Our Instagram feeds are full of people who have thousands, if not millions of followers– Kardashians, I’m talking to you. People who are famous for being famous. For posting bikini and beach shots, promoting nothing but themselves and their own ego. But Fern Olivia is proving that it is possible to use the power of social media for good, and she is on her way to creating an empire along the way.
Fern is part of the growing phenomenon of people who have left their business and corporate lives behind to help others and to live a life that is more authentic. Living in New York and feeling like she had hit a ceiling in the wellness world she decided to move to LA on a whim that has been paying off since she touched ground. She is part of a growing number of influencers that are using social media as a means to not only promote their product, but also create themselves as a brand.
I met up with Fern one balmy fall afternoon in Venice. She had just arrived back in LA after a whirlwind week in New York where she had shot a series of Thyroid Yoga videos for MindBodyGreen, given talks at ABC Kitchen, and done rounds and rounds of meetings and interviews. After apologizing six times for being five minutes late (she came straight from the airport!) she laughed about how much she had to fit into the next two days before she headed out again for a conference in the Cayman Islands.
When asked about using social media as a tool, there was one major thing that Fern wanted to share: the most empowering and important part of self promotion, collaboration and using social media is knowing when to say yes to something and when turn it off.
“It comes down to a ‘hell yes!’ or a simple ‘no.’ I’ve had to really uphold my integrity because so many people want things and want to collaborate. And I love to collaborate more than anything in this world– especially with people who are kicking ass– but it gets to a point where I can deplete myself collaborating with people every single day. If it’s something I am not feeling truly authentic about now, then I have to say no.”
According to Fern, it is easy to get lost in the sea of wellness collaboration. Her passion– a word she is not shy about using– and focus right now is on her brand: thyroid yoga, attuned beauty, and the use of essential oils… all as it relates to the thyroid.
Although she can crunch a number like nobody’s business and understands the algorithms and timing of posting and outreach, she chooses not to think about what she puts out there in those terms. “When I used to think about it like advertising it became draining. When I think about it like I’m just sharing what’s in my life, like ‘Hey, this is what I’m into right now, this is a great doctor, this is the food that really fuels me and lights me up!” then I’m sharing and it feels more like a conversation.”
And who are the people that are following her? “They are my friends, they are people that are in the [wellness] industry, people that have thyroid conditions that are finding my work and it’s changed their life. From putting my heart out there on Instagram and social media, I get these messages everyday from people, from women all over the world saying ‘Thank you for sharing this, this is amazing!’ I wish I had more time now to read through each email that I get from people.”
A huge part of Fern’s appeal is her humility and authenticity. Even in recognizing that she is becoming well-known she is utterly charming in her own disbelief. By simply being who she is and sharing her passion for helping people, she is being appreciated and rewarded.
I wanted to know why using social media seems to work so well for some people and not so much for others. To Fern it comes down to “having an authentic message. Not being concerned with ‘likes’ or how many followers you have, but instead focused on the most important message of all: What do you want to say to the world?! When you look into the eyes of that selfie or the people that you’re with, what is it that you want to get across? That’s the essence of it.”
As someone who knows that being in-authentic has never served me in any way, shape or form, Fern’s message was not only inspiring but also validating. It doesn’t matter if you have 2 followers or 2000. What should matter most is that you are clear with what your intention is with your post, and that you trust it will find the right people.
As far as the rest of her night, I asked Fern what she was most looking forward to. Ironically, it was turning off her phone and going for a massage. She told me that now because she lives so much of her life on social media she likes to keep her private life private. She loves to cook herself a beautiful meal, take it to the beach, and leave her phone at home. Some moments are still best savored in the privacy of our own experience. And those are perhaps the most authentic moments of them all.