Find the RIGHT Content. Remember, you are not just making content for yourself, just like I said before. You need to find the series or the kind of content that will make viewers want to not only watch you once, but keep coming back for more. Try different things and see what works. Ask your current followers for ideas, you never know what will stick!

We often use the term “Influencers” to describe people with significant social media followings on platforms like Instagram, Twitter TikTok, Youtube, Linkedin and Facebook. Influencers have become today’s media titans, sought after for everything from product placements to timely trends. What’s the difference between influence and impact? Fans and followers? Sizzle versus staying power?

In this interview series, called, “How To Cultivate Community In A Click to Connect World” we are talking to influencers about how they define success and what we all need to discover about the true nature of influence. As a part of this series I had the pleasure of interviewing Rebecca Rogers.

Rebecca Rogers is a Social Media Influencer with a reach of over 3 MILLION followers across her platforms. She specializes in comedy skits about real things people see in the classroom setting. Her goal is to not only make people laugh, but ensure her followers feel safe and welcome on her page.

Thank you for making time to visit with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. How did you discover your career path and what got you to where you are today?

Thank you so much for having me! I actually started out as a regular high school social studies teacher. During the fall of 2020 my students were SUPER depressed, and I just wanted to find a way to make them smile. After trying numerous different ways to reach them and bond with them, I figured “hmm… they are always on that TikTok app… why don’t we give this a try.” I asked if they thought I should download it and make content and they got so excited! It started out with some dance trends and using popular sounds. Then one day a student said something really silly in class and the entire zoom was begging me to tell the story on TikTok. I wasn’t sure how to go about it respectfully, but after scrolling the app for a while I saw numerous different series titled “real things said to me when I was a flight attendant” or “real things said at my religions university” and those series did REALLY well. So… I did “Real Things Said in my Classroom” which went VIRAL. Soon I had teachers and students from all over the world sending me stories and the series was changed to “Real Things Said in Classrooms”. The demand for classroom stories was so large that I ended up making two more series called “I Don’t Get Paid Enough” and “Story Time!”. I have since brought all three of those series to YouTube, Instagram, and now Facebook as well!

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned along the way that influences how you operate now?

I think the most important lesson I have learned is to put your brand first, because no one else will and its okay to say NO! Business will want you to work with them because you have followers, people will want to be in your content because you have followers, people will want you in their content because you have followers, and at some point you are really going to have to put your foot down and look out for yourself. Don’t let people use you just for your following. Do what is best for you and your brand, don’t let others taint it because they want the clout. Another really important lesson is that not everyone is going to like your content. That is okay. People who don’t like your content may try to say mean things. Do not focus on them. Everyone has trolls in their comments. But these trolls are going to leave a hate comment and then forget you exist after 10 seconds. Do not let someone who doesn’t give you more than 10 seconds of thought impact your whole day.

We’re all searching for some good news. How are you using your platform to make a positive social impact?

I really want to help teachers. As a teacher of 4 years, I know the struggle. Education is such a mess right now and teaching is so unsustainable. I want to raise awareness of the struggle that is education. I want teachers to be appreciated, I want them to feel seen. They both need and deserve it. I also want to make a safe place for the students who maybe don’t feel comfortable in their own classroom setting.

Many of our readers are influencers as well. Others have tried and have yet to succeed. What words of advice would you offer to aspiring influencers, knowing what you know now?

There is an audience out there for EVERYTHING, you just have to find them! Keep posting, keep perfecting your craft. Ask the followers you have now what other kinds of content do they want to see? Remember you aren’t creating content for yourself, you are creating it for other people. Of course you need to be having fun with your content or else what is the point? But if the goal is to grow and not just to have fun, you have to make sure you are putting out content your potential audience wants to see more of.

Success is often a matter of perspective. I’ve always resonated with Henry David Thoreau’s quote, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” How do you see success — or define success — for yourself now?

