I have to admit my guilty pleasure… I enjoy watching the X factor. Well… the last series anyway – not the current one. I’m way too much of a man to say I miss Cheryl and Simon.

During the last series I sat glued to the box along with millions of others. To make the experience a little more interactive I settled down with a glass of wine in one hand and my iPad in the other. With Twitter running on screen I was able to follow peoples comments and join in a massive conversation. I know it all sounds a little sad for a grown man – I did say it was my guilty pleasure and I guess it could be a lot worse.

I’d let my following of the show be known to just a few people. On Saturday evening, just as things were about to kick off I got a Tweet from my friend @PennyPower, (many people will know Penny as the Co-founder of Ecademy and a leading authority in the world of social media).

“I can imagine you now @uksalesmentor snuggled up on your sofa ready for the start of #xfactor… enjoy.”

With my marketing head on I wondered… who else is listening in on our conversation? People following Penny will see us chatting, people following me can see – and all those tuning in using the Hashtag #xfactor.

Have you seen and wondered about Hashtags?

People use the hashtag symbol # before relevant keywords in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets so they show more easily in Twitter Search. Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets in that category. It’s kind of like tuning in to a TV or radio station…

I thought… let’s see if I can have some fun with this. I pinged back my response;

“You’re right, all set for a great evening of #xfactor @PennyPower. Hey – did you read my last blog – you’re in it”… (and I included a link to my blog post).

I wondered what the effect would be of not only Pennys followers and my followers seeing this conversation, but all those seeing our banter who were joining in the hash tag #xfactor too.

I watched the analytics (all automatically produced for me) as Penny and 189 other people went straight to my website and read my blog post. Within a few minutes Penny replied.

“Just read your blog you amazing man – an awesome “know me, Like me, Follow me story. Brilliant blog, enjoy #xfactor” (she included a link to my blog again).

Pennys book happens to be called “Know me, like me, follow me.” So she was having a little plug too!

So… I thought OK, this is fun, there’s just time before the show starts, one more push.

I re-tweeted back to Penny again thanking her for her comments and including the blog link again using the hash tag #xfactor the result this time was quite staggering.
Just a few tweets during Xfactor and no selling whatsoever – resulted in 609 more curious visitors to my site, 48 people signed up to receive my free Marketing tips, (now that they elected to “opt in” to my database many will convert to future sales as I provide them with useful information for free and build a relationship on auto pilot)

But get this… having read my blog and explored my site – two people on the spot actually booked and paid to attend one of my events at