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The 5 Steps To An Instagram Strategy That (Really) Works

Instagram Strategy

By Sofia Garcês

Of all the social media platforms out there Instagram is by far my favourite. I love everything about it from the interface to the amazing images shared to the interaction with other content creators. If you love Instagram as much as me then you now that growing in a consistent and authentic way can at times seem tricky if not completely impossible.

So today I’m sharing with you my 5 strategies to growing your Instagram in a way that is authentic to your and your brand. There’s plenty of tools that will promise you fast growth by I much prefer that you grow with substance.

Here are my 5 strategies for Instagram:

1. Show Up Consistently
I’ll be the first to admit that this is my biggest weakness, showing up and posting on your feed daily can be hard but whenever I actually do this and stay consistent the results are easy to see.

Try to post at least once per day and don’t forget to ask your audience questions for more interaction. If you can post 2 or even 3 times a day, more is always better and you’ll see results almost immediately.

2. Use Hashtags and Then Use some More
Now you can be posting every single day but no one will find you unless you use hashtags the right way. Hashtags exist in every social media platform but for me Instagram is the King and Queen of hashtags.

Create a solid list of about 15 hashtags that represent who you are, what you do and your target audience and add them to every single one of your posts. This will make you easy to find for the people who are looking for you!

3. Engage with the Community
Commenting and liking other people’s posts takes time and I know that you could be doing something infinitely more exciting but please do this at least for 10 min every day.

Be a real person and engage with other people. Like and reply to comments on your posts but also go out and comment on other people’s content this is how relationships are created. And isn’t that why we got on social in the first place?

Instagram Strategies

4. Share your Day to Day using Stories
I love Stories! The stickers the markers and everything about them! Don’t let them intimidate you, there’s no need to overthink the content you share here just share what you’re working on or something funny that you found while you were going about your day. Most of all have fun!

5. Search is your Friend
My final trick to engage and have fun on Instagram is using search to find people you want to talk about. Search for your audience using tags and keywords and engage with them! Comment on their posts, like their photos and all that good stuff.

Instagram can be a lot of fun so if all these tips seem like to much to take on then just be a human being and have fun! After all there’s no point in doing this if you’re not having fun!

Sofia Garcês is a Marketing Strategist from Portugal that helps you find clarity and focus in your online marketing by developing a comprehensive strategy around your marketing so that you know exactly what you need to do to reach your business and marketing goals and connect to your dream clients. Want to learn more visit her site at: www.sofiagarces.com

Getting started in business

By Torie Jochims

Getting started as an entrepreneur is shrouded in mystery and filled with far more questions than there are answers. When I decided to start my writing business, I loathed this lack of clear-cut information. I wanted a how-to manual and I couldn’t find one anywhere. As I developed my business idea and dug into making that dream a reality, though, I realized WHY there wasn’t a manual. The lessons I learned in my getting started journey play some of the most important roles as I grow my business.

So, I won’t offer you a manual, because there isn’t one. But I want to share the big lessons I learned, because they will make the first steps of this crazy wonderful entrepreneurship thing feel a lot less lonely.

You know what you want your business to be, but what’s next?

When I took the first steps toward Wild Spark Creative’s launch, I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water in all the information I was consuming. Then, about a month into researching and note-taking, I realized that I wasn’t actually DOING anything. Yes, I had read three novels worth of articles on starting and running your own business, but I wasn’t any closer, tangibly, to starting my company than I was before I spent a month digesting information.

Research does not equal action

Ifyou’re anything like I was, searching for the magic formula before taking action, be warned. There is no ABC to building your business, there is only the groundwork that needs to be done and the rest is educated trial and error my dear friends.

That’s why there is no manual. It’s why can’t ask for someone else’s journey and expect to replicate their success. Your secret sauce is going to be different than anyone else’s because (hopefully) your business is different than anyone else’s. But here’s what I know WILL move you closer to creating a clear path toward success.

Dot your t’s and cross your i’s, legally, before you do an ounce of business

Register your business name with your government. Get an EIN and set up a business bank account. No, you do not need to be rolling in the dough to do this. I registered with my state for $20 and my business checking account was literally free to set up.

Look around for a bank or credit union that best suits your needs, but do this up front. It will make you far less prone to Kim K ugly crying come tax time.

Now, you’ve got a foundation. How you build your success on top of that foundation is up to you.

That’s right, I said it. Your success is up to you.

