Dot & Stripe Marketing Consultancy

If you are an Instagram fan then you may have noticed that the platform rolled out SO many new features in 2020 including Instagram reels, guides, and also a huge focus on shopping.

Instagram shopping is just another huge reason I think you need to be utilising the platform whether you are a consumer or in business. It’s all about giving people a quick and easy way to shop. This is a game-changer for product-based businesses to build their profile on the platform.

Instagram describes it as:

‘… a set of features across Instagram that let people shop your photos and videos no matter where they are in the app.’

Instagram shopping button on Iphone

For business that sell products, it provides shopping features that turn your Instagram account into a shoppable storefront. And as consumers we can ‘see, tap and shop’ by seeing products we are interested in, tapping for information, and shopping via the businesses shop. We can even save products for later.

130 million people tap on Instagram shopping posts to learn more about products each month (Facebook)

With 65% of consumers visiting a brand's website or app after seeing a product on Instagram (Sprout Social).

To set up a shop you must have a business or creator account and your business has to sell physical products that comply with Facebook’s polices. It’s worth a giggle to have a look at the things you can’t sell.

The exciting update coming soon is that IN-APP checkout is coming to the UK so you won’t even need to leave the app to purchase. Currently shoppers are directed to your website directly to purchase.

It is amazingly easy to set up your Instagram Shop- in fact I have a FREE guide which you can download here which takes you through the steps. You can set up your shop via the Facebook Catalogue Manager by creating a new catalogue or by using a Facebook partner.

Connect your shop to the catalogue manager

Once you have a shop set up you have the ability to add tags to any posts in photos, videos and stories. Shoppers will be able to see the ‘tag’ on the post and click to be sent directly to the item to purchase.

One of the features I love is that shops can create ‘collections’ which are where you can group related products. This is great to create themed seasonal collections like perfect gifts for her, stocking fillers, mothers day gifts etc.

Instagram shopping catalogues

There are so many cool ways that you can use Instagram shopping strategically in your marketing and social media content and I have LOTS of ways in which can help you.

My Instagram Shopping Masterclass guides you through:

You can get in touch to book a 1:1 session or sign up to my newsletter here to keep updated with the latest workshop.

As a consumer I am excited about new products that I can discover, particularly those from small businesses. I would advise any small business who sells products to be maximising this feature for 2021 and beyond- the opportunities are huge.

If you want some help with getting started, get in touch to arrange a natter.

What are Instagram guides?

Have you heard of a recent addition to the Instagram features called Instagram guides? Instagram guides allow you to collate content into bite-sized ‘guides’ which you can share with others.

Instagram describes guides as “a way to more easily discover recommendations, tips and other content from your favorite creators, public figures, organizations and publishers on Instagram.”


I like to think of them as miniature, visual blogs or catalogues of content that may be interesting to you and your target audience.

There are three types of guide you can select from:


You chose posts that have been tagged into a chosen location. For example if I wanted to share my 5 favourite restaurants in the local area I can add the location and it will pull through content for that specific location.


This type of guide allows you to select products that have been tagged in an Instagram shop. Another key reason to have an Instagram shop set up if you are an e-commerce business. You could share your recommended products for your audience or share catalogues of your favourite items from your own range.


This allows you to select posts which you have created on your own Instagram page or saved from others. For example I regularly share Free tools that I recommend for other marketers so created a guide collating some of these posts.

Where to find them?

Here are a few pictures on how you can find Instagram Guides on your phone.

Head to your profile and select the '+' button in the top right.

+ Icon in Instagram to find Guides

In the dropdown selection, you will see 'Guides' with a little magazine icon. Select this icon to start creating a guide.

Create dropdown in Instagram with Guides

You can then select which type of Guide you want to create from Places, Products and Posts. Once you have created your Guide you will then be given the option to share.

Instagram Guide Types- Places, Products and Posts

Once you have created your first Guide you will be able to access them in your own Guides feed. Here is an example of the guides on my Instagram page.

Instagram Guides feed will be available on your profile once you have started created Guides.

How can you use them for your business?

I love the potential applications for Guides even for service-based businesses. You could create guides on:

I think guides are a great addition to the Instagram toolkit and it is a great way to repurpose existing content in a new format for your marketing too. The bonus is you can keep adding to guide too so as your content and posts grow, so can your guides.

Start considering how to use Instagram Guides in your content marketing or if you want some inspiration on how can start using them in your marketing I would love to help.

Head to my social media pages or Contact Us form to learn more.

You may have heard mention of a new social media channel called Clubhouse App. And yes, you may well be rolling your eyes thinking- oh great another social media tool I need to be learning about.

But don’t panic, I am here to give you a rundown of what Clubhouse App is and my experience so far.

