Instagram Content – To Post Or Not To Post? That is The Question

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photos: Raul Romo 

Instagram Content – To Post Or Not To Post? That is The Question.

 I wanted to talk about a slightly different topic than normal on here – about the thought process behind scheduling my Instagram posts and my entire Instagram feed itself…

“Is it a GOOD photo or is it mediocre?” “Does it look good on my feed?” “Should I start posting only outfit photos and not coffee drinks or pretty flatlays because my outfits get higher engagement?” “Should I completely change my entire feed and try something new?” “Should I share things other than fashion?” “Should I play it safe and only post content that I already know will do well?” ” or should I change it up and not care?” “What direction should I take?” Asking for a friend. 

This is how I’ve been feeling lately. I have been in one of those moods where I feel stuck in a rut, confused, lost. Getting out of this weird “funk” is sometimes difficult. Or maybe I’m just having a moment. It happens. I feel like other bloggers know what I’m talking about. I’ve noticed that whenever I post a photo other than outfits, it doesn’t get the reaction I would’ve hoped for. Engagement is super low. While I love my feed to have a variety and not just outfit after another, seems like my followers are not into it. They only like my outfit photos. So what do I do? Should I only post what my followers like instead of what I like?

Don’t get me wrong. I do post what I like and I stay true to myself, but sometimes I look at my feed and think “(Yawning) Ugh, I could’ve done better”. “Boring”. And I don’t like feeling this way.

While you’ll see more of my personality and personal side on my Instagram stories and Snapchat, I do keep my Instagram account strictly blog-related content. I have to. It’s my business, however; you will see my fun-witty-sarcastic side (read IG captions), and share content that is still relevant but not just an OOTD after another OOTD… make sense? That’s what my personal account is for – to show content that isn’t blog-related.

The way I see my Instagram account is if it looks boring to me, then I need to make some changes. I like content that shows some type of breakage, that splits content from repeating similar content in a row, such as beauty or details shots or anything inspiring. I like consistency but not repetitive if that makes any sense.

So while I still try to figure out the plans for my Instagram feed and the direction I plan to take, I do hope that you stick around because I do plan to sprinkle in some new not-your-usual content on my Instagram.

 If you have any suggestions or thoughts on this post, feel free to leave me a comment. I love reading them. 🙂

 

xo

 

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My Thoughts on Loop Giveaways and Like / Comment Pods

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My Thoughts on Loop Giveaways and Like / Comment Pods

I miss the days when Instagram was easy, stress-free, and not having to worry about how to go around the “new algorithm changes” (literally rolling my eyes as I type this). Remember when you could get 600 likes with less than 10k followers? Or when your feed wasn’t controlled by Instagram’s new formula? Nowadays, you can have 100k followers with only 600 likes, if that (smh).

With the new changes, one must find ways to stay relevant in the blogger world. In other words desperate times calls for desperate measures… I’m talking about Loop Giveaways that have been all over your feed (guilty), and Like/Comment Pods (keep scrolling to read).

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photos: Leslie Rodriguez

LOOP GIVEAWAYS

As much as it’s annoying to see nothing but loop giveaways on my Instagram feed, I think it is appropriate to do one or two, not three in a day or in a week. Spread them to throughout the months. I made the mistake of doing two within two weeks only because I didn’t realize how close the giveaways were going to be (my bad). I won’t be doing that again.

Although a lot of people have their own thoughts and opinions about loop giveaways and are not fans of them, I am here to say that I see both sides. Some may think it’s like buying followers, but I have to disagree because someone actually ends up winning an amazing gift, while buying followers will only get you fake/ghost followers. These loop giveaways have their pros and cons.

Pros: Influencers who participate in these giveaways have a chance to gain more exposure from a wider audience, which means more followers. This is a pro, especially on a brand’s perspective since, unfortunately a lot of brands care more about quantity versus quality.

Cons: After the giveaway is over, you lose followers (not all but most), which is pretty standard and expected.

