Using Hashtags Effectively On Social Media

IMG_1389Everyone from Kimye to Politicians use hashtags on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Some people even use it in day to day conversations nowadays. #Guilty.

I have a love hate relationship with hashtags. When they are used correctly, they add to your content and attract new followers/customers/UFO’s. Used wrongly, and they can be pretty annoying to see. Sometimes you see people typing a 20 character status on Twitter and use the extra 120 characters on hashtags – #wrongwaytousethem! There’s a thin line between tolerated and completely intolerable. So, lucky for all of you, I am here to tell you how to use them effectively to benefit your business or blog.

Being a Blogger of almost five years means you get to hear about all of the funny mistakes I’ve made over the years, knowing you will never face the embarrassment of making the mistakes I have. I once posted a picture on Instagram of my cat and used the hashtags “#cutecat” “#CatsofInstagram” and uhm… “#Faceoftheday”. For starters, I had clicked the option to automatically share my Instagram posts to twitter and Facebook and because of this “catsofinstagram” was completely irrelevant on the other platforms. Aside from that, let’s move onto the elephant in the status “Face Of The Day” obviously does not relate whatsoever to my cat picture. I only used it because it was a popular hashtag. I ended up receiving about 5/6 notifications telling me I was using “Click Bait” (where people use catchy titles or hashtags to encourage people to click on the item despite it being irrelevant) and those people unfollowed me. I didn’t even have an excuse for it, I genuinely just wanted more people to see my status. #Fail.

So, moving on to using them the right way…

Frequency Of Hashtags

Twitter was the originator of the hashtag. Originally, people thought the idea would never catch on but Twitter blatantly have had the last laugh with hashtags being used across all social platforms from Instagram to Facebook and even Pinterest.

According to Twitter, using two hasthtags in your status doubles the chances of engagement, meaning you’re more likely to receive a comment, a ‘like’ or even a follow. If you’re really lucky, you might even be retweeted which opens the door to many more people. With that said, using three hashtags actually drops this chance by 17%. Facebook is a hub of hashtags, but personally, I use only one hashtag at the most.

For Instagram, people don’t really seem to be too put off by hashtags and I think that’s partly because they don’t look so dominant in statuses – for example, the image is the dominant feature of the post and the hashtags are written in blue making them less prominent than the black you see on Twitter or Facebook. Feel free to go wild with hashtags on Instagram but always keep them relevant. We all know that #fitspiration or #f4f are popular hashtags but they’re no good to you or your visitors unless your image relates to them. If, for example, you are in the beauty industry and are posting an image of lipsticks, then you might opt to use “#beauty #makeup #lipstagram #lipsticks #faceoftheday #pretty #bbloggers” – all of these are relative to the content meaning you’re more likely to get interaction from the people who see your post, such as a ‘like’, ‘comment’ or ‘follow’ (if you’re really lucky, you might even get a regram which is basically Instagram’s version of Retweeting).

It’s also a good idea to use your business name as a hashtag to help spread the word about your brand. It’s also a good way to keep track of others talking about your business as it’s likely they will use the hashtag.

IMG_1392Research Your Hashtags

You needn’t pluck hashtags from thin air or be in the know about which ones work best, you can use online tools which will help you decide which hashtags will work best for you. I use Hashtagify.me for research, and if your business has a local presence, you might want to consider using Trendsmap which is tailored to your preferred location.

Aside from that, you may want to try doing your own research. You could try using one hashtag across your social media platforms for one week and see how they perform before trying a different hashtag the following week and so on. This will help tailor your results to your very own business and will make it much more personalised rather than from a wide demographic.

Communities

Mainly on Twitter, but also on Instagram, are communities who have similar interests and they all use a specific hashtag where those people will ‘like’ or interact in some way. These communities also host ‘tweetchats’ on Twitter where once or twice a week users gather and use the hashtag to participate in a discussion which has a different theme each time. This sounds a little bit complicated so I’ll give an example. As a beauty and fashion blogger, I obviously participate in related chats. Hashtags used for these are #bbloggers or #fbloggers and each week, a new host will tweet a question using the hashtag. For example:

“Welcome to #fbloggers – Q1 – What are your thoughts on runway to high street fashion?”

