What’s the deal with #Hashtags?

When we talk to people about Twitter, one thing that comes up time and time again is the fact it’s just so damn confusing.

“All those hashtags – why can’t people just speak English?”

For many, the humble # makes text seem confusing; but the reality is it’s an integral part of how we communicate online these days.  As such, if you’re going to use Twitter on any meaningful level, you need to find out how to use them.

The basics

The purpose of a #hashtag is to turn any word (or string of words) into a searchable link.  Why’s that important, you may well ask (and again, many do).

Essentially it means you can organise your own content, and track specific topics of discussion based on those particular keywords.

Like cake?  Who doesn’t?  Type #cake in to the Twitter search bar and BOOM – everyone else’s Tweets about #cake will immediately appear in chronological order.

What can you include in a #hashtag?

The reality is you there is no pre-determined list of #hashtags.  Of course there are many that are popular, either trending temporarily, or sticking it out for the longhaul.  But if what you want doesn’t exist, you can simply create your own.

The key thing to remember is you can’t use spaces. If you do add a space, then the next character will form outside of the linkable #hashtag.  Even if you are using multiple words in the same #hashtag you MUST NOT use a space.

If you want to make your #hashtag easier to read, then consider using uppercase letters for the start of each word, for example #LuLovesShoes.

The good news is this won’t change your search results – #lulovesshoes would appear, regardless of capitalisation.

Numbers are supported, so tweet about #50ShadesOfGrey to your heart’s content. However, punctuation marks are not, so commas, fullstops, exclamation points, question marks and apostrophes are out. Forget about asterisks, ampersands or any other special characters.

Make yourself heard

How and why you use #hashtags will depend largely on what you’re trying to achieve, and also your style, tone and voice.

Lu likes to use her #hashtags as an aside, or to convey personality, humour (or more likely, sarcasm). Her current favourites include #SendCoffee #ShoeLove #ShoeGoals #MumOf5 #WhyGodWhy

 

The key to Twitter is getting involved.  Why not spend some time looking around, searching existing #hashtags and seeing what other people are doing?

 

Remember, we’re here to help – so if you need a crash course, or just have a quick question, don’t be afraid to get in touch. Drop us an email: lu@timesavingheroes.co.uk, call 0161 883 2024 or leave a comment.

Social Media Platforms: The Pros and Cons

If you follow our previous blogs, then I think I’ve made it pretty clear during this time that you’re unlikely to just randomly stumble on the perfect mix of social media channels and content – it is something that takes time and will require your attention.

That said, in true Time Saving Heroes style, I have pulled together some quick fire bits of information about various platforms to help you make your decision.

Facebook

Started in 2004 Facebook has the benefit of being a real powerhouse in the digital world. As a result they are a real leader when it comes to innovation and listening to their users. Incidentally, reports indicate there are 1.65 billion active users of Facebook per month, so there’s a good chance your audience will be logging on at some point.

Thanks to how long it’s been operating it’s likely that most people will have a personal account, which means it can be a great place for someone to launch their business presence from. Business pages operate in much the same way as personal pages, and are all pretty intuitive. New features and options are always being added, and you can now include live video and information on particular products and services.

However, over the years Facebook has become more of a pay-to-play space, with businesses being subjected to an increasingly complicated algorithm for generating reach. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend on targeted ad’s or don’t want to constantly test out best posting times etc then Facebook may not be for you.

Equally, if your primary audience are teens or millennials, then you may find that they are starting to head elsewhere these days. Younger audience appear to be preferring to use Instagram and Snapchat instead.

Twitter

Slightly younger than Facebook, Twitter still has a wealth of experience and lots to offer. However, while it is growing as an ad platform, the algorithm timeline means you are likely to end up experiencing the same drop in reach as counterparts do on Facebook.

That said, it is a fantastic platform to use if you want to provide instant updates and keep people involved and up to speed with a particular event or product launch. The one drawback may be that user numbers are stalling compared to other networks, and those who are new to the platform don’t necessarily hang around.

Instagram

When you think of Instagram, you immediately think of photos – which makes it a fantastic place to go if you have a visually appealing product to sell. Great content can gain almost instant traction and huge levels of engagement, helping you to reach your audience.

However, as with other networks, algorithms are likely to have an impact on future performance, and increased advertising is sure to see organic posts falling when it comes to reach.

LinkedIn

The oldest social network site of the bunch, LinkedIn is the go to place for professionals, and entirely dominates this space. It is a fantastic place to make genuine business connections and seek out thought leaders in your industry.

However, low numbers of users are actually active (in comparison to other platforms), and as such you often need to post content multiple times to ensure it is seen. The down side is that LinkedIn can become very time consuming, though the rewards for genuine interaction and relationship building are undoubtedly worth it.

 

Pinterest

My personal problem with Pinterest is how addictive it is, but then, that is kind of the point. From a marketing perspective it is a great place to target women, even though it is starting to gain more traction with male audiences.

The ability to add a Buy Now button is fantastic for direct commerce, however, it is essential you have quality photographs of products, and may need to spend money on a commercial photographer. The site can also be a bit confusing at first, and does not lend itself well to those who want a quick-fire way of reaching people.

