Your Embarassing Blogging & Social Media Questions, Answered

sofaFact: it wasn't until recently that I figured out how people got really high quality images from their blog to their Instagram.  I kept trying to take photos of my computer screen, and the results were really pixelated.  I kept going, “How do they do it?! Why aren't THEIR photos all pixely?”

Fact: it wasn't until recently that I figured out how people got really high quality images from their blog to their Instagram.

I consider myself pretty tech savvy (with a good dose of McGuyver), but this one was STUMPING me.   And I know I'm not alone.  There is always something small and silly that we feel like we should know the answer to, but don't.  And we get too embarrassed to ask anyone.  First, you're not alone.  Second, don't ever feel embarrassed to ask– we all have to learn somehow.

Here you go. Your embarrassing, silly, and stupid social media questions, answered.

So…how DO you get high quality pictures from your computer to Instagram?

Email them to yourself.  This may not be how others do it, and maybe this isn't the easiest way, but a friend recommended it to me and it's been working.  Email the high resolution .jpg to yourself, save it to your phone, and Instagram to your heart's delight.  I felt kind of like a social media dunce when I heard it, but hey, it works! And now my images aren't blurry or pixelated, but are crisp, clear, and bright.

What are those little emoticon images on the phone and how do I get them?

Emoji!  I had to ask a blogger friend what they were.  In short, you download an app that adds a special keyboard to your smartphone (on the iPhone, I use one called EMOJI).  In texts, comments, and on websites, you can switch from the text keyboard to the emoji keyboard.  You just use the emoji icons in place of characters. There are TONS of emoji apps out there, so you can find all sorts of images!  Some are free, some cost money, but there you go.

How long do you have to replies to comments?

I hate to answer this question with a question, but: how often are you posting?  What is your schedule like?  In an ideal world, I'd recommend within 24 hours (and really do if you're posting daily).  But I know that isn't always realistic or reasonable for people (especially if you post once a week).  24-48 would be reasonable, but again, it depends on your life.  Sometimes it takes me a week or longer to get around to replying to comments.

I use the ReplyMe plugin on WordPress so my readers receive a short email response when I reply.  This way they don't have to wait, but get a response directly to them.

How do you shorten URL links?

This answer will really depend on why you're trying to or want to shorten it.  You can sign up for bit.ly, which is free and will shorten URLs.  Bit.ly also has analytics to help you track where, when, and the source of your links being opened. Some blogger buy their own custom shortened URL (you'll notice that all of Refinery29's URLs are r29.co when shortened).  Bit.ly explains how to set up your own custom domain here.

If you're using Hootsuite for Twitter, they have their own URL shortener.  I tend to just pop a bit.ly link in there so I can share the same URL across multiple social media platforms (my website, Facebook, Twitter, etc)!

What are Twitter lists? How & why should you use them?

Twitter lists are ways to organize the people you follow.  For example, I have the following lists set up on my Twitter (or rather, through Hootsuite): Style Coalition (where I follow my fellow Style Coalition members), Fashion Bloggers, New Orleans bloggers.

Lists are great to use if you follow thousands of users and want to be able to read particular topics at once.   You could have a list of all the brands you follow, all the bloggers you follow, and all media outlets.  You could make a list of bloggers you'd love to work with, so you can quickly reference what they're talking about.  You can create a list of your favorite 100 people to follow on Twitter.  The options for lists are endless.

For extra reading, Sarah Von Bargen's Using Twitter Lists for Fame + Fortune (or you, know, time-effective networking) is a great read.

Is the lack of comments – either on Facebook or blog – a bad sign?

This is a tough one.  Yes, it can be a bad sign, but it isn't ALWAYS a bad sign.  Here are some questions to ask yourself to figure out if it's a bad sign for you and your site:

What time of year is it?  Do I have recurring traffic & engagement patterns during this time? I always notice a dip in traffic and engagement in the holidays and during summer. People are just doing other things!  I try not to take it personally that they don't want to see my cookie recipes at Christmas, because I know they're probably out making meaningful memories instead.

Are ALL of my posts being met with silence? Actually look at your analytics.  Look at what posts are receiving comments (any at all) and which aren't.  Do you notice any common threads?  Are the posts where you talk about your personal life receiving comments? Are your outfit posts, with no text, being met with silence?  Figure out what qualities make people engage, and recreate it.  On Facebook, see how many people your posts are reaching.  If they're reaching a lot of people (15-20% of your followers), but no one is engaging, you may be doing something wrong.  It's not compelling them to post.  The best Facebook posts prompt a response from readers AND reach a higher percentage of your followers.

Am I providing meaning with my methods of communication? Am I providing people with a reason to respond?  This goes back to my post last week, which is you need to offer readers something of value. It isn't enough to just indulge your own interests, but you need to keep them coming back for something MORE.

And sometimes you just have to remember… that as more and more blogs are created, people are absorbing more and interacting less.  I believe that commenting is valuable, but I'm not always sure of its longevity.  Social media is changing so quickly, and the best way to continually engage people is to create content they CAN'T skip over.

