Social Media Tips

Researching & Using Hashtags

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Let’s talk about hashtags! #️⃣ Are you being intentional with your hashtag strategy? This is the best & easiest way to increase your reach on Instagram & get your posts seen. But how do you know the right ones to use? Research! Full stop here: Don’t just slap a bunch of hashtags in your caption and call it a day. You can use up to 30 hashtags per post, so use them wisely.

I spend considerable time researching hashtags for the best performance. It’s easy but soooo time-consuming! Using a spreadsheet for each client, and a sheet for each batch of hashtags, I can easily find out what is performing, or not.

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Here’s how I do it: that’s one of the spreadsheets that I use - in this case, I’m sharing @skyeretriever account.
There are 3 columns - hashtag, position, and notes. I list the hashtag, and then search on Instagram for its’ position, which is the number of posts attributed to that hashtag; too low and it’s too narrow & not getting noticed. Likewise, too high (over 1,000,000) and it’s likely getting lost in the feed quickly.

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This is also a great way to find new hashtags to use, related hashtags will appear at the top of the hashtag you are viewing. Be sure to click on those hashtags, if they’re relevant, and see what their position is before you add them.

Sort the hashtags by position so you can see where they fall in popularity & if you want to continue using them. Highlighted hashtags are usually new ones that I test, and there are always tags that get retired because they’re too popular.

By the way, this is an ongoing process! You just don’t do the research and call it done. This is something that has to be done every few weeks or at least once a month. As I said, it’s time-consuming!

This brings me to another point: are hashtags relevant on Facebook? Not so much. Hashtag use on Facebook could be detrimental to your brand. A study by BuzzSumo determined that tagged posts performed worse than untagged posts. I know, mind blown.

People don’t use the search bar on Facebook the same way they use it on Instagram. This doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t use them. They can be used successfully to promote an event or a campaign, and a branded hashtag may turn up in a Google search. If you’re going to use hashtags on Facebook though, I would recommend only using one or two and not populating your post with a slew of hashtags, it takes away from the message.

Organic Followers vs. Paid Followers

Organic Followers vs. Paid Followers

Being a social media manager, I sometimes get the question of buying followers from potential new clients. Most of the time, they’re just starting out and don’t really know the ins & outs of social media. This is a great opportunity for me because I can educate them and hopefully get them off on the right foot from the beginning.

In a nutshell: NO! You don’t ever want to go down that road. I get the attraction. Way back when it was easy to get noticed on social media. There was so much less noise! These days, everyone and their dog (literally. And I can’t really complain because, yes, my dog does have an Instagram account!) has an account on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. It’s hard to stand out and it takes A LOT of work to be noticed.

So here’s my take: fake followers are the bane of our existence. Fake followers may give your account a high follower number, but that is a vanity metric. No matter how much a seller promises ‘high quality’ followers, fake followers won’t like, comment, or share your content, which will keep that engagement score low.

Engagement is the name of the game and is based on likes, comments, saves, tags, shares and DM’s, all of which signal to Instagram that your account is important to that user. The algorithm uses these signals to prioritize the content it displays.

That means that the account owner, user or manager has to get in there and get busy. It means using relevant hashtags for your content and then engaging with those people by liking their content, commenting, saving and following. An organic following doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time and it takes dedication. That’s why I do what I do. Because most businesses need to run their business, not spend hours on social media.

How can you tell if your favorite Instagram account has fake followers? Check out their posts. If they have 10,000 followers but only get 25 or even 100 likes per post, they probably bought their followers.

And another word about fake followers: buying followers goes against Instagram’s community guidelines and terms. So when Instagram finds an account that uses or has used (even in the past) fake followers, the account is likely to be purged. Removed.

Fake followers are not the way to go.

Selecting a Color Theme for your Social Media Channels

I'm working with a new client, and it's been very fun. One of the first things I did when I took over their Instagram account is archive ALL their old content. Why? Because there was no rhyme or reason in the posting of images, no editing of photos and no general color theme. Sometimes it works that you can work without these things, but in this case, it didn't. Their engagement was non-existent and the images that were shared did not tell a story about the business. 

Social Media Short: you can seemingly 'delete' photos from your Instagram feed by archiving them. This is good if you want to play around with your theme, test a new posting strategy, or just don't like what you had posted way back when. To do this, on the upper right side of the image select the three dots, and then from the drop-down menu, select archive. 

After spending some time in my clients' shop (it's a home decor/gift shop) arranging, styling and photographing product, I've spent the last week uploading images on a consistent schedule on both Instagram and Facebook and we've seen a noticeable jump in engagement, likes, and followers. Such a great feeling and the client is thrilled!

Selecting a color theme can be difficult and frustrating. When I'm hired to revamp a blog or social media channel, the first thing I do is study what they sell, taking into account the predominant colors they use and any company colors, logo designs, etc. I'm very visual, so I usually know what look I'm going for pretty quickly, and design content uploads to reflect this, scattering in some other content that fits within the scheme. 

There are quite a few websites out there to help you decide a color theme if that's not your thing. Of course, Pantone is the industry standard, and they have handy chip books and color guides you can purchase to help you get started. Many paint brands also have fan guides and you can sometimes get them for free from the retailers (however, I don't think they're doing this all that much anymore). A trip to Home Depot, Lowe's or any other home improvement store that sells paint is also a great place to start. Take a look at the paint chips, and many of them have some complimentary colors that can help you decide on a color theme. It's fun to grab a few ideas and play around with them later. 

One resource I love is Design Seeds, a fantastic website of user-generated images that are paired with the real color codes so you select the actual color when designing in Photoshop, or any other image editing program. One of my favorite color combinations are blues and neutrals, and this palette is perfection.

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This particular palette is called Color Wander - see it all here.  If you are a color addict (like me!) take a look at Design Seeds for major inspiration!