Blog Tips

How to Grow Your Instagram

Street style: black vest + leather leggings + OTK boots, black on black , all black everything

Street style: black vest + leather leggings + OTK boots, black on black , all black everything

Street style: black vest + leather leggings + OTK boots, black on black , all black everything

Street style: black vest + leather leggings + OTK boots, black on black , all black everything

Street style: black vest + leather leggings + OTK boots, black on black , all black everything

Street style: black vest + leather leggings + OTK boots, black on black , all black everything

Street style: black vest + leather leggings + OTK boots, black on black , all black everything

Street style: black vest + leather leggings + OTK boots, black on black , all black everything

Vest: Similar | Leggings: Nordstrom | Boots: Nordstrom Rack (size down a full size) | Purse: Similar (less than $40) | Sunglasses: Karen Walker

Photography by: Banavenue

The question that I get asked the most since I started blogging is “How did you grow your Instagram so fast?”. When I started out, I think I probably googled the same thing and tried to look to other bloggers for some magic formula that would shoot me to the top. Unfortunately there is no magic formula and while there are certainly tips that I am going to share with you today, remember that what works for one person may not work for another. I am by no means an expert on the subject, but since so many of you have asked over the past year, I thought it was finally time to share how I gained 18,000 followers in one year.

In the beginning…

  1. The “follow to unfollow” method: If you don’t know what I am talking about, I am referring to where someone will follow hundreds of Instagram accounts and then after a few days they will go unfollow every single account. Why would someone do this? Because it get’s their name in front of Instagram accounts that might not have seen them otherwise. It is pretty frowned upon by people who have been in the business for awhile because it is “spammy”. It might be “spammy” but it certainly works and in the beginning, you do what you have to do. So I would go follow about 100 accounts a night, and then go unfollow them 3 days later if they didn’t follow me back. This got me a couple thousand followers. You can download the app InsTrack to easily track who is and is not following you back. At the point that I am at, I do not do this anymore but I felt like it is one that I should still disclose.
  2. Loop Giveaways: If you have been around Instagram for awhile you most likely have participated in one. These are where in order for an Instagram user to enter into the giveaway, they must follow every single account that is hosting the giveaway. It is called a “loop” because it will take you to each host’s Instagram and will bring you back to whoever you started with. If you are looking to get involved in one of these giveaways, they are usually around $20-$30 to be a part of and you can find out how to get in on one by simply asking someone else that has already done one. They should be able to point you in the right direction. Again, these are a little “spammy” because contestants hate having to follow so many accounts. While giveaways are great to help gain followers fast, you will usually see that right after the giveaway is over, you will lose a substantial amount of the following that you just created due to the fact that they only followed you so that they could win a contest, not because they actually wanted to. I still participate in these from time to time but I try to keep it to a minimum. This has probably boosted my following by at least 5,000 followers.
  3. Call on your friends: Sometimes all it takes is asking! Have your friends give you a quick shout out on their social media pages telling their followers to give you a follow. This could be something along the lines of, “Everyone go follow my best friend’s new blog, you can find her on social media with the handle @itsallchictome”.
  4. “Follow Fridays”: I’d say that these are more for bloggers and small business owners. Essentially what you do is get together a group of 4 people that would want to promote each other to their own followers. As you probably guessed, this happens on Fridays. I typically will try to pair up with 3 other fashion bloggers that I genuinely like to follow so I know that they would be people that my followers would like to follow as well. I would suggest trying to stick to promoting other accounts that are in your same realm of business. Whenever you promote a “follow Friday”, you are essentially getting all of the other participants’ followers. The higher the amount of followers that each of the other 3 participants have, the more followers you will get. These do not gain a ton of followers, but they certainly help. Most people will delete the Instagram post after 24 hours.