The whispers of Clubhouse App started for me in December 2020 in a social media community I am part of- The Social Media Managers Hub. And me being nosey and always having serious FOMO I wanted to learn more

Clubhouse App describes itself as:

…A new type of social network based on voice—where people around the world come together to talk, listen and learn from each other in real-time.

Clubhouse app hallway with orange background
Clubhouse App showing Hallway

The app is currently invitation only, which is why it is so FOMO (fear of missing out) inducing. Once you are in you currently get one invitation to pass on, so it’s all about knowing the right people to get you in.

Clubhouse App is currently in beta testing, so it seems like a wise move to have a slower process of new members to test if their system can cope and make changes when needed.

It is an audio only application which means you can’t use a chat function, share your camera or record. So you really have to be paying attention and note taking if your participating.

When you get access, you can join ‘rooms’ and listen in and engage in live conversations, which sounds really weird and at first it did feel odd. You enter ‘rooms’ on different topics and it can be fear inducing when you first listen in as you panic to check your microphone is off.

Once you start listening in, you can ‘follow’ people like you can on most social media channels and be updated when they enter rooms, which is great if you find an engaging speaker and want to listen in to them again.

How to get started when you are in

I noticed when browsing the ‘rooms’ that one was called Clubhouse App Newbies so I listened to see if there was insight on how to get started and I got some great tips on making sure my profile was optimised.

You get to add your name, username, bio and profile picture. And I learned that when you first click on someone In the same room as you they can see the first three lines of your bio which they can click to expand so it’s a good idea to ensure your bio says enough about what you do in those first three lines to capture peoples attention.

You can also add a LOT of text and even include emojis in your bio. I also discovered that when you search for people to follow you can use keywords or even emojis to find people so it’s a good idea to ensure your bio is optimised for what you want to be known for.

You can also include your Twitter and Instagram details but you aren’t currently able to add clickable links.

And as a new user you will have a ?emoji, which will disappear after 7 days.

Here is my bio:

Tamara Holland @dotstripeuk Clubhouse Bio example
Tamara Holland @dotstripeuk Clubhouse Bio

Getting started in Rooms

Once you have updated your profile you can enter the ‘hallway’ which is basically like a newsfeed of rooms which you can join. You will be able to access different types of Rooms:

Example of a Clubhouse Room
Example of a Clubhouse Room

You can be invited by a host or participant in a Room and you can also ‘ping’ people you follow to get them to join a Room too.

The Stage is where you can see speakers- and speakers have microphone icons which they can unmute to talk. The host/moderator can also be on stage and you can be invited by them to the stage too.

If you want to ask a question or talk there is a hand raising icon and the moderator can accept you to join the stage to ask your question/ participate.

I also noticed some speakers microphones flashing- it’s when someone has shown appreciation to a speaker. You tap their microphone on and off- almost like clapping them.

If you want to leave the room there is a ‘leave quietly’ button.

I had my first adventure into speaking by joining a Newbie Room and raising my hand to introduce myself. It was quite nerve-wracking but also really fun and a great way to throw yourself into it to see how everything works. I ended up in a room with people from Australia, New York and the UK who I would never have met otherwise.

Example of speakers in Clubhouse App
Example of speakers on the Stage in the Clubhouse App

Everyone in the room I joined was supportive and wanted to show everyone how to get the best from the functionality.

There is still a whole lot to learn for me about Clubhouse App – I see it as a great place to build your personal brand. It’s also a great space to network and share your knowledge. If you already have a podcast and are confident in speaking, then hosting a Clubhouse room of your podcast would be great.

If you have a topic or hobby that you are passionate about you can speak with other likeminded people. For example, I spotted a room for actors and one for ex-professional basketball players. I can see there will be a lot more to come.

It is very addictive and I would advice changing your notifications so you don’t get sucked in all the time. Because it is audio only, I feel like you really have to focus and listen to get the most value.

I am really interested to see how it gets utilised by big brands going forward and I think it is a marketing channel that may be here to stay. So, keep your eyes peeled in 2021 for your Clubhouse invitations and get onboard.

Don’t forget to come and follow me @dotstripeuk once you are in.

If you would like some help with understanding Clubhouse better once you are invited, creating the perfect bio or learning how to utilise this new tool for your business, I would love to help.

What are ‘Emojis’ and why use them?

Whatis.com describes an image as ‘A small image, either static or animated that represents a facial expression, an entity, or a concept (among other possibilities) in digital communications’.


You can get an emoji for almost everything you can think of these days and emojis are being more diverse and more get added all the time. Emojis have spread across a variety of marketing channels from social networks, emails, texts, and beyond.

