Here's a First Look at what my new app Smarhash is all about. Find out when it launches at SmarthashApp.com
One of the things that everybody mentions in their Instagram strategy is the importance of using the right hashtags.
“With the right hashtags, your posts will get discovered, you’ll gain more followers, and your overall engagement will increase!”
Sounds great!… But what are the right hashtags?
The consensus for what the “right hashtags” are goes something like this:
Hmmm… sort of vague.
Now some articles expand on this to give you actual numbers to go by, like “Do research and choose hashtags that have between 300,000 - 400,000 posts”.
Ok cool! I did my research, I’ve got my hashtags that matched those criteria!… But…how do I know if they’re working?...
Data to back it up?
Other articles go even further to say “Use these top hashtags”, providing a list of their “right hashtags” that have been working for them and others.
Awesome!… But…do you have any data to back these up?
Unfortunately many do not, but the ones that actually do have data usually say something like, “The posts that used these hashtags received the most likes and comments.”
If you’re like me, a red flag should have went up. That reasoning sounds good… but what if the people who used those hashtags have millions of followers? Any post from them would have received thousands of likes and comments regardless of which hashtags they used.
What if they really just nailed down what time of day gave them the most engagement?
Maybe #ThrowbackThursday got them more likes because more of their followers are on Instagram on Thursdays!
The truth is, there’s not a great way to know if our hashtags are influencing engagement on Instagram, and worse… if there was a way, how can we know the increased engagement wasn’t because of some other factors like our growing following count, the filter we used, the time of day we posted, or anything else?
What I built to Fix It
After several months of random Instagram hashtagging, in November 2016 I finally decided that I wasn't going to wait for some company to create something that would solve these gaping issues. Most of them didn't seem to notice there was an issue to begin with and went along with the narrative of "The Consensus".
With a degree in both computer science and mathematics, and a love for Instagram and building things... I felt like I was poised to create the ultimate "Instagram Hashtag Tool".
In other words... a pretty super smart hashtag app. And that's exactly what I built.
Smarthash helps Instagrammers easily save off their favorite hashtags as sets, allows you to split test those hashtags, uses regression analysis to analyze their engagement performance on Instagram, and displays those performance results in a beautiful heat map.
I immediately started Beta testing the app near the beginning of the year, and with the help and feedback of hundreds of members from the Instagram community... I truly feel like we we're able to make it out to be something really wonderful, useful, and... somehow fun.
#❤️WhatYouDo & #ShareItWithThe🌎
As a side note, I think the reason why I gravitated towards Instagram in the first place is because unlike other social media platforms, Instagram really fosters the dreamers, the entrepreneurs, the foodies, the yogis, the travelers, and everyone who truly loves what they do and does what they love.
And not only that, but Instagram is also the way they can share what they love to do with the world, which in turn, inspires others to do the same.
Smarthash to me is way more than just an Instagram Tool. It's actually the finished product of what I love doing every single day... which is building and creating things.
And... it just so happens that it's also the way I can share what I love to do with you.
You can download Smarthash here.
It seems kind of obvious now, but building and working on something that scratches my own itch is an absolute game changer.
I've worked for companies that built software that wasn't used internally. I've also built apps in where I wasn't included in it's main demographic.
Now at the time, I felt like I was giving my all to those projects. But every once in awhile ( other developers will know what I'm talking about ) I would get these complaints about how the software ran a tad slow, or how a button doesn't really make sense where it's located and should be moved two inches to the left, or how the hierarchy of pages or screens seems a bit backwards.
Here's where the problems arise. As the builder/creator of the product, it's easy to chalk these complaints as nothing more than... complaints. Does it really make sense to make these changes? "It's most likely user error" is a pretty popular saying I hear and say.
Plus, what's the cost/time of making these changes? Does several days of development time really make sense to rewrite HTML to move the button two inches? ( Idk for whatever the reason moving that button destroys the layout of the rest of the page, It happens )
The point is, there is a conflict of interest there. The user just wants the app to be easy to use. The creators/builders have to outweigh the resources used to make or build the change to make the app easier to use, even though the creators/builders aren't even fully convinced that the change will actually accomplish that because they don't use the product!
