How to Use Hashtags (for Beginners!)

How to Use Hashtags for Beginners - Blog by HighleyDesigned

Lots of my clients admit that they don’t understand hashtags. These are small business owners who know the value of social media but aren’t sure how to use platforms like Instagram or Twitter. Many of them are just getting used to Facebook! If this is you, or if you’ve just never understood this whole hashtag thing, here it is in layman’s terms. #hashtagsfordummies #kiddingbutnotkidding

What is the point of hashtags?
When someone uses a hashtag in front of a word or a phrase, that phrase is categorized. You’ll notice on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram you can click on a word or phrase that has a hashtag in front of it and you’ll see a list of all the posts, people and photos that use the same hashtag. This is an awesome way to get your social media posts noticed. Why? Let’s pretend you’re a salon owner. Most people around the world aren’t on Instagram searching for “Sally’s Salon, Lancaster PA” (totally made that up), but people are on Instagram searching for “Modern Salon” or “Highlights” or “Blowout” etc. When you upload a photo of a great hair cut and style and you add those hashtags after your caption, your photo will now show up when people search those words or phrases! The same is true for Facebook and Twitter but hashtags are used in different amounts on each platform (I’ll get to that).

So let’s recap… Hashtags have a point because they help to categorize your posts, videos and photos by relevant topics, events and phrases. When your posts get categorized they get noticed!

When should I use hashtags?
You can use hashtags within a sentence if the wording is appropriate, or in a cluster at the end of a caption.

Example 1. Tune in tonight for #ViralChat at 9pm.
Example 2. Wow! Things are finally organized around the office. #organization #beforeandafter #springcleaning

The major social platforms for hashtags are Instagram and Twitter. You can also use hashtags on Facebook, but because Facebook uses a different algorithm altogether so hashtags are less relevant. If you’re posting about a big event or a trending topic on Facebook, use a hashtag, but don’t worry about using hashtags each time you post like you should for IG and Twitter.

If you are watching a popular show on TV or a live event like the GOP Debate, using a hashtag is a great way to have your opinion heard by others. It may even lead to a conversation or a networking opportunity. Twitter chats are another awesome way to make connections and most chats will have their own hashtag, for example Post Planner’s “Viral Chat” uses #viralchat. If someone searches for “ViralChat” they’ll be able to see all of the questions and answers that have been posted with the chat’s hashtag.

How many hashtags should I use?
I’ve done a lot of reading about this and with trial and error I’ve found that for Instagram 11 is the magic number. Photos with 11 or more hashtags receive the most engagement. It’s also important to pay attention to what time of day you’re posting and how long your captions are. You will find that your audience is more active sometimes vs others.

For Twitter I recommend sticking to 1-4 hashtags. You only have 140 characters to work with so it’s important to keep tweets short and sweet. If you can keep your tweets to 100-120 characters others can quote your tweet and still have space to add a comment!

Hashtags aren’t as important on Facebook so I recommend only using them when you’re talking about a major brand, event or have perfect use for a hashtag phrase. For example, “Is anyone else excited for the women’s all around competition? #Rio2016.”

Now that you know why, when and how to use hashtags, go tweet, post and plan away! And remember, social media is a lot of trial and error – you’ll find what works best for your brand or business!

~Rachel

 

 

 

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3 Tips to Grow Your Twitter Following

3 Tips to Grow Your Twitter Following via HighleyDesigned

My clients often ask me – “What should I be tweeting about? I’m not sure what to say and I’m afraid I’ll sound silly.” If you’re brand new to Twitter it’s easy to feel this way but you don’t have to be shy – Twitter isn’t like Facebook – you can say whatever is on your mind, ask a question or “share” (RT) a favorite quote. With Twitter, the more often you tweet the better. You don’t need to think of one profound statement or article to share each day – you can share many!

My best advice to anyone that’s brand new to Twitter is to learn from others. Take a look at what other people are tweeting or talking about and get some ideas of what you want your Twitter “voice” to sound like. If you’re a public speaker and you want to grow your audience and connect with other like minded women, look at the Twitter profiles of your biggest influencers like Oprah, MORE Magazine, Kim Garst etc. Even the president has a Twitter account these days. Take note of what others are tweeting about and how they are sharing information. Chances are if they have hundreds of fans and you find their content fun and interesting, they’re doing something right.

Now it’s your turn. Once you get used to tweeting regularly, sharing your blog posts and links to your website it’s time to start thinking bigger. If you’ve established a posting schedule and have great content it’s time to start expanding your audience. After all, there’s no point in sharing if no one is following! Here are some proven ways to grow your Twitter following without spending a dime. Trust me, they work!

