How to Make Social Media Work for You (Goodbye Anxiety!)

How to make social media work for you (goodbye anxiety!)

How to build a personal brand via social media

Who is your girl crush on Instagram? Chances are you have a couple of celebs, a few magazine editors  (oh hel-lo Eva Chen and Zanna Roberts Rossi!), bloggers and one or two peers (a.k.a. people you actually know) whose accounts are a source of anxiety-fuelled pleasure.

In a world where even fashion editors at glossy media sites can relate to the despair of having an Instagram follower count languish in the low triple-digits for years, it’s clear that social media can help the everygirl become successful and build a strong personal brand but that gaining thousands of genuine followers is no easy feat. It’s human to want to show the world our best face but anxiety can emerge when we’re not sure how to do so or how to cope with the constant pressure to keep up.

Whether your vice is Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat or even LinkedIn, the ability to peek inside a small corner of others lives can be addicting. Some might call it research. The indicators of success have changed, and we want to keep up with Joneses who could be literal neighbours, former schoolmates, or strangers in places  on the other side of the globe. By checking out how others are living and what they are accomplishing, from obtaining a Mansur Gavriel bucket bag to getting their second promotion, we redefine our understanding of what is possible, and our list of goals gets bigger.

While we’re blessed to live in an age where we have information and inspiration at our fingertips, this can be paralyzing if we’re unable to take a step back and reassess our perspective. Peer envy, especially towards those with a similar background as us, can feel jarring because it makes us question why we haven’t achieved that level of success. But the fact is that we can never really know the reality of what it’s like to live as the objects of our envy. No matter how successful a person is in a particular aspect of their life, their life as a whole isn’t perfect. There’s likely someone else who looks at your life as one to aspire to, where as you know your day to day messes.

Thankfully, the smokescreen is fading away as an increasing number of successful women – from Chrissy Teigen to Sheryl Sandberg – are showing it’s brave to be real and sharing their struggles and insecurities. Isn’t it the case when one person starts to share honestly, others feel empowered to do the same? Listening to the stories of others can help people understand the source of their own frustration, and spur them to give back by contributing to the conversation.

No person has all the answers, and we can all learn from one another. If you work in fashion, sharing an unphotoshopped image – for example, with stretch marks visible – can help others understand that so much of what we see has been digitally altered. If you work in a conservative setting, sharing real fears – for example, feeling like a fraud at times – and the steps you took to overcome them can help position you as a strong, self-aware leader. No matter what industry you’re in, find a way to showcase the real you. It’s always better to be genuine than to pretend to be perfect.

Ultimately wanting a gorgeous Instagram profile isn’t a bad thing. Neither is striving for verified Twitter account status or wanting to share good news with friends via Facebook. Just do it from a place of wanting to add value by showing the world your unique superstar talents as you continue to develop them each day.

To make social media work for you…

1. Reflect:

Spend time thinking about your interest and skills. Find the right intersection where the magic can happen.

2. Build Brand ‘You’:

A good brand is instantly recognizable. Your social media presences should be extensions of your brand and always be on topic. Good visuals (lots of colour for a fun travel brand vs. muted tones for conservative advisory) also help drive this message home.

3. Schedule posts:

Social media moves a mile a minute, and it’s easy to be forgotten if you don’t post regularly. Figure out which avenues you want to use and how often you want to use them. Then spend the time and effort creating unique content and sharing quality content from others, and you won’t regret learning how to use a social media-scheduling app.

4. Be Brave:

Don’t be shy! Share your posts with family and friends, and reach out to likeminded strangers as well. You never know where an approach will lead or who will become a fan of your work. Get ready to say goodbye to social media peer envy – it’ll soon be (well mostly, we’re all human) a thing of the past.

Jennifer Lien

Jennifer Lien is a Canadian in Singapore. A lover of words, she spends her days working in academic publishing and her nights (or, well, early mornings) writing about careers, culture, and all things wonderful about living life abroad. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @lienje.


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