Hashtags I Am Loving Right Now

In a world where algorithms are trying their hardest to take the joy out of Instagram, I’m trying my hardest to keep finding the fun.

Hashtags are not only a way of giving your posts a helping hand at being seen, but they’re also a great way of exploring posts from other people who you might not otherwise see, or discovering new accounts to follow, and recently I’ve been making an effort to not only diversify the tags that I’m using, but also to explore said hashtags and find new posts and people to add to my feed.

Here are a bunch of my favourites right now:

#shinyhappybloggers

The latest hashtag brought out by the wonderful Jemma from Dorkface, #shinyhappybloggers has been one of my favourites to use since it was announced. As someone who tends to post bright and colourful content on my Instagram, sometimes the traditional #lbloggers or #bbloggers hashtags can be a little too full of carefully curated flatlays on white backgrounds and I feel like I’m sticking out like a sore thumb, so this hashtag feels way more me.

#chattycaptioncommunity

I used to feel like I had to keep my captions short and sweet, but I actually love reading (and writing) long captions on some of my posts, and now I’ve got a whole hashtag of likeminded people!

#candyminimal

As a lot of my posts fit the bright/pastel template, this is one of the latest hashtags I’ve been adding to some of my posts, but I’ve also been loving scrolling through this to discover other bright and beautiful posts and accounts!

#discoverunder5k and #discoverunder10k

Descriptions kinda speak for themselves, but this is my favourite for scrolling through at the moment to find new pages and help boost the followings of smaller accounts, and as I technically fit into both brackets I’ve been using both of them quite regularly on my posts

#myyellowlife

At the start of this year I kept a pretty good yellow theme going on my page, and while this hashtag already existed but with relatively few posts, I sorta decided to champion it a little. I’ve not got the yellow theme so much now, but I love keeping yellow, my favourite colour, alive in as many posts as I can because it makes me so happy, and all of those posts get this tag.

#styledbymagic

As most of my outfit posts are at least 50% Disney related, this is the perfect hashtag for them, plus a great tag to scroll when I’m looking for outfit inspiration!

Do you have any favourite hashtags right now?

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The Danger of Influencers

This is a post that I’ve been thinking about writing for a long time now, but so many things have happened recently that I just can’t keep my mouth shut.

This week, Kim Kardashian has set the internet on fire with her Instagram post promoting ‘appetite suppressant’ lollipops. Now you don’t have to be a genius to read those three words and think wow what a joke, right?

Well, the problem is not everyone will think that. Celebrities and influencers all over the world have been promoting nonsense like skinny teas, waist trainers and now, it would seem, these ridiculous sweets for years now, and as much as I had to say this, they wouldn’t still be doing this if these companies weren’t doing pretty well for themselves out of it.

Unfortunately, these influencers have absolutely no regard for the danger caused by what they post. Their loyal fans, especially when the person has a particularly young fan base, will support anything they do, and often believe a lot of what they say, or at least want to give it a try themselves, and all that leaves is a whole bunch of people sat on the toilet regretting how much ‘skinny’ tea they bought once they realise that everything they consume is just making a speedy route through them.

But it’s also about more than just the products they promote. Last week a photo emerged on the internet of a ‘behind the scenes’ view of Charlotte Crosby’s Instagram post, in which she’s wearing a tight yellow leather skirt, and in the post she says this is from her new collection at InTheStyle, but the reality of said photo is that the skirt isn’t even zipped up at the back because it won’t.

So tell me how this is from her new collection if it doesn’t even fit her? Now I don’t have a problem with the fact that she can’t fit into whatever size she’s wearing – we’ve all been there – but what I do have an issue with is that you just know that website is gonna say something like ‘Charlotte wears a size X’ and women are gonna not only be believing that, but ordering based on that assumption, and as someone who has spent a lot of time lately crying over clothes that don’t fit, I hate to think about the number of people this could affect.

I get the whole making a living out of being an influencer thing, but I just wish that some people would have more sense to reject offers of promoting products that can be harmful to their followers. It’s not like Kim K has the body she has just purely thanks to lollipops and an overpriced neoprene corset..

Can We Stop Pretending That We Don’t Care About Exposure?

As a blogger, there’s nothing worse than opening a PR email and thinking it all sounds pretty fab, only to find the classic excuse of having no budget but offering exposure on social media. We read it, we sigh, we tweet something about exposure not paying the bills and we either kindly (or not so kindly) decline the offer, or just ignore the email altogether.

Now I fully agree with this stance on exposure being considered a form of payment, especially when I think about the amount of time that goes into writing, editing and taking photos for a blog post, but I’ve been thinking a little bit about exposure, and how despite bloggers as a whole complaining about it when brands offer it, we also crave the exposure that brands can give us.

I mean, if you’ve put together a killer outfit, nailed your hairstyle and spent half a day trying to get that perfect Instagram shot, are you trying to tell me that you’re not gonna be tagging every single thing you’re wearing down to your setting spray? Sure, we do this a little to avoid the inevitable ‘ooh where’s this from?’ (even though at least half of the comments will still be asking that exact question), but I know that I for one would be lying if I wasn’t hoping that said photo will be spotted by at least one of the tagged brands. I also have no shame in saying that there’s a little part of me praying that I might get a regram, not only for the great feeling of knowing that they loved my post so much, but also because hey I might gain a bunch of followers from it.

