My friend Jaye Watson put up this post on Facebook the other day: Tell me something you’ve done that you are the only person that has done it. It was a brilliant post with so many responses and certainly took the edge off of all the political ka-ka that has been venomously sprawled across my social media pages.
This spoke to me as I have been trying to rebrand (well, actually brand myself on Instagram, really, for the first time). When I got back to the States after a 2-year gap from sailing, Instagram had taken over the world. Or at least had taken over my industry as a hairdresser and well, and I had to learn it.
I found myself in a new job as a hair educator for a major manufacturer and while I have 30 years of experience and was totally qualified to go into salons and teach, these salons wanted to know how many followers did I have? Was I an influencer? I had redone my website on my return, but all I ever heard was “what’s your Instagram handle?” or OK, I’ll find you on Instagram. Well, I had about 120 followers of friends and I was using it as a personal scrapbook. You know, photos of this and that, my dog, my kids, etc…. Suddenly I was judged, perceived, and quantified by my “likes”, my engagement, and how many people followed what I had to post.
Hmmmm…. Ok. New normal. Game on. So I set out to teach myself Instagram. Learn about digital marketing. I followed all the rules to “brand” myself as a hairdresser again. I had to prove to the beauty industry world that I was credible. I take staged photos every day, I have a loop light, I got a better phone, I’ve taken seminars on how and when to post yet I still struggle with it. I am now up to 783 followers. Big Deal! or is it a Big Deal? Pictures every day, stressing out every day that I didn’t take pictures or video clips or boomerang photos to compete in this competition. Not only does it stress me out, but it also isn’t authentic. I am trying be something I’m not. Filters, editing, enhancing apps. What you are seeing on IG and what makes someone “important” well, I don’t like it. It’s not real. 30 years of hair education and practice squished into 300 posts that honestly don’t showcase my talents as how they really are. Nor can I possibly take that many pictures. I am a good hairdresser- I mean a REALLY good hairdresser. But, I love to work in real-time, get lost in my art, be with my client or engaged in the photoshoot I am working on and I am always in the moment. I completely forget to hit video or set up my phone, and for that matter to photograph my work as if I am living in a reality TV show. Constantly chirping about what I am doing and how great I am. And when I do, it feels so fake. Sadly, however, my reality is now in a social media world. And I need to do it.
I’m tired of trying to prove to and I’m not really sure who I’m proving to, how influential I am as a hairdresser. How “good” I am. So torn. I really want to turn everything off and say Bleep this! Bye. But that would be too radical. Too rebellious. While I love sharing what I do at work, I don’t want the pressure all the time.
So, with that being said and If I am going to have to be on Instagram & be a brand and share things, what I really want to share is my wisdom. The REAL stuff. My experiences of sailing around the world and how not only did that trip change me, but I now have insights on life that are different. I want to share them because I believe I can give back through sharing my new slant on life. But I also want to share the fun and exciting things I do with my work life. This is the world we live in, electronic or not, and I do need to stay involved. Stay current, hip and on top of things. And I am much too social to go “bush” as my antipodean friends so eloquently say.
So, how can I collectively blend my life as a person who has a strong social-bent, has seen at least half of the world, who is an actively working hairdresser along with my life as a mom, a wife to an entrepreneur, daughter, sister, and trust me the list goes on, into my brand for Instagram while not trying to record and post every single thing I do at work???? I figured it out. Post things that are a little rebellious every day. Nothing political. Nothing disrespectful. Just flair! (and yes, maybe a little rule-breaking!)
I realized while reading Jaye’s post responses were all of the fun, interesting things people have done differently and that living MY life differently has always and will always be my “brand”. So thank you, Jaye, for your lovely Facebook post and for the inadvertent AH-Ha you triggered for me.
If you don’t follow me already on Instagram, please do- a new handle- a “re” branding @AsubtleREBELLION with the tagline of DO SOMETHING a little REBELLIOUS EVERY DAY.
*A subtle Rebellion was the name of my salon + art gallery I had owned for many years that I sold in order to go sail the world. And that verbiage still guides my life. Life is about living and having fun: about breaking the norms, not following everyone else, and being your authentic self. This is what I am promoting across the board in my life. Whether it is hairdressing, eating ice cream, my hobbies, my daily routines of health and fitness, sailing and supporting my family and hubby- even how I relate and raise my kids, well it’s all pretty normal. AND subtly rebellious. I’m going to celebrate that.