DAY 7 LESSON: AUTHENTIC INSTAGRAM USER
Before you proceed, make sure you've taken screenshots of your Instagram Profile (including the current number of follwers/following and your feed). Your screenshots will show you the transformation and improvements your Instagram will undergo through out the challenge. Ready? GO.
THE POWER OF AUTHENTICITY
Nowadays, authenticity is superficial and or just idealistic. Desiring to grow your online presence and build your following with the need to show your true self, flaws and all, is challenging. First, there’s finding the right balance to “find your voice” on social media + attracting the kind of audience that resonates with that voice. It will definitely take a lot of your patience figuring the puzzle out. So after 6 days of learning a lot of things for your Instagram Growth, you probably had a day or two of sleepless nights thinking about the answers to so many questions:
- Why is it so hard to just be ourselves?
- Why are we so self-conscious about what we want to share?
- Why do we feel the need to compare ourselves and be more than our ‘competition?’
- Why is being vulnerable so difficult?
- How do you define a clear line between a “private” moment and a moment worthy of sharing?
- Does being authentic really mean bearing it all?
Experts’ say that maintaining authenticity on social media is essential to growing your following, selling your products/services, and developing a loyal community. But what does it really mean to be authentic? Let’s dive beyond the filters and look at how you can truly show up on Instagram in a way that supports you and your brand/business.
MY PERSONAL ADVICE (before the solicited ones from the interwebs):
USE INSTAGRAM WITH A PURPOSEFUL WHY
Don't you just love social media? I do because its a platform where our voices can be heard even by strangers. But imagine all the voices combined if it's just all there without meaning. It's not voices anymore, it's all just noise. My personal Instagram account (currently on hiatus) is where I share my advocacies, beliefs, life reflections (kinda like a micro blog) that I make sure touch my follower's lives. I become so inspired when people started telling me that my posts motivated and encouraged them so I kept on planning my content just to serve my community. Without even stressing it, after being serious in creating content that resonates with my WHY, I developed a theme (my love for outdoors & adventure reflects), a consistent voice (my followers engage with long captions that I always end with a thought-provoking questions that will make them reflect), and a following. I gained followers who are not just friends but strangers who needed to read what I usually write. I started with my WHY. If you're priority is to fulfill that purpose first, then the other factors will come naturally.
MY POINT? : BE INTENTIONAL (BUT NOT OBSESSIVE) ABOUT CURATION
And if you are just about to give up on Instagram (like I have experienced many times but I just always go back to my WHY), Remember this: People may be just one story away from making a life-changing decision. And if Instagram is where you can share that story, why not share it?
1. Forget the "Highlights only" feed.
As we all know, Instagram is often a highlight reel of our lives- the best moments scripted, enhanced, captioned, tagged and pinned. It’s rather exhausting just thinking about the next post, isn’t it? Being authentic on Instagram means walking against the crowd and, dare I say it, exposing the less glamorous moments as well. Showing your community what goes on in your everyday life is actually refreshing. Perfectly flexed pose after perfect flexed pose actually gets boring. People love the nitty gritty, the ‘flawed’ moments, the makeup-free, heart-touching, real moments that really make life what it is. Let go of the need to have the perfect feed and make it a genuine feed. Your community will respect you and relate to you more for doing so.
2. Expose the Ups and the Downs
Deviating from the highlight reel also means having the courage to show up as you are. We are not always overflowing with inspiration and gratitude. Life in its very essence presents us with challenges and plays havoc with our emotions. Sharing your trials and tribulations (without overindulging) helps you to become more of a three-dimensional human being. Whether you’re sleep deprived, jet-lagged, overworked, heart broken- these are emotional states we can all relate to! It can be a common belief, especially in the yoga world, that we have to remain positive 100% of the time. Your followers and community will appreciate your honesty and when you are not being authentic, that falsity shines through. Sure, we don’t want our feed to be a visual diary of woes and misfortune! Yet don’t edit your life in fear of your community not being supportive of your challenging times. You may be surprised what happens when you share from your heart.
3. Come Clean on Paid Posts
Hundreds of millions of marketing dollars are poured into Instagram every year. Sponsored posts, paid posts, affiliate marketing, etc. If you are being paid by companies or businesses to post, it is a good idea to be upfront and honest about it. You can say that you honestly do use and love the products you are advertising, but you are also being financially supported for sharing your opinion with your community. With SO much sponsored advertising on Instagram, it can also be worthwhile mentioning when you are not being paid to post; when you are sharing a product simply because you do love it. You community will value your honesty and also feel that they can trust that your recommendations do come from a genuine place and are not just lining your piggy bank.
