Let’s get this straight – follow/unfollow the good, the bad and the ugly!

If I could wave a magic wand and change one thing for all of you it would be to stop this dreaded follow/ unfollow game!

Why in the world do people still do it! It f**king drives me crazy!

Picture this, you start your new account, this is your dream business and you are putting your heart and soul into building it and getting your message out there and then you hit 100 followers, 200 followers, 300. But, every time you hit that milestone you drop right back down again and it takes you another couple of weeks to creep back up to that spot that you already hit.

Why do people do it?

In short, because it works. People wouldn’t still be applying this method if it didn’t get results! But, it only gets them a number. It gets them no authentic engagement or true fans! They do it for the vanity of saying they have X amount of followers.

Meanwhile you’re sat there trying to figure out why you had 510 followers last night and 487 this morning…

You can’t work out what you posted that turned so many people off, did you say something that offended them? Where your prices too high?

No, none of that. You my friend did absolutely nothing wrong. Your content was never of interest to them in the first place. So, the first thing I want to say is try to just ignore those feelings that you and your business are not good enough. Those people that keep dropping off only wanted one thing from you and that was to get a reciprocating follow from you.

But chances are you don’t want to follow them because maybe you don’t relate with their content or they have nothing to do with your industry or ideal client. You might however be tempted to hit that follow button just so you ‘keep’ them as a follower.

Here’s the problem with that though, if you do decided to hit follow one of two things is going to happen. Either as soon as you tap that follow button they are going to hit unfollow, because they don’t want their ‘figures’ to be skewed. Which means they don’t want to ‘look’ like someone who follows to many people so they have to unfollow to keep their following number lower.

Or you’ll actually retain them as a follow (in which case this is someone pretty amateur trying to play at the follow unfollow game but doesn’t really get the concept) and they will never interact with your posts they will never like or comment on anything you put out there and so they become a ghost. The deal here though is that you can physically only follow 7500 accounts and believe me there is no way you are going to want to follow that many, I follow over a 1000 and I know I miss content from some of my favourite accounts daily!

What’s a ghost?

A ghost is someone who lurks, they decided to grace you with a follow and then basically bugger off and never look at your account ever again.

Ghost followers can be so damaging to our accounts because they decrease our engagement rating. The algorithm ranks content according to how many people interact with it. The more people interact, the more the algorythm pushes our content out to new accounts its like a snowball effect.

When ghost accounts don’t interact with our content our rating goes down and it signals to the algorithm that OUR people are not interest in our content and so it should share it wider. Meaning, you are going to struggle to grow as your content isn’t going to be seen by a wider audience.

What should you do then?

My advice is when you see someone follow you who just feels a bit fishy, perhaps it’s a massive account that is in a completely different industry, or they are following 1000’s of accounts. Block them. Block them straight away and pretend they never existed, forget about the vanity of the extra follower you might have had. It is far better to have a smaller more engaged audience who want to buy every single product or service you put out there than a huge following of people that buy nada!

Have you joined my free facebook group for ambitious creative business owners? In there I share all the insta goodies not available anywhere else! You can check it out HERE

 

How to use Instagram Stories to Improve your Engagement Instantly.

Continue reading “How to use Instagram Stories to Improve your Engagement Instantly.”

Instagram caption won't post

Why can’t I write a caption in Instagram?

Someone recently reached out and asked me why they couldn’t post their caption on Instagram

Well……..

  1. Your account might have been restricted because of breaking the one of Instagram’s rules or you have followed too many people, liked too many posts to quickly. A friend of mine was Shadowbanned (if you don’t know what this is click HERE) and account got her account restricted once because of liking and commenting on too many posts at once, luckily it only lasted about an hour or so but it meant her like’s wouldn’t ‘stick’.
  2. If an error message comes up each time and Instagram won’t let you comment then your app might be outdated. Update the app to the latest version in the App Store and see if that helps.
  3. Instgram has certain restrictions to what you can put in a comment. You can’t use more than 5 mentions, 30 hashtags, or make more than one duplicate comment. So make sure you are not doing any of these three things in your caption if it is not posting right.

