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How She Did It: 0 to 17k Instagram Followers in 5 Months

Social MediaHelene SulaComment

Over the past few months, Cassidy, of @Justeatdallas, has gained thousands and thousands of followers in just a mere months. I had to find out, HOW?! To be up front, Cassidy is a friend of mine. When she was growing her new Instagram she reached out to me to ask for help. Many of the strategies she used were from my course, Instagram for Success.

I interviewed Cassidy to find out just how she did it! Cassidy has now gone on trips and used her Instagram to propel her in the media and online!

How She Did It: 0 to 17k Instagram Followers in Months

1. Why Did you start this Instagram Profile?

It actually started out as a secret from me-Jackson saw a need for not another food critic but food enthusiast.  As a couple we eat out at least once a week, if not more and felt that we had the exposure and experience to share the best of Dallas food.  Eventually I took over a majority of the Instagram posting while Jackson writes for the blog.  It is SO fun to work on something together as a couple-outside our children!

2. What was your vision for this instagram?

Just Eat Dallas has a goal to only share the best of Dallas food and food experiences.  Like I mentioned, we are not critics but enthusiasts which means that when we have a good experience-we will share it with our followers.  We take our influence very seriously and opt to just not post about a poor experience than share it-we understand everyone has an off day and would never want to hurt someone based off one experience.  

3. How long did it take you to reach your instagram following of almost 17k?

In August of last year, we ran a giveaway "Race to 500" and were aiming to hit 500 followers by the end of the month.  To our complete and total shock we have grown to 17k followers over the course of five months.

4. What was your main tactic in gaining a following?

Comments, comments, comments.  The Dallas foodie community is awesome and by searching #DallasFoodie I was able to find like minded accounts to follow and build a relationship.  I would (and still do) spend hours commenting on other accounts and I have built some amazing friendships.

5. What would you recommend to instagrammers for growing an engaging following?

The standard advice is to ask questions on your own posts to get feedback but I find myself doing the opposite.  I try to comment on the people I follow as often as possible-at first it felt forced but over time I have grown to really know some of the people I follow and enjoy "talking" with them.  Also, even if I don't have time to leave an incredibly engaging comment on a follower, I have found that even taking the time to leave a couple words means a lot and leave the opportunity to spark further conversation later on.

6. What do you look for when following someone new?

I seek out other foodies, (especially if they are located in Dallas) chefs, restaurants, basically anything food related!

7. Where can we find you? (your instagram handle etc)

@JustEatDallas

 

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Your Guide To A Daily Pinterest Schedule

Social Media, BloggingHelene SulaComment
I think we can all agree that Pinterest has become a pretty darn important tool for bloggers. Because it is built to show our title images, it encourages us to make those images snappy, beautiful, and eye-catching, which in turn benefits us on all of our other social media platforms. And best of all, Pinterest allows us to get a ton of return on a small time investment.

Your Guide to A Daily Pinterest Schedule
But many of you ask: how do I make the best use of my time spent on Pinterest? What pins will attract the most people to my profile, and when? Well, readers, I'm here to answer those questions for you today. I am going to break down for you exactly what to pin and when to pin it to get the best results from the time you spend on Pinterest.

I will break this down hour by hour, and explain my reasoning behind each one. I have spent months perfecting my schedule, and I really have seen a great increase in traffic since I started following this "schedule".
These tips are universally helpful and can certainly be used without a Pinterest buffer, but if you choose to use a Buffer, I highly recommend this one. You don't have to spend all day on Pinterest, making sure you hit each category: just use this as an outline of what to pin at different times during the day! Pin as often as you can from the "popular" category on Pinterest...these pins are proven to get interaction so you definitely want to use them! And of course, remember to pin your own posts, too!

6-7 AM: Breakfast Recipes

I don't know about you, but when I wake up and haven't fully gotten out of bed yet, I typically will pull up Pinterest on my phone and browse a little bit.  So this is the best time to pin breakfast-related posts.  Chances are, your follower is thinking about breakfast so these pins will appeal to them, and you're more likely to get some sort of interaction from them. Bonus tip: Smoothie recipes seem to be especially popular at this time of day.

