When I think wine country and wine tasting, it conjours up thoughts and memories of blue skies, hot sunny days, being surrounded by lush green hills and scenic mountains and of course, delicious wine. So when Mike suggested we go wine tasting in England, I didnt know what to expect to be honest. I’d never gone to a vineyard in England before so I was curious and excited. So last week, off we went with my brother in law and another friend of ours, to http://www.denbies.co.uk, in Dorking. Its about an hour or so out of London so we left home around 11am and got to Dorking just in time for lunch. We stopped in at a lovely pub with very warm welcoming service. The food there was so good. (I had bangers and mash and the boys had a steak pie).
After that delicious, and much needed, lunch, we took a walk to Denbies Wine Estate. As soon as we got to the entrance of the estate, I knew we would love it there. We were greeted by the lush green vines and the fresh air up there is great. First up we went on a train tour of the estate with a stop or 2 to take in the incredible views and have a complimentary glass of bubbly. The weather was warm and sunny so we were in our element. I highly recommend the train tour especially in summer.
Next we had the actual wine tasting. It starts off with a video about the estates history (with a complimentary glass of sparkling wine). At first, I must admit, I thought to myself “is this the tasting?” “a glass of bubbly?” But luckily, it was not! There was a proper tasting downstairs in the wine cellar. It was conducted by a bubbly, friendly guy from Denbies. we sampled 4 different types of their wine. Some I liked more than others, but that’s the point, theres something for everyone. It was a great, boozy afternoon spent in beautiful surroundings, with some of my favourite people. It really is worth a visit. Get your favourite people together, pack yourselves in car and take a drive to Dorking. you will have the best time. (you might not fully remember it all, but a good time nonetheless;))
I hope I have inspired you to take a little road trip with your besties, family and friends to this little hidden gem in Dorking. Such a charming town that not only brings you this great winery but also a slice of countryside heaven. Lets go wine tasting hunnies X
We all know the feeling of dieting and working out trying to get bikini ready, in time for summer or that long awaited vacation. We aim to eat better and tone those muscles so that those tiger stripes on our thighs and buttocks magically disappear. Unfortunately though, that’s not how it works and there are a few necessary requirements/tips to feeling better about stretch marks and cellulite.
Now I know that most of us (including myself), are constantly in search for that miracle cream or procedure that will banish our cellulite /stripes forever. Theres good and bad news with this. Lets get the bad news out of the way. There is no permanent or quick solution! Be it due to genetics, weight loss/gain or simply the fact that its perfectly normal to have them (its a part of being human, and beautiful humans at that), stretchies and cellulite are here to stay and we do have to realise that we are beautiful with or without them.
Having said that (and I do believe its so important to take that on board), if you feel more confident in your bikini with a little help from a cream or a squat, then I’m here for it too. Just as makeup makes us feel a tad more confident as it accentuates the beauty that we all already have, so too do these products /tricks i’m sharing with you now.
Ok lets get into it!
Starting/maintaining a good skincare routine is key anyway but keeping your skin hydrated and moisturised is very important to the overall look of it. I stumbled upon Nivea Skin Firming lotion a few months ago and (in conjunction with a few other things (coming below)), I really have noticed a difference to my skin with cellulite. I love the rich texture of the lotion and my skin really feels soft and moisturised afterwards and while im not sure if I noticed a significant difference in 2 weeks (as per the bottle), I have noticed a difference after a few weeks. Its packed with Vitamin C and Q10 which is brilliant for skin brightening and anti wrinkle treatment. They do have one that gradually adds a tan to your skin but I did not love it to be honest. the color is too yellow for me and it leaves awful streaks when its wearing off. (im still washing off the streaks so I would avoid the tan option).
2. The Cream
I also came across, and use religiously everyday, the Nivea Firming and Goodbye Cellulite cream/lotion. This promised to “firm and reduce the appearance of cellulite” in 3 weeks. I use this twice a day, and have been for about 3 months now and iv got to say, while I can’t say for sure if it did anything in exactly 3 weeks, it has definitely made my cellulite look slightly better, my skin does appear slightly lifted and more firm in the thigh/bum area so I am really loving this.
