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Tweet for website traffic using hashtags

Use Twitter to attract customers to your websiteTwitter roadsign saying Website Next Exit

When your Tweets are of interest to your readers they will often visit your website to establish your credibility or look for more information. This blog will show you how to use Tweets to flag down more website traffic even if you don’t have many Twitter followers.

The power of  the Twitter #hashtag

There are millions of Tweets posted every day so Twitter users search for messages of interest using the # (hash) symbol.

# placed at the beginning of a word flags it as a searchable string of letters. When a user clicks on this #hashtag keyword in a Tweet or searches for it in the Twitter search bar they see a real-time stream of Tweets that include the phrase. So hashtags allow users to watch threads of tweet discussions.

Note: a complete phrase becomes a clickable hashtag when #YouLeaveOutSpaces or #replace_them_with_underscores.

Use multiple #keywords in your #Tweets

You can incorporate as many #hashtag keywords as you like into a Tweet but I’d suggest 2 or 3 max or they’ll start to look like spam. Try to work your #keywords into the text of your tweet as this will #SaveSpace and reads more fluently.

Let’s search for #Wellington #accommodation in the Twitter search bar:

Twitter search
Along with the two Tweets on the left, People results are displayed on the right. Clicking on one of these displays a list of their recent Tweets and a link to their website.

Targeting your Twitter audience

Users who search specifically for your #hashtag keyword are guaranteed to be interested in your keyword subject. Your message will have a great chance of being seen  by your customers or prospects.

Twalk is cheap

Tweets are free so there is room to experiment with keywords. When using #hashtag keywords you’re likely to find it’s not easy to predict which words or phrases will attract your audience so try some out. Test broad keywords and also more specific words. You have nothing to lose. When you find one that works, stick with it.

More and more customers are using Twitter and careful use of the # tag allows you to connect with them even if you don’t yet have many Twitter followers.


Alistair McAlpine is a long-time broadcaster and resident writer/web strategist for internet marketing company Web Success in Wellington, New Zealand.

Your website needs a Facebook Like button

Laurel and Hardy like the facebook like button

Customers who click stick through thin and thick

Facebook Like gets our thumbsup

What happens when Jo Brown clicks your Like button can make a real difference to your business.

The Facebook Like button is a powerful business tool when placed on your website and is often overlooked. It allows your visitors and customers to quickly point their friends and family to your website.

When Jo Brown clicks the Facebook Like button on your website she is making a strong social statement.

A facebook like button for your business website

“I like this and I want all my friends to know about it.”

How does it work?

When Jo clicks your Like button this message appears on her Facebook Wall

Jo Browns facebook Like button message

More importantly, this message also appears on her friend’s News Feeds, where they hang out to keep an eye on what’s going on.

The important bit for your business

When Jo’s friends read this message they are likely to want to know:

  1. What is it Jo likes enough to broadcast to the world?
  2. Why does she like it?
  3. What am I missing out on?

There are two links embedded in Jo’s message:

  1. A link on her name which takes them to her Wall
  2. A link on your business name which takes them to your website.

The link to your website will allow them to follow their friend’s pointing finger and answer their questions.

You don’t even need to be on Facebook

Many Facebook users see Like buttons as a great way to share stuff with friends, family, prospects and clients. What many businesses often don’t realise is that they don’t even have to maintain a Facebook fan page to benefit from a Facebook Like button on the pages of their business website.

The Like button works independently of your Facebook account or Facebook Business Page by pointing your customer’s friends to your website via their Facebook Account.

Of course there are many reasons why your business would benefit from a Facebook business fanpage but we won’t go into those now.

How do I put a Facebook Like button on my website?

Adding a Facebook like button to your website can be done quickly with even a basic knowledge of html.
Simply go to this webpage to get the Facebook Like button html code to place on your website.

Don’t even want to think about html?  Web Success can affordably do this for you.

A simple Facebook Like button can increase web traffic, customers and your bottom line.


Alistair McAlpine is a long-time broadcaster and the resident writer/web strategist for internet marketing company Web Success in Wellington, New Zealand.

(Image in this blog: Laurel and Hardy poster from


Public Speaking: essential business skill

The room falls silent; thirty-two people focus their attention on the speaker wanting to hear how they are going to benefit from the speaker joining their business network. A “seat” in the network is reputed to be worth on average $20,000 per year – worth having.

It’s a bake-off, a competitive situation. It shouldn’t be like this. The assessment  should really be made on the skills, qualifications and reputations of the contestants – and more importantly what they are going to bring to the network. But how can we tell? We’ve had references, information, and their publicity material. But now it’s come down to this – their trades skills are worth squat. Can they speak to us in a way that convinces us that they will be the right one?

Now, it’s only their public speaking skills that matter. Are they articulate, confident (at least seeming so), a bit humorous, witty even and, ultimately, likable?

To some people these abilities come naturally – but to most of us they require development, practice, honing. Practice – that repetitive, boring part of the learning curve that we have to go through before we reach mastery.

What happened?

We had a fair idea who we wanted – but the speaking let him down. A fine tradesman I’m sure he is. A capable and useful member of our group he could probably have been. But his speaking let him down – and when that’s all there is to ultimately judge by then that is what happens. Unfair perhaps, illogical perhaps – but that was the reality.

Public speaking is an essential skill. In professional and business life it comes up again and again. It isn’t necessary to be a great orator – but it is necessary to be able to confidently and clearly express oneself to a group.