8-9 AM Kids' Activities or Parenting

Now, breakfast is over and working parents or people without kids are more than likely at work.  Now's your chance to appeal to the stay-at-home moms or homeschooling moms.  Pin activities for kids or parenting tips.  That way when these moms settle into their computer after getting the kids ready and are enjoying their first cup of coffee, they'll see your posts and be ready and excited to interact with them.  Bonus tip: This is also a great time to pin ideas for kids' birthday parties.

11-12 AM: Lunch Ideas

People everywhere (at least in your time zone) are starting to think about lunch.  They're getting hungry.  Even if they're at work, they're probably starting to get a little distracted, and may be dallying on Pinterest a little instead of working.  That's great for you, because you thought ahead and pinned a bunch of great lunch ideas.  Anything from quick sandwiches to which fast-food restaurants offer the healthiest choices, they will all get people's attention.  Bonus tip: You can also pin lunch ideas in the evenings around 7-8 PM for the people who pack their lunches in advance: if you do this, be sure to pin recipes more than restaurant tips!

 

1-2 PM: Travel

To be honest, I don't really know why this one works, but it does.  Whenever I pin travel-related things at this time, they get a lot of hits.  My theory is that people are still easing back into work after lunch, and so anything that appeals to their sense of adventure will grab their attention.  It may also just be that most travel pins have really pretty pictures.  That's always a good thing.  Bonus tip: You can also pin travel-related items at 8-9 PM with good results.

 

3-4 PM: Dinnertime

Just like with lunch, you're hitting them when they're hungry with this time frame.  People are starting to ask themselves (or get asked by their families): "what's for dinner?"  You will help them answer that question!  Pin great ideas for main courses, sides, quick meals, luxurious pastas...whatever appeals to you will most likely appeal to others, too!  Bonus tip: pin a main course idea immediately followed by a side that would go well with it.  People watching their feeds will see both at once and will often like/pin the two together since they seem to pair well.

 

5-6 PM: Cocktail Hour

This is pretty obvious.  People are looking for something to drink now that the work day is over.  Oblige them and bask in the glory. Bonus tip: Try pinning drink recipes that involve few ingredients, or that use ingredients that are commonly found in most homes.  Fancy drinks are exciting, but many people are going for something they can actually make right this second.

 

7-8 PM: Health and Fitness

After a long day, your followers are probably tired and wondering why they don't feel better. Maybe they're hoping tomorrow will be better.  Or maybe they are just looking for a new exercise to try this evening or in the morning.  Share your favorite health and fitness pins to catch their attention.  Bonus tip: Any pin that lays out a fitness plan without having to be clicked is going to be very popular.  The irony of the fact that people are lazy about these kinds of pins is not lost on me.

 

There you have it!  This is the general schedule that I follow, and it has really paid on big time for me.  I get a ton of re-pins, likes, and followers by following this schedule.

 

One last note: you'll notice I don't say anything about blogging pins.  But it is super important to pin those!  People love blogging tips.  The thing is that bloggers are all on such different schedules that so far I have not found a time frame that was any better than another.  Pin these types of things all day long: they are always popular.

Do you follow a pinning schedule?  How do you make it work best for you?  Tell me about it in the comments!

Want to optimize Pinterest for your Blog? Check out how to verify your website and make Pinterest work for your blog!


christinephot.jpg

Christine blogs at Christine Everyday where she is a rockstar by day and wine ninja by night. Follow Christine as she talks about blogging, life, and more!

Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter

The 10 Best Apps For Bloggers

Blogging, Social MediaHelene SulaComment

People use their phones to cruise the Internet and view social media apps more than they use it to call or even text. Smart phone apps have become essential in our daily lives. From fitness trackers, social media channels, and so much more, it's easy to get carried away. For bloggers there are some really great apps to include in your toolbox.

