People have learned how to tell the difference between a persona and an authentic personality. Maybe it’s the years of advertising shoved down our throats, or maybe its watching so many celebrities have skeletons fall out of the closet. Either way, it really pays off to follow momma’s advice and just be yourself. This may lose you followers in the short term, but the followers gained from authenticity will bring the interactions that truly grow your channel. This is especially true on Instagram, a market saturated with pure fakeness. People are so used to the standard of being fake that when a truly meaningful and inspiring post comes around, they can’t help but want to support where it came from. Consistency is still important for success on Instagram, but don’t sacrifice it for raw, real posts that hit home. Let’s go over some specific things to not worry about so you can keep it real.
Let your personality flow through the visuals of your content. Keep your color scheme, font, logo, and everything in-between consistent. If it resonates with you it will resonate with the audience you want to connect with. People can copy your branding, but they cannot copy you. People won’t follow your branding; they will follow you through your brand.
Balance your feed with pictures of you: the real star of the show! People want to see you whether you like to be the focus or not. Don’t overdo it and have every post a duck-faced selfie—maybe a few posts of your staff or your pet—but you can’t hide from the camera if you want to grow in a meaningful way. Let’s dive a little deeper into how not to be fake in your pictures.
The technology in camera phones has gotten surprisingly good and can produce near cinematic results. This can give some high-quality images and video, but also can make it feel more like Hollywood. Gross. It turns out people don’t want high-quality over authenticity. Real or imperfect hair isn’t only okay, it’s better. It will just make that one photo with perfect hair that much better. No make-up goes a long way for the traction of a post, and you will gain a lot of respect at the same time. People want to see the weekend you that cuts loose a little bit. Don’t overuse filters. We all have access to them; we all know what they look like. Filters and being self-conscious can seem to go hand-in-hand. Use them sparingly and you can get away with it. If we can stick with the Hollywood analogy, give the people the behind the scenes of your life. They will love the funny ‘life happens’ moments that everyone has, and no one wants to share.
Let go of letting your ego run your social media. Progress, connection, and community will drive the growth you are looking for, not perfection. Interactions are far greater than followers. If you have a smaller but more engaged audience, Instagram itself considers you a more successful channel. Its more than just benefit though. Social media companies are starting to promote this authentic growth because it promotes a healthy media environment. Research shows frequent social media use and depression are very closely linked. You have a responsibility not to spread fake content that makes others feel inferior. The power to change social media from a popularity contest to something meaningful lies with all of us, at the individual level. We are all more connected than we can ever understand, so don’t let your ego hurt yourself and the community. Wouldn’t it be nice to help others by just by letting go and being yourself?