Grow Your Instagram Following

Today I wanted to talk a little bit about growing your Instagram following. As I prepare to launch my ecourse next month on making money from home as a social media manager, I want to make sure everyone gets up to speed with their own social profiles, and that you know the basics so you can dive right into my course when it’s ready. Don’t forget to snag the freebie at the bottom of the page. It will also allow you to get updates about my course release!

instagram following

Instagram happens to be my current favorite social media platform. I love it because there are two separate things I can do on the account.

-One, I can post visually appealing photos to grow my following and tell my brand’s story, and

-I can also use Instagram stories to get a little more personal and behind the scenes.

It’s a great way to still post photos without cluttering up your feed with things that just don’t fit. I talk more about Instagram stories in my freebie so be sure to check it out.

Your Feed:

Ok let’s talk about your main feed and things you can do to get more followers. First of all, you want to make sure no one of your photos are blurry, and that they make sense in your feed. If you have a very narrow market, like only posting photos of coffee mugs, don’t randomly throw in a photo of a dog. It just confuses your readers who have come to expect a certain thing. Now if you are a lifestyle blogger like me, you have a little more creative freedom, but that doesn’t mean I just post whatever I feel like.

When people come to your page to decide if they want to follow you or not, they are going to take a peek at your feed as a whole, and if it confuses them or has photos that just don’t make sense, you may get passed over. Think of it this way:

If you went into a shoe store and every time you visited they had lots of shoes, that would make sense right? Then what if one day you went into the store and they were selling school supplies instead of shoes. Wait a minute, but every other time I came in there were shoes? If I had known it was going to be something different than what I was expecting, I wouldn’t have come, right? Think of your feed the same way. If your audience is used to you only posting pictures of your kids, or only posting workout photos, or only posting food photos, and if you all of the sudden start throwing in pictures of cats or rainbows, they may not understand what is going on.

Editing Photos:

I edit every single photo before it goes on Instagram in some way shape or form. Some it’s as simple as cropping in the app, and some get edited on my computer in Picmonkey. Still others get touched up in apps like Snapseed, which is free in the app store. You want your lighting, cropping, and exposure to look the best it can. If I know I’m taking pics for Instagram only, I will set my iPhone camera to “square” so I don’t have to worry about cropping so much or having a photo that doesn’t fit correctly. I also use an app called Isntasize to size down things for me to fit in Instagram. (Snapseed is shown below)

Comment Pods:

Another great way to get better engagement on Instagram is to join comment or like pods. They have gotten very popular since Instagram introduced the new algorithm. Basically, you join a group of people (usually between 10-20), and every time one of you posts a photo, you direct message it to the group in a group chat within Instagram or on an app like Telegraph, then everyone knows to go and like and or comment on the photo to help boost the posts engagement rate. Think of it as a I’ll scratch my back if you scratch yours. It really only works if everyone actually posts and shares and comments, and the best ones have people engage within the first few hours a photo is posted. I am a part of a couple of pods, some have worked and some haven’t. A lot of people don’t realize the amount of work they are on the front end and decide they don’t want to do it, but that’s because they don’t see the value in it or don’t take their business seriously enough. I encourage you to find one or two pods to join!

Links:

A great free tool I use to drive traffic to my blog is called Linktree. It’s a website where you can actually add buttons that link to different posts within your blog. So when you click on the link in my profile, you then can choose which of my posts you want to visit. I can update these at any time, whenever I have a new post or what to highlight an old post. Super easy and effective.

Instagram following

 

Hashtags:

hashtags are great for allowing people to find your content, but they can also be a great tool if used in reverse, for you to find people to follow that could potentially become YOUR followers. Search some common hashtags that have to do with your niche, and find some accounts that you like.

When it comes to you using hashtags on your own photos, hashtags with more photos associated with them are not always the way to go. Try to find some hashtags with less than 100k photos and use those. Your photos have a better chance at staying at the tops of those feeds than using hashtags that have been used several million times.

Another tip if you are a social media manager for a brand especially, is to create a branded hashtag that you use when posting, and that you can encourage others to use when posting about your product or service.

Also be sure to use the location/geotagging so that you appear in local searches for photos!

