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?

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

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?

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

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

Its Okay to Have an Instagram Life

Everyone knows there’s two sides to life: the life you actually live, and the life you share on Instagram. One is polished, with perfect lighting and edited to highlight the best bits, and the other is all the messy stuff in between. We all know which is which.

People spend a lot of time joking about things being ‘Instagram-worthy’ or having an ‘Instagram life’, but life isn’t always Instagram-perfect, and that’s more than just common knowledge; its fact. Even if you don’t have a carefully tailored theme, you still choose to share exactly what you want on your profile, and let’s face it, has anyone seen someone post a photo of them doing laundry or 8 hours into a Netflix binge.

And d’you know what? That’s ok.

There’s nothing wrong with cultivating a perfect Instagram feed. We all know that no one’s life is perfect, but its nice a small outlet where you can put together all the pretty and happy moments of life. Now I’m not talking about being false – especially with all the recent blogger photoshop drama – I just think its part of our nature to show only the good bits, and I don’t think there’s any problem with that. Its an outlet, not a documentary.

Putting together my Instagram feed gives me so much happiness. Sure, it comes with the annoyance of the constant follow/unfollowing and the struggle with growth, but I would still say its my favourite social media platform because I’m a visual person and I love taking photos and posting them to Instagram. I love finding Instagrammable spots, or putting together cute shots just for the purpose of posting. It makes me happy, and whether its all entirely accurate to how my life actually looks, ultimately happiness is the goal, right?

On the flipside, I think I’m probably the most honest when it comes to Instagram stories. Sure, I’ll put the photos that I want on there, but recently I’ve also been using it as a way of sharing my venting my feelings through chatty Insta-stories, and I love seeing other people doing the same.

I’ve learnt over the years to not compare myself to the lives that I see on Instagram for this very reason; I know that the life I put on Instagram doesn’t reflect, so I don’t expect everyone else’s to. I just hope everyone is happy.

My life might not be totally together but at least my Instagram feed is cute.

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

My Top 15 Most Instagrammable Disney Park Foods

Is a Disney trip really a Disney trip if you didn’t Instagram at least one snack?

If you’re as Insta obsessed as I am, the combination of adorable food and a pretty castle backdrop is just impossible to resist, and its acceptable to be totally basic and refuse to eat until you’ve got the perfect photo.

Well your friendly neighbourhood Disney tripper is here to guide you in finding what I consider to be the most double-tap-able eats and treats from all six Disney parks! Brace yourself, you’re about to get hungry.

Mochi might be one of the strangest foods I’ve ever tried, but seriously these green aliens from Tokyo Disneyland are the business

Tokyo also takes churros to the next level. Yep, its Mickey shaped.

I’m a sucker for any type of steamed bun, but I cannot get over how adorable these little piggy pork buns from Hong Kong Disneyland are.

I was pretty lucky to get a photo of this raspberry ice lolly before it melted in the mid-July Tokyo DisneySea heat

Head over to the Cozy Cone Motel in Disneyland’s California Adventure park for a cone full of deliciousness in the most perfect Pixar themed land.

Who doesn’t love a Rice Krispie treat? These beauties come in all sorts of amazing flavours and designs and are best eaten on Main Street, although a balcony in Polynesian is a pretty good alternative.

I can never say no to a Mickey shaped pretzel, and I can never eat one without snapping it first!

Disneyland Paris is never complete without a Mickey marshmallow or macaron in front of the castle.

And speaking of macarons, how cute is this little Goofy treat from club level Shanghai Disneyland Hotel?!

If you’re an Alice fan, you’ve gotta head over to Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall if you’re in Tokyo Disneyland for this amazing dessert option!

The best way to cool down in Hong Kong Disneyland is with a Lotso lolly in Adventureland!

Mickey shaped muffins are popping up all over different Disney parks, but this beautiful blueberry one was snapped in Shanghai.

When in Tokyo, if you don’t snap a steamed bun burger, were you even there?

Lemon meringue pie PLUS a Mickey macaron? Yes please Shanghai Disneyland!

And who can resist a Mickey waffle?!

Don’t forget I’m heading to Disneyland in less than 2 weeks, and I’m sure I’ll be Instagramming a tonne of food from there so stay tuned!

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

 

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