Jennifer Aniston Breaks Instagram: Social Tips For Newbies
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For those of us of a certain age, the photo that “broke” Instagram this week certainly brought on the nostalgia. Jennifer Aniston, one of the world’s biggest celebrities, made her debut on the world’s top social media site with a photo of her and the cast of “Friends” – the 1990s sitcom that catapulted Aniston into stardom.
In the past, she has shared her reluctance to join social media, despite the presence of her peers on multiple social media platforms. In a 2017 interview with Vogue, she was quoted as saying: “[Social media] is such a drag.” Perhaps she just craved some privacy – a break from the media that typically tracks her every move.
A cynic might say the timing is meant to get publicity and viewers for her new show with Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carell and others. “The Morning Show” premieres on Apple TV+ on Nov. 1. However, the show has received a fair amount of press without Aniston’s arrival into the social media sphere. Perhaps, it is simply a matter of what she said on last night’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” talk show: You can’t be the lone standout forever.
Here’s a clip from the show:
As someone who has deftly navigated the tabloids, Aniston undoubtedly has a handle on how best to use her account. In fact, she has stressed how part of the allure was having control over her own narrative. But, as any celebrity, business or other entity in the public sphere knows, that control is not supreme. The public is watching, and any misstep is likely to be seized upon. Your narrative can become part of a larger narrative, and you may not necessarily be the hero.
There may be more than a billion people using Instagram, but that leaves nearly 7 billion in the world who are not. For instance, the CIA only joined in April. What if you too have been waiting to join? Here are some tips to consider before you dive in:
Do your homework
Before you enter the fray, get a sense of the platform. Aniston admitted to as much in her interview with Jimmy Kimmel. She said she made a “stalker” account so she could, “understand the world and dip my toe into that sort of social media pool.”
Have a plan
Say you run a business and you have been hesitant to join social media scene. You decide it’s time to jump in. Before you create that account and well before you send off that first post, have an established policy. Whether you are a one-person band, a crew of a dozen workers, or a large business with several satellite offices, make sure there are clear policies on how the platform is to be used. Also, you need to let employees know how their social media presence outside of work will be monitored.
It’s not so instant
At the heart of most social media platforms is the idea that users are letting their followers know what they are up to at that very moment. That leads to more than a few random thoughts and images. However, if you are trying to reach a particular audience and appeal to their values, needs, or interests, you’ll need to be more targeted in your posts. Before you launch, have a strong sense of your audience and the followers you hope to attract. This is an invaluable guide to train your eyes to the kind visuals and posts you will need to create and share.
Know it’s forever
As much as the digital landscape is covered with photos, comments, stories and posts that enlighten and brighten “users” in the real world, it also is littered with derisive and problematic comments and posts, as well as embarrassing and ill-conceived photos that their creators hope will remain undiscovered. We know, however, that what has been forgotten can be unearthed years after it first appeared. Before you send that post out to the world, whether in a private or public account, think about what it would be like seeing it in 5, 10, 20 years. Would you still stand by what you said? Would it still be a message you’d be espousing?
Think of it as one long media interview
As we mention in our book, “The Media Training Bible,” social media should be treated as a nonstop media interview. This is the platform where you participate in a conversation with customers, critics, and activists, but journalists are also watching. What you say could become a news story – and often does.
Speaking of …
Do you have the time or staff to keep up the stream of posts that will be expected? If you are using social media as a way to get your message and corporate or business story out to the world, you are going have to keep the words and visuals coming. If the content slows to a mere trickle, you may have a hard time attracting new followers and keeping the ones you have engaged.
Personal vs. professional
If you are an author or entrepreneur, it helps to have separate personal and professional social media accounts. Of course, everything that you post is likely to be found, whether you are in the public eye or a private citizen. However, the separation can make it easier for you to create a steady and consistent stream of posts that solely align with, provide context, and strengthen the story around your product, book, or message.
Be ready to engage
Your social media audience is, well, “social” and you should expect engagement. Know how you will respond to questions, comments, criticisms, etc., before you start posting. You do not want to be caught flat-footed by difficult or challenging questions.
Whether you have several thousand or more than a 11 million followers, social media is a tool that can bring you ever closer to fans, clients, current and future customers, and like-minded activists and advocates. Just make sure you know how to use it best before you wield it.