The 10 Best Apps For Bloggers

1. Snapchat

In addition to the main apps like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, bloggers will find Snapchat is a great tool for showcasing an unfiltered view of their lives. Brands have begun to understand the power of Snapchat, so don't miss out on this awesome tool! See Why Bloggers Need Snapchat. (Follow me, username: helenesula)

2. Evernote

I use Evernote daily to store my blog post ideas and organize information about my blog, my courses, and anything else I have coming up. I love that whatever I type on my phone will also be there when I get to the computer.

3. Mailchimp

Mailchimp has an app! It allows me to check on my newsletter and subscribers directly from my phone. I can check and edit campaigns from the app and even send it out if I want. Sign up for Blog in Between's newsletter right here.

4. Bloglovin'

I use Bloglovin' to organize the blogs I follow into folders. I love how easy the app is to use. You can read and comment on the blogs you love straight from the app.

5. Snapseed

Snapseed is a photo editing tool. It's my favorite to use before I post photos to Instagram. This powerful tool for editing images includes some really cool tricks!

6. Audible

While this might not seem like an obvious tool for blogging, it addresses the fact that most bloggers stay inherently busy — often too busy to read books. Audible allows you to listen to audio books on the go. I "read" or listen, to more books than I ever would if it wasn't for Audible.

7. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a social media scheduling tool. I use it to share and schedule all my social content. The app allows you to check, edit, and schedule posts from your phone or when you're on the go.

8. Paypal

Most bloggers have to have a Paypal account if they want to be paid on time or work with other bloggers. Having the iPhone (or Android) app allows you to pay on the fly or check into your finances.

9. Instapaper

This is a great way to keep track of useful or interesting content you find online. You can simply save ideas and articles you find interesting.

10. Writeroom

If you ever attempt to seriously write from your phone, you need Writeroom. It provides a distraction free space to write — for your blog or anything else.

If you'd like to see all the tools I use to streamline my social media strategy and organize my blog, check out my eCourse, The Blog Detox. Click here to read more.

Are there other apps you would recommend?

My Favorite Instagram Hashtags to Gain Likes + Organically Grow Your Instagram

Social MediaHelene SulaComment

I remember when I first started using Instagram. It seems like forever ago now. The whole hashtag thing was a bit mysterious to me. I worked in marketing and social media, so I understood that a hashtag could lead people directly to others using the same hashtag.

But I didn't quite get how hashtagging would work for me.

Oh sure, I used a hashtag here and there. But they were never really helpful in helping me gain likes or followers. I laughed and thought for sure they couldn't really have an effect on my Instagram.

Wrong. So wrong.

My friend Sarah, over at Venus Trapped in Mars, wrote an incredible post about how she used hashtags to triple her likes. She's right. They work.

My Favorite Instagram Hashtags to gain likes and organically grow your Instagram

Why Should You Use Hashtags?

Not only do Instagram hashtags have extraordinary power to help you gain likes. They are also a great way to:

- Gain new followers organically

- Find new business/creative ideas

- Track how well your hashtag is doing

Hashtags provide a way for users to easily navigate to topics of interest. If you're using hashtags it makes it effortless for others to find you. In order to make hashtags work for you, you need a list of your go-to hashtags. Ones that you can use on the majority of your photos to gain likes and quickly copy and paste whenever you need.

My Favorite Hashtags

1. #photosinbetween

This hashtag was started by me! Since July, this hashtag has been used over 14,000 times. It's good for ANY PHOTO.

2. #Bandofun

This hashtag was started by the very fun Ban.do company. Their feed is filled with colorful images and pretty pictures.

3. #abmlifeincolorful

Started by A Beautiful Mess, this hashtag can be used on any photo, especially your colorful ones. I use this on every photo I post!

4. #MyUnicornLife

This hashtag is what it sounds like, gorgeous fun, pretty, colorful images.

5. #Candyminimal

If you're ever bored, just look up the #candyminimal hashtag to get inspiration for your next photo. SO many gorgeous images. This hashtag is perfect for

6. #HandsinFrame

Perfect if you're hands in the pic (okay to use if not!). Started by one of my favorite feeds @handsinframe and full of really cool pictures of, well, hands.