Thank you to all the fabulous members of the IFB community for sharing your questions with me!  If you have any embarrassing silly social media & blogging questions, please leave them below.  I'll either answer in the comments or do a follow up in the upcoming weeks!

[Image Source Shutterstock.com]

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38 Responses

  1. Luz

    Thank you for the answers Ashe!! 😀
    I do check my analytics but I honestly never really had a close look to find a pattern of times in the year when the readers interaction drop. Great advice!

    I’m still thinking of more embarassing blog and social media questions for you my dear Ashe! 😉
    Have a nice week!

    Reply
    • Ashley "Ashe" Robison

      Of course, LuceBuona – I’m glad it’s given you some new ideas how to figure out the hows & whys.

      If you have any more, I’m ALWAYS happen to answer… and if I don’t have them, find someone who does 😉

      Reply
  2. Chelsey

    Another option is visiting your site directly from your folding, and pressing and holding to save the image from there. I never utilized my photos app, I used to access pics by going through the camera roll, but now I organize them into groups using the photos app. It’s been a huge help. I have Instagram, blog ideas, food, personal, and inspiration photo albums.

    Reply
    • Ashley "Ashe" Robison

      You know, Chelsey, I tried that! It started when I was trying to get photos of Emma Stone’s hair on my phone for a haircut. And lawd help me, there was never a “Save to Folder” option. It drove me nuts! I’ll have to try again.

      Reply
    • Ashley "Ashe" Robison

      Hi Kathryn,
      I wasn’t concerned about getting them from Instagram TO my blog (I do that through saving them to Flickr), but rather if I’ve already posted the originals to my blog. How I got them off of my blog (the original files on my computer) to Instagram (on my phone).

      Hope that clears up what my confusion was!

      Reply
    • Ashley "Ashe" Robison

      Hey Bethany – I thought you had to download an app to get the keyboard, because it didn’t come by default on the phone? (Or that’s how it was when I got my Emoji keyboard!)

      Reply
      • Chelsey

        For the emoji keyboard on iPhone you go to Settings – General – Keyboard – Keyboards – Add New Keyboard – Emojis.

        No app required 🙂

      • Catherine Summers

        Chelsey thank you! I’ve just done this and I’m so happy (I’m easily pleased)

  3. danielle @ lou what wear

    I use the dropbox app to access my photos on my phone. You can drag them to your dropbox folder on your desktop and boom, there they are on your phone. The app is free and it integrates with instagram and a lot of other picture apps.

    Reply
  4. Stef

    Thanks Ashe. What a fun article! I’m really bad about questions especially on blogging and social media. Sometimes I feel like they need a difficulty rating just so I don’t feel like I’m asking ‘dumb’ questions.

    Reply
  5. Megann of Style Surgery

    What an interesting read! I was especially curious about the lack of comments, because I rarely ever get comments, so it makes me wonder. But as far as site traffic goes, my blog seems to be pretty consistent; the same goes for each post. So it really is puzzling. I suppose I should just continue to improve on the content to make people want to comment 🙂 I always love interacting with site visitors because I get to know their opinions on different topics.

    Reply
  6. Barbara

    *wide grin*
    I am not going to say anything because I only this morning discovered how to upload pre-recorded videos to my instagram, lol.
    I use a Samsung Android and only use the existing emoticons (or none), just tried to look for Emoji in Google play but found none *sad face*
    Thanks Ashe

    Barbara
    http://www.barbara1923.com
    Lagos, Nigeria

    Reply
    • Ashley "Ashe" Robison

      Barbara – don’t feel dumb or fooled! Uploading pre-existing videos to Instagram was a new feature in the last update. Before that, you couldn’t. So you’re NOT alone in just figuring that one out! 😉

      Reply
  7. CynthiaCM

    I think for me, I might be promoting my site in the wrong places, or perhaps they just..don’t like my topics! Even my more “controversial” posts on body image are often met with silence, or at most, two or three comments. My site isn’t a me, me, me site with outfit pictures. I post some, but it’s just not something my site is about. Even food pictures, for some reason, don’t get too many replies. Don’t people like to eat?

    Cynthia

    http://www.delectablychic.com

    Reply
    • Amber-Rose

      I feel exactly the same way Cynthia, I figure that I must be doing something wrong somewhere.

      I have to say though, when I clicked on your blog, nothing really ‘grabbed’ me and made me want to look around. I probably would have left pretty quickly but I had a quick scroll down and just felt that all the wide sidebars and ads etc made it confusing and made my head hurt. I hope this is somewhat constructive? I’m sure there’s nothing wrong with your actual content.

      Reply
      • CynthiaCM

        The only thing is that I have no choice but to place the ads on the side bar (I really only have two or three ads – the remaining are social media follower counts/registration for the newsletter) because that’s where my blog network has asked me to place them. I suppose I could switch my social media icons with the top ad? Or is it the slider that is more “annoying?”

