Storytelling is an art; it’s all about authenticity, relevancy, and transparency. In building Stylebymalvika, my personal platform dedicated to providing style inspiration to the driven dreamers of the world, I’ve noticed that I owe much of my success thus far to being vulnerable, speaking without too many qualms, and delivering on what it is exactly that my audience responds best to that I can provide consistently. Surprisingly, being a bit of a spontaneous creative at heart has worked towards my benefit. In hopes of helping you build your brand on social media, I’m going to share a bit about how I’ve navigated telling my story online.
When I started my platform almost two years ago, I had absolutely no direction—and in many ways, I’m thankful I didn’t. It allowed me to experiment, speak of everything, and understand what worked best for both me and my audience. Everyone told me to “niche myself,” but I couldn’t understand what that meant. I’m a human, after all, and all humans are multifaceted and complex. Naturally, and as a result of merely creating, I slowly began to understand that perhaps a photo of Louboutins with a heart caption wasn’t doing anything for me nor my audience.
Let’s face it--today, everyone can post a photo of their favorite items, foods, etc. But not everyone is you. Understanding that there’s a very distinct, unique person behind all you put out is what’s most important when trying to find your voice on social media. Whether you’re an individual or a brand trying to craft an image, free yourself of any bounds so that you can slowly discover your value to others based on feedback. Personally, I have found that my distinct value is in my perspective on fashion. I’m an Indian born and bred in America who is still deeply immersed in the Indian culture and values of quality and craftsmanship, which feed my love for high-end designers. My upbringing has taught me to strive to achieve great things, and thus the “driven” aspect of my value proposition was born. Being real about who you are and where you’re coming from will slowly but surely ensure your value becomes evident as well.
Combining my love for luxury fashion and my drive naturally helped me understand that I was a driven dreamer, and that what I put out there appealed to others who were the same. Still, I’m writing my narrative, and finding what more I can share about myself that will continue to provide value to my audience. I’m sure that in a year’s time, I’ll have a bit of a different value. I firmly believe that being transparent about new dynamics or changes that arise, either in action or perspective, can only strengthen a narrative--that is, if you share the whole process.
Learn from your audience
The thing about social media and building any type of brand image online is being true to who you are, and not overthinking it, especially in the beginning. There will be several learning curves, and you must remember that the journey quite literally is the destination. A huge part of your storytelling journey will be not having too narrow of a scope of communication with your audience--not “over-niching” yourself. Allow yourself the grace of time and experience, and let your audience play a role in building your brand’s unique image. People enjoy being included in a conversation rather than being spoken at. Don’t just start by telling a story to your viewers and listeners: allow them to have a stake in your story by being the very people who shape it.
Malvika is the founder of popular fashion platform 'Stylebymalvika' which has appeared on BuzzFeed and in Bella New York Magazine. She has previously collaborated with brands such as Clarins, Reebok, Jimmy Choo, and Lancome in her journey as a content creator! Check her out on her Instagram and Blog.