The must do’s…

  1. Engagement is everything: You must engage with your current followers but you must also engage with potential followers. Both parts to this equation are crucial. Your followers want to hear from you and know that you are a person that is interested in them and what they have to say. On the other hand, it is important to constantly be getting your name out there. So while you might not think that commenting on some random girl’s photo is doing you any good, you are wrong. Each time you comment on someone’s photo, there are new people that are going to see your name. Exposure is everything and it all starts with engaging. When I say engage, I specifically mean liking and commenting on other people’s photos. You should be doing this daily. I would say that I like and comment on about 100 people’s Instagram accounts per day. Make sure that you are constantly following new people and commenting on different people’s accounts so that you are getting a broader reach.
  2. Use ALL 30 hashtags: This is imperative. Instagram only allows you to use 30 hashtags and you should be using all of them. It doesn’t matter if you think that they make your caption look dumb, I promise that everyone else is doing it and you just have to realize that it’s part of the business game. It is important to think of Instagram like a search engine and hashtags are the only way to search for something. Hashtags get users to your page that might not have found you any other way. There are popular hashtags that you can and should use (and I will most likely do another post on that). I would suggest doing half and half when it comes to popular hashtags versus explanatory hashtags. Explanatory hashtags are anything to explain what is going on in the picture. Whether it is an article of clothing, a brand, or an action that is taking place. Think about what someone might search for in hopes to land on your picture. The best way to input hashtags into your photo is by hiding them into a comment right after you post. This way once people start commenting on your post, the hashtags will get hidden unless someone takes the time to go back through your comments.
  3. Getting featured: Tag every brand or company possible in every single photo that you post. Regrams (when a company or account reposts your photo) help grow your following so much and also put your name out there to brands that you might really want to work with. If you know that a company is going to be posting about you on their Instagram account, make sure you ask them to not only tag you in the photo, but to also give you credit in the caption. The bigger the following of the account that reposts you, the more followers that they are sending your way. Getting featured on Liketoknow.it’s Instagram is just about the best thing that can happen. They have over 2 million followers and if you get reposted on here, not only will it send hundreds if not thousands of new followers your way, it also will give you a nice paycheck to boot.

If you have any other specific questions on this topic, please visit my contact page and shoot me an email. I am always happy to help where I can! If you enjoy my blog tip posts like this one, please let me know so that I can keep them coming for you guys!

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The Frustration with Blogging

Fall transitional look: bodycon dress + duster + booties

Fall transitional look: bodycon dress + duster + booties

Fall transitional look: bodycon dress + duster + booties

Fall transitional look: bodycon dress + duster + booties

Fall transitional look: bodycon dress + duster + booties

Fall transitional look: bodycon dress + duster + booties

Fall transitional look: bodycon dress + duster + booties

Fall transitional look: bodycon dress + duster + booties

Fall transitional look: bodycon dress + duster + booties

Fall transitional look: bodycon dress + duster + booties

Fall transitional look: bodycon dress + duster + booties

Dress: Similar | Duster: Similar | Booties: Similar (under $30) | Purse: Similar | Necklace: Charming Charlie

Photography by: Banavenue

Hi friends! Last week I shared with you all a little bit about how the blog started and where the blog name came from. I love sharing fashion on a budget, but unfortunately sometimes that comes at an inconvenience when it comes to blogging because I am not always able to provide links to my exact outfits. I’ve had several people question that I (along with other fashion bloggers) have been linking “similar” options instead of what we are actually wearing. So today I thought would be the perfect time to share a few reasons why this might happen since I was not able to link the exact items for almost my entire outfit.

First and foremost I do want to establish that yes, that this is one of our jobs as fashion bloggers to provide outfit links for those interested in purchasing the outfit. You come check out a blog post, love a certain article of clothing that I am wearing, and want to know right then and there how you can buy it. 9 out of 10 times that exact piece will be linked and you can just click on the link to take you to where you can buy it! Pretty neat-o right?

But that 1 out of 10 chance that you do not see the exact piece of clothing linked but instead see something similar, you might wonder “Now why did she do that?” Before you get your panties in a twist let me give you a few reasons on why this might happen.

1.The item might be old– Just like you, I recycle my clothes and like to get as much use out of them as possible. Unfortunately most clothes are only available online for a certain amount of time before they run their course. Another problem with being a fashionista on a budget is that I haunt sales and discount stores. By the time an item is on sale in the store, there is a good chance that it is no longer available online. Win for me, lose for blogging.