 

Snapchat

As mentioned previously, Snapchat is becoming increasingly popular with younger audiences, so if this is your target, you’d be daft not to consider this platform. However, it can take some getting used to and the downside is that it can be very hard to track the actual performance of snaps, so you’re never quite sure whether what you’re doing is working.

While content curators are moving in to this space, and will continue to do so, it’s fair to say that Snapchat does still have quite the reputation for being a sexting app.

How much is your time worth?

Here at Time Saving Heroes we provide a variety of different services, but they all boil down to one end goal – to save you, our client, time.

As a business owner you will be only too well aware that time is money, but precisely how much is your time worth?

£25 per hour? £50 per hour? £100 per hour?

Everyone is different, and much will depend on the nature of the work you do and the expertise you bring to the table – but we should all know how much we’re worth on an individual basis to our business.

No matter what you are worth in monetary terms, are you the only person that can bring in that revenue? If you are a sole trader, then clearly, the answer is “yes”. Even if there are other members of your team, perhaps you are the only one that secure the high-end fees. Perhaps you are the only person that generates new income and revenue streams because no one understands the business the way you do – it is, after all, your baby.

It begs the question then why you would waste your time doing tasks that other people could do. Perhaps you don’t see it as wasted, they are no doubt tasks that need to be completed to ensure the proper running of your business – but do you need to be the one who does it?

Have you stopped to consider that for some tasks it would be far more beneficial, financially, to pay someone to do them instead?

Consider the case of Bob (a real client, but not his real name).

Bob is a tiler and, on average, earns £250 per day. He’s very good at what he does, in fact, many regard him as an “artist”. Only Bob can do the physical work that his clients pay him for. Bob’s average day is no longer than six hours. He therefore earns £41.67 per hour.

However, Bob also does all the admin for his business. He dedicates every Monday to answering emails, writing up quotes, sending invoices and doing his bookkeeping. Bob has no real admin experience, is not confident with computers and spends 10 hours every Monday just trying to run his “office”. He admits himself it’s not his forte, and because things are completely ignored Tuesday-Sunday, by the time Monday comes around again it’s a bit of a mess.

Within a week of working with Bob we were able to streamline a lot of his processes and we now only bill him for one hour a week to complete all his admin needs. Yes, this costs him £100pm but in exchange he has now saved himself 10 hours per week – which he has turned in to time he can complete more work. As a result, he can now charge an additional £250 per week, which is a whopping £1,000 per month of extra income (or £900pm if you deduct our fee).

By using Time Saving Heroes he has earnt an additional £900pm! Now, that’s what we call return on investment.

Of course, not everyone is in that position, and we are not suggesting for one second we can produce the same results for all our clients; however, the principal remains the same. By reducing the time you are wasting on things that you can outsource, that we can probably do more efficiently than you because this is our area of expertise, you can dedicate more time to your area of expertise.

Why not give us a call today on 0161 883 2024 to find out how we can help you be more efficient, and make more money?

Your call is important to us – or is it?

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of calling a large company or call centre, you are likely to have been exposed to the joys of the automated system.  The pre-recorded voice asking you to select the correct option (many of which never really make sense) and assuring you, every 30 seconds, that your call is important to them.

 

In an ideal world you might hope that your call would be answered immediately, by a cheerful and helpful real live human being. However, with a large organisation experiencing a high volume of calls, that’s not realistic and most of us accept that.

 

Which is why the small business has an advantage.  Your phones aren’t going to be ringing off the hook, you’re not going to have an automated system, or a queue of frustrated people waiting to speak to you.  You should be able to deliver immediate customer service, answers and resolutions the second your customer needs it.

 

Yet, so many small businesses fail to do that, because they don’t have an effective call answering system.

 

Yes, it should be simple; you have a phone, doesn’t matter if it’s landline or mobile, someone calls, you answer.  Job done.

 

Why then, when we phone sole traders and SMEs do so many calls go unanswered?  You ring, no one’s there. If you’re lucky, maybe there’s a voicemail facility – but do you leave a message?  The reality is few people do.  When they do, statistics (and our own personal experiences) show that very few of these are ever returned.

 

The problem is that if you’re a sole trader, you’re having to wear many hats.  You’ve got to answer the calls, do the customer service, chase down leads, do the marketing, balance the books, keep an eye on stock levels, and do the actual work your customers need.

 

Sometimes you’re so busy you don’t have time to make phone calls – even though doing so will help ensure the next lot of revenue for your business.  Really, when you think about it, it’s daft; however, it happens, and it’s perfectly understandable.

 

It even makes sense.

 

What doesn’t make sense though is recognising it’s an issue, and then doing nothing about it.  Why would you continue to miss calls, and risk missing out on customers and income, when all you have to do is get in touch with us?

 

A quick call to Time Saving Heroes and we can have your calls diverted to one of our receptionists, who will answer them as though they work in your business.  Never miss another call again, provide your customers with a fantastic experience, and increase satisfaction and profits.

 

Call us today on 0161 883 2024 or email lu@timesavingheroes.co.uk for more information.