insight

5 Business Trends to Look Out For in 2017

business trends 2016

By Austin Miller, Content Marketing Manager

1. Native Advertising Will Become More Popular

The popularity of ad-blockers is steadily increasing. The end result is hard to predict. Powerful companies like Facebook and Google drive major revenues from their advertising platforms and will not want to let go easily. But with the recent announcement of Apple, things are beginning to change.

Writing on the impact of ad-blockers on Facebook, Biz Carson of the Business Insider writes:

The threat to its mobile advertising market comes directly from a September Apple software update that introduced ad-blocking apps to iOS 9. Ad blockers became some of the top-selling downloads in the app store, although some have since been removed over privacy concerns.

iOS will also automatically be including an ad-blocker with Safari on their mobile devices—a shrewd move against some of their biggest competition in the tech space like Google. 

The increase of ad-blockers will most likely force companies to look for alternative methods to get their brand's voice heard. Native advertising is a likely candidate to fill the gap. This will allow products to appear in casual settings where they don’t appear as outward advertisement—for example, a picture of Kylie Jenner drinking Coca-Cola. When it comes to native advertisements, ad-blockers will not be able to properly distinguish between an honest photo and a sponsorship.

2. Subscription Based Services Will Increase in Number

Netflix, Hulu, Audible—millennials have spoken. Consumers don’t like hourly fees, and subscription services are an effective way to do away with them. In fact, it’s one of the reasons Bookly has adopted such a model—we don’t want our customers to feel as if they should be afraid to ask their accountant questions. A monthly subscription model gives our clients unlimited access to a CPA without having to worry about each passing minute costing them money. 

Equally important with subscription based services, is the removal of friction at the point of purchase. When a client can make automated recurring payments—there is little pain associated with the purchase or hassle of paying each time. Harvard Scientists have studied this phenomenon with brain scans and have discovered that humans experience physiological pain at the point of purchase, but that this pain can be mitigated through various marketing techniques. (Read our article about neuromarketing for further reference.)

Michal Lev-Ram of Fortune writes: 

Subscriptions should certainly be an option for consumers, regardless of the product type. Consumer behavior, especially among younger people, is changing, and the need to own and house goods—from music to cars to physical documents—is waning. While Wall Street grapples with how to evaluate some of the subscription-only companies (à la Box), it has clearly worked up an appetite for a recurring revenue model that gives companies all sorts of new ways to engage with old and new customers. But transitioning isn’t easy, and each company needs to evaluate the needs of its customer base—and how subscriptions could potentially open the door to new users.

3. Content Marketing Will Become Essential

Another result of ad-blockers will be the increased importance of content marketing. As services move to block traditional advertising, value-based content will become more and more relevant. Articles, photos, and videos that can organically drive traffic will become essential components of running a proper ad campaign. 

John Miller of B2C writes: 

While many of the skills of content marketing and traditional digital marketing overlap, the intent is very different. While digital advertising can clearly play a role in marketing the content, the key is to start with awesome, audience-focused content rather than traditional in-your-face promotional copy. Your audience – almost regardless of who they are – wants content that helps them do their job better or live their life more enjoyably; telling them how fabulous your products or services are doesn’t accomplish that.

4. Increased Focus on Workplace Culture

More and more businesses are ditching suits and ties for t-shirts and ping pong tables. Simple gestures such as these are effective ways to boost morale and generate good will amongst employees. Upgrades such as these are often inexpensive and go a long way to ensure a happy workforce. With articles all over the internet touting the fun vibe found in startup hubs like San Fransisco and Austin, look for this trend to continue in 2016 as companies attempt to attract top talent. 

5. The Rise of the Solopreneur

With an increase in tools available (many of them free and inexpensive), look out for the rise of the solopreneur. iPhones are able to produce great photos, instructional YouTube videos and articles are widely available , and services like Canva put the power of graphic design into the novice’s hands. With services like these, technology is creating a generation of Renaissance men and women. 

Not only are companies giving the power to the consumer, they’re also allowing them to outsource their business needs at prices that sometimes make it more convenient than hiring in-house employees. Bookly for example offers accounting services that most often outpace more traditional methods in terms of cost and efficiency. This gives the consumer the ability to spend more time doing the parts of business they enjoy, and get quicker updates on their financials without ever having to leave their office. 