Be nice:

A tried and true way to gain followers on Instagram is to follow other people, and genuinely like and comment on other photos. Don’t be one of those people who thinks they are better than everyone and is only following 11 people. Use hashtags and find people with great content that you like, and go like and comment on some of their photos. To get their attention, I suggest liking about 5 photos so they will see them in their notifications easier and see that it’s all from one person. What I DON’T like is when people do this just to get a like, then they don’t follow you back, or they do but then unfollow you the next day. There will always be people that play games like that, so just try to ignore it and not let it bother you.

I try to set aside time a couple times a day to like my friends photos, and then search for new friends and people to follow. Just be a real person and it will go a long way I promise!

Thanks for following along! If you want to get tons of great info just like this, but ALL about Instagram stories, be sure to download my free printable cheat sheet here!

HEADS UP: I will be doing a post every week for the next month discussing growth hacks for four different social media platforms, all leading up to the pre-launch and launch of my new social media management E-course. If you are interested in news on my course but don’t care for the freebie, I encourage you to follow the link and subscribe anyway (you don’t have to download the cheat sheet), so you will be first to hear news on my pre-sale (which will be when the course is offered at it’s LOWEST PRICE!)

 

Protein on the Go

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Premier Protein . The opinions and text are all mine.

I workout a lot, but for some reason I am constantly struggling to get enough protein in my diet. I don’t eat fish, so am limited to chicken and beef mainly, and well lets face it, that can get old after awhile and hard to eat at every meal. I am also the mom to a busy little girl, and our household is always on the move. A lot of days I just need something quick to eat or drink that requires little effort but is still healthy. Since it’s so hot in Florida for the better part of the year, I had taken to making smoothies a good bit for breakfast or lunch. While this is an easy on the go meal, it can still take a lot of time to prepare.

I was super stoked to see the Premier Protein shakes at Costco, and was shocked to see that the contained 30 grams of protein! That’s a LOT for a small container guys. They are only 160 calories, and have one gram of sugar. The three flavors are Chocolate, vanilla, and bananas and cream (my current fave.)

Even more exciting is that for a limited time you can get $5 off an 18 pack of shakes at Costco. Good nutrition and a good deal, now we are speaking my language.

I have been drinking 4-5 of these guys a week now and I can honestly say not only do they taste good, but they keep me full. Since I work from home, I am prone to snack a lot (confession, I know.) But after drinking one of these shakes I don’t even want to go neat the pantry because they fill me up.
Also, after a hard workout I often have a hard time stomaching most food for an hour or so, but KNOW it’s important that I refuel within the first 30 minutes to recover. The liquid nature of the drink is so much easier on my stomach and something I can drink right after a workout without problems.

For those days when I do have time to make a smoothie, I am always looking for new recipes. Check this fruity one out:

TROPICAL SUNRISE SMOOTHIE
INGREDIENTS OF MANGO SMOOTHIE:
• 1/2 cup Premier Protein Bananas & Cream shake
• 2 frozen bananas
• 1 cup frozen mango
• 1 sliced orange
INGREDIENTS OF BERRY SMOOTHIE:
• 1/2 cup Premier Protein Bananas & Cream shake
• 2 cups frozen mixed berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, cherries)
• 1 frozen banana
DIRECTIONS:
1. Place all mango smoothie ingredients into blender.
2. Blend until smooth and pour into glass.
3. Rinse blender container.
4. Place berry ingredients into blender and blend until smooth.
5. Pour berry layer on top of mango smoothie. Enjoy!

Don’t forget, for a limited time you can get $5 off an 18 pack of Premier Protein shakes at Costco.

QOTD: What is your favorite type of protein smoothie? Recipe? 

Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Premier Protein . The opinions and text are all mine.

Tea Parties and Disney Junior

Tracking Pixel

This post is sponsored by Disney Junior, however all opinions are my own.

I’ll admit it – I am obsessed with Disney princesses. When I found out I was having a daughter, I couldn’t wait until she was old enough to enjoy all things girly and princess with me. Now that she is almost three, we are having a blast watching princess shows like Elena of Avalor and Sofia the First. I love sharing these experiences with my daughter, and love that she loves the same things I did as a little girl.

