With 800 million active monthly users, Instagram can be an overwhelming place to stand out. Our own Liv Perez sat down with digital influencer (and previous assistant to Kim Kardashian) Stephanie Shepherd at Bumble’s new LA Hive this month to talk how they found their way to successfully build personality brands online. What it truly comes down to – authenticity.
“Vulnerability is really important. I think a lot of people are scared of that, including myself, but I can’t stress enough, moving into this year and moving forward in social media, just because so much of it is fake. Putting yourself out there is something you should never regret. Find your hobbies and put them out there so that other people can relate to them and be apart of your story.” – Liv
“Post everyday. Consistency is important. What you like is fine, what you want to post is what you want to post. Finding yourself is synonymous with building your brand. So no matter what you do, you’re a brand in and of itself. It’s super special, and it makes you different.” – Steph
On Brand Partnerships
“I would never do something with a brand that wasn’t something that I liked or “on-brand” for me. I like to work with smaller brands and put people on the map, like up-and-coming jewelry lines or a bikini line that I just believe in. I love to see girls hustle. I’d promote a brand just to promote it just because I appreciate what they’re doing and support it. Yeah, everyone is doing paid posts, but support people who are starting their own businesses and going out on a limb.” – Steph
“Build as many partnerships and do as many cross promotions as you can possibly do. Because one of the best ways to grow beyond creating your own content is getting you on someone else’ radar you don’t already have access to. Remember it’s always valuable to put yourself out there and create a new relationship at the same time.” – Liv
On Fostering Your Support System
“Don’t ask some random person who was no clue about what you’re talking about—surround yourself with people who are successful and who you want to be like. And you have to support the people right back. It’s only going to bring you positive energy and there’s enough room for everyone to have success.” – Steph
“I think people can be so competitive and it’s more toxic for you than it is for the person your aiming that negative energy at. So find that person that you have that competitive streak with and sit next to them at a table. Find your common ground and find a way to collaborate with them. You’ll always find more success in that.” – Liv
On An Unexpected Connection That Changed Their Lives
“Getting to work for Kim Kardashian changed my whole life. She taught me so much. I’m a small town girl from Ohio and she opened up my whole world to business and fashion and TV and LA. I’m super grateful it’s given me the platform to do things like this. She taught me a lot about graciousness – she’s such a sweet person and that’s the biggest lesson I took away from that experience.” – Steph
“One of my best friends Joe Holder, he lives in New York, we met under the circumstances of me going into a gym to train with him. It definitely blossomed into an amazing friendship that is supportive in so many different ways. It’s always interesting when you meet someone in one situation and have it turn into something else. Treat everyone you meet like a teacher, no matter who they are, and don’t pass judgement. Build your army. Build the people that are going to support you, because you supported each other from the beginning, not just when they had millions of followers.” – Liv
On Brands Who Are Disruptive
“I love Glossier and Ouai and how they’re really using digital marketing. What Jen Atkin has been able to do in such a short amount of time, you can see how quickly the effect of social media has on a brand.” – Steph
“I love seeing brands that have these ambassador programs, like Outdoor Voices. Being able to be in a network of creators across the United States that I never met before but I’m connected through a brand is a unique opportunity. Being able to work with a brand that believes in emerging content creators is also really special. I am obsessed with brands that have been able to build a brand story with a purpose and a sense of community. I feel so lucky to be working with Bumble because they’ve built this story on creating communities, and I think that is what everyone wants right now.” – Liv
On The Future Of Social Media
“I’m extremely interested in stories and highlights right now. I think that ability to tell a larger story is so crucial to social media platforms. In 5 years we could see short mini series TV shows on Instagram stories that are saved as highlights. It’s a new form of entertainment.” – Liv
Missed the talk IRL? Watch it on Bumble’s Facebook page.
The Bumble Hive is located at 8441 Melrose Place and will be open until March 25th. Bumble users 21 and over are welcome, space permitting, on a first come, first serve basis. Visitors must show Bumble, Bumble BFF or Bumble Bizz profile to enter. Programming will continue for the next month with an updated schedule by week here.