Audio Interview With Fundraising Fiend—Jess Larsen

Jess Larsen Podcast

By Austin Miller, Content Marketing Manager

Last week we sat down with Jess Larsen, founder of the Ideation Collective and Child Rescue (an organization that helps save children from sex trafficking and slavery). He's raised millions of dollars in funds for  non-profits and for-profits alike, rubbed shoulders with NBA players, Hollywood Actors, Special Forces, and high powered CEO's. Throughout his journey he's picked up a thing or two about starting a business. Luckily for you, Jess was willing to share his wisdom with us. 

Side Note: The recording begins mid-stream as we've edited the conversation to contain only the meatiest parts. Bookly was also acquired by KPMG Spark in 2018.

Why Your Small Business Needs to Consider the Customer Testimonial

customer testimonial

By Austin Miller, Content Marketing Manager

These days customer testimonials have become standard practice for nearly all business models. From big time investment firms to sellers on Amazon, everyone’s looking for a blurb telling you why you should trust their service. Customer testimonials serve several applications that will boost your business’s success. We will go over these uses and how you can solicit them from customers.

Validation:

Validation is two-fold in its service. Not only is it important for your customer, but it can serve as fuel for your business as well. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re an established company rolling out a new product, there’s always that anxiety of wondering how something will be received by the public. Getting positive feedback from consumers will give you the confidence to keep pursuing the avenues that are working. 

Just as important if not more so, is the confirmation potential customers will get, knowing that they’re not alone in their decision to purchase your product. It’s no secret that humans like to belong or fit in with others. There have been numerous psychological studies proving that in times of uncertainty, people will tend to copy others' actions. (You can read about one of these experiments conducted by Opower’s Alex Laskey by following the link.)

*Scenario* Imagine you’re on a road trip and you’re in the middle of nowhere when you pull over for food. There’s two BBQ joints that look similar, except for one’s completely empty and the other is full. Barring that there’s no line, which one will you choose? 

That’s the power of validation, that's the customer testimonial. 

Vantage Point:

Whatever our title, we all experience it—tunnel vision. We see things through a particular lens because that’s what our professions teach us to do. As hard as we try, we can never quite see things the same way someone else does. And when it comes to business, no one’s viewpoint matters more than the customer’s. Customer testimonials will allow you to see things through the eyes of someone else and provide you with unique insights you couldn’t get in any other way. Which brings us to our third and final point.

Unique Insight:

You’re sure everyone loves your product because of it’s beautiful design. You’ve even poured thousands of dollars into marketing based on that singular fact. And then you speak with your customers, not one mention of design. In fact, some people don’t even like the look of your product—but they love how sturdy it is. 

Get the picture? Customers see things you can’t. And even if you're aware of all your product's uses, can you be sure which one is driving them to purchase it?

Customer testimonials can give you a sense of what makes your product shine, how people are using it, and how you need to market it. 

Conclusion: 

  • Use customer testimonials as a mini compass for your business. They will help you and your customers consistently make smarter decisions. 
  • Basic web analytics can measure a lot things, but hearing testimonials directly from the mouth of your consumers can reveal things numbers aren’t always capable of doing.
  • Be wise and diversify your strategy. Customer testimonials aren't a magic bullet for all your marketing woes. A well rounded plan that includes analysis of KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) and traditional word of mouth will be the most advantageous. 

3 Things You Should Know About 'Charitable Contributions'

charitable contributions

Charitable contributions are a seemingly magical thing—give to the poor and save money in return. And although this sounds wonderful in principle, there’s more to charitable contributions you should know before forming a business strategy around them. To help you, we've created a list of 3 things that will make navigating the tax waters a lot simpler. 

1. Documentation

Documentation is key. Many business owners think they can wait till the end of the year to make an estimated guess on charitable donations. Wrong, only those who itemize their deductions will get a tax benefit. 

2. Deduction Amounts

You might not be able to get a deduction for the full amount of expenses at a charitable event. If you receive any benefit from a donation, you can only deduct the difference between the value of the benefit and the cash you donate. If for example you host a charitable dinner, you will not be reimbursed for the food since it provides you with direct value. 

3. Appreciated Property

When people think of charitable contributions, they often think of tangible objects or money. But you can also make donations with appreciated property like stocks. In return you should get a deduction for the current value without having to pay taxes on the gains. 

As an aside, we believe that no matter the economical benefits to be gained from charitable contributions—there are intangibles that simply can’t be written in numbers. 

