Sam Thompson: His Rise to Success

By Sonja Caballero 

This week Her Campus BU held an inspiring and enlightening event on social media branding. The panel of speakers included one particular influencer who I had the pleasure of chatting with today.

Sam Thompson, a BU student from Los Angeles, started his prominent Instagram account in May 2016. Today he has 104,000 followers and counting. His incredible success stems from his ability to foster growth and opportunities for himself while connecting to followers.

I uncovered the details of how he came to Boston from Los Angeles and created such a major social media presence in only a year and a half.

Q. How did you get started on social media?

Sam: I bombed an accounting test and afterwards I was looking at Jay Alvarrez. He was in Greece or maybe Italy, and I realized I was sitting in school while this guy who is my age is doing crazy things and getting paid to do it, all through social media. I started thinking about what makes me different, okay the dude is gorgeous so I’ll give it to him, and at the end of the day if I could build an audience I could find opportunities. So I spent the summer focusing on that.


Q. When was the first time you realized the potential success available for you?

Sam: Once I hit 10,000 followers I started having brands reach out wanting me to make content for them. That was when I thought this audience actually matters, there is actually something I can do with this.


Q. What brands have you worked with and which has been your favorite?

Sam: My favorite was probably McDonalds or Serengetee. I aligned more with Serengetee’s vision, and McDonald’s offered me a lot of money. Dealing with a big brand like McDonalds, it took about three weeks for me to make my content, and then six weeks for their legal team to look everything over. I liked the freedom that came with working with Serengetee more.


Q. Do you think BU has influenced who you are?

Sam: It made me push outside of my comfort zone. I loved growing up in LA, but deciding to go to the other side of the country with no friends or family was me convincing myself to take more extraordinary steps in my life. That influenced my decision to pursue Instagram.  


Q. What have you learned that you could tell aspiring influencers?

Sam: The biggest piece of advice I could give is to just start. I had no knowledge of what I was doing when I started, I was just googling how to take pictures that get more likes and how to get more followers. It’s all trial and error.


Q. How do you connect with followers online who you’ve never met?

Sam: There are basically three points of contact within Instagram. There’s your posts, direct messaging, and Instagram stories. You want to make sure your presence on all three of those verticals is really solid. I take a lot of pride in responding to every dm. In the time frame where I grew the most, I was posting Instagram stories every day.


Q. Your Instagram pictures are from all over, where is the best place you’ve travelled?

Sam: I’m biased to LA. I love all the shots I’ve taken back home. Santa Monica, Venice Beach, any of the beaches there are my favorite.


Q. What would you say is your ultimate goal you hope to accomplish with your social media success?

Sam: I don’t really have one. Even when I just started, I didn’t really have a goal. After I hit around 10,000 followers, my goal was 100,000. Once I hit 100,000 I took a step back to figure out what was going on and what I could do with this. Even to this day, it’s still an experiment. It’s trying to figure out what people connect with and either monetize it or create more impact. That’s the stage I’m at right now, trying to figure out what the next big move is.


It’s clear that this is only the beginning for Sam. Follow him on Instagram and check out his website to keep up with his ever-growing success.

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