I must also mention that I do also use a combo of Rosehip and Marula oil to these areas as well and I think all these together have changed the appearance of my skin.
3. The Fit
Most of us don’t really think about it but the fit of a bikini is so important to how we look and feel in it. A well fitted bikini can provide that slight lift that we need. I have found that getting a bikini bottom that fits just right, will give you an instant butt lift which will not only make your bum look great but it will also lessen the appearance of cellulite which you may have, because as it gently lifts the skin, it will look smoother. For me, finding the perfect bikini bottoms has been a bit of trial and error. But once you’ve found the styles you like, you will find it much easier to go shopping for bikinis and have fun while doing it:)
4. The Cover-Up
Foundation covers a few things right? Before using this product that im about share, I used a bit of foundation over my stretch marks but they’re not really waterproof or work as well. Dermablend Professional Leg and Body Makeup is really great at covering up “imperfections”. It is a bit thick, so a little really does go a long way but that really helps to create a smooth effect to the skin and even out skin as well. Its used by professionals for those “airbrushed” photoshoots etc so you can believe this stuff works!
Those are my top tricks for “getting bikini ready”. I have scaled back on using the makeup as often when im on vacay etc, only because I really do believe that confidence does come from within and we all do need to love the skin we’re in and be comfortable in it. So while I love using these, and they are amazing, remember it all starts on the inside and no amount of makeup will “make up” for any inadequacies we feel deep down. Work on the inside as much (if not more), as you do the outside:)
Don’t forget to hit follow on here to keep updated on new posts and to stand a chance to win frequent giveaways like these products mentioned in this post and others.
Does wearing less, actually get you more (followers) on social media?
So many people, especially young women, think its a resounding “YES”. The answer, however, is both Yes and No. Girls/women with less clothes on their social media pages may get an increase in following in the beginning. They may even increase their following at a quicker rate, however without fresh content, without content that not only grabs the user’s attention, but also provides value to them, that they can benefit from in their own lives, without this, those followers won’t be long lasting and you will be back to where you started.
Ever seen those beauty pages with a large following? Some may have started with posting pictures of how beautiful they are, but soon transitioned to adding value to their followers.What do I mean by this? In order to keep people interested in your page and your content, in order for them to keep invested and engaging with you, your content has to be helpful/useful to them in some way. So lets use this beauty page example. If you love all things beauty and makeup, as I do, we don’t just want to follow people who post images of themselves with flawless makeup do we? No, I personally, would like to know how they get that look. What are the techniques and products that they use etc. This helps me to purchase those products and try using their techniques to better my own makeup skills. This keeps me engaged with their content and invested in their page.
I think the mistake we make sometimes, is forgetting that to be successful on Instagram, you have to see it as a job. It’s an industry like any other and we need to treat it as such if we aim to make a living through it.
So what should your immediate next steps be? I would suggest opening up your social media page now, and take a holistic view at it. But this time, look at it through the lens of the viewer/follower and ask yourself if this page gives you anything back? Do you come away from looking at it feeling more calm, happy, confident, more knowledgable etc etc. Does it add to your (daily) life in some way?. People respond more/better to people (and social media pages), that they can relate to and feel they get something out of. Being authentic and rawis also very important. Especially since Covid has hit us all, we all want to feel connected to real people who understand us and offer us hope and inspiration.
Pages with influencers posting about their insecurities or motivation to feel confident in your own skin, for example, has become hugely popular. And while followers don’t necessarily come away with special offers or product news etc, they do come away feeling more confident, more understood and less alone. This is providing and in turn getting value.
For anyone reading this, thinking, I don’t know what to post or how to change direction to offer more value, think about your niche (we chatted about this in a previous post) and then ask yourself what you would like to see on a page with that niche.
If you would like an extra eye, use the contact form/page and let me know your handle and ill try to take a look and let you know my thoughts:)
I hope you have a slightly better understanding of the difference between instant “fame” and long lasting growth. You don’t need to wear less, to get more.Be authentic, be of value and they will find you and love you more for it.
Ah Amsterdam, the city of tulips (my favourite flowers), canals, their famous “coffee” shops and of course the red light district. And each one deserves their fame (or notoriety, depending on how one looks at it), equally.
