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Samantha Lillian, also known as Beauty & Bones, blogs all things fashion and lifestyle. We’ve interviewed her to share all she has learned in the blogging world. We hope you get inspired and learn from her helpful tips to take your social media to the next level!
Tell our readers about yourself and your blog.
I am a Southern California native by heart and birth. Everything about the place inspires me on the daily. The people, art, architecture and energy that surrounds me is why I love calling Southern California my home. I created Beauty & Bones as a collaborative space to connect with other individuals who share my creative mindset. I wanted it to be a place where I could come to freely, without judgment, and just create art that inspires me, I like to think of it as my digital journal as well! When I blog, I tend to let my mind free and just go with whatever my little heart desires. If there is one thing that I want people to feel when they come to my blog, it’s self-love! I would love to inspire women and men to just really embrace their own beauty, and the skin and bones that shaped them into the person they are today! My art is who I am, and it’s within each and every one of us!
Describe how you first got into blogging.
I first got into blogging when I discovered influencers Hanna Beth and Vlogger Jenn Im. I was always eagerly awaiting their next fashion post and their next vlog on YouTube. Their style was so different, eclectic and they knew how to give vintage a different edge! I loved how they always made something old, that most girls would see on a hanger and pass up, look SO fun! Girls like that always attracted me, and pretty much sparked my blogger interest from that point on.
What do you think is the best strategy to get more traffic to your blog?
I think the best way to get traffic to my blog is to really utilize all of the social media platforms that are out there! If there is an app for shoes, use it. If there is an app that is specifically geared towards posting your outfit, you best believe I’m using it! Consistency is key, and always re-directing every post to my website is a given! Granted, I have my moments when life gets too crazy and I forget to do a few things, however, it is always great practice to really be on it when it comes to using all of the sources available to you. Do your homework, and if you are unsure of something; google it!
Where do you find the inspiration for your blog posts?
Inspiration comes to me in all forms; I can be walking down the street and see a girl wearing a polka dot scarf, and be inspired to recreate a polka dot look. Or, I’ll be scrolling through the millions of blogs, magazines and editorials that I love and see something that really sticks. Pinterest is also a HUGE source of my inspiration. I can get lost on there for hours creating inspo boards and pinning different looks for all the moods I’m currently into.
What’s your favorite social media platform?
My top social media platform is Pinterest. Second would be my website because it was such a huge accomplishment for me!
How do gain organic followers?
Collaborating with like-minded individuals, using unique hashtags and sometimes just attending events and getting my face out there by meeting new people. The best way to gain followers is to really engage with them and create content that isn’t in such a saturated category. Being different isn’t ever a bad idea!
Once you have the followers, how do you keep them?
I pay attention to which posts are generating the most impressions, and I really engage with each person that follows me. I like to make all of my followers feel special because they all are! If I go MIA from social media it shows, so I really try my best to stay current and on top of all of my platforms.
How many times a week do you post?
Ideally, I like to post daily. I found that daily posting became somewhat stressful, and I was just posting content that really didn’t speak to me. As of right now, I post when I have a solid lineup of imagery that I really connect with, or when I have completed projects that I am beyond proud of. Its safe to say that I post weekly, so you can always turn on my post notifications and expect to be stunned and inspired by every alert you get!
Is this a part of your strategy to keep gaining followers or do you post at random?
Sometimes I post at random, but the majority of the time I post when my followers are most active, so my content gets noticed and not buried.
What are some misconceptions about social media?
I really can’t stand when most people assume people using social media are actually just sad and lonely people with no friends or life. Or, that people using social media are vain and willing to do whatever it takes to gain a follower. It’s such a silly misconception, and it’s only a true reflection of the person who is saying it. I work hard at what I create, and I have so much fun doing it will all of my friends.
How do you find relevant hashtags for your photos?
I do my research always, or I use hashtags that I noticed drew a lot of attention to a specific photo. Also, always make sure your hashtags actually are geared toward what you are actually posting.
Do you have photos taken professionally or do you take them yourself?
It depends; sometimes I will work with my friends and create imagery. And other times I’ll schedule photo shoots with some professional photographers that I really feel create content that speaks to me.
What are some tips you can give in order to take a good photo?
Be comfortable and confident! If you lack these two C’s, I can promise you it will show in the photos. So, just be yourself and don’t try too hard to be someone you are not. Your followers love you; not some girl you saw on Instagram earlier.
What’s your favorite location to take photos?
I LOVE Long Beach! The architecture there is so colorful and fun.
How did you establish your “theme” or brand?
I sat down one night, put my pen to my journal and started brainstorming ideas. After nights of papers being crumbled, words getting crossed out and a few glasses of wine — it came to me. It wasn’t easy, but I eventually figured it out! My friends and family were beyond helpful as well throughout this whole process.
For your theme or brand, do you have things that you do consistently?
As of right now, I am working on a brand project for Beauty & Bones that I cannot wait to release. So, once this is finished I will definitely have a theme for my brand Beauty & Bones. If I had to pick right now though, it would be styling!
What are your top 3 favorite emojis?
All of the stars & hearts & roses
What apps would you recommend to our followers?
Get all of the Google Apps. They are great for planning and staying on top of things. Also VSCO! I love that app! I use it all time, and it was my first introduction to photo editing. So if you are a beginner to blogging and editing, this app is great!
How do you upkeep your website?
I ideally would like to update my website monthly with new imagery on my landing page, but my life has only gotten busier and busier. So I have a goal set for updating it every two months. This way I have an abundance of fun imagery. As far as website blog posting, I update this weekly!
What else do you want to add to help small business owners?
If you have a dream, don’t wait for it to happen, DO IT! It is so scary like everyone says it is, but I honestly and truly promise you it won’t ever happen without great sacrifice, hard work and diligence. Everything is possible, and the only thing holding you back from success is yourself. Don’t ever be afraid to try new ideas, and ask for help either. The right people will be more than happy to assist you and help you grow without wanting anything in return.