Connect with us

Net Influencer

Staying Ahead Of The Curve Hope Schwing's Secrets To Staying Authentic And True To Her Audience


Staying Ahead Of The Curve: Hope Schwing’s Secrets To Staying Authentic And True To Her Audience

From her early days showcasing mesmerizing hula hoop dances to her seamless transition into side-splitting skits and relatable humor, Hope Schwing is a content creation dynamo who’s truly done it all. Today, with her finger firmly on the pulse of trends, Hope deftly weaves in elements of fitness and lifestyle, showcasing the multi-faceted dimensions of her vibrant personality. Having faced her own health and wellness challenges, she’s become an inspiring beacon of transformation on YouTube, sharing her fitness journey and realistic routines that resonate with thousands. 

A staunch advocate for authenticity, Hope is known for her candidness – a trait that’s endeared her to millions. Behind every trend she adopts or post she shares, her underlying message remains the same: be unapologetically yourself.

Staying Ahead Of The Curve: Hope Schwing’s Secrets To Staying Authentic And True To Her Audience

The Tik Tok Influencer, before Tik Tok

“I started way back in 2016,” recalls Schwing, her voice carrying the familiar cadence of reminiscence. “It was my senior year in high school. I happened upon an app called Musically, the predecessor to today’s TikTok. Truth be told, my foray into it was mostly driven by a peculiar desire—I didn’t want my high school mates to see my videos. And given that not many had heard about this new app, it seemed like the perfect hideaway.”

It’s a sentiment that resonates with many in their formative years—a space of one’s own, free from the prying eyes of peers. In such a space, creativity often flourishes uninhibited. And for Schwing, it did. With no set agenda and a genuine love for the craft, she began posting daily, her videos an eclectic mix of her hula hoop dancing routines.

For two years, her content remained consistent. But as with any artist, evolution is inevitable. “It was a gradual shift,” Schwing notes, a hint of nostalgia in her voice. “From hula hoop dancing, I introduced elements of comedy into my videos. And that transition was both organic and transformative. The skits I used to do were loved by many, but now my focus has shifted towards relatable humor, fitness, and lifestyle content.”

And then came the seismic shift that the world was unprepared for: the pandemic. With the globe in lockdown, digital platforms like TikTok became a source of solace and entertainment for millions. It was during these times that Schwing’s account experienced a phenomenal surge. “Especially with the comedy,” she emphasizes, pointing out that humor, especially the relatable kind, became a way for many to cope with the uncertainty and stress.

But amidst the success and the limelight, there remains an intrinsic simplicity to Schwing’s approach to content creation. “Honestly, my initial venture into this space was devoid of any intention for stardom or recognition. I just loved making videos. Whether someone saw them or not didn’t really matter.” It’s a philosophy that seems to defy the often metrics-driven world of the creator economy, and perhaps, it’s this very authenticity that resonates with her vast audience.

Hope still remembers her first brush with virality. “It was a simple Hula-Hoop dance video, something I did out of sheer passion. But when it got featured, it felt like a dream. The realization that so many people were seeing my video was overwhelming.”

Such moments are often turning points for creators, and for Hope, it was no different. That initial viral video did more than just garner views. It ignited a spark, a realization of the immense potential the platform held. “That was an eye-opener for me,” she admits. “The euphoria, the joy—it was addictive. I knew then that I wanted to replicate that feeling, to reach more people and to make more such content.”

Juggling between college, a job, and her burgeoning social media presence wasn’t easy. But Hope was committed. “It was a whirlwind,” she recalls with a chuckle. “There I was, attending college classes, working, and simultaneously exploring this vast digital realm. And when I graduated in 2020, the decision was clear—I wanted to dive into content creation full-time.”

And dive she did. But Hope’s content evolved. From Hula-Hoop dancing, she ventured into the realm of comedy—a transition marked by another iconic viral moment. “It was a lighthearted video about me failing an accounting quiz. The irony? I had actually failed that quiz!” Hope laughs. “Initially, it was a traumatic experience, but I decided to inject humor into the situation. And lo and behold, the video went viral. That setback in class turned into a massive win online!”

Transitioning to a full time content creator

“I think I quit [her grocery story job] before graduating,” Hope muses, reflecting on the timeline of her decision. “It became evident as my earnings from social media began outpacing my paychecks from the grocery store. That’s when the idea of taking the plunge into full-time content creation started to solidify.”

Yet, it wasn’t just the financial aspect that drove her decision. The universe, it seems, had its own playful way of nudging her towards her calling. Hope recalls a particularly surreal experience during her cashier days: “People would come through my cashier line, recognizing me from my videos. They’d strike up conversations, ask for photos—it was amazing! Imagine going from scanning groceries to being recognized by fans. It felt like living in two worlds simultaneously.”

But with newfound fame came unexpected challenges. “My manager didn’t share the same enthusiasm,” Hope chuckles. “The grocery scanning process took a hit with these interactions. I sensed some irritation, especially when the lines got held up because I was chatting with fans.”