Anyone searching for the hashtag on Twitter (using the search feature) will be shown this tweet and any other tweets using the same hashtag. By responding or contributing to the chat, you will definitely see some interaction. I regularly receive around 10 new followers in each hour long chat (and I’m not even the host!). Just be sure to interact with other people by replying to them with a comment, or retweeting people. Be sure to always use the hashtag in your responses so other people can see them too. Just be smart with it – if you have success using a hashtag, be sure to use it as often as you can (just not more than once in one status as we have already discussed).

If you’re lucky enough to be the host for the chat (you can either start your own chat or request to be the host for another one by contacting the appropriate hashtag profile) then you can get literally hundreds of new followers – I hosted a chat once and it was trending for an hour because of the amount of interactions there were. It really is a follower goldmine.So, now that you know all about how to use hashtags, it’s time to get to work! We here at Purely Social would love to hear all about your success with hashtags and if you have any questions, please feel free to comment below or drop us a tweet @purelysocialtip

Thanks so much for reading this article! I look forward to returning with more useful information to help your business or brand.

Holly

How To Use Instagram In The Beauty & Fashion Industry

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Often I’m asked how I keep up with so many different social media platforms for my beauty blog. The answer is simple: research! Before deciding on four of the platforms that I thought are most beneficial to my business, I took some time to do research and really see what platform was best for me. See more about that process here. Of all the social platforms I’ve used, Instagram is easily one of my favourites as it is effective for promoting my blog content and interacting with my followers. Not forgetting to mention that I’ve found gaining new followers to be relatively easy on Instagram (Bonus!).

So how can you use Instagram to promote your business?

Well, there are a few elements of Instagram to explore including using hashtags effectively, promoting your brand and how to gain new followers (we’re even discussing the pro’s and con’s of ‘buying’ followers #controversial). First, let’s talk about Instagram in general.

Firstly, Instagram is a photo sharing app. You can only access your Instagram via a cell phone or smart device. Initially, when I started using it, I found this frustrating because I wanted to access Instagram on my laptop or desktop PC when I was working rather than going on my phone and accessing it. Now, however, I actually prefer Instagram being an app rather than a website because it makes it more personal. As you will know if you read these articles regularly, I’ve mentioned that being personal is a followers goldmine. If you offer a personal touch to your online presence, people are going to interact with you as they do with their friends or family on social media. Not only that, but you can post to Instagram during your social hours without having to load a computer. #LazyBlogger…

In terms of content, keeping the pictures close to your business theme is recommended to ensure your potential followers know what they are to expect should they choose to follow you. Don’t be afraid to post up a cute cat picture now and again though, it shows you’re human and who doesn’t love a cute cat? (I’m Holly and I am a cute cat addict). Try to keep your content unique – no-one is interested in seeing the same thing on several accounts. New content is what engages your visitors.

Oh and for those of you who are like me and prefer to pre-schedule, you can also use Buffer or other social media management apps to time your instagram posts. You can thank us later.

 

Using Hashtags Effectively

The social media world is centered round hashtags right now. People are using guaranteed big search items like the Kardashians dropped into everyday statuses and conversations to attract a larger audience. Some hashtags attract a bigger audience than others, but just because a lot of people may see your post, doesn’t mean those people will click on it or interact with you. To effectively promote your blog, brand or business, you will be looking to encourage interaction on your social media pages. Very seldom will anyone visit your website or business based on a sweeping glance. More likely, is that they will visit if they see something relevant to what they’re searching for.