  1. Tweet Regularly and Often and Interact with Others
    Not only should you tweet at least 4-10 times per day, you need to start interacting with others. Try to RT at least twice a day and thank people for sharing your content or liking a tweet. Use any interaction as a way to introduce yourself and if you want to learn more about someone send a DM and ask to connect on FB or LinkedIn.

    I’m not a fan of “salesey” DMs but with Unfollowers.com you can schedule automated DMs to go out to new followers and start a conversation with potential clients, customers or influencers. You can also auto schedule tweets to be sent to new followers, people who add you to lists etc. This is a great tool if you don’t have time to be on your phone throughout the day.

  2. Use Hashtags
    Hashtags are so important on Twitter. Not only do hashtags allow you to find out what’s trending and see what people are talking about, they allow other users to find YOUR content. For each tweet try to use at least one hashtag, and no more than four.

    When you’re trying to decide on what hashtags to use consider what’s trending, who you want to see your tweets, and what “category” you’d put your content into. For example, if you’re an educator you may use: #ChildhoodEDU #TedTalks #Homework #ParentingTips. Think about who the info is helping – parents. Who you want to reach – people that listen to Ted Talks. And the category you’re talking about – Childhood Education or Homework.

  3.  Participate in Twitter Chats
    Twitter chats are an awesome way to meet other people and gain followers. Usually hosted by a top influencer or organization, a Twitter chat will be scheduled to start at a certain time and that person or organization will tweet questions that anyone participating can answer. To be part of the chat use the specified hashtag and all of your answers will be categorized and searchable. You don’t have to answer every single question but if you have a great answer don’t be shy – share it! A chat is also an amazing way to interact with others. RT great answers that you agree with or reply to someone’s answer to say you love it / disagree etc. Your goal is to show off your expertise and find others that you can do business with, connect with or learn from.

 

 

The Fantastic 4 Tools for Social Media Marketers

The Fantastic 4 Tools for Social Media Markters by HighleyDesigned

 

1. Hootsuite

If you’re not using it yet, your life is about to change. Hootsuite allows you to schedule all of your posts for almost every platform in one place. You can also view your newsfeeds and Twitter streams from one place so that you don’t have to login and logout of every account you manage just to comment, like or RT. There are a handful of new sites like Hootsuite, but from my experience none of these new sites offer the sophistication and ease of their predecessor. Hootsuite has everything you need to effectively schedule posts and interact as your brand – all in one place. And it’s less than $10 per month.

2. Evernote

Evernote is a free app you can download on your phone and your computer. It syncs automatically so if you think of an awesome idea or make a note while you’re out and about, it will be on your desktop when you get back to your office. I use this ALL the time. It’s also a great place to save reminders, grocery lists… anything really. When you still have “baby brain” it is truly a life saver!

3. Canva

Canva is an amazing design site that lets you create professional looking social media graphics. It’s perfect for making FB cover photos, Twitter cards, question posts and more. You can choose from pre-made templates or design your own. If you use any of their “paid” elements like a stock photo or a custom design – they only cost $1.00 each. I love using Canva for branded posts. I start with a fun background then do some kind of text overlay – usually a question. These are great for engagement!

4. Unfollowers

If you’re not sure why your Twitter following is stagnant, this is an awesome tool. Unfollowers allows you to see exactly who’s following you, who followed you but unfollowed you and more. It also allows you to schedule Tweets and auto DMs. I don’t like super fake sounding auto DMs, or auto DMs that are trying to sell you something, but a friendly “thanks for following me, etc.” is a great way to start a networking conversation. Using Unfollowers you can track what works and what isn’t as effective so that you can grow your network in a smart way. Most plans start at $5-$10 per month!

 

~ Rachel

The Best in Social Media this May

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One of the easiest ways to grow your business and increase your sales is to constantly learn from others. With today’s technology it’s easy to find new ideas, infographics that show recent statistics, or articles written specifically for small businesses. Whether you run an eCommerce store, manage a franchise, or run a local business, staying up to date with technology, best practices, and industry standards is key to your success.

In this post, I want to share some of the best articles and resources I’ve found via social media for both eCommerce and small business. There’s something to learn from each article, statistic or photo and I hope you’ll find them useful!

