Blow up your inflatable flamingo raft, grab a cocktail, and float on over. I’m sharing the best places and spaces that we loved during our recent trip to Miami Beach. I forgot that it was spring break, and it just so happened to be a convenient time to hop a flight. Let’s just say, it made for some fab people watching. That being said, I slipped on my flip flops and soaked up the sun in style. I spent days by the pool, with strolls on the beach, and evenings out, decked to the nines. We stopped at a few trendy restaurants for dates nights, evening pit stops for treats, and late nights out with friends. Ohh, and let me tell you about this cookie spot we found. It was my jam!
Do you remember the super sweet days of good, ole’ spring break? Me too. Don’t they seem like a lifetime ago? Alright, so I’m dating myself by admitting that. With one snowstorm after another in NYC, old man winter had me running for the the sandy, beaches of Miami, stat. We booked our stay at the Mondrian, and I was beyond excited. Little did I realize that I’d be arriving in South Beach, at the exact same time as the “spring breakers”… meaning that packs of high school and college kids, would take over those lovely, quiet sandy beaches, with their party pants on.
Give me a ballerina skirt, a pair of pom pom, pointy toe pumps, and just let me twirl. As a little girl, I fell in love with ballet, took lessons, and continued through college. My sister bought my pointe shoes as a gift, and unfortunately, I never quite reached that goal, although I still dream about it. So, any designer, that can get me to step into a tulle, ballerina skirt, has stolen my heart, and made my childhood dreams come true.
It was a Monday. President’s Day to be exact, which meant a long weekend for me. What better time to relax, than a long weekend, right? Nope. I had an agenda, and I already felt behind. On Saturday, I crashed out of exhaustion; accomplishing nothing. It happens, I suppose. So, I had to make up for lost time.
Is there something in your life that you are naturally skilled at? Something that seems to come easy to you, therefore you don’t necessarily spend time at perfecting it? For me, that one thing has been illustration. I’ve always been creative, and I learned to sketch in school. I had an infatuation with markers and pens as a kid, and I loved to draw. I’d color for hours on end, and my grandmother would snatch each drawing out of my hands, showing me how it could be better, or pointing out where I had colored outside of the lines. She was lovingly, trying to improve my skills (well..it was a bit of tough love, actually).
One month post New Year’s, and the chill in the air has me running for my pjs, bunny slippers, and hot chocs. I love the marshmallows too…can’t help it. Of course we opt for the comfy and cozy, but what pushes you to hit the streets, conquering those fitness goals of 2018? For some, it can still be a challenge. The temps are figid and your bed seems oh-so-cozy, doesn’t it?
Spring forward…hmm, many more weeks more weeks is that? None. Zero. I decided today was the day. It was a sunny, gorgeous Sunday in NYC, and to me, that felt like spring. So, I made up my mind that it was.
Oh, the great social media debate. You either love it or you hate it. Yet, regardless of your stance, you still find yourself endlessly scrolling, don’t you? I thought so. Why do people post on social media anyways? They showcase their lives, their friends, their vacations, food, and what exactly is the point? Instead of posting your social life, inclusive of happy hour photos, your besties, puppies, and babies (I love those too, don’t get me wrong), have you thought about using social media to build a brand? It is the simplest, and most visual way to begin!
I meet so many people that ask me how I began Sleepless in Sequins, and I share my story. They often tell me that they’d like to build their own brand, expressing their love for travel, cooking, designing, styling, etc, but they don’t know where to begin. It seems overwhelming. In chatting with them, I express my love for what I do, as well as give them ideas to build and share their own brand, using social media. It is extremely simple, beneficial, low risk, and of course budget friendly because it’s free! The only thing it requires is time, patience, and of course some strategy. That being said, here are my tips and tricks to use social media to build your own brand.
1. Create an Instagram Account
Create an Instagram handle for your brand and begin posting quality photos which are relevant your product or service…simple as that.
2. Follow, Tag, and Interact with Brands
Make sure to follow, tag, and interact with brands and individuals that you would like to attract, or that may inspire your business. In regards to my Sleepless in Sequins account, I make it a priority to follow relevant brands. I tend to steer clear of personal accounts such as friends and family. Of course I love them, however my blog is my business. It showcases my style work for the brands that I’ve partnered with, therefore I keep my network very focused. If you are looking to build your brand, it is a great idea to keep your connections focused as well.