2. The item might be sold out– Online shopping is a wonderful gift but just like stores can sell out of a certain size or item altogether, so do online shops. If we (fashion bloggers) get lucky, the shop will restock the item but this is not always the case. If I ever have an article of clothing that becomes available again, I will always try to let you know!

3. The brand might not be a part of Reward Style (or some other affiliate program)- While a brand does not have to be a part of Reward Style for me to link to them on the blog, they do have to be for Liketoknow.it (this is their Instagram link-up feature). If you are someone that mostly gets your outfit inspiration from my Instagram and receives Liketoknow.it emails, than this is an issue for you. The good news is, is that there is now a feature on the blog that lets you shop my Instagrams without being signed up for Instagram or Liketoknow.it (you can get to it here). If you do not know what Reward Style is, it is a third party that connects bloggers and brands. This is a service that allows me to link up each article of clothing that I am wearing. Brands have to go through a registration process in order to participate. Most large brands are a part of Reward Style but many small brands and boutiques are not. Also outlet or discount stores, such as Marshalls are not a part of Reward Style.

There could be many other reasons why an exact article of clothing is not linked. I just wanted to let you know that there is always a reason behind a “similar” item being linked. It’s annoying for all of us I can assure you. It requires more time for me to search for similar options. Believe me, if the item was available online from the store I bought it at, it would make my life 100 times easier and you a lot less frustrated!

While it can be frustrating to not find the exact piece that you were looking for, providing similar items it is a way to still be able to recreate my look. My hope is that the majority of my outfits that I post spark inspiration for what might already be in your closet or similar pieces that you might already own. On the off chance that you want to recreate the look and do not have the means to do it, than that is where my handy dandy links come in! As a side note- you can always find these links right under the last picture of the blog post as well as the small pictures below my signature at the very end of my post. All of these are clickable links that will take you directly to the item that you are wanting to buy!

Sorry for the long post, but I did want you to know that I am not linking similar items because I am lazy or can’t find them, it’s because that item really isn’t online! Thank you for understanding and following along!

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Where I learned To Thrive

As I promised, I wanted to do a full recap of my very first blog conference that I attended last weekend. Since I am still a newb to this whole blogging venture, I had so many people dumbfounded when I told them I was heading to a blog conference for the weekend. I got reactions like “Wait, bloggers have their own conventions?” or “What do you do at these things?”. I know it might seem like us bloggers just hop on any old computer and spill our guts on whatever tickles our fancy for that day but that really could be further from the truth. I used to think the same thing 6 months ago. Then once I actually embarked on this blogging venture I quickly learned that it takes a lot more behind the scenes work than you could ever imagine. I even did my research before I started this blog and nothing could have prepared me for how much work, knowledge, technical skills, creativity, and upkeep goes into a blog. So yes, it did take a full day to cram a whole lot of blogger tips and tricks into one conference and I’m sharing my biggest takeaways.

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View More: http://megcady.pass.us/thrive-blog-con-2016

View More: http://megcady.pass.us/thrive-blog-con-2016

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View More: http://megcady.pass.us/thrive-blog-con-2016

View More: http://megcady.pass.us/thrive-blog-con-2016

View More: http://megcady.pass.us/thrive-blog-con-2016

Photography by: Meg Cady

There were so many great speakers and I learned something from every single one of them. That just shows you how much there is to all of this blogging stuff! The speakers covered topics such as social media growth, blogger photography tips, working with sponsors, Google Analytics, SEO, and how to use Pinterest. My journal was torn up with notes on all of the things I should be doing yet had no idea were even a thing! Being a newb in this blogging game is overwhelming at times with there being such a steep learning curve but that’s what drives me to keep learning and improving. I have something that I have created on my own and let’s me share with the world something I otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to do. So here are my biggest takeaways from the conference.

