More Real Life, Less Highlight Reel: How Can You Be More YOU On Instagram?

Have you noticed the shift? Because there’s a HUGE shift happening. People are getting bored, burnt out, and tired of seeing the same old content on Instagram. The fluff! The small talk captions that hold no meaning or impact. The sugary sweet highlight reel. Instead?

We’re craving connection, real life, authentic storytelling, and that coveted behind the scenes peek into other’s lives and businesses that is often not shared.

I’ll be honest. I’ve struggled with a few things on Instagram. I wouldn’t publish on my account for days because I felt like I didn’t have the best, most aesthetically pleasing photo for my grid. I’d test out multiple pictures and sigh when they weren’t “good enough.” Or, I fell into a rut, completely stuck and lost on what to write about. Are these thoughts sounding familiar?

I even felt like I needed to have at least a few swipes of makeup on every single time I showed up on Instagram Stories (until I threw that ritual way out the window when I hopped on at 5:44am, literally from bed, sans the glam squad).

What I’m about to say next is going to seem contradictory because no matter how much we tell ourselves that we need to let our hair down and be real and not be so obsessed with keeping up appearances, it’s human nature and oh-so-normal to be drawn to pretty things.

When I see a beautifully laid out Instagram feed with all the same tones and colors and stunning photography, I’m filled with all the heart eye emojis. I feel inspired. Whether we like it or not, looks still matter on this platform (to an extent).

So here’s the thing. Yes, of course we want to share those special moments, and I encourage you to do so! The trip to Cabo with the stunning ocean view, the new pair of boots you bought, the cute photo of your dog in his Halloween costume, the idyllic latte with a heart drawn in it, a flat lay of your favorite things. I’m not knocking any of this. Heck, I post things like this too.

These images definitely have their place in our grid. By sharing them, we’re celebrating micro-moments of joy and wonder in our day to day life.

But when I start to really get into someone’s vibe and content (in a non-creepy way obviously), I want to learn more about THEM, you know? I don’t just want to know about their coffee or that they’re excited about fall. I want their captions to be filled with stories and real life stuff.

So how can you show up differently, and be more vulnerable, real, and more YOU? 

Selfishly, this is what I want to know about you (and I’m sure many other people do, too):

  • All the juicy behind the scenes stuff. What does it really look like inside your life and business?
  • What are you working on, and working towards? 
  • Where are you currently struggling? 
  • What makes you and your business imperfect? 
  • What are you currently reading? 
  • What are your favorite guilty pleasures? 
  • What has inspired you recently? 
  • Did you try something new? Details, please! 
  • All the new strategies, tips, and tricks that you’re experimenting with 
  • Anything that goes beyond the surface of your photo. 
  • The not-so-great moments. Your stresses, your failed launch, that time you set a goal and didn’t achieve it, how you handled criticism or a negative comment. 

You might be cringing at that last one, but hear me out.

Sharing and exposing your deepest thoughts and insights provides value, meaning, and inspiration. 

Behind the scenes content connects you that much more to your audience. Even if ‘you’ aren’t at the center of your business, we are all our own brand, and what we put out there will either attract our tribe or repel the ones who wouldn’t have ever been a part of it anyway.

Examples I Love:

@jesscreatives - I love this perfect blend of blatant honesty and humor. She admits that her week sucked!

@elanoloo is a traveling creative who occasionally teams up with brands for meaningful partnerships. I appreciate the little details she shares here, about meeting up with Anthropologie in Maine.

@ashley.beaudin launched the Imperfect Boss movement to make ‘imperfection’ normal. You can’t help but love this girl. Search the hashtag #theimperfectboss to find thousands of other honest confessions.

@melyssa_griffin turned what could have been nothing more than a simple quote into a beautiful story about a yoga class she attended.

@byreginatv always knows how to poke fun at herself. If you can laugh at yourself and publicly admit to awkwardness? You’re doing something right.

How can you apply these tips to Instagram Stories?

  • Don’t put makeup on just for the sake of your story (unless of course, you’re already wearing it!).
  • Show more of your face on Stories. 
  • Let your audience in on your day. Chat with them and ask questions. 
  • Create polls to learn more about them and what they want to hear from you.
  • Be a storyteller. Visually take us through a day in your life! Don’t always tell. Show! 
  • Traveling for work? Going to a conference? Capture snippets of the ‘journey’ - whether that’s you walking through the airport, a glimpse of your hotel room, your favorite moments, share all of it. Pat Flynn frequently takes his followers behind the scenes on his business trips. 
  • Hanging out with a biz bestie? Have them say hi and introduce themselves!
  • Walk us through your morning or evening rituals.
  • Think of your Instagram story as a "micro-vlog." Allow that thought to inspire your content!

Here’s your challenge: Take 15 minutes today and think about how you can reveal more of yourself and your business to your audience in a way that feels fun. Jot down a list of topics and caption ideas.

And before I go, if you’re resonating with this post like crazy, here are a few other thoughts on the subject:

1. Jessica Stansberry shared in her email newsletter this month that her monthly roundup emails (that share what’s going on inside her biz) are her “most well-received” and some of her “favorite emails to write.”

2. Sarah admitted recently that she lost the joy in blogging, and wants it to be fun again. She’s burnt out on list posts and how-tos.

3. Lauren Hooker of Elle & Company revealed that her readership requested more “behind the scenes” content, inspiring this post.

4. LA influencer Brielle of The Gilded Bellini opened a dialogue here about the positive and negative effects of social media. She confessed, “the wanting to post everyday turned into a not so fun obligation for me.”

5. Gary Vaynerchuk talks a lot about documenting vs. creating. In this blog post, he says, “I believe that the people who are willing to discuss their journeys are going to win.”

P.S. Are we friends on Instagram? Click here to view my profile.

Let's Chat: Are you tired of the same old, same old on Instagram?
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