Set boundaries: It’s important to set boundaries with work, social media, and other stressors in your life. Learn to say no when necessary and give yourself permission to take breaks and recharge.

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 Tabia Ceja.

Tabia Ceja is a talented social media influencer and digital marketing manager from Phoenix, Arizona. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and a master’s in marketing from the esteemed Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona. Her love for fashion, video editing, and content creation fuels her drive to produce engaging and creative digital media.

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?

I’ve always been drawn to creativity, perhaps partly because my parents are architects. Growing up, I was surrounded by design and innovation, which fueled my imagination and drive. I’ve had a passion for videography and photography since I was young. In high school, I took classes in theater and film, which gave me a behind-the-scenes look at directing and editing films. That’s where my interest in social media really began to take shape.

During college, I used the skills I learned in those classes to enhance my presentations and videos for school projects. I quickly realized that I had a natural talent for creating engaging, visually stunning content. After graduating, I began taking social media more seriously in 2020. I started posting more frequently and focused on creating unique and visually appealing content with my existing wardrobe. I incorporated interesting transitions and other effects into my videos, and my efforts paid off as my TikTok and Instagram began to gain traction.

Today, I continue to explore new creative opportunities and strive to produce content that resonates with my followers. My passion for social media and digital marketing has led me to where I am today — a social media influencer and content creator who enjoys engaging with her audience and helping brands reach their target market. It’s been a fulfilling journey so far, and I’m excited to see where my career in this field will take me in the future.

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

The most important lesson I’ve learned along the way is that failing is not only okay but also necessary for growth. It’s easy to get comfortable and complacent in your current circumstances, but that doesn’t lead to progress. I strive to always challenge myself and take risks, even if it means stepping out of my comfort zone. In fact, I’ve found that the more scared I am of something, the more likely it is that I’m on the right path. I try to push myself to do things that scare me because I know that’s the only way I’ll achieve my goals. Failure is a big part of that journey, and I’ve learned that it’s essential to embrace it and learn from it. If you’re afraid of failing, you’ll never take the necessary risks to achieve your full potential.

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

I firmly believe that social media is a powerful tool to create a positive social impact, and as an influencer, I have been utilizing my platform to support small businesses by sharing their stories and products with my followers. I believe that small businesses are crucial to our economy, and it’s crucial to support them, particularly during these challenging times.

For me, staying true to myself and remaining authentic is key when it comes to utilizing social media for social impact. In today’s world, people often feel the pressure to present a perfect life on social media, but I believe that being vulnerable and sharing one’s challenges and hardships can be empowering and inspiring for others.

In addition, I value my community, regardless of its size, and it is critical when it comes to building trust and engagement. I believe that by using my voice to advocate for issues that matter, I can make a difference, and every person who listens and engages is a valuable member of my community.

Lastly, I prioritize honesty and truthfulness in my content to maintain authenticity and credibility. I avoid over-editing or utilizing apps that give false expectations, as it is vital to demonstrate to my followers that I respect and value their trust. Overall, I aim to use my platform in a genuine and authentic manner to create a positive social impact and inspire others to do the same.

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?

If I were to offer words of advice to aspiring influencers, I would say that the best way to succeed is to focus on creating content that you are passionate about. Don’t start with the goal of making money off your social media platforms, as it takes time to grow a genuine and organic following. Instead, use it as a creative outlet and put all of your efforts into creating quality content.

Another critical piece of advice is to be patient and consistent. Building a following takes time, but you will see results if you consistently produce high-quality content and engage with your audience. It’s also important to tune out that voice in your head that makes you second-guess posting due to the fear of what others will think. Don’t let fear hold you back; be willing to put yourself out there.

Share your daily life with your audience, and treat your social media platforms like you’re talking to your best friends. Use your stories to engage with your audience and get them invested in your day-to-day life. Building a community that supports you is essential; don’t worry about the people who don’t want to follow along. Everyone has something special to offer, and social media is a great platform to share your talents and connect with others. Finally, don’t fear posting imperfect content. Just post it and let your authenticity shine through.

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?

I see success as a continuous journey of growth and learning. To me, success is not just about achieving a specific goal but also about the process and the journey that comes with it. As an influencer, I define success as positively impacting my community and inspiring others through my content.

Another important aspect of success for me is authenticity and staying true to my values and beliefs. I believe that success is not just about gaining followers or likes, but it’s also about building genuine connections and relationships with my audience. I also believe that success is not limited to just one area of life. It’s important to strive for balance and success in all aspects of life, whether it’s personal, professional, or spiritual. For me, success means being able to find that balance and achieving fulfillment and happiness in all areas of my life.

Ultimately, success is subjective and unique to each individual. It’s important to define success for oneself and not let societal or external pressures define it for you. For me, success is about growth, impact, authenticity, balance, and happiness.

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

My strategies to make room for who and what matters most are prioritizing my time and setting boundaries. First, I list the most essential things; then, I prioritize them in terms of their importance. This helps me focus on what matters and not get distracted by less important things. Secondly, I set boundaries by saying no to things that don’t align with my priorities. This means that I don’t overcommit myself and I make sure to leave room for the people and things that matter most.

Thirdly, I practice self-care to ensure that I am taking care of myself physically, mentally, and emotionally. This helps me be more present and focused when spending time with the people that matter most. Lastly, I try to be present in the moment and fully engage with the people and activities that I value the most. This means that I put away my phone or any other distractions and give my full attention to the people and activities that are most important to me. By following these strategies, I can make room for who and what matters most and ensure that I live a fulfilling and purposeful life.

How do you reduce or mitigate stress?

