Give Your Little Tweets Big Drawing Power

If you are looking for a way to take your tweets beyond your own following, hashtags are a great solution. Adding a hashtag to your tweets, broadcasts your tweet to anyone that is following that particular hashtag.
For the uninitiated, hashtags were developed as a means to cluster tweets that are similar on Twitter.  To initiate a hashtag, all you have to do is add a pound sign (#) to any word or phrase.  The trick is not to abuse the privilege.  This means that you don’t want to include more than one hashtag per tweet.

It is also a good idea to check to see if the hashtag you are considering carries any weight.  If no one else is searching for the subject there is no reason to employ the hashtag.  How do you find out if a hashtag has any merit?  The answer to this question couldn’t be easier.  Simply go to  On the site you will find lists of the most popular tags.  The site also provides a handy search box where you can enter your proposed hashtag and not only find out how many people are using the tag, but you can also see who and when last tweeted the hashtag.

Used with care, hashtags can provide a helpful for other Twitter users who are interested in the subject of your tweet. Overuse can annoy, confuse or even frustrate followers to the point that they may choose to stop following you. The best policy is to use hashtags only to add value to the tweet, rather than barraging the reader with tags.

Straight From Twitter
Hashtags are simply keywords preceded by a hash symbol (“#”) that makes them both searchable and linkable on Twitter. For example, let’s say you wanted to find out what Twitter users are talking about right now on the topic of Social Media. You can type the phrase “Social Media” (minus the quotes) in Twitter’s search field and you’ll get related results.

You’ll notice from the above-linked results that the phrase “social media” is bolded but not linkable.
Now try searching for the hashtag “#socialmedia” instead. (Note: hashtags have to be one continuous keyword, with no spaces in between words — and they are not case sensitive).

This time you’ll find that the hashtag “#socialmedia” is actually a clickable link. If you click the hashtag in any tweet, you’ll display a live feed of every tweet that has that hashtag in it. You can find the most up to date tweets by clicking the bar that says “x new tweets.”

Twitter describes hashtags as “themes” for your tweets.

In other words, when Twitter users include hashtags in their tweets, they are deliberately assigning a unique theme to that tweet by virtue of its linkability to all other tweets containing the same hashtag.
Furthermore, users who include a hashtag in their tweets are assuming that it will be searched by other users who are interested in the same topic.

This allows your tweets to potentially be seen by millions of users throughout the world who are searching for a certain hashtag. This is a powerful tool because it allows your tweets to be seen by people who don’t even follow you.

Start a Trend

There are even different classifications of hashtags, depending upon their popularity.  For instance, if a hashtag is used by thousands of users simultaneously, it becomes what Twitter refers to as a “Trend”.
Trending hashtags have the added benefit of appearing right in the Twitter Home page and are thus exposed to hundreds of millions of Twitter users!

Hashtags Can Also Helping You Find Interesting Tweets

  • People use the hashtag symbol # before relevant keywords in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets to show more easily in Twitter Search.
  • Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets in that category.
  • Hashtags can occur anywhere in the Tweet.

Using hashtags

  • If Tweet with a hashtag on a public account, anyone who does a search for that hashtag may find your Tweet.
  • Don't #spam #with #hashtags. Don't over-tag a single Tweet. (Best practices recommend using no more than 1 or 2 hashtags per Tweet.)
  • Use hashtags only on Tweets relevant to the topic.

What you don’t want your tweet to look like is this::

My name is Carl and I’m an #internet #marketing #consultant that specializes in #Internet results.

·         Make hastags relevant - Don’t talk about cooking food and add #socialmedia to the Tweet. If it’s about food, make it #food. About blogging? Use #blogging. Don’t use frivolous hashtags that come from out of left field.

The Last Word on Hashtags

Properly researched and employed, hashtags can help you build followers, broadcast your message to potentially millions of fellow tweeters and put your tweets on steroids.  Abuse them, and you’ll be considered as nothing more than just another spammer.  And that's nothing you want tweeted.

