This week marks the 6th year birthday for The Thrifty Pineapple. I seriously cannot believe it’s been six years. When I started this journey I really didn’t know what to expect I just wanted to share my fashion finds with friends and I am so grateful for what it has blossomed into.
I get quite a few questions on a weekly and daily basis regarding the blogging and influencer industry so I opened up questions to my Instagram followers and thought it would be fun to share all the knowledge I have gathered in the last 6 years. I hope you enjoy this Q&A about my experience as a blogger.
Grab your coffee or champagne and buckle in because this is an extra-long post.
Blogging Q&A – What I’ve Learned In The Last 6 Years
How did you get started?
I was originally inspired to start The Thrifty Pineapple after Jared (my husband) started his men’s fashion blog. I saw him taking photos and sharing and thought I should do this too! We were both fresh out of college and felt like we had all the time in the world and this would be a fun hobby. Once I decided I was going to do, I created my Instagram and just started posting. It was definitely a lot more in the moment back then (which is something I am currently trying to get back to), but every day on my lunch break I would take my tripod, Bluetooth clicker, and phone and head to the park down the street from my office. I would scout out a location set up camp and take photos. I would then eat my lunch in my car and edit the photo and post.
Here’s a look at some of those early tripod photos:
On the weekends, I would beg my mom (since I was still living at home) or Jared to take my photo. I was really just posting, I didn’t have too much of a strategy because Instagram was new, it was all just trial and error. I was working full time in social media management so that definitely helped because I was constantly learning new strategies or innovations.
After about 6 months of posting on Instagram, I gained a few thousand followers and thought I should become more official, that’s when I launched thethriftypineapple.com. It looked A LOT different back then but I just began exploring the blogging space in tandem with my Instagram ventures. You can read my first blog post here, which I actually worked with a photographer on for my first photoshoot.
From there, the rest is history!
How to build an Instagram audience? How would you recommend new bloggers to build a base of followers?
If I had a dime for every time I was asked this question, I could be a full-time blogger. This is the most common question I get asked. And there’s really no formula. I wish I could say do XYZ and you’ll have tons of followers but it doesn’t work like that.
And if I am being honest, I am so glad I started when I did because it was so much easier to grow back in 2014-2017 when there were no algorithms or ads or stories. It was a much simpler time.
The one thing that really helped me was posting every single day. It sounds intimidating and I’m not going to lie it’s a lot of work, but for the first 4.5 years of The Thrifty Pineapple, I posted every single day on Instagram. Even during my wedding and honeymoon, I gave someone the password to post on my behalf. I still post 5-7 times per week sometimes more sometimes less, but for me consistency is key. The way the algorithm works now people are served content on their feeds that Instagram believes they will engage with or have engaged with in the past. So when you don’t post for a few days you get pushed further and further down that list of content Instagram believes your followers want to see.
I also highly recommend engaging on Instagram. The point of social media is to be social. When I first started I would leave anywhere from 50-200 likes and comments a day on people’s posts that didn’t follow me. Now I try to leave 50 comments a day to engage with users and drive new followers to Thrifty Pineapple. I look at hashtags to popular locations around me or brands. Just posting and getting off the app isn’t enough to grow.
What’s your favorite part and least favorite part about being an influencer/blogging?
My favorite part of blogging is being able to connect with different people. I love building relationships and helping people. As an introvert, it can be hard to do that in real life but with this platform, it’s amazing to cross paths with people I wouldn’t have had the opportunity otherwise.
My least favorite part is probably that sometimes it can feel hard to take a break or rest. The first thing I do when I wake up is check Instagram and emails and it’s the last thing I do when I go to sleep.
What’s the hardest part about blogging?
The hardest part of blogging is probably photoshoots. I love taking photos and finding new locations but especially where I live it can be difficult to find locations that fit my aesthetic. There’s also a very tiny window of weather that is comfortable to take photos in. I try to take 3-5 outfits at a time on the weekends to make my life easier during the week but if it’s super hot or cold it’s hard or if it’s super windy my hair is all over the place or if it’s too bright I’ll be squinting. Plus there is no worse feeling than putting skinny jeans on in the back seat of my car in 90+ degree weather. It’s definitely not as glamorous as it comes across.
Here’s a great example from a recent photoshoot:
How did you get over your anxiety about people you personally know judging you?
Man, I don’t know if I am over it. It’s definitely not easy but I just try not to think about it. My coworkers definitely thought I was crazy back when I was eating my lunch in my car and taking photos. I had friends who I know were “supportive” to my face but had different feelings when I wasn’t around. Even to this day, when I share a vulnerable story and see that someone sends it to someone it gives me anxiety that people are making fun of me, but I really just try to stay positive and don’t think about it too much. Out of sight out of mind.
How do you handle sharing your blog with your personal friends especially at first?
I just did it! My family and close friends were supportive, but it is uncomfortable. Even now when I meet new people I won’t bring it up unless someone else does. I don’t want to come across like I am bragging or pretentious so if someone asks what I do I share what I do professionally or if it comes up in conversation I will casually mention it. It is definitely weird though.
Do you get mean/negative comments?
I have and definitely do. I am really grateful though because it is very rare. I think it’s something you are subject to when you put your life on the internet and I know I won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.
When you do a giveaway, what do you use to randomly select a winner?
I will export all the entries into an Excel sheet and have google choose a random number as then winner. I also use this tool occasionally. I always confirm the winner has followed all of the rules before announcing.
How do you get brand deals? Do you send them contracts or do they reach out to you?
Brand partnerships can happen in several different ways, they can reach out to me, their agency contact could reach out, they could use a third-party platform, or I could reach out. It really depends on the brand. Contracts are definitely part of the process to ensure everyone is held accountable.
