8 Surprising Ways to Ensure Your Social Media Reflects the Real You
Over the course of 2017, self-proclaimed “digital nomad” Susi Kaeufer moved more than 50 times — and she didn’t even have to deal with the usual concerns like decluttering and packing an oversized van. Instead, she ran her six-figure online visibility and mindset coaching business from beaches all over the world, grew her Instagram following to over 11,000 people, and launched a Facebook group for other women inspired by her unique lifestyle. For Kaeufer, being an inspirational ‘grammer isn’t about sharing cheesy quotes, captioning every photo with a #humblebrag, or even being an “influencer” in the more typical sense of the word. It’s actually a lot simpler than that.
“We’re all real people,” Kaeufer tells us from a (literal) beachside office. “We all have the bright, shiny side that we love to share on social media, and we all have the other side — the daily struggles, the big struggles. Everything is not inspirational in our lives. But that’s what actually can become inspirational!” Whether your social media following consists of friends and family only or a few thousand strangers, Kaeufer firmly believes that we all have the power to open up about our lives and stories in a way that doesn’t have to feel fake. If you like the idea of taking your social media game to a deeper, more inspirational level, but you aren’t sure where to start or are worried about coming off as a self-promoter, keep scrolling for her eight proven suggestions. These creative — and, in some cases, surprising — tips will get your wheels turning on ways you can share a little more inspo on your own feed.
1. Lay down some fun facts. If you’re sick of sharing the same old narrative photos of your day-to-day life and are open to your followers getting to know you in a different way, start with some quirky facts about yourself! This is an easy way to bring people — especially those you might not know as well — into your story, so you can more easily reach them with deeper content in the future if you feel so inspired. Kaeufer, for example, has opened up to Instagram about the tiger stuffed animal that travels the world with her to this day, despite the fact that she has very limited space for luggage. “Show something about yourself that is not calculated, that doesn’t have a purpose, that’s not meant to promote you,” she encourages.
2. Get into the behind-the-scenes of your life. One way to pull back the curtain on the so-called “Instagram version” of you (this is the brighter and shinier version, of course) is to show the stuff that’s, well, boring. Post pictures of what you’re eating for lunch or what it looks like when you’re working on your side hustle late at night. When you give people the inside scoop on what your life really looks like, you become a more well-rounded person, and the bright and shiny moments are all the more inspirational and positive when you do share them. Posting a wider range of images — including those from behind the scenes — eliminates the need to be quite so explicitly “inspirational,” because the diversity of your life begins to speak for itself.
3. Stop worrying about what your friends or family will think. If you want to get to a deeper level with your social media community, you need to stop overthinking about what your friends, family, or coworkers might think about each and every post. As soon as you start wondering how specific people will react to specific content, you’ll feel emotionally blocked and will likely revert to a basic, superficial sentence about your #WCW or #MCM. Imagine a fictitious person who might be inspired by something you can share about your journey — even the smallest details! — and consider them while you’re posting, instead.
4. Share the full timeline. Did you go through a tough breakup a few months ago? Were you feeling inexplicably down in the dumps last week? These seemingly ordinary emotional valleys are instrumental in helping you get to the peaks! When you share your victories, don’t be afraid to let your followers in on the specific challenges you conquered to get there. Next time you compose a post about something exciting you’ve achieved, consider including a few lines in the caption about how you were feeling when things got challenging along the way.
5. Post photos of journals or doodles. Kaeufer is a big fan of mindset journaling, and she occasionally posts photos of uncensored journal pages on Instagram. Not a big journaler? No problem! You can do the same thing with the doodles you made on your dinner napkin or with the overwhelming to-do list that’s staring you down for the week. This is a creative way to share what’s in your head.
6. Don’t worry about being an expert. You don’t need to be a motivational speaker or even a social media influencer to have a message worth sharing. Kaeufer reminds us that everyone has a deeper, inspirational story to communicate, even if it’s only to a smallish network of friends and family. “You don’t have to be Gandhi or Oprah or Tony Robbins to do it,” she tells us. “Everyone has a journey in their life and a story of how they’ve overcome something. It can be something small or it can be something large.” Stop thinking about whether or not you’re “qualified” to open up about beating challenges, getting to the other side of mental illness, or the like. Your personal journey is qualification enough!
7. Share something you really don’t want to. It sounds easy, but this one’s a lot harder than it sounds — and according to Kaeufer, it’s the only real way to share your true story with the social media world. Vulnerability may be one of the buzzwords of the moment, but no strategy for vulnerability can beat what happens when you post something scary and simple for hundreds of people to see. Why? Because it’s not calculated! Your followers can sense the simplicity of this gesture, which will give them the space they need to appreciate the honest personal journey that you’re on.
8. Open up about what you stand for. Everyone believes in something. Do you think people should be nicer to each other in the elevator? Do you think everyone should have a chance to travel around the world when they turn 18? Share the things you believe in — big and small, significant and silly — to give people a window into the kind of person you really are. This makes a great jumping-off point for some really interesting, thought-provoking posts that are still relatable.
Getting ready to share an inspirational post of your own? Tag us on Instagram!