Y'all, this one is long, has no pictures, or outfit links... So, grab a coffee and get ready to learn something!!!
As you all know, I've only been at this whole fashion blogging thing for 2 months now... But I've learned so much in this short amount of time, and I want to share this knowledge with you!! I very much hope to help someone who has even less experience than I, or someone who hopes to start a blog soon, or even someone who has been in the game a while and could just use a new perspective on some stuff :) I hope you find these tips helpful!!!
1. Make Other Blogger FRIENDS:
And when I say "FRIENDS" I mean REAL friends... Invest in each other!! Each of you will have something to bring to the table, and you can each help each other grow!!! Someone local, someone across the country, someone in a different country... I know its easier said than done, but you will both need to care about the success of the other, and once you do that, you could make so many great things happen!!!
2. Like/Comment DM Groups on Instagram:
I was apart of one for a month and a half before I got up the nerve to start my own, but I am just so happy I did!! I'm not going to lie though, with a full-time job as well, it is so hard to keep up with, but its just so worth it!!! The things I have learned from these ladies, and the things I have been able to teach others... I just have to sit back and thank God for how great and welcoming, yet challenging the blogger community is!!! If you have been blogging for 3+ months and haven't been invited into one yourself, you need to start your own!!!
Need to know what to do? First you should "stalk" the people you are thinking about inviting... See how many times a day they post, how many likes they get per post, what their content it (I'm apart of a group of girls from my same niche, but I'm also apart of another group where we are all very different... I think both are necessary), do they respond back to the people that comment on their posts, how many followers do they have, how many people are they following... You want to make sure that this person is DEDICATED to their blog and wants to do whatever it takes to succeed at it!!! Then, you should message them and simply ask if they are interested in joining your group... My advice would be to find 2 or 3 people you want to invite before you actually start messaging, because you don't want someone to say "yes" and you not have a group for them to be apart of... You'll want a couple other "yes's" at the same time (same day) to make the group impressive from the start!! Next, you'll go to your DM messages and start a group... Name it whatever you want, and add your new friends to the group!!! There will need to be rules, and as the administrator it will be your job to make sure those rules are enforced (its a tough job, but leadership skills should definitely be put to the test every now and then so they don't get too rusty and start to disintegrate!!) The exact rules I use (copied and pasted):
- FOLLOW and support each other!
- Post like normal!
- Use the paper airplane at the bottom of your post to send it to the group.
- PLEASE like/comment on everyone's posts before you send yours to the group so the list doesn't get away from you.
- Comments must be 4+ words!
- Once you're done L/C on someone's post, come back to the group and double tap the picture to say you're done!
- Please L/C within 24 hours
- 2 posts per day max can be sent to the group for each person
Extra note: #5 is very important... Instagram only counts comments with 3 or more words in them as relevant... So, in order to increase each others' "importance" on Instagram, you need to support each other by making genuine, full sentence comments!!!
3. Sign up for Social Bluebook:
This is a free service that's sort of like Linked In, but solely for the promoter world (that's us bloggers). You create a profile, link your Instagram/Facebook/Pinterest/YouTube/Twitter accounts, and basically they calculate your worth... I know it sounds awful when I say it like that, but they look at all of your following and engagement and come up with a tangible number for what you can/should charge for your services!! And, its at least a starting point for those who, like me, need to at least know what would be appropriate to charge!!! You can find the site HERE
4. Join Style Collective:
This is not a free service... It will cost you $10/month on a month to month renewal, or it will cost you $99 for a full year upfront, but it was worth it to me within the first 48 hours!!! There are so many resources on Style Collective's blog, including how to reach out to brands, how to say no to brands you don't want to work with, how to succeed at blogging enough to make it your full-time job, how to build your following, etc!!! But really, its the community that has made me fall in love with SC so adamantly!! Style Collective is first and foremost a nationwide female blogger community (like Business Women if America)... And everyone there is dedicated to making their blog HAPPEN! I got 10 new "Likes" on Facebook, and 8 new followers on Instagram within the first 48 hours of being a member!! I did ask for the "Likes" on Facebook in one of the support groups, but the Instagram love was ALL THEM!!! And at least they followed through and did what I told them I needed their help with!! They are a family, and I'm so happy to be apart of it!! If you're interested you can sign up HERE.
