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Influencer blog strategy

My hate / love affair with Instagram

I go back and forth regarding social media. How much time should I spend on it? Is it worth it? Is it fun? Is it necessary? Which medium is best for me and my peeps? What do I enjoy/despise doing?

I’m so conflicted about it. One minute I think I’ll dive into Instagram Live Stories and then next I don’t want to have anything to do with any of it and just want to sit on my deck and bask in the sun, watch the birds at the feeder, sniff the lavender roses, and read the mysteries I can’t get enough of. (What I love most about them, is the characters say what they really think. No filters. No political correctness. So refreshing!)

But then I snap out of my reverie and remember that I’m creating some new work that I’ll be sharing soon – and how will people hear about it if I’m not in touch? How will I stay connected to….well, you.

I just listened to a podcast, one of my new favorites, called Hidden Brain on the positive impact of deep work.

Cal Newport, a computer scientist who was interviewed, eschewed social media altogether and had a strict schedule so he could accomplish everything he wants to. In the old (and not so old days) Newport noted that influential thinkers had a set of specific habits to get great work done “all seemed to have this drive to, on a regular basis, cut themselves off from their lives of business, and communication and distraction and isolate themselves to think deeply.”

hidden brain podcast

Hidden brain NPR podcast

Carl Jung took himself out to a stone house that didn’t have electricity or water he built by a lake in the countryside to immerse himself in his work. Mark Twain had a cabin he’d retire to on his property to be alone with his thoughts and his family had to blow a horn to call him in for dinner. J.K. Rowling holed up in a hotel near a castle in Edinborough to put her in the mindset to finish her Harry Potter books, specifically, The Deathly Hollow. Each one of these creatives took deep uninterrupted time without distraction so they could produce their important work.

Back to Instagram stories (which has been such a distraction for me!).

I’d like to try hopping on there to answer your questions. Do some casual Q&A on Instagram stories about pitching the media, publicity, confidence, storytelling, the magic of speaking up + more.

What do you think of that? Do you like the idea?

And if so, what time works for you?

Some possibilities.

5pm PT / 8pm ET some evening. Please specify best days.

Saturday at 1pm PT / 4pm ET.

Sunday at 10 or 11 am PT / 1 or 2pm ET.

Since it’s live you would actually be there in the moment with me. So, yes, I can save them to my camera roll and post them later to my website, but the point is to hang out with you in real time — the next closest thing to being in person.

So I’d love to hear back from you on this. Just put: “IG” in the subject line and let me know what time works best for you. Once I get a good sense of that I’ll jet you and email and share some times.

Also, please follow me on Instagram here so we can communicate there as you have to be on Instagram in order to attend the live stories. And I’d love to know if you’d like more photos of me or something else…

If you feel called to Instagram here is a great course from Melissa Camilleri who has also created a supportive community with integrity and spirit that helps you navigate all the changes that happen in social media.

Here are the Instagram people I can’t resist watching or following. (Warning, be prepared for a time sink). 

whiteshantyathome – I was first struck by a photo of her kids all playing musical instruments in the living room like some miniature orchestra. Then I started following her life. She’s like an old fashioned renaissance woman who talks honestly about the challenges of motherhood, creates beauty, talks about God and goodness while raising and homeschooling 5 kids in a converted barn she calls home. How does she do it all?

Instagram influencer

Instagram influencer mom pioneer

chriselleLim – This former stylist rocks clothes and decor and am fascinated by her rise a blogger to an influencer and mommy to CEO of her own company and clothing line.

bloggers_boyfriend – Who is this guy? You never see his eyes or hear his voice. Love the mystery. He satisfies my wanderlust and the street colors are something to lust over. He knows how to style a grunge and glam shot worldwide at places I’ll never be able to go. Plus, I want to inhabit every outfit he wears even though it’s menswear.

lizmariegalvan – Secret desire…OK I admit it I want to live on her farm and have her sheep as my pets, and just collect beautiful things to sell in a shop. (My mom raised me on thrift stores and garage sales so – confession – we collected a garage full of vintage stuff for the farmhouse we never bought) Future dream? Maybe.

