Social media’s impact on society is often debated — is it beneficial or detrimental? Thanks to universally popular platforms like Instagram, you have access to millions of people at your fingertips — but it’s important to keep in mind that how you use that access determines whether or not social media is helpful or hurtful. While many gravitate toward fashion-centric feeds, many seek more business-minded Instagram accounts for their daily dose of inspiration. Either way can still be a slippery slope.
For instance, if your feed is filled with luxurious vacations and picture-perfect brunches, this could trigger a thought process where you start to question things. Cue the self-doubt and comparison: Why can’t I afford a cool vacation? Why haven’t I been able to get a reservation at XYZ restaurant?” One thing to know is this: The success of others doesn't mean your failure, and everything you see on your screen isn't always as #amazing as it seems.
The truth is, everyone is guilty of using these platforms as a highlight reel at one point or another — meaning that what’s shared online is what people want you to see, and not necessarily reflective of how their day is actually going or what they are actually doing at any given moment. In fact, there’s a reason most people on social media are “living their best life” — it’s natural to want to share wins rather than losses.
So how can this epidemic of social media self-comparison be combatted? Challenge yourself to rethink whether or not the people, places, and things you follow make you feel good. If you’re drawn to highly curated, beautifully filtered images and these types of accounts don’t give you serious FOMO, go ahead and follow to your heart's content — but remember to take it all with a grain of salt.
That said, try taking it a step further and enhance your IG experience by adding accounts that also motivate, inspire, and share real moments. Not only is it refreshing to see women sharing their true selves and their passions online, but it's incredibly empowering to use social media as a networking tool rather than a source to fuel our insecurities. And, often, CEO's and female leaders use the platform to educate and share valuable tips on how to navigate the business world ... you just have to pay attention to those nuggets of wisdom that pop up in an IG story or thoughtful post.
Ready for an Insta-haul, but not sure where to start? The platform has no shortage of incredible entrepreneurial women that are breaking the mold, making an impact, and motivating women worldwide. To help you get started, below you'll find some of the top female entrepreneurs on Instagram. Check out what they had to say about how they use the platform to educate and inspire others.
Jaclyn Johnson, Founder Of Create & Cultivate
Jaclyn Johnson is an author, CEO, and powerhouse entrepreneur who founded Create & Cultivate, an online community and conference for women looking to, that's right, create and cultivate the career of their dreams.
"Instagram is one of the most powerful tools to connect with your audience. I use it to ask questions, learn more about the women that are in our community, and share my day to day. I also use it to share stories and tips about my own entrepreneurial journey, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
But, I often spend most of my time in my DMs, talking to women about their businesses and answering questions they might have. It’s an incredible tool to network and now people have access and insights into people they admire like never before."
Aurora James, Founder Of Brother Vellies
NYC-based creative director and founder of Brother Vellies, Aurora James started her journey with the goal of introducing the rest of the world to her favorite traditional African footwear, while also creating and sustaining artisanal jobs within Africa.
"Instagram has been so helpful to allow me to connect with my customers. My personal feed is truly the BTS for Brother Vellies in so many ways. You can see what inspires, infuriates, motivates, and challenges me. I really love sharing my trips to Africa with everyone so they can see our workshops and their shoes actually being made."
Founder and CCO of ban.do, LA-based lifestyle brand that creates clothing, gifts, stationery, and cool tech accessories, Jen Gotch's social media is honest, vulnerable, and refreshingly real.
"For most of my life, I have struggled with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and ADD — and, honestly, I never felt resistant to talk about it. I’ve never approached it as a stigma or even a handicap, but just something that makes me, me. Over the last couple of years, I have intentionally used my platforms to openly discuss my mental health issues in an effort to remove the stigmas around them and help others feel less alone.
It's so important to come together as a community and talk about how we are feeling, and by having these open conversations, we can help those around us who may be struggling feel comfortable asking for and receiving the help that they need."
Anine Bing, Founder and CCO Of Anine Bing
Anine Bing is the founder of her own wildly successful line of clothing and accessories, Anine Bing, as well as recently added Bing Kids. She uses Instagram as a tool to inspire, share her personal style, and communicate directly with her fan following.
"I think Instagram is one of the most valuable tools for growing and fostering a community. There is so much going on in everyday life, it’s amazing to be able to create a space online that can inspire, engage, and support other women. It’s a great place to have a conversation, too. It really does impact our brand and is an amazing tool to stay in touch with what your customers really want."
Emma Grede, Co-Founder Of Good American
As co-founder and CEO of Good American, premium size-inclusive denim line, Emma Grede's IG is all about spreading positivity.
"Instagram gives me the opportunity to engage with so many amazing women from across the world. I love using it as a platform to share Good American’s message around inclusivity and empower women to break down barriers. We’re always receiving feedback from customers through Instagram, which helps inform on new product; and some of our conversations with current Good Squad members have even started through the app.”
Candace Nelson, Founder Of Sprinkles Cupcakes And Pizzana
Candace Nelson is a woman of many talents. Not only did she found the legendary Sprinkles Cupcakes, but she is now reinventing pizza through her newest venture, Pizzana. Her IG account will do more than just make you hungry — it'll inspire you to get in the kitchen and create something of your own!