For Hope, the signs were clear. The grocery store, which had been her workplace for four years, was now becoming a platform for her fan interactions. “I thought to myself, ‘Why am I dividing my time between scanning groceries and creating content, when clearly, one of these paths is resonating more with my passion and my audience?’ It just made sense to focus solely on social media,” she says with a conviction that only comes from retrospection.

Taking such a leap requires courage, especially when it involves leaving behind a stable job. But for Hope, the decision has been rewarding. She reflects, “I’m truly glad I made that choice. Every day since then has been an affirmation that I’m on the right path.”

Learning along the way

“One of the biggest mistakes I made early on was letting hate comments affect me deeply.” A native of a close-knit small town in Minnesota, where congeniality was the norm, the world of online criticism was unchartered territory for her. “Coming from a place where everyone was generally so supportive, it was jarring to suddenly see strangers spewing negativity,” she shares.

For Hope, the initial wave of unsolicited judgment was a difficult pill to swallow. She confesses, “Every harsh comment felt personal. I found myself questioning, ‘How could someone who doesn’t even know me feel so strongly negative about what I do?'” This emotional turmoil lasted for an extended period, nearly three years, before a shift in perspective began to take place.

“Over time, I realized that the vast digital world is filled with varied opinions, and not all of them will be favorable,” Hope articulates. “But I reached a point where I genuinely stopped caring about these detractors.”

The turning point? An epiphany about the very nature of digital algorithms and engagement metrics. Hope explains with a hint of amusement in her tone, “The irony is, even those hate comments are pushing my content further. They’re inadvertently boosting my engagement. The more comments, the more views. They might think they’re tearing me down, but algorithmically, they’re assisting me.”

Today, Hope’s outlook towards these comments is markedly nonchalant. “It’s almost flattering,” she chuckles. “To think someone is so emotionally affected by what I do while I have no inkling about them is intriguing. In a way, their strong reactions, positive or negative, validate the impact of my content.”

But perhaps the most profound insight from Hope’s experience is her renewed understanding of happiness. “You’ll never be able to please everyone,” she says thoughtfully. “The key is to focus on your content, your passion, and most importantly, your happiness.”

When it comes to her evolution of content style, Hope provides an insightful window. “At the heart of it all, my personal brand has always revolved around being genuinely myself,” Hope begins, reflecting on her journey. This authenticity is palpable to her vast following, who have been with her since her early hula hoop dancing days. Yet, it’s also undeniable that the content they consume today is markedly different.

“I began with hula hoop dancing,” Hope recounts, “which then morphed into comedy and skits. But as I grew as a person, my content evolved alongside me. Today, while humor remains a cornerstone of what I produce, I’ve branched out into relatable content, staying on top of trends, and diving into fitness and lifestyle.”

Hope’s progression, while seemingly linear, required astute observations and a deep understanding of her audience. She recognizes the need to remain relevant in an environment that’s in a state of flux. “It’s not about abandoning what I started with but expanding my horizons,” she explains. “While I still dabble in humor, I’ve diversified my content. Gone are the days of just skits. Now, I aim for content that resonates on multiple levels, whether it’s nodding at a current trend, sharing a chuckle, or offering fitness and lifestyle tips.”

The evolution of Hope Schwing’s personal brand is a testament to the continuous adaptation required in the digital age. But through all the changes and trends, one thing remains steadfast: Hope’s commitment to being genuine. 

“From the outset, I made a simple choice: to just be myself,” Hope shares candidly. This decision, while seemingly straightforward, set her apart in an ocean of creators. “Being myself is the easiest thing ever,” she continues, her voice tinged with both amusement and sincerity. “I never had to pretend, never had to uphold an image or persona that wasn’t genuinely me.”

Hope’s approach to content is a refreshing juxtaposition against the carefully manufactured images that often populate social media feeds. “I truly don’t care if some might find me weird or a tad embarrassing,” she chuckles. “The truth is, I don’t get embarrassed online. I am unapologetically myself, every day, in every post.”

And this authenticity hasn’t gone unnoticed. Beyond just her legion of loyal followers, brands too, find her genuine nature appealing. “Companies recognize the value of working with someone who’s consistent in her authenticity,” Hope explains. “They know exactly what they’re going to get because I’m not putting on a show. It’s just me.”

But perhaps the most endearing aspect of Hope’s online presence is her willingness to embrace her quirks and share her vulnerabilities. “I post the good, the bad, and even the embarrassing stuff,” she admits with a grin. “Some might think twice about sharing certain moments, but for me, it’s about showing every facet of my life. And honestly? It’s fun. It keeps things light and real.”

