5 Business Leaders You Can Actually Trust On Instagram
Social media gets a lot of flack for being performative, and Instagram is often the biggest target. Filters, carefully framed selfies, and overblown captions create the impression that everything is for ‘likes’ or to look our best.
That goes double for business leaders. Search out prominent entrepreneurs, founders or executives on Instagram and you’re as likely to find shots of fancy cars and clothes as you are pics of an actual office or real business advice you can use.
But showing our “best life” on the platform might not be the best way to build an impactful following — especially in the business context. Case in point: 82% of potential employees research a CEO’s online presence before joining a company. That means nobody is looking for a performance on social media. They want to see the real you.
That said, here are five of the most authentic business leaders on Instagram — real people offering a genuine glimpse into their businesses and lives, and plenty of actionable advice, to boot.
Peter Voogd, Honest Entrepreneurship
Peter Voogd is the founder of Game Changers Academy, a coaching service for entrepreneurs. He’s also a four-time best selling author, so he knows what he’s talking about. He’s known for keeping it real: “I respect everybody trying to make it, but integrity and truth should be above all else,” he says in one post. His reels are honest, too, and offer an enriching glimpse into who he is — ”I just didn’t want that life,” he confesses while he talks about his experience being pushed to get a “normal job.”
Voogd’s authenticity and honesty about his journey make it a no-brainer when it comes to trusting his business advice. His profile is an inspiring source of stories and advice for an entrepreneur at any stage.
Marie Forleo, Gentle Motivation
Marie Forleo is the founder and host of MarieTV, a motivational and educational web series for entrepreneurs. She tells it like it is to motivate anyone working towards a dream, because that’s her whole M.O. — gently nudging others towards their goal. “When any of us hold back from [our passions] and play small, first of all we’re miserable, second of all we’re wasting our gifts that we’re on this planet to give,” she says in this reel.
She’s certainly a font of inspiration, but that also comes alongside a career’s worth of game changing advice. One massive tip? Start before you’re ready. “It’s one of the greatest secrets to kick your butt out of procrastination and into a world of growth.” Forleo is worth a follow because she will always push you to be at the next level — but in a kind and supportive way.
Natalie Franke, Better Entrepreneurs, Better Humans
Natalie Franke is the founder of the Rising Tide Society, building stronger businesses through connection. She’s a major supporter of small and independent businesses, and her Instagram is full of tips for business owners that are rooted in stats and data, like why you shouldn’t say “prices start at” when listing your services.
But surrounding those tips are personal notes and moments, and that’s where Franke’s authenticity comes from — she’s not just trying to teach us how to be better entrepreneurs, but also reminding us to be better humans. Her feed is an aesthetically pleasing array of useful advice for growing both your business and yourself.
Shane Feldman, The Importance of Community
Shane Feldman is a serial entrepreneur turned speaker and consultant who has now established a brand around community building, leadership, and communication. Unlike many entrepreneurs, his profile is a casual and genuine glance at his life — his first pic on the beach with his partner shows right away that he’s not putting on airs. Plus, as an openly gay public figure, Feldman uses his platform to bring attention to LGBTQ+ issues that matter to him. He offers a full range of who he is.
Feldman shares his fun and endearing personality on his Instagram, and that energy and likeability bleeds into his entrepreneurship advice. Even when he’s on stage, you get a sense of who he is from what he’s saying and how, and when he talks about community building, it only feels natural to listen.
Justin Dry, A New Kind of Professionalism
Justin Dry is the CEO of Vinomofo, an online wine vendor “without all the bowties and bs.” Just like his company, Dry isn’t about the bowties and BS — he’s a realist and a pragmatist. He’s not a stuffy business owner, but he is a hard worker: “People talk about work-whatever-life-balance… thing? I don’t have it. But it’s because I love what I do,” he says in a podcast with Sarah Davidson. “This is just my life.”
Some might consider Dry to be too fast and loose, but his ‘keep it real’ attitude allows him to deliver impactful advice and thought leadership without having to worry about keeping it professional. That means you know you’re getting a genuine take through a genuine voice. Though his name might be Dry, and some of his wines must be too, his content is anything but.