How I ended up in Amsterdam…
I was on vacation with Mikes mum, aunt and sister. We were in Bruges and Brussels (another story in another post (coming up soon)). And after a few days in each, Mike and I decided to get away to Amsterdam.
When I realised we were going to Amsterdam, I knew immediately that I needed to see 4 things : their tulips, the canals that you see in every picture of the city, the weed brownies and the famous red light district.
When we got there, we checked into our hotel and left our luggage inside before deciding to take the train into town. The trains are a really quick, easy and cost effective way to get around. There were trains available /running every 15 minutes or so, so if you miss one, the next is not too far away.
We had decided that we would go out later that night and explore the city as I was dying to go check out the red light district and asked Mike to take me there later. We started on a lovely stroll through the city, taking in the people riding there bicycles, shopping, we walked by the beautiful, famous canal and it truly is a picture perfect place. It felt like a scene out of a movie, boy and girl in love, strolling hand in hand through the picturesque, perfect setting until….
Isn’t that how it always goes down in the movies ? There’s always an until hahaha. We continued walking, through cute little streets, wanting to explore every corner of this incredible place. We turned into this strange street. I was busy talking Mikes ear off (as usual), when I looked around and thought hmm, what a strange looking store. The mannequin was so life like. When suddenly..she blinked! I nearly jumped out of my skin, but then they all turned/moved, blinked. It dawned on me…oh my God, this is the Red Light District (RLD)! And these “mannequins” are the famous RLD women. I was fixated. Mike kept saying “stop staring” but how could I not? You read so much about the RLD, the women etc and now I was right there standing if front of them as they were “on display” in these shop windows. If im honest, I probably looked more at these women than most men there were. Not for the reasons they are of course haha, but I was so curious as to how they looked, what they were wearing, were they as “perfect” looking as I assumed. I couldn’t help but stare. If I could take pictures, (its not allowed so I didn’t), I would have taken a million of them. Thats the first thing to know when visiting Amsterdam and the RLD…NO PICTURES & NO STARING! So basically do as I say, not as I did haha. There are always some people trying to sneak pictures in, they do not take kindly to that at all and have security measures in place.
As we walked through the district, I saw a guy knocking on one of the girls “shop” window. She then opened the door and they proceeded to negotiate a price for 15 minutes (50 Euros btw). They both agreed (in Amsterdam, prostitution is legal and these girls have the right/option to negotiate the price as well as turn away any client should they prefer). The guy, probably in his early 20s, goes in and down went the blinds and that was that.
It was quite a bizarre, surreal experience, I must admit. I found it intriguing and fascinating but also a little bit uncomfortable to be honest. And the girls, while all lovely, were also just “normal” women. I don’t know what I was expecting, some ethereal like creatures perhaps? They were all beautiful, but also quite “normal” women. Just like the rest of us mere mortals lol. That genuinely did surprise me.
The next night, we went back to the RLD, but this time because we wanted to try the weed brownies (edibles). Mike has never had them either so off we went to find one of these famous “coffee shops”. We went into a dark little shop. I’d say it looked more like a pub than a coffee shop. There was a menu on the wall like any coffee shop. They do have coffee on the menu…along with weed muffins, cakes and brownies. We had no idea what to order with the edibles, like do we just have a regular coffee with our weed? Is this really happening? We looked around and everybody else had a coffee either with edibles or they were straight up smoking weed. We settled on brownies (1 each) and a coffee each. We sat down, nice and cozy in a booth and took our first bite of weed brownies, together. You could definitely taste the weed. It tasted like a chocolate brownie but very “earthy”, grassy almost. Its not bad considering you would be expecting to taste something weird or different in it. I was convinced that just after the first bite or 2, we would feel something. First bite..nothing, 2nd bite..still nothing. I didn’t know any better so I thought lets keep going until we feel something. So we polished off each of our brownies (with a great cup of coffee I must add:)). Another thing not to do in Amsterdam: polish off entire weed brownies. A few bites or half the brownie is enough). After what seemed to be a disappointing first weed experience, I suggested we go for a walk around the city and then maybe a drink. That brings me to the 3rd thing to know about weed in Amsterdam – DO NOT GO OUT DRINKING AFTER YOUR (FIRST) WEED EXPERIENCE in a strange country! We sat down, ordered our drinks and about half an hour or so after this, it suddenly hit us both. The world around started spinning, everything became really hazy, and I just wanted to get back to the hotel and go to bed. We ordered an Uber and waited on the side of the street to spot our cab. We could barely read the plates but managed to finally get into our car. At this point the paranoia hits as well as nausea. You just have a million thoughts flooding your mind and you can’t control them. I closed my eyes in the car and hoped to get to the hotel and be ok…but then I hear the driver say “you 2 need to get another car.My car has puncture”! I could not believe that this was happening. He pulled off to the side off the road, and I kept asking Mike “is this real or am I high?” hahaha. His answer was a consistent “no, this is actually happening!”. Our backup Uber finally arrived and, hand in hand, we ran to the car.