So why do we pretend that we don’t care about social media sharing? We all need exposure – I mean, it literally means to be put in the light – but it seems to have become a dirty word in the blogging dictionary. Yes it’s an unacceptable form of payment for hours of work, but it does still offer a lot to a bunch of people who make their side hustle (or even full time hustle) from putting ourselves online to be seen..

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Just Because

I can’t imagine that there’s anyone who hasn’t been told at least once in their life, and most likely by their mother, that ‘just because *this person* did that, doesn’t mean you have to. If they jumped of a cliff, would you follow?’ while you rolled your eyes because it really wasn’t a big deal.

These were always things that we wanted to do; places we wanted to go or styles we wanted to copy, not things that we felt obliged to do, but as you get older, everything suddenly becomes more about what you feel like you should be doing, rather than what you actually want to do. Sure, some of these things are things that we think we should be doing for good reasons, but then there’s also a good number of things that might not always be good for us, and these are the things that we should maybe give a miss, at least every now and then.

Just because other people stay late at work, it doesn’t mean you have to

When I started my new job, I thought that just because the guy who sat next to me came in an hour before me, and often stayed past when I left, it meant that I wasn’t doing my job well enough, and frankly that’s just not true. So long as I come into work, do the hours I’m contracted to do and complete all the work that needs to be done, that’s good enough. If others want to come in early, stay late or take on extra work, that’s on them, but I did enough of that in my previous jobs and now I like that I’m able to walk away when 5 o’clock hits and not have a care in the world.

Just because you’ve made plans, it doesn’t mean you can’t cancel them if you’re not feeling it

If you’re tired, having a bad mental health day or for whatever reason you don’t feel up to it, you shouldn’t feel bad about cancelling plans. People might not always understand it, but that doesn’t matter. Put yourself first.

But as well as the things you shouldn’t be doing just because you thin you should, there are also things that you can do even though you didn’t do what other people did..

Just because you didn’t go to university, it doesn’t mean you can’t get to the same place as someone who did

I’ve actually just started working with a girl I went to school with. She went to university, and got her job through a graduate scheme. I went straight into work after sixth form, and after gaining skills and working hard, I am just one level below her, and with another year of experience and study support through work, I could move up into the same position she works in with a university degree. Sometimes there’s more than one path.

Just because you haven’t got a huge following, it doesn’t mean you don’t a good following

You could have a million followers, but if one a few hundred actually bother to support you, then you might just be better off having a few hundred followers who cheer you on at every possible moment. I mean, the Instagram algorithm is screwing us all over anyway..

There are however many billion people in the world and every single one of us is unique, so just because one or two people make you stop and think you’re missing out on something or doing something wrong, do you think that’s right?

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Are Instagram Pods Really The Answer?

Just to prefix this post, I have absolutely no qualms with Instagram pods or people who use them, these are just my musings!

The humble Instagram pod; a supposed way of boosting engagement on the platform that we all want to love and love to hate at the same time.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with the term, an Instagram pod is simply a group chat within Instagram DMs, where friends/fellow bloggers/like-minded people chat and share their latest posts, with the idea being that other members of the group will then head on over to the post to like and comment to give the image a better engagement than it might of done otherwise, for example if thanks to Instagram’s notorious algorithm meant that it wouldn’t have otherwise shown up on their feed. Sometimes people in these pods will also do shout-outs for the other accounts in the group on their Stories in order to help each other out with followers.

When it first became a thing, there wasn’t a day when I didn’t scroll through Twitter without seeing a good few weeks of people asking if anyone wanted to join their pod, or people asking if anyone had room in their pod for them, and of course naturally it led to a little bit of drama as well, with some people being told they couldn’t join certain pods, or people complaining about pods etc. Twitter loves a bit of drama.

I myself have never been part of an Instagram pod, so I can’t really vouch for their effectiveness, but as an outside-grammer, it can become quite easy to spot a pod if you pay attention. Sure, you’ll always see friends supporting each other as much as they can, but you start to notice the same people cropping up in the comment section of every post by the same group of people. Now I love my friends and will always try to like every single one of their posts, but I wouldn’t comment on everything and I certainly wouldn’t expect them to do the same for me.

Yes, statistically the posts seem to have a higher engagement, but as a person who likes to look a little beyond just the photo, it all looks a little inorganic, especially when the comments just say things like ‘oh this is a great photo’ or ‘you look fab’. The same goes for story shout-outs. Sure, I do shout-outs for my favourite accounts, and often I might feature the same people, but I do try to mix it up every time, however when the same group of people only seem to share each other on a weekly basis, it just screams pod to me and I can’t help but feel like its a bit forced, plus if I didn’t follow those accounts the first 10 times you mentioned them, chances are I won’t follow them after the next 10..