If you load a search engine and search for ‘popular Instagram hashtags’ you will see everything from #instadaily to #happy and #winitwednesday amongst dozens of others. While those hashtags are fantastic for posters who have daily content, who have a happy picture to share, or are hosting a competition. In the beauty and fashion industry other hashtags are proven to be most effective. Top beauty and fashion hashtags include:

  • #bbloggers (beauty bloggers official hashtags where other bloggers see the content – many of my followers are actually fellow bloggers so don’t forget to reach out to others in the same industry as you!)
  • #OOTD (Outfit of the day where people searching for this are looking for fellow fashionistas and fashion inspiration)
  • #hairspiration (gorgeous hairstyles from colour to styles can be found under this hashtag)
  • #fashion or #psfashion (pretty explanatory and #psfashion is for plus size fashion)
  • #makeuptutorial (short video clips showing mini makeup tutorials)

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Of course, there are dozens of other hashtags that can be used, so take a look at Top-Hashtags to take a look at more.

Using the hashtags in your post is simple. Steer clear of adding them throughout the status and always use less than seven in each post. A lot of people recommend using three or less, however as a personal opinion, I don’t mind seeing five or less and a lot of other instagram users have similar thoughts.

Here’s an example of an Instagram post using hashtags:

*insert image* – Loving this gorgeous eyeshadow. Who else thinks copper eyeshadows are beautiful? #bbloggers #makeup #copper #beauty

How To Gain Followers

Normally on social media, you can spend hours on end commenting on statuses and will get little to no followers. However Instagram is a whole new ball game. By searching for hashtags in the search feature, you will find thousands of users with similar interests to yours. Simply ‘liking’ their photo and commenting can encourage that user to not only follow you, but to also interact with you.

People like to be part of something popular, so once you get above 200 followers you are more likely to see an increase in followers simply by posting regularly. Which brings me to my next point, buying followers.

This is a controversial one because a lot of people dislike the thought of ‘buying’ followers. A lot of people might think there is no point in buying followers (I, myself, choose not to but it doesn’t mean I never will). Because people like to be part of something popular, you’re more likely to gain followers when you already have a lot of followers which is why some bloggers use sites such as fiverr.com to buy followers. It’s not against any rules as long as the accounts are active and comply with the standard user rules of Instagram so this is really a personal choice.

You can also promote your Instagram posts if you have a decent budget. For more information on this head on over to the Instagram help pages.

One thing is certain, Instagram is a social media platform that will always be around. With literally millions of users posting daily, the advertising and promoting potential for your business is endless.

We would love to hear your thoughts on Instagram (and what your thoughts are on buying followers!) so please do feel free to leave your comments below or tweet us @purelysocialtip

Top Five Tips For Blogging Success

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The road to success is always paved with pot holes. It can be a bit of a bumpy ride sometimes, but if you know the right roads to take, you can bypass those potholes and have success without the hardship.

Take it from me. I learned the hard way! It is very easy to get lost on your way to the end game. I started out my career as a blogger simply reviewing products and begging PR firms to send me products. I did not realise that no one wants to read posts from someone bragging about how much free loot they managed to bag, not to mention that no one would even find that post. Turns out simply writing content and putting it online doesn’t mean it will automatically go viral if you don’t promote it (see our post on the best ways to share content here). As time went by, I soon learned how to perfect my blogging technique. Here are my Top Tips for Blogging Success to make your journey a little bit easier.

1 – Platform

Deciding which blogging platform to use can be tricky. However, it is an important decision to make! Changing your mind once you have established your blog can be very tricky and highly time consuming. There are two preferred platforms that bloggers use: WordPress and Blogger.

WordPress is a platform designed for more advanced users who may have experience in using plugins and HTML. The platform allows users to add more features into their blog and to incorporate downloadable features. WordPress itself is free to use, however you may need to buy a hosting package if you’d like a custom domain (Hostgator is popular amongst bloggers). Many of the plugins and templates are free to download and use, but there are premium paid for versions that provide more options.

Blogger on the other hand is a completely free platform which hosts your blog. The platform is open source and allows new users to design their blog at just the click of a few buttons. To add to this, the simple to use platform is also owned by Google which means it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

To summarise, if you know your way around the web and are pretty good with coding and would like customizable options, then WordPress could be the option for you. If you’re new to blogging or web design as a whole, and have limited to no budget, and prefer a more turn-key option then Blogger is likely to be your preferred option.

