Nowadays, social media is overflowing with information and chatter. It’s packed with suggestions on how to navigate social platforms, tips for gaining followers quickly, and strong opinions on content creation. In the midst of the vast amount of content bombarding us daily, it can be quite a challenge to stand out. However, Stephanie Harrison from The New Happy managed to leverage social media to grow an authentic following and promote a life-altering philosophy.

The inception of The New Happy was in 2018 with a simple objective of sharing a unique happiness philosophy. Stephanie, after delving into the study of happiness across various disciplines for over a decade, decided to wholeheartedly commit to spreading her mission in mid-2020, which also involved utilizing social media as a crucial tool. The New Happy’s Instagram feed is brimming with constructive advice aimed at enhancing one’s happiness.

For Stephanie, social media goes beyond conventional metrics like likes and followers. In fact, she doesn’t base success on these metrics. Nonetheless, due to her distinctive approach on the platform, The New Happy community has flourished to over 500,000 followers. I recently caught up with Stephanie to discuss her top three strategies for organically growing a social media following beyond mere metrics. While you won’t find any quick follower acquisition schemes here, these strategies will help your follower count carry meaningful value.

Social Media Tactics for Cultivating an Authentic Community

Meet the expert
Stephanie Harrison
Founder of The New Happy
An expert in well-being, Stephanie founded The New Happy based on her Masters thesis in Applied Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. She has spent the last ten years studying happiness from an interdisciplinary perspective, incorporating perspectives from art, science, philosophy, religious/contemplative studies, and the humanities. Her book, THE NEW HAPPY, is forthcoming from Penguin Random House.

1. Incorporate Your Purpose into Your Social Media Channels.

Stephanie advises, “Begin by defining your greater purpose. A purpose involves serving others, and this anchoring in your ‘why’ holds immense importance. In a world brimming with noise and external directives, it’s easy to lose sight of what truly matters to you.”

Stephanie seamlessly integrates The New Happy’s philosophy and mission into her social media presence. The philosophy revolves around the belief that happiness stems from contributing to the world using one’s unique talents and skills. Collectively, we discover purpose and happiness through serving others.

With this purpose at the forefront, Stephanie utilized her social media platforms to offer wisdom, experiences, ideas, friendship, and kindness. She was deliberate about the brand’s presence on social media, emphasizing her desired approach and steering clear of paths she didn’t wish to tread.

Spend some time reflecting on your brand’s purpose and the intended role of your social media accounts. Demonstrating your purpose and aligning your content accordingly on social media attracts followers who are in it for the long haul.

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2. Cultivate a Community, Not Just an Audience.

Stephanie emphasizes, “One core value of The New Happy is community. From the beginning, I made the decision to build a community rather than an audience. This choice influenced almost every aspect of how I developed the brand on social media.”

Stephanie dedicated significant effort to ensure that The New Happy’s values were embedded across all social media platforms at all times. For instance, while it’s common to view social media followers as a passive audience consuming your content, Stephanie reimagines them as community members, not mere spectators.

Why is this distinction important? An audience is anonymous and focuses more on appearances, whereas a community member actively engages and participates in the shared experience. Stephanie not only conceptualized her followers as a community but also put substantial effort into making this value tangible. For example, The New Happy hosts weekly community gatherings where individuals can voice their needs. Stephanie dedicates time to personally address as many queries as possible, using the responses to shape the advice and tips she offers.

Furthermore, The New Happy organizes free challenges inviting community members to enhance various aspects of well-being. These challenges cover topics like self-compassion, confidence-building, identifying strengths, and nurturing gratitude. Additionally, the podcast features stories from community members, providing a platform for individuals to share their voice and experiences.

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3. Conquer Fear and Take Action.

Social media often brings about intense pressure: Is this image visually appealing enough? Are the captions compelling? How will this post fit into my feed? What if there’s opposition to my views? Will people grasp my business concept? Does my offer make sense?

The self-imposed pressure to appear perfect and articulate flawless messages can be draining. Stephanie emphasizes the importance of pushing past these apprehensions and simply taking the leap.

You have great things to offer, and trying to perfect them will keep you waiting for a very long time.

When Stephanie initially introduced her business to social media, she understood her purpose and values but grappled with translating these aspects into resonating messages. However, by putting her ideas out there, she began sharing her messages, learning from the community, and evolving along the way.

“What I wanted to share was The New Happy philosophy.

Initially, I wasn’t sure what would resonate with people, what questions they had, or how best to offer help. However, once I gained the courage to share, I started learning significantly, enabling me to discover better ways to support our community. Often, getting started is the toughest part!”

Embrace the opportunity to showcase yourself, your brand, or your ideas. Experiment, test, and evolve to determine what works best as you progress.


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