I’m still struggling with that sentiment. I want to follow a roadmap. I want someone else’s answers to be my right answers, too. But all you have to do is ask a business question in a particularly large Facebook group to realize that everyone has different right answers.

I’m a firm believer in standing in YOUR truth. That means making the decisions you feel are right for you and your business, and it means owning the mistakes you will inevitably make as a business owner.

Mistakes are your best teachers

Heaven knows this lesson is not an easy one for this perfectionist of an entrepreneur to internalize. But it’s necessary to understand. Don’t get caught in the useless hamster wheel of mourning the views you don’t have and whining about the traction you’re not getting. Understand that there is a certain amount of being unknown that will come with starting a business. Commit to it anyway. If, months in, things are still not working, don’t blame the universe. Instead, adjust. Consider where you may have gone wrong and be open to learning from that.

When we are too stubborn (let’s be honest here, stubbornness is a trait rampant among entrepreneurs. It serves us well sometimes. Sometimes.) to acknowledge we’ve misstepped, it hurts our business. Learn to set aside the stubborn streak in these situations.

Become a community member

This might pertain to the physical city you live in, but it might also be a virtual community you choose to get involved with. Maybe you do a little of both (I highly recommend a little of both. Being keyed into your physical community is extremely valuable.)

Truth be told, if it weren’t for amazing Facebook groups like Being Boss and Savvy Business Owners,  Wild Spark Creative wouldn’t exist yet. Because I joined that group of entrepreneurs, I learned a lot quickly.

I took a chance at being vulnerable and asking for help, and I offered advice and expertise whenever I could for others. In return, I received tons of support and resources that helped me build that foundation, and blindly feel my way through some of the murkier waters until I could grasp onto that moment of clarity.

When you become a community member, whatever form that takes for you, remember these two things. Ask when you truly need direction, and give 10x’s more than you ask. Be there to support and encourage your fellow business owners, help each other through the crazy roller coaster and swirling corn maze that is this journey we’re on together.

Being a steward of the communities you join and genuinely showing up makes a difference. It will make a difference in the quality of relationships you build as a business owner and it will make a difference in the quality of clients and customers you attract.

You learn a LOT in your first month of business, and none of it is what you expect to learn. Taking the plunge without the manual and figuring it out as you go along is the best feeling. Remember to be kind to yourself, to expect the unexpected, be ready to pivot, and celebrate your wins, especially the small ones as you get started.

Torie is the over-caffeinated wordsmith at the helm of Wild Spark Creative. She's passionate about helping small business owners and creative entrepreneurs create content that ignites their brand and authentically connects with their ideal audience. She's a believer in people. She's also a hiker, a mountain climber, a runner, a makeup enthusiast and a lover of craft beer and good desserts. Find her on Instagram and Facebook. 

Ready to learn how to market your biz like a boss? Our Digital Bravery Ecourse is open for enrolment now!

How to improve your copy in a few easy ways

By Rebecca Ruiz

Let’s be honest writing copy for your website and marketing material doesn’t come naturally for most people in business. I know how I felt when I started my business and my web designer asked me to submit all my copy for my brand new website including 3 new blog posts. During this time I was only working as a life coach and not a professional copywriter, which I am now. I had no clue where to start, what to say, what keywords I need to include and how to create content for my blog. I just wanted to put my hands up in the air and say this is too challenging for me.

Luckily now I know what I need to do so today I’m going to share some of my secrets with you, to start writing more professional copy for your website and marketing material. Let’s get started.

In today’s competitive marketplace there is lots of competition, which means that our copy has to stand out to grab the attention of our audience in order for us to be successful. Which most of you already know, because you are here.  What can you do to you improve or start writing amazing copy?

Be clear on your target audience

To write clear and compelling copy you need to know who your target audience is to be able to speak to them directly. This is the reason most entrepreneurs struggle with their copy, as they aren’t sure what their audience needs.

Have you spoken to your audience and asked them what they need? When I started I got on Skype with 8 different women I met online and asked them what their challenges were, their struggles and what they need the most help with. By conducting these interviews I had a better idea what my niche needed.

I then used this information to create powerful copy to speak to my audience in their own language. If interviewing doesn’t work for you there is so many other ways to engage your audience just find which method best suits you.

Write your unique copy from your heart

My next point is to speak in your voice when creating your copy and don’t compare yourself to other’s in your field. You are going to be different as your business is a unique creation from you, which is why it’s special.