Safely inside the second car, I think we both felt relief. That was temporary however. The paranoia was back and the Uber driver kept whispering into his phones bluetooth device. In hindsight, of course, he was probably just being polite and having his conversation using his inside voice lol, but in the moment both Mike and I were convinced that we were being kidnapped. Its hilarious to look back at that night, now, but in the moment it felt so real. I eventually fell asleep, Mike stayed awake and when I woke up next, we were in front of our hotel. We got into our room and straight into bed.
Needless to say it was not the best nights sleep iv ever had and the following morning was rough. I woke up with a terrible headache and nausea wishing I could stay in bed for the rest of the day but we had a train to catch back to London. I wished we had more time, although we did also visit the Van Gough Museum (highly recommend), and enjoyed great food alongside the canals, took a boat ride on the canal as well, which is also a great way to see the city.
I will probably go back for another few days as that’s all you really need. It is most definitely an experience you will never forget:) If you’ve been or plan to go, write me and let me know your experience. Would love to hear all about it!
Its nearly a year now and we are still on lockdown in some form or other in all parts of the world. Apart from the very unsettling and worrying instability of health, jobs etc, lockdown also comes with boredom, isolation, and, in many places around the world, no access to gyms currently. So without any kind of structure, at the moment, how can we stay/keep fit and sane during this frustrating period?
Iv never really been a gym fanatic just because I like the outdoors and I travel a fair bit so I have always tried to keep my workout routine as flexible for my lifestyle as possible. I’m mainly a jogger, I love the outdoors and fresh air and wherever I am in the world…running allows for me to still keep up with my workout routine.
But there’s only so much running one can do and we do need to add other things to our routine to get better benefits and better balance.
I find that these are such a great addition to my workout. You can pretty much work out every muscle using these. These have definitely replaced my dumbbell workouts as I find that I am able to adjust the angle of the pull which works out different muscles than the dumbbell would. They are also much more cost effective than other equipment and/or a gym contract and very importantly , for me, they are so compact and easy to store and carry with you wherever you go.
I have not always been into yoga and if I’m totally honest, initially I did feel like it was more of a trend and a trendy thing to do haha. But once I got into it, I really did start to enjoy it and see the benefits, not only from a fitness perspective but a mental one as well. Again, like with the resistance bands, a yoga mat is all you need which makes it so easy to do wherever you go.
This one is probably the toughest for me and at first, not at all relaxing :-D. The point of meditation is to clear your mind and be still in the moment. This is just not that easy though. My mind wanders, im a daydreamer, an over thinker, always have been, so when I close my eyes in an attempt to meditate, I start thinking about anything and everything. The key I have found, is to keep at it. To focus on each breath, or the flame of a candle. And eventually it gets easier and leaves you feeling more focussed, calmer and in control. In these difficult, painfully uncertain times, this is a much needed addition to many of our lives. The great thing about meditation is that you don’t need any equipment or memberships etc, all you need is some time and a quiet space.
This is such a simple “ritual” that I have added to my days but it has given me, much needed, respite in what has been, and continues to be, an extremely stressful and difficult time. I LOVE TEA! So having tea during my day is nothing new but where I would rush through my cups of tea while doing a million different things, I now treat my tea time as a “ritual”. This is now a time for me, and I try to just enjoy the tea (and maybe a cookie:)), with no work or any of the pressures of life on my mind for these few minutes. I so look forward to it everyday and it really does make me feel calmer and re-energised afterwards.
