The Guide To A Successful Instagram Relationship

The Guide To A Successful Instagram Relationship

Dear Instagram, I have a love-hate relationship with you and believe you and me, I’m not the only one on this level. Why have you made it so hard for our posts to be seen by those who have requested to follow our beautiful and creative accounts? Why are you giving features to certain accounts with high followers to single out others when we are in a world celebrating equality and diversity? I don’t want to see posts from sponsorships every three photos down MY feed. Yours Sincerely, A Hardworking Influencer.

Okay seriously, I reckon those of you reading this will 100% agree with my little note to Instagram. I’ve seen so many bloggers, me included, complain about their engagement, following and how their Instagram game is being affected by this stupid and pathetic algorithm. Let’s put it this way though, it’s not going to be changing anytime soon so I guess we are going to have to live with it. That’s the first thing that you admit before falling in love with Insta all over again. Nowadays I love the app. I use it for catching up with behind the scenes of bloggers lives and for the creativity and inspiration in my life that I am always on the lookout for. I’ve learnt a couple of lessons recently that I wanted to share with you in the hope that it might help…

I started the year off with less than 900 followers, as I am writing this, I’m edging closer to 970. Numbers isn’t everything and I am well aware of this however brands are constantly asking for the statistics across social media. Over the past two months, I’ve seen more engagement whether that be likes or followers increase a lot more rapidly than I have done over the last six months of 2017. The only thing I can knuckle it down to was the amount of time that I put into engaging with other accounts. I try to spend about 30 minutes every morning, afternoon and evening liking, commenting and replying to stories on those accounts that I enjoy seeing content from. I’ve even started commenting on images that appear in my favourite hashtags.

I’ve really started to use my stories feature a lot more especially on days when I haven’t got much content to use. I share all my new posts on the stories, any hauls usually go on there and I usually turn to stories for a general chat too. I don’t have many watchers however when you use hashtags and tag brands, this can sometimes bring some extra engagement too which is always a bonus.

I have always been the one who has suffered with body confidence. It affected me so much but that is a story for a different day! There was time where I hated posting ‘selfies’ or ‘outfit of the day’ type images but this image has gave me the confidence to step up my ootd game. At the start of the year, I wouldn’t have even dreamt of posting this photo because I think I look fat and I didn’t actually have any makeup on at all. However, I did and it’s one of my most liked photos of the year so far. If your nervous about posting a certain type of image, just do it! Step out of your comfort zone and you may get a little surprise just like me. Not only has the engagement made me super happy but it’s also boosted my body confidence even if it is just a little bit.

I used to love the comment pods that people create however I found that it affected my relationship with Instagram more than my engagement. I was apart of three comment pods at one point and it was tiring catching up with everyone’s images and leaving comments that wasn’t just “this is great” and “lovely image”. After I finally managed to catch up, I didn’t want to explore my feed or watch many people’s stories so do you know what I did? I left the comment pods behind and since then I have fell in love with Instagram all over again. My comments have been more genuine which I much prefer rather than feeling forced because I am in a comment group.

Finally, keep your Instagram game real. I’m such a nosy person. I want to see what your eating, I want to know about your latest post, share your outfit or favourite makeup/skincare product. Do tell me if I’m wrong but I think bloggers and influencers love to stalk their favourite topics and Instagram is the best place to do this. I don’t want to see your perfect flat lays 24/7 because it’s not real! Similarly to my blog, I like keeping my grid relatable hence why I don’t have a white background in every image or a brightly coloured account because there will be days where I can’t get my photos looking as good as others. I’ve stripped my Insta game back to basics. I post when I want, what I want. If you see 3 images from in one day, it’s because I wanted to post 3 god-damn photos!

What do you guys think about Instagram at the moment? How are you finding it? Who’s with me on beating the algorithm? Please tell me your tips and tricks!

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The Guide To A Successful Instagram Relationship

Three More Tricks For Newbie Bloggers

You may have already read my first post about starting a blog (read here) so I thought I would come back with three more tips that may help you get started. These tips, I feel, are aimed towards those who have started blogging and find themselves wanting to create more a brand for themselves. Let me know if this helps and if you have any tips to help each other out.

