Don't stress about Instagram.
Instagram is a beautiful thing. Honestly. I love it. It's a great business tool to promote your things, it's easy to connect with friends, it's fun to post pretty photos, and the hashtags are also really fun.
But I've noticed something about it lately. Sometimes the feeds look almost too perfect, and it makes me wonder if people are taking it too seriously. Are they wondering if it looks okay, is their aesthetic good, does it reflect their 'brand'? I struggled with this same problem when I first made an account for my blog. I tried to make it bright and colorful, promoting my stuff constantly, and worrying about the look. Thanks to all of this worry and fakery, I built a following veeeeeeery slowwwwwly - because people could tell it wasn't real and they didn't see enough of the process, the real me, etc.
Now, obviously, if you have a personal Instagram it should be different from your shop or blog or brand Instagram - but don't stress about it! The best advice I can give you: let it reflect YOU. Not every photo has to have a stark white background or have the perfect flatlay or look great next to or above that other photo you posted yesterday. Post a photo of your cat hanging out with that necklace you just made, or your kid playing with a toy you DIY'd. Post a photo of your lunch next to a project you're working on, or even a candid selfie and a mini-bio! People want to see YOU, not how perfect you seem to be. Because here's a little newsflash - no one is perfect, and you don't need to pretend to be. Not only is it stressful to try and make your life look perfect for the world, but it's also harmful to you and everyone else. The people looking at your seemingly perfect feed are going to grow more and more discontented with their own life, and you are going to get burnt out trying to keep up appearances, and I bet you in turn are growing discontented in your life after looking at others' feeds. It's a lose-lose situation if everyone's faking it.
This honestly bothers me about personal Instagrams, when people can't seem to let loose and just share real, honest, everyday life - it has to either have a white border, alternate horizontal and vertical, or go with a particular color theme. I don't understand it. And what I said before is true: people enjoy seeing real life and knowing that a real person is posting these photos, not some wanna-be Anthropologie stylist or aspiring Kinfolk groupie. I LOVE both of those brands, don't get me wrong, and I love posting pretty things as much as the next person, but that doesn't mean I need to fake my entire life to enjoy them or find them inspiring. Be YOU. Because no way does every meal look that perfect, or every outfit that great, or every Christmas package that perfectly wrapped. Show us your mistakes, your fails, your works in progress, your friends, your love of Parks & Recreation, your occasional indulgence in a salty bowl of Ramen or bag of McDonald's. Yes, we all do it. Or maybe we don't - I don't actually care. Ha!
So I hope this wasn't too annoying. I wanted to be honest and encouraging about this one particular social media outlet. And here's a little more encouragement: a few weeks ago I started posting ONLY stuff that was really me on my blog Instagram. I posted my knitting projects, a hat I made, this gorgeous doily lantern I'm in the process of creating, a photo my friend snapped of me at a gorgeous dam in the wilds of NH, and even a tiny place setting I did for a magazine. They were honest pictures about stuff I really do enjoy, and am good at doing, and (I kid you not) the amount of likes I got DOUBLED for every photo I posted and my followers increased. How did this happen? I have no idea, but I'm guessing it's because I was being authentic instead of purposefully trying to get attention.
To close out, maybe no one actually stresses about their Instagram and I'm the only one who did. But if I'm not, I want to encourage anyone else out there who does or has. I hope this has helped!