5> Lets Go Outside
Nothing beats fresh air and the peace that comes with being outside in nature. If you are able to go for a hike or walk along the beach etc, wonderful! For me, those are some of the most peaceful moments in life. But if not, just walking outside or in a park or even along the riverside, can make all the difference, both physically as well as mentally. So put on your walking shoes, get outside and think about nothing else but all the things, big or small, that you have to be grateful for:)
Those are some of my best and most effective ways staying fit and sane during this awful, stressful time.
Now that we have established and understood the new IG algorithm more and what it favours, we can get a bit more into improving your page ranking and getting noticed.
Find your niche
Instagram puts each account/page into a”box” if you will. This is your niche. Why is this important to know? Well simply put, the more accurate and precise your content to your niche, the easier and quicker it is for people to find you. More importantly those who will be able to search and find your page will be your target audience who are into and interact with the same niche as you.
Now it may sound pretty simple, just pick a niche and post about that right? Well, it sounds simple enough in theory but its quite easy to get carried away on IG and post about anything and everything. In order to get your page recognised by IG, as a particular, clear niche, and to get IG to categorise it as such, we need to make conscious effort to post content only (or largely) related to a specific topic ie. fashion, food, makeup, travel etc and to follow and engage with other pages in that niche as well. This way IG’s algorithm will be able to clearly define your niche. Once you have been clearly categorised, other pages (users) in the same niche and these looking for services etc in your niche (your target audience), will be able find you quickly and much more easily thus increasing your potential for much higher follow rate and engagement than you have now. If you look at a screen grab of my insta page you will see its mainly fashion and lifestyle inspired. So that’s the niche I would be categorised as/in.
How do you tell if you you have got your niche right?
The explore section/page can tell you a lot about how the IG algorithm sees your page. In a similar way as facebook and google track the habits and interests of its users, so too does the IG algorithm. It tracks what you post, the other IG accounts that you loo at, search for, follow and like and forms an “opinion” about what you would like to see and the niche you’re interested in. So to check what the overall “opinion” and niche IG has put you into, go check your explore page. The things that you are most interested in should come up and if you have been using these categorisation “rules” we have been chatting about, you explore page should have similar content as your actual account page. So for example when I check my explore page , it looks like this below. As mentioned earlier, my page is focused on fashion and lifestyle and that’s what I get when I look at the explore page. Iv attached screen grab below as an example.
Research your niche tribe
Im a big believer in surrounding yourself with being as good and “better” than you are in certain things. When you find your niche, find those people in your niche with similar and better engagement and reach than you, and check out their pages and their content. You will find similar trends with a few of them like the types of content that’s doing well within that niche, the hashtags they are using that’s working, the location and times of day they are posting that’s getting great engagement etc. Try incorporating these into your posting style and content until you see engagement go up. you will then know what works for you and your audience.
Try these 2 things on your page and don’t forget to engage with other users. This is social media after all so lets be social and help each other grow:)
Dont forget to hit “follow” on here to stay updated with new posts etc and comment on what you are struggling with on IG or what you have found helped you.
So im sure most of you have noticed IG’s newest feature, “Reels”. If you are not yet familiar with it, let me start with a quick overview of what you can expect when using this feature.
Reels allow you to create 15 second videos and share them with other IG users. It shows up on a dedicated “reel” feed on the explore page.
As I explained in my previous post understanding how the IG algorithm works, IG rewards users who attract other users to the platform and those who encourage users to spend as much time on the platform as possible. So currently as its trying to push its newest Reels feature, instagram is “rewarding” those accounts that are using reels, by featuring them to more users hence increasing users exposure. This is a great way to grow your account following and engagement (rate). So trying to use the feature and create /share content that resonates with your followers /niche is a great way to gain momentum on IG.
Reels offer really great options to create and edit your videos, incl. music, special effects, text etc. The objective is to entertain people and these tools are fantastic to create just that – entertaining content for your existing and new followers. Reels are shared to the explore page but you can also share it on your feed and as a story.
So how exactly do you create and share them? Personally I found it quite daunting at first but once you try it, and actually see the content you are able to create, it can be really fun.
