INFLUENCERS: Setting the Record Straight-
Have you ever accused an Instagram Influencer of being “too fake”? Do certain Instagram accounts make you feel frustrated or bummed out about your “ordinary” life? Have you ever ranted that you wish Instagram Influencers “would just be real for once so we could all feel good about ourselves?”
I read some comments like this the other day on some well-known Instagram feeds, and I’ve been thinking – maybe it’s time to set the record straight. Is it possible the word “Influencer” means different things to different people? Maybe it’s a bit misunderstood, and even mistreated? Ultimately, it might be a comparison issue, or even a heart issue.
These days, the word “Influencer” is quite the buzzword. I admit, all of us are influencers within our own circles, and we all have the opportunity to influence the world in some way. Some of us may even be compensated for some of our Instagram posts, but we wouldn’t consider ourselves Instagram Influencers.
However, many successful Influencers I know spend hours working on their feeds and stories. They pay careful attention to lighting and writing and planning so their accounts are beautiful and compelling. They are intentional about what they post, and they are intentional about their “why”.
Instagram Influencers are business owners.
Pretend you’re walking for the first time into a restaurant owned by a chef named “Lisa”. The hostess seats you, and brings you water and a menu. Typically, before you even get your food, you’re evaluating the place. Is it clean? Does it have a good vibe? Is the service friendly?
Then the food comes out and it’s beautiful. You take your first bite and you’re in heaven. Delicious. You finish your meal while the waitress keeps your water glass full, and you leave completely satisfied.
Later, you tell your friends about your experience in Lisa’s restaurant, and maybe it even inspires you to try out a new recipe at home like the one you just enjoyed. Sounds great, right? Lisa has a good handle on how to make a living in a competitive market. She has positioned herself to profit from something she is good at. You respect her for being a professional and serving her community.
Why do we respect a small business owner like Lisa, but we hold Instagram Influencers to completely different standards? I’m not saying they do exactly the same type or the same amount of work, but I am saying that each one is a hard working woman who is making money doing something she loves, and we shouldn’t SHAME her for doing it. Let her find her own way.
Would we ever say things about Lisa like, “Geez, I wish she could be real for once and mess up a recipe.” or “I’d love to see a big pile of dirty dishes.” or “Lisa’s cooking makes me feel horrible about myself, so I’m going to quit eating out!” No. The restaurant is her business. Lisa’s goal is to create an experience for her guests, to inspire them, and to serve them wonderful food. So why cop an attitude with Influencers?
In order to be successful, Influencers must follow their own “why”, and they must be intentional about what they post.
The truth is, we live in an incredible time in history. Business-savvy women can actually build a brand and make money on Instagram. By curating a feed, creating interesting content, and connecting with followers, women can actually work from home and make a living. Businesses actually pay them to do this.
If you find yourself getting bummed out or cranky because an Instagram feed is too “perfect”, maybe you can do a little self work and look at it a different way. Maybe you can actually support Influencer businesses, even if changing your mind might be a process. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- EVALUATE your “Why”. Why are you on Instagram? Are you here to be inspired and to connect with others? Are you here for encouragement? Understanding your own WHY might help you figure out who to engage with online, and how to influence your own circle of followers. A good rule of thumb is, If you have “personal” instagram account, avoid comparing your feed with a business.
- REFRAME your understanding. Instead of thinking of Influencers as just Instagram buddies, why not add the term “small business owners”? If your friend owned a little home decor shop, wouldn’t you shop there? Wouldn’t you want her to always put her best foot forward? What if you helped her build her business instead of questioning her motives or dictating her business strategies?
- BE INTENTIONAL with your energy. Watch to follow, support, and to get ideas. Don’t get sucked into the comparison game. It’s an injustice, and it’s not fair to anyone. If an account makes you cranky or feel depressed, you always have the option to hit the Unfollow button. Every account isn’t for every person. Give yourself permission to make social media a healthy place for you and for others, and leave quietly with a generous heart. Life is too short to be consumed by negativity and tearing others down.
What about you? Do you have anything to add to the list? Who are your favorite Instagram Influencers? I’m always looking for new, inspirational accounts to follow! Connect with me on the gram at @4wallrevival or email me at Mindy@4wallrevival.
Now get out there and smile!