Braving the Fear of Being Visible on IG Stories
If you’re on the fence about getting visible on Instagram Stories, I can empathise with how you feel about having to speak or show your face to the camera. In May, I hosted a challenge in my private community on Facebook ‘Modern Artisans Collective’. The challenge consisted of getting visible on Instagram Stories for four weeks. 15 out of 100 modern artisans bravely took on the challenge.
What came out of this social experiment were having to face some of their greatest fears and other insecurities. It also inspired me to know that despite these fears, anyone can grow their confidence. In this article, I’d like to encourage you and provide practical tips so you can face your fears around visibility too.
The things holding us back
Whenever I ask someone who’s never showed their face on their Instagram Stories to get visible, I get similar reactions. Showing my face on Instagram Stories? Speaking on camera? EEEEK. Talk about scary! It doesn’t surprise me one bit, because let’s face it, we humans are like this - we tend to enjoy being in our comfort zones and unless there’s a real urgent event that pushes us to do so, it’s not something we welcome arms wide open generally. Then there’s also the fact that for the first time, it can be terrifying because you’ve never done anything like that before.
Let’s unpack what are some of the most common things holding people back from being visible:
Fear of judgment from others
This one is big. What will people think of me? Will they think less of me? Some also fear criticism or negative feedback.
In life as in business, not everyone will like what you do, and that’s a fact. As a creative entrepreneur, it’s easier to stay away from the spotlight, because then there are less chances of getting horrible comments or ‘hate mail’ or trolls. By doing so though, you’re not only staying invisible to haters and trolls but also from your dream clients.
Think of your dream clients, and the amazing opportunity you have to create more trust when you show up. When you do that, you’ll be surprised at how effortless it will be to get clients.
Will I make a fool of myself? I hate how I look/sound on camera. The only times we truly look at ourselves is when we look in the mirror, am I right? Or when we take a selfie… And so it can feel that when we’re looking at ourselves when filming for Instagram Stories a bit similar to looking in the mirror. We suddenly see that our nose looks a bit odd, or the acne is getting really bad, or our hair isn’t how we want it to look like, and oh-my-goodness is that a - no, don’t say it, is that a grey hair I see?
It isn’t about you. It’s about showing the human behind your brand, and being relatable to your audience. When you show up, think of the people who will be watching rather than yourself.
I’m a private person!
Another misconception was that being visible on Instagram Stories suddenly meant that your followers will know all there is to know about you and your whole life is going to be exposed for the whole world to see and react to. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
In actual fact, good branding is when you showcase what’s relevant to your audience and your niche market, not by sharing EVERY.SINGLE.THING that happens within your day.
Here’s my personal example of what I share on Instagram Stories:
As the founder of BrandSalt, my nomadic boutique studio, in addition to teaching and giving social media tips, I share a lot about work/life blend and how I manage my location-independent business. I also share about creativity, rest, and anything pertaining to doing Social With Heart (my signature framework which I teach to private clients and students in my course). Depending on the occasion, I sometimes take my audience along when I visit markets, artisan fairs, or showcase how I balance 1:1 coaching calls with my private clients and personal life.
It’s not about sharing everything that goes on in our lives, but sharing things that matter to our audience. In other words, create content that your specific audience cares about and wants to see that will establish more trust. Just because you see people showing their morning coffee doesn’t mean you have to get on board if that’s not going to serve your audience or your brand. But if your creations are fuelled by your morning coffee, by all means - share to your heart’s content!
I’m no beauty queen or king
The thing is, being visible on Instagram Stories does not require you to be a beauty queen or king. It’s not about looks, honestly. For sure, I’m not saying do Instagram Stories after a red eye flight or the second you finish doing an intense workout!
Approach being visible on Instagram Stories the same way people can see your face in real life. To be authentic on social media means to be real - show up real, as you are. It’s your face, the same face you show to others when you buy bread, take a drive, walk in the park, or attend lunch with friends. What if you think of it as owning a physical store, and you’re there manning the shop. Would you hide under the counter and not show your face when people walk in? Of course not.
It’s no different with Instagram Stories. You have a following, you have people who are connected to you somehow. Show up for them. Say hello. Welcome them. Share who you are, how you can help them or inspire them or bring more beauty into their lives or homes.
I don’t know what to say
A lot of people often confess that they have no clue what to say. They get worried about being boring, saying things that aren’t interesting to their audience.
Clarity comes from the act of getting visible.
