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

Things I Learned When I Tried To ‘Fit In’

I don’t think there’s a single day that I don’t see some tweet about how someone doesn’t feel like a ‘proper’ blogger because they don’t use a marble backdrop, rose gold props or whatever style is currently being conceived as a ‘typical’ blogger thing.

There’s a number of reasons that these sorts of comments bother me, and I’m not going to get into all of them now, but the biggest one for me is that people think that you have to conform to a particular style to be a blogger. Yes, there’s a bit of a stereotype and a lot of bloggers make jokes about being ‘basic’ or ‘cliche’ but the fact is, its just a popular style and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

In my early years of blogging, I didn’t know much about my own style, or even anyone else’s for that matter, but when I started to discover more of the blogosphere, I started to feel a little bit of a tug to replicate these pretty photos I was seeing all the popular bloggers post. I started brightening my photos, doing more flat-lays and I even made myself a fake marble backdrop. And what happened?

I never used the marble backdrop

After going to all the effort of making my backdrop, it has never actually graced the pages of this blog. I tried, but I realised that it just wasn’t my style and I didn’t want to compromise myself just to look like everyone else.

I discovered more topics that I like writing about

I created this blog original to just talk Disney, but now its so much more than that and I love it. I discovered that I actually really like writing about beauty, even though I never thought I’d be a beauty blogger, and I’ve learned that there are a million other things that I can use this platform of mine to discuss.

Flat-lays are a true art form

And one I have yet to master! You may look at a flat-lay and few products laid out on a nice backdrop but oh my gosh is it so much more? I have so much respect for the bloggers who nail them every damn time, and I aspire to be even half as good as them!

I like my own style, and I like not ‘fitting in’

So I don’t fit the so-called stereotypical blogger style, and I am 100% okay with that. I like bright and colourful and that is me. Blogging is all about being your own person and doing your own thing, and I have known that all along. And yes, I love rose gold and shiny beauty products, and I like marble and pastel and pretty stationary and anything else that makes me a ‘basic’ blogger, so sue me?

I guess what I’m trying to say is that you don’t have to be anything but yourself to be a blogger. A blogger is just someone who has a blog, simple. Love it? Own it.

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My 2018 New Years Resolutions and Goals

And just like that, another year is upon us, and I think there’s something extra satisfying about January 1st being a Monday, anyone else? New week, new year, new set of resolutions and new goals to try and smash.

Resolutions

When it comes to resolutions, I’ve learnt that the key to success is being realistic, and being positive. This year, I’m focusing more on the things that make me happy, and continuing to become the person I really want to be. So here goes:

  • Put myself first more – I’ve always been the sort of person to put others needs first, and of course there’s nothing wrong with that, but it can mean that I end up run a little bit ragged. Well, I’m learning, and this year will be more about making sure that I don’t put too much pressure on myself.
  • Start asking for what I want – I’m often too shy or nervous to put myself out there and tell other people what I want – I won’t even ask my boyfriend to take my blog photos sometimes cos I feel like its too much to ask. Long story short, it means that sometimes I miss out on things that I want to do for no reason other than my own lack of confidence, and I’m tired of that.
  • Learn to sew more stuff – when it comes to my sewing creations, I’ve got a little comfortable with making the same kinda thing. This year, I want to branch out from skirts and teach myself some more advanced patterns like tops, dresses and shorts so I can start creating more wonderful things!
  • Wake up earlier – 2017 was the year I learnt how to have a lie-in, following years of being an early riser. Well, I could really do with that extra time in the morning again, so I’m gonna get myself back into a routine of getting up and getting stuff done.
  • Learn to love photography again – as soon as autumn/winter kicks in and the days get shorter and darker, taking photos starts to seem like such a chore, especially when it comes to blog photos and Instagram. No more! I’m saving for a new lens for my camera, and I’m gonna be bringing bright and beautiful back to your screens very soon!
  • Keep being braver with makeup – I’ve been having the most fun recently playing around eyeshadow, as well as generally improving my makeup skills, and I’ve been loving it. Here’s to a more colourful 2018!
  • Hang out with more amazing people – they say you should always surround yourself with positive people and people who support you, so I’m gonna do just that.