2 – Timing

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Timing your blog posts to publish on a specific day and time can prove to be successful with your visitors. Us humans are creatures of habit and so letting your visitors know that you will be posting new content on a certain day or time will encourage regular visitors to return at that time.

Timing your blog posts also helps you to target different time zones. For example, if you have a business in New York but think people in the UK will be interested in your content, then there’s a five hour time difference to take into consideration. Scheduling your blog post at 2pm UK time (9am New York) will mean New Yorkers will wake up to read it before work or whilst commuting, whereas the Brits will read it in either their lunch or coffee breaks. Scheduling is available on both WordPress and Blogger.

3 – Topics

Whether you’re a fashion blogger or a holistic therapist letting your visitors know about what you have to offer, it’s important you choose the right topics to not only attract new visitors but to keep those visitors on your blog.

Writing controversial posts may bring in a few visitors but in terms of gaining credibility for your business, it certainly won’t do much good. Many bloggers write about topics that answer a question. This provides information for your visitors and encourages them to browse around the rest of your blog. For example, if you have a Holistic Therapy business, try writing about the benefits of holistic therapy in comparison to other methods, or perhaps a blog post highlighting a specific ailment that holistic therapy has successfully treated. These areas are fairly non controversial and will provide useful information to those reading. By veering off topic, your visitors will become confused as to what your blog is actually about.

4 – Design

Keeping your blog simple and easy to navigate through is just as important as having any content at all. Ever visited a successful website that was full of graphics and a loud background with obnoxious writing? No, that’s because users don’t find a ‘busy’ blog, a ‘friendly’ website. Many Bloggers choose to stick to a white background and accentuate it with one or two colours in the navigation or sidebar and banner. Every blog has a decent amount of photography which in itself adds colour to the blog.

In terms of photography, ensure you make your photo’s large and clear without being overly edited. Don’t stretch the photos or you risk significantly reducing the picture quality. Aside from that, whether you choose to use a big fancy camera or a cell phone camera, your photo’s will be one of the main attractions of your blog.

5 – Social Media

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Promotion is key to blogging success which is something we have talked about previously here on Purely Social Media. Many people leave out promoting their content on social media or tweet about it once and think ‘that’ll do’, however the truth is that your blog will never reach the masses unless you shove it in people’s faces and let them know it exists.

Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are three of the most popular social media platforms amongst bloggers and all can be managed using different platforms such as Hootsuite or Buffer where you can schedule your social media updates in advance. Scheduling your social media updates means you can take the time to carefully plan what you wish to say in your status and creating links to be included. A good job is never a hurried one!

The value of social media to your blog or business is invaluable. All it takes is for someone popular to retweet something you’ve said and it can receive thousands of visitors overnight. For those of us who are not quite fortunate enough to have famous fans, social media is vital whether you have twenty or twenty thousand followers. One more person seeing your content is one more than you had before.

Finally for social media, it’s important to use your platforms to interact with your followers/visitors. Whether you have a blog or a shop, it’s useful for helping with any issues or customer services. If you interact with your followers, you gain trust in your website and business which will encourage returning visitors and customers.

Summary

These five tips will definitely steer you and your blog in the right direction without spending a single dollar. I could easily have written a dozen more things to help you on your way but having a successful blog won’t happen overnight and you certainly can’t learn everything there is to know about blogging overnight either (trust me, it’s taken me more than three years and I’m still learnng!)

Until next time, make sure you let us know your thoughts by commenting or by tweeting us @purelysocialtip

Useful Tools for Beauty and Fashion Bloggers

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When blogging first started being a “thing”, there was just a person behind a screen who wanted to vent about their lives and their passions in that moment. Nowadays, blogging has become a full time career with hundreds of people monetizing their hobby, and with time has come a slew of new tools to help make blogging easier to manage -whether that be with content, social media or images.

Here are a few tips from one beauty blogger to another to help you make the most out of your passion.