There will be times when your “customers” will be real people listening to you speak. Can’t speak? Then you can’t serve all your customers.

Are your speaking skills up to the level you need? You could do a lot worse than join a Toastmasters Club. There are arguments that Toastmasters emphasises rhetorical style over authentic communication – but I don’t know of an alternative that matches for cost and time. The supporting manuals cover the material very well and the range of speaking skills one experiences – meeting chair, evaluator, grammarian, speaker, table topics master – cover many different aspects of speaking. Not to mention “table topics” – delivering an impromptu 2 minute speech. All of this happens in a safe supportive environment of people at various levels doing the same thing – and having fun to boot.

When the $20,000 opportunity comes your way, will you be able to step up to the mark?


Pitching web strategy

This is how we don’t do it. If you can watch it to the end, you’re not busy enough.


Time together with time to spare

Hanging on hold at TelstraClear as they switch me from “In Home” to “Home Plan” – wrong department apparently – turgid piano music aggravates but how, oh so, apt – it’s “Somewhere” from West Side Story.

There’s a time for us,
Some day a time for us,
Time together with time to spare,
Time to learn, time to care,
Some day!


Is it OK to cancel?

The problem of the ambiguous “confirm a cancel” dialogue box is still with us in 2011.

Are you sure you want to cancel? If you cancel now you will not receive this file. OK? Cancel?

“So, do I click Cancel to cancel or OK to cancel.”

“You click OK to cancel. Cancel cancels the cancel.”

“Shouldn’t I click Cancel to cancel?”

“No, Cancel cancels the cancel, click OK, OK.”

“OK I clicked OK to cancel.”

“You wanted to cancel!?! You should have clicked Cancel. Now you’ve cancelled it. That’s not OK.”

Reminds me of a great scene in Intolerable Cruelty (you’ll need to turn up the volume).

Moral: Check the “Do not ask me again” box.


Read about domain names vs register a domain name

Take a simple task that anyone might want to do with web services – register a domain name.

One major provider gives you a heap of information about domain names and all the options – but what do you do next?

TelsraClear Domain Names page - information but nowhere to registerThe other one also provides information – but, crucially, allows you to register.

Telecom Domain Names page - information and the ability to register

People do go to the web for information – but more predominantly they are wanting to get something done. After finding out all the information about domain names, the next logical thing is to register the one they have in mind.

One of these providers is going to leave the site visitor frustrated as there is simply no indication of how to go about registering. The other makes it obvious.


Beware the beautiful website that doesn’t work

It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.
- Leo Tolstoy

Had a prospect come and meet me today. He’s got a website that’s been up not that long – and, of course, spent all his web marketing budget on it.

It’s a nice looking site – great graphics, banner, logo and clear colourful photography that shows off his products splendidly. It’s even got clever Ajax sliding things that reveal items within different product categories. From a superficial look you’d think – lovely website.

Just has one small problem – it was supposed to generate online orders – but there haven’t been any.

When you look a bit closer it all becomes clear.

Firstly, it’s a product-centric website – all about the products. There are three delivery channels serving quite disparate needs and audiences except it’s not obvious. And, none of the audiences  are properly catered for. Why? Because the thinking that went into the site came from the products.

It was only on about my fourth visit to the site that I saw the button in the top right corner alerting me to an important offering – strange placement, but it didn’t really matter as there was no extra information once I clicked anyway.

My potential new customer has a pretty but useless website – and we now have to work out how to get the heavy lifting done on a shoestring.


It’s not what you want to eat, it’s what I want to cook

A tale of poor customer service in the food sector.

Wet day Saturday in Wellington – a great day for cafe culture so we popped into Olive Cafe on Cuba Street for something to eat and drink. Arriving at 2:45pm we were given Brunch menus, which indicated the brunch menu was from 9am to 3pm. Happily chatting away we didn’t order till 3pm (no one came to ask for our orders either) – and were told the kitchen was closed. Unbelievable - apparently no cooked food available. So we considered our options and I thought I’d try to find out what was happening and went to the counter. Asked the waitress who served us initially what was happening – so she asked the manager who said ask the chef.  I’m waiting for the response - which arrives a minute or two later. It’s now past 3pm, and they offer me the  Tapas menu – we’ll need to select from that menu. But, we knew what we wanted and it wasn’t on the Tapas menu and it seemed they weren’t really very interested in our custom – so we left.

Five to 3 you can have brunch items, five past 3 you can only have tapas. Whose interests are being served here? Where is the thinking located – in the customer’s experience or the kitchen’s operation?


Outstanding customer service from Minh Phan of Pretty Things

Amid all the stories of destruction, sadness, heroism, and joy of the Christchurch earthquake comes a remarkable tale of customer service.

Amid all the turmoil it’d be pretty easy to focus on your own problems and getting yourself sorted out – but – Minh Phan, a dressmaker,  of Pretty Things wasn’t going to allow her customers’ big days to get spoilt.

She ventured back in through the cordon to get to her shop and retrieve two dresses to be worn at weddings within days. She and her husband didn’t quite get away with it and were locked up for her efforts – undeterred, she found a sympathetic policeman and went back a second time.

Clearly, she knew how much those dresses and those weddings meant to her customers and she did what was necesary – despite the blocks and potential danger.

Customer-centred thinking, and service, at its best.