Instagram for Fashion

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When it comes to my favourite social media platform, I have to say that currently I am in love with Instagram. In recent years this is a platform that has really took off, for both business and pleasure reasons. Instagram provides a visual, online diary of photographs and images that can be used to both promote a business and blog, or purely for personal reasons of sharing family photographs. From a business point of view, Instagram has become another source of promotion that can now be handled by companies like Vibbi, helping you to build up your profile and following, helping with correct hashtags and increasing your views. For personal accounts, Instagram has become another way of sharing proud moments, first teeth, first smile, wedding days, birthdays and all those other memories. Clearly Instagram is big business.

I was quite late to the Instagram party, having a bit of an aversion to smart phones, which I seem to break on a fairly regular basis. However, since joining I have become pretty addicted to the format and now post daily. My current following is just over 1100, which is growing on a regular basis and now has lots of interaction. I find that my most popular posts are those related to fashion – specifically the #WIWT #OOTD posts, where I share outfits, shopping and charity and vintage fashion finds.

 

I have recently seen a good increase in both the amount of likes and interaction on my instagram feed. This is partly due to looking at when it is best to post – for me this is early morning or evening, and also looking carefully at the hashtags I use. I have researched hashtags relating to fashion, and specifically charity shop fashion and vintage fashion, and have noticed likes by like minded people and similar accounts. I still post photographs of a personal nature – for me, I like instagram to be as much about my life as it is about my blog, but ultimately, it is the fashion that seems to appeal to my followers.

Another find I do is tag in stores and independent fashion companies who’s clothes I am wearing, whether or not these are for review purposes or just from my own wardrobe. It has been nice when items have been ‘regrammed’ by companies like Lavitta, Oasis and Scarlett and Jo, and also draws people to take a closer look on the blog, which can only be a good thing in terms of growing a blog audience.

What are your thoughts on Instagram?

A new website design?

I’ve recently been considering re-designing my website, it has been over five years since it last had an update, and I am very attached to the pink lady on my site. I do regularly clean up my sidebar and ads, but changing the design itself is more of a challenge and a worry.

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I use a custom wordpress design that I have always loved – it’s fresh, frothy and pretty and generally suits my blog and me. I’ve never really got around to buying a bespoke design for my site, although I can definitely see the benefits of changing to a cleaner, more sophisticated design (my good friend Emily Jayne did this recently and it looks amazing). But the blog design, and web designs in general are important, and can make a difference in terms of traffic and audience. A good friend Adam, from Essex Web Designs, states very clearly why design and layout is important:-

“Your company website is your virtual shop front: the place where you can find new customers, communicate and engage with them, and in many instances, trade with them – anywhere in the world, at any time of day.”

So there are clearly good reasons for wanting a striking, clean and tidy web design, but I do worry that after 5 years my design is a recognisable feature of my blog, and that, by changing it and making it look different, regular visitors may think they are in the wrong place and click out of the site, or that they just might not like a new design?

One of my current fave websites, in terms of layout, is Vogue.com. Like the magazine itself, the design is both classic and modern, fashion forward, and with many imitators. Vogue makes great use of photography, and has that iconic logo that is instantly recognisable. It suits Vogue perfectly.

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I’m still thinking about what changes I want to make, but ultimately, your blog design should reflect you and your personality, whether that be stylish, elegant or slightly chaotic.

 

 

Building links with SEO and PR companies

One of the most important things you can establish as a blogger is good and positive links with SEO and PR companies. I read lots of great posts where bloggers show how they have built up their relationships with these types of companies in order to benefit their blog, and I thought it was about time I added my voice to the list.

I’ve been blogging for six years, and part of the reason I still have things to write about is that I have built up my links with both local and national PR and SEO companies which mean I still get the invites to events, the press releases that tell me of new products, and the opportunities to review. Even the most voracious of writers could suffer from writers block without a little help and ideas from creative agencies and PR/SEO companies. So, how do you make those links?

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  1. Get in Touch

Don’t feel embarrassed about getting in touch with PR and SEO agencies. Many have their email and contact details on their websites, so, if you believe that there could be a mutually beneficial relationship (i.e. they represent beauty companies and you write about beauty), then drop them an email telling them a little about yourself and your blog, and asking them to keep you in mind for events etc. Include things like DA, trust flow, social media reach and anything else that might catch the eye and make you stand out from the crowd. Later you will also need to be measuring the ROI on your SEO services venture to see if you have achieved anything through your hard work.

2. Start Local

It is a good idea to find out which agencies represent businesses in your area. I have worked closely with Rewired PR and Gung Ho, both of whom are Birmingham based, and this is very useful when it comes to arranging local restaurant and Theatre reviews. Many companies are based in London, but even here you can find companies that are specific to an area, like Essex Web Design Studio, who not only represent a range of different clients, but also offer web design in Chelmsford. The benefit of contacting local companies is that you could arrange to meet and discuss any projects in person, rather than everything being done through email.

3. Twitter

Twitter is a great way of getting onto a PR/SEO’s radar. Follow all the agencies you can find and then build up a relationship with them by chatting and helping with enquiries and polls, rather than just tweeting when they advertise an opportunity. You can also include the Twitter handles of PR companies in tweets if you know they work with a company that you have blogged about, this again helps you to make yourself known to agencies.

4. Make a Contact

Having a named person to contact is always a plus, so keep all those business cards you get given and you can then contact a person directly. PRs do tend to move to different companies on a regular basis, but if you have established a link, you will often find that your contact will not only stay in touch in a new role, but will often pass your details on to their replacement, hence maintaining your relationship.

Do you have any tips for developing links with PR and SEO agencies?