It really depends on how you look at it. The way I see them is that it definitely helps your blog/Instagram get recognition. The new followers might not have even known about your blog or Instagram, which can help in your advantage if they like your feed and stick around. OR, perhaps these accounts who are entering these giveaways are just in it for the free stuff (also pretty normal), and are only following for a chance to win, period. It’s really difficult to gage these loop giveaways, but I suggest every influencer who is trying to build their account to try a giveaway to see how they like it. If it didn’t matter about the number of followers you have on Instagram, then none of the above would be relevant. Unfortunately, as a full time blogger (I’ll speak for myself) we have to make sure our numbers keep growing and our engagement is high, which leads me to Like/Comment Pods…

Would I do another loop giveaway? Yeah, maybe –  but i’m definitely going to try to host more giveaways on my own and see how that works out. Not only for exposure but for my followers because I luv ya. 😉

 

LIKE / COMMENT PODS

For those of you who are not familiar with these pods, they are DM groups through Instagram or through the Telegram app (I’m sure there are others) with different bloggers who share their Instagram posts for the group to like and or comment on each other’s posts. It’s another way to support one another. I briefly mentioned my thoughts about it on my 5 Instagram Pet Peeves blog post. Very similar to my thoughts on loop giveaways – I’m not against them. My only issue is when other bloggers do not catch up, meaning like or comment on your posts. The way it works is that you must be caught up with whoever is involved in the group by liking and or commenting before sharing your posts with the group. Some follow rules, while most do not… this is based off my experience by the way. I had to leave a few groups because I felt like I was abiding by the rules while others were using lame excuses like “sorry no wifi, will catch up later” yet still share their post. This topic is silly, really. And I’m sure more for those who are reading this who are not bloggers, but this is the blogging world we live in.

Anywho, these are my thoughts on loop giveaways and like/comment pods based off my experience. I would love to hear your thoughts and comments.

xo

 

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Five Instagram Pet Peeves

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Before I share my five Instagram pet peeves, I wanted to explain why I decided to draft this post.

A couple weeks ago, I stumbled upon a heart-breaking post. Someone recently going through a miscarriage, and while most were sympathizing with her sending love and prayers her way, others failed to read the full post and leave comments like “Where is your blouse from?” and “Love this” and “Congrats” because many assumed that since she shared an ultrasound photo that it automatically meant she was announcing her pregnancy.

Now fast forward to last week, while I was scrolling down my Instagram feed, I came across a post of this beautiful girl in her wedding dress, shared by an influencer I follow – mourning over the recent loss of her dear friend. I know this because – as always I like to not only see pretty inspirational photos, but read the captions as well. Most were replying with “Sorry for your loss”, while others “So obsessed” and “Love this look”. I don’t know about you, but this didn’t sit well with me. It never does. I mean, come on people read the captions! You might as well say GFY.

Sorry. This just really annoys me.

Per usual, while doing my daily blog reads, I read Sivan’s recent My Instagram Pet Peeves post, and decided to add my two cents on this subject, specifically on the robotic comments, because it’s a total eye-twitcher for me.

 

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Without further ado… here are my five Instagram pet peeves.

