Giselle Ugarte is a content creator, Online Performance Coach™, and the Founder & CEO of Action-Forward Communication. She helps busy entrepreneurs unlock major growth through social media strategy, influencer marketing, and anything and everything short-form video.
We sat down with Giselle to learn some lessons from her 10+ years in professional entertainment, social content creation, and everything in between. We dive into:
- The most common pitfalls for emerging, talented creators
- Tactical advice for scaling your audience – the right way
- How amazing content can stem from mundane ideas
“People look at TikTok as a totally different species of social media. It’s not. It’s still the same human consumption and connections — just with a different tool.”
The Most Common Pitfalls for Emerging Creators
If you’re a relatively new social content creator (and even if you’re a talented one), Giselle highly advises steering clear of these three common mistakes.
1. Creating for the Views — Not What You Love
Many people start creating videos because they’re passionate about something. Maybe that's showing off their outfits, sharing mental health advice, telling jokes and recording skits, etc. Maybe you just love the act of shooting and editing.
However, Giselle has unfortunately seen countless young, talented creators quickly lose track of why they began creating in the first place.
They wind up creating content for the views and validation and get bogged down in the niche they’ve created for themselves.
“They see themselves as a product rather than a person,” she explains. “They start to think, ‘Oh, well, I can’t make any other types of videos because they won’t like that.’”
What used to be a passion becomes a very personal need for success on social media. And that desperation can show on camera.
After all, if your views take a dip and you start throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what'll get people to like you again — "that is palpable." As a viewer, you feel the difference between passion and seeking validation.
2. To Stop Feeling Robotic on Camera, Just Practice
As an online performance coach, one of Giselle’s major services is helping entrepreneurs of all kinds “build unshakable confidence on video.”
We’ve all either seen it, heard of it, or directly experienced it ourselves:
Someone has tons of talent and charisma. And they’ve got a story or a skill that many more people should hear or see.
But once they hit record, everything feels scripted and robotic. They lose almost all of that personality because, really, they just don’t know what to do on camera.
It’s a simple yet difficult solution, but Giselle swears by it as a pro: To overcome those blockers, you have to sit down, hit record, and practice your on-camera presence consistently. It'll feel pretty embarrassing for a while (even if no one else is around), but it's necessary to figure out how you want to present yourself.
3. Don’t Stick to Social Media 24/7
Taking a break from social media is difficult because it's so ingrained in our everyday lives.
That’s significantly magnified for influencers and anyone else who relies on it as an income source. But, if you’re a creator, you should especially be taking time off socials: the DMs, the notifications, the constant uploading, everything.
In Giselle’s case, she pushed off taking a break until she absolutely couldn’t anymore.
“I took years off. Years. And it wasn’t something that came naturally for me.”
That’s why so much of her work in helping people thrive with social media is about unlearning toxic habits and pushing personal development. It’s learning to draw boundaries and take care of yourself as a creator.
“As a coach, I think about how humans are actually consuming your content — not the algorithm and trends and all these ridiculous things that distract people.”
Growth Playbook: Tactical Advice to Scale Your Audience
To round things out, Giselle gave us another set of three tips. This time, she covers advice that helped her in supercharging her own follower growth on social media.
1. Stick to Your Objectives & Endgame
In Giselle’s experience, it was crucial to have an ultimate objective for her social media experience and to stick to it.
She didn't start posting YouTube videos over a decade ago to become a professional YouTuber. (That didn't even exist as a career yet.)
Instead, she told herself: “I want a career in television. And I’m going to do whatever it takes to get my foot in the door, set myself apart, and get that dream job in entertainment news.”
That meant learning how to film, light, edit, write, etc., and putting her practice runs up on a small platform (at the time) called YouTube. Again, she didn’t mean for anyone to see them — but people did. And it did lead to her dream gig in entertainment news.
The same goes for Instagram and TikTok today. She always keeps her objectives top of mind:
- “I want to meet other creatives.”
- “I want to grow my business. I want to get booked for more speaking opportunities and sell my courses and programming.”
- “I want to be able to give out free tools to people who can’t afford my coaching — in a way that motivates them beyond just content creation.”
By remembering those end goals, she can constantly check in and recalibrate:
“Am I on or off track to achieve these goals with the type of content I’m creating, the emotions I’m bringing, and the breaks I’m taking?”
2. Remind People Exactly Who You Are
Giselle has found massive value in showing her face and allowing her voice to be heard across her content. In her words:
“If you’re the talent, the service provider, people want to get to know you.”
It’s why she doesn’t recommend just pushing out videos related to trending sounds or dances. If a client comes to her with a specific end goal, she’ll work with them to get them there as quickly as possible — while maintaining their unique authenticity.
For instance, some of her top revenue-generating clients are actually pet accounts (i.e., dog or cat pages). The biggest tip she gives these clients to set them apart?
The owners, who are usually already the people running the accounts, should appear in the videos with the pets. This is a successful tactic for a few reasons:
- Longevity & differentiation — It helps people tell your golden retriever account apart from another one. It also enforces your, again, unique authenticity: No one can accuse you of stealing someone else’s animal content.
- Building a relationship — People get to know the account beyond pictures of your pet being cute. The question is: Would people remember you if you suddenly disappeared from their feed? (This obviously applies to human influencers, too.)
- Brand deals — It’s also way easier for companies to feel comfortable reaching out when they see and trust the person behind the animal, rather than just a 5-pound chihuahua.
Or, in another scenario: Let's say you're a professional visual artist who's built up a social media following. And, one day, you decide it's time to pivot in life.
Some followers will definitely leave because they only stuck around for your work.
But, you might also find a community that’s unofficially (or officially, depending on your effort) built up over time and wants to stay. If you’ve put your genuine self into your content, they’ll feel like they’ve gotten to know you as a person — not just an art machine.
3. Great Content Can Speak to Boring Topics
If you’re someone who’s serious about writing, you’ve likely heard the saying: “If you want to be an interesting writer, live an interesting life.”
As a content creator, however, Giselle affirms there’s value in finding magic in the small, mundane things that bring us all closer together. For instance: If you're microwaving your food, are you the kind of person who waits for the timer to go off? Or do you always have to catch it a couple of seconds before it's done?
"Those are tiny things. And they're relatable and make you feel less alone, because somebody else understands who you are in a small way."
Ultimately, social media content is less about being "interesting" than it is about having your interests (big and small) that others can relate to.
The easiest way to get there is simply being yourself (as overplayed as it seems), knowing your interests, sharing them on your socials, and finding similarly passionate people.
“Ideally, you’ll create an actual community that doesn’t just follow you for what you can offer them, but because they want to follow you as a human being.”