Social media can be a great tool for keeping in touch, but it can also be a really horrible way of comparing yourself to unrealistic lifestyles and body images. Whether we like it or not, social media has the potential to make you feel really badly about yourself. What I do is very simple: I use social media to provide a wholesome break from that behaviour. I tackle things like “How to Deal With Unemployment”, “How to Cope with Heartbreak”, “How to Embrace Imperfection” in infographic styles to make people feel good again.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kristina Ross of Kristina Makes Content.
Kristina Ross is a Social Media Director and Creative Strategist. Her most notable work comes from her role as Creative Lead for the Fabulous, a wellness app which uses behavioural science to better your wellbeing. Kristina’s accomplishments with Fabulous have brought them from 10k to 1m followers in 18 months, she has been part of strategies which have led The Fabulous to being one of the top 10 apps in Health and Fitness and her work on their social channels have made @thefabstory one of the leading accounts in self care. The Fabulous have since been voted Self Care App of the year twice and featured in the Apple Keynote.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
It’s great to be here! Thank you for having me!
My name is Kristina, I am a professional #content creator. Which basically means I make Instagram’s cool for businesses in exchange for money — In a nutshell, haha. In a more technical term, I use my years of experience in traditional advertising and content creation to develop big picture strategies for social media accounts. Specifically in the world of wellness.
I always find it’s such a tricky thing to explain because the world of social media is still so new.. never mind seen as a career path! Before I was doing this, I worked as a copywriter and producer in advertising. Before that? I was Editor of a print magazine. Before that? I was working part time in an airport folding shirts for business men. The only thing I want people to learn from my backstory is that you can truly start any business from anywhere! Oh and I’m a huge cat person.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
Where do I start?! I’ll admit, going freelance to be a full-time ‘social media person’ was scary and a lot of people didn’t think it was very realistic. Especially when they heard my first client was in wellness. I mean, wellness and social media aren’t exactly meant to mix.
I think one of the strangest things to have happened to me when I started my career is that a few people I considered to have my support changed their minds. It was subtle. And a bit silly. I found some people roll their eyes at my career path because I could do everything from my phone and they needed to drive and work in an office. Or people who I was at one time close to in work would unfollow me when I had achieved something new. It was actually very disheartening for me because I came from the world of advertising and creative agencies — Everything from our cameras to our ideas had big price tags. And here I was, in a way stomping all over an industry by beating traditional ads with a mere IG post which I could do from my phone.
You can very easily lose the respect of creatives by having a job like this. But what my mother told me when I decided to take this career path was to make sure I was always working with brands who were actually helping people. She reminded me that social media can very easily become a toxic place, and to make sure my hard work was always contributing to a good cause. So that’s what I’ve done, with every client I truly make sure that I’m working with people who are here to make their platform a positive one. Not pretentious or forcing any ideals. And when I realised that my work may be less ‘traditional’ to some but know it was reaching audiences in a more beneficial way, I stopped worrying what others thought about my career path and focused on creating content which was actually helping people.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
My biggest mistake was promising to be all things at all times. I’m experienced in a lot of different jobs, I can write, design, draw, manage communities, reach out and do PR, influencer marketing, video editing, branding… but that doesn’t mean I should offer everything to a client. Why? Because you’ll never be able to be great at all these things at the exact same time. I definitely thought I had to prove to myself I was a multi-tasker and I felt like if I couldn’t do all these things amazingly… I wasn’t a creative person. But that’s simply not true or a healthy mindset.
Looking back on the way I exhausted myself, I actually produced some really weak work. It didn’t show my true potential and I didn’t enjoy doing it. And of course, this didn’t translate high value content — which sucks when you’re trying to help people with wellness!
Over time, I realised it’s ok to not do everything. The job ‘social media manager’ means something different to everyone, from clients to freelancers, so it’s important both you and your client know what your role is before you begin working. Researching different roles in social media and attaching yourself to them is the best thing you can do! It’s better to be great at 3 things than shaky on 12!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Honestly, it’s got to be my mum. My mum has supported every career path I have taken. She’s held me when I’ve cried over not getting work as a writer and she told me to go start my own magazine. That magazine paved the way by making the work for me that I could show for to future employers. I walked into so many industries by proving what I could do without a degree. There are of course many, many wonderful people who have given me the ropes to get to where I am today. But nobody has ever had my support like my mum, and that support is stronger than any form of business advice.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
Realistically, most people in the world have a lot of screen time. But since COVID? Social media use as a whole has jumped up 30%. Social media can be a great tool for keeping in touch, but it can also be a really horrible way of comparing yourself to unrealistic lifestyles and body images. Whether we like it or not, social media has the potential to make you feel really badly about yourself. What I do is very simple: I use social media to provide a wholesome break from that behaviour. I tackle things like “How to Deal With Unemployment”, “How to Cope with Heartbreak”, “How to Embrace Imperfection” in infographic styles to make people feel good again. I develop concepts which are not only insightful but actionable. I try to make sure that everything we make is current and in line with how the world is feeling (especially in 2020) — so whether it’s a deep dive into acknowledging anxiety or simple steps on how to kick off a good morning. I do what I can!