  1. Read the captions. Especially if you are planning to leave a comment. Know what you are commenting on, and be genuine. Get creative even. Don’t leave comments, like “Fabulous look” or “Maj” or my favorite “Great capture”… Great capture?! WTF!!! Do people even speak like that? I know there’s been times when even I leave generic comments, but it’s never comments I wouldn’t actually say in real life. I always try to leave organic comments. I try to think as if I were running into a friend and she asked me what I thought of her OOTD. I like to leave comments as if I were speaking to a girlfriend in real life. Does this make sense? If you’re not going to leave a genuine comment then maybe don’t comment at all.
  2.  Inappropriate commenting. This ties back to #1. If someone is mourning over the loss of their pet, relative, anything tragic, don’t comment with a happy emoji or make irrelevant remarks. Don’t compliment someone’s shoes when they are clearly talking about a recent breakup. Have some respect. Don’t be rude. Read the post.
  3. Reposting. If you’re going to repost an image, ALWAYS make sure to give credit. While we all love pretty photos, it’s important to tag the account you got the photos from. Don’t be a thief. Lol.
  4. Like / Comment Groups. Oh, yeah this is a real thing. I think they’re great because it allows you to share your content with other influencers that may or may not get to see it other feed and/or get introduced to new influencers you might’ve not known before. It’s another way to support one another in this blogging community, especially since Instagram changed their algorithm. I’m totally apart of them, well was a part of several now I narrow it down to one for the following reason. My only issue with this is the strict rules you have to abide by that no one seems to ever follow. The rules are simple: before sharing your photos, you must be caught up and like/comment on everyone else’s photos. My favorite is when they say they’re caught up but they’ve missed a few photos. Or when they share their photos before catching up, but say they have bad connection or no wifi so they’ll catch up later… Sooooo if you have no service, then how did you manage to post a photo and then share it on the group? I’m confused. 
  5. Do not follow and unfollow accounts. That’s pathentic. It’s lame. Who does that?! This has got to be one of my biggest pet peeves. I know I’m not the only one that has experienced this before. Maybe I’m just the first to speak up about it. This has happened to me multiple times where I notice influencers with larger accounts follow and unfollow me right away. I know it’s only to get my attention to follow them back and once I do, unfollow me. Sometimes I do follow back because my first reaction is “oh cool, ___ is following me. I don’t know them personally but I’ve seen them. I’m going to follow them back.” I’m all about supporting one another. If you’re trying to increase your following, do your research and tag relevant accounts with huge followings that can potentially repost your photos and increase your audience. Don’t be fake. After all, no one likes a shady bishhh. 😉

Before I go, I wanted to say that I hope you all take this as simply me just venting and sharing my thoughts, experiences, and perspective. I hope this doesn’t make anyone upset. I treat my blog like a diary so I hope you understand my reason for publishing this post.

Off topic, I’ve linked and listed all outfit details below. 🙂

 

xo

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Five Instagram Tips

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photos: Enocha

Social media has really changed the way we communicate with one another, and pretty much life altogether. Am I right or am I right?

One of the most rewarding things about being an influencer is the connection with you all. It’s truly one of the greatest pleasures of Instagram… for me at least.

What have I learned about Instagram? Staying true to myself. Don’t be afraid to not like the same things as the next influencer. I can go on and on and on, but you get the point.

I wanted to share a few things I’ve learned/tips on Instagram from my perspective. As always, I speak for myself and all opinions are mine based off of what I’ve learned and/or experienced.

Five Instagram Tips:

  1. Post what YOU want vs. what EVERYONE else is posting. I use to create content based off of what was trending versus what I actually love. My content is always changing because as I get older, I discover new things I enjoy/love – but I’ve learned that posting more relevant content to my life is important and makes more sense, because who am I really if I’m not sharing things I actually fancy… right?
  2. Post IRL (In Real Life). This is obviously a tough one as you can’t ALWAYS post in real life. Things always come up or life just happens, therefore; sometimes you are unable to post right away. I totally get it, but I do prefer to try to post IRL as often as possible, because I find myself being more excited to post the content at the moment than saving it for a raining day (if that makes sense). I tend to get tired of seeing the “saved images” under my camera roll so much that I often end up never posting because I’ve seen them a million times already, which I end up forgetting that you (my followers) haven’t seen these images. The struggle.
  3. Be Authentic. This ties back to tip #1. For those who know me know I’m a very laid back person and don’t take things so seriously. I think being yourself is what will make you stand out. I love creating action shots. The accidental images are what end up doing well for me. Meaning less posey and more in-the-moment shots. The social media world we live in is saturated with so many influencers so getting creative can often be overwhelming, and often feel discouraged – but I think that’s the beauty of it. You must always stay creative, and constantly find ways to differentiate yourself from the rest. I love a good challenge.
  4. Stop stressing. It’s not that serious people. Maybe because I’m not that picky when it comes to taking photos. I found myself taking less photos and getting a good 2-3 photos I LOVE. That’s really all I Need. It becomes overwhelming for me when I have to weed out all 500 photos I just took for that one good photo to post. It’s a waste of my time and the person taking the photos. Sure we need options, especially when you’re asking a stranger, however; try to learn what angles/poses work best for you and direct the person on how to take the photos. It’ll save you some time. It becomes less stressful for me, too – honestly.
  5. Engage with your followers. How do I say this without sounding… um, bitchy… You’re not a celebrity therefore don’t act like one. Respond to your followers. If they’re asking where your shoes are from even though you stated in your caption that details are listed on your latest blogpost, just tell them. If people are DM’ing you about something relevant (obviously not the creepers asking if you’re single or whatnot), then you should respond even if it’s an emoji. Acknowledge your followers – it’s so important because to be honest, without them, your blogging business would be non existence. Again, speaking from my perspective/experience, so please don’t get offended.