  1. Remember why you started– Alissa Circle hit us with this thought right off the bat. It’s such an easy thing to forget when things get overwhelming and stressful but at the end of the day I love being able to have It’s All Chic To Me as a creative outlet and source of passion.
  2. Big things have small beginnings– Started from the bottom now we here? Don’t tell me you didn’t think the same thing. Well it’s true. You aren’t going to gain 100k followers overnight or suddenly become “blog famous”. It takes time, diligence and consistency. I can hear my mother’s voice now chiming in “patience is key”. Yea yea yea.
  3. Be authentic– In a world so saturated with bloggers and information being thrown at you from every form of social media, people crave honesty and someone they can connect with. Transparency is key, yet finding some sort of balance between perfect and imperfection.
  4. Saying no is ok– This one is a hard one for me. I like to think of myself as a “yes girl”. I try not to say no to many things. Why? Because YOLO, thats why. Well when it comes to blogging I’ve learned that you become a source for advertisement and that means all kinds of brands and companies are going to want to use your platform as a place to advertise their products, whether thats something you would normally support or not. It is then my job to say if I want that product or content on my blog. Saying no to new opportunities, free products, and potentially some sort of payout are hard, but in the end well worth it if it means not supporting a brand you don’t believe in and in turn saving yourself from sacrificing your authenticity.
  5. Stay humble– It’s funny how so many of my friends and peers have already jokingly told me “Don’t forget me when you make it big”. This baffles me because I know how much support all of you give me to keep writing and posting and it is that motivation alone that keeps me going on this crazy venture So don’t worry, I plan on bringing all of you with me, maybe virtually, but I promise you that WHEN I make it big, you guys will be the ones making it with me!
  6. Community over competition– I know I’m beating a dead horse here (if you’ve read any of my recent posts) but it really is true. It is amazing to me the depth of knowledge that some of these ladies are packing. I could have sat in that conference room and just absorbed every bit of information each girl spewed out. The ladies that I have had the privilege of meeting and doing life with are the ones who have helped me get to where I am. There is room in this world for all of us to thrive, so let’s get out and do it! O and check out my Thrive Tribe 🙂

View More: http://diamondoakphotography.pass.us/thriveView More: http://diamondoakphotography.pass.us/thrive

View More: http://diamondoakphotography.pass.us/thriveMake sure to check out my Thrive Tribe and their blogs for more details of their outfits and their experience at their first time at Thrive.

Roselyn – The Style_Lynn Kind | Brittany – Hello Honey | Hope – Tassels and Tabbies | Erin – Style Spies

Margret – Style the Girl | Sara – Haute and Humid | Dede – Dress Up Buttercup | Me – It’s All Chic to Me | Dawn – Dawn P. Darnell

View More: http://diamondoakphotography.pass.us/thrive

View More: http://diamondoakphotography.pass.us/thrive

Dress (similar) | Shoes | Necklace | Earrings | Clutch | Sunglasses

View More: http://diamondoakphotography.pass.us/thrive

View More: http://diamondoakphotography.pass.us/thrive

*Thank you Kendra Scott for sponsoring this post*

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How To Rock Your First Blogger Conference

I had the opportunity to attend my very first blog conference last weekend and boy did I learn a lot! If you have the opportunity to attend a conference, I highly recommend it. No matter if you have been blogging for 6 months, 10 years or maybe you haven’t even started your blog- there are all sorts there and everyone is welcome. As a blogger, we are constantly looking for new ways to help grow our blog, inspire creative ideas, and meet other like minded individuals. I’m here today to tell you a few easy steps you can do before, during and after the conference to ensure that you get the most out of your experience.

How to Rock Your First Blog Conference | Blog Conference Tips | Blog Conference 101 | It's All Chic To Me

BEFORE (What to pack):