I hope this helps you get back to posting

Love Abi x

Head on over to our Facebook Group for more hints and tips and advice from other Instagrammers

How To Pick the Best Props for your Instagram Theme

Instagram is the perfect place for growing your visual brand and building a consistent connection between your followers and yourself. Since Instagram is visually focused, it is important to create clean and consistent brand imagery for your followers to fall in love with. When shooting your own brand photography, it can be difficult to determine what subjects and objects you should be shooting. Props, backgrounds, and subjects can vary based on your niche. I created this guide as reference for the perfect props, backdrops, and subjects for your Instagram theme. 

FASHION, BEAUTY, & LIFESTYLE

SHOT LIST

  • Portraits – Full body outfit portraits & Selfies (to show off makeup or hairstyle) 
  • Flat Lay & Still Life – products, clothes, electronics, accessories 
  • Environmental – to show retail store, home, trendy settings

AESTHETIC & COLORS

  • Sophisticated – black & white, gold 
  • Bold and Edgy – Red, Black, White, Hot Pink, shiny  
  • Feminine and Youthful – Pastel colors 
  • Youthful – Vibrant colors 
  • Grunge and Goth – Black, dark reds, and purples, gray, textured, gaudy  

BACKGROUND & BACKDROP

  • Solid colors – Walls, seamless paper, cardstock, table/desktop and poster board
  • Flooring – Wood, marble, and carpet 
  • Trendy environments – Walls covered with gallery styled wall art, urban interiors, offices, workspace, coffee shops, retail store interiors and exteriors, urban environments 

PROPS

  • Trendy clothes and accessories. I see sunglasses and fashion bags are very popular. 
  • Beauty and hair products – makeup, bath products, nail polish (Just make sure everything has nice packaging and looks new) 
  • Fashion magazines, books, planners, notebooks 
  • Food – Coffee, chocolates, and bottled drinks 
  • Electronics – Cell phones, computers, laptops, tablets 
  • Electronic accessories – Cell phone covers, laptop covers 
  • Plants – Flowers and fake leaves (check out Ikea and dollar stores) 

 

PHOTOGRAPHY, DESIGN, ILLUSTRATION, & TECHNOLOGY

SHOT LIST

  • Environmental – studios, workspace, desktops, office environment, coffee shops, coworking spaces 
  • Flat Lays – Equipment, drafting materials, stationery, small electronics 
  • Portraits – Of you working on things, shots with you using products or things related to your brand, environmental portrait 
  • Photo & Design Work – Work In Progress (WIP) shots, finalized work, screenshots of software programs & coding, drafts 

AESTHETIC & COLORS

  • Feminine – Soft, clean, light colors 
  • Modern – Black, white, cool tones, desaturated colors, high contrast 
  • Urban –  brownish tones, warm, rustic, saturated tones with matte blacks 
  • Illustration style – colorful, vibrant, clean, bold

BACKGROUNDS & BACKDROPS

  • Solid Colors – walls, seamless paper, cardstock, table/desktop and poster board 
  • Flooring & Tabletops – wood, marble, solid, carpet, stone 
  • Environments – Workspace/desk, Coffee shops, Coworking spaces, workplaces, workshops, networking events, interior

PROPS

  • Equipment – cameras, camera & video equipment and accessories, computers, graphics tablets (Wacom) 
  • Materials – sketchbooks, drafting paper, notebooks, pens and pencils 
  • Design/Creative Magazines and books 
  • Misc – Food, coffee, watches, stationary

TRAVEL, OUTDOOR, URBAN & NATURE

SHOT LIST

  • Environmental – locations, landscape, underwater shots, interiors, architecture 
  • Flat Lays – travel stuff, food, and souveniers 
  • Portraits – Of yourself, people you travel with, locals and natives 

AESTHETIC & COLOR PALETTES

  • Urban – brown, deep green, saturated colors with matte blacks  
  • Classic – clean colors, black & white shots (avoid stylistic filters focus on accurate color correction and contrast), HDR 
  • Modern – black & white, desaturated colors, minimalistic 
  • Happy & Feminine – Vibrant colors, soft tones, bright images with light contrast
  • Natural Environments – Landscapes, waterscapes, woodlands, mountains 
  • Tourist Attractions – Museums, Historical Buildings, Street Photography, Shops and Restaurants, Hotel, Interiors and Architecture 