Especially in a service based business your client’s want to get to know the real you, why you started your business and what you have struggled with. Yes it has to speak to your client’s directly but in order to build rapport with them they need to know the real authentic you. You want your audience to fall in love with you and your message.

If you are in a products based business tell them why you created the products you sell and why you love these products. Have fun with this, be confident with your message and go out and write your copy from your heart.

Creating powerful headlines

It’s important to create attention with your headlines when your potential customers land on your website, read your latest facebook advertisement, your new blog title or your latest webinar. You only have a very short amount of time to get their attention.

To create this powerful headline I want you to think of your client’s biggest struggle in the area you are targeting in your copy right now? Write a few of these down or brainstorm some ideas to get an idea of what your client is feeling. Now you have the ideas to create a headline from this.

I’m going to list two headlines below one that doesn’t say very much and one that speaks to my audience for copywriting to give you an idea of what I am talking about.

  • Learn how to create better copy
  • 5 quick and easy ways to create amazing copy that brings you more sales

I know which one I like more as it’s quick and easy with the potential to make more sales I’m in.

Call to action

At the end of the copy you want to give your client’s a call to action. Which means that you want to engage your audience by asking them a question or challenge them to do something. It important to engage with your audience and it’s a marketing strategy which I could write a whole another blog post about sometime.

Ask your audience an open question so they can come up with an answer. For example the question I’m going to use at the end of this blog post is as a call to action which you are getting a sneak peak to prove the point- What is your biggest challenge with writing your copy?

I have loved taking this journey with you today and talking about how to improve your copy in a few easy ways. I would love to hear from you what is your biggest challenge with writing your copy? Looking forward to hearing from you below.

Rebecca Ruiz is a certified confidence life coach and freelance copywriter for women entrepreneurs at Life Perceptions. She is an ambassador for self-esteem, confidence and finding the inner writer from within. She combines her life coaching and copy writing to create a unique package based on her clients needs to help them move forward in their business. Some areas she works on are mindset, confidence, and learning how to write and blog. She is also available as a freelance copywriter for small businesses.

When Rebecca isn’t working she is enjoying yoga, meditation and spending time with her husband. Find her on Facebook, Twitter or at Life Perceptions

How To Handle Rejection

By Rachel Jessica Huxtable

I know a lot of you out there are so excited about the vision you have for your life. You know what you’re here to do, you’re so excited about how you want contribute and serve the world, and you know what you want to dedicate your life to.

But many of us face this fear that we’re not going to be liked and that the products and services that we have to offer are going to be rejected.

I get rejected thousand of times as an entrepreneur.

Case in point…

  • Someone or several people stop following me on Facebook or Instagram.
  • Each week I send a newsletter out and a handful of people unsubscribe. (OH the horror!).
  • Someone leaves a negative comment on a youtube video.
  • That ‘industry influencer’ I ask to interview turns me down. Several times.
  • Someone leaves a comment on my blog post saying that I’m a hypocrite for hating cats.
  • Potential clients that I invite to sign up for a coaching program say…’NO’.

The list goes on, and this doesn’t just happen in my work as a business owner. I’m sure many of you know that rejection doesn’t just happen to entrepreneurs, it happens in everyday situations in all areas of life.

So here are some of my tips on how you can handle rejection when it inevitably happens!

Accept that not everyone is going to like you.

We’ve just got to accept that not everyone is going to like us. Just as you don’t resonate with certain authors, mentors, actors or even just people in everyday life, not everyone is going to resonate with you. We’re all different, we’re all going to vibe with different people and that’s what makes us individuals. And that’s OK!

Know that it’s not personal.

If we emotionally attach ourselves to the way other people react to us then we’re really placing our worth and our happiness on how they respond, which is really out of our control. You’ve just got to remember that it’s not about you - it’s all about them!

Stand in your own truth.

We can take rejection in a variety of ways, but if we choose to take it as an opportunity to cement and reaffirm our own truth then we can use it as a tool to empower us rather than weaken us.

Rejection is just part of life and is especially common on an entrepreneur’s journey. But don’t shy away from it because you fear it. Use it as an opportunity to grow not only in your business but within yourself too. After all, our business can only grow as much as we do!

Rachel Jessica Huxtable is the founder of eatbeautiful.org, a writer, life coach and health & wellness business coach. She is also an actress who has appeared on Australian and US television and film.