  • Comfy clothes and a jacket -Us girls are notorious for overpacking and I wholeheartedly admit that I am also infected with the overpacking disease. It is a blessing and curse but when you are only there for a short time packing light and efficient is the best way to go! Plan each specific outfit that you will need and leave the rest at home. My biggest piece of advice is to dress comfortable. You can see what I wore to the conference here. I decided to go comfy cute but you see it all! Next time I would wear jeans, a cute top and my comfiest shoes. Don’t forget to bring a jacket. Our conference room was FREEZING. You won’t be able to concentrate if you are shivering!
  • Business cards– If you are debating if you need them the answer is 100% YES. Have lots handy at all times. You will be giving them out like candy. I invested in the Moo.com “Luxe” business cards and got so many compliments. They were well worth the extra penny to standout in the sea of business cards that were flying around. Stay tuned on a blog post talking all about how to design your blog business cards.
  • Notebook & pen– I suggest writing things down rather than taking notes on your laptop. This way you will actually focus on what the speakers are saying and not have distractions popping up on your computer. Invest in a cute notebook like this one so you will enjoy taking notes. Cute planners= more notes 🙂 Don’t just take notes on the speakers, take notes on everyone you meet as well. You will meet so many people that they are going to start running together. Jot down something to remember each person by.
  • Smart Phone & Back-up charger– Thank goodness the ladies that put on the conference thought of it all and put charging stations in the conference room but I’m sure this is not always the case. So if you have a back-up phone charger, charge that thing up and bring it. It will be like gold! Use your smart phone to take pics and snapchats during the conference because obvi your friends/readers need to know what you are doing at all times!
  • A big ol’ bag– Instead of bringing 3 bags ( a purse, a laptop case, etc), invest in a cute all-in-one bag such as this. The less stuff you have, or appear to have, the easier it is to get around. I highly suggest bringing a bag big enough to put all of your essentials in, a notebook + pen, if you want to bring your laptop or DSLR, and last but not least plenty of room for all of the swag you are going to get because chances are you are gonna get a lot of stuff from vendors. Score!
  • DSLR & Laptop– Personally I do not see the use for these unless there is a speaker that is specifically talking about a subject where you will need them. Otherwise leave them at home and go old school with your phone, notebook and pen.

Lastly this is not a packing tip but one I think is important to point out. If the conference you are going to has a facebook page make sure you join the group beforehand. This will serve as a source of information and a way to connect with others before and after the conference.

DURING:

  • Get out of your bubble- Chances are you are going to know at least one person at the conference, if not a handful of other bloggers. Use this time to network and reach out to others. You can never have too many friends and chances are you are going to learn something new with each new person you meet. Conferences are great places to build up your tribe. If you haven’t already read why growing your blogger tribe is a necessity check it out here. But it’s crazy how everyone is just so bottled up with information that they are ready to spew all of their blogging tips and tricks. It is not every day that you have that many bloggers in one place so have questions? Here is the place to ask! I would venture to say that I learned just as much from other bloggers as I did from the amazing speakers! Not every little thing is going to be profound but it is something new!
  • Talk to the speakers– Do your research before the conference on who will be speaking and decide who you are most excited to hear. For me since I just purchased a camera for the blog, I was most excited to hear Megan Weaver speak about blogger photographer. I made a point during one of the breaks to seek her out, introduce myself, and create a connection so that if I were to ever need pictures or some sort of photography advice there would be more likely of a chance that she would want to connect again. Remember this is also a good time to pick the speakers brains about any specific questions they did not answer during their presentation. You paid good money to be here so get your money’s worth!
  • Put your phone down– Stay off of your phone and social media as much as possible. Soak up every bit of knowledge that the brilliant speakers will be pouring out. Plus there is a good chance there will be a professional photographer documenting the conference and you don’t want your nose buried in your phone the entire time, that’s embarrassing!

AFTER:

  • Send thank you notes to the speakers– In a sea of hundreds of bloggers a simple, hand-written thank you note will go such a long way. As multiple speakers pointed out, the bloggersphere is saturated with bloggers and anything that you can do to make yourself stand out, do it!
  • Connect via social media– You’ve made all of these connections now what do you do? Well you connect on every single form of social media like it’s your job. You can bet you are going to gain a whole new following to your instagram, facebook, pinterest and everything else.
  • Feeling inspired? Don’t stop now!– You are probably going to be on a “blogger high” once you are done with the conference. Well after you decompress, drink your obligatory glass of wine and take a long nap then you are totally going to feel super inspired. Did you hear of any blog post ideas that got your creative juices flowing? Sit down and plan out a few posts, jot down things that you want to implement from the conference, and then make plans to carry all of these things out. Ride that blogger high as long as you can!