4. Keep It Natural (Say bye to Excessive Filters)
A little saturation here and a little highlighting there is no big deal! Just be mindful when you are filtering your images not to go overboard. You can choose a gentle filter as a way of curating your feed and adding consistency to your posts. Draw the line at making yourself appear as a distant relative to who you really are! Again, your community appreciate when you show up as yourself- pimples, bags under eyes and bad hair days- they greet us all! As fitness professionals and enthusiasts, we have a responsibility to help people feel comfortable and love the skin they are in. Constantly enhancing or disguising ourselves is hypocritical. When we show up as we are, we encourage others to do the same. Start your own revolution.
5. Give Credit Where Credit is Due
Instagram has quickly become a rather unpoliced pool of content that is up for grabs. While Instagram fuels creativity and individuality, it is also a breeding ground for copycat mentality and plagiarism. If you use someone’s image, credit them in the caption and image. If you use someone’s quote, credit them. If you are inspired by another feed- be it an yoga photo, a fitness program idea, a bootcamp location, a workout routine, - tagging them in the post and sharing how they inspired you will only grow your following and gain the respect of your community. Ideas are often recycled. Look at the world of art, fashion or music. Being truthful about your sources is always a safe idea, getting caught out later is humiliating and harmful to your credibility.
6. Admit You Don’t Know Everything
Even if we studied fitness for our entire lifetime, we couldn’t possibly grasp all there is to learn. Even as professionals, we don’t need to pretend to have all the answers, because we don’t! Whether you are an incredibly knowledgeable and experienced fitness person, or if you are just starting out your journey as an enthusiasts or a trainer, it is ok to admit when you are not sure of something. Share what you are confident about. If a person asks you something you don’t feel competent in answering on social media, try and direct them to someone you know is more knowledgeable and experienced in that field. Even building a community of professionals and practitioners around you that you can collaborate with and go to with questions is a great way to learn, connect and share business. Remember that the best coaches are the ones that always remain students too.
7. Show the Journey
Instagram takes away the journey behind each image. So when it comes to fitness, having a feed of perfectly flexed muscles or awesome workout is only half the story. Feel comfortable sharing your steps to each pose. Try using the carousel option to keep your favorite version of the pose on your feed, but allowing your community to swipe and see the steps it took for you to get there! No one just falls into having a fit body effortlessly- we work for them, and showing this work to your tribe helps inspire them on their journey also. Just as you won’t always have all the answers, your journey through fitness is never complete. Rather than only posting your advanced and finely tuned workout movements on Instagram, sharing the journey makes you more relatable, authentic and honest.
8. Leave genuine and thoughtful comments
Exploring other pages through hashtags, or through different posts is a fun way to get to know others. But comments like, “great picture” or “cool!” are rather spammy, and at least for me, don’t initiate a response. However it brightens my day when someone gives a well-thought-out response to a question I’ve asked, or checks out a blog post I mention, or share something they’ve connected with from what the caption said. It means less comments made, but much more authentic ones. And yes, sometimes we just don’t have the time to do all of that, but hopefully er say something that will encourage others, even if it’s short. Think of it this way: every comment you leave is like your business card. What does your business card say about you?
DAY 7 MINI-MISSION: KONMARI YOUR INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT
It's also an important form of self-care for your mental health.
Ever scrolled through Instagram and found yourself rolling your eyes or even getting upset over someone's photo or caption? Delete them. Social media is a great way to stay connected to friends and family and keep up with current events, but it can also be more toxic than you realize, especially if you're dwelling on what you see long after you've seen it. Just like how the KonMari method aims to rid your home of clutter and items that don't "spark joy," you should be applying the same rule to people on Instagram.
In order for us to stay authentic on Instagram, we have to be surrounded by (voices of people) Instagram accounts that are also authentic. Your mini-mission today is to try the KonMari Method and unfollow people who does not inspire you, makes you feel all sorts of feelings aside from joy: angry, bitter, self conscious, envious of their lives, fear, etc. Maybe it's not them entirely, but it's the way they post their content. Some people can be so kind in real life but can be so pretentious online. If their posts makes you mad, unfollow. You can also keep following them but mute their IG stories, you decide.
Unfollow anyone who can shift your mood in a negative direction, and instead, add people/accounts that inspire you or bring you joy. The result will be a detoxed feed limited to only those worthy of your time.
You'll notice how much more positive your Instagram experience is when you curate your following list for the better. After doing this, most likely, the accounts that you follow will only be those who can inspire your to CREATE MORE THAN YOU CONSUME. Even choosing to keep accounts that feature ridiculous memes that make you laugh is totally acceptable. Our screens are often the last thing we see each day, so anything that helps brighten your mood can be equally as beneficial.
Consider deep-cleaning your Insta following list. Trust me, you don't have anything to lose. You have so much to gain.
THAT'S IT FOR DAY 7! CONGRATULATIONS!!!
We're done with the challenges! GO TO "WE'RE GOING LIVE" post to drop your questions and insights and we'll talk about it later tonight when we go live inside the classroom. Please join us?
Go Back to the Facebook Group to share your insights and catch up with the community. Make sure to engage with your team mates!