There are several ways that I reduce or mitigate stress, and it’s important to find what works best for you. Here are some strategies that may help:

  1. Exercise: Physical activity can help reduce stress and improve your mood. Whether it’s going for a run, taking a yoga class, or simply going for a walk, moving your body can help you feel better. I love to dance! It is one of my passions, I take dance classes every week to keep my body moving and get everything out.
  2. Journaling: Write freely and don’t worry about grammar, just write what comes to mind. It helps to put things down on paper. Be truthful with yourself and don’t hold back. Set aside time each day or week to journal. After you’ve written, take some time to reflect on what you’ve written. This can help you gain insights into your thoughts and feelings and make connections between them.
  3. Connect with others: Spending time with friends and family can help reduce stress and improve your mood. Make time to connect with loved ones, whether it’s over the phone, through social media, or in person. I love calling my friends that I haven’t spoken to in a while and catching up with them. I also love social interaction; I like to go out with my friends and have fun.
  4. Prioritize self-care: Taking care of yourself is important for reducing stress. Ensure you’re getting enough sleep, eating well, and doing activities that bring you joy. I drink tea every day, and it helps balance my stress level as well as make sure I have a great skincare routine that is my “me” time.
  5. Set boundaries: It’s important to set boundaries with work, social media, and other stressors in your life. Learn to say no when necessary and give yourself permission to take breaks and recharge.

Remember that stress is a natural part of life, but it’s essential to take steps to manage it in healthy ways.

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?’

Five strategies to cultivate a large and engaged social media community:

  1. Consistency: Posting regularly and consistently can help you build a loyal following on social media. Try to establish a schedule that works for you and stick to it. For example, if you’re a food blogger, consider posting a new recipe every Monday and Wednesday at noon. This way, your followers know when to expect new content from you.
  2. Authenticity: Being genuine and authentic is key to building trust with your followers. Share your personal experiences, opinions, and thoughts. For example, if you’re a fitness influencer, share your own struggles and triumphs with your followers. This helps build a connection and makes your content relatable.
  3. Engagement: Engage with your followers by responding to comments and direct messages. This helps foster a sense of community and encourages your followers to continue interacting with your content. For example, if you’re a travel blogger, ask your followers to share their favorite travel destinations and why they love them. Every day, I set aside an hour or so to engage with other influencers in my niche by commenting, liking stories, responding to stories, and even DM them and starting a conversation.
  4. Collaborations: Collaborating with other influencers or brands can help expand your reach and attract new followers. Consider partnering with other influencers in your niche or brands that align with your values. For example, if you’re a fashion blogger, consider collaborating with a sustainable fashion brand to promote eco-friendly fashion. When you are starting off, make sure to take as many gifted collaborations as possible to grow your portfolio and get your content potentially reposted and in front of the marketing teams of those brands.
  5. Value: Share useful information, tips, or advice to your followers. For example, if you’re a beauty influencer, create a tutorial on how to achieve a specific makeup look or share your favorite skincare products. This helps establish you as an expert in your niche and keeps your followers engaged with your content.

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

I love to go live on TikTok and Instagram and engage LIVE with my followers.

As an influencer, I prioritize building a sense of connection and community among my followers. Here are some strategies I use to achieve this goal:

  1. Respond to comments and messages: I respond to as many comments and direct messages as possible, which helps to create a sense of personal connection and engagement with my followers. When they feel like they are being heard and seen, they are more likely to continue engaging with my content.
  2. Host LIVE sessions: Every once in a while, I like to go LIVE on TikTok or Instagram, where my followers can ask me anything they want. This allows me to connect with my followers on a more personal level and gives them a chance to get to know me better.
  3. Create opportunities for collaboration: I collaborate with other influencers, brands, and small businesses whenever possible, which helps to create a sense of community among our followers. We can reach a wider audience and create more engagement by working together.
  4. Show behind-the-scenes content: I like to share behind-the-scenes content on my social media platforms, whether it be a peek into my creative process or a glimpse into my personal life. This helps my followers to see the person behind the influencer and creates a sense of connection and relatability.

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.

As an influencer, I believe it’s important to use my platform to promote ideas that can bring positive change to the world. One of the areas that I’m particularly passionate about is sustainable, eco-friendly fashion. The fashion industry is notorious for being one of the biggest polluters on the planet, and it’s time for us to start making a change.

I want to inspire a movement encouraging people to shop sustainably and choose eco-friendly fashion options. This includes supporting brands that use sustainable materials, reduce waste, and pay fair wages to workers. Suppose more people start making conscious choices when it comes to fashion. In that case, we can reduce the industry’s impact on the environment and positively impact the lives of the people involved in producing our clothes.

Through my social media channels, I would use my influence to promote sustainable fashion brands, provide tips and resources for shopping sustainably, and share my personal experiences with making more eco-friendly fashion choices. I believe that by creating a community around sustainable fashion, we can inspire others to join us in making a difference and creating a more sustainable future for all.

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. 🙂

If I were to have the opportunity to have a private meal with a fantastic entrepreneur, it would be Kris Jenner. She is a remarkable woman who has had a significant impact on the entertainment industry and modern pop culture. I admire her entrepreneurial spirit and her ability to turn her family’s fame into a successful business empire.

I would love to have the opportunity to sit down and chat with Kris about her experiences and insights. I’m curious to hear about the challenges she’s faced and how she’s managed to stay at the forefront of such a dynamic and ever-changing industry. Additionally, I would love to learn more about launching and managing a successful business and self-brand to get it to its highest potential. There’s a lot to learn from Kris and I would be grateful for the chance to connect with her over a delicious brunch or lunch.

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

You can further follow my social media journey on Instagram @tabiaceja, TikTok @tabiaceja, YouTube @tabiaceja Lemon8 @tabiaceja and Pinterest @tabiamaya

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