How Can I Look More Natural on Social Media?

Everyone wants to know how to look good on social media. After years of posting 56 embarrassing photos on Facebook from a night out with friends, and then coming off the last few years of perfectly curated Instagram feed, we all just want to look natural, and without looking like we’re trying too hard.

And besides, you’re a business owner. You don’t have time to try too hard to look perfect in everything, anyway. That's not even what social media users want to see, and it's not real. More than anything, remember that real is best.

In fact, one disclaimer that we want to make clear before we go any further: these are things you can do to improve your videos and make them better. However, we would rather you take your videos in a dark corner and make a bunch of mistakes and trip over your words, than to not post anything at all. The best way to improve no videos is with any videos at all.

3 people sitting at a table, huddled looking at something on a cell phone. Text reads: How to Look Natural on Social Media
Want to look for natural on Social Media? We have 3 tips for you.


So, done is best. But, when you have these resources below, you can make your best even better.

Consider the Lighting for Your Social Media Content

The secret to every good photo and video is good lighting.

Bad lighting can be distracting, and it can even be off-putting. This isn’t an excuse. If you have an idea, the willingness and the time, lighting be damned. Film that thing!

Good lighting isn’t too hard to come by, though. If you have the budget for a ring-light, those are very popular to give your face that Hollywood glow anytime (and if you’re in Ontario, you can use this to pay for it!).


What we like best, and what we think is most natural, is as simple as it sounds: Natural light.


When we’re filming our videos for TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and Twitter, we just find the biggest and/or brightest window. You can also head outside!

If you want to go a bit further, stay away from direct sunlight shining on your face. For one thing, it’s hard to see, and it's harsh light for your video.

Angle your face towards the sun, so that you’re not direct, but to the side. Turn around with your phone and see how the angle and the lighting changes your face.

Natural daylight on your face makes such a huge difference. Just look at the difference in the photos below. Which one is better to look at?


side-by-side of woman showing the unlit face, back to the window, vs sunlit face with face to the window.
See the difference a little light makes in the quality of your content?

All Joy did with these two photos was turn around. No editing, no enhancements. This is the power of natural light.

If you want to go a step further, and we think you’re ready, we’re going to talk about catchlights.


Huh?!

It’s okay if you have no idea what catchlights are, but you’ve definitely seen them, and have probably been affected by them without even knowing.

Catchlights, or eye lights, are that little glimmer of light in the eye. It’s caused by light being reflected in the eyes. It’s a simple thing to achieve, and you can find the best catchlights by simply holding your phone up with your camera open, and while facing a window, slowly rotate, looking at your eyes.

The presence of catchlights causes the viewer to connect better with you and what you’re saying, and causes them to empathize more with you. It also makes for a more interesting picture (including video) to look at by adding depth to your eyes. Check out the difference in our example photo below:



Good lighting can be achieved with just a window and daylight. But if you don’t have it when you need it, don’t use it as an excuse to not take a video. Take the video!

(Interested in learning more about photography for your business? Here’s some simple steps and tools you can use for product photography to get you started. )


Use Your Voice to Connect to Your Audience

You might feel a little insecure about talking and sharing with tens or thousands of people. What do you say? What if you forget something?

The one thing we don’t want you to forget is that you’re not talking to thousands of people. Even if you’re lucky enough to land in front of that many people, you’re only ever talking to one person at a time.


Your audience on social media is an audience of one.

So, don’t address “everyone,” in your videos. You’re talking to one person. In fact, we want you to act as though you’re talking to a friend.

Think about what that means.


Do you sometimes trip over words and laugh at yourself when talking to friends? Do you sometimes lose your train of thought, go through three different stories just to tell one?

That’s perfect.

These are your quirks. These things make you endearing. Your friend might make fun of you for your verbal diarrhea, but we’re betting they also kind of love you for it.

Content for your audience, for your customers, shouldn’t feel like you’re on a stage with cue cards and a microphone that squeals when you get too close.

Your content should meet them where they are. And you know where they probably are? Sitting on the couch. So try approaching it like that. Sit on your couch or your favourite comfy chair and share some thoughts with your best friend and hit post (or save it to schedule it for later) before you start overthinking it.


Create Natural Content by Doing a Task

Are you shy in front of the camera? You don’t know where to put your hands or you just get blinded by the spotlight? You’re not alone. And actually, it doesn’t make for an interesting video if you’re just sitting there, frozen in place and not moving.

If you talk with your hands, talk with your hands. If your lips hurt real bad while you’re recording, put on lip gloss and keep talking and filming. If you tend to play with your hair, don’t fight the urge.

Or, forget about the camera by doing something else. Make coffee while you’re talking, or make a sandwich. Put on your makeup, get your tools out and fix something or take something apart.

Make sure you’re in the frame and visible, but you can get comfortable and allow yourself to have a bit of a distraction. This can also help with the flow of your words. They can come naturally when your mind isn’t freaking out wondering, “what’s next? What was I going to say? What am I doing here?”

As a bonus, if you can, make this related to your business.


Restaurants

- Add ingredients together and stir, chop, grate

Clothing stores

- Talk while folding or steaming

Novelty shops

- Talk while dusting

Office

- Talk while “sorting papers,” or swivelling in your chair, or, if you’re really talented, talk while typing

All of these things can help you by distracting you from how awkward or uncomfortable you feel in front of the camera. And, it makes your video more interesting and engaging for viewers to watch and it may even give them an insight into you, your life, your brand and your business. Is that a triple win? We think so.

Eye Contact for Your Content

We saved the most important tip for last.

Lots of people forget one tiny detail when taking selfies, photos and videos.

We all get distracted looking at ourselves on our phones, just like we tend to do in Zoom meetings. You, like us, are probably guilty of missing what someone said because you were taming your frizzy hair, or your crooked shirt.

It’s natural to want to fix these things, but there’s one huge problem with this if you’re doing it constantly.

That’s not where the camera is.


If you’re looking at yourself, you’re not actually looking at the camera, you’re looking down. So when people are watching it, you’re not making eye contact with them, and it looks awkward and it's honestly kind of uncomfortable to look at and watch.



See the difference in our example below:


side-by-side of woman comparing eyes looking down and eyes looking at camera
The difference eye contact can make in your videos.

The camera is the black dot near the top of your phone, and that’s where you look to make eye contact. As much as we know you want to look at your face, you shouldn’t be looking at your screen.

You don’t need to make constant eye contact, just like you look away when talking to friends, you can look away, especially if you’re doing something like we suggested in the tip above. Just don’t forget to “check in” every once in a while.



It's that easy!



Now, with your eyes toward the sun, staring your audience straight in the face, you're ready to get recording videos for social media.




Now, maybe you need some content ideas?

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