I’ve talked about having a Media Kit before. If you are wanting to start working with brands then this is vital to many brands and PR companies. A Media Kit is a document that has a bit about you and your blog, your social stats and important figures about your demographic. If you do have any other questions, feel free to DM me on Twitter and I could help you out! It is useful if you are wanting to make a professional impression. It’s worth sending one of these out when writing an email pitching to a brand.

Congratulations – brands are starting to notice you! Always declare in your posts, Instagram images or tweets whether it is sponsored content. I usually have a little message underneath my blog post letting readers know whether the post was written in collaboration for a brand. Why? Firstly, there is legal reasons behind it and secondly your followers will not care especially if your content is good and that they enjoy it. Alongside this, don’t get greedy and accept everything. There will be companies who may contact you asking to advertise or promote something which doesn’t fit with the theme of your blog. Readers appreciate honesty and if they notice something like this they will stop reading your blog and engaging with you. From a brands perspective, their money could be spent on another influencer who could promote it better on their blog. You could get extra brownie points if you suggest other bloggers who they could get in touch with.

I would highly recommend having a stash of photography props to keep your photography style similar in each post. I have attempted this during Blogmas last year and even wrote about my favourite festive photography props here. In all honesty though, anything in your bedroom, flat or house can be used as in photos. My favourites are blankets, books, magazines, makeup brushes and artificial flowers.

I hope these will help you up your blogging game. Of course these are just a few tips of my own but I would love to know what you suggest to. Let’s make this a helpful post for new bloggers.

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The Guide To A Successful Instagram Relationship

Three Tricks For Newbie Bloggers

I have been involved in the blogging community for around seven years now so I’ve seen many blogs crop up and just as many disappear away from the blogosphere. I get questions nearly everyday about the best platform to start on and how to start a blog so I thought it is about time I shared a couple of my tips for newbies.

Firstly, and probably the most important part of this post, write for yourself! There’s so many bloggers who can easily stir away from the values and the reasons behind why they start their blog. If you are wanting to start a blog because you want a bit of the ‘receive things for free‘ cake or the ‘I’m rolling in the dollar dollar bills’ cake then you are off to a rubbish start and to be honest you shouldn’t be part of the community. You should enjoy writing. You must be able to enjoy what you are talking about and be passionate about it. Imagine walking into your favourite job that you really want, that’s how you must portray yourself in every post that you write. I blog because I enjoy it, I do it for myself. I do it as an outlet from the rubbish day-to-day things that can happen in my life but also as a way to share my happy moments.

If there is one bit of advice that I would have loved when I started blogging it would be this – create a brand not a blog. This isn’t really something that many newbies in the blogging community think about but trust me it will help you. When I started my blog way before The July Journal came into place, I designed logos using a mix of PicMonkey and Photoshop Elements. I had hardly any graphic design skills and everything I did know was self taught. LogoJoy is an easy way to create professional logos at a reasonable price and their service is dead easy to use as well. Simply enter your blog name, select from existing logos that you like, select a colour palette and five mini images that represent your blog. LogoJoy then shows you various different options that you can browse through with each design being fully customisable too.

Of course, you are wanting to get your blog out there but don’t start spamming your social media timelines with links to your blog. Interact and engage with other bloggers. Join in group chats on Twitter, comment on blog posts that you read but make sure it is about the post that you have just read, follow new people on Instagram, tell other bloggers how much you like what they are doing, congratulate bloggers on opportunities they may get. The list could go on and on but please just don’t be spammy. No one will follow you and people will get sick of you extremely quickly. I used to schedule tweets using Buffer or Hootsuite but now I just tweet my link out whenever I feel like it and guess what? I still receive engagement.

I am hoping these will help you if you are new to the blogging world. Of course, these are just a few of my tricks that I learnt and would have liked to hear when I first started blogging. I would love to know if you have any tricks for new bloggers.

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The Guide To A Successful Instagram Relationship

Media Kit – Hints, Tips and Tricks!

The July Journal Media Kit Thumbnail

I first heard of a media kit when I had my old blog however the term gets thrown around a lot nowadays. I think it is important to have a media kit for you blog even if you hardly receive emails from brands and advertisers because you learn new skills that may be helpful for the future, you save yourself from answering endless amounts of questions and it tells the brand that you take your blog seriously; think of it like a CV for your blog. For those of you who don’t know, a media kit (or media pack) is a document that explains what your blog is about and what you can offer brands and advertisers. It should include all the information they need to know, for example: statistics, content that you post and a disclaimer for your blog.

