Coastal Collective Co.


Make It Happen: 3 Instagram Essentials For Your Business

Blogging, Business Development, How to Blog, InstagramAnneke McConnell

Hey friends! Instagram can be a tricky social media platform to tackle as a business owner and/or blogger, and it is admittedly my fave platform so I'm here to help you out.  A few years back when I had to drop my blogging dramatically, Instagram really became my go-to and I've been hooked ever since, even through all the changes.

I promise you though......when all the pieces come together, it's really quite simple.

1.  Make The Process of Working with You EASY.

I have worked with many businesses and bloggers who focus SO MUCH on what their Instagram feeds looks like, that they neglect the next steps for a potential client. I love sharing how I found my current hairstylist through Instagram because after I saw her pretty work, I wanted to move forward with booking her for a hair consultation. She had a clear call to action in her profile (i.e. click below for our services and schedule) and a link to get the ball rolling on an appt. I LOVE HER, and I'm so happy I found her through Instagram.  Make the process as easy as possible.  Answers frequent questions so your potential customer doesn't have to, or worse, just leaves.


2. Speaking of Being Found, you guessed it........HASHTAGS ARE HUGE!

Love 'em or hate 'em, I don't thing they are going away anytime soon.  You are currently able to attach 30 hashtags to your photo or video on Instagram and this is a huge part of Instagram strategy.  It's a brilliant way to categorize your work, connect with your ideal client or blog follower, be found through the search feature, etc.

With that said, I don't believe it to be the best advice to use all popular hashtags, because the goal for your business is likely to be profitable and not popular.  It's unreal the number of people that are popular on Instagram that don't make nearly as much income as a business on Instagram that is purposeful, well connected, and intentional about what they are putting out there!

Here's a bit of homework for you.

Set some time aside to create 3-5 blocks of 30 hashtags that are a mix of a few different elements to save on your phone, mobile device, or laptop. This will save you HOURS of time in the long run!  It’s important to mix up the hashtags you use and share a variety. Some examples include:

  • Broad topics (i.e. #interiordesign)
  • Focused topics (i.e. #plankedwall)
  • Hashtags conveying brand values (i.e. #familyfirst)
  • Hashtags relating to customer pain points or needs (i.e. #seattleinteriordesigner)
  • As well as avoid banned hashtags (some are obvious, some are not - Google it folks).



3. Start From the End and Work Backwards, then Focus on Optimizing Your Post Time.

This should go without saying, but so many well intentioned business owners and bloggers get so sucked into numbers, and likes, follows, comments, shares, etc. Those elements all have there place, but they are not the end goal. I'm guessing it's your goal to make a profit along the way while inspiring, encouraging, entertaining, educating, etc.

Once you know your end goals and work backwards, take all the elements you know about hashtags, great captions, call to actions, etc. and use an app/service like Iconosquare to post at an optimized time.  The fee for a Pro account is nominal and dare I say essential, because posting once a day at an optimized time is a way better use of your time than posting 2-3 times a day when no one will ever see what you post.


If you're looking for some more in depth tips for Instagram, I created an easy to implement 10+ page PDF to help you out.  Click below to grab yours now!


I hope these tips help you be more efficient and productive when it comes to using Instagram for your business or blog.  

Speaking of, I'd love to have you follow along on my Instagram accounts if they look like the kind of thing you're into!


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Blog Talk: What Every Potential Blogger Must Ask Themselves FIRST

Blogging, How to Blog, Personal DevelopmentAnneke McConnell

Hello beautiful friends! As someone who has been blogging for 4-5 years, I'm certainly an advocate because I think it's AMAZING!


It wasn't always like that for me.

I started my blog on a complete whim without any prior knowledge of blogging or even following other blogs. I just wanted to share what I knew about painting furniture to help other people! Looking back I can't believe I've made it this far, but tenacity has a way of getting you places, right?!

On this week's Blog Talk via Facebook LIVEI shared briefly about the one question every potential blogger must ask themselves before starting a blog. The question I never asked myself until years into it, and a question that made all the difference.

Because of my negative experiences (because of my lack of knowledge) in my first years of blogging, and the process I went through to turn it around, I'm happy to help others get started on the right foot with a good foundation to their blog.

Now, anyone who has an interest in starting a blog typically has a mix of fears and excitement about the process and possibilities and this is completely NORMAL.

