Social Media Bootcamp RECAP

Hey MOMENTUM, we've got the details our social media gurus shared with us on how to maximize your effectiveness on social media platforms, including Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Sarin West & Michael Hanz spoke about the importance of creating an authentic audience experience for your digital resume, and put together the following tools to help guide you. Whether you're creating a presence from scratch or exploring a rebranding, keep in mind the following:

Building your personal brand: Sarin West, from shared the following worksheet of questions with us as an exercise to go through when defining how you want your social media "digital resume" to represent you to the world:

-Social media is a means to something else. What are your goals? Tailor your feed to your professional (and personal!) goals.

For example, if you are a massage therapist looking to build a social media presence that will allow you to fill your booking schedule, your feed may contain more posts highlighting the city that you live in when compared with a fitness influencer who is trying to build a global audience in order to attract brand sponsors.

-Separate yourself from the pack. Identify key things that make you who you are; here are some prompts to get you started:

  • Life Experience
  • History
  • World View
  • Quirkiness/Humor
  • Personality
  • Perspective
  • Creativity
  • Taste

-Who is your Target Audience? 

  • Followers
  • Clients
  • Brands
  • Job opportunities

-What do you want your audience to think and feel when they visit your page? 

After you've thought about the above, keep in mind the following when developing content for your feed:


Branding: The average viewer will give you 10 to 15 seconds of attention before deciding whether they feel engaged or not. Let your audience walk away with something, whether it be an emotion, something that educates them, or a feeling of connection with your personality of brand.

Be authentic: Gone are the days where sterile, "perfect" Instagram feeds get the most attention! Instagram rewards accounts with strong audience engagement (through likes and comments) and your audience is more likely to engage with your account if you show that you are a real personality. Using the example of the massage therapist trying to build a strongly engaged local audience, they might add in posts relating to local music festivals or attractions, even though they might not appear strictly "on-brand." This is a chance for you to telegraph to your audience who you are!

Aesthetics: Your Instagram is a design grid. Use high quality photos and similar filters for a cohesive look throughout your "Top 6" posts. This will make someone more likely to follow your account. Use other accounts with large followings as inspiration, and think about the Color Palate  of your account. Identify 5-6 colors that work well together and try to get most of your posts to contain elements of these colors. Think of this as a virtual "mood board" for your account. If you are not fluent in photo editing software, there are third-party services, such as and Canva that can help channel your photos towards the aesthetic ideal you are looking for, with varying degrees of automation.

We know the following things about Instagram's algorithm. Remembering the following when posting will help drive user engagement and make Instagram more likely to highlight your feed to new viewers and potential followers.


Posting frequency - Instagram will boost the discoverability of accounts which post frequently; aim for 1-2 posts per day. While this is a lot of content, remember that your audience is looking for an authentic (and not necessarily perfect) experience when visiting your feed.

Current and trending hashtags - Changing your hashtags frequently (i.e. not posting the same hashtags in every photo) is rewarded by Instagram's algorithm. Conversely, Instagram has begun flagging accounts that use identical hashtags in every post. Be aware of trending hashtags and incorporate them into your posts to boost your discoverability.

Community (features) & collaborations - Local businesses and personalities are often really interested in collaborating with people who have an engaged social media audience. It doesn't hurt to ask whether another influencer or business is interested in co-creating content with you.

Promotions and giveaways - contest giveaways drive user engagement and encourage your followers to introduce your feed to their friends;

Michael Hanz, a fashion industry veteran, who has spent over 20 years making celebrities look great in front of the camera, shared the following tips on preparing for a photo shoot and taking photos for social media:


Do your homework - Do you know what your "best side" is? People look different in photographs than they do in mirrors; what you assume to be your best side from years of looking in a mirror might really be the opposite. Practice posing in front of a mirror, and then, practice in front of a friend who will do a dry-run of a photo shoot for you. You will learn how you look best in pictures, saving precious time on the big day. Find pictures in the style that you like, and that you want to copy, and practice those postures and angles in advance of the shoot.

Find the right photographer - Some photographers excel at posing their subjects and aren't afraid to insist on certain visual angles while others are more silent and shoot their photos in a more documentary style. The only way to know which camp your photographer falls in is to ask! If this is your first professional shoot, make sure your photographer knows, and find one who will walk you through the process of getting the pictures that you want. Trust your gut, if you don't jibe with a photographer before they've got a camera in their hands, move on to another one - you want the best photos of you on that day.

Get it in writing - Make sure that you have a signed, written contract in advance of the shoot. It doesn't have to be fancy, but it should state a) who owns the rights to the pictures b) where they can be used and by whom and c) the (minimum) number of photos agreed to in the contract. It should also specify who owns the photos that don't make the cut. Sign two copies and keep a copy for yourself and a copy for the photographer. It's better to be safe than sorry with your image; remember, this is your personal brand!

Bring LOTS of clothing - You're going to aim to get a few good looks out of your photo shoot; if you're wearing the same shirt in every photo, you're going to be more limited in how broadly you can use the photos. Bring a lot more clothing to a shoot than you think you need - aim for 10 separate outfits if you can, and don't forget copious amounts of accessories.

Taking a Selfie? Bounce Light - Selfies make up a large proportion of social media accounts and it's easy to see why: they can be flattering and spontaneous. The more natural light, the better the selfie, so stand close to large, light-colored objects and face (rather than stand in front of) the sun; you'll use the objects to bounce the light towards your face and avoid backlighting your selfie.

Don't take a Selfie - Ask a bystander or one of your friends to take a photo - there's no rule that you need to take selfie for social media! You get more background in your photos by not taking a selfie, which means more flexibility for cropping the photo down the road.

Thanks to everyone who came out to make our May Social Media Bootcamp a success! Special thanks to Sarin and Michael, our speakers, and to our food sponsors, Fresh From Hell, who provided us with delicious sandwiches and salads, and EXO Protein bars, who provided us with cricket flour protein bars!