By: James Asquith, CEO and founder of Holiday Swap.
Instagram – the game you will never win (unless you are @therock), but the platform you can enjoy and utilize a lot more if you don’t try to actually ‘win’!
I tend to rarely work with brands on social media, and if I am promoting something, it’s because I actually like it and think that others could benefit from knowing about it. For anyone that follows me, you’ll know that I’m very honest, and I’ve actually given money back to companies who I refused to work with and couldn’t tell my followers about their product with sincerity.
Instagram is such a powerful tool, and recently I’ve noticed people that are breaking with the previous norm by posting real, and meaningful content, rather than just the prettiest pictures. Instagram in 2019 will become more about being relatable and real – and I’m not talking those captions that attempt to be deep and meaningful when really the attention is on the image.
I recently wrote an article explaining how if you aspire to have the biggest audience, the most likes, and the most beautiful content on Instagram – you will never win. [read it here] There will always be people who have bigger numbers and do it better. Always. That’s not just Instagram – that’s life. Psychologically, it’s damaging for your mental health. Attempting to always get that perfect shot. Not just your own mental health, but if people are always led to believe that real life is how it is portrayed on Instagram currently – they will likely be disappointed in real life.
I have visibly noticed in the last few months that many people have become ‘tired’ of this perfect, and largely self-constructed environment, shunning it for a bigger slice of reality on social media. Think about why you follow celebrities perhaps. It’s not to see them post a perfect picture or photo shoot (they have plenty of magazine pictures for that!). It’s to see their reality. A peek into their life. A moment to laugh with them, and to see their real opinions.
People have the power to portray the real versions of themselves on social media – and not have that image manipulated by a traditional media edit. It’s such an important space to show the real ‘you’, and use the platform for a bigger cause than just pretty pictures. Sure, that’s nice to see once in a while – but when everyone tries to do this, and I’m guilty of it myself at times, the platform becomes broken.
So here are some people that certainly post some great content, but make their platform meaningful with a message beyond ‘look at this great picture I edited’. They have a real message to portray and a bigger cause than just getting likes.
1.@iamkatyjohnson – Katy is on a mission, literally, to combine two things she loves, and show the world from a varied and unique perspective. Modelling and travel combine to create a project that Katy has been working on since I have known her called @onemodelmission showing inspiration through models’ eyes in every country in the world. This is a trip to every country in the world that is not about her. It’s about the people the other side of the camera and their stories. There are not many people on Instagram that make the story about themselves, and that is what I find compelling and inspiring about Katy’s mission.
2. @196sonhos – Anderson is an inspiration and his following in Brazil is a testament to that. People love him and the message he stands for. Attempting to be the fastest person to travel to every country in the world – not to say he is the greatest traveller – but to show that what people think is impossible can in fact be done. Why though? Anderson came from a poor background in Brazil, and hustled his way through, by working his ass off selling mobile phone covers on busses all day, every day. Now after saving up money, he’s on this quest to show it can be done – coming from a background where Anderson had little opportunity, his story is inspirational.
3. @charlie – first of all, this guy had a brain tumor. As he says himself – he should not be here. From Grammy winning music mogul to speaking inspiration, Charlie is hands down a legend in his own right. He’s ‘on a winning streak’ as he says and continues to post real content on his inspiring personal journey.
4. @gabatronix – Gaby is truly one of the nicest and most genuine people I have had the pleasure of meeting. In 2017 while rock climbing she had an accident that left her with a fractured skull and haemorrhaged brain. Not to be deterred Gaby continued rock climbing as a way to deal with a traumatic brain injury. Gaby does not just inspire others through social media but directly when she puts herself in her favourite environment – a cliff edge!
5. @thegipsyjourney – Rossanna Fiorenza is using her social media to inspire and challenge traditional media beliefs about traveling on an incredible journey where she is hitchhiking alone from Ushuaia to Alaska. Rosanna is in Chile right now, go check out her journey
6. @hithermann – Investor, public speaker and Alpha boss! Hither has come a long way and on her terms. An empowering figure who is a great example of success, she will give you the encouragement to succeed as she has no qualms about calling people out on bullshit in the investment world (and coming from that myself – I know there is a lot of that).
7. @gemitasamarra – Gemita is ex-model turned stuntwoman turned philanthropist. Sure, modeling pictures tend to get more likes on Instagram, and Gemita is fully aware of this but instead chooses to use her platform to highlight bigger causes. From raising awareness of the humanitarian crisis in Syria to setting up @mynameishumanproject to help the homeless, Gemita is doing great things and giving back how she can.
8. @patrick_aryee – This guy loves wildlife! It’s a simple as that. The next David Attenborough in the making. His page is less about him and more the focus of highlighting the amazing and often endangered wildlife around the world. From spending time in Kenya with rangers to ocean rescue missions in the Mediterranean, Patrick is well worth your attention.
9. @elonatheexplorer – I only came across Elona recently where her vibe was instantly catching. That vibe is being real. Not only is Elona an incredible source of inspiration and strength having survived cancer, but she also has her own charity and jewelry line.
10. @andrew__muse – ok so Andrew remains one of the best examples of combining some of the best content I have seen on Instagram with keeping things real. The thing that many people may not know, is that there is a story behind where he is today, and it’s hard hitting. Andrew is the mastermind behind My Tiny Home Adventure where he drove around the USA with his golden retriever making unbelievable content (go check it out on his page), but things ended in tragedy when, being open and honest about the experience, Andrew fell asleep at the wheel. Tragically, his dog didn’t survive. One of the firefighters from the scene of the crash bred golden retrievers and when Andrew was ready he took on another puppy called @kickerdogmuse. Almost all of Kicker’s life has been amazingly documented, and he’s about to embark on an international Tiny Home Adventure Season 3. A heartwarming and very real, honest story.
and More (to come)…
Follow more of James’ travels and adventures on @jamesasquithtravel on Instagram.