I do believe that no matter what dreams and goals you are pursuing, asking this ONE QUESTION before creating and launching your blog will give you greater clarity into how you actually want to do "this whole blogging thing".

It's simple, but profound.

The question simply is.........


"What do I want?"


What do I want in life?

What am I hoping to gain by starting this blog?

Why does this matter to me?

Does pursuing the launch of this kind of blog support the life I want to live?

How do I want to structure and operate my blog in order to support what I want in life? 


Listen. The great thing about owning and running your own blog is that you call the shots.  You set your hours. You work where you want to work.  You choose the people you work with. It's amazing!

At the same time it's easy to get sucked into the "what everyone else is doing" trap. You may start to get bogged down because you "have" to post so many times per week. You "have" to have these certain things on your website.  

You can literally make a job for yourself taking care of all the "have to's" and forgetting the heart of why you ever even began.

I know because that used to be me.

Late late nights. Overwhelmed with emails and social media comments. Grumpy at my kiddos for lack of sleep. Not prioritizing work outs and time with friends. Waiting for that next big break.

Addressing this one questions will help you begin your blog on a solid foundation from the get-go.

Here is an example of what I want in life is, and that I've created my blog to support this:

  • Time with my family.
  • To be well rested.
  • To feel strong and healthy.
  • To earn an income from work I enjoy.
  • To help others with problems and saving them time and money.
  • To have fun with design and style - things I enjoy!
  • To talk about deeper topics occasionally.
  • To create and savor the process of creating - not feeling rushed.
  • To be able to listen to my kids, look them in the eye, and be completely focused on what they're saying to me, without thinking of a million "to-dos" in my head.
  • To take time off and completely unplug from technology and not feel stressed out about it.


This list will look different for every single person who goes through this simple exercise.

What would your list look like?  Are your current goals supporting that list? I'd love to know in the comments below.




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P.S. Interested in starting a blog of your own. Grab my FREE Guide below!

Blog Talk: 5 Reasons Why You SHOULD Start a Blog

Blogging, Business Development, How to BlogAnneke McConnell

Hi friends! It's been a while since I've done a Blog Talk around these parts, but after several requests, I'm reinstating it as a weekly topic. 

When people hear the word "blog" or "blogging", they may have a very specific idea about what it is or it can sound extremely vague.

The truth is there are ALL different kinds of blogs, bloggers, and niches out there and getting a blog up and running can be a little intimidating. Another truth is that it is NOT for everyone.

Tackling this weekly topic is an opportunity for me to pay it forward and help you learn from my experiences and mistakes - and possibly some awesome blogging friends of mine!

So today's topic is focusing on reasons why you SHOULD start a blog. If you have a question (or two) for future posts, I'd love to know!

1. You have ideas and information that you want to share with people.

Mind blown I'm sure, but really......a blog is simply a place to share information with other people to inspire, motivate, teach, encourage, entertain, or save them time and money.  If you were to start a blog, what ideas do you want to share?  Do you truly believe in them??  Then a blog is a great place to "put it out there"! Plus, it's YOUR website that you own!


2. A blog is a catalyst for future growth.

We have no way of knowing what the future holds and how things will change, but one thing is certain, change will be a part of a blog.  As your blog grows and evolves, it can be what leads you to opportunities you made not have had otherwise.  Blogging has the potential to be a stellar resume of sorts and a stepping stone to that next big thing.


3. You want to work from home and have a flexible schedule.

Not everyone has the discipline and ability to schedule and manage themselves to run a blog, but if you do, blogging provides an amazing degree of flexibility. You are literally in charge of your schedule!  If you are a natural planner or willing to learn and set systems in place, you'll be successful in blogging.


4. You own a business and want to use your website to bring in more clients or customers.

The majority of businesses who utilize a blog gain more traffic than those that don't.  Whether you're a small business owner who creates handmade goods or offer services such as a photographer, florist, or designer, it's a great way to help your potential client or customer get to know you and build a trusting relationship.


5. The earning potential is HUGE.

Now I'm not going to lie and say that blogging is a way to "get rich quick".  In fact, for most it takes months of hard work and dedication to build a foundation and grow their audience and influence. That CAN be you with a plan and patience!

Building a business online has the potential to reach like-minded people all over the world, people who love you, what you have to share, and want to buy from you.  Connecting and making a positive impact on people who "get you" are the fringe benefits! 