7. #TheEveryGirl

Started by The Everygirl, this hashtag is great for absolutely any photo.

8. #PeoplesCreative

Often used for creative imagery, beautiful outdoor scenes, and more. I always love to see what kind of perspective people use with these images.

9. #Visualcrush

We all get a visual crush every now and then, these images are definitely crush worthy. You can use this hashtag on any photo!

10. #PropToIt

A brilliant hashtag started by @alishylishy full of wonderful color and pretty things.

 

Bonus! use #BloggerVibes for all your favorite blogger pics. Started by @heleneinbetween. That's me!

How to Use Hashtags

Copy and paste the below hashtags and you can simply copy and paste them into your next post:

#photosinbetween #bandofun #abmlifeiscolorful #myunicornlife #candyminimal #handsinframe #theeverygirl #peoplescreative #visualcrush #proptoit #Bloggervibes

I recommend using at least 10 (you can use up to 30 per instagram post) on every photo you use. You can follow me on instagram @heleneinbetween.

Want to see how I took my Instagram account from under 4,000 to over 15,000 in just one year? Check out my free download, below:

10 Ideas for Blog and Instagram Photography

Social MediaHelene SulaComment

I'm a self proclaimed instagram addict. Why? Because it's one of the most beautiful and visually appeasing social media tools and because I find the majority of the traffic for this blog via instagram. (P.S. you can follow Blog in Between on Instagram @bloginbetween).

Styling your instagram can be a lot of fun but you're not always sure what to post or use. So, I came up with a list of 10 different props you can use, and most are under $20!

10 ideas for blog and instagram photography

Backdrops

Let's start with the base. This is one of the most important features of Instagram. Having a nice background can make or break the image. So, how can you find them?

1. A brick wall

Backdrop Ideas for Blog and Instagram Photography

Cost? Free!

Go around town or maybe the side of your house. This makes the prettiest backdrop for your hands (I love hand pics...) and makes your images pop.

2. White rug

instagram photography backdrop white fluffy rug

Cost? Around $10-$100 for a fake one.

I literally use this all the time. If you're looking to master the flatlay, this is the perfect backdrop. I have this one from Target for $45.

3. Your Desk

Blog Photography Background White Desk

Cost? Most likely free!

You probably have a desk or a table top works too. Love the look of white? Buy a $2 white foam board. (This is a secret that most instagrammers never tell you- they use a white board!)

4. Wood Background

wood backgrop photography

Cost? Free or $20.

Don't you love the look of the distressed wood? I do! You can buy this on Amazon or go to your local Home Depot and buy some more. I like this etsy option for $10.

Props

5. Candles

prop ideas for instagram candle

Cost? $4-$15.

Candles magically up your instagram game. Whenever I draw a blank on what needs to round out my picture I add in a candle. Lit or unlit, it's up to you.

 

6. Office supplies

Prop Ideas for instagram office supplies

Cost: free or uber cheap.

Chances are you have some post-its or pens lying around, begging to be part of your instagram photos. I love using scissors, planners, pens, notepads, and pencils. Pictured: my fave planner.

7. Fresh flowers

blog and instagram photography props

Cost: $5-$20

Want people to swoon over your instagram shots? Throw in some pretty blooms. I like to pla around with the full bouquet or just using a few strategic flowers here and there. Some of my faves? Carnations! They last forever!

8. Coffee

Blog photography ideas, coffee

Cost: $1-$5

Sometimes it's awkward to have a photo of just yourself, the solution is easy- a cup of coffee. Whether in your favorite mug or from a coffee shop, you really can't go wrong.

9. Beauty Products

How to style instagram photos with props

Cost: $1-$20

Need to add a bit of color to your image? Add in a pretty lipstick or pink blush. Beauty products are packaged the way they are for a reason, you might as well use them.

10. Books

write_that_book.JPG

Cost: $1-$15

We all want to know what you're reading! You can stack them, open them up to where you've stopped or just put it on display.

Want more on Instagram? Check out this free report on why Instagram is the most important social media tool of 2016 and get an in-depth look at how to transform your Instagram!