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

My Plan of Attack for Instagram

The algorithm might be screwing us all right now, but this year I’m determined to hit some goals when it comes to Instagram. Its always been my favourite social media app, and although engagement is a bit sucky right now, bots are a nightmare and the follow/unfollow game drives me a little crazy, I do still love it.

What I do not love is that little number at the top of my profile that just doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Even when I get that little notification to say I’ve gained followers, the number never seems to change, and its a little disheartening, but I refuse to let this setback, albeit fairly major, bring me down, and I’ve been spending a lot of time so far this month coming up with things I’m going to try to get back in the game.

Plan plan plan

I’ve always liked pre-editing my photos and saving them into the handy drafts function that Instagram has, but I’ve never actually had a proper planning tool for what to post when. Well I did a little research and took a few recommendations and downloaded Unum, which is an app specifically for planning out your Instagram feed. You link your account and it imports your current feed, then gives you a whole bunch of blank squares that you can put photos into to decide exactly where you want them to go in your feed. You can even edit photos and upload them to Instagram directly from the app and I am loving it.

Get engaging

I’m ashamed to say that recently my activity with other people on Instagram has taken a dip, but I’m getting back on track by double-tapping and dropping comments whenever I can. I’m not sure if this will actually help my own account at all but if it puts a smile on the face of another user looking for some engagement then my work is done.

Celebrate others

Again, whether this actually helps my own follower count or not I don’t know or care, but recently I did my first ever Instagram story shout-out to some of my favourite accounts, and it made me so happy! I’m gonna try and make this at least a monthly thing going forward and continue spreading the love.

Spend more time looking for new accounts

I’m very much the person that follows people I know, then people who appear in the suggestions tab, and people I see sharing their links on Twitter, but I rarely just go hunting for new accounts to follow, so I’m gonna hit the explore tab a bit more and brighten other people’s days by hitting that follow button.

Get regular and utilise stats

My aim for 2018 is to try and post every day wherever possible because its rumoured that being more regular generally sees an increase in engagement. Well I’ll have to wait and see with that one, but what I am curious to test is looking at some of the analytics from my posts. As well as planning posts, Unum also has an analytics tab which shows all sorts of data from my most popular posts, best hashtags and even the best times for me to post on each day of the week based on previous engagement – apparently Thursdays seem to be my best day! PS. This is all included under the free version of Unum, but you can pay a subscription for more insights.

Have fun with it

More importantly than anything else, I just want to continue loving Instagram. Towards the end of last year I found myself falling out of love with it a little as I felt some posts were forced, or didn’t fit my style and I just didn’t like feeling that way. I’ve currently got a bit of a yellow theme going on, and with yellow being my favourite colour and also a happy colour, I’m smiling every time I look at my feed which is exactly what I want.

If you wanna help a girl out, my link is below, or you can search for me @lottiedoesdisney!

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

Our WDW Itinerary!

The holiday starts here!!

Well, this afternoon we’ll be driving up to Manchester before our flight to Orlando tomorrow morning, so it technically starts here, and I’ve got real Disney excitement kicking in!


I will, of course, by blogging the trip day by day, but if you want to know in advance what we’ll be getting up to, here’s our itinerary!

Monday 30th October

Arrive in Orlando and check into Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. It’ll be late when we arrive so we’ll just grab some food at the hotel and go straight to bed!

Tuesday 31st October

First day is always a Magic Kingdom day! We have breakfast reservations at Be Our Guest, and a late lunch/early dinner at Plaza Gardens because the park will be closing early for the Halloween party, so we’ll be kicked out at 7pm!

Wednesday 1st November

Animal Kingdom, and our first visit to Pandora! We didn’t get a Flights of Passage fastpass for this day but we did get Rivers of Light and I’m so excited to see what all the fuss is about. We’re having dinner at Rainforest Cafe and then going back to the Magic Kingdom for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party – eek!

Thursday 2nd November

Starting the day at the Boardwalk with the Bon Voyage breakfast at Trattoria al Forno, then onto Epcot for the day.

Friday 3rd November

A non-Disney day, we’ll be in Universal Studios!

Saturday 4th November

Hollywood Studios! I still love this park even though there’s not so much going on, and we’ve got Fastpasses for Toy Story Midway Mania and the Indiana Jones Stunt Show, and dinner at Sci-Fi Dine In.

Sunday 5th November

This is going to be a nice chilled shopping day. We’re starting the day with breakfast at Chef Mickey’s, then doing the outlets, then heading to Disney Springs, where we’ve also got dinner booked at T-Rex.