Carl Weiss has been helping clients generate results online since 1995.  If you want to see how you stack up online go to or and click on the link that reads FREE Web Presence Analysis.

The 64 Billion Dollar Question

Where is advertising heading in the twenty-first century?  That’s the one question that every business owner needs to ask themself.  Why?  Because if you don’t know the answer to this question, then you can’t devise an effective long term marketing plan.

Back in 2009 $155 Billion was spent on local advertising in the US. Yet only 7% of that figure was spent online. Why so small a percentage do you think?  Was it due to the fact that online advertising was priced out of the reach of most small businesses?  Hardly.  A month’s worth of online advertising on Google can cost less than a couple days of display ads in a major metropolitan newspaper. Was it because online ads are only good if you are looking to promote your products on a global basis?  That may have been the case back in 1995, but the birth of Geo targeting has provided the solution to that conundrum.
So what’s the real reason why so many businesses seem to be reluctant to embrace online marketing?  Especially when it is predicted that 50 percent of local advertising will shift to electronic media in the next 5 years?

Personally, I believe that inertia is the real culprit.  It seems to me that all too many businesses have been clinging desperately to old style print and broadcast advertising simply because that’s the way they have always done business in the past. 

Are you using yesterday’s technology to promote your business today?

Well let’s take a look at print advertising, shall we?  Face it, this medium has been around for a long, long time.  Up to the end of the twentieth century, it was one of the dominant forms of advertising.  But it’s starting to show its age.

Sorry to say it, but most traditional forms of print advertising have been in decline for years.  In 2009 alone, industry analysts reported that newspaper readership across the US dropped 28 percent.  That’s huge!  Nearly the same holds true for Yellow Page advertising. Last year U.S. yellow pages revenue declined 11.8%. A recent quote from Simba Information predicts that the industry’s revenue slide is expected to continue in 2011 as the transition from print to digital products continues.” 

Let me ask you, is anyone out there still using the Yellow Pages?  What do most people use instead? Google.  If you have been paying attention to the news you will remember hearing about Google and Facebook duking it out for number 1 visited site on the Internet, right?  But what you probably didn’t catch was the fact that Google all by itself currently accounts for nearly 6 and a half percent of all Internet traffic. 

Getting back to traditional broadcast venues, just like print advertising, TV and radio have been feeling the pinch.  You have to feel for the poor tv networks. In 2010, they took a 12% hit in advertising revenue compared to 2009.  Yet during that same year the Yankee Group reported that although TV advertising as a whole dropped, internet advertising actually increased – in part due to the popularity of, get this, “online tv”.  Since the advent of Tivo, many viewers simply switch TV ads off.  Even if they don’t, nearly everyone on the planet has the ability to mute TV ads.

Of course, there’s always radio.  In 2010, while radio ads were experiencing a double digit dip in listenership, online radio revenues actually rose more than 500%.  So what does that tell you?

It seems obvious, that as Americans continue to become ever more connected, their reading, watching and buying habits are following suit. Conversely, more traditional advertising media, such as newspapers, direct mail and TV commercials, continue to decline in both popularity and profitability. 

Now let’s take a look at electronic media.  In 2010 Google took in more than $26 billion in revenue.  And that trend is not expected to end any time soon.  In fact, Google reported revenues of $8.44 billion for the quarter that ended December 31, 2010, an increase of 26% compared to the fourth quarter of 2009.

Online Ads Break Out of the Box

Why the sudden groundswell in online marketing?  It seems that technology is one driver. With the advent of such things as the i-Phone, i-Tunes, Netflix and Kindle, American consumers are shifting more and more of their viewing, reading and buying habits to online media.  And I’m not just talking about their laptops.

How many of you have a smart phone?  Well guess what, so do many of your customers.

With 72% of all mobile users in the US using text messaging, mobile marketing is in overdrive.   eMarketer predicts that spending on text message marketing, mobile banners, video and other mobile based media to crack the one billion dollar mark in 2011. Growth from 2009 to 2010 almost doubled at 79% with next year predicting another increase of 48%.

