A question I often get asked about my career on social media is, “How did you do it?” People are always interested how they too can go viral on the internet and become creators, so even though there is no “magic formula” to share, I can at least share my thoughts about success on social media.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “be yourself!” which is great advice for life, but how do we apply that to the things we create and what we share with the world? The first thing I would say you need on social media to be successful is a story you want to tell. Maybe it’s a cause you care about or a dream you have for yourself. Tell that story in a way that feels most authentic to you, and remain focused on the best way to tell it.
For me, so much of my journey online was about how to overcome negative feelings about my body and self image. I spent hours online as a young girl looking at photos and videos of what I thought women were “supposed” to look like because there weren’t a lot of people who looked like me in the media I was consuming. Starting at about age 12, I also had very real experiences being body shamed while dancing competitively. I wanted my story to be about showing up for that little girl, even when it’s hard and I don’t feel great in my skin everyday. I started telling that story in a way that felt honest and vulnerable to me, and watched as millions of people came and told me they felt the same way.
So once you have the following, what do you do with it? For me, I wanted to create a business that would allow the community I had found online to continue to be a part of the story I was telling. Being in a bikini, for a long time, was something I struggled with – as I think a lot of young girls and women do. Growing to love swimwear – or more specifically, my body in swimwear – required me to make peace with my body image (even though I still struggle sometimes). Overcoming the negative self talk and rocking that bikini was a triumph I wanted to share and inspire in others, so I created Sienna Swim. This brand became a way not only for people to be a part of my story, but for me to be a part of theirs. And I have to say, I am so inspired by the stories I’ve been sent via email, via DMs, etc. From young women whose bodies are blossoming into womanhood, to incredible 20-somethings who are sharing their post-baby bodies and how they are dealing with stretch marks and sags they’ve never had before. I am completely in awe of the changing female form and how we really do have the power to come together to support each other throughout all phases of life as a woman.
So if you’re looking to become a creator online, focus on your story. Tell it in a way that feels genuine and allows you to build a real community around you. Once you have the community, dive back into it and ask yourself how to keep telling your story, and how you can get closer to the stories within the community you’ve created.
If you don’t know which story is worth telling yet, that’s okay. My advice would be to share a story that you wish you had a million friends to talk to about it with, because at some point, you just might! <3