Blog Title: Feel Good Foodie
About: Currently raising her family in Michigan, Yumna is the home cook, recipe developer, and inspiration behind Feel Good Foodie. She creates nutritious, delicious, and family-friendly meals, sharing her enthusiasm for natural ingredients and clean eating. Yumna experiments with new tastes and textures, providing healthy alternatives to everyday staples that make you feel good.
Notes from Episode #098: Staying Current on Instagram
Fun fact: Yumna was born and raised in Congo, Africa and lived in Sierra Leone. They moved to the US when she was 11. She’s Lebanese and is bilingual.
How Yumna grew and how her journey has evolved.
Yumna joined Instagram in July 2013. Prior to becoming a blogger, she had 10 years experience in marketing and branding. Once she had children, Yumna made the choice to stay home. She began her business by starting a micro blog on Instagram. She didn’t realize how blogs worked back then so didn’t begin with the blog first. But it was an outlet for her and fun to do while sharing her creativity. Her husband came up with the name of her business.
Yumna would make a meal, share a picture on Instagram and then put the recipe right in the post itself. Her audience loved it.
Yumna enjoyed learning about the variety of blogs out there from people all over the world and seeing what growth they had and how they were sprouting into legit businesses. She got a blog started and added her Instagram recipes to her blog.
Her platform was fun and it was addicting to her so she enjoyed making it a business.
April 2016 a huge algorithm hit Instagram and Yumna had a huge drop in engagement. She lost a lot of followers and all that engagement and ads she had, was drying up. It was a wake up call.
So she started the blog and was able to get a lot of page views right away. So from month 1, she had a lot of page views and it was due to her Instagram following.
Two years later, she was still at 60K in page views and she was discouraged.
Now Feel Good Foodie has 3 million page views a month. The blog actually grew bigger than her best Instagram days. She just kept persisting and remembered it was a long game, nothing short term about it.
When Yumna started her blog, it took 3 months to get a logo. She took 100 of her Instagram recipes directly from Instagram with the watermark on them and copied and pasted them into her blog. But someone told her, no, stop that. Take new photos and update the information for them and she realized this was valuable advice.
So Yumna is aware of the need to go back and improve on old content and make it welcoming to your audience today.
Because Yumna started on Instagram initially, when she began her blog she had a recipe box of recipes for people to check through instead of recipe #1.
Then Yumna began to teach herself photography. Because of this she wasn’t putting out as much content because she slowed down to get in the game of blogging.
In 2018 Yumna hired Cook It Media to handle her sponsored work. They handle all the negotiations, prices and the details so she can focus on content creation and cooking. They also do outreach and handle contracts.
Yumna found out about this company from listening to the Food Blogger Pro podcast So she looked into them to find out about rebranding but she then found out they offered to work with outreach to Brands and securing sponsorships.
Ask questions, join Facebook groups, listen and network to find out about these types of opportunities and which companies to check out.
If you don’t want to hire an outside company and you don’t mind doing outreach yourself as a blogger, then you can do some of this yourself.
Show the Brand that you use and care about their products. You want to display you’re a fan by mentioning them or tagging them in your posts. Use hashtags to back up your related information to this product.
Don’t be afraid to reach out via DM or Twitter or email to a Brand you like. You can reach out without asking for money or anything, but just interact and bring yourself onto their radar. You can build a relationship from there.
You want to be an Ambassador for a company long term, so cultivate just a few companies to work with. Don’t focus on one project, but the long road.
Instagram and its algorithm. It’s a 4 step approach.
It’s like a monster that needs to be fed. This is true on Facebook and Pinterest, any social media platform. They want to be fed and they are watching what you do to take care of that hunger.
Yumna is an Instagram nerd and loves to see how the algorithm works and how it changes all the time.
Step 1 – Content – It has to be quality. If you do videos, do it well, so your audience would enjoy it. Think about the share-ability of it – would you save this video yourself and come back to it or share it with someone? Think less about the likes and more about share-ability.
Step 2 – Time and how long people stay on your content – find ways to get people to stay interacting on your content. Video is one way. It has to be engaging to your audience so they wait around to see the final result of your recipe. Carousels are a good way to engage people too. Long captions can be a good way too. Instagram counts that in your favor too. It can be deep thoughts, reflected with heartfelt emotion.
Step 3 – Consistency. If you take time away from your account, Instagram will penalize you.
Step 4 – Community. Following others and commenting on their posts, engaging in the Instagram community helps you.
Consume and create the content on Instagram to do well.
Listen to podcasts, and they don’t have to be food specifically, can help you keep track of different platforms and pay attention to the buzz. Also following Facebook groups and seeing what other bloggers are doing. Keep a pulse on influencers and try out what you’re hearing from them. It is constantly changing so you have to be willing to as well.
When Covid happened, everyone took a week out on social media platforms and just went quiet. Now people are embracing what this is and finding ways to interact.
Yumna is posting 7 days a week and sometimes 2x a day. You should try to be posting more than you used to before Covid hit.
That doesn’t mean you have to use new content, you can utilize old recipes and collections of things you have that can be compiled for your community.
Reassure your audience you’re there. Give them more information, provide substitutions. Give them confidence. Give them more information on how to use what you have and use it multiple ways.
You can’t use the same sales pitch you used to on a post. You have to re-frame how you share and engage.
Instagram stories –
Yumna used to primarily use Instagram stories to do behind the scenes filming on Instagram stories so they saw unpolished footage once the recipe was posted.
Every time you post a story, Instagram will push you higher on your followers’ feeds when you add an additional post. If you only post once, it won’t have a big impact but if you post a 2nd or 3rd time, it’ll help you. Don’t worry about the views. The more people see it, the more likely those people will visit your actual blog. It’s time on content and Instagram rewards you for that.
Yumna is now viewing Instagram stories differently than she had before. She is posting more content on stories, not just behind the scenes of a recipe like she did before. But she’s also showing things happening in her life, she’s showing her face more than ever. During this time, people are caring about the personal connection more than ever. People are rediscovering YOU and not just your blog/content through Instagram stories. Share your thoughts, your vulnerability and how this is all impacting from the shelter in place so you can connect with your audience.
Stick to 10 stories a day, max.
Check the analytics of your stories to gauge how it’s going. Are you posting enough, not enough? Are people clicking through or exiting quickly?
Try to limit 5 frames in a single story with your audience, don’t over share on one topic.
If Instagram is pushing it, then you should be trying it out. If Instagram has a new feature, try it out. Same with Instagram Live – use it because they want you to use it. You should have a purpose for using both of these features though and try to keep it concise.
Yumna’s advice – Just start. Whatever you are thinking about doing, just start. Then figure it out along the way. You don’t have to have it perfect to get going.