Humans like to look at other humans. It's natural.
Social media is one of the quickest ways to grow a following for you, your brand or your company. The most popular social platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) are very, very visually driven. In the health and fitness industries, it’s plain to see that body content garners more likes, comments, and shares.
But don’t let Instagram algorithms trick you into thinking that body content is the only content that will give you traction. There is no correlation between your success and your body. Just as importantly, there is no correlation between your Instagram content and your self-respect.
A woman could post a photo of herself completely naked and be full to the brim with self-respect. Another woman may never have an inkling of a thought to post a naked photo. Both women are posting content they like and that aligns with their interests and beliefs, and that is literally all that matters.
Will body content get you more likes? Probably. I’ve experienced it myself. Particularly on Instagram, this type of content will undoubtedly enhance engagement. But if it isn’t done with intention, what does it mean to your followers? You may attract followers that don’t align with your interests or your brand.
If you’re someone who rocks your feed with model-esque photos, keep crushing it, especially if your goal is to gain fitness or nutrition clients, sell programs or engage in affiliate marketing.
Personally, I have to strike a balance. Because I’m in the health and fitness sphere, I know that “explore” pages will drop sultry photos in more people’s feeds - regardless of hashtags. The audience I want to reach seeks out body content. To reach them, I have to post what they want to see. I also use my platforms to promote body positivity. If I’m hiding my own body, how can I tell others to stop hiding theirs?
However, I’m also a professional. I’m a writer and a personal trainer. Those roles don’t require swimsuit or sports bra photos in order for me to be successful. To be successful as either, all I need to do is put in the hard work it takes to separate myself from the rest of the industry. I have to provide valuable content that is not just my body.
It’s never easy for me to post body content to Instagram or any platform. It’s impossible not to wonder, “Are people only liking this because it’s revealing? Do they actually like my content?” But I remind myself that I know what I am providing is valuable regardless of the nature of the photo.
My social media posts do not define my self-worth or my self-respect, nor does any other woman’s posts define hers. The take-home message is to provide content that your audience will value. If you’re a nutritionist, your followers probably want to see healthy recipes and food photos. If you’re a graphic designer, they probably want eye-catching graphics (surprise) and tips on how to make them. This is all key to developing your personal brand.
In short: Define your niche audience and discover what they want. Then, show it to them. If that involves an occasional (or frequent) body photo, then so be it.
What are your thoughts on social content and self-respect? Leave a comment or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to hear from you!
About the F-Word
"Food" is the F-word. And the F-Word blog is all about helping you find your food-life balance. After battling an unhealthy relationship with food and body image for years, I'm dedicated to helping others avoid those misfortunes. Read on for nutrition guidance, lifestyle tips and stories from other bad-ass people who also overcame disordered eating.