Scheduled Posts

Being able to schedule blog posts has become every bloggers best friend. Many bloggers feel the need to post everyday or every other day and so being able to write up two or three blog posts at one go and schedule them to appear on your blog at a specific time or date is definitely essential to blog maintenance. Whether you use Blogger or WordPress (as most bloggers do) each platform gives you the option to schedule your posts. No more working weekends – Hurrah!

Photo Editing

Many bloggers spend hours on end perfecting their pictures, whether that is of a product or of your makeup or outfit, you can end up spending the entire day photographing something and still find that once you upload it, it still looks boring or the lighting looks awful. Nowadays there are several tools you can use to help you edit the lighting and add in all sorts of fancy embellishments to your images.

Picmonkey as an example is a bloggers favourite tool as you can edit and design images without downloading software or registering to the site. If you prefer to use apps, you can download “afterlight” which is a free app where you can apply filters and lighten the images on your phone.

Here’s an example of an image that has been edited using Picmonkey to add filters and overlays:

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Taking Photos

Pictures are equally as important to your blog as content. If you have good photography then you make your blog look and feel more professional which not only do visitors love, but so do companies who might be interested in sending you their products or wish to advertise their brands. There are a few things you can utilise to make it that bit easier:

  • Buying a large sheet of thick white paper or card is inexpensive but can help make your product pictures look much cleaner and professional. Beauty products in particular are notoriously difficult to photograph with reflecting and mirrored packaging causing shadows and catching your reflection. Adding the white background can help to eliminate some of that.
  • As for lighting, many bloggers use ring lights and soft boxes but these can prove to be pretty expensive (wave goodbye to the handbag you’ve been saving up for!). You can find some good deals for these on Ebay or Amazon but there is a much cheaper alternative. There are lamps that have a swivel neck on them and no shade that are available to buy for less than $15 in your local homeware stores.  Buying two of these and some powerful light bulbs can give good lighting without breaking the bank which for beauty and fashion bloggers is ideal.

Tip: Aim each lamp at either side of the object and photograph from above to avoid shadowing.

  • In terms of actual camera equipment, of course there are dozens of DSLR camera’s available at different prices. For those of you who don’t know what a DSLR camera is, “DSLR” is short for “digital single lens reflex”, Basically, they use a mirror behind the camera lens that directs light towards the viewfinder when you’re composing a photo. It all sounds complicated right? Well, all you really need to know is that the pictures from a DSLR camera are significantly sharper than using a standard point and shoot camera. If you’re interested in investing in a DSLR camera but are not really sure which one to go for, then the one that is favoured by beauty and fashion bloggers is the Canon 600D. There are of course others available but this one is great for being able to change or add lenses and the video quality is also pretty good if vlogging is your thing.

Aside from DSLR’s, there are high quality ‘point and shoot’ camera’s which do the job pretty well. Again, Canon have pretty much nailed it when it comes to quality – anything with a high MP (above 12 megapixels) and has a good digital zoom (10 x or higher) will do the job perfectly. Pretty much every camera has a display on it nowadays but just in case, be sure to look for this so you can view your images prior to uploading.

Smartphones invariably have good camera’s nowadays too so don’t be afraid to snap your outfit or a beauty product you’ve been loving if you haven’t got a fancy camera.

Here’s a picture of beauty products that was taken using just a smartphone:

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Whether you decide to use a smartphone, DSLR or digital camera, buying a tripod is definitely recommended, particularly for outfit posts or for taking selfies of your makeup or hair. You can pick one up fairly cheaply; however, if your camera is heavy or expensive (like a DSLR) then you might want to consider spending a bit more cash on a higher quality tripod. If you are using your smartphone, you can still use a tripod – take a look on ebay for “Smartphone tripod” where you will be able to pick up a holder for your smartphone that will screw onto your tripod for about $5 (including delivery).

Social Media

As we mentioned in a previous blog post, social media is a vital for making your content reach new audiences. There are a few tools that you can use for scheduling tweets, facebook posts and even Instagram posts.

Buffer is an app that you can download and use to control all of the mentioned platforms and will allow you to schedule updates at your preferred time and date. It will even allow you to send your updates ‘as and when’ the app thinks is suitable. Another great platform to use is Hootsuite which does pretty much the same as Buffer, except you can use it on desktop PC’s and laptops too. Both apps are free.