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
- Make your bed in the morning. I learned this from Fabulous. It’s simple, but starting your day with this tiny accomplishment means you are setting yourself up for a day of action.
- Write a to-do list. It doesn’t matter if you have a super organised desktop! Write it on paper before you even touch a device. This will help you brain dump everything you have without distraction and give you focus for the rest of the day.
- Differentiate your work and relaxation space. Yes, it’s very tempting to work from bed — but it won’t pay off in the long run. Working from bed might make work feel more relaxing but your downtime in bed won’t feel like downtime because you’re so used to working there! Even if you can set up a small desk near a window, or a kitchen counter — it makes all the mental difference!
- Get dressed in the morning. Even if nobody can see you, feeling good about yourself and wearing your favourite sweater can make a world of a difference on your mood.
5. Make the most of outdoors. You don’t have to go for a big hike or be an advanced runner. But getting 10 mins of outside air in the morning can be a great ritual. Especially now that we’re spending so much time indoors!
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
This is a great question! But where do I begin?! There’s so much to consider, from affordable food to the availability and diminishing the stigma of therapy. But within my realm of wellness, I’d want to impose a stricter and more considered guideline for what can be promoted on social media. When I was in LA earlier this year, I was amazed at the billboards advertising cosmetic surgery. I’ve never seen anything like it, especially in Scotland — we just don’t have these kind of ads. And although it’s more blatant and in your face in LA, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist or have potential for space in our feeds.
I think everyone is entitled to make their own decisions in what they should do cosmetically but I don’t agree with promoting it. There are a lot of impressionable young people who follow many different names and people and a lot of these cosmetics are trends. They’re also not necessarily reversible.
Whether its cosmetic surgery or diet trends, I want to see a change in what’s allowed and what’s not on social media. It’s amazing to me that notable figures (with huge, young fanbases) are allowed to promote harmful products and painful procedures but a bare nipple is seen as explicit and unacceptable.
Social media use isn’t going down anytime soon and as long as it stands, it needs to become a healthier and more encouraging space. If we can’t rely on individual figures to take a stand against big pay checks from questionable companies, then we should be asking the social platforms to monitor and put and end to harmful content like this.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- Just because you’re in the wellness industry doesn’t mean you won’t get burned out.
2. You need to recognise your limits and take time off when necessary. This is applicable to any job but in wellness, people will directly benefit from your best work. So make the right environment for yourself to attain this.
3. Your audience will never fully agree with you. You’re always going to get people who disagree, so make sure you always come from a good place and are not just saying things to please your audiences.
4. Wellness is your industry, but that doesn’t automatically make it your brand. You’ll come across businesses who brand themselves on wellness or kindness but wellness companies can still host toxic environments. Recognise if a client or environment isn’t working for your own personal wellbeing, it’s probably not one you want to promote to the masses.
5. Work with brands who practice what they preach. This follows my last point but if you are working in wellness, your brands should see this as a priority in the people they work and collaborate with. If there’s any indication that your wellness is not of any concern to those around you, find other work.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Personally I feel very closely connected to the environment. My background is Filipino and Scottish. My indigenous ancestors are really important to me and I hold them in my heart dearly. When I see how the world has impacted the environment negatively it really hurts me. Walking beaches back home and seeing mess which was once unimaginable, it’s heartbreaking. I took time to work with The Fabulous App to create an in-app feature called “The Green Your Life Challenge” where we taught people how to be sustainable and considerate of the environment in their every day habits. The idea is that by taking part in this challenge, you can build long lasting habits which positively affect the environment. I’m really proud of the team and to attach myself to this cause. It’s only a tiny step in the right direction and so much more needs to be done (even in my own life), but there’s only one of our world. And it’s our responsibility to do what we can to look after it.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
You can find me on IG @kristinamakescontent
Thank you for these fantastic insights!