Social media unfiltered: It’s okay to break the rules!

First and foremost, I would like to thank Maggie for inspiring me to talk about a subject that’s been heavy on my heart for a while.

She recently wrote a blog post that talked about how she was making a commitment to quit “filtering” her life. In this blog post, she announced that she will no longer alter her photos, alter her Instagram theme to have a certain aesthetic, or alter her content because she feels the need to fit within a box. She even changed her Instagram handle from @chitownmags to @mags_unfiltered.

You know those very seldom moments where something online stops you dead in your tracks and makes you stop scrolling and actually PAY ATTENTION? This was one of those moments for me.

Maggie is also a marketer with a strong background in social media (I met her at a conference 2 years ago!), so she understands the importance of dialing in on a niche, having a clear content strategy, and creating a consistent brand aesthetic on social media when you’re trying to market yourself and/or market a business. When she shared that she was TIRED of playing this game, I instantly felt understood for the first time in a long time.

I’ve been fairly active on Instagram lately (the main platform I’ve been focused on) to promote my business and build my brand, but it has started to feel so much like “work” that I’ve actually started to resent social media a little bit. There are rules about EVERYTHING if you want to grow your account. While trying to follow these rules and be like some of the people that I look up to on social media, I realized something that finally opened my eyes. I realized that many of the top influencer’s captions are so stale, overused, and begging for engagement. Some of the same stock photos are being used across many “popular” accounts. What’s real, genuine, or social about that?! Social media can feel very inauthentic at times – specifically Instagram, even though it’s a platform we all know and love.

Because of my slight resentment toward social media lately, I’ve looked back on a few of recent weekends where I had a really fun time with friends, and realized I took ZERO photos because I’m so exhausted of being on my phone or having it out at all. As much as I firmly believe that people sometimes take WAY too many photos and are on social media TOO often in general, I still want to make sure I’m snapping a few photos here and there during my fun trips and adventures. I’m tired of looking back and realizing I don’t have any photos to document my memories, just because I was annoyed with social media and wanted nothing to do with my phone.

The internet tells you to post every day, but make sure it’s super high-quality every time. Experts tell you to use the same exact filter, editing, and style in every photo make sure your brand stays consistent. They tell you that if you don’t do these things, if you have an inconsistent day or week, then you’re going to lose followers and your engagement will tank. And as ridiculous as some of this sounds, it’s all true! Business owners and influencers should not be focused on the numbers; they should be focused on the value they bring. I say this over and over again, but it can be a real downer when you lose 30+ followers just because you went a day without posting.

Like Maggie, I’m sick of feeling like my blog, Instagram, and Facebook page need this strict theme and strategy in order to grow my business. I’m sick of feeling like I need to use the same color scheme in order to stay “on brand”. I’m sick of feeling like I need to post on social media just because it’s what I do for a living, when sometimes, social media is the last thing on my mind.

Part of the beauty of having a personal brand is that you can listen to all of these big-time marketing strategists, utilize their tips, and do exactly what they say. OR… you can be yourself and write your own rules. Even though I want to appeal to my ideal clients on social media, have a clear niche, share business tips, and build my influence, I also just want to BE MYSELF. Lately, I’ve been letting social media tell me “If I post something non-business related, I’ll lose followers and I won’t be appealing to my ideal client”. Business is a part of me – it doesn’t consume my life, and I have many other hobbies and passions that I’d love to share about.

So, I’ll be taking it back to the beginning. The reason why I created a personal brand and used my NAME as a business name, is because I wanted to be myself and share my whole life – not just the business aspect. It’s all too easy to get caught up in all of the tips and strategies when you’re focused on building your brand. Even though my business is focused on helping businesses with their marketing, I don’t want my social media to reflect that that’s the only part of me. I no longer want to put myself in this box of having to be inspirational and valuable every day, multiple times per day, when sometimes, I just want to share a short and funny caption about what I’m doing, where I am, or who I’m with – even if it has nothing to do with my business.

If you have a personal brand, let this be your inspiration to just BE YOURSELF. Share many facets of your life. Your ideal customer should be someone who likes YOU for YOU – not for the color scheme, filter, photo style, or inspirational captions you spend hours planning. After all, it’s usually the most laid-back, casual, realistic posts that are most relatable.

If you liked this blog post, I strongly encourage you to read Maggie’s, too!

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