Let's face it, online marketing is here to stay; And with good reason.  As you have seen, most traditional forms of advertising are in decline.  What you may not be aware of is the underlying cause.  You see, print or broadcast ads are based on what is known as “The Shotgun Approach,” which predicates that if you send enough shot into the air, sooner or later you will bring down a bird.  Face it, even at its best, this is not a very efficient form of marketing. 

Fortunately, online marketing doesn’t use this principal.  People go online and key in their area of interest.  They are then presented with a list of vendors who can satisfy this desire.  This makes online advertising more like a smart bomb than a shotgun.

Then all you as a business owner has to do is intersect with this traffic and give that person a reason and means of doing business with you, right? Well, almost right.  As you will see in upcoming blogs, the devil to creating, tweaking and managing a successful online advertising campaign is in the details. 

Carl Weiss is president of Access-JAX, which specializes in online lead and sales generation.  Call him at 904-234-6007 for a FREE Web Presence Analysis that will show you how your company stacks up online.

Does Your Website Need to Go On a Diet?

In the past, the prevailing wisdom with regard to website design was to build sites with numerous subsidiary pages in order to best describe your business to the general public.  In many cases this meant sites that contained ten to twenty or more pages, each of which described a facet of the business.  The thought was that people would come to the homepage and then wander through the site to glean the information necessary to make a decision as to whether the business best served their needs.

That was then and this is now.

Today, people searching the web have neither the time nor the inclination to spend ten minutes or more to search a website.  They want the information and they want it NOW!  What this means to the average website owner is that like it or not, you have less than two minutes to make your point, set the bait and reel in the fish.  Far from being inclined to spend fifteen minutes sniffing around your site, few prospects will even scroll below the fold on your homepage, let alone click around your site.  So you need to keep this in mind if you want to convert clicks into cash.

Take a hard look at your website.  When someone clicks onto your homepage, what kind of an experience are you providing front and center?  Are you still wasting valuable real estate by cramming a group of meaningless graphics atop the page?  Or have you evolved your web presence by shooting a 60-90 second elevator pitch video that introduces you to your audience?  Do you have a clearly defined and highly visible offer or call to action?  Is your phone number easy to locate?  If the answer to any of the above is “no” then you need to consider putting your homepage on a weight loss regimen.

What Does a Search Engine Mean To You?

When I look at a search engine I regard it as a kind of oracle.  Ask a question and you will be provided with an answer.  That being said, if you are optimizing your website for the search engines, you will want to create subsidiary landing pages for every major keyphrase you wish to target.  For instance, if your business involves irrigation, such as the sample below of Kenny Hunt’s, you probably want to optimize the homepage for Jacksonville Irrigation.  This way when a prospect keys in Jacksonville Irrigation, the link to your website and/or video will pop up on Google and once clicked, your link will take the prospect to the landing page that is specifically geared towards irrigation.

However, Kenny also does landscaping and sod replacement.  Therefore we created two more landing pages, and where the video, text, and offer correspond to Sod Replacement and Landscaping.  The reason we did this was so that anyone searching for Jacksonville sod replacement or landscaping would be directed right to the horses mouth without having to search for and click onto any subsidiary links.  (using the question and answer school of search engine thought)

This equation applies equally well whether you are purveying Air Conditioning Repair or Zuni artifacts.  Plus it will go a long way toward eliminatng unsightly website bloat.  That doesn’t mean that you should scrimp on content by any means.  In fact, far from it.  That’s why blogs were invented. 

So if you are looking to create a lean, mean, lead producing machine, put your website on a diet today.  Your wallet will thank you.

Carl Weiss is president of Access-JAX, an online marketing company that specializes in turning overgrown websites into lead generating, cash register ringing machines.  If you are interested in a Free Web Presence Analysis that will show you where you stand online, call Access-JAX at (904) 234-6007, or email

Must-See Online TV

All of us have seen HGTV and the Food Network, where chefs and contractors are turned into celebrities overnight.  Getting the call from Hollywood not only translates into popularity for these newly minted stars.  It also means added profitability for their businesses as well. While that’s all well and good for those lucky enough to be approached to host a cable show, what are the chances that you are going to get star treatment.  Probably not very likely.  That’s the bad news.  The good news is that you don’t have to wait for Hollywood to beat a path to your door.  