Monday 6th November

Another non-Disney day at Sea World

Tuesday 7th November

We’re back at Animal Kingdom and have the excitement of our Flights of  Passage fastpass! We’ve also got dinner booked at Yak and Yeti.

Wednesday 8th November

Another Epcot day, and this is the day we’ll be filling our boots with Food and Wine Festival food! We do also have dinner at Teppan Edo though..

Thursday 9th November

The first split day on our trip, we’re going to be spending the morning at Blizzard Beach, then going across to Hollywood Studios in the afternoon. We’re trying out the Fantasmic Dining Package with dinner at Mama Melrose!

Friday 10th November

Back into Magic Kingdom, and I’m really excited to have lunch at Skipper Canteen!

Saturday 11th November

The last of our non-Disney days, we’re doing Discovery Cove!

Sunday 12th November

This is a pretty flexible day, but we do have some Fastpasses booked for Animal Kingdom!

Monday 13th November

As our last full day, we’ll be in Magic Kingdom! Breakfast is at Crystal Palace and I’ll probably spend the day sobbing over leaving.

Tuesday 14th November

We actually have no plans for this day as our park tickets will have run out by then – we actually were meant to leave on the 13th but our flights got cancelled and rebooked for today so it’s a bonus day! We’ll probably just hang out at the resort or Disney Springs!

If anyone is about in the parks, come and say hello – I’ve packed some of my patches to giveaway so don’t be shy! And of course I’ll be posting loads on Twitter @lottiedoesblog and Instagram @lottiedoesdisney so be sure to follow along!

Why I’m Considering Changing my Instagram Handle

LottieDoesDisney instagram

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: while I love Instagram, I’m finding it almost impossible to grow on there. I gain 10 followers, lose 12, and the cycle continues with a never ending loop of spam bots and follow-unfollowers.

This year, I’m determined to hit a new milestone of 2000. It’s probably tiny for many but it’s still about 700 away, which would mean consistently gaining two followers a day with no drop outs. Sounds simple, right? Ha.

I’ve tried all sorts. I have a theme (sort of), I post good quality photos with as many hashtags as I can fit and while the likes come rolling in, the followers don’t follow suit, which has led me to believe that it’s one particular thing about my Instagram: my handle.

Back at the beginning of 2016, I implemented a huge blog overhaul. I bought a new domain, my snazzy layout and header, and I rebranded. By rebrand, I removed one thing from my blog’s title. You see, LottieDoesDisney was how I began, and if you’ve been following me long enough to remember the days of the blue cloudy blog posts, then I salute you! Instagram was the first form of blog related social media I got into, and being @lottiedoesdisney made me, well, me. Back in those days my blog was entirely Disney, and it’s only been in the last 2 years that I’ve branched into proper lifestyle blogging, and the rebrand made sense for the benefit of my blog, but I’ve clung to my Instagram as the only remaining form of my blog as it was when it was born.

What I fear now is what I feared back then: what if having Disney in my name is putting off new followers? I will always post a lot of Disney, both on my blog and Instagram, but that’s not all I want to be known for, and I’d hate to think that it’s the reason people aren’t hitting that follow button?

What do you think – does having a fandom/obsession in a username put you off following?

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

RunDisney 2016: The Final Checks

We leave tomorrow. WE LEAVE TOMORROW.

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In 4 days time we’ll have finished our first race, 6 until our second. This time next week we’ll be celebrating the end of the first week at the Cool Down Party. ISN’T IT CRAZY?!

I wrote my first RunDisney post on January 28th 2015, and since then I’ve written 38 training updates, and it all comes down to the next two weeks. This is insane. Can you tell I’m excited?

This week was for tapering, the word that most runners simultaneously love and hate; the cutting down of training run distances to prepare your body for an upcoming race. As per usual, we ran three times this week: a 5k, a 7k, and another 5k, which we did today. The next time we run will be in Florida!

So we’re all packed, or at least I am at this stage in the day. Four running costumes, plus spares, and one pair of running shoes, because I only trust one pair of my shoes at the moment! I’ve got a roll of Dynamic Tape and spray for my knee, Dad’s stocked us up with painkiller gels galore, and of course I’ve packed probably too many pairs of Mickey ears, which means I must be ready!

Tomorrow is going to be crazy long, starting at 5am UK time with a 4 hour coach journey, a 9 hour flight and finishing in EST, so we will be categorically pooped by the end of it all, but I’ll be in Disney World and it will be 100% worth it.