5 Ways to Stay Healthy When Chained to a Desk All Day

girl sitting at a desk

Staying Healthy at the Workplace

There are serious health risks associated with long periods of sitting—heart disease, cancer, and muscle degeneration just to name a few. According to fitness.mercola.com—the average American is sitting for 9-10 hours a day, a period of time that not even a 60-90 minute workout can offset. Simply put, the human body just isn’t meant for a sedentary lifestyle. Here’s 5 ways to fight against the rat race and stay healthy at the office.

1. Maximize your circumstances

At KPMG Spark, we take work-place health seriously. Sure we down our fair share of soda—but we also create opportunities with impromptu wall-sits, ping pong matches, walks, bike-rides, stair runs, and games of catch. These things combined with an encouraging environment make for plenty of opportunities to stay fit at work. But what if you're workplace isn't so accommodating? 

The responsibility still falls on you. 

Are you taking the elevator up to the 3rd floor? Are you always scrapping with coworkers for the closest parking spot? These are missed opportunities. 

Look for ways to turn everyday activities into mini workouts. It may not sound like much, but adding 50 ft. to your parking lot walk or an extra flight of stairs a day can really add up overtime. 

2. Commit to short workouts

It’s unlikely that your boss is willing to give you an hour and a half to pump iron everyday. And even if he did, would it be the best way to maximize your workouts? According to many researchers—no

Short high interval workouts have been clinically proven to be more effective as Dr. Izumi Tabata proved in the 90’s with his experiments on Olympic speed skaters. His work has inspired other popular workout gurus and styles to adapt this same format in what they refer to as “interval training.” 

Besides—Who wants to work out for an hour and a half when they can get the same results in less than half the time? 

3. Deskercise

Move over Zumba and SoulCycle...“Deskercise” is the next big thing. There are dozens of workouts you can perform at your desk to help stay in shape without distracting those around you. 

Greatist.com has a well...“great” list of 33 exercise you can do from the comfort of your cubicle. Make sure to check out the list to some unique ways to stay healthy at the desk.

4. Speak with HR

If you think upper management doesn’t have a vested interest in your health—you’re wrong. That’s not to say they all recognize the benefits of a healthy workforce, but they are exactly that—benefits. Being a healthy employees means being a productive employee, and productivity means profit. A healthier workforce could also mean less insurance payouts for the employer. 

Many companies are trying to find innovative ways to keep employees healthy including programs like HealthyWage that reward employees monetarily for losing weight. Here at KPMG Spark, the employees are provided company bikes and encouraged to use them often to keep health and spirits high. 

If upper management is stuck in the era of smoking jackets and mahogany wood, perhaps you might consider bringing these facts to HR’s attention—tastefully of course. 

5. Bring your own lunch. 

Lunches have come a long way since the days of a PB&J’s, high fructose juices, and chips. Granted, PB & J's are still delicious and cheap, but there are dozens of healthier alternatives that are relatively easy to make. 

Diet is just as important as exercise. And if you plan on staying healthy at work, you better incorporate a well-thought out diet. Preparing your own lunch will not only help you control what goes into your food, but it will also help you control your portions so you aren’t tempted to eat more than you should. 

Not to mention, bringing your own lunch will help you save a substantial amount of money. TIME Magazine reports that taking your food to work will save you on average $2,500 dollars a year. That’s enough to buy one of those trendy Segway ripoffs all the celebrities are using like the IO Hawk. Heck, after that, you’ll even have a nice chunk of change leftover to put towards your kid’s college fund.

How to Cultivate Your Brand's Voice

business branding

Cultivating Your Voice

Let’s face it, a Nike sweatband isn’t always so different from a Reebok sweatband, and a Ford isn’t always so different from a Chevy. But what is different, is the marketing team behind them and the stories they tell. It's precisely these narratives that appeal to our emotional side and eventually our wallets. 

Alright, alright, we know that our voice is important. But exactly how important is it?

Wordpress reports that on their platform alone, 52.4 million new posts are created monthly. With dozens of other blogging platforms, social networks, and media vehicles—a unique voice has never been more relevant to a brand’s success. 

When evaluating your brand’s unique voice, there are a couple of things you must ask yourself: 

Who’s Your audience? 

It’s much easier to convert consumers within your niche than converting and educating new ones. If you’re looking for fast returns, consider your audience carefully. Do your research, using tools like Google Analytics and questionnaires to find out who and where your customers are. Be sure to reward your customers for their time if you choose to use the latter method. 

What value does Your content provide?

Notice how we used the word value instead of difference? That’s because too many companies think being different means being unique without evaluating whether or not that difference adds value to the consumer. Research your competitor’s and find out what you offer that they don’t. Use that information to focus in on customer reviews and surveys to see if that’s a valuable difference you need to exploit—this will be the central focus of your brand’s voice. 