  • Negative Reviews – If someone was unhappy about a product or service, the internet makes it very easy for them to write you a nasty review for all to see, whether it’s via your Etsy shop or your local Yelp page. Learn how to turn a negative situation into a positive one with this article from Business 2 Community.
  • Mobile-geddon – If you haven’t heard about Google’s new algorithms and how they’re negatively affecting websites that aren’t mobile friendly, click here.
  • Common Twitter Mistakes – Unfortunately, not all social media platforms are created equal and I see lots of people joining Twitter, with little knowledge of best practices. Just like Facebook, the 80/20 rule is key! Learn to avoid sounding overly promotional with these simple tips from Time.
  • Facebook is Still Number One – Don’t believe people who try to tell you Facebook is on its way out, teens aren’t even using it, it’s just a waste of your time… They couldn’t be more wrong and statistics show that Facebook is still, by far, the number one social media network for teens and people of all ages. See what research shows about Facebook’s true popularity and click here to read more.
  • Mistakes to Avoid with Your Etsy or eCommerce Shop – Bad product photography is probably the number one thing to avoid, but you may be guilty of some other bad practices without even knowing it. See what the experts have to say with this brilliant article.

For more small business tips and insights, be sure to follow me on Facebook andTwitter!

~ Rachel

Rules of [Facebook] Engagement

March Newsletter Header

Facebook is the number one place to engage your customers, but so often we forget that engagement is like a conversation – it goes both ways. If you’ve hired someone to manage your social media pages, you don’t have to login everyday to post something original, but I do encourage you to login on a weekly basis to interact with others on your page’s behalf.

Posting great content is the first step in beginning the conversation, so after people like, comment or share your post it’s up to you – are you going to continue the conversation or let things trail off?

Here are some simple tips for using Facebook to network with others, build your audience and expand your brand. I bring you, the “rules of engagement.”

1. When someone comments on one of your photos or posts, comment back

Example: They say “What a cute idea.” You say “We thought so too!”

When your audience knows that you see and appreciate their comments or feedback, it makes them more inclined to like, comment or share again!

2. When someone asks a question – respond in a timely manner

If I manage your Facebook page and notice someone has sent you a message or asked a question I can’t answer on my own – I will send you an email asap. If you notice someone has commented on one of your posts with a question or sent you a direct message, be sure to reply in a timely manner – even if you don’t have all the information, let them know you’ll get back to them. Facebook is a great way to show off your customer service skills and spout your expertise so take advantage of any opportunity to interact with potential customers.

3. Use Facebook as a networking tool 

When you login each week, make an effort to see what other small business owners are up to. Facebook is a great place to get ideas, scope out your competition and build relationships. Make it a goal to do the following:

a. Like a new page each week. Maybe that’s a local restaurant you eat at or a store you shop at, a charity or foundation you support, or a business that’s similar to yours.

b. Comment on a photo or a post that speaks to you or relates to your brand.

c. Share something that inspired you. If you’re not sure it’s a good fit for your business page, share it on your personal page. When you share someone else’s content it’s a great boost for their page so choose a business or a cause that you support!

4. Last but not least – invite your friends and customers to like your page! 

Your friends and customers are the easiest way to grow your brand and build your audience. Maybe your friends know about your business but they aren’t sure how to find you online – send them an invite! Every time you login to your business page you will see an “invite friends” option. Do this on a regular basis. Don’t feel like you have to go through and select people one by one – invite them all. The more the merrier!

Tell your customers you’re on Facebook and ask them to like your page or write you a review! Simply include a flier or postcard in the packages you ship or tell people face to face when you meet them at craft shows or events. If you answer the phones for your business, remind potential customers to like your Facebook page before ending your call. You’ll be surprised how positively people respond!

~ Rachel

Write About What You Love

I recently did a blog post for Re-Bath & More that was so fun to write because it was about one of my favorite things… dogs! One of the things I’ve learned as a writer is that it is so much easier to write about things you love.  So when you’re facing writers block, think about your hobbies, your favorite sports or animals and the things you’re good at.  Then find a way to tie that into your theme and you will be writing in no time.  As a copy writer and blogger it can be tough to constantly come up with interesting topics about bathrooms, food, home appliances, small businesses (you get my drift) – but if you think of a way to tie in something you love your article will be sure to resonate with others.  Happy blogging!

 

Dogs Need Baths Too

Originally Published on ReBathandMore.com

Woof!

Woof!

If you’re like us, your dog is not just a pet, he or she is a part of the family; so when you remodel your bathroom you may want to consider where Fido does most of his bathing.  Do you struggle to get your dog into the bathtub? Or does your puppy like to follow you everywhere including the shower? All dogs are different, but these tips can help you make bath time fun for both you and your furry best friend.