One thing we enjoy doing together is watching her favorite Disney Junior shows. One day recently when we were watching, a lightbulb went off and I thought of something really fun that we could do together. I decided she was now old enough for us to have a proper princess tea party, so we did just that the other day, and had a blast! She loved dressing up in her princess dress and serving me tea.

We talked about her favorite princesses, sang songs, and discussed her favorite shows. She is a big Sofia fan, so no surprise that one made the top five list! Her daddy even showed up and asked for a cup of tea as well.

Did you know that Disney Junior has all new episodes of shows like Elena of Avalor every FriYaY morning on the Disney channel? In the morning (usually 6-10am), Disney Junior shows will air on the Disney Channel first. Check out the schedule for the rest of the summer:

FRiYAY, 8/11 – All-new Lion Guard @ 8am followed by all-new Mickey and the Roadster Racers  and Puppy Dog Pals
FRiYAY, 8/18 – All-new Sofia The First @ 9am followed by an all-new Elena of Avalor

 

I think on Friday we will have to watch her favorite shows together, while enjoying a nice hot cup of “tea”. I’ll even do the dishes afterwards.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Disney Junior.

 

Back to School with Kohl’s


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Kohl’s. I received the included Carter’s clothes as compensation.

Believe it or not, back to school time is upon us. This means new school supplies, new teachers, new memories, and new clothes. Emma Kate is currently growing like a weed, so the clothes she wore last year are getting too small (and are also getting very worn out, she plays hard!) so it was time for some back to school shopping.

Kohl’s has an amazing Carter’s collection at great prices. I couldn’t believe the amount of things I was able to get for Emma Kate for under $200,  two pair of shoes included! Not to mention, between 8/4-8/20, there is a 40-50% off sale on Carter’s playwear.

As Emma Kate has gotten older, she has also gotten more opinionated. Gone are the days of me dressing her in whatever I want, she wants some say in her outfits! With my help, we chose some fun things for back to school. I think you will see a trend here of graphic tees, tunics, and pink. I love the current styles and that I have a trendy kid. I asked her to pick out her three favorite outfits for a photoshoot to showcase the line of back to school clothes at Kohl’s, and this is what we got.

Since it’s warm most of the year in Florida, I did a lot of short sleeve tops, with just a few pants. I love how light and airy this palm tree top is, and the stretchy pink shorts are perfect for mobility in play.

Next we went with something a little more dressed up which would be an adorable first day of school outfit. I love these long tunics in more neutral colors. You can pair any color or pattern of pants or leggings with them to make even more outfits.

When it gets cool we can even put a long sleeve shirt underneath and still wear the tunic. I love versatile clothes!

This little girl loves a fun skirt or dress, so I was excited to find these pants with an attached skirt and an adorable “Daddy’s Girl” shirt that went with it. I chose these grey shoes because again, she can pair them with any color outfit!

In addition to these three outfits, I was able to get so much more. I couldn’t believe I was able to get an entire wardrobe and shoes for so little!

Don’t forget, you can shop Carter’s at Kohl’s August 4th-20th and get 40-50% off their playwear selection. Also, you can get $10 off $50 spent  – Sales Dates are: 8/4 – 8/20 (Promo code: BTS10) Happy shopping!

QOTD: Do you love or loathe back to school shopping?

My blog may contain links to other websites. I am not responsible for the privacy policies of those websites. When you click on a link, your information may be collected by those websites so I encourage you to read their privacy policies.

Affiliate links are not associated with Kohl’s.

August 2017 Goals

And just like that, my birthday month is over. So sad! To keep myself occupied, it’s time to start getting excited about fall! (Even though around here “fall” means temps in the upper 80’s as opposed to the upper 90’s!) I’m so ready for football, a crisp fall breeze, and pumpkin spice lattes (YES I said it. Don’t hate.) Anyway, let’s take a look back at my July goals and see how I made out before looking ahead at this month’s goals:

1.) Work on my e-course at least 4 hours a week: A+ YES! I worked on my social media manager e-course 5-10 hours a week, and got a lot accomplished! I am by no means done, but I am chipping away at it. I can’t wait to release it!