How should You convey that value?

How you convey your message can distinguish you just as much as the message itself. Sure you’re probably going to use many of the same platforms as your competitor’s, but you should also consider the avenues your competitor’s are not yet dominating. MacWorld for example, reports that there are only 250,000+ podcasts whereas according to Adweek there are 42 billion Facebook pages. As a business owner you need to evaluate the competition—less competitive platforms are not always better, but they have the potential to give you a solid edge. 

It’s also important to consider content length and digestabilibty. Does your audience prefer long form? Short form? Videos? Text? Again, use analytics to evaluate these things to see what content your audience is consuming, and the length of time they’re consuming it. Adjust accordingly. 

Takeaways: 

  • With market saturation, finding a unique voice is more essential than ever.
  • Consider your audience.
  • Consider your service/product.
  • Exploit the areas where you are strong and your competitors are weak. This will be the central focus of your brand voice. 
  • Tailor your content to your audience’s attention span, and mediums of choice.

Should Spouses go Into Business Together?

business partners spouses

Working Together as a Couple

As a husband-wife business duo, you're not just business partners you're partners for life. And while there are success stories like Adi Tarako and Alan Cohen (the husband-wife owners of the $2 billion site Houzz), there are also horror stories like the founder’s of Burt’s Bees—Burt Shavitz and Roxanne Quimby. The business owner-spouse dynamic can be a strange and rewarding relationship where what happens at home can affect what happens in the office and visa versa, and it goes without saying that starting a business together is not a light decision. 

Here are six things you should consider before throwing all of your life savings into a “sure thing”:

1. Zoning

It will be tempting to bring business matters home but this simply isn’t an option, especially if you have employees. It’s important to maintain a professional demeanor, any tension between spouses can and will carry over to others. Such tension can cause employees to feel awkward or compelled to “choose a side." 

Inversely, when at the dinner table there will be times you’ll want to discuss unresolved business. And although in special circumstances this might be necessary—it’s important to set boundaries early on. Failing to do so will cause your relationship to suffer. After a long day of work, your mind and body need to decompress, and focusing on your relationship can only benefit your business in the long run. 

2. Comfortability

As spouses you will share a level of comfortability that you won’t share with others including clients, employees, and strategic business partners. Talking down to each other, complaining about your spouse when they aren’t in the office, or too much public affection can all be cause for loss of professionalism. Keeping a professional demeanor will help you command more credibility and respect at the work place. 

3. Skill Set

Once you have a well thought out business plan that includes the hows of business and not just the whats—it’s time to make an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. This crucial step will help you know what to expect in the way of expenditures. If you need a programmer and neither of you know how to program—you’re going to have to calculate that cost and adjust accordingly. If there are shared gaps in expertise, look to small business outsourcing as an easy way to save time and headache. 

4. Shared Vision

The last thing you want is for both of you to be working your tails off while heading in opposite directions. Before you begin producing, hiring and investing—it’s important to make sure you're working together as a couple. Take some time, in fact, take a lot of time to draw out a well designed plan. Start with a long term vision and then work your way down to hyper-focused goals. This will assure that your end goal is the same and the only question left to ask is “How do we get there?” 

5. Home Life

This may seem like an obvious one, but it just might be the most important. Have you talked about who will watch the kids when they're home? Are you going to hire a babysitter—and if so, can you afford it? Who’s going to do the chores? Are you going to hire a cleaning service? Or will you have enough energy to do the dishes after both of you have been working all day?

Working together as a couple has the uncanny ability to make you take an analytical look at the day to day. Make sure you discuss these things in detail so there's no confusion when things "fall through the cracks." This is especially true when it comes your children's health and well-being.

6. Power Balance

Is one person going to take the lead? Should one person take the lead? Or will you work together as an equal partnership? 

It's easy to say you’ll have an equal share of power but when it comes to actively carrying out policies—sometimes one partner will take a natural leadership role over the other. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Remember consideration number 3? Play to your strengths as a partnership. Being master of your natural domain can be a bigger help to your brand’s success than being alpha dog. 

If one of you does take a more public leadership role in the company, it’s important to try not leverage the cache that come’s with a position of power over the other. When you walk through your home's door your position as manager ends.

Pros and Cons of Hiring Independent Contractors

independent contractors

Whether you're launching your first startup or managing an established small business, you know that overseeing your business is no easy task. When the workload becomes too much, having some help can make your job easier and relieve some pressure and stress. As your business evolves, you may find that you do not have the skills to tackle every task. 