Getting Started

First steps first, you may like your brand new bathroom but new tile flooring can feel cold and slippery to your dog.  To prevent your dog from slipping or scratching your new bathroom floor, be sure to clip nails before bath time and place a large towel or blanket in front of the bathtub or shower so your dog feels warm and comfortable.  If you have a long haired dog, brushing your dog beforehand will help with excess shedding that can cause a clogged drain.  It’s also a great way to calm a nervous puppy.  When Fido is ready, be sure to introduce him to the water slowly.  And remember, if it feels too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your dog.  Bring the water to a luke-warm temperature and use treats to reward your dog for good behavior during bath time.

Bath Time

To protect your brand new bathtub or shower base, a non-slip mat is a great idea.  Your dog will also feel more comfortable as they will be able to get a better footing.  If you don’t have a hand shower, use a cup or even a small bowl to gradually get your dog wet and then apply a small amount of doggie shampoo. Keep in mind, “less is more” when it comes to bath products.  Try to avoid your dog’s head and ears and gently lather the shampoo from shoulders to tail.  If you have a large dog, an extra set of hands is helpful.

A hand-shower makes rinsing easy but if you don’t have one a cup or bowl will do the trick.  A wet dog will want to shake dry so use treats to keep your dog calm.  Be sure to dry your dog thoroughly and if it’s cold outside don’t hesitate to use a blow dryer.

Bath Time Dos and Don’ts

Some things to keep in mind before you break out the towels and the puppy shampoo.

  • Do not – bathe your dog for 48 hours after applying flea or tick medication like Frontline
  • Do not – use cold water
  • Do not – put your dog in a full tub of water right away
  • Do not – use “people” shampoo, it can sting your puppy’s eyes

 

  • Do – bathe your dog regularly
  • Do – use luke-warm water
  • Do – ease your dog into the water gradually
  • Do – brush your dog before bath time to prevent a clogged drain

If you follow these tips we’re sure both you and your dog will love your brand new bathroom!

 

3 DIY Ideas to Spruce Up Your Space this Summer

(Photos courtesy of Pinterest)

Summertime is a great time to work on those DIY projects you pinned to your Pinterest page and never actually attempted.  Maybe your “Pin-spirations” seemed too complicated or you simply didn’t have the time – either way, we’ve picked three of our favorite DIY ideas for summer that are sure to spruce up your space and all they require is a little creativity (and a trip to the hardware store).  Get the paint smock ready!

DIY Idea #1 – Create a Rain Gutter Reading Corner

This is a great way to create a reading corner that’s fun for the kids but functional for mom and dad.  Simply purchase vinyl rain gutters at your local Home Depot and arrange them the way you like.  For a perfect fit in the corners, you may want to purchase some Inside Mitre pieces.  Use a level to make sure they’re straight and voila! A reading corner that features a unique way to display your books and a handy storage solution. The gutters will look great and are sturdy enough to hold tons of books and stuffed critters too.

Rain Gutter Reading Corner

 

 DIY Idea #2 – Spruce Up Your Filing Cabinet with Chalkboard Paint

Give your old filing cabinet a makeover! Purchase chalkboard paint at your local Home Depot and create a whole new look.  Whether you paint the sides or just the front so you can label the drawers, chalkboard paint can turn a dingy filing cabinet into a hip piece of office furniture.  A 30-oz. can costs about $10 and can cover your filing cabinet and more.  Chalkboard paint creates a usable chalkboard on surfaces including wood, metal, concrete, masonry and drywall. Use the extra paint to make a chalkboard in the kid’s room and see how excited they get when you tell them it’s okay to draw on that part of the wall! Chalkboard painted areas erase easily and can be cleaned with soap and water.

Chalkboard Paint - Filing Cabinet

DIY Idea #3 – Creative Storage Solutions for Kitchen and Bathroom Products

It’s hard to stay clean when things don’t have a “place.” Create a place for everything this summer so that even the kids know where to put things away.  An inexpensive way to create storage in the kitchen or bathroom is with desk organizers.  Wire desk organizers come in all different shapes and sizes and the holes in them make them easy to hang with just a few thumb tacks that won’t cause damage to your cabinets.  Measure your cabinet doors and then take a trip to your local office supply store or Home Goods where you can find tons of discount office and kitchen items.  The desk organizer in this photo is perfect for kitchen wraps and foil but could also work well in the bathroom for curling irons, straightners, etc.

Kitchen or Bath Storage

 

Originally written for the Re-Bath & More Blog. Find out what great copy writing can do for your business! Contact HighleyDesigned today.