3 tips to balance “realness” with “professionalism” on Instagram

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been keeping a close eye on how influencers with large followings have been balancing “business” with “real life” moments on their Instagram feeds and stories.

Some of them share detailed snapshots of their everyday life, while others barely give you a hint about what they’re up to behind the scenes. Some use their platform to constantly promote products, courses, blog posts, and launches, while others throw in some sales effort every once in a while. There’s no doubt most people are experimenting and rewriting their “social media rules” nearly every day to learn how to engage with their tribes.

However, I’ve also come across Instagrammers whose posts are either almost always teetering on the edge of narcissism and providing little value to their followers or never showing an ounce of imperfection or depth.

When I bump into an account like this I’m always reminded that there is most definitely an elegant and no-so elegant way to use Instagram and it comes down to striking a nice balance between “real” and “professional,” i.e. you show who you really are and share openly about your life, while always providing value and advice that showcases your area of expertise.

But how does one strike that balance?

If you’ve been wondering…

How much of my life do I share with my social media followers, subscribers, and clients?
Do people really want to know how shitty my day actually was?
Is showing pictures of my partner or kiddies “off brand”?
Should I take pictures of my every meal or is that weird?
Is capturing emotional moments a good idea or TMI?

You are not alone. In fact, you are brilliant for being so conscientious about how you position yourself and your brand to your audience. To help you out, here are 3 quick tips to help find your own balance as you grow your following.

  1. Keep Your Audience in Mind. If you have a personal brand, your Instagram account is a marketing and branding tool used to build awareness about your products and services. So it’s essential that you create every post with your audience in mind. If you’re posting a beautiful smoothie bowl image, make sure it includes the recipes or a little nugget of wisdom about the ingredients or about how you pushed yourself to make breakfast when you didn’t really want to. Your posts should show off a piece of what’s happening in your life while also making it an actionable or helpful piece of advice.
  2. Make Your Own Rules. It’s completely up to you how much of your personal life you want to share on Instagram. However, you should absolutely set some guidelines for yourself around how you do that. Ask yourself, what are the areas of my personal life that tie into my business? What’s the stuff that makes sense to share? If your brand is centered on healthy living, then showing all facets of a healthy lifestyle works. If your brand is centered on self-love, then showing all of the ways you practice it is perfect. If you’re all about fitness, sharing your recorded workouts or classes you take with friends, etc. is totally aligned.
  3. Establish Your Brand Pillars. When you consider your brand, what are four words that you’d use to describe it? Perhaps it’s “healthy,” “inspiring,” “adventurous,” and “smart.” If that’s the case, then you have those four categories to pull Instagram post ideas from. One day you could post a healthy meal, another you could post an inspiring quote, on another you could share a fun trip or event, and so on. Having these “brand pillars” will not only help you feel more intentional about your posting, but it will help you get more creative and consistent with what you share.

Now I’d love to hear from you. What have you struggled with when it comes to posting on Instagram? Do you feel like you’ve been sharing too much or too little? Tell me all about it in the comments below!

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  1. Great advice blair!!! I love the idea of the 4 pillars not only to help clarify ones brand but also to refer to when deciding what kinds of posts to do. Thanks!