Google Analytics

A lot of bloggers already use Google Analytics to track which posts are performing well and to check their audience stats however some don’t use it because they feel it s difficult to use or mistake it for adwords. Adwords is a paid for advertising platform, whereas analytics simply tells you all of your visitor statistics including their age, location and how long they stayed on your website. It even tells you which backlinks you have and where your visitors clicked from to get to your blog. It’s definitely worthwhile using and is actually quite straightforward to use. There are thousands of online tutorials and help pages on how to use Google Analytics so go ahead and erm, ‘Google’ it… Pun intended!

Commenting & Interacting

Finally, the best thing that we could recommend is to interact with like minded people by commenting on other blogs and leaving your links in the comment. Make sure your comment is actually interesting and relevant otherwise those pesky spam filters will ‘junk folder’ your comment instantly. Here’s an example of a good comment:

“Great advice! I always forget to put a top coat on once I’ve finished painting my nails and then wonder why they chip so easily! Which top coat would you recommend? Thanks again! (insert blog)”

As you can see the comment interacts with the blogger and lets them know you’ve taken time to read their post. You also encourage them to reply to you either by visiting your blog or by replying to their own comment. Bloggers love nothing more than to know their work is appreciated and a comment lets them know that they’re not just typing into an empty space that no-one reads. You’d be surprised by how many followers, comments and visitors your blog will receive if you ‘pay it forward’ by interacting with other bloggers.

As always, we here at Purely Social Media will be updating with more advice to improve your blog each week so be sure to add us to your favourites or tweet us @purelysocialtip

Social Media Strategies Your Business Depends On

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Note to our readers:

Hey guys! It’s been a while. We’ve been super busy trying to build our brand and tending to our clients.  But we’re back and coming at you with more posts on a more regular basis. 

We’ve decided to work with freelance bloggers to help diversify the information that we bring to you, as well as stabilize our post frequency, so you have something to read from us on a very regular basis. This week’s article is written by Holly Sturgeon, a beauty and fashion blogger from the UK who has a passion for social media and loves to dig up information to bring to you guys. Welcome to the team, Holly! Hope you all enjoy!

Back in the days our businesses depended on local and national advertising in Newspapers, on Radio and Television. Whilst those things are still important for spreading the word about your business, other options, (Free options at that – Thanks us later!) are now available.

Social Media has pretty much dominated our lives over the past few years with more than 307 million monthly average users on Twitter alone. You might use social media for keeping track of your favourite celebs or for sharing your cute cat pictures rather than for promoting your business, but sharing your content on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (or any other of the numerous social media platforms that are available) could actually prove to be quite fruitful.

Ever scrolled through your news feed on Facebook or Twitter and seen a blogger or business letting you know all about their latest product or service? Of course you have! Well that’s because those businesses have started their own social media campaigns and began promoting themselves by using different social media strategies including the one’s we’re about to mention.

Whether your business is a blog, a service or is product driven, your primary aim of using social media will doubtlessly be the same and that is to reach new audiences and welcome new customers to your business. Here are a few social media strategies your business depends on:

Advertise Your Social Media Accounts

Of course, the purpose of using social media is to promote your business but your business also needs to promote your social media. (hear us out!). Presuming you already have a website, ensure you put your Twitter or Facebook handles on your homepage and in your ‘contact’ page. Customers feel more secure knowing they can contact you instantly and so letting them contact you via social media for any customer issues is a great way to attract followers and of course encourages user engagement. It’s also vital to ensure that when you are sent a query or comment that you reply to each one individually and personally. Also ensure you deal with all ‘personal’ or account queries via direct message to ensure customer confidentiality. All of this will ensure that your followers will feel safe and this is likely to result in return business.