2.) Workout 4-5 times a week: B+ There was one week I only worked out three times because I hurt my back, but otherwise, yes I have been doing much better with this, and planning ahead is what has really helped me so there are no surprises.

3.) Clean up extra room: F Big fat fail. Not only did I not clean it, but my parents brought even more furniture that we stored in there so now I can’t even get in the door. Oy. Another day, another day.


August is going to be a great month, I can already tell. I have a good attitude about my workouts and the possibility of cooler temps coming in the next two months, as well as my course, and then our cruise in September! Here are my goals:

1.) Research and get ready for the cruise: We are cruising to all new ports, and on a cruise line I haven’t sailed in almost ten years. I hate not knowing things, so I want to make sure I have a plan for the sea days and port days. I know if I’m not prepared and feel in the dark I won’t relax, and I DEFINITELY need to relax on this vacation, so this is a priority.

2.) Workout 5+ days a week: That’s right. I’m bumping it up. last month it was 4-5 days, and this month I want 5+ days. I expect a lot from myself and know I can deliver if I really want it, so here goes nothing!

3.) Set a date for my course launch: Setting a date for a course or book launch is very scary, because you are promising people it will be ready by a certain day. I’m not to the point where I am ready to nail down a day, but want to be by the end of the month at the latest. So scary but also exciting!

Looking for a way to help you reach your goals? I have always found that having them printed out and taped to my mirror or refrigerator help me. Click here to access my FREE fitness and goal tracker printables.

QOTD: Do you have any goals for August? Name one!

25 Random Facts

Happy Tuesday friends, and happy August! I saw this fun 25 random facts post on Tina’s blog and thought it would be fun to play along for some of my newer readers that may not know me as well. Feel free to do the survey yourself!

1. Do you make your bed? When company is coming over, yes. Otherwise..er…next question!

2. The first car that was officially yours? Officially mine meaning I paid for it or just “mine” because it was a gift? My first car my parents bought me. It was a new VW lime green new beetle named Lucy. I loved that car and drove it until I graduated college, when I got my 4Runner.

3. Three grocery items you don’t run out of? Milk (because Emma Kate would mutiny), cheese (because I would mutiny), and eggs (because Bobby would mutiny).

4. When did you start doing your own laundry? My senior year of high school my mom started making me do mine since I had to know how to for college.

5. If you could, would you go to high school again? No way. College? Heck yes!

6. Can you parallel park in under three moves? Yup!

7. A job you had which people would be shocked to know about? I don’t know about shocked, but I worked at Best Buy in college in the home theater department. I knew a lot about TV’s back then.

8. Do you think aliens are real? Nah.

9. Can you drive a stick shift? No. Never cared to learn.

10. Guilty TV pleasure? Oh so many. Game of Thrones, Outdaughtered, Counting On.

11 . Would you rather be too hot or too cold? Too hot. Cold is just PAINFUL.

12. If the world ends do you want to be one of the survivors? No way. Take me, Jesus!

13. Sweet or salty? To eat, or my personality? Heh. I love to eat sweets.

14. Do you enjoy soaking in a nice bath? Yes. But I rarely do it because it involves too much work and tub cleaning.

15. Do you consider yourself strong? In both senses yes.

16. Something people do, physically, that drives you crazy? How much time do you have? HA! I get super annoyed by people and I really need to work on it. In general rude people drive me crazy. Not opening doors for people, not saying thank you, little things like that.

 17. Something you do, physically, that you are sure drives people insane?  I say “like” a lot.

18. Do you have any birth marks? Yup I have a large spot on my upper left thigh that is a darker color than the rest of my skin.

19. Favorite childhood game? That’s tough. I played lots of board games but also liked yard games like freeze tag.

20. Do you talk to yourself? Sometimes. I talk to Bella a good bit.

21. Do you like doing jig-saw puzzles? Pre child, yes (back when free time was something I actually had a lot of).

22. Would you go on a reality show? It depends on the topic. Sometimes they portray people in ways I don’t think are fair to the person, so I would be leery of that.

23. Tea or coffee? Is the tea sweet? If not then iced coffee.

24. First thing you remember wanting to be when you grew up? A teacher. Which I was for a few years! I also wanted to be a ballet dancer and thankfully that dream died. I can’t even touch my toes.

