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How To Be *AMAZING* on Instagram: 6 social media superstars spill their secrets

In the April/May 2019 issue of Girls' Life magazine (find it on newsstands now, get a digital copy here or subscribe here!), six social media superstars spill the secrets to their success on Insta — because using the 'gram for good is #goals.

Think big for a sec: What are your greatest goals RN? Do you want to take your soap-making biz mainstream? Raise money and awareness for a cause you care about? Publish your poetry...or find an audience (and a buyer, plz/thanks) for your art?

Teens all across the world are turning to Instagram for more than just 
memes and #OOTD inspo. We’re tapping follow on six young women who are using the digital platform to affect real-life change and make a positive impact—
on both themselves and their audiences. And whether you want to be a master MUA, slay your side hustle or campaign for a cause, anyone (that’s you!) can become a successful influencer. Here’s how…

Name: Sam Sette
Age: 18
Handle: @healthfullysam
Focus: My Instagram started as an outlet for recovering from my eating disorder. I want to show my followers what being healthy really means (physically and mentally) by sharing advice and recipes that will fuel their own wellness adventures.
Biggest success: I met some of my closest friends on Instagram. It’s crazy to think that despite living hundreds of miles away, it feels as if we’ve known each other for years.
Build community: It’s all about interaction. I cannot stress enough how important it is to engage with other influencers in your community. Commenting on posts, trying out recipes and reacting to other peoples’ stories is how I created a foundation. 
#InstaHack: Be honest. There’s nothing I value more than transparency and vulnerability. We all have bad days—and that’s OK! It makes us human. Don’t pretend to be perfect. Stay true to yourself and be open with your followers when it comes to sharing personal stories.

Name: Sade Pramberger
Age: 21
Handle: @mythrivingon
Focus: I remind girls to take time to love themselves (self-care is *not* selfish!) and help them see their own beauty and worthiness.
Biggest success: The chance to work with companies I admire like Gymshark (I was featured in one of their campaigns!).
Handling hate: Ignore it. This is hard at first, but understand that when someone is mean, it’s likely because of their own negative mindset. It has nothing to do with you. And remember, you have the right to block anyone who’s harassing or upsetting you.
Create a schedule: When I wake up, the first thing I do is head to the gym to film a workout or take a selfie. Then I’ll write my post for the day. The key to being consistent is putting your dreams and goals first, before you move on to the rest of your day.
#InstaHack: Don’t impersonate other Instagrammers. It’s fine to take inspiration, but people aren’t looking for yet another version of a well-known account...they’re looking for something new (aka you!).

Name: Adele Lynch
Age: 22
Handle: @adelesmakeup
Focus: I started my Instagram as a way to document my journey as a makeup artist. Makeup has always been therapeutic to me. It’s an escape. I want to share my work to inspire other girls to embrace their own creativity.
Biggest success: It was so cool when [beauty influencer] James Charles re-created one of my looks for a video. Or when Anastasia Beverly Hills invited me to an event. Both gave me huge opportunities as an artist.
Create a niche: My Instagram really started to pick up when I found my unique style and came up with fresh makeup looks—from a Monarch butterfly wing to abstract graphic liner.
Find inspiration: I’m inspired by what I see around me. I created a blue wave wing after taking a walk next to a river.
#InstaHack: Always tag the brands you use—it helps them find your page, even if you don’t have a ton of followers. They may choose to share your post or even work with you (that’s how I got a collab with Instagram!).

Name: Alexa Curtis
Age: 21
Handle: @alexa_curtis
Focus: I show young people that you don’t need to have a ton of money or connections to achieve big goals. All you need is a strong work ethic and a lot of hustle.
Biggest success: Landing my own show, Fearless Everyday, with Radio Disney!
Get gutsy: If you find a cool brand you want to work with, don’t hesitate to email them cold. There’s no shame in contacting someone and sharing your ideas...the worst thing they can say is no. Don’t let the fear of rejection discourage you or hold you back.
Make it happen: To be successful, you have to find your purpose. If you wake up every day and want it, then you’ll have the drive and hustle you need to put yourself out there. You’ll have the confidence to believe in what you’re building, whether it’s a community, brand or business. Not sure what your purpose is yet? Start by filling your feed with inspiring people, friends and companies. Don’t be afraid to try new things, either. It’s all about trial and error. 
#InstaHack: Be authentic! Your feed doesn’t have to just be a highlight reel. Share the things that really matter to you and don’t be afraid to post both the ups and the downs of your journey. The more vulnerable and open you can be with your followers, the more they’ll connect with you...and the more successful you’ll become.

Name: Crystal Kei
Age:
18
Handle: @fashionbycrystal
Focus: I started my own style and travel account after being inspired by other fashion bloggers—and I wanted to show that teens can have awesome experiences (and closets!), too.
Biggest success: Being invited to a fashion show as a VIP—and some of the really cool collaborations I’ve gotten to do with partners like Spotify.
Clever content: Still being in high school, I don’t have a lot of time or money to constantly create new content. I tackle this by stockpiling pics when I travel or even just snapping pics in different locations when I’m wearing a really good outfit, and spacing them out. That way I can constantly keep my feed fresh *and* still have time for a life outside of Insta.
Process pro pics: I’ve found that edited images perform a lot better. I’ve found amazing apps that can completely change the vibe of a shot. VSCO and Lightroom are two of my faves (and they’re free!). 
#InstaHack: Engage your audience. To cultivate a loyal and supportive following, it’s really important to reply to comments and messages. And post frequently. You don’t need to be traveling somewhere exotic or going to a fashion show to take pictures—your everyday life can be just as interesting!

Name: Hannah Alper
Age:
16
Handle: @thathannahalper
Focus: I raise awareness for causes I care about—from gun violence to homelessness—and share ideas and tangible actions people can take to get involved. When girls see someone their age creating change, they know they can do it, too.
Biggest success: Whenever I post about things that matter to me and people respond with likes or thoughtful comments, I know that they’re listening—and that the issues matter to them, too. That’s my definition of success.
Make a difference: You have a choice when it comes to IG: You can use it to just be a bystander, or you can use it to take a stand and share your passions to create positive change. Some of the most powerful movements of our generation—like March For Our Lives, Zero Hour and, more recently, Greta Thunberg’s climate strike—have been built by young people on social media. 
#InstaHack: Hashtags! They empower us, bring us together, amplify causes and let us know that we’re not alone. When people see a hashtag trending, they feel comfortable adding their voice. And the more targeted the hashtag, the better. Pick ones that will actually reach the people who are interested in your content (#EndGunViolenceTogether > #Vote).

This story originally appeared in the April/May 2019 issue of Girls' Life magazine.

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by Amanda Tarlton, with additional reporting by Noël Dunn | 5/5/2019
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