Thursday, August 29, 2013

Guest author C.L. Swinney: Get on Board the #hashtag Train

C.L. Swinney
C. L. (Chris) Swinney is a narcotics investigator in the San Francisco Bay area. He has investigated hundreds of narcotics, homicide, gang, and Mexico cartel cases along the west coast of the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Swinney has been invited to speak at law enforcement conferences throughout the United States and is recognized as an expert in narcotics, homicides, and cell phone forensics. Swinney developed the concept for the first book in his Bill Dix series, Gray Ghost, while fly fishing in the Bahamas. His passion for the outdoors and law enforcement is intertwined throughout his writing. The world of narcotics is dark and mysterious. Swinney pulls the reader into this fascinating world in his debut novel.

When you can get the engineers at Facebook to notice you, you’ve done something special. The widespread use of #hashtags on Twitter, Triberr, Instagram, and other sites forced Facebook to alert its 750 million users that they had hashtags too. If you are trying to promote your brand, or in my case, a novel, you must know about hashtags. You must also know when and how to use them.

So what’s a hashtag? A hashtag is a word or phrase following a “#” sign. In the USA, we call this a pound sign. The rest of the world refers to it as a hashtag. When you use a hashtag, let’s use “#clswinney” as a reference, the data will be grouped in one area on the Internet. When you click on #clswinney, you will be taken to a board on the Internet containing all the messages containing #clswinney. Think of it as a system filing cabinet.

You can also register (FOR FREE) hashtags for specific groups, projects, people, whatever you may like so that others in your group or who want to get to know more about you can find similar people with similar interests. You can use Triberr and Twubs to make this happen. Then on these sites, you can further promote you, your book, your brand, or whatever you wish.

Are they really that important? I’ll give you an example. Last week I was in Las Vegas checking in at The Mirage for a writing conference. While waiting to check in, I noticed eight massive monitors along the wall in the main lobby. The monitors were streaming Internet hashtags. In fact, if you used the hashtag #miragelobbytalk, your message would stream to the monitors so everyone in the lobby at The Mirage could see your message. My family, friends, and I basically took the board over by sending messages about my book while including the #miragelobbytalk hashtag. What does this mean? I was getting FREE advertising at a major Las Vegas Hotel. In addition, the data was on a loop, so for the next five days, anyone strolling through the lobby could see my posts!

Here’s my final blurb about using hashtags.  They’re nothing to be afraid of, and very simple to use.  It’s one of the few things in social media that is not so monotonous and time consuming.  If done right, it’s an effective tool.  You can create new hashtags all the time and have fun doing so.  Where else can you say that about social media promoting?

C. L. Swinney

Find Chris!
Twitter: @clswinney


Charles Gramlich said...

It sounds like English, but not being on Twitter, I'm still confused. :)

William Doonan said...

Great post! This is insanely cool, and something I knew nothing about. Thanks!

Julie Luek said...

That's a great way to make those hashtags work for you. I am slowly but surely getting on board with using them.

Your book sounds great-- I love the outdoors so am sure I'll find the theme in this to my liking. Glad to have met you.

C.L. Swinney said...

Charles, I can help you through this whole hashtag thing if you want. Don't fight it, just try to implement it some in your social media life!

C.L. Swinney said...

William, you will find that there is always something ahead of us when it comes to social media. This one, though, is super important and helps spread the word about your work with minimal effort!! I hope you are well!

C.L. Swinney said...

Hello Julie! Pleasure to meet you on this great blog as well :-) If you are even "barely" using hashtags, you are doing it right! Thanks for stopping by!