25. No matter how much money you have or don’t have, what are you an absolute snob about? Vacation. I would rather save up for longer and stay somewhere nicer as opposed to going RIGHT NOW and being in a dump.

That was fun! Your turn. For the QOTD, answer one (or more) of these questions in the comments.

I’m Cruising With Carnival!

Disclosure: Our cruise fare is being covered by Carnival, however all thoughts, posts, and opinions are my own.

The other day in my Instagram story, I eluded to a surprise I was sharing today. Well, today has come and I’m excited to tell you Bobby and I are going on a cruise! We will be going on an eight night Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Vista this September.

The Carnival Vista departs Crete, Greece. The largest and most innovative cruise vessel in Carnival Cruise Line’s fleet, Carnival Vista measures 133,500 tons, 1,055 feet long and has a guest capacity of almost 4,000 passengers. Photo by Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Line

Bobby and I haven’t been alone on vacation together since January of 2016 (another cruise) so we are excited to have some time away just the two of us. Emma Kate isn’t quite potty trained yet (almost!) and we would hate for her to get upset that she couldn’t use the pool, so she is going to have to sit this one out.

WaterWorks aboard the Carnival Vista features a number of slides and other water attractions. 

Anyway, I have so many exciting things to share with you, and I can’t wait to invite you on our trip with us via the blog and social media. The Vista is Carnival’s newest ship, and it looks so amazing. First of all it’s huge, it has tons of dining options, entertainment galore, and we will be stopping at some new to us ports, check it out:

We leave from Miami, have 3 sea days, and 4 port days in San Juan, Grand Turk, St. Kitts, and St. Marteen. Has anyone been to these ports? I would love suggestions. There are so many great things about the Vista I can’t wait to share with you, like SkyRide (pictured below), specialty dinners, the Serenity adults only area, and the fitness center.

Guests onboard Carnival Vista participate in SkyRide, an opportunity to pedal hanging recumbent-like bikes around an 800-foot-long suspended track some 150 feet above the sea. 

I can’t wait to share with you how you can have an amazing cruise on an awesome ship for a lot less money than you think. I will post more as we get closer, but I just wanted to let you in on my surprise.

QOTD: Any tips for what to do in our four ports? 

Jeff Galloway Summer Running Tips

Do you have a hard time staying on track with your workouts in the summer? I do because it is just so dang hot in Florida! I lose my motivation and easily get frustrated with my paces. Jeff Galloway has provided some great tips to keep you motivated during this sometimes difficult period:

Use a Journal for Motivation:
Runners tend to run more when journaling. A journal can help with accountability and motivation. Giveaway alert! Win one of the NEW and updated Jeff Galloway Journals by joining Jeff on  Facebook! Join Jeff and enter now.

Want to know how fast you can run?
The Magic mile has been the best predictor I have found.  Use this link for information about the Magic mile and to compute your current pace potential. Compute my potential.

Do you need salt when it’s hot?
While most cramps are due to muscle exhaustion, you need to replace the salt you lose in sweat during hot weather.  It is rare to be low in sodium, but if so, try a buffered salt tablet during/after workouts that involve prolonged sweating. Get more information at NUTRITION FOR RUNNERS.

Jeff’s latest clinics are touring California!

Saturday, July 22 @ 8:00 am

  • Hosted by and starting from Fleet Feet 111 Third Street in Santa Rosa
  • A run and walk with all of Sonoma County Galloway’s groups
  • This event is open to the public

Sunday, July 23 @ 2:00 pm

  • Hosted by Heart and Sole 900 4th Street in Santa Rosa, CA
  • Jeff’s Running School
  • This event has a fee and is open to the public
  • Contact [email protected]for more information

Monday, July 24th @ 6:00 pm

  • Meet and Greet at Sports Basement in Santa Rosa located at 1970 Santa Rosa Avenue
  • 6 pm – 8 pm with Jeff speaking at7:00 pm
  • Free snacks and drinks and 20% discount on purchases given to all who attend

Tuesday, July 25th @ 6:00 pm

  • Healdsburg Running Company @ 333 Center Street in Healdsburg, CA
  • Fun Run followed by Free Clinic with Jeff
  • This event is open to the public

Birthday Recap 2017

I can’t believe it’s already been a week since my birthday! I had a great one for my first year in Florida, and felt so much love from my family and friends, including online friends! Here is a quick recap of all the festivities from the week:

On Tuesday my parents took me to Disney for the day. I mean, why not? Yes it was SUPER HOT but we only stayed until after lunch then headed out when it got unbearable. I am so thankful to get to live close to the magic that we can do things like this!

