4 Dos And Don'ts Of Trying To Launch Your Personal Brand On Instagram

by Paige Strand

One of the benefits of living right now is all of the technology we have access to. We now have robots, 3D printing capabilities and available device upgrades almost every year. Our capacity for communication has unbelievably improved, and we stay connected with friends near and far, while quietly asking Siri what exactly gluten is.

Social media in particular has taken a huge jump in recent years, providing us platforms for every occasion, theme and intent. While Facebook has proven to be the frontrunner, there's been word on the digital street that fellow cousin Instagram may actually provide ample competition in the next few years for a variety of reasons.

In case you've been living under a rock for the last few years, Instagram is an app that allows you to share your photos with your friends, community and with people across the world. What many people don't know is you can also use Instagram as a life hack to make connections, love and improve yourself, progress in your field and ultimately, feel healthier and happier.

Here are four dos and don'ts for making the most out of your Instagram account:

1. Do: Follow people with similar interests or hobbies.

Plenty of people stress out about growing their accounts. However, if you reach out to those who share your interests, you'll find you will you learn and benefit more from those whom you're connected to (via new fitness techniques, new places to travel, new breakfast options, etc).

In addition, your account will grow naturally as you become more embedded within the Instagram community. Making friends on an international scale can also make for a stunning convergence of perspective.

2. Don't: Attempt unrealistic expectations for validation.

This happens much more often than you expect. Have you ever seen the list of people who died trying to get the perfect selfie? Beyond that, whether it's a slim body type, an expensive restaurant outing or a seemingly picture-perfect relationship, it's easy to feel like your current lifestyle is not exciting enough.

As Instagram is a highly visual platform, we are constantly seeing what we could be, what we could be doing or whom we could be dating. However, earlier this year, Essena O'Neill — a woman who had half a million Instagram followers at the time — made a surprising statement regarding her Instagram activity. She said it comprised of images of “contrived perfection made to get attention” and quit the platform for a period of time.

She also opened up about what it took to create each photo, including the countless retakes, touch-ups, meltdowns and unhealthy activities she endured to achieve Instagram fame. So, leave the societal stereotypes behind for a healthier experience and remember you are beautiful and unique in your own way.

3. Do: Connect with individuals in your field.

You never know when an Instagram friendship may come in handy, whether that's for a business or recruitment opportunity, to discuss strategies or to join forces on a new project. There are also companies that look for brand ambassadors to represent their products on Instagram.

So, keep that in mind if you are passionate about photography or a certain company. When it comes to networking, Instagram can be a great way to not only get to know executives in your field, but to also build your own personal brand.

Are you a passionate entrepreneur? Are you looking to expand in your field? Show it.

4. Don't: Stress about how many followers you have.

I am a competitive person, so naturally, my first thought upon creating an Instagram account was world domination. (Yes, that escalated quickly.) However, once I really got into it, I realized that not only was this impractical, but it was also unnecessary and not the point.

For starters, with hundreds of millions of Instagram accounts now in existence, there are actually only a few thousand accounts that have accrued over a few million followers. It shows that for the most part, we are all floating around in the "hundreds to thousands" category.

Those who heavily prioritize validation from Instagram have perhaps bought followers, which sounds great, but it is actually quite messy. For example, it gets awkward when Instagram suddenly purges all fake accounts, and you go from 10,000 followers to 1,000.

Additionally, having a larger fan base may look enticing, but consider the fact that 1,000 fake followers cannot interact with you in the way that 100 authentic followers can. It's about quality over quantity, friends.

Lastly, remember Instagram is a platform, not a lifestyle. Also, think twice before you leave a negative comment on someone's photo.