Frequently, when hashtags are being discussed – in blog posts, books, whitepapers, as part of campaigns, in meetings, or wherever – their importance is held so high that I find it verging on laughable.

A hashtag, plain and simple, is a tool for sociability.

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Facebook’s control over the content that appears in users’ news feeds has rightfully been a hot topic of late, but the impact this has on our social media marketing efforts is really only half of the story.

The other half of the story, of course, is the impact it has on users.

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There are many ways that you can use social media to great effect that have absolutely nothing to do with creating content.

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There are a huge number of ways that social media advocates can have a positive impact on your business.

The challenge is that identifying advocates isn’t always a simple task, and more challenging still is finding ways to encourage those advocates to sustain high-levels of involvement within your social media communities.

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The problem with ‘engagement’ is that it doesn’t tell us much at all. It’s not really a definitive indicator of anything except that someone clicked a button, or mashed a few keys on their keyboard.

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There’s amazing social media content to be shared that is entirely link-less, and we could be doing our businesses, or the brands we work on, a great disservice by publishing so much link-ridden content.

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Thinking small about social media marketing is about dedicating yourself to affecting real business results in small increments, day after day, for great long-term impact.

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Google+ may have just been validated as a bonafide social media heavyweight, right alongside the likes of Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn – and yes – even Facebook.

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Properly responding to audience-initiated dialogues on social media is a great opportunity for you add value, increase affinity, build advocacy, and develop relationships with individual members of your community.

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YouTube shouldn’t be viewed solely as a video publication platform.

It should be just as socially driven as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or any other social media network.

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Real-time marketing is here, and it has been here, to stay. There is huge opportunity for businesses and brands to interact with their audiences in real-time.

Businesses and brands, however, shouldn’t one day per year get a ‘real-time war room’ together and hope for some serendipitous opportunity to present itself, or worse, shoehorn their message into a less than memorable moment.

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In effort to shed some light on how Twitter can help small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), Twitter engaged Market Probe International to conduct research in hopes of proving how their platform can lead to real business results.

Some interesting findings emerged that – surprise, surprise – demonstrate that Twitter can indeed have a positive impact for SMBs.

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It’s been a while since I’ve published a 3 LINKS post featuring recent articles that I’ve found to be interesting, useful, entertaining or inspiring, but alas, here we go:

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In my experience, job descriptions tend to kind of just… well… be job descriptions.

What I mean by that is that they’re not exactly the first thing that businesses think about when conceiving of ways to push their business forward, promote and lead innovation, build and sustain brand advocacy, and ensure employees and coworkers are driving forces behind organizational social media success.

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As the volume of content being created and published continues to explode, finding every opportunity to place your content in front of as large a proportion of your audience as possible is of utmost importance to maximize results.

You shouldn’t simply follow best practices.

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For a medium that is supposed to be intrinsically social, much time can be spent on social media without having meaningful conversations.

This is particularly so for businesses and brands, where many use social media platforms not necessarily to be social, but to broadcast their message.

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Spurring interaction and greater levels of engagement are effective for growing the loyalty and strength of your audience, as well as attracting new people to your brand.

Following are 4 methods to gain higher levels of interaction with your blog content.

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Whether you’ve spent a couple of hours, or a couple of days working on your latest post, you’ll want to ensure you get as much as you can out of it.

Following is a post-publication action plan that you may want to consider the next time you publish a new blog post.

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Nobody cares that you have an account on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

If you’re solely broadcasting and republishing readily accessible information, nobody will care because there is no added value to ‘liking’ your Page, following your business, or subscribing to your social media channels.

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For some businesses on social media, being proactively social can be fraught with organizational challenges.

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Social media marketing is perfectly suited to sustain relationships with your consumers, even after they’ve made a purchase.

An effective social media strategy that accomplishes this will result in sustaining and strengthening loyalty, and will ultimately result in higher repeat purchase intent.

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The challenge for many organizations is that existing processes can stand in the way of engaging and interacting with audiences in a timely manner. Process by its nature takes time, and virtually strips organizations of being able to act in real-time.

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