To create a reel, tap on the plus (+) button at the top right of the screen in the IG app.
Tap on “reel” and you will open up the reels screen where you can record your video or you can choose to upload an existing video from your phone.
once you have recorded or selected your video, you can now do the fun bits:) Add effects. The various options for effects you can add to your reel is on the left of the screen. You can select to add music/audio, choose the speed and add effects (filters). ps. If recording a video, you also have the self timer option where the effects are located, which is brilliant for those of us recording our own videos.
While recording a video, you can stop the recording at any time and start another mini clip. When you’re done recording you can use the align button, (its the last button under the effects buttons, just below the timer button). The align button allows you to line up your various clips that you recorded, to form 1 reel. Im sure many of you have seen the now famous “changing clothes” videos that many creators on IG are posting. This align option is great to create that type of content where you are in one outfit and with a snap of the finger or a quick jump on the spot, you are in your full glam. You can create makeup tutorial style videos, add friends, hair tutorials etc, the options are limitless. And that’s what makes Reels so exciting. It gives you the option of creating your own creative content with endless possibilities of how to do that.
Once your video editing is done, you are ready to share your reel with the world. To post, push “>” button at bottom right of the screen. This will allow you to then add a caption and your hashtags (make sure to follow the blog for upcoming post on importance of hashtags, how to choose them and all that good stuff:)) Before posting you can also choose if you would also like your reel being shared on your feed and/or to your stories. As you will see in the example (pic) below, instagram automatically selects for your reel to be shared on your feed as well but you can choose to turn that off simply by clicking “also share to feed” button. Once you have done that, simply hit “share” at the bottom centre of screen.
Yay, congrats your first reels has now been posted. Most important thing to remember is to try and be consistent (I know I say this all the time, but it is key), create engaging content and HAVE FUN. People can sense and are drawn to people who enjoy what they do and are passionate about it so find you passion, you niche and have a blast!
I love the City of London, home of London Bridge, Big Ben, The London Eye, the famous Picadilly Circus, the shopping mecca Harrods and amazing restaurants (which is what I’m focussing on today for this post). I know there’s that old stereotype of English food being bland but let me tell you that is absolutely WRONG. If you do your research or walk around the city, there are some real gems to be found. The problem is most people don’t have the time to do that and you won’t find these places in articles on the net so most people visiting will never know to look for them. Thats where I come in:)
Im an experienced bargain finder and an even more experienced eater:-D, so I got all your food needs covered. So lets get eating shall we?
Best Wings and Ribs in London
This is one of my favourite places to eat in London. Its the place you want to go to when you want good no fuss food, casual setting with the friendliest staff/service (and great cappuccinos too). The Charlotte is my favourite pub in all of London. I love the people that work there, they are so friendly and accommodating (happy vibes all day long) and they have the best wings and ribs that iv had in probably…well ever really! Happy hour is a must and when you’re there make sure to try the truffle fries. You can thank me later:)
A spot of tea for you and me
I don’t know about you but I LOVE a good afternoon tea. Nothings quite as comforting as a hot pot of tea (hot milk is a must for me), and some freshly baked goodies. Scones are one of my ultimate tea time indulgences but its really difficult to find a really good scone (that doesn’t feel and taste like it came out the oven last week). The Ivy has ended the search for me as they have the most delicious afternoon tea options starting at just GBP 8. The scones were my favourite scones ever, served with clotted cream and strawberry preserve for extra indulgence.
Lets meet for Breakfast darling
Am I the only one who loves a good breakfast meet? Morning tea/coffee to start the day, a hearty breakfast, ideally with eggs (scrambled for me), bacon, baked beans – the works, and of course great company. Bills is my favourite go to places for breakfast in London. I personally love the smashed avocado on toast (with a hint of chilli), but honestly anything you order, from their traditional breakfast to oats or pancakes, you wont be disappointed.
So when you’re in London , one of the greatest cities to visit, in the world, you’ve gotta do at least one slightly fancier dinner right? The Unions Street cafe by Gordon Ramsay is a great little place with fantastic food, wonderful friendly service and it surprisingly won’t break the bank. Dessert was also really good, the tiramisu was amazing so I would recommend that for sure.