BACKGROUNDS & BACKDROPS

  • Backdrops – Maps, Bedding, Tabletops, Wood, Carpet, Marble 

PROPS

  • Travel stuff – luggage, maps, bags, clothes, hiking gear, tickets, passport 
  • Souvenir items 
  • Food – Cultural foods, snacks 
  • Camera & Video Equipment – cameras, tripods, lenses, and accessories 
  • Electronics – Laptops, cell phones, tablets, earphones

SHOT LIST

  • Portraits – Playful selfies and portraits, working portraits, portraits with your crafts or people using them 
  • Environmental – studios, workspaces, woodshops, workshops, craft stores, and booths 
  • Craftworks – WIPs, finished work, product shots, sketches and artwork 
  • Flat Lays – materials, tools, products

AESTHETIC & COLOR PALETTES

  • Feminine – soft, clean, light colors 
  • Industrial – brownish warm tones, metallics, 
  • Youthful/Child-like – vibrant and colorful 

BACKGROUNDS & BACKDROPS

  • Solid & Textured – walls, seamless paper, cardstock, tabletops 
  • Wood and metal flooring and table tops 
  • Craft papers, art papers, handmade papers 
  • Art tables (with tool marks on them or paint marks)

PROPS

  • Craft materials – tools, paintbrushes, sculpting tools, sewing materials, yarn, beads, glitter 
  • Arts & Crafts  –books, sketchbooks, art papers, planners, stationary 
  • Finished work – sculptures, crafts, handmade goods, paintings, jewelry, candles, etc.

PARENTING, MATERNITY, & CHILDCARE/CHILD EDUCATION 

SHOT LIST

  • Portraits – maternity, family, baby 
  • Environmental – nursery, baby/kids bedrooms, outdoors, playground, classroom 
  • Flat Lays & Still Life – Baby & maternity clothes and stuff, toys, etc.

AESTHETIC & COLOR PALETTES

  • Baby – soft, clean, pastel colors 
  • Kids – Vibrant, bold colors, multicolored 
  • Maternity – soft, warm or cool tones, clean, deep tones

BACKGROUNDS & BACKDROPS

  • Solid – walls, seamless paper, cardstock, blankets 
  • Flooring & Table Tops – wood, marble, solid, carpet, craft tables

PROPS

  • Maternity wear
  • Baby stuff – bottles, teething rings, clothes, pacifiers 
  • Celebration – balloons, cards, presents 
  • Toys & Recreation – bubbles, flowers, stuffed animals, glitter 

FOOD & COOKING

SHOT LIST

  • Portraits – Cooking shots, environmental shots with finished food, eating shots 
  • Environmental – Kitchen, Restaurants, Dining rooms 
  • Flat Lays & Still Life – Food, ingredients, cookware

AESTHETIC & COLOR PALETTES

  • Modern Chef – Clean tones, bold or minimal style  
  • Bakery – warm tones, vibrant contrast or matted blacks 
  • Sweets – soft and colorful, pastel 
  • Healthy/Vegan – vibrant greens, clean color correction, and contrast 
  • Food Blogger – urban tones or vibrant tones

BACKGROUNDS & BACKDROPS

  • Table tops – wood, stone, metallic, granite/marble, 

PROPS

  • Food & ingredients 
  • Cookware and dishware 
  • Small appliances 
  • Napkins, kitchen towels, placemats, foils and cooking paper 
  • Candles 
  • Garnish, sprinkles, plants 
  • Fake foods and fruits 

FITNESS & WELLNESS

  • Portraits – Gym environmental shots, selfies in fitness clothes, progress shots, action shots
  • Environmental – Gym, Field, Park, Fitness stores, Smoothie shops, Healthfood stores & restaurants 
  • Flat Lay & Stills – Gym clothes & workout equipment

