What is ‘PR’ and How Does it Work?!

Have you ever scrolled through Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok and seen your favourite influencer unboxing PR items? Have you ever been curious how they receive these ‘gifts’? In today’s post I’m going to break down the ins and outs of PR gifted products.

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PR stands for public relations, and is commonly used to describe products that have been sent for an influencer to unbox, review, or share in an AD post. PR products can be sent with requirements for the influencer to adhere to when posting content, or just sent with no strings attached in hopes that the influencer will enjoy them and promote them to their audience.

Generally, influencers receive PR in one of three ways:

1. The company will reach out to the influencer directly.

2. The influencer will reach out to the company directly.

3. A dedicated PR company will act as a middleman to distribute products to the influencer.

If you are an influencer it’s a good idea to have a dedicated email address that companies can use to contact you. Share this email address in your social media bios, and blog FAQ page (if applicable.) Companies may also reach out to you over direct message on certain social media platforms.

It’s important to not be afraid to reach out to companies yourself either! The worst that can happen is the company doesn’t respond, or says ‘no.’ Try to look on the companies website. Many will have a dedicated PR email address you can contact. You can also reach out to them through direct message. Introduce yourself, tell them why you are interested in their products and how you can promote them on your social media. You will be surprised how many PR lists I have been added to this way!

There are companies that act as middlemen to distribute products to influencers. Check out Octoly or Influenster. As an influencer, you can apply to these websites and then be selected to receive PR items to review on your social media channels.

All in all, PR products are not as elusive to get ahold of as many influencers will make it appear. I started receiving PR when I had less than 1000 followers on my Instagram page. Nano and micro influencers are becoming more and more valuable to companies as a cheap marketing option.

Have you ever received a PR product(s)? What was it?

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How to Organically Grow your Instagram Following in 5 Easy Steps

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms for good reason. It is a constantly evolving platform that allows users to share photos, stories, and short videos quickly and easily. Personal users, content creators, entrepreneurs, and businesses alike can all use Instagram to help market and grow their brand.

In today’s blog post I’ll be sharing 5 free steps to help you organically grow your Instagram following based on my personal experience as a content creator and small business entrepreneur.

The first step seems pretty straightforward, but may be a lot harder than you think. Instagram is made up of small communities, and if you can find the community that fits you best you’re already on your way to success.

Think about your brand and the content you plan to post. Is it lifestyle? Beauty? Health? Sports? Categorizing your brand into a specific niche will go a long way.

Once you have found your niche and begun to post your content and use relevant hashtags, you will start to gain followers. Your followers are your most valuable asset so it’s important that you engage with them and make them feel seen.

Replying back to your followers comments on your own posts is a given, but have you checked out their feeds? Leave them a like and comment on THEIR posts to show your appreciation. This is a small task that will take a minimal amount of time, but will go a long way in retaining followers (and potential customers!)

Staying consistent goes hand in hand with staying relevant. It’s important to designate a posting schedule and stick to it. Maybe you will post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Shoot and plan your content in advance so you know exactly what to post on each day and you’re never fumbling for content at the last second.

Apps such as Planoly make it easy to plan your feed and schedule posts. There is a monthly fee to use this app but if you are a content creator or small business it can definitely be worth the investment.

Instagram may be focused around the content you post on your feed, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect the other features on the app! Make sure to post updates, behind the scenes, Q&As, polls, and other interactive content in your stories to keep your audience engaged.

Reels are a recent addition to Instagram and are currently heavily favoured by the algorithm. Make sure to create your own reels and take advantage of this!

Maybe this one goes without saying, but it’s important for your feed to have a distinct theme. No one wants to follow a page that looks unorganized and messy! Planoly (mentioned in tip 3) and other Instagram planning apps can help you stay organized.

Have you implemented these tips into your own Instagram page? Are there any other tips you would like to add? Please share in the comments section below!

Facebook: Are you a small business or content creator struggling to grow your Instagram following? Check out 5 free tips here: https://rb.gy/px5lpf

Twitter: Need to grow your IG following? 5 free tips here: https://rb.gy/px5lpf

No Camera? No Problem! How To Shoot & Edit Product Photos On Your Smartphone

If you are launching a small business, starting out as a content creator, or hoping to land a job in social media management than product photography skills can definitely come in handy. With the rise of smartphones, there is no reason you need an expensive camera to take beautiful product shots. In today’s blog post I’ll be sharing with you my personal techniques to achieve professional looking product photos using only your phone. 

First, you’ll need to gather a few supplies. You should already have these items lying around your home, so no need to spend any money. 