So why are they important? Well, the phrase a picture is worth 1000 words is certainly true. As consumers of information online we are highly visual. Emojis are a great way to say more, with less- they can help set the tone and use remaining text (which is sometimes limited on social channels) to add substance.

Emojis help give feeling to our words

Emojis help give feeling to our words and help us look like an authentic human and not a business machine. They are a great substitute for facial expression and help give visual cues. You can add emojis to your replies as well as your posts and help build a genuine reaction.

It is important to remember that no everyone interprets emojis in the same way. In fact, some have alternative (and sometimes risqué) meanings. Check out the peach and aubergine, to name a couple.  


Know your audience

It is always important to really understand who you are targeting in your marketing and your business. (Check out my blog on building your customer persona). Not all audiences will appreciate emojis or find them relevant to your brand.

Encourage real-time engagement

It is great to encourage your audience to like or love your posts, and also respond to their comments on your social media using emojis, if relevant too.

Personalise to your brand

Some brands like to utilise consistent emojis in their content and make them form part of their brand kit. For example, a client of mine who is an osteopath uses the ‘fire’ emoji to describe pain and a ‘butterfly’ to show how she supports her clients from pain to freedom.

Use them in the right time and place

Take your customers lead when using emojis across other platforms. For example, don’t throw in an emoji to your professional email unless your client does first.

Make it relevant

Don’t force it when it comes to using emojis. If they don’t fit with your brand or message then it’s not worth utilising them. Only use them when they are relevant to your activities.

Make it inclusive

I love that emojis are moving towards being far more inclusive and it is important that brands consider this when utilising emojis in their content.  

If you would love to learn more about emojis and how to bring them into your content marketing I would love to help. We can arrange a power hour or a more in-depth chat to see how I can support you.

Reels is a new feature from Instagram (which has similarities with TikTok) which was released to the platform in August 2020.

Instagram defines Reels as ‘….a new way to create and discover short, entertaining videos on Instagram’.

Reels content doesn’t have to be brand new (you can use lots of your existing content) and is a great way to showcase your brand.

Of course, it’s best to consider if Reels (or TikTok) is right for your target audience but If you have an instagram presence it is definitely worth having a go with the feature. 

I think that Instagram definitely saw the draw of some of it’s audience away from the platform over to TikTok and so now it has created it’s equivalent to keep people on their app.

What kind of content should I share on Reels?

Reels don’t just have to be big, creative features or silly dance routines. They are a fun way to share and be authentic:

How can I access Reels on Instagram?

 They are really simple to access. Just visit your Instagram stories and select the Reels section at the bottom.

What is the difference between IGTV, Instagram Stories and Reels?

IGTV- Perfect for longer videos

Stories- Content that disappears after 24 hours and that are shared with followers of your Instagram, often rapid fire

Reels- It’s a new way to create (and watch) 15- second videos, which can include multiple clips, audio, effects and text.

When you are creating Reels you can share with your followers or be shared public to a wider audience. You can even search and follow hashtags, so it’s worth adding these into your posts too.

There is still lots of learn and discover about Reels, as it is such a new feature, but if you would like some help with getting started I would love to show you how you can add Reels to your content and social marketing plans.

Get in touch or visit my Reels on my Instagram page here.

I love to use the phrase ‘reuse, reduce, recycle’ when it comes to creating content marketing.

Repurposing content is all about getting the most value from any marketing content you create. It is NOT just copying and pasting but thinking about other ways your audience may want to digest your content.

Think of the news. Do you prefer to read it in a paper, listen on the radio, watch on your social media or TV? Once we have a good idea about our ideal customer personas, we can think about which channels our audience may prefer to digest your marketing.

Blogs are a great example of marketing content that you can repurpose easily. Why not:

You can even repurpose video content

You can also make sure you doing some simply things like:

Repurposing your content has some great benefits. Not only does it speed up your content creation but you can also increase your audience reach and potentially gain more authority/ become a thought leader.

The more your content is seen the more credible your business becomes.

Helping you build up a content plan and providing you tips for repurposing your content is what I do best. I can help you understand your audience and build up a jam-packed social media and content plan. Get in touch to arrange a chat.

I absolutely love helping businesses identify their ideal customer. I think it is absolutely vital to identify your ‘customer personas’ when it comes to your business, and it’s a task that often gets overlooked.

The Seedling Agency define Customer Persona as:

‘…a fictitious model of an ideal customer. It generally includes demographics (age, gender, location, and occupation) as well as psychographics (motivations, likes, dislikes, and pain points)’.

When you build up your customer persona, you answer a series of demographic and psychographic questions about them and once you know the answers you can build content themes and ideas which might appeal to them. Even understand what images, words and phrases grab their attention or brands that they love.