AESTHETIC & COLOR PALETTE

  • Urban Athlete – Deep tones, matte blacks, warm colors, black & white 
  • Clean Eater – Vibrant, clean tones, bright, neutral tones,  
  • Motivator –  Bold, mostly desaturated with punched skin tones, high contrast, high clarity for muscle tone emphasis 

BACKGROUND & BACKDROPS

  • Gym floors 
  • Grass & gravel 
  • Flooring – Concrete, wood, tile, carpet 
  • Bedding & towels 

PROPS

  • Clothes – sportswear, tennis shoes, sports bras, swimwear 
  • Electronics – phone, tablet, step trackers, fitness apps, and gadgets, earphones 
  • Food – healthy & clean foods, snacks, energy drinks, bottles, protein bars, shakes, smoothies 
  • Accessories – armbands, socks, headbands, towels etc 
  • Equipment – weightlifting, weights, tires, jump ropes, bands 
  • Fitness books, magazines, food journals/guides, fitness journals/guides, printed schedules 
  • Motivational signage, stationary, motivational phrases are written on dry erase boards or notebooks

BUSINESS, STARTUP, & ENTREPRENEUR

SHOT LIST

  • Portraits – Professional portraits, selfies related to profession, meetings, team group portraits, portraits of people working 
  • Environmental – Office, Workplace, Workspace/Desk, Coworking place, Networking events, Coffee shops, 
  • Flat Lay & Still Life – Branding materials, Office supplies & materials, stationary  

AESTHETIC & PALETTE

  • Urban startup – deep tones, matte blacks, warm tones, textured 
  • Motivational Startup – Bold vibrant colors, clean branding 
  • Corporate – Black, white, silver, pale blue, desaturated, cool tones, minimalistic

BACKGROUNDS & BACKDROPS

  • Table tops – Desktops, wooden tables, marble 
  • Solid – Seamless paper, walls

PROPS

  • Office Supplies – pens, notebooks, portfolios, planners, stationery, printing papers 
  • Brand Materials 
  • Electronics – Computers, Laptops, Phones, Tablets 
  • Printouts & notes

10 ways to use Instagram Stories to Improve your Engagement

Instagram Stories. They are a bit like Marmite, you either love them or hate them, but either way I bet you still find yourself endlessly watching them flick through one after another. Whatever your personal opinion on them, one thing is clear; Instagram Stories are a great tool for entrepreneurs and bloggers

Why Instagram Stories are so Powerful

Create A Personal Connection

Instagram stories allow you to connect directly with your audience, People can get to know you, see the behind the scenes and really start to form that know, like and trust factor that’s so important. Stories allow for people to see you not perfectly polished all the time, which seems scary, but is actually great because it makes you relatable and helps you build those personal connections.


So, here are my top 10 ideas and tips for improving your engagement through stories 

  1. Vlog your day

This is a post about your day. It’s a personal, talking to camera video blog so that your followers can really get to know who you are as a person or how you spend your day.

This sort of content doesn’t need to be slick and super professional, so don’t worry about spending too much time trying to make it perfect. A vlog is all about being real, so get personal.

How to do it right? Do a quick vlog at the start of the day, telling your audience what you’re going to get up to that day. You could ask your audience to choose some element of your day, so they’re encouraged to engage with your Story. Share more posts throughout your day and show how your day is unfolding. This will help stimulate that FOMO feeling and will keep your audience more engaged throughout the day. 

Then you could finish with a “call to action” to check back later to see how the day panned out.

2. Your latest blog post or Instagram picture

This is such a great one I do this over on the @thewhitethistle a lot. I go to my latest post and share it to my stories and then either put a sticker or a GIF over the top to create intrigue. Or, when using the pen tool, try pressing the different options multiple times to get an overlay of colour. You can then use the eraser tool to cut through it to the visual below.

3. Poll or Q&A

Polls and Q&A Stories are great for encouraging engagement, which in turn gives your content more chance of being seen. It’s also the perfect way to get feedback about your business or blog and the content you create.

