The Great Insta Debate: Loop Giveaways

The Great Insta Debate: Loop Giveaways

When it comes to growing my Instagram following, I’ve always prided myself on letting it happen authentically and naturally. By taking this route, it takes a lot of time and patience. I’ve been at it for over a year and a half. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done a few giveaways here and there, but generally stick to small ones that only attract a handful of followers. I also do a lot of independent giveaways vs. large group ones. Disclosure: I’m actually doing a small giveaway in the coming weeks.

However, I want to state that this is a no judgment zone. I’m writing this post because I’m genuinely curious what fellow consumers (followers), influencers and Brand’s think of the recent trend of “loop giveaways” on Instagram. For those of you that are not familiar, this is when a group of influencers team up to give away a prize and prompt you to follow them and the next influencer tagged in their post in order to be entered to win. This prompt keeps going until you’re looped back to the original influencer’s post you started on.

The thing is, by doing these types of giveaways, bloggers often gain a lot of followers. I’ve seen people gain anywhere from 300 followers to 50,000 followers (I know, crazy!) in just a few days. As a publicist, I always think about things from an industry perspective, but as an influencer, I totally see the appeal. So below are some of my conflicting thoughts/questions. Comment on my post or send me a DM to let me know which side you’re on or what you think! Again, genuinely curious.

  • I feel like loop giveaways are a great marketing tactic for influencers to use to appeal consumers they might not otherwise reach (especially if you’re doing an international giveaway). With the new algorithm, it’s hard to get your photos to pop up on people’s feed, so giveaways allow you that chance to be seen.
  • A concern is that if you get an abundance of followers from a loop giveaway, your engagement rate may be low. For example, just because you have a lot of followers doesn’t mean that they’re actually taking the time to comment/like your photos. PRO TIP: For those of you that don’t know, the industry benchmark for engagement is .3% (to calculate, add up the numbers of likes + comments on your last 5 photos and divide by the number of followers you have). If you have a .3% engagement rate or higher it means you’re doing really well. As someone that works in PR, I know that Brands are getting smarter and this is really important to them. So my question is – is having a lot of followers worth sacrificing your engagement rate? Brands, would love your input.
  • The other thing that upsets me is when new influencers do a ton of giveaways and have 10x more followers than me, yet just started on this journey. It seems a bit unfair, no? It also kind of feels like their cheating the system.
  • Consumers aka Followers – I wonder what you think? Do you like the opportunity to win a really cool prize? Or do you just feel like loop giveaways are a great way for you to discover new influencers?
  • I’ve also heard from select influencers and publicists that partaking in loop giveaways is inauthentic and means your “buying your followers.” While I do think they can be a bit unfair, I have to disagree with this. Just because you’re partaking in a giveaway doesn’t mean you’re purchasing followers. These consumers are CHOOSING to engage and follow you. Plus, they’re real people, not bots.

What are your thoughts? Obviously I’m not against loop giveaways completely (for the reasons listed above), plus like I said, I’m doing a small one in the coming weeks. However, I  do wonder what other’s think. When you’re running your own business, a lot of it is trial and error, so it’s interesting to hear what other people think. Comment below or slide into my DMs!

How to Master Early Morning Photo Shoots

How to Master Early Morning Photo Shoots

When I tell people I shoot all of my blog/Instagram photos in the morning before work, they generally say something along the lines of, “What?! I can’t wake up that early! HOW DO YOU DO THAT?!”

Guess what? I’m here to tell you HOW.

Waking up early isn’t fun. I’m not really a late sleeper to begin with, but something about waking up to the sound of an alarm is just dreadful. However, I’m committed to my blog and dedicated to featuring new, fresh content as often as I can. Since I do work full time in PR, I have no choice but to shoot before work (or after now that the sun sets later in the summer). However, after work, I generally want to go home, workout or attend an event, so that really only leaves the morning open to shoot most weeks.