3. Photo Sharing
Share what you love, and of course make sure that it is relevant to your brand! As a lifestyle blogger, much of my focus is on style, including brands that I love, places that I travel, and NYC destinations that are desirable to my target audience. I make sure that each of my posts have a purpose. Am I sharing an outfit that I styled? Then I will also share the brand, how I styled it, and link to several similar options for them to purchase. Make sure that each of your posts are beneficial to your readers or followers. They should gain information or be inspired through your posts
4. Quality Over Quantity
Make sure that you post quality photos over quantity. Don’t post something just because you feel the need to. The image quality of your photos should be clear, and color corrected. I use the Lightroom app to edit any iPhone photos to make sure they are clear, properly exposed, and color corrected. Do not post blurry photos! Your Instagram account stands as a portfolio, for which brands will evaluate your work. It is important to keep it clean, and professional with an aesthetic that is yours.
5. Find Your Voice
People follow and relate to accounts based on different criteria, and building that audience is important to the platform of your brand. Do you have something unique to offer? Each account is special and followers will gravitate to you for that reason. My account is New York based, and I share many of the places and spaces that I love here, along with my favorite styles and designers. I will never promote a product that I don’t believe in. In speaking to my audience, I am 100% myself. I wear what I love, I share what interests me, and I speak my thoughts as if I were having a conversation with a friend. It can be challenging at times, to be personal, and I’ll be the first to admit it. However, it is important to be honest, loyal, and give good advice at all times. Your audience should trust you.
Developing a true following takes time. There are some that say that numbers don’t matter. Numbers and stats are important to brands, and they will always ask about them. However, I believe that if you network and reach out to brands, proving that you have strong content, images, and engagement, you can snag projects regardless, but remember to be persistent. Connecting with influencers, or people within your industry via direct message on Instagram can be incredibly beneficial. I’ve connected with so many people who I’ve developed relationships with this way. It’s so simple, that it’s crazy not to. Take advantage of the people that are out there, and collaborate with them! In addition, make sure to support the people in your industry or your followers by liking, commenting, and sharing their posts. It’s important to be genuine, and engage with these people! We aren’t in this world alone, so important to support each other through it all. For all of the times that people have reached out to help me, I like return the favor and offer help where I can.
Each account is different, however find a posting time that works for you. This can take some experimenting, but you’ll find out when your posts get the most engagement. I have the best luck with mine in the evening, but as I said, it’s different for everyone. In regards to days of the week to post, I find that the beginning of the week is best for me. Think about when people would be sitting on the couch, or sitting at their desks and paying attention to their phones. Find a time that is best for you.
8. Instagram Story
Instagram story increases engagement, and followers find it entertaining. Do you have a product or option to share? Do you have tips to offer? This is the simplest way to share information on your platform, and there are so many creative ways to do it. Once again, make sure your posts are genuine, with quality content, and they are professional. Pay attention to the types of posts that do well on your story. For the longest time, I was afraid to speak on Instastory, until I received positive feedback from friends and followers. They loved when I spoke to them, so I’ve been incorporating this into my posts.
I use Facebook less than Instagram, however I do still post my content to Facebook, and link to my content as well. I post consistently and engage with followers. It is important to have a page for your brand on Facebook as well.
A website is incredibly important to your brand! It is the home base and spring board for your ideas, your voice, and your written content. As much as I love social media, it is ever changing. Owning your own website stands as a portfolio to share with brands. It is your own corner of the world, to voice your opinions, thoughts, and brilliant dreams. Don’t underestimate the importance of this! It is essential to have a page to represent yourself.
So put all of your scrolling to good use, and build a brand that you love and are passionate about! It takes time, effort and patience, but I believe in you. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out. I’m happy to offer advice, and would love to lend a helping hand. So what are you waiting for, love bugs? Ready, set, scroll!
*Photo with the fabulous stylist and influencer, Haili Pue of All Ze Details.
Tonight, in the last few moments of 2017, the clock will count down to midnight. It is a focus on time. New Year’s Eve rolls around once each year, and we spend the last minutes, even seconds, reflecting on on the year that passed, along with a brand new hope for the coming year.
The holiday season is a time for reflection. We reflect upon the year that passed, remembering the good, as well as the bad, and most likely wondering what the coming year will bring. It’s a mix, of memories isn’t it? Mine is too. With everything life throws at you, it builds character, challenges you, and more often than not, changes you.