You might not realize it, but there’s much more to being a content creator than talking to a camera in front of a ring light. Enter Instagram’s new Creator Lab, a series of instructional videos to help aspiring creators carve out their own path on the app, spanning topics from “finding your ‘why’” to protecting yourself from burnout. The best part? The advice in the videos comes straight from IG Creators themselves. “People have done it before, but everyone’s experience is a little different,” plant expert Christopher Griffin, 32, tells Elite Daily. Griffin, along with makeup guru Kali Ledger, shared their best tidbits in the Creator Lab series, and Elite Daily spoke exclusively to both Creators and got even more clutch insight that hit some major points for aspiring influencers.
In developing Creator Lab, Instagram worked with 11 Creators across categories like makeup, food, and fashion DIYs to help provide aspiring Instagram pros with firsthand insight about how to get started and sustain a career as a creator. Starting March 10, IG novices can head to the Creator Lab on the Instagram Blog to check out the detailed videos with advice on topics like how to manage social pressure and set boundaries from Creators like Ledger (@kali.ledger) and Griffin (@plantkween) as well as accounts like @NewYorkNico, @KarenXCheng, and @nicolemclaughlin. And don’t worry, you don’t need a certain number of followers to participate — the Creator Lab is open to everyone.
People need to focus on why they're creating, the intention behind it.
Before you start creating, it’s probably a good idea to figure out what kind of content you want to make. When it came to finding her niche, 24-year-old Ledger, whose Instagram account is filled with makeup tutorials, says it was all about letting out her creative energy and expressing herself naturally. She admits it’s easy to overanalyze situations (like trying to find where you belong on Instagram), and Ledger doesn’t want aspiring creators to let that get in the way. “People need to focus on why they're creating, the intention behind it,” she says, adding that speaking to that problem is “one of the most important parts” of why she joined the Labs.
If you’re looking for a place to begin your Instagram journey, courses about “expressing yourself” are a great place to start. The lessons are aimed at helping you figure out why you want to create, and they build on that by providing tools to help you refine and improve your content going forward.
For those of us on Insta daily (or hourly, *coughcough*), it’s easy to forget being a creator is a job that requires a team, a strategy, and a hustle. Building a content strategy was definitely a learn-as-you-go experience for Griffin, who describes the trial-and-error process as “making your own recipe for success.” The Creator says they didn’t have a strategy when they first started their plant care account, and instead, chose to focus on what brought them joy. For the Brooklyn-based Griffin, that meant creating content about what they were learning about gardening in real-time.
As a Black, queer, non-binary Creator, I think it’s important that we see more of us out there.
When Griffin was asked to join the Creator Lab, they say the educator in them was thrilled. Griffin — who also works as the assistant director for the New York University LGBTQ+ Center — cites representation as an important reason why they felt so compelled to join. “As a Black, queer, non-binary Creator, I think it’s important that we see more of us out there.” Griffin hopes their participation in the Creator Lab will be doubly helpful for “anyone who identifies in those ways … to let them know this is a possibility, a pathway, an option for them.”
When asked how they balance a full-time job with running an IG empire, they emphasize the importance of establishing boundaries for each part of their life, while also making sure they have support systems in place. “It takes a village,” Griffin says, “and I have a wonderful village of folks who support me to get the work done.” Griffin originally built that village by asking for help from the people closest to them, because if it was good enough for Beyoncé’s career, it was good enough for the Plant Kween.
Griffin talks about the importance of working with other Creators, and they even cite collaboration as one of their keys to success. “I got into a place where I am able to bring in my friends and loved ones who have wonderful skills, and be able to pay them for their skills,” Griffin says. “When I make moves, I’m bringing my communities with me.”
For Ledger, the key reason she signed on to be part of the Creator Lab is simply realizing how beneficial a platform like this would have been for her when she was starting up, when she had more questions than answers. “If I had started right now, I would have wanted to see something like [the Creator Lab],” she says. She agrees with Griffin that one of the best ways to get the most out of your social media experience is to set boundaries not only with your audience, but with yourself. Ledger urges creators to really ask themselves what they want to put out in public. “Just taking that into consideration before posting can be really important,” she says.
Ledger hopes the Creator Lab will help aspiring creators feel like they’re “part of a community,” and use the 18-course series to achieve long-term growth. “You can now see how other people developed and learned over time,” she says. Similarly, Griffin wants the courses to be a jumping-off point, and they hope viewers “take away whatever they need in order to get them started, to get them inspired, [and] to get them creating.”