Getting Over the Pressure of Instagram
I have a confession to make: I have spent hours looking at photos, debating which one is good enough for Instagram.
If you're not immediately shocked at this revelation, I'm going to bet that it's because you've done the same thing. I've analyzed every bump, roll, and freckle that I find unflattering, and debated how bad it makes me if I download one of those weird photoshopping apps to just erase anything I dislike. I've read and re-read and re-typed captions, trying to sound just a little bit more witty and cool.
The world of influencer marketing and blogging in particular are scary ones to dip your toes in. When I first decided to take my Instagram and digital content seriously and actually use these tools to market my blog, I knew that the pressure to look good enough and appear as "more" than I am was going to hit me hard. When you decide to promote yourself or your brand, you can't just take a social media fast or ghost your followers for an extended period of time. The digital space requires you to be present and pressures you to be perfect, which is why so many of us burn out or begin to feel self-inflated.
Recently, I had two separate conversations about why I blog and why I use Instagram. I have a laundry list of answers that I can rattle off, but if you read my content, I think you'll understand most of them. Instead, I feel like the question most of us ask when we see influencers who seem to always have it together is, "Don't you find it a bit soul-sucking? How do you keep your priorities straight and still grow an online following, where everything is based on likes and popularity?"
I won't pretend that I do this perfectly, but I will tell you the two things that have helped me: I look at Instagram as a business, and I challenge myself to do uncomfortable things.
I feel no guilt about wanting to grow my Pure Barre studio. I don't feel strange about sharing it or selling something I believe is valuable. In the same vein, if I believe in my personal brand, I shouldn't feel guilty growing it, making it look professional, or editing my content. Honing my own voice is just as important as working on my brick and mortar business. Instead of thinking about social media as a waste of time, I view it as an investment in my future and all the things I want to do: health coaching, writing, consulting, etc.
Sound easy? Good. That one was easy for me, too. This second one requires more of my heart. When I find myself obsessing over how I look in a photo or how I sound in a story, I try to post it anyway. For me, the majority of my struggle lies in body image and not thinking I look "fit enough" to be in the fitness world or "healthy enough" to promote nutrition. They're stupid fears that sound ridiculous when I say them aloud, which is exactly why I'm writing this. There is power in doing things that scare you, like posting pictures where you don't think you look perfect. If my blog and my Instagram are going to be real depictions of my life, then they can't all be glamorous.
Ultimately, I know the insecurity that Instagram can produce in other people, me included. So, while I want a curated feed and solid content, I also want to be honest that I don't have it all together. To get over the pressure, I have to live in an uncomfortable reality, one in which someone could criticize me, put me down, or belittle my content. It's not a space for everyone, but I have seen so much growth in my own life by choosing to be vulnerable in a space that offers no promises.
If you're debating taking the leap into the world of influencer marketing, know that it's going to push you, but it doesn't have to ruin your self-esteem or trash your priorities. You can be authentic and be online. After all, that's the point of social networking.