Now these are just my own observations, and I really don’t mean any shade to anyone who does use pods, especially if they’ve worked really well for you (if they have, I’d love to hear your experiences so do drop me a comment!), I’m just curious to know if anyone else feels similarly, and given that they seem to be talked about a whole lot less than they used to, are Instagram pods fading out again?

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Things I’ve Learned While Trying To Beat The Algorithm

Instagram; it makes us all sigh just a little bit, right?

Don’t get me wrong, I love Instagram. It was the first social media platform I used to promote my blog, and you know what they say, a picture’s worth a thousand words, so its an amazing place to express yourself, but since the introduction of the infamous ‘algorithm’, interaction and growth has been pretty sucky, and everyone and their mums have been theorising various ways in which to take back the platform for the greater good.

I am, of course, one of these people. Having failed to reach my end of the year goal for 2017, I’m determined to do it this year, and I’ve already written about my plan to make this my year on Instagram, now we’re a few months in, I’ve already learned a few things along the way.

People actually like seeing me in photos

I used to avoid photos of myself like the plague – they never seemed to get even a fraction of the likes that any of my other photos did – opting instead for photos of clothes hanging up or as flatlays, but it turns out that people actually like little old me in photos! My outfit photos lately have been super popular, so I guess you’ll be seeing more of me on the ‘gram.

Timing isn’t always everything

I use UNUM to plan my Instagram feed, and even on the free version of the app you do get some insights, one of which being you’re supposed best time to post based on previous likes and comments. Well, I gave it a go, and I can quite safely say that its totally hit and miss. Sure, certain times of day are always going to be better than others – I tend to post on my lunch break at work, and that seems to work for me, probably cos that’s when most people are checking their phone anyway, but even when I followed what the stats told me to a tee, it didn’t guarantee the post would be super successful.

Posting what I love makes me so much happier with my feed

Since the new year kicked off, I’ve been concentrating more on making my feed something that I love to look at, even if no one else did. Yellow is my favourite colour, and integrating it into my feed has made me super happy. I’ve also been using a cute textured throw blanket as a backdrop for product photos to mix things up a little and not shying away from my Disney side so that every aspect of my personality and life shine through in my photos.

Support and shoutouts are super important

If I’m being totally honest, I think the biggest factor in the growth of my following so far this year is thanks to supporting other accounts and other people doing shoutouts for me. I did a Twitter request for people to send me their Instagram links so I could go on a follow spree, and I followed about 100 accounts, most of which returned the favour (although I didn’t expect or ask them to), and I’ve also gained a lot of followers when other bloggers and accounts have included me in shoutouts on their stories, which I am so grateful for. Asking for help, especially when you’re about to hit a milestone, is nothing to be frightened of, and people who support you are always happy to help!

Quality over quantity

I’ve been working so hard on improving the quality of my photos this year. Rather than just taking photos on my phone, I’ve been utilising the 50mm macro lens on my Sony a5000 to take most of my photos and I’ve been so happy with the photos I’ve been taking, and I think I’ve definitely been seeing an increase in likes on *most* of my photos since then. I say most because, y’know, the algorithm is still against us all..

So I’m quite proud to say I’ve gained about 300 followers this year, give or take a bunch of follow/unfollowers (ugh), and I’m really hoping I’ll reach my 2018 goal fairly soon, but we’ll see! If you want to join me over on the gram, you can follow me @lottiedoesdisney!

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

Why I’m Struggling to be a Fitness Blogger Right Now

Fitness is a big part of my life, and I’ve always tried to include that side of my life in this blog, but the keen-eyed regular readers would know that its been quite some time since I posted anything properly fitness related. I mean, I’ve done a few reviews, and a handful of retrospective posts over the last couple of months, but that’s been about it, and while I miss writing about a subject that plays such a big part in my life, I’m struggling for a few pretty good reasons.

I personally feel like the fitness industry itself is so massively flawed. We’re forever having ideas pushed upon us like fad diets, ‘skinny’ products, how we need to look like this celebrity or why those extra pound we’re carrying are the worst thing in the world, and I don’t believe in any of this.

I’m a firm believer that fitness and healthy living is for everyone, no matter how old you are or how much you weigh. I’m a firm believer that you shouldn’t be creating negative associations with certain foods because carbs are super important and some fats are healthy and the world is trying to convince you that the only thing you should eat is kale but you can absolutely have that pizza and enjoy it and not feel like you need to spend the entire next day in the gym hating yourself for it. I hate the terms ‘cheat’ and ‘treat’ and anything that suggests that enjoying life is unhealthy. I believe in body positivity and I cannot stand for ‘fat shaming’ or ‘skinny shaming’.

I don’t believe that the sole purpose of fitness is about losing weight or changing the way your body looks. I think that just wanting to get a bit more active, or become a little bit stronger is absolutely enough if that’s what you want to do. You can run that 10K and have the takeaway without having to justify it as something that you ‘earned’.

Its because I believe in all this that I’m finding the words so difficult to get out, because I would hate for anything I write to sound like anything I don’t stand for. I would never want anyone to think that I believed in or encouraged any of the damaging things that the fitness industry preaches, and I’d rather not say anything than say the wrong thing.

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