I hope you guys find this "new" series helpful!  If you haven't grabbed my FREE ebook on starting a blog, you can download it by clicking below.  

I wrote this after realizing how I was blogging "all wrong" and wanted to share what I learned to turn it around. :-)

Blog Talk: Blogging Habits to Save You Time and Make You Money

Blogging, Business Development, How to BlogAnneke McConnell

Welcome to another Blog Talk post! When teaching people what I've learned over the years about blogging and how to start a blog successfully, they usually fall into two spectrums.

The first person is the semi-established blogger (or aspiring blogger) with an imbalance of time involved blogging in relation to them making money (i.e. blogging more doesn't equal making more, being more helpful, or creating a healthy community).  

The second person is the business owner who want to incorporate blogging into their business, but they just don't have the time. Trust me, I understand!

Before diving into these habits, I'd like to give you my blogging ebook for free.

Ok, so what habits can you incorporate into your blog and business so that blogging makes sense?


1. MORE content doesn't mean BETTER results.

At some point, you have to ask yourself, "What the heck's the point?"  I used to be that blogger that blogged and blogged and blogged and stayed up until 2am and had laundry everywhere and was seriously so stressed out.  It was a little out of control.  Worse than that, I wasn't really getting paid much of anything from my blog and my blog wasn't assisting my goals as a small business. I wasn't being smart about my content.

Focus about 80% of your content on what your audience really needs or wants from you, and then create something that is useful, entertaining, practical, a lesson learned, etc.  These kind of blog posts will be 10x more impactful than those that are not.

And YES, this looks different for every niche! Parenting, Crafts, photography, fashion blogging, selling essential oils, and those with a small business in the health, wellness, and food industries.

Now with that said, of course you may throw in small posts here or there like my previous post on some great home decor and fashion deals this last weekend.  I am a design and style blogger, so part of my job is to help save people the time it takes to find these items (and save them money!).  

Basically, some posts are more practical and to the point than in depth like a "How To" or "Tutorial".  Don't blog more for the sake of blogging.  Spend less time creating posts of Quality.


2. Schedule Your Blog Posts.

You are going to go through seasons of life where you don't want anything to do with your blog, business, computers or technology.  I'm a HUGE believer in stepping away for extended periods of time and avoiding the dread "content fatigue" that many online content creators experience.

Instead of posting 3-5 days per week, give yourself to slow down a bit, create the same posts, and schedule them out a little bit farther apart to give yourself some breathing room. If you are a business owner, even 2-4 quality blog posts per month can be huge to your bottom line!

So now that you are scheduling your posts, when you want to take that week long vacation, you can actually relax and not worry about creating 5 posts the night before you have to leave (which probably don't meet the criteria in my first suggested habit)!  Scheduling and thinking ahead gives you permission to have a day off and get out of "survival mode".


3. Hire Some Help.

Consider point #2, this is huge. It's also a touchy subject for quite a number of many bloggers and business owners, but the potential impact is HUGE.  Some thoughts that may be going through your head.

"But they can't do it like I do!"

"There's no way I can afford that."

"I don't have time to train someone."

Listen......I've been there.  But I wouldn't be where I am today if I tried to do EVERYTHING by myself.  I wouldn't have an ebook, graphics, high quality photos, an online class, and the reach I do on social media if I did it all myself. There just aren't enough hours!

Going solo works for a little while, but eventually you reach a breaking point.

Eventually you start to miss your family, a clean home (hire that out!), sleep, a balanced way of life and you're not quite sure how to have fun without "working on your blog or business".

Eventually you want to go on vacation, and actually have it be a vacation......knowing your business is taken care of and you don't look like you dropped off the online map.

A great resource for this is Upwork, which is a site to connect you to freelancers.  This kind of platform is a life-saver and a safe way to hire or be hired for work.

Give it a try and maybe start with a temporary job with the potential for more work in the future OR hire people for single jobs like editing photos, improving your SEO (search engine optimization), or social media promotions.  Take a look and browse around and soon enough you'll see the power of outsourcing or hiring for some help!


That's it for now!


If you are interested in taking your blogging to the next level and learning how to Blog for Biz, I'd like to invite you to learn more about my online course Blogging For Biz. Click the button to learn more.

Have a great day!



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