Setting your sights for the future can be a challenge. As a small business owner, you probably have a lot on your mind already, juggling the day-to-day as you try to get done what you need to do. You know all about milestones and deadlines and goals, and after a while, they all seem to mean the same thing. But do they? Continue reading “Milestones, Deadlines, Goals… What’s the Difference Anyways?”
Nowadays, small businesses and social media go hand-in-hand. Marketing your business through various social platforms is the secret sauce to ensuring you get traffic, no matter how small you are. Continue reading “5 Social Media Metrics that are Important for Your Small Business”
So you’ve become a hashtag master, huh? That’s no easy feat. Really, I’m proud of ya. The last time I used a hashtag, I tried to use #tortieclub for my cat’s Instagram and I accidentally tagged #tortoiseclub instead. Now my cat’s Instagram following is half tortoiseshell cats, half tortoises. Continue reading “Best Free Hashtag Tools for Small Business”
Historically, milestones date back to the Roman Empire, when they were used as reference markers more comparable to monuments. They didn’t mark mileage (instead they referenced the current emperor at the time) but they certainly were made of stone.
Nowadays, milestones have evolved into mile markers and its double-meaning of marking a significant change or stage in success. And unless your small business is on wheels and literally commemorates its mileage, you probably care more about the latter.
Milestones don’t only just celebrate your business, but your customers have well. They celebrate your achievements as an entrepreneur, as a member of your community, and of those who helped you get where you are. So how exactly do small business milestones work in practice?
Milestones that Motivate
Milestones and goals are very similar, and you can definitely treat them the same if it floats your boat, but I like to think of milestones as smaller leaps to a larger goal. Goals can sometimes take forever to achieve, so acknowledging those baby steps can keep you motivated and appreciative of your efforts.
Choosing what milestones you consider worthy of acknowledging is all up to you, but they can be anything from your 100th customer to your first $10,000 in profit. Milestones tend to largely be numerical, but whatever you can consider a stride toward being successful can work too.
Milestones that Recognize
What goes hand-in-hand with motivation is recognition, and I mean this not only towards your customers and employees, but yourself as well!
You can consider this in terms of your first online review from a customer, or even recognition in a media piece. It’s easy to get so caught up in running your business, that you forget to take a step back and commend yourself for all the hard work you have done.
Of course, if you aren’t in this alone, remembering to recognize your employees for their help is great too. Perhaps an employee was responsible for bringing in your 100th customer—acknowledge that! Because milestones are smaller parts to a goal, they’re a great way to take a moment to be appreciative towards the little things.
Milestones that Celebrate
Giving back to your customers can be hard when you’re only just up and coming, but taking time to give thanks is integral because they’re what fuel your business.
You can try rewarding your 100th customer with 20% off, or give out a discount to everyone upon your 1,000th. How you choose to celebrate can depend on your budget and your resources, but even a simple “Thank You” post to your social media pages go a long way.
Milestones that Become Goals
As your business grows and your goals become more definite, what you mark as your milestones may change, but that’s okay! Remember, milestones aren’t as concrete as goals, and you can pick and choose as you like.
At the end of the day, milestones work to increase morale and motivation, and hey, you can even think of them as an excuse to celebrate the good. Why not? You’ve worked hard to get where you are, and sometimes you just need a reminder to stop and smell the roses. Or rather, smell your accomplishments—and they smell just like success.
Do you remember a time when hashtags weren’t a thing? It seems as the Internet gets older and older—with social media aging along with it—certain norms in online culture seem to have always been there, even when they haven’t.
Effectively using hashtags for your small business can seem like a challenge, but when everyone’s doing it, being the only brand not on the bandwagon can leave you in the dust. Fortunately, it’s a lot simpler than it looks, and getting into the swing of things isn’t difficult at all.
Hashtags that Describe Your Small Business
One of the easiest ways to jump into the hashtag game is by thinking of your business in terms of short, simple descriptions, or even keywords. Let’s say you run a vegan cafe. It’s easy to go straight to #cafe, but a quick peek on Instagram shows that hashtag is used just under 34 million times. Remember, you want to stick out above the noise here!
More true to your business, #vegancafe is more specific and also just appears under 83,000 times on Instagram. And while it describes your business better than just a simple #cafe or #coffeeshop, it’s still relatively short, which is the other side of choosing a good hashtag.
Try writing out a list of 2- or 3-word descriptions of your business. Those descriptions can seamlessly transition into a good hashtag, and you’ll find, because you know your business better than anyone, finding those perfect hashtags will be a piece of cake.
Hashtags to Help Customers Find Your Small Business
You can certainly fill up your hashtag quota with descriptive and accurate tags, but you also should throw in some basic ones to pull in folks who may be searching in simpler terms. The trick here is to get into the mentality of a would-be customer, and attach a variety of hashtags to corner every kind of person you may attract.
Let’s go back to the vegan cafe. You already know attaching more specific yet all-encompassing hashtags like #vegancafe or #vegancoffeeshop works wonders, but you can also try using location-specific hashtags, too. After all, people probably won’t be traveling far and wide to go to your cafe, so throwing in some location-specific hashtags will work well reeling in locals.
Say your vegan cafe is located in Brooklyn (where else?). You can use hashtags like #brooklynvegancafe, but because Brooklyn alone is a great specifier, you can get away with #brooklyncafe. You already know using too many hashtags can clutter things up, so using shorter ones where it works can prevent that from happening.
Hashtags to Make Your Customers Fall in Love With Your Small Business
When it comes to posting on social media, you always want to keep in the back of your mind not to annoy your followers. Excessive or irrelevant hashtag use is a huge no-no, and I recommend sticking to ten or so hashtags to prevent oversaturating your posts.
There’s no one way to use hashtags, and again, I really stress finding your niche and not allowing yourself to get overwhelmed by what is and is not correct. Take a look at what some of your competitors are doing. Experiment with trending hashtags. And remember, hashtags at the root of it are just fancy 21st century keywords.
I can assure you that potential customers are out there, searching for you. And as long as you keep producing great content and keep your hashtags consistent and tight, those customers will trickle in—as followers first, and then loyal customers.