I recently read a blog post by my friend Carly about what blogging has taught her. It was open and honest, and it has inspired me to share what being on social media (in particular instagram) has taught me.
- It is time consuming and a 24/7 commitment. Some posts take a matter of seconds, while others can take much much longer. It is a challenge to switch off from it because in every situation you see photo opportunity. But sometimes you have to just enjoy a moment for yourself, rather than capturing it on your camera for someone else to see.
- It is hard not to compare yourself to other instagrammers – how perfect their pictures are, what amazing shape they are in, the cool opportunities they are being offered and the events they are going to (which you never got the invite for). When this happens, I consciously remind myself why I started my social media accounts. It wasn’t to go to events or get free stuff, it was to document my passion and connect with other people. Everything else is just an added bonus.
- A lot people won’t get it, they’ll think social media is pointless and you’re just self-obsessed. Saying that, some people will get it. They’ll support what you’re doing, think it is great and want to spread the word for you; those people are awesome. In a similar ilk – you can’t please everyone. Some people will love your content, others won’t. You will get negative comments sometimes and you will need to learn to shrug them off.
- A lot of people can’t fathom the idea of you slowly and organically growing a genuine following; instead they will ask your secrets and whisper quietly whether you bought them. In reality, there is no secret. Be consistent and post high quality content that you’re passionate about. On another note, shoutouts for shoutouts are bloody annoying, don’t do them.
- Natural lighting gives the most flattering and aesthetically pleasing pictures. If thats lacking, theres not much that a valencia filter, some brightness and contrast can’t fix. Oh and get the most storage on your phone as possible. Trust me, when you’re trying to get the 18th photo of your breakfast you’ll be wishing you went for the 64GB option.
- There are blogger/infuencer events, and lots of them. Your first invitation will be super exciting, but soon you’ll realise that you can’t make it to all of them and thats ok. Also, there is a lot of networking at them. Sometimes you will be in your element and make great connections Sometimes you will feel like a sore thumb. Thats ok too. These events can introduce you to new friends – online friends who become ‘real life’ friends. I have honestly met some of my closest and best friends through social media, and for that I will be forever grateful.
- There is a lot of pressure. Pressure to post good content, to gain followers, to be friends with everyone, to make connections, to go to every event, to be in amazing shape. You have to learn to deal with this and realise that a lot of it isn’t as important as you think it is. It is social media, it is fickle and it will end at some point. Just enjoy it while it lasts and don’t stress.
- You can get amazing opportunities, sometimes life changing ones, as a result of social media. However, keep your wits about you. Brands will promise you the world in exchange for your time and access to your audience; but many of these are empty promises and won’t come to fruition. Be careful what you invest your energy into and know your worth. As you grow, more and more companies will want to work with you.You have to be careful what you agree to and learn to say no. Once your followers realise that you’re doing sponsored posts left right and centre, they may lose respect for you. Sure that free bedazzled laptop case is cool, but is it really relevant to your audience?
- Perfection is all well and good… but imperfection is even better. A lot of what you see on instagram is a result of angles, lighting and filters; or of precisely arranging your food, solely for the purpose of the photograph. And thats great – it produces awesome images that inspire others to train hard and eat well. However, I also think that there is great value in showing your flaws, your low points and your less aesthetically pleasing meals and moments. It shows people you’re human and that everyone has slip ups and struggles.
- Social media is an incredible way to share your passion with other people, spread positive message and be inspired by those around you. It is a constant source of motivation, recipe ideas and new exercises to try. It seems like a crazy concept but you can actually be someone else’s inspiration (this still boggles my mind); and when people leave supportive comments or go out their way to send a kind email, those are the moments that make your day.