Blogging Goals

2017 was another incredible year for this little blog of mine. Despite a few ups and downs from my end, my blog has held fast as it hit its 4th birthday. I hit all but one of my targets for last year (stupid Instagram), so I’m hoping this year will be just as successful!

  • Targets
    • 1500 Bloglovin followers
    • 3500 Twitter followers
    • 2500 Instagram followers
    • 100,000 page views
  • To achieve
    • Improve flat-lays and product photos
    • Include more photos of myself
    • Help other bloggers by retweeting posts and commenting more
    • Try my hand at proper makeup posts
    • Remember to take more little breaks
    • Just generally chat with more lovely bloggers!

Who else is feeling like 2018 is gonna be a great year?

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

Why I’m Disappearing for Christmas

I don’t imagine this is much of a surprise given that over the last week or so I haven’t been keeping up with my usual posting schedule, but I’m putting myself on a little Christmas break and there will be no new posts until the new year!

As I mentioned last week, I’ve started a new job and I’ve been concentrating on getting settled into a new role and new routine, as well as getting ready for the big day next week, so blogging has just had to take a back burner. This is a huge step for me, because as someone who religiously publishes at least 5 posts a week, I do feel a little like I’m letting my little blog down, but I’m proud of the fact that I’m not letting myself feel guilty for putting myself first.

I need a break, and this year is the first time that I have let myself really take one. If I’m not at work, I’m writing, or working on my small businesses, and I even blog daily when I’m on holiday. This Christmas, I think I’ve earned myself a little time off. I only have a few days off work over the festive period, and I want to spend that time enjoying myself, spending time with my family and just relaxing for a change.

I’m also concentrating on making sure come January I’m gonna be ready with great new content right from the get go, and using a new job and a new year as a fresh slate – and there’s going to be lots to come!

In the meantime, I wish you all the most merry of Christmasses, and if I’m not back by then, a lovely New Year!

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Why I Can Never Enjoy ‘Down Time’

I love keeping busy. This is handy, because I pretty much always am.

They say Rome wasn’t built in a day..

I have a full time job, but I only actually work 3 days most weeks, opting for 12 hours shifts over a regular 9-5, and this gives me quite a few days off in the week, which is great, right?

To the untrained eye, yes, but as well as my job, I also publish 5-6 new blog posts a week here, as well as running two small businesses on my own, both of which involve designing and creating the products that I sell, so my days off are dedicated to those commitments first and foremost.

Any blogger reading this knows exactly how much time and effort goes into blogging. A single post can take hours to make perfect, from the writing to photography and editing, and even when the post is live, then comes the promotion. In fact, I reckon its not inaccurate to say that probably 50% of a bloggers work is done on social media, rather than in the actual writing. There’s the tweet scheduling, Instagram posts, flatlays, PR emails, networking in the community and so much more.

Then comes the small business work. I have stock and supplies to order and products to design and create, then there’s packaging and post offices runs to go on, and again all the promotion work that goes alongside it all.

Great things take time..

Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do but it can be exhausting. I often feel like my work is never done, or there’s more I should be doing, so if I ever take time out for myself, I end up feeling guilty, or feel like I’m forgetting something important. For this very reason I feel like a lie-in is a waste of time, I can’t just sit and do nothing and if for whatever reason I can’t get any work done – hello creative blocks.. – I end up feeling guilty and stressed.

I know that this probably isn’t healthy, and I’m trying to work on it, but I just really want to be successful in the things that I do, and for me success comes from hard work. I don’t expect things to just be handed to me, and I’m more than happy to work for what I want and I just hate wasting time..

Does anyone else suffer from this problem, or have done in the past?

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How My Blog Planning Has Changed Through The Years

It’s always October that I find myself thinking a lot about my blog and how much it’s changed. In just over two weeks this little space of mine will be 4 years old, and I will never stop being grateful for all that blogging has given me.I look back to the early years with a lot of fond memories. I wouldn’t like to call myself naive but I think that’s exactly what I was, but innocently so. Back then I wrote how I thought I should be writing, and when I look back I cringe over how the words don’t even sound like they’ve come from me, but back then, same as I do now, I wrote because I loved doing it.