"Instagram is the natural platform for my very visual medium: food. I regularly feature practical tips and simple recipes to inspire women to get in the kitchen to bake and cook real food for their family. I’m also passionate about shining a light on the talents of the many women in my industry, and have recently launched a series of videos showcasing fellow female bakers and pastry chefs."
Justina Blakeney, Founder Of The Jungalow
Justina Blakeney is an author and founder of The Jungalow, an online shop, lifestyle brand, and blog. Her feed fuses home decor content with personal moments, family life, and self-confidence reminders that will leave you instantly inspired.
"Instagram provides such an incredible platform for us to be able to share our stories, lives, our wins, and our challenges. One thing I hope women take from my feed is that practicing self-love and self-confidence is everything. Being kind to ourselves sets the foundation for us to be able to kind to others.
Also, I like to pull back the curtain so that followers can see that things from the inside aren't always as they appear from the outside. We are all faced with hardships, we all experience loss, we all feel pulled in a million directions, we all feel insecure sometimes, but we all are also amazing, inspiring, strong women with a lot to give to the world. Allowing ones-self to shine gives permission to other women to shine, too."
Cyndi Ramirez, Founder Of Chillhouse
Founder of Chillhouse, a destination for modern self-care, Cyndi Ramirez's IG tagline says it all — she's creating things that make you feel damn good.
"While I'd like to say that so much of my Instagram is used strategically, it's really not. I try to be as transparent as possible through it all, while also sharing a bit of those more stressful moments in life. Entrepreneurship is hard enough as it is... I think it's important to have an honest dialogue around all elements of running a business so younger women feel encouraged, but also know what they're getting themselves into. Transparency is everything."
Katie Sturino, Founder Of Megababe And The 12ish Style
Katie Sturino is the founder of Megababe, a line of expertly crafted products "that take the 'ouch' and the 'ugh' out of being a woman" (think anti-chafe sticks and powder for breast sweat). She's also the creator of The 12ish Style, where she shares her philosophy that great style can look chic at any size.
"Instagram has been an incredibly powerful tool in my life. I have used my dog @toastmeetsworld’s account to educate people about dog adoption, which lead me to start my body positivity account, 12ish Style. I am so proud that I have the ability to help women find their own confidence and accept their bodies.
The Megababe brand communicates the message of the brand which is all about ending the taboo around issues like thigh chafe and boob sweat. Some Instagram accounts want to encourage the idea that a thigh gap is the epitome of life success ... we say 'no thigh gap, no problem.' My goal is to help women stop feeling so much shame around their bodies."
Ally Walsh, Co-Founder Of Canyon Coffee
Ally Walsh is the co-founder of Canyon Coffee, organic California-based coffee company. Her Instagram account is a place where she both shares inspiration and builds a positive community.
"From the time I started using it, Instagram has always been something I've enjoyed as a creative vehicle and a space to share photos. But it's evolved in my mindset to a powerful tool as well. It's a platform to share my passions and interests, and the feedback it enables can feel really supportive.
Really, I give it credit for giving us the confidence to start a coffee company in the first place. Ultimately, it's helped me diversify my career path. So I hope that, if anything, I inspire other women to begin pursuing and sharing their passions. There's no risk. You don't need to be tied to one career path or job."
Lauren Hayes Kleinman, Founding Team At Ritual
Lauren Hayes Kleinman is on the founding team at Ritual, a female-founded company committed to creating the purest, most effective vitamin formulations for women. Her IG account is a nod to new moms everywhere trying to find a work/life balance.
"My time on Instagram has taken a few unexpected turns, but has always shown all of the things that I'm juggling. While I'm on the Founding Team at Ritual and currently the VP of Partnerships & Community, I am trying to balance being a wife and a new mom to my one-year-old baby boy, Alexander, and two English retriever puppies.
I'm one of the first of my friends to have a baby, so through Instagram I like giving a little glimpse into what's to come for them. I've shown what having every type of bodily fluid from Alexander on me is like in my stories, but I've also shown how insanely rewarding motherhood can be in my posts."
Sacha Strebe, Editorial Director, MyDomaine
Sacha Strebe, editorial director of My Domaine, uses her account to touch on literally everything, including motherhood, decor, and career advice.
"It was a viral video of an acceptance speech by Prince Ea that really confirmed my philosophy on social sharing. He asked: 'When people come to your page do they walk away better or worse?' That really struck a chord with me. How do you use your influence for good? There are a lot of interesting conversations happening right now around Instagram and the negative impact it can have on people's on lives because they feel 'less than' after spending time on the platform.
But I do think it's a combination of being responsible with what you share, and also understanding that Instagram by design is meant to enhance reality. I think it's wise to consume Instagram with caution, to use it with intention and purpose, and to follow those accounts that do inspire and empower you, that truly showcase people who are being true to themselves and authentic in their lives. That's certainly something I think about when sharing."
Sarah Larson Levey, Founder And CEO Of y7 Studio
Sarah Larson Levey is the Founder and CEO of y7 Studio, described as "sweat-dripping, beat-bumping, candlelit yoga" that's both fun and challenging without sacrificing the peacefulness of traditional yoga. Her account features aspirational fitness in addition to real-life moments.
"I love Instagram. I try to take all of my photos in the moment and post in real time; there's no fancy camera or anything — I just use my phone. I want to be able to show people that life is just that. Sometimes you are are on vacation in Miami, and sometimes you're at home in sweatpants, and all of it is worthy."