Content

In order for this to work, it is really important to ensure you keep your feed current. Using apps such as Buffer or Hootsuite, you can schedule posts to appear on your timeline at your preferred times. In terms of what content to publish, businesses should always keep things professional with a hint of humour. Retweeting controversial users or using foul language are definite no-no’s but posting up the odd cute cat picture (obsessed!) will keep your timeline current and will encourage users to engage by favouriting, liking or retweeting your status. You should also consider keeping your tweets short (under 100 characters) as shorter tweets are proven to attract 17% more engagement.

Timing

Timing your updates is also important. According to Social Media Scientist Dan Zarrella, Twitter engagement for brands increases by 17% at the weekend. It has also been proven that Twitter users who use their mobile phones to browse their newsfeeds are 181% to be on Twitter during their commute. Perhaps consider posting in the early morning. The same applies to Facebook and Instagram (we’ve all done it) as we are all more likely to browse through social media platforms out of boredom whilst travelling.

 Images

Here we go with the cute cat pictures again – You are twice as likely to receive comments, replies, likes, retweets etc if you post an image with a link. So whether you choose to post a picture of your latest service or even a picture of the office Christmas Tree, you are encouraging people to engage with your brand. Engagement = visitors = Followers = Customers which is the aim of the game.

Hashtags

The hashtag trend started on Twitter but is now actually popular across most social media platforms. At the end of your status, placing a relevant yet popular hashtag will mean that your tweet will reach new followers. In fact, of all the information and advice given in this blog, this is probably the most important and successful tip. Here’s an example of how to use a hashtag:

 “Spending the weekend decorating the office. #springcleaning “

 Anyone who types “spring cleaning” into the search bar on Twitter will be able to see your tweet, this also applies to Instagram and Pinterest. Using more popular hashtags, including ‘trending’ hashtags (which you will see on the left hand side of Twitter or on the right side of Facebook) will obviously mean your tweet reaches a bigger audience, but that also means that more people use that hashtag and so your tweet will be pushed down the newsfeed very quickly, leaving a limited amount of time for users to see your status.

If you use hashtags that are relevant to your status, you will reach new users that are genuinely interested in what you have to say meaning you are more likely to encourage engagement and receive more followers.

You might want to consider creating your own hashtag. For example if your business is called “purelysocial” (shameless plug – We’re not even sorry!) then type your status similar to this format:

 “There’s only 6 weeks left until Christmas, Are you prepared? #purelysocialmedia”

If someone retweets your status, their followers will see your business name in the tweet, despite the fact that you’re not directly advertising. Clever huh?

Competitions

Everyone wants something for nothing. We all have entered a competition at some stage in our lives, whether it was in a magazine or even just buying a lottery ticket. Running a competition on social media can prove to be extremely popular and will definitely encourage people to follow you. Whether you offer a service or a product, running a competition on social media where the users are required to “follow and share/retweet” your status to enter will mean you will get a follower, who will share your status with their followers, who will then share it with their followers and so on. It can result in hundreds of followers and will mean more people will visit your website. Using clever hashtags (such as #win, #competition and #giveaway) for this, like previously mentioned will see your competition reaching the masses.

Paid for Ads

No-one really wants to pay for something if they can achieve similar results for free but we thought we should cover all options available to your business. Of course, there are paid options available on both Facebook and Twitter where you can start a campaign which see’s the platform advertise your service on newsfeeds. You might have seen “promoted” statuses on Twitter which are paid for advertisements and the ads on the right hand side of Facebook are also paid for. Advertising this way is definitely useful for those who have a budget to work with but can also be an expensive way of experimenting with social media.

Using social media can increase your customers greatly and is definitely something your business will depend on if you want to increase exposure online. Keep an eye on this blog for more tips on using social media to promote your business and feel free to submit your questions!

Until then, feel free to share your cute cat pictures with us @Purelysocialtip

Is following clients on Instagram a good idea?

image via flickr

image via flickr

We’ve managed accounts for several fashion and beauty businesses and often encounter the question of whether or not it makes sense to follow clients. Most of you in the fashion and beauty industry make it a practice to only follow those on social media who are in the industry. This helps you to network with colleagues, keep abreast of the goings-on and trends within the industry, and get inspiration. These are all great reasons to do so and you should definitely continue to follow those in the industry, but our thought is this: Yes. You should also follow your clients. We’ve heard several reasons for not following clients from: “I don’t want clients’ posts to distract from what I would like to see: i.e. posts within my silo” to “What’s the point in following clients period?” or a variant of a KPI question.