  • A good light source (softbox lights are ideal but natural sunlight works great too)
  • A clean background 
  • Props to add depth and dimension to your shot 
  • Your camera smartphone 
  • The Lightroom app for editing purposes (free to download)  
  • And of course, the product (s) you want to photograph 

Now, I can’t emphasize enough that good lighting is key to a professional looking photo. I personally use softbox lights that I purchased for less than $100 on Amazon here but bright, natural sunlight will work too! To set the backdrop for your product think about the mood and visual you want to create for your audience. Do you want dark, moody vibes? A bright, sunny shot? A minimalistic shot using only a white background? You are the creator, so the vision is up to you! If you are shooting for your employer they will likely already have guidelines in place to guide you in your shoot.

Here is an example of a product photo I took showcasing I’m From products. I used solely natural sunlight to shoot this photo, and used items I already had in my home to create the backdrop and setting. 

Photo copyright of the author, Danika Malovic

The products are based on natural ingredients, so I tried to highlight that in the styling of my photo.

Editing is also a big factor in achieving a professional looking photo. In the free photo editing app Lightroom, it’s possible to alter brightness, contrast, tint, texture etc to enhance your photo. You can also create ‘presets’ that are ideal to use when trying to maintain a cohesive social media feed. Editing all of your photos with the same preset will help create a more streamlined look. 

Here is an example of how editing can enhance an image. On the top is a raw photo taken straight from the camera, and on the bottom is a photo that has been edited in Lightroom. Can you see the difference editing makes?

Both photos copyright of the author, Danika Malovic

There are different styles of shots to consider when taking your photo. Below are a few common styles of product photos:

  • Texture 
    • A shot showcasing the texture of a product. Common with food, beauty, and clothing products 
  • Close-Up (macro)
    • Generally highlights single details or features of a product 
  • Vanity
    • Most common with beauty products, these type of shots can be used to promote candles, skincare, makeup, and jewelry 
  • Flatlay 
    • Very common on Instagram, this is a shot where the products are lying flat on a table or surface, and the photo is taken from above 

Like anything in life, practice makes perfect when it comes to taking product photos. Take time to explore the features of your phone’s camera, play around with the Lightroom app features, and experiment with different props and types of product shots. Before you know it, you’ll be taking pictures like a pro! 

FB Post: Want to learn how to step up your product photography game? Check out my blog post here full of easy tips and tricks: https://rb.gy/cpb7n1

Twitter Post: Do you want to take professional product shots for social media using only your smartphone? Check out this blog for some easy tips: https://rb.gy/cpb7n1


Etsy Staff. (2017). 7 Essential Types of Product Photos. Retrieved from: https://www.etsy.com/ca/seller-handbook/article/7-essential-types-of-product-photos/22504064051

Ghost Followers: How They Scare Off Instagram Engagement

By Danika Malovic

Ghost followers? Don’t worry, they’re not as scary as they seem; however they can negatively affect your Instagram engagement. In today’s blog post I’ll discuss what ghost followers are, how to prevent them, and why they affect engagement.

What are ghost followers?

Ghost followers come in many different forms. They can be spam accounts that mass follow tons of pages at once, accounts that belong to inactive users, and even some brand accounts.

The commonality that defines all of these accounts as ghost followers is simple- they don’t engage with your content even after they follow you.

The Instagram algorithm is tricky to navigate and it can be difficult to pinpoint poor engagement on certain factors. From my personal experience running both creator and business accounts on Instagram, I have found that ghost followers are one of the main causes of poor reach.

Photo taken from: https://instamber.com/blog/instagram-ghost-followers/

How do I prevent ghost followers?

Preventing ghost followers isn’t easy. If you have a relatively small following then they can be easier to keep track of. When an account follows you, click on their profile and do some detective work. Ask yourself the following questions:

Created using Canva

Instagram now has a handy feature that makes it easy to get rid of unwanted followers. Just click on the ‘remove follower’ button and your work is done!

There are also third party apps to automatically take care of ghost followers for you. These are helpful if you have a larger audience and don’t have time to manually check your followers one by one.

Here is a comprehensive list of apps you can use to track and remove ghost followers.

But why should I remove ghost followers?

If you are a creator or business you obviously want your followers to see and engage with your content. Instagram only shows your content to a small percentage of your total following. If those followers interact with your content by liking, commenting etc then Instagram responds by pushing the content to an even wider audience.

What if you have a large percentage of ghost followers and Instagram is only showing your content to them? They won’t be engaging in your posts and therefore your overall reach and engagement will decline.

Having less followers that actually engage with your content is more important then having more followers that don’t engage! This way your content will have a farther reach and at the end of the day, you will end up with more active, legitimate followers. Sounds crazy right? But it’s true!

Now, go use what you’ve learned to get rid of those ghosties and keep the Instagram algorithm on your good side.

Have you ever experienced ghost followers on Instagram? Did they negatively effect your reach and engagement? Tell me about your experience in the comments below!


Nicole, Dana. (2019, August 23.) Everything You Need To Know About Ghost Followers On Instagram.


Giovanetti, Fab. (2020, May 21.) Why Should I Remove My Ghost Followers On Instagram?


Social Media Posts:

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