Lets Save the Best for Last
Im the biggest dessert lover so I obviously had to include it in this post. So where would you find the best desserts in London??- Our house of course :-D. But discounting that option, my favourite dessert spot has to be Bills. Their salted caramel and chocolate tart is beyond delicious. So for the second best spot in London to indulge your sweet tooth, make sure to visit Bills. 🙂
And that’s your guide to the best food in London. There are so many great options to eat at in this city. Be sure to follow the blog and leave your comments below of what your best options are. Id love to hear your recommendations and experiences and try them out too if I can.
Instagram is fun, with beautiful, fun pictures/video. Users get to share their daily lives, business ideas and promote their products and brand in a creative, effective way that can reach millions of people at a click of a button. Sounds simple and a no brainer right? Not Quite most would say. As much fun as IG is, we also need to remember that its a business and like many businesses, IG is always looking for ways to improve and get its users to spend more time on the platform. It also needs to constantly keep up with its competitors, its most recent being Tik-Tok.
To understand the way IG works, I liken it to a parent or teacher. It likes all of its users but plays favourites and offers rewards. When IG launches a new feature for eg. (its latest being reels), it wants as many people using it as possible and the more you use it and “promote it”, the more the algorithm will favour your page and content and feature that to more users. So what do I mean by “promote” new features? It simply means that the way you use the feature attracts more people to using the feature and IG as a whole. This would be using call to actions in your posts, make sure to engage with people and encourage more engagements on IG. The algorithm in turn sees this and you (your content ), pulling more users to IG and will in turn show your content to more people, helping you grow your account/following. That is really the key to building your account and following with real, higher engagement levels as well.
Iv added an example below of a screenshot of one of my posts. Here I was nearing the end of the work day, along with other people in the world (many of my followers in other parts of the world may have already finished work at that time), and I did a simple story trying to touch base with everyone asking how everything is going. I love engaging with people and hearing how everyones doing, what’s been happening etc, so its a great way to engage while still being authentic and true to who you are because that truly is the biggest secret, be yourself. Nobody can do You, Like You hunny! X
Reels, which as I mentioned is IG’s newest feature. Its the short-form video sharing and editing feature, that allows you to create 15-second videos that can be created and personalised with editing tools and various effects including the option to add music and a host of other things. The easiest way to get your IG going and growing is to always try and use IG’s latest feature introductions, as this will prompt the algorithm to “reward you” and promote your account and content to more people. But what happens if you don’t like a new feature? Reels for eg. are all about creating video content and I am not a video person. So I would either need to get comfortable with making videos or I someone like me needs to put in extra effort with the rest of my content which needs to include all types of IG “promotion” like mentioned ie. calls to action, engagement with other pages, post regularly and consistently, post content that I know my audience will engage with (remember the content you create is for your audience, so it should be what they want to see, and see more of so that you get and keep them engaged). So if you love any new feature that IG rolls out, great! Use it as much as you can and leverage it to get more eyes on your page. If not, well even if you do, as a general golden rule to growing your account, use these rules to gain favour with the IG algorithm to grow on IG.
Golden Rules to grow your IG:
Post to IG often and consistently
Create quality content
Create and post content for your audience, not yourself.
Create content that encourages engagement ie. include calls to action, respond to other posts/comments, ask questions to promote conversation.
Check the most popular times in your country that your audience is most active, and post at those times.
Try to use IG’s newest feature introductions.
And that is, in a nutshell, your quick guide to kickstarting your IG and boosting your page to increase your engagement and following.
Remember to click “follow” so that you keep updated with all my posts and tips.
So you open up your instagram account and the app asks for your username, seems like a no brainer right? You have a name, one you’ve used all your life, so why not use that? Well that’s where the complexities of social media and algorithms etc come in. The name you choose for your instagram account needs to be an easy one to remember and find in searches etc. Think of the instagram search like google search, you need to rank well to get noticed. Now, for most starting out on instagram, nobody knows your name or brand (except for family and friends and in case of businesses, your existing client base). In order to grow though, we need people that don’t know us already to find us and follow us. This is where your name choice is so important. Its the first step to getting noticed on IG. So im going to give you a few golden rules to follow when choosing (or changing ) your username.