 I know it was a bit longer of a post than usual but hopefully it will help a few of you out that get the opportunity to attend a blog conference! Like I said before, you see it all. Every type of blogger, all realms of blog categories, some pros, some newbs, vloggers (video bloggers), you name it- they are probably there. Last but not least don’t forget to have fun! Yes you are going for the learning experience but it is so much more than that! It’s a chance to connect with people just like you and how often does that really happen? There are only so many times that you can share blog statistics with your family before they go insane. Bloggers on the other hand? The limit does not exist 🙂

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How To Grow Your Blogger Tribe

Something that has been on my heart lately is really telling you guys about this blogging journey-how much it takes and how I have managed to stay afloat. Time, energy, creativity, photo shoots, editing, writing sessions…. well you get the picture. Don’t get me wrong, I am only 4 months into my blogging journey but I am hooked! Between having a full time job and a blog on top of that, one thing that I have learned is that you really can’t do it all on your own. [Insert tribe here]. What is a tribe? Well google defines it as a distinctive, close-knit group with a common culture and dialect. Your tribe is exactly that. They have your back. They keep you inspired to keep going and keep creating. They are the girls (or guys) that you can go to for questions and that cheer you on. And above all they should be your biggest support group. That’s what these ladies below are to me, and I am sharing my secret on how you can grow your tribe too! There are a lot more ladies that I have met through this blogging journey that I can call some of my best friends and, slowly but surely, that tribe grows! So in case you didn’t see my Thrive Tribe post, I want to introduce to you Dawn from Dawn P. Darnell, Dede from Dress Up Buttercup and Margret from Style The Girl.

How To Grow Your Blogger Tribe | Tips to finding a blogging community

How To Grow Your Blogger Tribe | Tips to finding a blogging community

How To Grow Your Blogger Tribe | Tips to finding a blogging community

How To Grow Your Tribe

  1. Get out and make it happen– Things and people do not just come to you. This applies to so many things in life but I say that because you cannot just expect your tribe to happen. You have to make it happen. It might be awkward to reach out to people but if it’s one thing that I have learned is that people are usually open to meeting up because who doesn’t want new friends?
  2. Use Instagram- My biggest suggestion is using Instagram to find like minded people. It sounds creepy at first but just get past that because I promise you 1) it is not, everyone does it and 2) it is how I have met the majority of my blogger besties. Follow people on Instagram that inspire you, have similar interests to you, and honestly people that you could see yourself being friends with. Connect with those people. Like and comment on their stuff letting them know that you enjoy their content and that they are doing a good job. Doesn’t everyone like to be praised? The answer is yes and it will get you noticed. The chances of them wanting to get to know you will increase greatly if you have already established that connection.
  3. Don’t be fake– I felt like I should follow up that last point with this one. Be genuine in your interactions and don’t have ulterior motives. It is easy to spot someone that is not reaching out or making contact for the right reasons. I’m going to leave this one at that.
  4. Ask to get coffee- Almost anyone has time to get coffee and chat. It doesn’t hurt to ask. I have had a lot of luck reaching out to people and asking if they would just like to meet up and get coffee. Coffee is non-binding and is just the right amount of time. If the meet up goes horribly wrong (which I can say has never happened to me), you can chug your coffee and get out of there in no time. The majority of the time though we end up staying hours and the coffee was just a ploy to get us both there.
  5. Attend local blogger events- This one is a little tough until you are a bit established, but the best way I find out about local events is through social media. Facebook being a big one. Go follow other bloggers on Facebook and like their actual blog page. This is where a lot of bloggers will post about events. Once at the event don’t just talk to people you already know. I usually catch up with my girls and then make a point to make my rounds. There are usually people there that I recognize from Instagram so I will go up and introduce myself. Social media can make a connection but face-to-face interactions are far more personal and will establish a relationship.

So there you have it, pretty easy right? You might have heard me say it before but I firmly believe that community over competition is key. There is enough room in this world for all of us to succeed! So if someone reaches out to you and wants to meet up, say yes! I take it as a compliment and love getting to know new people and chances are they are going to help you out at some point too.

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How To Grow Your Blogger Tribe | Tips to finding a blogging community
How To Grow Your Blogger Tribe | Tips to finding a blogging community
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