But how do I pick a location? And how do I determine leaving myself enough time to get to work at 9am? I’ve kind of got it mastered at this point… so below, find my tips for mastering early AM photo-shoots.

1. Pick a location: I try to pick somewhere that is convenient for not only me, but my photographer as well (shout out to @photosbytifff). Since we both have to be at work by 9am, we generally stick to lower-midtown locations like Madison Square Park/Flatiron, Washington Square Park or Bryant Park. Are you wondering why I shoot in so many parks? Here’s why. Parks generally have public restrooms, so you can run in to change between looks. Parks also have greenery and character. Sometimes just doing street style photos can get monotonous, especially in the summer when there are so many natural beautiful colors from trees and flowers.

2. Plan your outfits the night before: This may sound intuitive, but make sure you lay out everything the night before, so in the morning you just need to apply your makeup/fix your hair and go. I lay out everything from my outfit, to shoes, to accessories (purse, jewelry, sunglasses).

  • Pro tip: If you really want your shoot to move seamlessly, pack each outfit with all of the matching accessories into individual baggies. This way, when you’re looking through your main bag, you can easily locate everything you need for that one look vs. digging through your suitcase or tote to find everything.
  • Pro tip #2: Since winter clothing items are bulkier, I sometimes bring a wheelie suitcase with me. To me, it’s easier to roll something around the city than having to carry it over my shoulder (it gets heavy).

(I recently bought this clothing rack so I could lay out all of my outfits the night before a shoot. Buy it HERE

3. Changing in Public: If you’re not in a park and there are no nearby restrooms, you need to get creative when it comes to changing. I’m not shy, so I generally change on the street. If this is the route you’re going to take – there’s an art to it. Follow the below steps:

  • Strategically plan your outfits so that you can easily change. For example, if you have one dress and one pant outfit, wear the dress first. When you’re done with that look, slip the pants on under the dress and wiggle your way into the top without exposing yourself.
  • Make sure the last outfit you shoot in is the one you want to wear that day. Knowing I need to go to work after my shoot, I generally save my most work appropriate outfit for last. This way, when I’m done shooting, I just run to work in whatever I’m in.
  • Too risky for you? Get a changing tent or bring a sheet. Some photographers (shout out to @LaurelCreative) bring changing tents with them, which makes for easy changing, anywhere, any time. If they don’t have one, you can either purchase your own OR just bring a sheet and have your photographer hold it up for you as you hide behind it to swap outfits.

4. Timing: Knowing I need to be at work at 9am, I generally make sure I’m shooting by 7:30am. This way, I have from around 7:30-8:30 or 8:45ish (depending on the location) to shoot. Within this time, I can generally shoot 3 looks and even sneak in a flatlay.

Any additional questions that I didn’t cover? Comment below and I’ll be sure to get back to you!

How I Learned to Motivate Myself and be Patient

How I Learned to Motivate Myself and be Patient

This past month, I found myself feeling a little blah and unmotivated when it came to running and maintaining Publyssity.com and @Publyssity on Instagram. Not only was I iffy about the content I was producing, but I was feeling like my following was at a standstill.

Since I have a full time job, I work on my blog during off hours, which means I’m either up at 6:30am shooting with my photographer or I’m staying up late at night to finish up articles and to outreach brands. Due to this, I found myself choosing to take the convenient route like shooting outside my apartment before work vs. seeking out a destination around the city with character and culture. I was going through the motions of picking out outfits, shooting them and posting them, but I wasn’t taking my time to actually style them to the best of my ability.

I’m not sure what changed, but something in me clicked while I was browsing my feed. I started to feel like I could do better because I can. Just like that, a light bulb went off in my head and I started brainstorming ways I can fulfil my vision. As such, I’ve decided to get back to blogging more vs. just focusing on Instagram content. I’m also going to seek out new areas to shoot at (first on my wish list is Dumbo). Plus, I’m going to spend more time styling and curating outfits. I’m also going to try something new – more video content! And lastly, I’m going to learn to be patient.