From Comedy to Fitness Content

“I wasn’t always the person you see today,” Hope explains, reflecting on her past. “Being significantly overweight and struggling with binge eating and an uncontrolled lifestyle, I was on a self-destructive path.” Moving to Los Angeles, the city synonymous with dreams and transformations, Hope confronted a harrowing truth: at just 23, she was on the brink of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

“That wake-up call was brutal,” she confesses. “It made me re-evaluate everything. I realized that my health and well-being needed to become my top priorities.” Inspired by her newfound determination, Hope embarked on a weight loss journey, shedding an astounding 70 pounds. “Every pound lost, every healthy meal, every gym session was a testament to my commitment to change,” she recalls with evident pride.

As her transformation became evident, fans and followers started taking notice. “People were genuinely curious,” Hope explains. “They had witnessed my metamorphosis and wanted to know how I’d done it.” Recognizing an opportunity to inspire and guide others, Hope turned to YouTube, a platform she had always admired. “I’d grown up watching YouTube. So when people were asking for my fitness advice and recipes, it felt like the perfect time to launch my own channel.”

But what sets Hope’s fitness channel apart from the myriad of others? Authenticity, for one. “I’ve seen fitness influencers with intense routines that I could never imagine doing,” she chuckles. “I wanted to present my journey in a relatable, realistic manner.” Hope believes her previous online persona, which showcased her “unhinged and crazy” side, actually makes her current message more compelling. “If I could turn things around,” she says, an impish grin playing on her lips, “then truly, anyone can.”

Taking the Next Step, with Next Step Agency

“Next Step has been phenomenal,” Hope begins with evident enthusiasm. “The support I’ve received, the opportunities they’ve opened up—it’s been an incredible journey.” Having been with the agency for over two years, perhaps even edging towards three, Hope’s relationship with them has deepened far beyond just a professional liaison. “They’ve become friends,” she shares, the warmth in her voice unmistakable.

One of the standout attributes of Next Step, as Hope recounts, is their proactive approach to her career. “Before signing with them, I was essentially drifting in the tide, taking whatever opportunities came my way,” she recalls. “But Next Step changed that. They encouraged me, sometimes even nudged me out of my comfort zone, to chase bigger goals and bolder projects.”

This approach has led to many doors being opened for Hope, particularly in terms of networking. “Thanks to them, I’ve forged invaluable relationships with numerous companies—connections I probably wouldn’t have made on my own,” she says, underscoring the pivotal role the agency has played in expanding her professional horizons.

Hope’s journey with Next Step isn’t just a testament to the agency’s effectiveness but also their commitment to fostering genuine relationships with their talent. “Whenever I come up with what might seem like a wild idea, they’re always right there, cheering me on, saying ‘Let’s do it!'” Hope laughs, adding, “It’s empowering to have that kind of unwavering support.”

Even with an agency behind her, Hope knows standing out in the creator economy takes more than just a couple viral posts. “Given how saturated the industry has become, it’s no longer about chasing influencers with the highest follower count,” Hope reflects. “Brands seem to be recognizing the power of a deeply engaged audience over sheer numbers. So, someone with a smaller but more involved follower base, especially if it aligns with a brand’s niche, could be more valuable than a mega influencer whose audience doesn’t align with the product.”

Hope’s observation underscores a significant shift in the influencer landscape. Brands appear to be evolving in their understanding of influence. It’s not just about reach; it’s about resonance. “Imagine a skincare brand partnering with an influencer who has a die-hard skincare-loving audience. That partnership might yield far better results than one with a fitness-focused influencer boasting millions of followers,” she explains.

However, she’s quick to add that predicting the industry’s trajectory isn’t straightforward. “Trends are fleeting, and the algorithm is an enigma,” Hope laughs. “But the pivot towards valuing engagement over numbers? That feels like a trend with staying power.”

Advice to the next generation of aspiring content creators

“First and foremost, never hold back,” Hope begins. “No matter how niche or out-of-the-box your passion may seem, there’s always room for it. With billions of people online, there’s undoubtedly an audience eager for what you have to offer.” She emphasizes the vastness of the digital world, assuring that even the most niche passions have a place.

However, Hope’s most pressing advice revolves around authenticity. “The internet is a reflection of the real world, and genuine connections matter. Don’t create an online persona that doesn’t align with who you truly are,” she warns. Drawing a parallel to the iconic character from the world of television, Hope adds, “You don’t want to have a ‘Hannah Montana moment’ – being adored for a persona and then grappling with the pressure of upholding it.”

She explains the strain of managing a facade and the eventual weariness that could come with it. “Imagine building this vast community based on a persona, and then realizing you no longer connect with it. It’s both exhausting for the influencer and confusing for the audience.”

Nii A. Ahene

Nii A. Ahene is the founder and managing director of Net Influencer, a website dedicated to offering insights into the influencer marketing industry. Together with its newsletter, Influencer Weekly, Net Influencer provides news, commentary, and analysis of the events shaping the creator and influencer marketing space. Through interviews with startups, influencers, brands, and platforms, Nii and his team explore how influencer marketing is being effectively used to benefit businesses and personal brands alike.

Click to comment

More in Influencer

To Top