5. Sign up for Shop Style:
Shop Style has become my favorite program for 2 reasons: 1. When you apply, you either get accepted or rejected immediately!! So you don't have to wait 2 days to start using it!! You get to start immediately if you are accepted - a big plus for those of us that need to get major work done in the very few hours we have allotted to sit down in front of the computer!!! 2. Its the only affiliate link program I have found thus far that has links for J Crew.... And if you're like me, and the majority of your closet is J Crew, it is a very valuable asset when you find commissioned links for J CREW!!!!!!! Its free to sign up, and you can do so HERE.
6. Time Management:
I've had this question come up in one of the like/comment groups I started: "How do you manage your time, especially with a full time job?" My answer might not be the greatest ever, because I have 3 businesses (including this blog) on top of my full-time job, so I don't feel like I do this well myself, but here are a few things that have at least helped:
- A Good Day Planner: Y'all I don't know what I would do without mine... It goes with me EVERYWHERE, and if I do happen to forget it at home, I am lost without it!!! My not-FT job time books up about 2 weeks in advance, which is getting harder and harder to explain to my friends, but because of that, I have the majority of my days scheduled to the hour. I have a to-do list section for each day filled with what I need to accomplish, and a monthly to-do list for things that can just be squeezed in when I have the chance... Y'all everyday has something in it! I DO NOT go a single day without accomplishing SOMETHING for my businesses!! Another business woman friend of mine suggested doing a task everyday, on the same day each week... What I mean is that she does all social media planning on Mondays (every Monday), photo editing on Tuesdays (every Tuesday), accounting tasks and client outreach on Wednesdays (every Wednesday), and so on and so forth... She says she has "streamlined her process." And I LOVE THAT!! I hope to be there soon!!!
- Likestagram: This is a service you have to pay for, its $9.99 for 25,000 likes and it goes up from there. This is a service that likes other people's pictures for you on autopilot based on hashtags you choose... This basically just allows you to step away from your phone at night and not have to sit and Like hundreds of peoples posts while you are supposed to be watching tv with your husband. This drives traffic to your page for potential new followers!! You know it works because if someone you don't know keeps loyally liking your posts everyday, you are going to go to their page and check them out!! THAT'S what Likestagram does... Its a time saver - I would say it saves me an hour a day! You can find it HERE
- Facebook Post Scheduler/Hootsuite: There are so many programs for this out there, but these are the ones I am most familiar with!! The Facebook post scheduler is free obviously, and you schedule your Facebook posts in Facebook itself, but since Instagram doesn't offer this feature, you have to look elsewhere. Hootsuite is free if you post less than once a day (if I recall correctly, you can find a free Hootsuite account that will do 30 posts/month). For us full-time-jobbers, if we could get all of our morning posts scheduled out, and we could post in the evening ourselves, then our lives would get at least a little bit easier!! But don't let me fool you... I don't even do this myself... I don't have a month's, or even a week's worth of content planned out that much in advance. I maybe have 3 days in advance thought out, so I'd still have to sit down every 3 days and schedule it, so I don't know how much time that would actually save me personally, but I think for someone who has a little less on their plate, it could REALLY be beneficial!!!
I know this doesn't really seem like tangible, practical advice, but really, if I could give you the absolute best piece of advice I could, it would be to not start this thing until you are ready to give it 100% for the rest of forever! If there is one thing I have learned from being a boutique owner for the past 3 years, and having not achieved what I wanted to achieve until the last 5 months, it is that you can't start and stop and start and stop and start and stop and have this thing still be successful!! It just doesn't work that way! Any business needs consistent dedication, and you are only going to get out of it what you put in!! BE CONSISTENT!!! WORK HARD!! BE CONSISTENT!!! DON'T GIVE UP UNLESS ITS FOR GOOD!!! And did I mention BE CONSISTENT!!!?
I hope this was at least a little bit helpful!! I know I don't know THAT much because I'm really just a beginner myself, but if it helped at least one person then it was SO worth it!! If you have any other questions you would like me to answer, then please feel free to ask me in the comments below!!
XOXO - Rachel