I could never be accused of being first to the party. No sooner have I begun getting used to seeing photographs of myself on Instagram, than I realise that video is really where it is at. Everyone is doing it, especially on Instagram Stories.
The Stories feature, launched in 2016, is now watched by more than 300 million people every day. The beauty of it is that it allows you to post ephemeral video clips and slideshows. You can experiment and play around, safe in the knowledge that if it’s bad, it will disappear in 24 hours. They offer a way to connect with our followers and show them our ‘behind the scenes’, rather than the polished image we might upload to our actual feed.
The problem is that if you are not used to it, seeing yourself move and hearing yourself speak on video can be brutally hard. A unique kind of torture. But it is the future kids, and we need to get used to it. This post is full of tips that can help.
I’m tremendously grateful to all of the women who have contributed their thoughts. We have an Instagrammer, PR, social media specialist, a coach and a photographer. They want us to embrace video, and have some brilliant advice on how to make it easier. Have a read, and then go and check out what they are all doing on Instagram and their websites, it will inspire you.
I am so excited to have discovered Tors Grantham and her work. She is the woman. Tors is a Video Coach. It is her raison d’etre to persuade businesses to embrace video, and then to show them how to make it look as “profesh as fuck”. She says, “video’s ability to connect with the audience is unlike any other kind of content. You literally get to see and hear a person, making you feel like you really know them. If you want to create a relationship with your audience that provides real value to you both you and them, then video is the way to do it”.
The trick to getting on camera is to actually get on camera. You may not like it, you may not be good at it, but you can’t learn to get better unless you start. You don’t have to share your videos from the start, you are allowed a private learning curve. But you do have to share them at some point.
Shift your focus away from you. Stop telling yourself how much you suck or what you hate about yourself, and start thinking about your audience. Focus on what you can do for them instead, it makes it easier if it is not all about you.
Remember that absolutely no one in the world was good on camera the first time they did it. Or the second. Everyone has to go through the same learning curve. Stop comparing your start to other people’s middle.
Antonia is a mate of mine, but more importantly an impressive and knowledgeable public relations business owner who manages her client’s brands on social media.
I asked for her take on why Instagram Stories should matter as part of your social media strategy. She says, “for a small business, Stories mean more visibility on Instagram. You appear at the top of your followers feeds”.
She thinks it can be a great solution to the problem of finding a professional-quality picture to post on your feed every day “Stories is a way to ensure that I post frequently. It’s fun too, I’m less concerned about perfecting my posts and this gives me more freedom to experiment and find out what works. I get far more DMs from Stories than static posts.”
People buy people – and stories! Through Instagram Stories, you can chat directly with your tribe, and create a far deeper, more genuine connection. You can share your expertise, your personality and give a snapshot of the experience of working with you.
My advice would be to not overthink it. It doesn’t come easily but like all things, the doing is in the doing.
Sophie Lindsay is an experienced portrait photographer who has just recently overcome her own reluctance to appear on camera. She says that if you had told her 6 months ago that she would be happy to chat in a video she would not believe you, “all I could see were my weird hand gestures, frizzy hair, annoying voice and repeated use of the word ‘basically'”. But now she now regularly appears in her own videos “by shifting my mindset and following these simple tips, I now really enjoy it”.
Sophie also feels strongly that video builds a rapport and creates a connection with your audience. She says, “in this day and age when we are all seeking ‘authenticity’ what better way than to create a video? I can’t think of an easier way to tell a story and show my personality, it allows people to see who we really are”.
It’s not about you, it’s about your viewer. Focus on delivering great content and building community, and you’ll soon realise that it’s about your audience, and not you!
To make talking to the camera easier, just imagine that you are chatting with your best friend. This will help keep your voice and tone authentically ‘you’.
Preparation helps immensely. Create bullet points and practice.
No one sees you the way we see ourselves. Our inner critic will tell ourselves that we are not good enough, but no one else will see those faults. Focus on delivering good interesting content, that’s all people will be interested in, not your bad hair day.
Sally Hurman has more than 44 thousand followers on Instagram, who must all feel like they are one of her best friends because she is so warm and fun in her video Stories. Her recent adventures in India (she met a handsome Bollywood star in the hotel lift and tried to swap him for her husband) were just a brilliant watch. Sally says, “Stories videos can give your followers a much broader outlook on your life. They have given me confidence, and perspective, and friends that I have never met in real life. Instagram knows everything, all you need to do is ask. It is better than Google!” Give her a watch, she’s funny.
Pretend you are talking to a really good friend that you haven’t seen for a while.
Use a filter if it makes you feel more confident.
Add text! People watch with the volume turned down and this can keep them engaged.
Nicola Washington is a social media specialist and co-founder of Make Motherhood Diverse, a community dedicated to sharing stories about the different ways in which you can be a mum. She can be found chatting if her own relaxed and frank fashion on her Instagram Stories every day, usually about mum life or social media. Why does Nicola use this tool? She says, “it is a really good way of adding a human angle to your business, people are nosey, they like seeing this stuff. I do it because of the freedom it gives me, and it connects with people. Just be yourself, there is an audience for everyone”.
Mix up your content. Don’t just post a series of videos, mix it up with stills with captions, videos and boomerang.
Some people can wing it, I definitely can’t. Have a rough idea of what you are going to say before you begin. Write it down if necessary.
Spread your videos throughout the day. The drop off rate of views will be smaller if your videos are spread out because people won’t get bored.
Don’t aim for perfection, the moment when your kid shouts “I need a poo” in the background will just make you more endearing and relatable.
I definitely feel persuaded to be more open-minded and less precious about appearing in videos, I hope that this helps you too. Join in the discussion in the comments below. I love to chat.
Read tips from Instagrammers and experts on How To Love Yourself in Selfies