December 23, 2015

In this final Instagram case study of the year, I want to take a look at an account that uses Instagram in a unique way. I want to look at @emilyjoyrosen and how she uses Instagram to authentically share her story and her healing.

Of course, there are a number of things I like about this account, including the beautiful images she uses. But beyond that, she uses Instagram more as a micro-blog, using long captions to tell a story, share an inspiration, motivate others, and open up her true authentic self to others. If you’ve followed me for a while, you know I’m not an advocate for long Instagram captions. But this account demonstrates how you can do this effectively, even on a highly visual platform like Instagram.

I should also point out that this account focuses on a unique issue – the psychology of eating (disorders). It can be a highly emotional topic and many of the posts Emily shares get emotional. The comments her followers leave can also get emotional. This is not an account for the light of heart but it is something that almost everyone can learn from in some way.

But before I tell you more, time for the disclaimer… I am in no way affiliated with Emily Joy Rosen or the Psychology of Eating. I haven’t discussed with her or she uses her Instagram account or what results she gets from Instagram – this post is based entirely on my interpretations of what I see on the current profile. I am not being rewarded, compensated, or paid in any way to write this post. This post is based entirely upon my opinions of their Instagram content from what I’ve seen shared publicly.

How to Use Long Captions Well

Ok, so I said this is one of the things that I like most about this account. Writing long captions on Instagram is typically frowned upon, and honestly, quite difficult to do well. Most people are on Instagram to scroll through pretty pictures and aren’t interested in reading much.

But Emily does a really good job of pulling people in with her well-written and heartfelt posts. You get a real look into who she is, why she started her business, and how she lives through the challenges of eating disorders. She is so genuine that anyone who has ever thought negatively about their body or food can easily relate to her calm and reassuring nature.

In order to maximize the effect of these long posts, Emily uses formatting and spacing to make the content easier to read and absorb. As with anything online, scanability is key to keeping your audience reading. So breaking up long posts into small, short paragraphs is very important.

Emily also includes quotes or other sources of inspiration to share with her audience. But beyond just the quote or idea, she shares her interpretations or thoughts on the topic. This gives her more to write about, but also more ways to connect with her audience.

IF – and I say IF – you want to use long captions on Instagram, you must have a very purposeful strategy for this method. You have to give people exceptional value in the length of the post. You have to be consistent in your delivery of quality content so that when your audience sees a long post, they know it’s worth reading, and they won’t just scroll on by.

Educational Content

One way to provide that level of quality content is to incorporate real educational content. Emily does this really well, frequently.

She really embraces the psychology and science behind eating disorders and body issues. She discusses the effects of food. The reactions to negative (and positive) thoughts. The value of relationships and respecting yourself. And a lot more.

As a science major, I have a unique appreciation for the science and education that Emily shares with her audience. But many of her followers aren’t science dorks (like me) and they get so much clarity and support from understanding what it is she makes easy to understand.

If you can provide this type of education to your audience, you become invaluable to them. Whether they need your services (or products) now or need to wait until the time is right, the value of building that level of trust is immeasurable.

Pretty Pictures

Obviously, it’s still Instagram. And high quality images are still extremely important to your strategy. The only way you can get people to stop and read what you have to say is to capture them with your post image.

So it’s imperative that you create beautiful photos that your audience appreciates. And Emily does this beautifully. Her photos are gorgeous, branded, consistent to a theme, and appeal to her followers.

No matter how you’re using Instagram, always keep the focus on creating high quality images that represent your brand and further your message.

Photos of Her

One of the things I always encourage people to share on Instagram is who they are. And you can’t do this without occasionally sharing a photo of YOU.

You are your brand. And the trust that is built by showing your face – good, bad, pretty, no makeup, funny, posed, happy, sad, or whatever else – is how you connect with people. You can’t build that same level of trust if you hide behind the computer and never show your gorgeous (or handsome) face.

Of course, I am NOT an advocate for daily selfies. But, especially in a case like Emily’s account, the value of sharing your face once in a while is huge.

Authenticity

One thing you realize quickly (and powerfully) is how genuine Emily is on Instagram.

She shares her personal story, struggles, reality, and emotions on a regular basis. She connects with her audience is such a beautiful and authentic way, you feel like you’ve known her for years after reading just a few of her posts.

For all the ways in which social media can be used to push products, speak negatively, dwell on others, and escape reality, taking the time to connect with your audience for REAL is refreshing and beyond valuable.

Whatever your story is (it doesn’t have to be as raw or emotional as Emily’s – as I mentioned previously, this is a heavy topic), tell it. Tell it like only you can tell it. You will attract the right people in the right way by staying true to you and what you have to offer the world.

Responsiveness

One thing that always stands out to me is when someone takes the time to actually respond to comments on their posts. And Emily does this frequently! She responds to almost every comment. Even if it’s something simple, she takes the time to communicate directly with her audience.

And it shows in the genuine interactions that occur on her posts.

This is a lesson for anyone using Instagram. Respond.

Even if just to say thank you. Or respond to a question. Or offer a piece of advice. If people are commenting, they are looking to engage with you. Don’t leave them hanging!

Calls-to-Action

As I have said time and time again, Instagram is only going to be effective for you if you learn how to incorporate calls-to-action in your posts. You need to ask your followers to do something every now and then in order to drive them back to your website, opt-in, product, or other result.

While you don’t want to do this on every single post, it’s valuable when you mix it in with the right message. In this example, Emily shares her normal quality content but follows up the post with a call-to-action to view her new video series.

Find ways and get creative about how you can include calls-to-action in your posts on Instagram to see real results from your audience.

With nearly 20 thousand followers, Emily is doing Instagram well in a unique, valuable, and supportive way. Even if your business is more “traditional” than the Psychology of Eating account, I honestly think you can learn some valuable lessons about how to connect with your audience and use Instagram effectively. If you’re someone who has wanted to use Instagram as more of a writing platform, please take some good analyses of what Emily does and learn from her what makes a good, long, post on Instagram.

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. Hi Jenn,
    I have accessed the Instagram account of Emily Joy Rosen and I concur with what you said about her using long captions effectively. Indeed, one can leverage on this tactic to boost traffic and conversation. The tone of her account is a blend of emotions, fun, and education. These combination readily will appeal to the conscious of any set of audience!

    1. I’m so glad you liked her account too and found it fun and educational. These are definitely good aspects for any business to include.

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