How changing my Instagram attitude has changed everything!

You upload an image, apply some hashtags you’ve spent a solid 20 minutes researching and you watch the likes, follows and comments roll in. Or not. You don’t understand why your reach is a mere 10% of your following, and how or why your following fluctuates by 30 daily. All you do is comment and engage with others and the results don’t seem to improve. You just want to give up all together.

Welcome to my world when it comes to Instagram.

Or a world I used to live in when being a blogger on the social media platform you are eager to be successful on. A channel that is based on follower count, engagement rates and the posts you share daily. Not forgetting stories that really should update and show your every move hourly!

It wasn’t until I hit a real low with the site, that I decided it was far tooo silly to be dictated by a social media channel.

I am a lover of social media. I use it personally and professionally and do believe it holds great positivity within our community. It’s a place to meet new, like minded people. We can converse, seek guidance and support and share our stories. Basically it’s ruddy fantastic. Although, as mentioned above, it’s also rather toxic. It’s easy to succumb to the numbers. And judge success based on those entirely.

I had become far more confident in myself. I was prepared to take pictures in public that were staged. I was comfortable discussing openly the fact I was a blogger and I often created chatty stories. For the person who used to hate being in the camera and chatting for radio shows at uni this was huge.

Despite clearing those personal hurdles, I was feeling deflated and a complete under achiever. Why? Because I hadn’t grown, I hadn’t gained traction on my numbers and I wasn’t what I believed success was.

But what is success? How do we judge and monitor it? What do we class as success in social media?

Over 5k, 10k or even 15k followers? Every other upload a brand collaboration? A stream of initiatives, blog posts, podcasts, newsletters? It’s hard to really establish what I truly believe is ‘success’ all I know is that judging and monitoring social media success is not how to thrive online.

Over the last week or so, I have really started to disconnect myself mentally from the app. I have been limiting the time I spend scrolling and ultimately, disconnected from the numerical value I seemed to have associated with Instagram in particular.

I’ve basically applied a filter in my mind to where it blocks the numbers, and it’s working swimmingly. I no longer feel the pressure. The desperate need to post something every day. The worry as to why my follower count has dropped despite posting similar content to all the rest.

There’s a real sense of relief. Empowerment. And I just bloody enjoy using the app like everyone else seems to. I comment where I please, unfollow those that don’t really resonate with me, and overall I’m not judging myself against others. My creation is mine. I’m not copying, mimicking or shadowing ‘successful’ others.

Wanna feel the same? Want to enjoy the creative app for what it is rather than feeling an overwhelming amount of pressure to conform to success?

Here’s some of my new mantras.

  • Keep plugging, in my own way. I won’t get where I want if I follow the crowd. I have to be me, do what I want and create the things that inspire and spur me on.
  • Take the audience out of the equation. I’m no longer creating content that got me likes, only if I bloody want to. Having a social media full of content I dislike, or find a chore isn’t going to create a success.
  • Ignore the numbers. Because it really means diddly squit. Having loads of followers doesn’t mean an engaging audience nor does having a low follower amount mean a small audience.

I’m so excited to banish the cape of social media conformity and just do what the heck I want. Whilst I can’t control the amount of reach my posts achieve, how many likes they gain, or how rapidly I grow ( or not grow ), I’m excited to get working with my social media on a more literal, healthy level.

Will you be changing how you view and use Instagram? What’s you opinion on social media, and in particular Instagram? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Creating your own bank of engaging insta hashtags

Recently, I posted a hugeeee post on lots of different hashtags to use on Instagram to grab new followers and of course rank up the likes. Instagram is a huge ball game and some times we seem to be acing it, and other times we are not, for whatever unknown reason.

I had become stale with the hashtags I was using and I wasn’t seeing the full benefit. Like many of us, I wanted to grow in followers and engagement and despite my efforts, I wasn’t seeing any huge improvement.

With the turn of a new year, I started to focus heavily on how to organically grow on the gram. The target is 10,000 followers and well, I ain’t gonnah get there if I use the same old same old hashtags every sodding post now am i?

