Thought of the day - Do you wish you could see what your future has planned for you?

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Picture of trees at Cannock Chase ANOB

When I was at high school there used to be a thought of the day at form time and most of the time I didn't pay attention to them. One day however one thought my form tutor read out was ''Would you want to see into the future?''. I automatically thought yes - I wanted to know if I was going to die early or not so I could take steps to avoid it! However one guy (who was an utter jerk) said no because life would be boring if it wasn't a surprise and that got me thinking.

This was nearly ten years ago now and recently I have been thinking about that moment as so much has happened in the last ten years, some good - some sad, that truthfully I could not have predicted. Even this year has been one hell of a journey going from being a Marketing Assistant to running the department and from being engaged and planning a wedding to not. I have lived in the West Midlands for seven years and Yorkshire for two, and I thought I would live in Lincolnshire my entire life. I have been to America three times to six different states and I remember at school that being only a pipe dream.

So after all that would I want to know what I had in store for the future? To be honest no - the element of surprise is all part of the fun and sometimes some best experiences are to be had from unmade plans. I see life as one hell of a learning process and that we all learn the same lessons just in different ways. I would love to read your thoughts below.  

Instagram - How I am slowly increasing my followers one month in!

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Instagram, one of the world's hottest social media networks. Over 60% of its users log in daily and the platform has over 400 million active users. Interestingly at work we have recently introduced a Instagram and my assistant has been busy working away on building our profile, which got me thinking about increasing my own profile.

I have been busy working away on my Instagram for over a month now trying to increase the number of followers, improve my content but also increase engagement. I did my research and found ways to do this of course so I decided to try them out and see if it is true, so lets see how I got on.

Instagram stats before
104 posts
951 likes - average 10 per post
34 comments - average 1 per post

Instagram stats so far since me changing things up!
31 posts
827 likes - average 27 per post
47 comments - average 2 per post

I understand that this isn't a like for like comparison - however you can see that I am reaching just as many likes over 31 posts in a month then I did for 104 posts over two and a half years! The same goes for comments!

So what did I do...

Theming my Instagram

My Instagram was never themed, the purpose being that I didn't want to limit the content on my account and I just used my account like I would Facebook or Twitter. However when I noticed some of my images of natural landscapes were doing really well engagement wise, I switched focused so my Instagram was all of that topic. It has so far worked increasing my engagement which you can see above. Theming doesn't have to be on topics however it can be image colour (blue, pink and white seem to be popular).

Using hashtags
To spread your message out further using hashtags is a must. I use tagblender and just copy and paste all of the hashtags relevant to my images and add a few of my own in. This certainly has increased my reach and my engagement.

Liking other people's images
By clicking on the hashtags I easily found other people's images along the same theme. I liked the pictures that I did greally like however I don't think that made any difference in increasing my followers or engagement at all.

Being consistent
By posting images everyday I don't think it made much difference to the engagement however I noticed that I was losing followers. I do tend to post everyday but don't worry if I miss a day or two.

Editing my images
Even me who can be quite lazy with my personal social media liked more or less to at least have some good photos. I use VSCO had a read on the best presets to use and it does make a difference.

How do you increase your followers on Instagram? Let me know in the comments below!


Reading Twitter Analytics Part Two-Venturing into Excel spreadsheets

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Reading Twitter analytics can be hard if you are unsure about what you are looking at or find looking at all those numbers really scary! This posts serves only as an overview to help you make informed decisions about what you post, when and how it is written.

I have read posts where people say that page/ post views 'do not matter' and the like but I struggle to understand this. By working out the best times to post, which posts work well and why means that you can maximise upon this to help increase your engagement and following, which is what everyone strives for!

Once you have opened up Twitter analytics and clicked on the 'tweets' section you will get onto the 28 day page analysis. Click on the export data button, the last 28 days button next is where you can adjust the dates, I usually do a month by month analysis. Open the Excel file that you have downloaded.

You can see lots of different columns, it can look quite intimidating the first time but we are going to get rid of loads of columns to make it easier to read the data.

I automatically get rid of:

  • Tweet ID
  • Tweet Permalink
I get rid of these purely because they are of no use to me, I will not gain anything from them.

Depending on what media you use I usually get rid of every column from permalink clicks onwards.

Next I focus on the datasets that give me the most information, these are:

  • Engagements 
Engagements are the number of times your tweet has been engaged with. 

An engagement include these actions: 
cards, embedded media, hashtags, follows, favourites, links, profile clicks, retweets, replies, usernames and tweet expansions.

  • Engagement rate
This is the number of engagements divided by the number of impressions 

  • Retweets
The number of retweets. This is a good metric as it shows that people value the content enough that they want people on there own feed. 

  • Likes
Again simply put the number of likes, another good metric as it shows appreciation of the tweet. 

  • Impressions
This metric is the number of times a message is served to a user in a timeline or search results. I am not keen on this metric because the way I see it because it is a timeline it does not necessarily mean that it is read.

  • URL clicks
The number of times a URL is clicked on. 

As Twitter doesn't total the metrics up for you, I automatically use SUM and add up all the columns first so I have a total. I then use mean to find the average. Both metrics are useful as I can see what was achieved that month and with the average I can see how many engagements were made over the number of tweets.  The more engagements per tweet means more people engage with the posts.

Afterwards I filter the data - I filter whatever metric I need to see which tweets received the largest amount of engagement and also which didn't and then look further to see if it there is a certain way I wrote the tweets with the largest/ least engagement.

Has this basic guide made you want to use Twitter metrics more?


Leaving a Digital Footprint - Why I love writing on the internet

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Title text with an image of a beach in the background

Hello, hello today I am talking about why leaving behind a digital footprint is one of the reasons why I love writing on the internet. I have had my little site now on and off for about three years! It started as a site to talk about cycling but then I realised I didn't actually know that much cycling (other than the fact that my Boardman bike is my best friend FYI!) so then I switched to talking about lifestyle then just social media and blogging and now I feel that I have found a happy medium in talking about blogging/ social media and lifestyle thrown in on occasion. One thing that has not changed is that I do really enjoy writing and reading comments either on my site or social media.

I enjoy blogging because it is just so easy and accessible for everyone. I started originally because I wanted to improve my writing at work (one of my responsibilities was writing articles for the site and social media) but one thing that I liked about blogging is that it was somewhere I could leave my footprint, I could have my say. It wasn't just blogging tho, Twitter was another platform where I leave behind my thoughts, less so feelings but also have conversations with like-minded people, read interesting articles. Even on Strava the cycling app, I could view how well I had done on bike rides against myself and other cyclists - the perfect example of the digital complimenting my real life! I loved the way I see the miles mounting up (I was pretty gutted when the GPS on my phone stopped working!).

I was watching Rest in Pixels a programme on BBC Three ages ago about digital legacy. In the programme it spoke about companies using algorithms to message from your social media profiles after your death about topics that you were interested in. I found it interesting because it was focused on keeping these profiles alive after you were gone. However for me I didn't see the point - well honed algorithms are fine but they are not going to bring the person back and surly it would extend the heartache? I knew that if something was going to happen to me I would want people to look at my social media profiles and see the tweets and posts that I had written.

I remember a conversation on Twitter a while back and a blogger said that they loved the idea that our children now will grow up and be able to remember us very well as creating and saving videos are accessible and that our lives now as the (digital native generation) are lived just as much online as they are offline. I think that is a lovely way to view this.

This blog post was not planned and at all and as taken a slightly morbid turn then I thought it would! But I would love to hear your thoughts on this? Does anyone feel that they are leaving behind a legacy as such when they write? xx

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