When we are marketing our businesses, we want to really focus on those most likely to buy from us, focusing on individual customers can help us to focus our marketing messages and avoid spending those tight marketing budgets everywhere.

When you build up your customer personas (you can have more than one) you want to find the perfect fit for your business. The more you know and understand them the more you can tailor to them, helping to write and create content to help them rather than just promote ourselves.

Helping you build up a picture of your ideal customers is what I do best and I would love to have you join one of my 1:1 or group sessions to help you do this. In my workshop we work through some of those demographic and psychographic questions about your ideal customer and I help you to generate ideas for your social media, blogs and other content that might appeal to them. The sessions are really interactive and very relaxed and by the end of it you will feel like you have a great action plan for your marketing.

If you would like to arrange a session or just have a chat I would love to help. Get in touch via my contact form

Put simply, Mailchimp is an email marketing software. BUT…it can do so much more than this for you.

In fact, Mailchimp describes themselves as an ‘All-in-one integrated marketing platform’. Many businesses use Mailchimp to keep in touch with people who have signed up for their mailing lists by sending them email marketing- you can design, send and manage your email campaigns in the software.

As you know, I love a FREE marketing tool and the great thing with Mailchimp is it only starts to cost money once your email subscriber list is larger.

Once you're confident in Mailchimp you can start to design automated steps called ‘automation’ whereby emails are sent out once certain steps are taken. For example, someone purchases your product- they are automatically sent an email from your Mailchimp account, signs up to your mailing list, and are automatically sent a welcome email.

You can also use it to create landing pages for your online advertising and marketing campaigns.

Mailchimp’s website is jam-packed with templates, top tips, and most importantly, some great free training. But if you are looking to get started with Mailchimp, or any other email marketing providers I would always recommend getting some training and advice, particularly when it comes to utilising customer data.

If you need a bit of help getting started with Mailchimp or email marketing, please get in touch. We would love to help.

You may have heard other businesses raving about the wonders of Canva and wondered what on earth it is.

Canva describes themselves as ‘a simple way to design beautiful, professional graphics’. They launched in 2013 and the software is available on both phone and tablet. My personal preference is to use the desktop version as it is a bit easier to use, but it’s great to have access on my phone when needed.

You can create beautiful designs without the expense and difficulty of some of the scarier design platforms like Photoshop or InDesign. You do not need to be a designer to use it. There are tonnes of templates and examples you can simple edit using your logos, brand colours, and fonts to bring them ‘on brand’.

I have Canva with my coffee

Canva is my favourite marketing tool

I have to say, it is one of my absolute favourite tools that I recommend to everyone looking to create on-brand graphics, videos and imagery for their marketing. And best of all, you can access Canva with a FREE account which is perfect for those stretched budgets.

There is a PRO version of Canva available which I do recommend to get access to some additional features, but you can achieve so much with a free account so I recommend you don’t rush straight into paying until you have got to grips with it.

I use Canva to create all my content you see online like social media graphics, GIFs and animations, social media cover images and more. You can even create offline content like business cards, presentations and other print documents using all their simple to use templates. Or if you need something a little different- you can add in your dimensions and create from scratch.

Canva on screen
Canva on screen

I have created a Dot & Stripe- Canva beat the jargon group. Here you will find our simple to digest and jargon-free training videos.

Jargon-free Canva Support

Our introduction videos show you:

And if you want some support I am offering a 2-hour personalised session for only £50 where I can to get started with Canva, create some new graphics or show you how to enhance your existing Canva designs. Get in touch to book this session

You may have had many people telling you to set up your Google Business page but you may be wondering if it’s a tool you really need to consider.

Google Business is a free tool, which is a phrase we LOVE to hear in marketing

Google Business helps you manage how your business appears on the Google search function and Google maps. Whether you have a bricks and mortar store or your business is online, typically people will come to search online so I always suggest having a presence.

You can add in information about your business name, location and opening/working hours, add in photos of your products and services and encourage and respond to customer reviews. It can also help you discover how people are searching for you and similar products of services online.

You can set up your profile by:

  1. Creating a Google account with your business name
  2. Add in your business details include what your business category your in
  3. Choose a verification option (the most common way to verify is via post. Google will mail you a postcard with a code which you can then log back in and add)
Once you are set up you can then login to your profile and add:
Dot & Stripe Google business page
Dot & Stripe Google business page

As with any marketing tool you use, its important to ensure the information about your business is up to date, accurate and complete.

I see my profile a bit like an additional social media channel. I can share all my events, offers and even blogs straight to the page so its just another way to be found online. You can also download the application for your phone too, so you can upload on the go.

Check out the Dot & Stripe Google Business page here

If you need a bit of help getting started with Google Business or some support on what to keep your page active, please get in touch. We would love to help.

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