But... if the builders and users are one in the same... the conflict of interest essentially disappears. You'll know if these complaints are justified because you'll experience them as well! And if they are justified, you'll make the changes because you want to be able use it with ease! You'll do it for yourself if anything.
Scratch your own itch, because we're all selfish. And what's good for you, becomes what's best for the product, which is what's best for the users, which benefits.... You.
I really started pondering what something Gary Vaynerchuk recently said in one of his viral videos...
"Enjoy the process, not the end goal".
Those words didn't really mean a whole lot to me until recently, but what I've learned about myself in the last year of working for myself is this.
I don't need the super riches. I don't need a fancy car. I don't need fancy clothes. I actually used to enjoy shopping, I used to dream about owning a Dodge Challenger ( maybe that's not really all that fancy, but hey I like it )
But nowadays, it seems like I want to do is code apps, film and edit videos, post on Instagram... ya know... work!
Maybe that makes me a workaholic, which granted... I believe I am.. but... what's wrong with loving what you do? And Doing what you love?
If all I wanted to do was play video games... you might think I was passionate. But if I was making money doing that... does that make me a workaholic?
The point is... If you truly enjoy what you do, the "escapes" of nice things don't mean as much, because you're already winning a game that most people don't even know they're playing.
The game of being happy with something "you have to do" for almost your entire adult life.
The game of job fulfillment.
And when you love what you do, you're willing to work like crazy. You're willing to sacrifice more than others ( and sometimes not even feel like you're sacrificing anything at all). You'll outlast and outwork others who are just in it for the end goal, because you're just enjoying the hell out of yourself.
And sometimes... the end goal... success. May just be a byproduct.
I'm not sure if most of you know... but I built one of my first apps, Iron HUD, several years ago actually.
I talk a lot about it now because after a recent and very huge update, it's one of my biggest income generators.
But for 4 years prior to the update... it was a considered an absolute failure. It didn't get that many downloads and it was barely making me $10 a month. Now after the update, it's generating close to $1K per month.
What's interesting to me is that there are so many things I have attempted in the past and gave up on because they were "failing", but I wonder how many of them were actually "eventual successes" like Iron HUD...
I just didn't have the stomach to wait.
People emulate what is sexy. They flock to it.
I don't think I'm stating anything new, but I do find the application quite interesting. For instance... if you can take something that is thought to be boring, and make it sexy... people won't think it's boring anymore.
“You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with” - Jim Rohn
I’m a big believer of this saying because I know there’s a lot of truth to it. When I hang out with certain people for an extended amount of time, I’ll eventually start to adopt certain mannerisms, have like minded views… I even started adopting a Boston accent after hanging out with my now best buddy after just two weeks of meeting him. ( Mostly that was just me effin around, but you get what I’m saying )
It’s easy for me to see that this saying has merit. So… when I decided to go all in, quit my job, and run the entrepreneurship marathon for real… I knew I needed to surround myself with some other startup/entrepreneur type people.
"It's supposed to be hard. If it were easy everyone would do it." - Tom Hanks, A League of their own.
"A person's success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have" - Tim Ferriss, Author and Angel Investor
I love these quotes because I think they have a lot of truth in them. Shit is hard. There are so many things I feel like that take painstaking, uncomfortable inducing, social life sacrificing, pain enduring moments, that could really benefit my career or life, especially in the long run.
Well... knowing what to do is one thing... but doing it is a complete other ball game!
Like I said... shit is hard. But looking back at some of the hardest and most uncomfortable moments I willingly put myself through... moments that really helped me fast track certain aspects of my life... there is a particular thread that connects them all.
In order for this to make sense, we'll have to go through some of these moments. Shall we?...
If you want to get better at anything, you have to learn from the experts in that field. Which is why I scoured the interwebs for interviews from some of the best Instagram experts out there to see what their tips are on using the social media giant for business and marketing.
Here are 5 Instagram marketing tips from the experts:
I've given up. I've given up on tons of things... projects... apps... kickstarter ideas... startup ideas...This list goes on and on.
And the #1 reason why I gave up on all of them?
Because I didn't see any results. That makes sense right? I mean if I saw some results, if I actually saw the ROI of my time and money and effort on any of these things, I would have doubled down and kept it going.
I think this is the reason why most people give up on anything. The problem is... I realized this may not be a very good reason at all.