If you didn’t catch it yesterday, you can read our itinerary here to see what we’ll be getting up to, and I’ll be live blogging every day! You can also keep up via Twitter, Instagram and I’ll be streaming some of our trip on Periscope, so be sure to follow me @lottiedoesdisney!

Are you ready for the fun to start? I AM

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My Disney Trip Itinerary!

You know who I love? Disney lovers.

My Disney friends just get me; instead of the classic ‘you’re going to Disney again!?’ that I get from my colleagues and non-Disney friends, whenever I’m getting ready for a trip, I know I’ve got a team of people that are just as excited for what I’m going to get up to as I am, and that always makes me so happy.

If you’re one of these people, you’re awesome.

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So given that I leave on Monday, I just thought I’d share our rough plan for our trip:

Monday 4th – arrive in Orlando, check into Port Orleans French Quarter. It’ll be quite late and we’ll be exhausted, so probably dinner and bed, maybe a quick trip to Disney Springs!

Tuesday 5th – Magic Kingdom day, starting with the Keys to the Kingdom tour, and ending with dinner at California Grill.

Wednesday 6th – Animal Kingdom, then over to ESPN Wide World of Sports for the Run Disney Expo where we’ll be picking up all our race packs, eek!

Thursday 7th – RunDisney WDW 5K at 6am, followed by a day in Epcot with lunch at Teppan Edo

Friday 8th – Hollywood Studios, and an early night..

Saturday 9th – RunDisney WDW half marathon at 5.30am, yikes! We’ll be recovering with lunch at Beaches and Cream, then heading into the Magic Kingdom to celebrate our first week of races being over!

Sunday 10th – start the day with a recovery swim, then spend some time in Disney Springs for the Run Disney Cool Down Party. We’re gonna need some down time!

Monday 11th – after a day of rest, Monday we’ll be attempting the Four Park Challenge, wrapping up with a Fastpass for Illuminations at Epcot!

Tuesday 12th – a bit of Epcot in the morning, and over to Hollywood Studios for the afternoon, finishing with Fantasmic!

Wednesday 13th – we’ll be saying goodbye to WDW in the Magic Kingdom, before we head to the airport for our flight to LAX. We’ll be arriving pretty late again, and checking into the Paradise Pier hotel in Disneyland.

Thursday 14th – we’ve got to go to the RunDisney expo to pick up our race packs and park tickets before we go into Disneyland!

Friday 15th – breakfast on Main Street USA, then we might hop across to California Adventure.

Saturday 16th – RunDisney Star Wars 10k first thing, then more park time!

Sunday 17th – RunDisney Star Wars half marathon, and we’re done with all our running, YAY! The rest of the day will probably be spent in California Adventure, and I’m hoping we can meet up with my lovely friend Nancy in the park! To end our trip, we’ve got a dinner booking at Ariel’s Grotto and preferential seating for the World of Color show!

Monday 18th – as we’ve only got a 4 day park ticket, today will be for outlet shopping and hitting up Walmart before our flight home in the evening, then Tuesday we’ll be back on British soil..

  I’M SO EXCITED!!!

I’ll be live posting the whole trip, hopefully everyday, and don’t forget to keep up with me on Twitter (@lottiedoesblog) and Instagram (@lottiedoesdisney)! I’ll also be trying my hand at Periscope (@lottiedoesdisney), so give me a follow for our live streams!

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100 Days of Happy

I kicked off September with plenty of happy vibes for the month, and its been so good that I want to keep it going! It also just so happens that today marks exactly 100 days until I walk through the gates to my happy place – the Magic Kingdom!

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So with that in mind, today I’m going to be kicking off a 100 days of happy challenge!

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Ok, so its not really much of a challenge, but for those of you that don’t quite know what I’m on about, 100 days of happy is simply documenting something that makes you happy, everyday for 100 days. It can be as small as a pretty flower or a nice meal, or something bigger, like booking a holiday, reaching a milestone or getting a new job; its just about taking the time each day to remember how good life is!

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Everyday I’ll be posting my happy moments on my Instagram (@lottiedoesdisney) and Twitter (@lottiedoesblog), and then I’ll do a couple of round-ups on here to let you guys know how I’m getting on, the last of which being on the morning of day 99, when we leave for America!

I’m super excited for another great 100 days; I leave for Europe on Wednesday, then when I come back I’ve got the last of the pre-Disney prep, Christmas – my all time favourite time of year – and then off we go!

Join me in my challenge? 🙂

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