How To Feel Empowered by Social Media

It's yet another Social Media and self esteem post! Fun fun fun!

Social media, particularly the love of my life: Instagram, can be a total good mood killer, especially when its your job. Between falling like counts, photoshopped bikini babes and everyone in your feed jetting off to L.A every 5 minutes, Instagram can be really harmful to mental health and self esteem.

Even before the gram I spent my teen years messaging my friends to like my facebook profile picture. Seeking validation is such a natural human emotion that has just been heightened by 'likes'. Those of us who ( a bit sadly ill admit) crave this validation and popularity become Influencers/bloggers/creators. Having a job that requires growing popularity is difficult enough but then myself and the rest of instagram creatives have seen a massive decrease in the 'likes' that rule our lives.

Since my entire happiness relies on those little hearts I have found myself taking a step back from social media. But I am back and I come with plenty of agony aunt advice on how to make social media lift your spirits and not break your heart.

For creatives: my tips would be to 1. Focus on stories. Theres a trend in our audiences going against pretty pictures and using instagram more for entertainment. While my reach on my feed posts has been declining my story views have tripled, my hopes are that this in turn will lead my audience back to my feed posts.

Tip 2. Engagement is awful, so just post whatever you want. I used to keep away from anything that wasn't strictly street style photography, always in London and always in a candid 'iphone' style shot (I actually use and Olympus pen but used to use the basic lens so it had 'I just took this quickly on my phone' vibes) because thats what my audience responds to best. Now that engagement across the board is declining I feel more comfortable posting different styles of content, and who knows maybe this will lead back to an increase in engagement because I'm posting something new and different.

Tip 3. Personally I'd stay away from 'trend videos' like the IGTV getting dressed videos unless it really fits with your brand, because while they do work to quickly grow your following, they will become less and less popular the more people that do them and if you've grown your brand off something that you don't really like it will backfire when you stop and try to push your regular content on an audience that has followed you for the content you were doing just because it was a trend.

The best advice I can give on this issue is to expertly curate your feed. There are so many positive accounts out there that will add to your self esteem and not take it away.

1. @ThePouf. Face mask queen and ED survivor Christina Grasso is equal parts inspirational quote and hilarious wine mum.

2. The cat in the mirror. If you have been following along on my stories I cant get enough of reposting @Michel_e_b, her account is a simple formula: a photo of a mirror with a reflection of her cat. I really don't feel it needs any more selling than that.

3. Grunge memes. Bored of meme accounts that reek of lad culture? Grunge memes are the fashion bitches meme oasis. They are funny, relatable and oh so repostable to fit in with your pretty aesthetic while also letting everyone know that you're also hilarious. @psychosocialclub is my current favourite.

4. For those (like me) still very much into Instagram aesthetic posts, my latest obsession is skincare porn. Just shelves of all the best skincare beautifully organised and sometimes even colour coordinated! You get all the pretty pictures and self care vibes without it being a picture of a #bodygoals girl in a pretty bikini on a Bali beach you have no plans or funds to even think about going to. e.g @skincareandfashionlover

5. Speaking of your run of the mill Insta baddie. My go-to self esteem boost and reality check comes in the form of @Beauty.False. If you have been living under a rock its essentially an account that shows you photos from celebs and insta girls that have been outrageously photoshopped. Its a helpful reminder not to believe everything you see on social media and that it really doesn't matter that you don't look like those girls you see in Bali, because they don't look like that either.

Follow on Instagram @alexandra.em