  8. Glamourdaze

    Socialising your fashion post is either fortunately or unfortunately the ‘key’ these days. When I post, I spend almost the same time scooting about my Facebook,Twitter,Pinterest pages etc to spread the love. Generally I get more comments there than on my site. Engaging viewers to comment is always a good thing, though i don’t let my article choices depend entirely on their virability [ is there a word virability?] . Google Plus is often overlooked, as it comes so far in the wake of all the other social options, but i wouldnt overlook it – Google tends to favour their own. When my blog was on Blogger – i got lots more comments, than I tend to get now on WordPress. Also beware of comments which are serving the interest of the commenter more than you [ you know the kind I mean – they quote ‘part’ of your article and then make some inane comment about it, along with a link to their blog. I delete these without a second thought.

    Reply
  9. Christina

    Thanks for this post Ashe! I have an embarrassing blog question–how do people make those fashion collages? Is everyone using Photoshop (which I sadly am without) or is there another easier and possibly cheaper way to make them? I’m working on a wishlist series but had to do without a collage on my first one because I couldn’t figure it out 🙁

    http://talesfromthethrift.com/

    Reply
    • Ashley "Ashe" Robison

      Hey Christina!
      Some bloggers do use photoshop (I know I do). You can also use Polyvore though. I used it before I had Photoshop. It used to have a problem where it’d make everything smaller when you embedded it into a post (so I’d often screencap my collage and then share it). This is how Alison from Wardrobe Oxygen creates her collages!

      Another option, if you monetize, would be ShopSense. I’m pretty sure they have a clothing layout tool. I’ve never used it, but I have seen it there.

      I hope that helps & gives you a start!

      Reply
      • Christina

        Thanks Ashe! I figured Photoshop was the best way to go–guess I’m gonna have to buckle down and get it. I’ll also give Polyvore a try though! Thanks for the tips.

      • Anneke Forbes

        Hi Christina,

        I used to wonder how I would ever afford Photoshop, but 2 months ago, I jumped onto Adobe’s home page to see if I had remembered wrong. Turns out they’ve changed the way they sell their products. Instead of paying thousands of dollars for a program that goes out of date, they now offer a monthly subscription for less than I spent on dinner tonight! I know this sounds like an Adobe ad, but their new Creative Cloud is the bomb! It makes what was once out of reach for most of us totally attainable! I am using both it and Illustrator all the time to help my photos and collages pop.

        Hope this is helpful 🙂
        Anneke

  10. Crosby

    Great post Ashe! If you find out a better way than email to instagram please share – it is SUCH a pain and I find myself not doing it because I just don’t want to go through the extra steps!

    Reply
    • Ashley "Ashe" Robison

      Miss C!
      Danielle suggested the dropbox app — you drag them into dropbox on your computer, and then can access them from the phone. I may give that a go, and I’ll let you know how it works out!

      Reply
    • Tali

      I tried different sizes on Instagram and it turns out that photos of size less than 800×800 pixelate. But it’s just a guess – there might be more factors than only size.

      Reply
  11. Catherine Summers

    First of all – thanks Ashe, brilliant tips!! Apologies if I’m repeating what someone else has said (I did read all the comments) – I *think* this is different to what everyone else has said re. uploading blog photos to your phone for Instagram!

    1. Open up a *Chrome* page
    2. Access the photo on e.g. Flickr (or wherever you store your photos)
    3. View the photo at the size you want to save – I tend to open one that’s a bit bigger
    4. Hold your finger down on the screen to get options come up, then Save To Library… DONE!

    I use Safari for all web pages, but use the Chrome app purely for Flickr so that I can go straight to my photostream… saves opening a page and finding Flickr, then trying to find my photostream each time – on Chrome it’s always on my photostream where I left it last.

    Sorry if this is too much of the basics (“hold finger down” etc.), but when I first got my phone I didn’t have a clue how to save a photo to my library, for instance. Funny how we all have our different ways of doing things – hope this might help someone!

    Catherine
    http://notdressedaslamb.com/

    Reply
  12. Anneke Forbes

    Hey Ashley,

    Thanks for writing such a helpful article! It seems the blogging universe is full of mysteries and sorting out even one is a relief! I think another useful, yet embarrassing topic worth exploring would be how to know what hashtags are trending in fashion or whatever genre your blog explores. I know there is the small list that appears in the sidebar of Twitter, but a resource that is more specific would be a huge help!

    To get my SLR photos from my MacBook to my iPhone, I plug in the phone to sync, choose my phone from the menu bar at the upper right hand side of iTunes. I then click on the “Photos” tab and make sure the “Sync Photos from” box is checked, then choose the specific folder my photos are located in, then hit “Apply” below. I know this sounds complicated, but it’s actually really easy and what else have you got to do while your phone syncs? 🙂 When you go to Instagram the photo, you should be able to find it in the same place as your “Camera Roll” and “Photo Library”. I know this is an Apple-only solutions, but it works super well!

    Best of luck!
    Anneke

    Reply
  13. Simone Starr

    To get my photos to my instagram I go into my blog from my iPhone or ipad and just save the photos to whatever one I’m using. That way I can do it when I’m off the computer !

    Reply
  14. Adela

    I knew some of the answers and I learnt something new. That’s why I love IFB 🙂
    Adela x

    Misspinkstyle.net

    Reply