We rode a few rides, had lunch at the Plaza restaurant, and then went over to the Polynesian to get Dole Whip floats, my favorite! Very refreshing on such a sunny Florida day.

dole whip float

On Wednesday, Megan took me out for a special birthday meal at Ulele. I had never been and really loved the outside atmosphere. I will have to bring Bobby this fall when it cools down some.

Ulele

Then on my actual birthday, I stepped out of my comfort zone and went to a new class at a new to me gym. I was so nervous but of course everything was fine.

After class, I was a sweaty mess so I took a shower then headed to Starbucks for my free birthday drink.

I went to the outlet mall to shop for a little while before I was to meet Megan at the pool. I came out of one of the shops and it was POURING rain! So much for the pool. I went to the PDQ drive thru and headed home to eat and get a little work done. Then my mom and dad came over and hung out before it was time to go get Emma Kate. There were babysitting for us so Bobby and I could go to dinner at Grillsmith. We decided we would probably be back late so we sang happy birthday and did cake and ice cream before Bobby and I went to dinner. The two of us just didn’t eat any yet.

Around 6:00 Bobby and I left for dinner, and then went to the AT&T store to get my birthday gift, a new iPhone! I’m super excited to be able to take better photos and also have portrait mode. I had the original iPhone 6 which will be three years old in September so it was time. I no longer could hear people on the phone and had to constantly use speakerphone which wasn’t ideal in public places, heh. Also can I just say i’m super thankful they have an affordable monthly payment plan? Anyway, it was a great birthday, and I’m thankful to be here for another year, and to be healthy. However, there is still one more celebration to be had. A few of my local blog friends and I are headed to dinner and a movie to celebrate my birthday on Saturday. We are seeing Girl’s Trip and I can’t wait to laugh and have a good time.

Again, thank you all for the birthday wishes, it meant a lot to me. I am thankful for each of you.

 

 

 

 

Painting With a Twist (of fun!)


Last weekend, my mom and I had the unique opportunity to attend a class at my local Painting with a Twist. I have done a similar class before, but it has been many many years. My mom had never done anything like this before, so I knew it was going to be fun for a mother daughter night away.

We easily signed up online after finding the nearest location (ten minutes from my house!) and were sent a conformation and some instructions. I was excited to see we were allowed to bring wine/beer and snacks, and was hopeful it would make my painting skills better? Ok so maybe not!

We arrived a few minutes early to get our aprons on and get set up at our table. The instructor had already placed our names in front of our canvas and poured our paint. Meanwhile, I poured us some wine and we chatted with our classmates before we got started.

The instructor was so nice and had a very relaxing voice. She went over the rules and calmed everyone’s fears. She wanted to make sure we had FUN no matter what, and really took the pressure off. She explained that she would be painting along with us and helping us as we went. She had on a microphone so it was easy to hear her, and she was up on a stage. I like that they also had a completed painting next to her so we knew what the finished product would look (or should, ha) look like.

She was sure to explain the steps several times, telling us what colors to use, how to do our brush strokes, etc. Slowly but surely, my painting came to life. After about an hour we took a 15 minute break to stretch, walk around, and let the first part dry (and of course take a few sips of wine).

Then, it was back to it and we finished everything up in two hours. I was skeptical, but can’t believe I did the whole thing so quickly! Now, I’m no artist, but I had a really good time and I think my painting turned out pretty good.

Painting with a twist

I would definitely do this again. I think it would be super fun for a girls night, date night birthday party, or family event. You can even do private parties! I’m so glad I got to have a stress free, phone free, couple of hours and experience this with my mom. Now I have a painting at home so I will always remember it.

Be sure to check out their website to find a location near you. What I love is that you can check their calendar and see what paintings they will be doing on each day, so you can pick your favorite and sign up on that day!