Although finding a great instagram name is difficult these days as most of them are taken by many of the 1 billion active users already on IG, it is not impossible. You just need to use a bit of creativity when deciding on yours. The name you choose should stand out, be memorable and reflect your brand/page immediately. Try using key words that reflect what it is that you do and what your followers can expect to see on your page. One example of that is Charlotte Tilbury makeup. Their brand name already perfectly describes what they do “makeup”, so keeping it simple is a great way to build your brand on social media.
Another example of a really creative name that will stick in your mind, is “Narsissist” . Their IG name is a clever play on their brand name “Nars (cosmetics)”. You can immediately tell its a beauty brand with a name their followers are sure to remember.
Keep it simple
When deciding on your IG name, make sure to try and keep it simple and easy not only to remember, but spell (search for), as well. Make sure spelling is accurate and words are not too tricky and difficult to spell and remember. The easier people can remember and spell the word/name, the easier it will be for them to find you.
Brand name or your personal name?
I think that if your feed is primarily to share your daily life with your followers, friends and family, then your own name can work however I recommend adding a word or two to help describe what your page is about so that your audience can find you more easily. One example is the page “makeupbyfrancesca”. It has the users name “Francesca” but by adding “makeup by” in addition, it does both, give her name (ie. personal brand), recognition while also immediately reflecting the purpose of the page and what you can expect to see on there.
Another approach, if you are focussed on a particular style/topic, and might want to turn your passion into your pay check in the future, is to choose a name that solely reflects that passion. A great example is the UK fashion blogger Antonette, her IG name is “wearwhatiwore”. This tells you as soon as you see the name, what her page is all about – fashion and clothes. (I also love how she phases her page with certain colours for certain periods. It looks so professional, clean and focussed).
On IG, there’s your Username and then there’s also your Display name. Your username or IG handle as its known, is your unique identifier while your display name doesn’t need to be unique and can be used to describe more about your pages offerings. I would strongly recommend capitalising on this and choosing great descriptive words in/as your display name to make it easier for people to find you in their search results. Instagram uses your display name when people search for usernames, hashtags or keywords so why not make the best of this option right?
what if its taken?
So what if your name is taken already on IG? (and chances are it might be with so many users). Don’t worry you have options to still get your name/brand out there effectively using your IG name. You can either use one of the descriptive name choices like with the “wearwhatiwore” example I used above which doesn’t use your actual name but rather describes what your do or you can add to your real name. For example with “Ctilburymakeup” or “makeupbyfrancesca”. You can also add an underscore to your name like “Nikki_makeup”, you still have your real name “Nikki” as part of your username but with the underscore and a keyword added of what your page is about, in this example “makeup”. Be creative and you will come up with the perfect IG star name for you and your brand:)
Consistency is key
Brand building and recognition is all about consistency. It is very important to try and have the same username across all your social media platforms. So when you are choosing a username for IG, check if that username is also available on your other social platforms that you use as well. This will create better awareness about your brand and make it easy for users on all platforms to search and find you/your brand.
Well there you have it, my little golden nuggets for choosing the perfect IG name to get you and your brand on the path to stardom.
Let me know your IG handles and how you chose them 😀
The social media marketing wave is here, and its here to stay! For a long while many people, brands and companies were convinced that this new way of “promoting and advertising” themselves was just a hype and just like many fads over the years, social media too would fizzle but we were wrong. Social media has become the best tool to use to get millions of people, wherever they may be in the world, to read about your brand, see your products and engage with you and in turn, you with your customers. It is a tool that provides almost immediate insights into what’s working, how its working and what you can change or do better or more of in order to get the desired results.
So understanding the power of social media marketing is easy, trying to navigate through the algorithms and various “must haves” in order to be truly successful at it, is a bit more challenging. Thats why we are here!
I have been on social media and in marketing for many years now, so needless to say iv picked up a few things along the way:). Little nuggets of gold that I want to share with you to help you get to where you need to be. Ill be especially focused on instagram so if that’s something you need some help with, subscribe on here and follow us on instagram to stay updated
There are little things that you can change on your instagram from the profile name you choose to your hashtags, that will help to increase noticeability and engagement. And my job is to help you understand how to work with these so that you can get on the road to insta stardom 🙂