Do you ever get pressured to not express your true thoughts about brands?
Absolutely not! My honest opinions are something I am not willing to compromise on. If there is something that I have partnered with a brand on to share about and I don’t like it. I will let the brand know this is something I can’t endorse and I am happy to move forward with the partnership sharing my honest thoughts or we can terminate the partnership and I can send the product back. This doesn’t happen very often because I am very picky on who I say yes to work with in the first place but it has happened several times in the past 6 years.
Whatever happened with the wallpaper company?
The wallpaper company is a perfect example. I agreed to share about their product which I loved initially but it didn’t stand the test of time so I continue to share my experience. They were not happy about it but eventually, they accepted that’s the risk that comes with working with influencers. You can read the whole fiasco here.
The thing is I would feel so bad if someone spent their hard-earned money on something that I shared when knowing all along I didn’t really like the product. There have definitely been things I have been influenced to purchase and been disappointed when they’ve arrived. I know not everything is going to work for everyone but I hope to minimize the risk by sharing my honest thoughts.
What is SEO? How do you use SEO?
SEO is short for search engine optimization. SEO is when you type something in google and google knows what website to show you. This is a lot of back end work with keywords and writing but it’s very important for websites.
For example, when someone types in Arkansas blogger my website pops up on the first page. That’s not by chance but by a lot of backend work.
How do you make an income off of blogging?
There are two main ways bloggers earn money. One is through sponsored content. This is where a company pays an influencer or blogger to share about their product. Two is through affiliate links. I’ve shared about this many times but sometimes when I share links I earn a small commission off purchases made.
This is really complicated and for the last 3 years I worked in affiliate marketing professionally, so I could talk about this forever but I won’t go into too many details. Because The Thrifty Pineapple is just a hobby for me I look to break even. So when I share about a blouse and people purchase it I hope to make my money back to buy more clothes to share or to cover the cost of my website. Now unlike some bloggers, I, of course, share more than just the items that I can link to. I share everything but on some items, I do make a commission.
How did you build your website?
Whew, this is a loaded question. Building a website takes a lot of knowledge but I will say Google and Pinterest are your best friends. It also helps to befriend a web developer. Jared helped me a ton with building my website but I will say it did not always look like this. This is my third website theme so it’s an ongoing process of making tweaks. And shoutout to my good friend, Brock, who is a rockstar web developer who will help me out when I am in a pinch.
What’s the most important part of blogging?
I feel like the most important part of blogging is honesty and consistency. SEO and sponsorships are all something that comes with time, but for me being honest is number 1 and be consistent is number 2. I have some blogger friends that write 1 new blog post a month, for me my blog is my top priority then Instagram. I own my blog, I don’t own anything else, so if Instagram or Pinterest were to shut down tomorrow I want you guys to know where you can find me.
I know you utilize Instagram the most but what’s your favorite platform?
Honestly, TikTok I spend the same if not more time on TikTok. The content is entertaining and it’s addicting. I’ve also found a lot of success in certain videos, so I am just playing around on there. It’s kind of freeing and fun to try something new with no pressure of performing.
What’s your biggest piece of advice for someone starting a business account?
Just do it! Find what works for you, try new things, and don’t give up! I had no idea how this would turn out six years ago and here I am!
If someone is starting a blog how often do you recommend posting?
As I said earlier on Instagram I would recommend every day. On my blog, I aim for a minimum of two posts a week and on Pinterest, I shared about 20-25 times per day. Everything else is less structured.
Tips for dipping your toes in with brands and how to get approved on Like To Know It?
I recommend making a bucket list of dream brands and share about them. For me, Lilly Pulitzer was on that dream list and I continued to share about them because I genuinely loved the brand so after consistently sharing about them for years one day they reached out and I about died of excitement.
Personally, I use Like To Know It but I recommend not putting all your eggs in that basket. As I mentioned, I have a lot of experience in affiliate marketing and Like To Know It is not everything. I am happy to put in a recommendation but if you are not getting accepted I recommend looking into platforms like CJ, ShareASale, ShopStyle, etc. There are a lot of other opportunities out there outside of Like To Know it.
I’d be happy to share more info if this is something you are interested in!
I know you work another full-time job, how many hours a week do you designate to blogging?
I probably spend anywhere from 10-20 hours a week given what the workload is like. Holiday is a very busy time with gift guides, but overall with photoshoots, editing, writing, answering emails, commenting, events, etc. It can add up quickly.
Have you had issues with your full-time job and your blog?
Yes, I have luckily only had one company where it became an issue. I am always very upfront during the interview process because I want to ensure there are no conflicts of interest. I was in a position where my blog became a conflict because I was working with competitor brands and I also had a very controlling emotionally-driven toxic boss. She began to want every brand partnership to be approved by her and if there was a local small business that she didn’t like the owner then I wasn’t allowed to promote them on Thrifty Pineapple. Thrifty Pineapple wasn’t something I was willing to give up so I eventually found a new job in a new industry where I could have creative freedom again. And it’s crazy because after I left that job doors began to open for Thrifty Pineapple and that’s when I started working with Lilly Pulitzer, Draper James, Erin Condren and so on.
Work organization other than planner tips
I wish I could say I had more tips. My planner really is my lifeline. I do take a lot of notes and make lists in my phone.
I hope you found this blog helpful, I love sharing my knowledge and I am currently working on a blogging 101 ebook – more to come but be on the lookout!
Thanks so much for your support whether you are a new follower or have stuck with me over the last six years, I truly appreciate each and every one of you! And like I said my favorite part is chatting with you, so feel free to always email or DM me and ask me ANYTHING!