Give your audience a poll of different content types, restaurants to review, or let them vote for your next holiday destination. If you’re planning a Q&A, let your audience know ahead of time and entice them with the opportunity to ask you anything!

4.    Giveaway or promo code

Have a sale, promotions or discount code? This is great content for Instagram Stories. You can post your giveaway in Instagram Stories to get more eyes on it, and repost it if you want to promote it again while the sale lasts – make sure you send the story onto some of your Insta friends and ask them politely to share it in their stories for a wider reach.

5.     List or countdown

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. List your favourite outfits, hairstyles, foods, blogs, products, or music choices. The options are endless!

How to do it right? Make your lists shop-able by including links to various stores even better if you can use affiliate links. You can also list your own products or freebies in lists and point viewers to them.  Use countdowns to generate buzz when it comes to launching a product, an event or going on a vacation!

6.     Behind the scenes

Regardless of what your blog’s about or what your business does, people will want to have a connection with YOU, the person behind it. So, behind the scenes content is really great way to give your followers exclusive insight into your brand and let them feel part of the family.

Tip: Add a location sticker for the potential to be featured in the Stories of that place. Same goes for the hashtag sticker.

How to do it right? The behind the scenes Instagram Story posts are especially good if you are representing a brand or you want to showcase a brand, a person or a product. Cover an event, show how you work on your projects or how you engage for a sponsored opportunity. The trick is to shoot at the time and to edit later! You do want to enjoy the process, right?

7.     Quote or daily motivation

Want to inspire and motivate your followers without filling your Instagram page with text overlay? No worries! You can still get inspirational quotes and daily motivation to your audience via Instagram Stories.

This leaves you to focus purely on beautiful imagery and slick video content on your profile.

8.     #FollowFriday

This is an opportunity to share your favourite Instagram accounts. Make sure they’re complimentary brands and align with your values.

If you work this angle well, it could even turn into another idea for a later date, an Instagram Stories Takeover! In a ‘quid pro quo’ relationship, you could offer to do a Takeover for their account too. 

9. Topic series or Highlights

Create a series of IG Stories around a single theme or topic relevant to your brand. Post your best quality, beautifully designed content in this stream, so you can save these Stories to your Highlights for later viewing.

Highlights live right at the top of your IG profile permanently, so make sure they reflect your best work and really illustrate the best bits of your brand. You can use free design tool, Canva, to create consistent cover visuals for these.

10.  Go live!

Instagram live is the opportunity to have a spontaneous chat with your followers. The great thing about Instagram Live is that it can be shared afterwards on Instagram Stories, so you can get some post-engagement going as well.

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Saving Instagram Posts

Instagram’s new/ not so new feature which creates a more Pinterest like experience.

Ever seen an absolutely amazing image that you would love to recreate, or a recipe that you want to try on instagram but once you’ve liked it and scrolled on its impossible to find again?

Well, Instagram has introduced the save button which when ever I talk to people seems to be rather under-utilised.

Continue reading “Saving Instagram Posts”

30 day Instagram Challenge

Are you up to the challenge, I teamed up with my fabulous friend and business coach Chloe Barber to create this fun challenge for small businesses to challenge you to step out from behind the safety net that is this screen and show the true #thebeinginbusiness.

Each prompt allows you to share a little bit of your story and journey with your followers.

One of the most impactful things to do on Instagram is be authentic, so I am challenging you to show up as you are and show your audience the true you!

Continue reading “30 day Instagram Challenge”

Banned Hashtags of 2018

The very essence of The Media Girl Creative is to share top tips and tricks on how to utilise Instagram. So I couldn’t not share this really important topic. Banned hashtags.

Hopefully you are aware of the importance of Hashtags and so I can jump right in and explain why some are banned.  Basically spam accounts tend to pick a hashtag and send lots of inappropriate or unrelated content to that hashtag resulting in Instagram blocking it.

Some hashtags might be banned forever. Think anything with a peach or aubergine emoji – those will probably fall into this category.
Some hashtags might be banned temporarily. This happens when a more innocent hashtag is hijacked and it will be banned until Instagram clear up the spam accounts.

Continue reading “Banned Hashtags of 2018”