I hope you find this post helpful. Obviously most of these tips apply to influencers or anyone trying to grow their Instagram.

xo

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Five Tips to Increase Your Instagram Engagement

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photos: Enocha

It’s obvious that our engagement has dropped drastically with the new Instagram algorithm. I say drastically because I’ve noticed it on my own account.

Because it is so difficult to keep people engaged, one must find ways to maintain the interaction between one another. Here are five tips on how to increase your Instagram engagement… I hope this is helpful for some of you.

  1. Figure out the best times/dates to post. Use icono square to get your analytics.
  2. Interact with your followers as well as accounts you follow. It’s important to respond to any comments or questions left on your photos.
  3. Figure out how many times a day to post, whether that’s more frequently or less.
  4. Observe what content gets the most engagement that way you know what type of content you need to continue creating going forward.
  5. Captions are key. I personally think it’s a waste when you skip captions. Take advantage of creating creative captions, like asking questions or telling your followers to list their favorite ___. Start a conversation. Whether it’s through your captions or insta stories. Ask your followers what type of content/posts they want to see more of. Or maybe ask your followers where they are from.

xo

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Instagram Stories vs Snapchat Stories

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Instagram stories or Snapchat stories? Which platform do you prefer?

As a blogger, it is really difficult to be on both and try to create different content as oppose to sharing every snapchat story onto Insta stories, which I’m guilty of. It honestly makes no sense. What’s the point of following you on both platforms if you’re going to be sharing the exact same content, right?

Here are my thoughts on Instagram stories vs Snapchat stories…

Instagram Stories:

Pros:

  • You can see and click on users who view your stories (I see you boo boo).
  • Hands-free video is awesome.
  • You can tag a brand/person, which will lead you to their Instagram profile with just a click of a button. Very convenient when working with a brand.
  • Video seems longer but not really sure if they are.
  • The Boomerang feature is my favorite.
  • You can go live.
  • You can be more creative with the drawing and text tools, especially since you can create multiple text lines.
  • You get more views.
  • You can view a photo longer by pressing down on your screen. Love this feature because I am able to read a longer caption if needed.

Cons:

  • You can’t see who screen shots your stories, which is annoying.
  • There are no fun filters.
  • You cannot control the length of each photo or video.
  • Once the stories are done, it automatically takes you to the next person, which I can definitely do without.
  • You don’t have the fast-forward, rewind or slow-motion tool.
  • You can only upload photos from your camera phone that were taken within 24 hours, otherwise you’ll have to screen shot & crop your photos to appear within the 24hr time frame.
  • If you save your stories, they automatically appear in your camera roll versus within the app itself.

 

Snapchat Stories:

Pros:

  • Geo tags and filters are the best.
  • You can control the length of each photo and video.
  • All stories saved are saved within the app and not necessarily in your camera roll, however you do have the option of doing both.
  • You can upload from your camera roll without any restrictions.
  • You can see who screen shots and re-plays your stories.
  • You can create your own geo tag for special events.

Cons:

  • Although Snapchat let’s you see who views your stories, you’re limited because you cannot click through their profile to see exactly who they are unless you know them by their screen name.
  • You can mention a brand, however they will not be notified that they have been tagged or mentioned.
  • The drawing tools can be better.
  • Views aren’t nearly as great.
  • No Boomerang or Live feature.

 So, which platform do you prefer?