I created my media kit myself earlier this week and I really enjoyed creating it and learning new skills. I thought I would write this helpful guide for anyone else who is interested in creating their own. I used Becky Bedbug’s How To Create An Effective Media Kit For Your Blog which was extremely useful and I highly giving it a read.

Your Media Kit Should Include: 
  • Information about your blog – where you are based, your age, your blog genre
  • Recent statistics – sessions, unique users, page views
  • Content that you can offer – sponsored posts, social media advertising etc.
  • Your demographics – age, location, gender etc.
  • Disclaimer/Policy
  • Contact Details – blog name, website address, email and social media

Some other information you could include: information about yourself (your likes, perhaps why you started blogging), previous brands that you have worked with, an image of yourself, your most popular posts/videos.

Remember that first impressions are always important! I created mine in Photoshop. Before you start, you want to decide on how many pages you want your information to be display on. I have tried to keep to one page but I know a lot of bloggers decide on two. After Jemma from the lovely blog Dorkface created my header, I wanted to remain consistent and decided to maintain my design and message with the brand of my blog. It could be as simple as keeping to the same colour scheme and using similar fonts as that which you can find on your blog. As Becky states: “try to make it fit with the overall look and feel of your blog“. Once you have created your media kit, it is usually better to save it as a PDF file. It can easily be shared without being edited by other bloggers who may want to copy.

So, How Do I Get My Media Kit Out There?

Honestly? This is something that I am still learning myself. I have started by uploading my PDF file to Google Docs and adding a link to my Contact Page so anyone who visits my blog has access to it. When a brand or advertiser emails me asking about the opportunities that I offer then I will be sending over my media kit. Perhaps when I feel more confident with my blog, I might send it out to some PR agencies and brands that are related to the content and value of my blog.

Finally, keep your media kit current. I am going to update mine every other month to reflect the statistics and the information is still current. If anyone is interested in creating a media kit and are looking for some help, feel free to email me.

Have you got a media kit for your blog? Have you got any tips yourself? I would love to know what you think of mine.

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How To Declutter and Cleanse Your Social Media

One of the things that I remember from University, especially when studying Social Media, is that I need to be on every social media possible. Personally I don’t think this is true! What someone gets from one social media could be something different for another. For example, I know a lot of people who could sit on Facebook for hours at a time scrolling down their news feed and essentially spying on their friends while others could prefer Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn. It’s all down to personal preference. After my return to the internet (I had a break while my laptop was down), I decided to have a cleanse of all my social media channels and it feels so good! (more…)

#PrayForParis

#PrayForParis

Durham Cathedral lit in the colours of the French flag in remembrance of those killed in Paris shootings. Source: Chronicle Live

There’s no words to describe what has happened in Paris over the last few days. And I certainly wasn’t expecting to write this post but I feel like I need to touch upon the subject.

For those of you who have been living under a rock over the weekend, there has been a series of terrorist attacks including suicide bombings, hostage takings and mass shooting in Paris. It is said to be one of the worst attacks since the Second World War. Hundreds have been taken to hospital and 129 people have been killed. However through all of this, social media has remained strong and people over the internet have been there has support for Paris.

There has been support from Twitter and Instagram however the real social media winner in all of this is Facebook. Firstly they activated the “Paris Safety Checker” so people who are safe can let their friends and family know. I think that knowing your loved one is safe is another thing but the fact that this could been done via Facebook (which may have been the only way of finding out) is a step that has gone beyond the expectations of any social media site.

Source: Mashable

Users have also had the chance to change their profile picture to add an effect of the French flag over your current profile picture. This is not the first time Facebook has offered this service, as they offered something similar when same sex marriage was legalised in all 50 states across America.

Source: Trendistic

YouTube showed their support by changing the colours of their logo and linking the latest news about Paris at the top of the home page.

Simple techniques from social media platforms really shows how powerful it can be. It shows France that they have the support from many people from around the world.

In addition, we must not forget about the Japanese Earthquake that has, unfortunately received less media coverage for unknown reasons. Social media is the platform for breaking news. Many followers on my Twitter have had their say and continue to send supporting messages out to friends and family. It just shows that platforms can be overlooked in supporting times like this and although they social media can’t do much physically at least the support has been made aware by users of various social media networks.

My thoughts go out to all those who have lost their lives or friends and family from both the Paris Shootings and Japanese Earthquake.