Influencer and alum shares career journey after Rider

By Hannah Newman

Popular content creator and Rider alum Meghan Longo ’12 spoke to a filled Rue Auditorium where faculty, staff and students listened as she explained the importance of authenticity in her unexpected career as a social media influencer.

Longo, known as @MegThings_ on Instagram and @meglongo on TikTok, has amassed over 200,000 followers between the two platforms, where she shares her favorite places, foods and things across New Jersey. 

In her presentation on March 5, Longo talked about the ups and downs of the social media industry, and how she has found her place amongst the crowd of influencers. 

Longo graduated from Rider with a psychology degree and a minor in event planning, unsure as to what she wanted to pursue after college. 

After some trial and error in her post-college job experiences, she soon realized that in order to succeed, she must pursue what motivates her to “get up in the morning.”

Longo had an internship with fashion modeling agency IMG and different jobs in a wide variety of industries, but found her spark after getting a spray tan. 

“When you go to get a spray tan, you are naked in front of someone getting tan and I thought to myself: ‘When I go on spray tanning pages, everyone is a model,’” said Longo.  “We’re all normal people with rolls and stretch marks, so I decided to start a body positive spray tan company.”

Longo then quit her job and began the spray tanning business; however she found herself bored during the days, and spending a lot of time scrolling through TikTok. 

Early last year, Longo decided to post every day on TikTok and let her undetermined success write its own future. 

She began with posting videos about her favorite restaurants and recommendations in New Jersey. 

“I was standing in my kitchen when I decided to talk about my favorite restaurants [for TikTok],” said Longo.” I was always fashion forward so I was posting Amazon hauls… but MegThings started when my friends would make fun of me for doing ‘Meg things’ which is trying all sorts of new things.”

Longo’s first video got 300,000 views and the result gave her the clarity she needed to realize she was onto something. 

The mixture of different places and brands she talked about gave a wide variety of audiences the chance to find something they enjoyed on her platform whether it be a certain brand, food recommendations or clothing items. 

“Find your niche, what do you love? Make sure you are passionate about what you are talking about and provide value,” said Longo. 

Meghan Longo stresses the importance of content being filled with purpose.
Meghan Longo stresses the importance of content being filled with purpose. Photo by Maggie Kleiner/ The Rider News

She stressed the importance of content being filled with purpose, whether it be something that should be sent to someone else or used to influence a mindset or lifestyle.

“You have to be so yourself that it’s almost embarrassing. But it’s going to pay off,” said Longo. “It’s really important to treat the people that follow you like your best friend. Have a two-way conversation, post stories, polls and ask for their opinion because they are the ones supporting you and they need to feel supported.” 

After walking through her journey with the audience as well as the equipment and tips to making a successful post, Longo highlighted that if anything is to be taken away from her presentation, its consistency. According to Longo, she posted 30 videos before one went viral, and that following a structured schedule keeps audiences coming back for more. 

Longo walked through how to create a relationship with brands that will sponsor influencers and what key elements are essential to creating a business from posting. 

A.J. Moore, professor of sports media and one of Longo’s former teachers,  said, “It’s impressive for someone who was an event planning student to use those skills in a related but totally equal way of becoming a social media influencer. She has taken all different skills she learned through communications and found a unique way to meld them all together.”

Meghan Longo is a content creator based out of New Jersey who gave a presentation to Rider students. Courtesy of Zoie Penick

Although Longo’s journey and work ethic has resulted in  immense success, she strives to build a stronger name and community for both herself and those impacted by her work.

“I think definitely growing it [her social media presence] and thinking about how I can make it more of a brand beyond social media,” said Longo. 

Executive Editor Amethyst Martinez and Sports Editor Benjamin Shinault were student moderators at the event and had no part in the writing or editing of this story.

Senior communication majors Zoie Penick (left) and Zada Penick (right) pose for a photo with Meghan Longo (center).
Senior communication majors Zoie Penick (left) and Zada Penick (right) pose for a photo with Meghan Longo (center). Photo courtesy of Zoie Penick.

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