YouTube to the Rescue

With the advent of YouTube, you can easily create and distribute programs of your own.  Best of all, they don’t have to be the standard 22 minute length required for a half hour cable show. (The other 8 minutes are reserved for commercials.)  On YouTube less is more.  That means that you can create microcasts of 2-4 minutes in length.  This will give you the chance to dazzle the audience without having to break the bank.

Now for the big question: How do you shape your telecasts?  For starters, there are three gotta-haves for must-see-online-tv.  

  1. Funny – Never underestimate the value of humor to make your point and generate an audience.  While I am not suggesting that you add a stupid pet trick to your lineup, unless your business revolves around pets, what you need to do is look for the lighter side of life.  For example, check out my video: The Care and Feeding of the 800lb Gorilla.
  2. Solves a Problem – The reason that how-to shows are so popular is that they help people solve a problem.  I have a pet theory about the fact that most of the people who watch all those cooking shows can’t do toast.  So it is the allure and not necessarily the delivery of a tangible solution that can help you get viewers to tune in. Take a look at my video: How to Get your Video on Google Page 1.
  3. Eye Candy – No, I’m not necessarily talking about a buxom blonde, although that never hurts.  What I am referring to are elements in your videos that offer something in the line of visual appeal.  Watch me bring the house down in my promo for
Putting on the Producer’s Hat

Now for the hard part…i.e. using these three guidelines to come up with programming.  When I take on a new client, the first thing I do is explain to them that if they want to produce a series of broadcasts as opposed to the standard one or two videos that most website owners post on their sites (if that), then they need to put on their Associate Producer’s hat.  What I tell them is that they need to start thinking like a TV producer, which means being cognizant of the things that occur in their businesses everyday that would make for riveting programming.  

In order to facilitate this, I tell them to bring a digital still camera and a small notepad on the job with them.  Whenever they start a job, they need to shoot a series of before photographs.  Then during the job, they should take notes, as well as shooting a few pics while the job is underway.  Last but not least, they need to take the after photos.  Between the photos and the notes, they should be able to gather enough material to rough out an episode.  (I remind them that it is benefits that sell prospects and not features. The reason that someone buys a drill is not for it's power or torque, but to make holes.  In other words, don't talk tech to your audience.  Act as though you were trying to explain the process to a twelve year old.)

Once they have a couple of episodes in hand, they come to me to shoot the intro and closing shots on our green screen.  This provides the look and feel of an HGTV show.  It is at that point where they give us their photos and notes from which we produce the polished episodes before loading them onto their YouTube channel.

I also tell clients to always be on the lookout for visually appealing and/or funny scenarios that occur during the course of business as usual.  You would be surprised at how many times clients tell me about oddball moments on the job.  If they weren’t able to capture them on camera, many times we can do a reenactment.  The most vital ingredient is to train yourself to make notes of these moments in order to turn them into killer episodes.

Life is the Ultimate Reality TV Show

 The thing is to avoid is making the performance of these duties a chore.  Have fun.  It should take no more than an hour or so a week to actually capture the elements needed to continue producing your series.  As you gain more experience your production values and your audience will continue to grow.  Eventually producing your own online series will become as natural as pulling on your shoes in the morning.  As a bonus, you will be able to rerun these videos on your website, your blog, your social networks and even in your printed literature by using a QR code.  As your YouTube channel gets more programs, both Google and your audience will take note.  Suddenly your videos will start popping up on Google page 1and your viewers will start passing your videos along to friends and family.  Who knows, if your series becomes popular enough, maybe you will hear a knock on the door one day from your friendly cable producer.

Carl Weiss’ video production company, specializes in viral video marketing.  If you are looking to shoot a video for promotional purposes, check out Carl’s blog at or follow him on Facebook