I like to do things for myself, and although there are lots of online resources offering both free and paid guides, I really wanted to tailor the tags to my posts specifically. So, I started from scratch.

Here’s how you can start your own bundles of Hashtags and how to find the best engagement, for FREE!

ps. if you do feel super lazy and want to use some of the ones I have put together for various different content types, check my post here. You will have to subscribe to my BlogBlast email to gain access via password, but it’s all FREE.
Sign up down here…..

Firstly, look in the comments

We bloggers use hashtags all the time and it’s known we hide our hashtags in the comment section. Be sure to check out what other bloggers are using hashtag wise, especially if they are creating similar content to yourself, or gathering engagement from your target audience.

Make notes of popular hashtags and even look at other content associated with that tag. This will give you a great indication of some of the hashtags you should start to use.

Use online resources and apps.

Now you’ve got a broad idea of some of the hashtags being used by the big boys, start to collate and research around those hashtags. As mentioned before, you really want a wide sweeping range of hashtags that have a large amount of images associated with them, and small! Using apps and online resources to search using those big hashtags will lead you onto some of the small, similar and associated ones too.

I would highly rate http://hashtag.bigbangram.com/ for getting a broad range of hashtags together associated with one key word. When creating my huge bank of hashtags, I used this alone. It’s free to use, easy and gives you a great indication of tag popularity.

Other FREE online resources include Instavast , display purposes , seek metrics, and all-hashtag.

If you are more of an app kinda person, consider using focalmark. Once again it’s free to use and considers your location too, but you do have to pay to upgrade to be able to use things like analytics.

Experiment as much as possible

As with anything, it’s all a learning curve. Sometimes you can have a stonking great result and others it falls into the abyss of Instagram. Play around, mix and match hashtags and don’t be scared to fail sometimes.

I have been using and researching weekly for new, upcoming or popular hashtags specific to my current and upcoming posts. Instagram is a game, you’ve just got to play it!

Let me know of any super hashtags that you use and be sure to share any of your tips to tackling instagram and gathering more followers and engagement from hashtags.

Other posts worth a read :
Social media – how often should I be posting?
Top tips to tackling and managing social media
Stock free imagery to use on your blog now

Social media Scheduling : My top tips

I might be stating the obvious here, but scheduling your content is vital. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as hitting publish and watching the views roll on in. It takes further work and commitment to get the right people to see the content you worked around the clock to create.

When I first started blogging, I hated self-promotion. I honestly thought people would just find it, like it, share it and keep coming back. That is far from the truth.

Social media scheduling is a art form in itself and is hard to master. It’s a constant learning curve and can feel challenging on where to start. Over the last 8 years, I have created my own way to tackle social media scheduling.

Here’s what I have learned so far.

Use a scheduler

When promoting content, the biggest tool is a social media scheduler. Many are free, but I would highly advise paying a little monthly if you would like to schedule multiple tweets, facebook posts and even instagram uploads for weeks at a time.

I currently use Buffer which allows me to schedule tweets & instagram posts for months at a time.

Schedule social media blasts whilst scheduling blog posts

For most of us, the work stops as soon as we hit either publish or schedule on our upcoming blog post. And yet we shouldn’t stop there. This is a great time to schedule our blog promotions for all social media channels. Your post is fresh in your mind, and you have great energy to create unique multiple social media posts.

Strike whilst the irons hot!

Dedicate 2 hours a week

Diarise a slot each week where you sit down and commit to scheduling. Sitting down and committing to social media, I find, the most productive way for me to track current stats and work on my social media profiles.

During the week, I can be run off my feet with my full-time job and blog posts. Knowing my social media is all scheduled gives me peace of mind and time to focus on other parts of being a blogger.

Post your promotions at different times of the day

My social media schedule varies dependent on the platform I am using. It’s one I have experimented with and harnessed over the years. Many bloggers post more or less than me and it’s all dependent on what works for you.

When scheduling social media for your new post, be sure to schedule at different times of the day to capture different audiences.

