Fashion and Comedy Icon Tyshon Lawrence Shares Insight From Building an Audience of Over 18 Million Followers on TikTok

Photo credit: Grapho Mind/Shutterstock Bonnie Nichoalds (Licensed) by Caterina Cox

We’re reaching out to some popular creators to get their best tips and tricks for success and better understand the ups and downs of life as a trailblazer on the internet.

Tyshon Lawrence (@tyshonlawrence) is a former CNA nurse-turned-social media star. The 24-year-old’s bold personality and experimental fashion sense earned him a global reach of over 18.7 million followers on TikTok

The North Carolina native dabbles in modeling, podcasting, and comedy, and he continues to push boundaries. He’s worked with numerous notable brands, including Savage X Fenty, Michael Kors, and Yves Saint Laurent. 

On TikTok, Lawrence consistently goes viral for “Outfit of The Day” and “Get Ready With Me” videos. He lifts the curtain on attending glamorous events and working with top fashion brands, like showcasing his time at New York Fashion Week or modeling for Vogue

Meanwhile, he shows off his humor and personality by reacting to funny viral trends or making jokes with his family. Lawrence also embraces authenticity as an LGBTQ+ influencer, striving to make a positive impact by being open about his sexuality and empowering his audience to do the same.

In an interview with Passionfruit, Lawrence provided advice for creators on fan engagement, avoiding burnout, maintaining confidence, and producing viral videos. He also spoke about why being a content creator instills him with purpose, as well as the importance of Black representation online. 

The following interview is condensed and edited for clarity.

How do you engage with fans online?

My videos are like FaceTime calls. They’re me talking to my followers and bringing them into my life. Recently, I switched my content so that it’s more personal as if I’m interacting with my friends. 

I’m trying to get back into live streaming since I used to do that a lot. I’m showing more of where I travel to besides just yelling catchphrases all the time. It’s always good to involve fans and make them feel like a part of your content as if they’re right in front of you. I treat all the people who support me like my best friends. It’s been hard to build what I have, and I’m very grateful for the people who watch my videos.

How do you prevent burnout as a content creator? Do you prioritize time offline as well as online? 

It’s funny you ask that because I recently had burnout. I’ve been grinding on social media since I was 19, non-stop, posting four or five videos a day. Before Fashion Week, at the beginning of January, I started realizing I was tired. I prioritized therapy, meditating, yoga, and exercising. I also don’t get a lot of time to hang out with family and friends, so I’m trying to do more of that. 

The perks of being an influencer are great. You’re going to get your coin. You’re going to get opportunities. You’re going to build a fandom. But it’s okay to chill for a second and take a moment to think about why you started your career in the first place. I’m not saying social media is the hardest thing in the world, but there are moments when you showcase a lot. You’re being this person 24/7. I just want to chill and watch a movie. It’s important to take a break.

How do you maintain confidence on social media when others try to tear you down?

People are going to say what they want to say. Everyone has an opinion about something, and they’re gonna speak their opinion. Some people might not be feeling your outfit, feeling you, feeling your personality. I don’t care what anybody negative has to say. 

Why sit there and soak that in when you can be soaking in the good things that people say about you? I don’t accept negative energy. If someone critiques something I did wrong, I’ll listen. But if they’re saying, “I’m not feeling your face or your eyes,” then no. Like, why are you in my business? Go read a book or something. 

Why is it important to you to connect with people through social media?

It’s always good to showcase different personalities because no one in this world is the same. Growing up on social media, I looked up to people who were dark-skinned and trying to make it in the modeling or acting industry. I was looking at Martin Lawrence and Naomi Campbell. I’m happy I can now be one of those people that others look up to. Somebody could be looking at me saying, “Wow, if he can do it, I can do it.”

What do we need to do to make social media more inclusive?

I want to see everybody in the room. I want to see more diversity. But if you want us in the room, you’re going to have to support our content. People say they want us in the room, but they aren’t interacting with us and our content. They’re not liking or giving any energy towards it. We need to start supporting everyone who pushes content out for us. I know so many TikTokers who don’t have a huge following but make the best videos ever. I see someone that’s working ten times harder than someone with a big following and not getting the push they deserve.

It’s really sad to see. The whole reason I started social media was because I wanted to be in those rooms. I wanted to be that dark-skinned, Black boy that really gets somewhere. I’m trying to do things that we don’t normally do. People think that if they speak about more diversity, it will happen. But if you want to see it, then you should be telling brands. You should be telling organizations not to lowball Black creators.

What would you like to see in the world of social media that isn’t currently present?

I want to see more diversity. I can’t believe this is still being talked about. A lot of my mutual friends are tired of saying it. How many times do we need to stand for people to understand it? You’d think people would have understood at this point because we’ve been talking about it for so long. We stand up with our hearts, but no actions are being taken. 

I’ve had situations where my friends call me to say they’re being lowballed for a campaign, and that’s just sad to hear. People that work hard are going to be successful regardless, but brands really need to put in the work to be more inclusive.

What are your top tips for creating viral videos? 

Find something you’re passionate about. When I started social media, I wanted to find something I was obsessed with. I tried different videos, different outfits. You need to find your dish. If it’s something you’re passionate about, and you’re not faking a personality, it’ll be more authentic. I can tell when someone is passionate about their videos versus just doing something for views.

What software or hardware tools do you use to produce content?

I use my Canon camera I got from Best Buy to film all my YouTube videos. I use iMovie to edit the videos on my laptop. It’s nothing too difficult. There’s no crazy type of editing. You just need a phone, laptop, and camera. 

How do you produce sponsored content without coming off as “inauthentic?”

It’s always easier when you know the brand, but if you don’t know it, educate yourself to see what you like. When you make the content and are trying to sell the product, make it authentic. 

I’ve had conversations with brands where I ask if I can do the video a certain way that goes with my content. Use your personality to sell the product. Obviously, you’re going to have talking points where they want you to say certain things but don’t fake it. I can tell when somebody doesn’t know what they’re talking about and is reading off a script. 

I’m lucky in that I’ve loved all the brands I’ve worked with. I had heard of most of them before. When Savage X Fenty reached out to me, I said, “I already know y’all. I’m ready to do this.” 

What does the future of social media look like in your eyes?

I feel like it’s getting a bit more inclusive. I’ve seen TikTok go from, where people were singing songs, to where they’re talking in “Get Ready With Me” videos. There are all different types of content, and that’s what I appreciate most about social media.

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