Back in the day I had no idea how to schedule a blog post, and in fact there were a few days within my first years of blogging that I published about 6 posts in a day because I had no concept of the importance of staggering my content. In those days I didn’t even know how to check my blog stats, let alone worry over them, and I didn’t think I needed a Twitter account – cute right?

For the first year or so of my blog, I just wrote whenever I had the chance. There was no real pattern of much of a schedule, and pretty much everything was posted on the same day it was written without much of a thought. It was simple and I was happy doing that.

When 2015 came around, I wanted routine. I was still LottieDoesDisney back then and I still thought all I could write about was Disney, but came up with an ingenious blog plan and routine for the coming year. For each week I would honour a particular Disney movie, and represent said movie in various inspired posts through the week – I think Monday was an intro, Tuesday was fashion, Wednesday was DIY Thursday was food etc. I don’t even think that lasted two months.

The problem with this is I felt too restricted, and by this stage I was wanting to branch out and write about more topics, and this sort of schedule wasn’t allowing me the ability to do that. I quickly ditched that, although I never stopped writing about Disney, and change was creeping in, but it wasn’t long before I was introducing new schedules that were just as tight as the old ones.

2016 came and again I planned the year out carefully with a bunch of series that I was sure I’d see through, some weekly, some bi-weekly and others monthly. At the time I loved thinking that I was so damn organised, but if for any reason the posts couldn’t be written, I felt like I’d failed the system. Knowing I had to have a certain post written by a certain day of the week made everything feel forced, and I fell out of love with the writing, so I decided to let go.

I still plan, and I always aim to keep at least a week ahead of the game, but I’m far more relaxed with my blog schedule. I am, in fact, writing as many posts, if not more than I ever have done, but I don’t pressure myself and the words just flow much better that way. I try to have 3-4 posts for each week planned at the start of each month, and that allows me to fill the spaces with the spontaneous and off the cuff posts, which often tend to be the most popular.

I’ve always said it and I always will: I just enjoy writing and being a blogger, and what’s funnier still is I always say I’m grateful for what my blog has given me, but I guess really it’s what I’ve given myself.

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Blogging for a Better World

It constantly amazes me how much of an influence bloggers and vloggers actually have these days. I was browsing the beauty aisle in Superdrug the other day near a group of loud teenagers, when I heard one of them say ‘no don’t buy that, *insert name I can’t remember* the YouTuber doesn’t like it so it must be rubbish’, and I just thought it was amazing. Sure, the influence you have can vary, but it got me thinking that as a group, we could make incredible change.

Now I don’t believe for a second in telling other bloggers how to blog, or what you should blog about, but there are a bunch of ways that without compromising your blogging style, you can help make the world a better place.

Be more domestic

I’m not talking about doing the ironing or washing up, this is about cutting the carbon footprint of your shopping spree by choosing to shop from companies and brands that operate in this country. Not only will you save on hefty customs charges, but your items haven’t got to you courtesy of a plane journey!

Order with friends

If you are ordering from abroad, why not do a joint order with other people? I try to do this with a lot of US companies to save on the shipping and customs costs, but it does also save on packaging and transportation.

Promote the use of local produce

If you’re sharing a recipe, why not buy from a local producer and talk about your experience in the post? You can get great deals from your local greengrocers and butchers, they can tell you more about the produce and you’ll be supporting the local community too.

Try natural and cruelty free

You don’t have to switch out your entire makeup collection, but next time you shop try switching to a cruelty free alternative. And hey, if you don’t like what you try, you can write about that too!

Chat about the planet

Write a post on how you recycle at home, or share your favourite outdoor activities. Opt for a staycation bucket list for your next travel post, review a product from a sustainable brand, or just get chatty and talk about saving the planet!

Play a part

There are so many incredible charities that are trying to make a difference in this world, from fighting for human rights to animal conservation and saving the planet. You can blog about your experience at a fundraising event, take part in a fun run or even just promote the charity through your blog and social media – even a single tweet can make a difference!

We don’t have to make big changes, but the changes we make can make a huge difference. It doesn’t hurt to try, right?

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