Instagram influencer

Instagram influencer Interior design

champagneandchanel – Can’t stop watching this tiny gal with big Texan hair (teasing and extensions) who wears an x small. There is something compelling about her even though she only puts on clothes in front of a mirror and talks about them. I feel kinda weird watching this. I mean, why?

casa_colibri – Former pole dancer with dreadlocks, piercings and tats, who does yoga inversions at her Costa Rican home / retreat center. Need I say more?

Instagram influencer

Yoga Instagram influencer

gwennieth – Has 2 kids that can’t walk or talk. The oldest just turned 17. She says, “Scared that I wouldn’t know what to do, how to love her, how to communicate, how to move on with ‘normal life.’…I saw a little girl who knew nothing but love.” People never cease to amaze me. How they can manage hardship, what they can do, hold, love.

Instagram influencer

Instagram influencer mom


How to Befriend Bloggers (Without Feeling Awkward or Stalkery!)

By Guest Blogger Sarah Von Bargen

I thought, for a bit, that I should really title this post ‘How To Network With Bloggers’ – because, you know, SEO and what not.

But the word ‘networking’ feels intimidating and overwhelming and slightly gross.  Eating subpar appetizers while someone shoves their business card in my face and shrieks their elevator pitch?  No.  Sharing super useful advice/client referrals/traffic/cream cheese wontons with someone who I connect with, like, AS A HUMAN BEING?  Yes.

Really?  Networking is mostly just making friends.  And if you approach it as such (and think about what you can bring to the table, rather than what you can get from an interaction) you’ll be befriending bloggers left, right, and all over Twitter.

If there are any bloggers you’d like to collaborate with/pitch/take to coffee, here are a few things that you should do before you drop into their inbox.

6 ways to befriend bloggers

1. Leave productive, smart, helpful comments on their blog

No matter how big and famous they are, bloggers read their comments and if you’re regularly saying awesome things, they’ll start to remember you.  Of course, some blogs and posts engender better commentary – it’s hard to leave a mind-blowing comment on an outfit post.  But personal essays, tutorials, or thought-provoking posts are an opportunity to chime in.

Also:  make sure that the icon that shows up when you leave a comment matches the headshot on your blog and the icon for your Twitter profile, otherwise it’ll be hard for the blogger to recognize you.

2. Interact with them on social media

Respond to the comments, answer their questions, ask them questions, send them links you think they’d like.  Just the same way you’d do with a friend.

3. If you like something they did, link to it

We’ve talked about how oddly successful/useful link round-ups can be.  Readers love ’em,  they’re a great way to share a bit of traffic love with bloggers you like, and if you’re one of those people who doesn’t like writing, they’re a clever way of creating content without writing 500 words.  When you include someone in a link roundup, make sure to @mention them on Twitter so they’ll know you’re talking about them.

If you don’t have a blog, tweet links to bloggers’ content or retweet their links.

4. Share things you think they’d like

My readers know my painfully, awkwardly well.  Three different people sent me a link to this inflatable cat unicorn headband and two people sent me links to Macklemore’s Thrift shop song.   And I loved it.  And I totally remember who sent me those links.   Don’t be afraid to reach out to the people you like and admire with information that you think they’d find helpful.

5. If you’re going to pitch them, triple check that what you’re pitching is a good fit

Do they host guest posts?  Do they offer giveaways?  What is the monetary value of those giveaways?  Do they review products?  Do they use c/o items in their outfits posts?  It would be a pity to waste your time (and theirs) crafting the perfect pitch email and then sending it to the wrong person or the wrong type of blog.

6. Avoid doing any of these annoying things

Just like in real life, sometimes friendship is about Not Being Annoying.  I promise i’ll pay you that money I owe you, I won’t share that secret with So-and-so, and I won’t have four drinks when I promised to be the designated driver.

Here are some things you should avoid doing:

  • Misspelling their name
  • Sending them a template email
  • Asking them about anything you could Google
  • Asking them to locate a post they wrote
  • Writing an email that is more than two paragraphs long

I’d love to hear from you, bloggers!  How do you like to be treated?  How do you network and befriend other bloggers?  Small businesses, tell us about your interactions with bloggers!

P.S. 7 types of content that do the community-building and networking for you

blogging

Sarah Von Bargen

WANNA BE FRIENDS? HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO NEXT…