Take the first step (which is to simply hop on and welcome your followers), you can start a conversation with your followers.
Get to know your followers - ask them questions using the Question Box, create polls or quizzes.
Create content based on what your insights and analytics revealed about what your audience likes to see from you.
Again, here, don’t make the mistake of saying and doing what everybody else is doing. Not all things will work for your business and for your specific audience. I always advise to remain true to who you are and to use the tips I provide with a pinch of salt. This means, I want you to feel empowered to doing what feels comfortable to you.
If you’d like direction with this or further guidance, I suggest you to check out my Instagram Stories Visibility e-course when it opens for enrolment again, or book a strategy session with my team here.
Further tips & benefits from visibility:
Now I will share about some of the lessons learned during this challenge.
Practice makes it less intimidating
In the Instagram Stories Visibility Challenge with my community, the ones who were the most hesitant to be visible were the ones that became regulars to the point of being visible daily!!
Not only did they end up showing almost every day for their audience, but they created meaningful Stories. They used it for doing giveaways, and announcing winners by showing themselves pulling out the winner’s name. Others used it to do behind-the-scenes tour of their atelier, their office, their stockists or shop. Some of them explained their process, the labour behind an art piece, the raw materials used. It was beautiful to watch and heart-warming to witness creatives being their authentic selves, speaking from the heart, and developing a deeper connection with their followers.
Tip: If you keep at it, you will start getting new ideas on how to engage your followers, and you’ll become more at ease with doing Instagram Stories.
Doors of opportunities open up for you
When you are visible, you’ll show up as a human not as a ‘business logo’, and to your audience it’ll be as if you’re having a dialogue in real life, instead of hiding behind Instagram captions or a social media graphic or blogpost. One of the greatest direct result about having a conversation with your audience is that doors of opportunities will open up for you, and much quicker too.
Success and more leads
Some of the modern artisans I helped getting visible on Instagram Stories felt encouraged and empowered in their creative business journey. The results they got from being on Instagram were also more tangible in the form of more queries, leads, and ultimately conversions from simple followers to paying clients.
Here’s what some of them said after getting visible on Instagram Stories:
Intentionality is key
With increased visibility also comes the increasing need to be strategic and intentional in how you’re showing up. Simply put, being visible to your audience won’t get you closer to your goals without a well defined roadmap on how to get there. There’s a need to stay on brand, as some modern artisans came to understand quite quickly.
On social media, things happen fast. Take a poll for instance. Your followers have 24 hours to answer your poll, and during that time, you’ll need to track the results so you can further down the line use that piece of information within your business operations.
The same applies for any announcements or promise you make on your Instagram Stories. If you’re validating an idea with your niche market, you can get answers pretty quickly. It’s therefore in your best interest to ensure that what you’re sharing aligns with how you want to be represented, and what you want to be known for in terms of either expertise or reputation.
Getting clear on the values of your brand is imperative. You can then show up more confidently with crystal-clear vision and with a purpose. If you don’t do this, and don’t pay attention to how you’re being perceived on Instagram Stories, this could have consequences that perhaps you’re not prepared for.
This was by far the most important lesson that stood out for me as a social media coach and online brand strategist. As with life, I strongly believe in being true to ourselves and aligning with our values and vision. After assessing how this challenge went, I shortly after launched my e-course Intentional Visibility on Instagram Stories. (This course is currently closed and next enrollment will be announced via email in The Salt Gazette - make sure you’re subscribed to get all the details for next time).
Last but not least, it’s about community. You get to build a community of loyal fans around your brand by your presence on Instagram Stories. There’s power to start great, meaningful conversations around topics that your dream clients care about. And obviously, that’s fun for you too as you gain more insight into what your audience enjoys hearing from you, or what they’re hoping you’ll talk or post about.
We’ve also found that through this challenge, it brought us all within our group together more. Bonds were formed as one modern artisan followed another, and vice versa. Soon, there were two artisan jewelers being connected within seconds, despite the fact that they live in two opposite hemispheres and time zones! There were also artisans who approached other artisans/ makers to commission them for a jewelry piece or macrame artwork. All in all, it is a beautiful thing to witness when creatives come together.
Isn’t this what we are all after - to be seen, loved, accepted as we are? And the beauty of using social media with heart is doing just that - being social in a way that takes you from your little corner to giving you endless possibilities of connection with other wonderful human beings all over the world.
For collaboration. For compassion. For community.