Social media scheduling is time consuming, but well worth the effort. With out it, your hard work and creativity is being missed. Grab views and visitors where ever possible and schedule!

Are you looking to branch into social media? Not sure where to start or the best platforms to engage on for your business? Get in touch! I can help set-up and manage social media channels and ensure updated content is being regularly shared and engaged with.

Do you have any tips for devising a workable schedule? How do you schedule your channels?

Be sure to share thoughts and ideas in the comment section below!

Want to know more about social media and your blog?
Read these :
Social media : How often should I be posting?

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Social media : How Often should I be posting?

Am I posting too often? Am I not posting enough? Am I pissing people off? Oh god, am I annoying?

All questions I have asked myself over the last 8 years when it comes to social media and self promoting my content. Whilst I would love to give you a black and white answer to this question, I’m going to give you some advice and knowledge into the social media schedule I have curated.

My top tip, before getting into it would be don’t be scared to fail. Gaining followers, rising engagement levels and achieving regular views and visits is a hard ball to juggle. We all make mistakes and you will make some. Experimenting and trying is what will help you create your very own recipe of online success.

I receive regular engagement and views from my social media blasts and despite experimenting and making changes previously, I have found the perfect mixture for me.

Here’s some of the things you should try and work with when it comes to mastering your own social media schedule.

Bear in mind the platform

This is a really important factor. All social media accounts result in views to your blog ultimately, but some social media accounts more than others.

I have found that some social media channels are just best as a insight to me and my blog, and others are best to use for link sharing and gaining traffic to new and old content.

Hand on heart, I rarely view a blog post via Instagram and I am much more inclined to read posts and visit sites through twitter. It’s much easier to navigate, and I am much more aware of content that I may not be in-tuned with ( via blog rt accounts and mentions / comments from other bloggers ).

Use this indicator of your own social media habits to establish, what and when should be shared on your profiles.

Be Personal too

Whilst we want to promote and draw in views and engagement, it’s really important to be personal and engage too.

Commenting on Insta posts, RT’ing something you find funny, and tweeting other things besides your latest post is a great way to get away with posting regularly, and keep your social media engaging.

Don’t be shy

When starting out, I never self promoted my content. It’s such a shame as I had quality content that wasn’t being read!

Being a blogger is all about self-promoting and drawing new views and visitors. If you are shy around friends and family, create blog social media channels.

This was the best thing I did for my blog and has allowed me to share everything I create without worry of embarrassment.

The stats say it all

Social media is fantastic for giving you a real insight on the impact posts are making. You can monitor engagement ad growth among other key indicators.

I was worried beyond belief that I was over doing the amount of plugging and mentions I was doing on my social media channels. It wasn’t until I dropped my schedule and lowered the amount of shares that I truly realised the positive impact it was having.

Keep an eye on your stats as you experiment with your schedule. Don’t be scared to reverse your update and focus on what you want to achieve. If regular tweets gain traffic, keep it going.

What do I do….

Instagram :
As a general rule of thumb, I use Instagram to be a visual insight to my life as a blogger and rarely mention blog posts. If I do, it’s via captions on a post and via my stories. I don’t yet have the swipe up function (*cry*) and until I do, I’m reluctant to share too much on Instagram as it’s annoying to navigate as a user.

Instagram posts : 1 A day
Stories : Not often enough! 1 a week if that!

Twitter:
This is something I have chopped and changed so often. I was particularly worried of being spammy, but I have found a schedule that works with me and my followers.

Tweets a day : 8 a day – varying with new and achieved posts

Facebook:
Okay, I do not share on there as much as I could, although many bloggers have found Facebook to be redundant with their blog. I understand why, but I try and share if I can.

Facebook posts : 1 every 2 days

My biggest advice…, create a balance. Social media is there to engage and be social. If looking to promote as much as possible, be sure to be personal too. Creating the perfect schedule for your blog is all in the balance.

How often do you post on social media? What have you found when engaging on social media? Any advice?
Be sure to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Need some more help? These posts are a must read…

Social media scheduling : My top tips
Creating your own engaging bank of Instagram Hashtags

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