What’s a Hashtag? – Exporting Products


Dear M & M:

Could you explain what a hashtag is and how I could use it in my business?

– Donna

Dear Donna: 

If you have been on Twitter, you may have seen a “hashtag.” To put it simply, a hash tag is simply a way for people to search for tweets that have a common topic and to begin a conversation. For example, if you search on #LOST (or #Lost or #lost, because it’s not case-sensitive), you’ll get a list of tweets related to the TV show. What you won’t get are tweets that say “I lost my wallet yesterday” because “lost” isn’t preceded by the hash tag “#”. Hashtags believed to have originated on Twitter but, interestingly enough, it is not a Twitter function. According to serial social technology innovator Chris Messina (on Twitter), it was: #barcamp. Used in August of 2007, the #barcamp hashtag was intended to bundle conversation about the global technology conference gatherings called Barcamp that Messina helped found as well. Now hashtags are showing up everywhere. On the sides of busses, on coupons, billboards and included in many marketing campaigns. Another great use was when a broken plane luckily landed in the Hudson River in early 2009; some Twitter user wrote a post and added #flight1549 to it. I have no idea who this person was, but somebody else would have read it and when he posted something about the incident, added #flight1549 to HIS tweet. For something like this, where tweets would have been flying fast and furiously, it wouldn’t have taken long for this hash tag to go viral and suddenly thousands of people posting about it would have added it to their tweets as well. Then, if you wanted info on the situation, you could do a search on “#flight1549” and see everything that people had written about it. Take this hashtag for example: #followfriday. This Hash tag would compel many others to share what they were going to do on the weekend. Now that the workweek was over it gives people a place to share what they are doing with others that might be interested in that sort of thing, thus contributing to a fun conversation seeing what others were going to do over the weekend. The next time you have an event or want to start a conversation around a certain topic create a hashtag to help organize traffic around it.  For further clarification on hashtags and for everything for everything else about Twitter please visit: TwitterFanZone.com


Dear M & M:

I am interested in exporting some of my products overseas. Someone told me to look into the U.S. EX-IM Bank as they might be able to provide assistance. How do I contact them and what can they do to help my company


Dear Tom:

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) is the official export credit agency of the United States. Ex-Im Bank’s mission is to assist in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to international markets. Ex-Im Bank enables U.S. companies — large and small — to turn export opportunities into real sales that help to maintain and create U.S. jobs and contribute to a stronger national economy. Ex-Im Bank does not compete with private sector lenders but provides export financing products that fill gaps in trade financing. They assume credit and country risks that the private sector is unable or unwilling to accept. They also help to level the playing field for U.S. exporters by matching the financing that other governments provide to their exporters. Ex-Im Bank provides working capital guarantees (pre-export financing); export credit insurance; and loan guarantees and direct loans (buyer financing). No transaction is too large or too small. On average, 85% of their transactions directly benefit U.S. small businesses. With more than 78 years of experience, Ex-Im Bank has supported more than $456 billion of U.S. exports, primarily to developing markets worldwide. Contact your local SBDC at Cochise College to put you in contact with a local representative or you can reach then through their web site at http://www.exim.gov/ .



To ask your questions: Call the Small Business Development Center(SBDC) at Cochise College (520)-515-5478 or email schmittm@cochise.edu or contact the Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation(EDF) at 520-458-6948 or email  hollism@svedf.org .


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