Remember that instead of taking on too much work or tackling tasks beyond your skill set, you can turn to skilled individuals to help your small business excel. Independent contractors can help you better manage your workload or address those job tasks that aren't your strength. The IRS generally defines independent contractors as those individuals whose job tasks are controlled by the individual rather than the employer. Evaluating the pros and cons of using independent contractors is essential before hiring a freelancer. 

Pros 

Additional Help

Independent contractors can provide the manpower your small business needs to thrive. When work picks up, you might need extra hands to pitch in, and an independent contractor is a no-obligation way to find that help. You can enjoy the benefits of assistance without bringing on additional full-time employees.

Cost Savings

Independent contractors can be a cost-effective way to add to your small business team. Because they are not full-time employees, you do not have to offer benefits like paid vacation, worker's comp, health insurance, or a 401(k). You can also save on payroll expenses. Instead, you simply pay the contractor at the agreed-upon rate, whether it's hourly or per project. The freelancer is also responsible for paying any self-employment taxes, taking the task of withholding deductions off your hands.

Flexibility

Working with independent contractors offers flexibility as you staff your small business. You can hire a variety of contractors on a per-project basis rather than committing to them for the long term. Mix and match talent as your business needs change. You might establish ongoing relationships with some independent contractors or seek out new freelancers when you need help in a new area of your business.

It might sound odd, but hiring an independent contractor can also provide flexibility in terms of firing. When independent contractors come on board they know (or should know) that they are not beholden to the same perks as those who actually form part of the company. The temporality and need to renew contracts is telling in terms of uncertainty. Firing a independent contractor is in actuality discontinuing service with another company who doesn't meet your needs. It can, and should be a lot less emotionally taxing than firing an in-house employee.

Protection 

Hiring an in independent contractor can be an added measure of protection as it provides less exposure to employment related lawsuits. 

Cons 

Lack of Control 

When you welcome an independent contractor to your small business team you don't have much control over that individual. They are able to set their own schedule, time frame and work environment when it comes to completing the actual work. Additionally, while you might have a professional relationship with the contractor, your perceived authority may be limited. If the individual goes on vacation for three weeks or is slow to respond to emails you simply have to wait, or find a new contractor to take his or her place. 

Search Process

Independent contractors aren't always knocking on your door looking for work. When you're hiring a full-time employee, you can place an ad in the local paper or on the web and quickly get responses from many qualified applicants. Because fewer individuals are seeking contractor jobs, you're recruiting from a smaller pool. While you still might be able to find the right freelancer, the search process may take longer or require more work than you anticipate. 

Turnover

Independent contractors will likely come and go more often than full-time employees depending on the project at hand or natural churn since some might not be the right fit for your business' needs. Others might find full-time work or simply move on. Since turnover is more likely with independent contractors, this staffing solution might not work well for small business owners who do not want to regularly look for assistance. 

Intellectual Property

Similar to "lack of control," is the possibility of not owning the IP your independent contractor creates. This can cause significant losses is their creation becomes integral to your business and you lose the right to the IP.

Increased Scrutiny

By hiring an independent contractor you open your business to more scrutiny by the government for improper designation. There can be severe penalties for business owners who pay individuals who should be designated as employers as if they were independent contractors. 

How to Evaluate Independent Contractors 

Now that you know the pros and cons of working with independent contractors, you can decide whether this staffing solution will work for your small business. Weighing three factors can help you identify the right staffing solution for your needs.

Type of Work 

Consider the type of work you need assistance with. Are the tasks well suited to an independent contractor? If there's a significant learning curve a full-time employee may be a better fit. However, if a skilled independent contractor can step in and offer immediate help, this type of staff member may be suitable for your small business or start up.

Timeframe

How long do you need assistance? If you expect to need help for the foreseeable future a reliable full-time employee may be the most practical choice. However, if you have a busy season or a big project that requires temporary additional manpower, an independent contractor is a no-obligation way to help your business through those busy times.

Budget

How much can you afford? An independent contractor should generally cost you less than a full-time employee, which can be appealing to small businesses on modest budgets. 

Of course, you'll need to shop around and find out the going rate for an independent contractor in your field. Overall growing your small business does not always require a staff of full-time employees. Relationships with reliable and skilled independent contractors can potentially help your small business grow. Determining whether or not this type of staff works for you is the first step toward expanding your small business.

