I originally wrote this article in 2016, when Cardi B was just starting to shine. Since then, she has released her hit album Invasion of Privacy and took over Summer '17 with "Bodak Yellow." I wanted to re-up this post, because my thoughts about Cardi, authenticity, and social media still ring true to me. Cardi is far from perfect and is not without flaw, but her glow-up has been wonderful to watch; and her ability to stay true to herself first is one thing that has made that glow-up possible. --L.
I have a confession to make.
The VH-1 reality show Love and Hip Hop is one of my guilty pleasures. It plays out like a telenovela and it is delightfully ratchet...and I love every second of it. I watch every Monday night--much to my husband's disappointment as it overlaps with the beginning of WWE Monday Night Raw. The twists, the turns, the love triangles, the wigs, the waist trainers...I love it all.
So when I found out that social media personality Cardi B was going to be on Love and Hip Hop New York, I just KNEW I had to watch. Cardi is one great example of someone who used social media to build her brand--and ultimately, change her life. There are some lessons to be learned here, and I'd like to share them with you:
Want to make an impact? Be Authentically YOU.
You can love or hate Cardi B. You can think she's a national treasure, or you can think she's just another "regular, degular, shmegular girl from da Bronx." But you know what? Cardi B is her authentic self on every single medium, whether she's talking about Ayesha Curry on Twitter, or addressing people who throw shade at her, and people love it because, in the end, people respond positively because they can relate to authenticity. She never tries to be anyone else, and when you're building your brand, neither should you. We can all learn a good lesson from that.
You see, when you are inauthentic, people can see right through it. They can see when you are "faking the funk." So why be anything or anyone other than who you are?
Cardi has always used social media and other forms of media to tell her story and control her narrative.
Cardi B has told her story of how she started stripping to escape an abusive relationship several times, and she's not afraid to do so. For me, it showed me that she was more than just a social media celebrity who's good for a few laughs - she has an inspiring story, one that only adds to her authenticity. Everyone's story is different, valid, and valuable - so what is yours? Don't shy away from using social media to share it.
Cardi B knows her audience - and knows where to find them.
I first learned about Cardi from an Instagram video she posted that went viral. What struck me most? She knew exactly who she was talking to, knew what she was talking about, and how to find people who wanted to see her content and hear what she had to say.
I always say that when creating your brand and your social media strategy, equally important as your goals is who your audience is and where you can find them. Always keep your audience in mind and know who they are like the back of your hand.
Is there someone else in pop culture we can learn from when it comes to building a social media brand? Let me know in the comments.