In my opinion, if Instagram stories had better filters, be able to control the length of each story, and be able to see who screen shots your stories, then I would probably stop using snapchat altogether. Although I find myself more active on Insta stories, I am having a bit of separation anxiety and completely letting go of Snapchat. I do believe that Instagram will be coming out with new tools and features that will convince me to officially cut the Snapchat umbilical cord. Until then, you can still find me on both, but most likely more Insta stories.

xo

How I Edit My Instagram Photos

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“How do you edit your Instagram photos?” “Love your photos?” “What filters do you use?” The most popular questions I’ve gotten. Well, you asked, I answered.

If you scroll a few months down my feed, you’ll notice that my photos use to be very blown out, I would whiten every single background, even moody (love a good moody shot). I used to be very particular with my feed and how every single photo looked. I was OCD with the editing and filter usage. I kept my filters to a minimum (two I think), and it HAD to look perfect. “Now wait a minute… but my life isn’t perfect so why am I trying so hard?!”  Yeah, I know. Pretty silly right?… LAUGHING OUT LOUD.

My feed has changed since. Now, I just look at what looks best, which has lead me to use multiple filters. I love more natural backgrounds, still with moody/contrast tones as before. I just love that feel, ya know? I just post whatever looks and feels right to my liking… does that make sense? It’s not that I don’t care about what my feed looks like anymore, it’s more about liking how each individual photo looks rather than stressing if my feed looks consistent or if this photo looks ok next to the previous edited photo. I still think that my feed is cohesive and still remains somewhat of a consistency, however; in a more “go-with-the-flow” kind of way. I guess you can say that. I don’t know, it’s really difficult to explain it but you get the gist of it, right?!..

Anyways, moving on. I listed the apps and a quick rundown of the filters I use.

VSCO:

Want to know my secret? Ok, are you ready? I use EVERYTHING! Lol, just kidding – but I kinda do.

A6: Aaahhh good ol’ A6 – probably the most famous & most used filter bloggers have used or still do. I’ve notice I use this every once in awhile. Not as often as I use to but still great, especially for photos you absolutely think are trash. This filter has saved a lot of my photos that almost never made it to the gram.

C1-C3 & E1-E4: I always play around with these to get the right tones. I can’t really narrow it down because while one will work for one photo, it may not necessarily work for another… Does that make sense?! I hope so… moving on.

J1, J2, J5 & J6: These have been some of my favorites for sure. If you’re like me, and like moody, these are great.

SNAPSEED:

I use this app to control the brightness and exposure of my photos. You can also tap a specific area of the photo to change the tone, which is ah-mazing!

FACETUNE:

This is what I use to use to whiten out the backgrounds of my photos. I still use it from time to time when necessary. It’s great to smooth out any blemishes. I also use it to remove certain things, people, stains, etc. that are photo bombing my photo… yeah, this app can do that.

LIGHTROOM:

I just recently started using this app even though I’ve (for some odd reason) have had this app on my phone for years. It’s great for selfies. 😉

So there you have it ladies & gents. I hope this helped you out, and as always if you have any questions, just leave me a comment below or feel free to email or DM me on Instagram. 🙂

xo

Living Room Makeover

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I’ve discovered a new love for interior decorating. It’s funny, really because my entire “career” life, I’ve done nothing but work in the fashion industry.  I realized how much I enjoyed shopping, and finding amazing items at flea markets just recently. It’s very therapeutic to me, honestly. I think enjoy it much more than clothing shopping that’s for sure.

If you follow me on Instagram (@melrodstyle), you know that I have been slowly but surely re-decorating my living room space.

I’m not quite done yet but wanted to share what I have done so far with my living room area. I decided to begin with that room first, since it’s where I spend most of my time with Boo Boo Kitty. 😉

I plan to share more on Instagram and Snapchat.

Pillows: Loloi Rugs

Rug: Rugs USA

Framed Wall Art: Minted

Macrame Wall Hanging Decor: Niroma Studio

Macrame Hanging Nest: Madime Macrame

xo

Recently on Instagram

Just a quick recap of what is happening on Instagram:

1. Got to meet the lovely Drew Barrymore at #luckyfabb.

2 and 4. Vegas was so much fun!

3. Shoe game with my blogger ladies at Luck Fabb.

Follow me @mel_twtgg!

 xo