She has been featured in Peppermint Magazine, Gabby Bernstein’s HerFuture.com, The New Daily, Tiny Buddha, Your Zen Life, Youthful Habits, Desire to Done, The Sparked Company, Beautiful Because, Bliss Habits, Blog Society and Holistic Entrepreneur Association.

Get her new Healthy Business Planner FREE here. And connect with Rachel at eatbeautiful.org, racheljessicahuxtable.com, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

How to Deal with Being Sick When Self-Employed

By Shandos Cleaver

When you're self-employed, there's no such thing as sick days, with a team back in the office able to help out with your duties while you're home in bed.  You've got work to deliver to clients, appointments to keep, your own expectations to live up to.  It's easy to think that you don't have time to be sick.  

So, what can you do to decrease your likelihood of falling ill?  And what can you do when do you fall sick?

1. Eat Well

It can be tempting when you're working at home to not stop for lunch, or just snack on what's in the fridge.  However, you'll feel a lot better if you stop and eat a proper lunch, whether it's a simple sandwich or salad at home, or something nice at a local cafe.  Don’t also feel at networking drinks that you have to hold a glass of wine or beer, or eat the deep-fried canapés. You can just stick to sparkling water and eat the dinner you’ve planned to cook at home.

2. Keep Fit

Make sure you regularly find time to exercise.  On days when I do some exercise in the morning, I find that I feel more energetic and optimistic.  It doesn't have to be much (in fact a big training session will drain me); my favourite tool at the moment is the Quick Fit 7 Minute fitness app.  Other options include yoga, heading out for a brisk walk, or even meditating.

3. Switch Off

It's easy to work all day, every day when your workplace is at home.  In particular, if you receive work emails to your personal email address and have social media account notifications popping up, it's hard to switch off.  Make sure you have a break from work most days.  Whether it's stopping each evening at 5pm or having a long lunch during the middle of the day (possibly also a class at the gym?), make some time for yourself away from work.  If necessary, also have a digital-free day once a week.

4. Take Some Time Out

If you're coming down with something, you can usually sense it in advance, from feeling drained and unmotivated.  If you feel like this, it's probably better for you to spend some time relaxing, such as by spending the morning in bed or chilling out over some TV, rather than pushing yourself to keep going.  I know that this is often enough to make me perk back up and not come down with a proper sickness.

5. Know What's Important

If you do come down sick, it's important that you know what’s important and what isn't.  Go through your schedule and make note of the important items (such as those with deadlines that can't budge) versus items that can be delayed until another day or another week, or cancelled completely.  If you were planning to go to a free networking event, you could probably skip it unless it's vital that you meet up with people there.  You probably also wouldn’t make the most of such events!

6. Have Some Flexibility

If you're fully booked out, it's harder to take it easy while you're sick and relax until you get back on your feet.  Keep some space in your schedule for some nice to do type tasks.  For instance, most days I plan to take my dog for a walk at the local park, but I know he won't mind if we skip a day.  Alternatively, have some more low-key work that you can switch to when you're not feeling well (such as social media follow-up), or if you’re a blogger have some pre-written posts that are ready to go so you keep to your publishing schedule.

7. Work When You're At Your Best

Most people have an optimum time of the day for working, whether it's early in the morning, in the middle of the day or late at night.  Does this remain the same when you're sick, or does it change (such as feeling worse in the morning when you have a head cold and have just gotten up)?  Know when you're likely to feel your best, and try to get your important tasks ticked off then.

8. Don't Do Too Much Too Soon

When you're starting to feel better, by all means catch up on things that have been delayed, but don't start doing too much again too soon, especially over-working to make up for the loss time.  This will increase the chance that you'll fall sick again, as you won't fully recover.  Take it easy for a few days as possible, and remind yourself that you no one is ever perfect and gets everything done!

Shandos Cleaver is a freelance writer and consultant, who recently put aside a successful IT career to launch Travelnuity, an online travel magazine for the savvy traveller. The website’s mission is to provide ingenious tips to stretch people’s travel budgets. She also regularly writes on business and IT-related topics, plus in the past has been featured in publications as diverse as Australian Geographic Outdoor, Australian Traveller, inthemix.com.au and Lip Mag. 

Connect with Shandos via Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.  Visit the Travelnuity website, or follow it on Facebook or Twitter.  

Photo Credit: Gratisography