When I see comments from teachers or get messages from teachers that my content shows them that they aren’t crazy, that is success to me. Seeing that I am able to validate so many people who are truly struggling right now is 100% how I measure my own success. Having students comment and send messages that they learn more from my content than in actual class, that is success to me.

What are your strategies to make room for who and what matters most?

That is going to completely depend on your priorities so I would just think to yourself: What do you want? What is your goal? What is going to help you get there? What support system do you need to make that happen?

How do you reduce or mitigate stress?

I set boundaries. For example I will not go live on the weekends because that is my time with my family. I make a list of the content I want to create each day but I also don’t stress if I don’t get through the whole thing. I have a schedule of when I post each skit series and as long as I have those done then I just remember I can always post the other stuff a different day. I will also sometimes just take a whole day off and repost old content. I obviously tell my viewers it is a re-post just to be authentic but sometimes you need it.

I’m going to try a few of your tips, and I’m hopeful our readers will, too. Now it’s time for the big reveal — the moment our readers have been anticipating. What are your “five strategies to cultivate a large & engaged social media community?’ Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Find the RIGHT Content.

Remember, you are not just making content for yourself, just like I said before. You need to find the series or the kind of content that will make viewers want to not only watch you once, but keep coming back for more. Try different things and see what works. Ask your current followers for ideas, you never know what will stick!

2. Respond to those engaging with you.

When you post content, you are going to get comments. Make sure to respond to them! I usually try to respond with a question, it gives them another reason to comment back which just creates more engagement and boosts your post even more. It also means a lot to people when you take the time to respond back.

3. Go LIVE.

Going live gives your followers real-time access to you. They may come in and ask questions, they may just say hi, they may try to start a whole conversation with you. I try to go live each week day unless I have something going on or I am sick. I try to answer as many questions as I can. Now you will probably get a lot of “repeat” questions. I always get “what grade do you teach” “how old are you” “ do you have kids” to the point that I am just going to make a FAQ video as well LOL. But the point is it offers a whole new level of engagement with your followers that creates loyalty.

4. Respond to their questions/comments with more content.

If your followers ask you to make content that is simple enough to do, then do it! I had people ask me to explain the different kind of accommodations students get in school. Super easy enough, I made a 30 second video about it. I had someone ask me to talk about my thoughts when kids don’t turn in work. I will record it tomorrow! When you show your followers that you are engaged and loyal to them and their wants/needs, they are going to return the favor.

5. Giveaways!

I think it is a good idea that when you hit milestones, do a giveaway for your followers to show your appreciation. For example I had a shoe company reach out and give me a code for a free pair of shoes. I already have a pair from their brand, so I am going to use it as a giveaway to show my followers I love them and appreciate them. It not only gives back to my followers but it also encourages others to follow me because eventually they will want to be apart of a giveaway too.

What do you do to create a greater sense of connection and community among your fans?

I make them feel apart of my content. They send me stories and I bring them to life in my skits. We also have games like the MEME-ing of life where I turn their comments into memes, they help me design Merch, I just want them to feel apart of my content. It has created such a strong sense of community, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

As an influencer, you are, by definition, a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I would love to be able to inspire people to take schools and teachers more seriously. There is so much gross misinformation regarding teachers and agendas, when in reality most of what teachers teach comes from a required script from the district. I want teachers to be appreciated, I want them to be valued, and I want them to be paid what they deserve.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you’d like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He, she or they might just see this. 🙂

Taylor Swift all the way. She is my inspiration, and has been since I was a middle school aged kid. One of my favorite quotes by her is “if guys don’t want me to write bad songs about them… then they should’t do bad things” and I feel that way with my content. A lot of my skits portray people abusing teachers and those are my thoughts exactly for people who don’t like my content.

What is the best way for our readers to further follow your work online?

My handle everywhere is @rrogersworld

Thank you for these thought provoking insights. Here’s to your continued success!

Thank you, and thanks for having me!