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Hashtag All The Things: Free Marketing Through Social Media

Recently I’ve found myself explaining my social media marketing process to a lot of friends and peers – it’s simple and it’s a catchall solution for everything from real estate to eBay to, yes, freelance writing. Here it is, in a nutshell:

Step 1: Get a Facebook account and a Twitter account. For those of you already forming the words to something like “But I don’t get it…” or “I don’t have time to…Hush. Hear me out.

What you name your FB/Twitter account should be at least semi-related to what you’re doing, or easy enough to spell/say/remember that it isn’t impossible to find. JohnWritesStuff = Good. InadvertentCephalopod418 = Bad. Even if you already have these accounts personally, it’s probably a good idea to make new “junk” ones so you aren’t overwhelming your friends and family with posts.

Step 2: Do your “thing,” whatever it happens to be. Write your article for Constant Content, post your eBay auction, list your house, sell your stuff on Craigslist. If you’re at least passingly comfortable with any of these things, you should have a title that uses the most room that platform allows (e.g. you have very minimal leftover characters in your eBay title, like 5-6 letters max) and has lots of keywords about that item. Let’s use eBay for an example. I’m going to list a vase, and I use this title:

“16th Century Large Green Ming Dynasty Vase China Ceramic Rare!”

Step 3: Highlight and copy the title you just wrote.

Step 4: Go onto the social media marketing platform of your choice – say, Twitter, and paste that title in the update box. Do not publish/send it yet.

Step 5: Put the # (hashtag) symbol in front of important words in that title, ones that people are likely to search.

  • Leave out any vague terms that people looking for your item probably won’t use – in our example, “Green” is a little too generic.
  • Take out the space between words for words that would probably be searched as a whole phrase, like “Ming Dynasty” so that it shows as a single clickable link instead of one each for “Ming” and “Dynasty.”
  • Don’t want to put a # in front of numbers because it won’t link correctly – in our example, I would swap out “16th Century” for “Antique” – it’s a term that gets the same point across, but has no numbers.
  • After your hashtags are done, copy and paste the URL (the http://www.blahblah.com thing in your address bar when your listing/article/page is up) after your hashtagged creation is finished.
  • If you’re selling something that can only be picked up or sold locally (like furniture on Craigslist), be sure to hashtag your city name or your city name and state if you have a common city name like “Smithtown”.

    My finished product might look something like this:

#Antique Large Green #MingDynasty #Vase #China #Ceramic #Rare! http://www.ebay.com/item#123456.html

Step 6: Submit it. Copy and paste that whole finished line into Twitter and Facebook – Yes, you can use the same line! Cool, right? – and voila. You’ve just successfully used social media marketing. Make sure the privacy on these posts is set to “public!”

But what does this do for me, ThatWordChick?

On both Facebook and Twitter, hashtags are used to denote a searchable term – so if someone plunks “Ming Dynasty” in the Twitter or Facebook search box, for example, your entry will show up and they’re likely to click through to check out your auction. These searchers do not have to be friends, following your page, etc – that’s the beauty of hashtags! If you want to have a little fun with it, open a tab that shows your current hits/views on the auction/article/listing etc. , post your status update, then refresh this stats page a minute later. You can watch the numbers jump up before your eyes!

I use this method to advertise my Etsy listings, my eBay auctions, my Freelance Writing services, my Craigslist items, my Constant Content articles – essentially anything I’m looking to sell. It’s been extremely helpful for me and my sales, and I hope it’s just as helpful for you!