Your Holiday Guide to Client Gift Giving

Holiday List

The holidays can be a great way to reinforce your relationship with your clients… or a land-mine. Do you send a gift? If so, what? How much do you spend? What will stride that fine line between thoughtful and self-promotional? While it’s up to you to choose just the right thoughtful client gift, we do have some tips and tricks for anyone struggling with this big holiday question. 

Client Giving Tips 

Personalize every gift

How well do you know your client? When dreaming up client gifts this year, think of ideas that will show your client you pay attention and value the continued business relationship. Even if you decide to get all of your clients the same gift, personalize each one with a handwritten card. 

Don’t limit the holidays to December

You’re thankful or your clients, right? Then maybe a Thanksgiving card or gift would be appropriate. Think outside the box to delight your customers this holiday season. 

Be culturally sensitive

And we’re not just talking corporate culture. Be sensitive to people of different faiths and values. For example, avoid sending a leather business card holder to a client you know is Hindu or a Christmas ham to a client you know to be Jewish. 

Reach out to past clients

The holidays can be downtime for many client-driven companies. Don’t limit your holiday outreach to current clients. Use this opportunity to send a card or a small gift to past clients and rekindle the relationship. 

Client Giving Taboos

All but the prickliest of clients will accept gifts in the spirit they’re intended – even if they have no use for a French press or a pound of Argentinian cookies. But keep these client giving taboos in mind to ensure your client is truly delighted. 

Avoid alcohol

Unless you and your client have discussed his love for dry gins, be wary of alcohol. You never know who’s recovering, or even has religious or cultural objections to the hard stuff. 

Watch out for perceived insults

While offered with the best of intentions, a gift card for self-improvement, such as for a spa or a new hairstyle, may be perceived as a slight. 

Keep it professional

There’s a fine line between giving your client a thoughtful gift and giving them an intimate gift. 

Avoid things like cologne or fancy jewelry – these gifts are usually traded between spouses, not business colleagues. It should go without saying that anything sexual or risqué is a no go. 

Deducting Client Gifts on Your Taxes In general, client gifts are tax deductible as long as they were given for the purpose of promoting your business. Gifts to employees are deductible, but to the extent they exceed $25 you must calculate payroll taxes and include the amount in W-2 earnings.

How Your #SmallBiz Should be Using Hashtags

hashtag

Everyone is talking about hashtags, but do you know what they do and how you can use them for your business? Mastering the power of the hashtag can make your social media posts more popular and bring better visibility to your business. 

Create a Proper Hashtag 

Before you can become a hashtag master, you need to understand what they do. Some people who don't understand the use of hashtags think they are for expressing feelings, like #sobummedoutrightnow. While this may be a fun use for casual users, it won't work for someone who is promoting a business. Hashtags allow social media sites to categorize your post with other posts like it. Then, your post will appear when users search for that particular subject. So, useful hashtags are keywords that relate to your post. For example, if you post a link to your latest article about investing in overseas funds, a good hashtag would be #investing or #investingtips, not #thisarticleisinteresting. 

Use Hashtags Everywhere 

Hashtags aren't just for Twitter anymore. All large social media sites, like Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram are using hashtags to organize posts. 

Keep it Short 

You've probably run across hashtags that contain a lot of words, like #superfunfisharticle or #awesomesalestips. These tags don't work. Why? Because people won't search for ""super fun fish articles"" or ""awesome sales tips."" They will search for ""fish articles"" or ""sales tips."" Keep your hashtags short and use only keywords or terms people will actually search for. 

Use Hashtags to Get Followers Involved 

Another good way to use hashtags is by creating a memorable one and encouraging your followers to use the hashtag. For example, every week comedian Jimmy Fallon plays the hashtag game with his followers. He will give them a hashtag subject and ask them to write a tweet based on the subject. The followers then add the hashtag to their Tweet so that Fallon can find it. Each week, his hashtags become worldwide trending topics on Twitter. Some examples of his hashtag subjects have been: #momtexts#worstgiftever#myweirdwaiter#misheardlyrics 5. Use Hashtags to Market You

Want people to spread the word about your business or product? Come up with an interesting hashtag that people will want to repeat. For example, television shows will post silly words or catchphrases their characters say as hashtags. You can make up a hashtag that relates to your business in the same way. Make up a funny or catchy turn of phrase that relates to your product. Here are some examples other companies have used: 

Neosporin to Go- #NeoReady 

Ivory Soap- #SudLife 

Puffs- #PassThePuffs 

Once you start using hashtags the right way, you will find your social media becoming a much more effective marketing tool.