Managing social pressure

feat. @carolinagelen

You're more than your likes and follower count. Let's talk about how you can manage people's expectations — and your own — to rise above the pressures of perfection, social comparison, and self doubt.


Everyone is different, focus on your own growth and learning.

Hide your likes to take some unnecessary pressure off.

Stay grounded with Insights, but don’t let them define you.

Don’t try to be perfect. The real you is more interesting.

Hi, my name is Carolina Gelen, I'm a recipe developer and a content creator. And I have built a community here on Instagram of over half a million people in less than two years. That kind of social media growth comes with a lot of pressure. So today I'll be talking about the tips I've learned along the way on how to manage social pressure online.

Dealing with pressure at the start

My first piece of advice might be the most important thing you'll learn today and it's about comparison. Don't compare yourself with your favorite creators. Compare your current growth with your previous growth. If you see steadiness or the slightest bit of progress then you're on the right path. I remember when I started I used to go to these five creators and compare my numbers with their numbers although they had thousands more followers than I did. And I couldn't name a more unproductive and depressing and disheartening thing you could do to yourself. Especially when you're just starting, you're comparing yourself with people that have teams behind them. So just keep that in mind. Just compare yourself with yourself. My next tip talks about managing expectations from friends and family.

Managing expectations from friends and family

I have a degree in computer science, so when people found out that I don't wanna be a software developer anymore and I wanna pursue a career in cooking online, let's just say they have some interesting reactions. I have this very vivid memory of my aunt comes up to me and asks in the most condescending tone ever, how's your little gig doing? How's your little, whatever you're doing going? I was launching my Zoom classes during that time, so I tell her all about how I'm excited to cook and bake with my community and hang out with them and get to know them better. This woman stops me, looks me in the eyes and says, why would anyone pay to bake with you? Why would anyone do that? I was already nervous about launching those classes, so that wasn't the best thing I could have heard that day. I acted like that didn't hurt. I moved on and the classes ended up selling out. So that was a nice little victory for me. We had so fun baking bread together and I'll remember that little story forever. I really hope you won't have to deal with that sort of energy, but just in case you do even if it's just one person, I want you to be prepared for a not so cute reaction.

Letting go as you grow

My next tip is to let go of old rules you've set for yourself in the beginning. For example, I made a rule for myself in the beginning that I will get back to every single DM I have in my inbox. So that was actually pretty feasible. I had no problems doing it until one day I found myself spending seven hours replying to DMs and that's when I had to stop myself, take a step back and realize that I have outgrown that rule and it's impossible to respond to every single DM in my inbox. I'm still able to read them and go through them, but it's really hard to get back to every single request. It's gonna be very difficult to let go of perfection and all the rules you've set for yourself but you'll slowly learn not to be so hard on yourself.

Using Insights to stay objective

Last but not least, numbers. Learn how to put numbers into perspective. As a creator it is very important that you learn how to navigate Instagram Insights. That's gonna tell you everything you need to know about your audience, what they like, what they don't like, what does well, what doesn't. Those numbers are helpful objective insights into how your posts are performing, but they're not not defining your value in any way, shape or form. So do use Instagram Insights but don't let them dictate your worth. They're just signals.

Hiding likes on your posts

One really cool feature that will help remove some pressure off your shoulders is hiding likes on your posts. This feature helps shift the focus from numbers and growth and performance to the actual creation. So you really get to enjoy the process of creation rather than stressing about its performance.

Key takeaways

To sum it all up, my key takeaways are:

1/ Don't compare yourself with anyone, but yourself.

2/ Use Instagram Insights to keep track of your progress and hide your likes as a way to remove some unnecessary pressure off your shoulders.

3/ It's okay and highly encouraged to let go of perfection and old rules you have set for yourself.

4/ Last but not least, find some ways to decompress.

I hope these tips were helpful and they encourage you to start creating.