Thought Catalog hosted a panel in New York City on the balancing act of being creative and making money on social media. Panelists included the comedian and certified meme queen Violet Benson (aka Daddy Issues), photographer Alivia Latimer, and writer Caroline Calloway. In addition to chatting about the ups and down of Internet fame, the women addressed how to authentically and effectively market yourself on a platform that’s still in its early stages of becoming a tool for entrepreneurs and creators. Below are some of our favorite takeaways.
1. Genes may be the fabric of our biology, but memes are “the fabric of our culture.”
2. Posting a selfie in which you’re crying instead of trying to glorify and prettify every moment of your existence is a radical move that can really pay off.
3. As a woman, you can actually grow your social media presence without relying on your looks, which is an empowering phenomenon.
4. That said, if you’re a woman seeking Internet fame, you’ll probably be dismissed by many as a Kim Kardashian wannabee whore, while your male counterparts are applauded as “ambitious.”
5. Groups of up to 50 young people are orchestrating synchronized posting/liking/commenting sessions because getting lots of early engagement on a post is supposedly a great way to game Instagram’s algorithm.
6. Selfies are just another version of the handprint art prehistoric humans made tens of thousands of years ago, prior to the rise of agriculture. In other words, handprints = the OG selfie.
7. The new “fuck you” is asking someone who annoys you for their Instagram handle so you can like one of their photos just to showcase how much bigger your following is than theirs.
8. Insta fame leads to the opportunity to “merch your life.”
9. It can also lead to lucrative sponsorship deals, many of which pay at about the rate of $100 per 10,000 followers.
10. It’s entirely possible to make a living through becoming social media famous.
11. The first 10,000 followers are the hardest to get.
12. But your follower account doesn’t matter nearly as much to potential sponsors as your per-post engagement rate.
13. The average engagement rate (likes plus comments) is 3 percent of followers.
14. Brands tend to prefer squeaky clean “Disney” type content while fans respond best to the truth.
15. It’s definitely possible to make great friends and/or maintain friendships purely through Instagram.
16. Savvy users prefer third party photo editing apps (many have up to 5 downloaded) to Instagram’s standard filters.
17. The character limit for Instagram captions is 2,200.
18. You don’t have to post daily or even weekly to develop a massive following, as long you set expectations with your readers.
19. Your Instagram feed doesn’t have to be chronological. It can be a “narrative time machine,” in which you leap from past to present and back again.
20. Insta storytelling lets you redefine the way people engage with autobiography.
21. The best accounts have a cohesive aesthetic or “theme.”
22. Your Instagram account might just be the key to a book deal.
23. The fastest growing accounts right now feature videos.
24. In spite of Instagram stories, you can’t just abandon your entire Snapchat fan base since you can’t expect all your followers to transition from one platform to another right along with you.
25. You definitely have to unplug at least sometimes and remember to be a human in the moment rather than focusing solely on documenting your life, a time-consuming responsibility that often interferes with actual living .