Instead of relishing in the success of my following thus far, I often find myself wanting more, more, more. For bloggers and social influencers, I think it’s really common and easy to feel this way. We often see the success of others and think, “Why is it taking me so long to hit my next milestone?” However, I need to learn to sit back and trust the process. Many successful bloggers I know have been at it for years and years, so I need to realize that it doesn’t just happen overnight.

So please continue to watch as I evolve and learn. After all, we’re all in this together and I couldn’t do it without all of you.

 

How to Cut Through the “Sponsored” Bullsh*t

How to Cut Through the “Sponsored” Bullsh*t

Word to the wise – marketing works. It’s the reason that I bought a bump-it back in 2009 (obviously never wore it) and the reason why I have a Vegetti (you know that thing that turns your veggies into spaghetti). So yeah, I’ve definitely fallen victim to “buying into marketing” – literally.

So how do you know what’s real and what’s fake? Especially when it comes to the world of influencers, who’s to say we actually like the brands we’re promoting? Because we all know there is no way in hell Kim Kardashian is really eating Sugar Bear Hair Gummies on the reg.

With that, I thought it would be fun to do a little 101 on how to cut through the sponsored bullsh*t.

So let me just put this out there – I never promote brands I don’t like or wouldn’t use. In fact, I actually turn down a lot of partnerships if the brand or product doesn’t seem like something I’d actually buy on my own. That said, there are a lot of ruthless influencers who would promote dog sh*t to make a buck. So how do you figure out who’s being truthful and who’s being dishonest? Find my tips below.

  • Get to know the influencers you follow. Anyone that follows me will see that I do Instagram Story make-up tutorials semi regularly. My followers know that I’m just genuinely sharing the brands I use in order to help my followers mimic a similar look and am not getting paid to promote the items. Once you “get to know” the people you follow, you’ll understand who is trying to share advice with their audience and who is just trying to make money.
  • Do your own research. If a skincare line is doing wonders for an influencer you follow, that’s pretty promising, but all skin types are different. Be sure to do your own research to look into the chemicals in each product and read online reviews before buying.
  • DM the influencer. Sliding into someones DM’s may seem creepy, but blogger welcome feedback and questions! I’ve had plenty of people text or message me asking “does that product really work or are you just being paid to say that?” I always am truthful and am open to answering any questions my followers have. At the end of the day, we want to see you guys love the products we love, so I encourage you to ask if you have any hesitation.
  • Trust your gut. Do you ever have a moment where you realllllly want something, but your favorite Bachelorette contestant just posted it and you feel like buying it would make you a total sellout? My advise – who cares! If you want it, buy it. It doesn’t matter where you saw it, it just matters that you genuinely like it.

Any additional questions that I may have not answered? Feel free to leave it in the comments and I’ll get back to you!

Down in the DM

Down in the DM

No, this isn’t a post about Yo Gotti’s song “Down in the DM.” It’s actually another advice column for my aspiring blogger babes. I’m here to let you know that it ACTUALLY does go down in the DM.

I’m specifically referring to Instagram direct message. And NO, creeps aren’t the only ones sliding in your DMs. Brands are too!

Believe it or not, bloggers/social influencers are constantly in contact with one another via DM. Since many of us basically spend all of our time on Instagram anyway, this is a great way to reach one another. Here, we share support for one another, collaborate, discuss upcoming events and the list goes on.

For those of you that are just starting out, I’d recommend utilizing the direct message feature when trying to work with new brands. All you have to do is go to the brands page and shoot them a note. Be sure to tell them a bit about yourself and the type of collaboration you’re looking for. I also generally ask if there’s a press email I could contact. For me, this has proven to be a very successful way to collaborate with new brands. Many times, I’ll reach out or vice versa.

All in all, don’t let direct messages scare you. Instead, embrace them! I promise you’ll find this is an amazing networking tool.