One of the original uses of the # symbol has to do with code. Code being the universal language that is the basis for all things digital. It is how websites and applications are created. In order to keep this discussion simple, let's just say when referring to this symbol in terms of coding language, it's purpose is to classify data. It is referred to simply as a hash. Adding it to a line of data is called 'tagging' the data - hence the name 'hash-tag'.
Anyone who has ever used the hash(tag) while out grabbing a late night slice, will show up in your search!
Although that's only partially true.
See #vancouverpizza has been used on Instagram less than 1000 times. I know this because I did a search on Instagram and it tells me how often a particular hashtag has been used. So while a hashtag used less than 1000 times may work for finding a good pizza joint, it's not being posted and searched enough to get you any attention if you tried to use it as a marketing tool. Just not enough people are using it.
These are the things you need to know when incorporating hashtags into your digital strategy.
As strange as it may sound, it's just as important to note that you aren't likely to get the results you want using a hashtag searched millions of times either. For example, #pizza has been used 40,000,000 times - and no, that is not a typo, it says 40 MILLION - making the odds of showing up in a search with that many other results basically NIL. Even if someone took the time to scroll through all of the posts that used #pizza in the caption, they aren't likely to keep going through all 40 million.
While understanding where the hash(tag) came from and why we might find it useful now may seem quite straightforward, the strategies for getting the results can be a bit unclear at first. To really get the best results possible when using Instagram as a marketing tool, it's best to have a strategy in place that reflects your goals and your plan for accomplishing them. From there I recommend you spend a bit of time doing some hashtag research. To give you some parameters, start with hashtags that describe your account (#digitalmarketing), your target audience (#mompreneur) or your ideal audience (#womeninbusiness). When you search a hashtag, other suggestions will pop up so picking a starting point is all you need to do.
If you'd like bit more help with your hashtag strategy, I have created a guide to help you understand what factors make a real difference connecting with the people you want to connect with when using hashtags. It includes a few simple tools to make determining which hashtags will work best for your brand super easy to do. The guide is totally FREE and will go a long way outlining what works for your brand. You can grab the guide here: https://www.catherinemellon.com/increase-sales-using-hashtags.html
Feel free to follow me on Instgram and ask any questions about getting the most from your hashtag use. I'm happy to help. I'm pretty confident that once you realize how simple it really is, you'll be tagging your posts effectively in no time. The results are sure to include a more targeted audience and an increase in your fan-base.
While I'm putting the finishing touches on my course, Instagram Marketing Simplified, I'm getting more and more into the specifics of creating and managing a really good Instagram account for a business.
Today what's front and centre is branding.
According to Entreprenur.com, the definition of a brand is "The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.....your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from that of your competitors."
Long gone are the days of creating an advertisement that is designed to embody everything about your brand for everyone related to your brand. With non-stop news feeds full of millions, or billions of posts every day, your brand is seen from all angles and many times over. That means creating interesting, brand relevant content consistently and frequently. So how does a brand stand out against this kind of busy and demanding playing field?
Truthfully, there's really only one way to do this. That is to sell the lifestyle, not the product or services. Remember, your brand is your "promise to your customer" about how your product or service is going to make their lives better, or how it will hold an important place in the life of your customers. In general marketing terms, this is called Lifestyle Branding.
Whether your brand is an actual "lifestyle brand" or not, you need to present it like one on social media. Because social media, by definition, is designed to be social. It's designed for sharing bits and pieces of your life with those you connect with. Without the bad parts of course, just the beautiful, shiny, fun stuff which turns out to be a good thing for branding. You can't run as a non-stop commercial on social media. People will simply refuse to engage with you. This mean you need need to be more subtle about the actual 'offer' by demonstrating how fantastic life is with YOU in the world.
Do you suffer from imposter syndrome?
You know, that awful nagging sense that you aren't really all that great at what you do and someone is going to figure that out? Or worse, EVERYONE is going to figure it out! Some days can feel like why even bother, am I right?
Well you are definitely NOT alone in that feeling. It's not uncommon, especially among women.
It can be tough as a busy woman trying to run a business. Constantly putting yourself out there requires serious bravery. You have to value your work to create a marketing message not to mention continuously valuing your goals and your vision. Often in the face of a hostile, judgmental world.
Comparing ourselves to others robs us of our self-esteem even further.
There are many reasons I believe women are better when they stand together, but this is a significant one. Our friends, our colleagues, our mentors, our sisters.... they all help to support us through the day-to-day challenges of living on our own terms. People may think those who chose to work for themselves are strong and outgoing but that's not always true, is it? The women we surround ourselves with help us get through the times when self-doubt takes over.
There are those days when we are challenged to keep moving through the day when we don't feel worth it or capable of it.
I have learned that breaking things down into small, bite-sized pieces can make a real difference on those tough days.
What is one thing you can focus on right now to really honor the value of what you do and your unique way of problem solving for your clients? Just one small thing?
Just for a few minutes, can you focus on what you know you're killer at? Whether it's a business building skill or a personal attribute.
Practice positive self-talk. .
You've got this! One small step at a time.
You are special.
Your message is unique.
You have value.
Prove it to yourself first.
It's a New Year and the best time to learn new tricks for growing your business while committing to moving closer to your goals.
After four years of learning the Digital Marketing industry and a full year of working my online courses, they are ready to launch.
I am dying to share simple systems and some basic digital marketing tools with you! I really believe that Digital Marketing is simple when you know how to use the tools.
I'm going to simplify this. Because that's what I do and that's what I want to help you do too. I meet so many women who really want to run their own business. But they don't think it's feasible. I often get asked if I think it's something they can really do. My answer is HELL YEA!
I know, how bad can it be right? At least that's the view of those relying on someone else for a paycheck. It's pretty common for me to hear how lucky I am to work for myself and surprising how often people expect me to be available on a whim. Or they ask what I'm doing on a work day, when like everyone else, I'm working. There are some realities you need to plan for if you're self-employed. As with all aspects of business, the clearer and more realistic you are, the easier to grow, develop and achieve your goals.
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Catherine Mellon is an Online Business Consultant who has been helping entrepreneurs & small businesses use the internet to grow their business since 2014.