information – before a hashtag was created elsewhere.

Corporate community hashtags

Finally, as a small business owner, I value the network discussions I can generate, and take part in, on social media. I am also keen to hear stories and gain guidance and insight from other small business owners. In the UK we have a Government-backed scheme called the Growth Accelerator, and there is a #growthaccelerator hashtag associated with the scheme that allows members to share stories and news. Building community is such a vital part of why corporates use social media – whether for B2B or B2C communications; consider what types of community (whether local, industry, sector etc) you can build?

BUT before you start…please go watch the hilariously funny #hashtag video from Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon on YouTube. Fab.

Gay Flashman runs Formative, a UK-based social media content agency helping businesses tell corporate stories. Formative creates compelling, intelligent, multi-lingual content for clients – everything from long-form insight & thought leadership, to infographics, memes, videos and webinars.