Here’s our point:

By not following clients and potential clients, you’re missing the whole point of social media. This goes back to understanding why you’re on social media in the first place. If you are on social media to reinforce a relationship with current clients and expand your client base, then you absolutely need to have a two-way relationship with your followers. If not, then it’s useful for other things (we’ll talk about specifics later), but not necessary.

The entire purpose of social media is to break the fourth wall and open communication that previously was non-existent between businesses and their customers. How are you going to have a conversation with your clients if they can only visit you on your terms i.e, your page.

The benefits of having a two-way relationship extend to both intangible and tangible forms.

The intangible benefits:

  • Building a relationship.

you get to know your followers on their turf, as well as yours, and gain an insight into their lives. You also are now have more of an opportunity to listen and converse. For example, if a client posts a picture of the hairstyle you just did for her, you then have the opportunity to gain permission to repost and image. More content that you don’t have to create. Potential clients who see this can now see your work in a relatable setting.

  • Humanizing the brand.

By engaging with your clients and showing them that you are not a robot, and that you care about the welfare of your clients, you bring a human face to the brand. This means don’t just follow and lurk, engage! Like a photo, talk about something relevant, reply to comments.

Too many businesses ignore comments. If your page is getting swamped with comments, you’re obviously not going to have time to reply to each one individually, but keep an eye out for questions and potential clients seeking information. This can be the deciding factor between whether you gain a new client or lose a potential client. If you don’t have time during business hours, delegate someone to take shifts or set aside an hour or two each day where you make a point to browse through your notifications and answer questions. If you’re just starting out and get very few comments, you absolutely need to make it your duty to respond to everyone, question or not. Show that you care that they took the time to leave a comment.

  • Building trust.

Going back to the example of re-posting a client’s image of your handy work, this is also an opportunity to build trust. How many of us have gone to a hair or nail salon and left less than pleased and now do detailed research before trying any new place?   By posting your handy work from your client’s perspective, you’re developing a rapport and showcasing verifiable reviews from clients that love you i.e., building trust.

The tangible benefits:

Higher potential for new clientele.

New clients are important to growth; a business can’t survive solely on repeat customers. In order to significantly increase revenue, the fact is that you need new customers. You need more people buying your products and your services in order for significantly increase growth and, as a result, revenue. This means that some time should be spent focusing on how to bring in new clientele. This is not to say that you should take any focus off of current repeat clients, you definitely should not, as repeat clients are fundamental to sustaining business. On the other hand, if growth is your goal, new clients are how you get it. Social media gives you the opportunity to reach clients in a way that no other marketing platform does. It essentially puts clients right at your doorstep and opens the door to their lives. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen posts of people moving to a new area and looking for a new stylist, nail salon, and or boutique. It happens on a regular basis, why not benefit from it.

Where do you start?

  1. Pay attention to who likes your content and do a little bit of research. Check out their page, see where they’re located. If they’re in your area, follow them.
  2. Check out who likes the content of those in your industry. Some instafamous people in the industry have followers from all over the world. If you check the comments, you’ll see from time to time people comment “I wish you were in *insert town here*.” If they mention your town or surrounding areas, this is your cue to step up and promote yourself. Don’t get ahead of yourself, no sales pitch necessary. Simply “Our salon/ boutique is right here in ______, check out our content” will suffice.
  3. See if there are any Instagram pages dedicated to your city and see who follows them. Do a little bit of sleuthing and see if you can find target client. If so, follow them.
  4. Take a look at your discovery tab, as you like and follow more content that’s relevant to you, the Discovery tab will pull more useful content. Instagram has nearly perfected this algorithm. Take full advantage of it.
  5. If your feed is too clogged, create a separate page just for yourself as the owner so you can see only what you want to see. Click here for a few apps that can help you manage multiple Instagram accounts.