3 seconds. That is how long it takes for someone to judge whether you are worth getting to know off of a single post. Within the span of those fleeting moments, someone could decide to continue scrolling, or you could have made them rethink their entire life. In a world where information comes at us faster than we can possibly process, it’s key to make sure that everything you post is the best possible representation of who you are, because you never know for certain who you will reach. For the majority of us, social media platforms are places where we post whatever comes to us in the moment. But what if more could be possible?
When thinking about what can be done with social media, I think it’s best to look at a few people who have been able to capitalize on it by making thousands of dollars or more on a single post.
Selena Gomez is a perfect example of how you can leverage your individual brand and make a difference. Throughout the years, she has become known for more than her acting on Ramona and Beezus, Monte Carlo, Wizards of Waverly Place (a personal favorite), or even her many hit songs. She was the first person to reach 100 million followers on Instagram and since then, TIME has named her the “tastemaker,” showing their belief that she can make real change through her social media. She uses her platform to share her journey dealing with Lupus, her mental health, and de-stigmatizing these very apparent issues. After quickly scrolling through her Instagram, you can see how she continues to post content tailored to her brand of being a true change-maker.
If you have ever opened the app TikTok, there is a guarantee that you know who Charli D’Amelio is. Because of her ability to create and grow her brand, the labels associated with her include, dancer, teen, TikTokers and human rights advocate. Her youtube videos, TikToks, and Instagram all highlight her goofy and lighthearted personality. But more importantly, she has also used her platforms to elevate the major issues that are going on, such as BLM, body positivity and mental health. She is a perfect example of how a young person can and has developed their brand and used it to make a difference.
Finally, I thought I would include someone who uses their platform for something a little different. Zack King has been able to leverage his social media to make people smile. Everything he posts is lighthearted and can leave you staring at your phone for 10 minutes trying, and failing, to figure out how he did his latest magic trick. He has been able to build his brand of surprising, impressing, and bringing a smile to the face of everyone who views his content.
Why does this matter?
Even if you don’t have millions of followers, social media can still be a place for you to tell your truth. Every view on a story or like on a post is one more person that has been exposed to what you want to say. Now, the only question that remains is what do you want people to take away from your profile? Once you begin your individual journey of determining who you truly are and what you stand for, everything that you post can be used as tool to elevate the story you want to tell.
Look at how Selena Gomez realized that her purpose was to help and inform people about major issues to inspire them to make a change. That became her brand and everything that she does on social media is simply a reflection. Now look to Charli and how every post, story, tweet, and TikTok further her brand of being a goofy 16 yr old girl who loves to dance and make a change in the world. She knows her personal brand and tailors her content to her audience. The same can be said with how Zack’s posts all revolve around his goal of bringing people happiness.
With all this said, you don’t need to be a big name influencer to make a difference. All you need to do is figure out what your brand is. Who do you want to be?
How can I make money off of this?
Once you learn how to leverage your brand to express your story, you can work with other people, or businesses to help them do the same. An amazing way to begin making money at a young age is to become a social media manager. It takes work, but if you already spend hours on Instagram and TikTok, you may as well make a profit, right? If you are interested in doing this, here are some steps you can take:
- You will first need to educate yourself on this field, and I would recommend watching YouTube videos to learn about what you need to do to be successful.
- Once you have the knowledge needed, you can build up your portfolio by working on your own, or a family member’s social media. Otherwise, websites like Upwork are a great way to find customers!
- The best thing you can do is JUMP IN and learn what works on a trial and error basis. Once you find a system that works for you, you can begin marketing yourself and clients.
Our generation has an entire online world at our fingertips. And it is up to us present ourselves to this world in whichever manner we like.
Kayla Bello is a rising sophomore at Fort Lauderdale High School who is passionate about creating equality whether that is environmental, food, racial, or voting equality. She is an active member of Speech and Debate, as well as many environmental organizations. Kayla is also a Youth Council leader for Fuel Up to Play 60 where she leads students across the country, and works to solve many social issues such as food inequality. She wants to create systemic change by working with businesses and nonprofits to help people around the world. Outside of school Kayla loves to bike, run, and find any opportunity to watch the sunset on a lake or the ocean. She recognizes that Gen-Z is the first generation to have the privilege of widespread access to technology, and with that this generation can make real lasting change. She wants to leverage the immense amount of power this generation holds in order to truly make a difference.