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Influencer marketing has become one of the most lucrative online professions today. This is because brands are using them to promote their businesses, products, and services. However, due to the increasing number of brand influencers online, it might take more work to stand out, especially as an upcoming creator.
In our recent Limitless podcast, we spoke to Ajibola Grey, a popular Nigerian social media influencer, about being successful in this field. He opened our eyes to some really insightful tips, which we’ll be sharing with you in this post.
An influencer is an online personality who has built a brand and reputation for themselves. These people command a large audience and are able to influence buying decisions based on their lifestyle, content, or recommendations.
Brands use these influencers because they have the reach. In the past, you would either be influenced by watching TV commercials, listening to radio jingles, or reading an ad in the newspaper. The investment into creating these types of ads is capital and labour-intensive.
Today, one tweet from a single person can reach over 70,000 people in one day. Social media is the new billboard, and influencers make ads more reachable.
You can go anywhere between NGN 50,000 to millions depending on your reach. Ajibola shared that his first paid gig was sending out five tweets for a brand, and the budget was NGN 150,000.
After that, he created a video for a brand and got NGN 500,000. His rates have obviously gone up since then, but with this, you can attest to how lucrative this industry can be. Unfortunately, many doubt you can rake millions from promoting businesses as an influencer.
Think about it. If Ajibola, with less than 100k followers on Instagram, can charge NGN 500,000 for a video, how much do you think people with millions of followers charge for a video? And how many of those videos do they get in a month?
Influencers also get discounts and deals.
For example, if you’d like to get a car, you can work an arrangement with the car dealer and get a certain percentage off. In exchange, you run a promotion for their brand. The benefits are endless.
For starters, you need courage. Because even though Ajibola Grey wanted to become a lawyer, he only practised law for a day. In his words,
“I resumed my first job a week after being called to the bar. I got to the firm, and they put a whole lot of folders on my desk to sort through. 2o minutes after going through them, I knew this was not for me. I got up, put my laptop in my bag, and left.”
You might need a little bit of luck and the right timing.
For Ajibola, it was during the ENDSARs protest. He made a voice note that went viral, and that was it. People loved the voice notes and started following his accounts. During that period, he just kept putting out this type of content.
But before you go viral - you need a bird in hand.
Before making money as an influencer, he dabbled in real estate and catering. So be sure to have a source of income while waiting for your big break.
Now if you’ve already found your viral moment or built up an audience, here are the seven keys Ajibola Grey shared as his recipe for success;
For many people, money is the sole motivation. The ability to buy what you want, sort out your bills, and live an enjoyable life. For others, it might be different.
For example, you can be motivated by the people around you. If you love to help people in need, that’s a good reason to work hard at becoming an influencer. It could also be helping small businesses or generally offering more helpful advice. Whatever your reasons are, it’s what will keep you going when it gets tough.
Of course, a lawyer is going to be keen on the legal stuff, and Ajibola does not joke with thoroughly reviewing his contracts. To him, they aren’t as difficult as people make them seem. Plus, if it gets a little too complex, you can always let someone else review it for you.
This is because there are a lot of binding agreements hidden in your contracts—for example, a non-competitor clause. Many influencers ignore this, and it simply means you cannot work for a similar brand in the near future. One time after signing, he got offers 3x the price for a similar brand, and he couldn’t take it because of that agreement. So, read to know what you’re getting yourself into.
Everyone is always looking for the best deal - brands inclusive- so they’d try to reduce their budget by any means. You, on the other hand, should be confident in your work. You won’t be afraid to negotiate or increase your rates when you're confident.
Have a fixed price and negotiate until you’re satisfied with the offering on the table. Don’t just accept ridiculously low offers because you’re desperate.
You shouldn't just send random things if you get paid for one tweet. Put careful thought, strategies, and work into it. Try to be as organic as possible to get a high conversion rate.
This is because it’s sort of a portfolio for you and will determine whether future brands want to work with you. Brands are watching.
It’s also essential because your good work will bring in referrals. When you have a good relationship with previous clients and good results to show for your work, they’d be more inclined to refer you to their friends and professional network.
One would think TheAjibolaGrey would try to venture into law, but he doesn’t have a niche. Interestingly, he has tried being a skit maker, and it just didn’t feel organic. He really just sells his personality, so he’s keen on not being too niche focused because it can put you in a box.
Many other Nigerian influencers with a niche try to do other things. For example, Aproko Doctor goes beyond medicine-related gigs. This is what he means by not putting yourself in a box.
Focus on what feels the most organic to you. What you’re good at. But while at it, have an expandable personality. The goal is to be limitless. Be open to opportunities.
You will often need to say no because you need to create healthy boundaries for your brand. For example, you can reject a brand partnership because the pricing is just too low.
Another could be that it’s not in line with your morals. People will reach out so you can push a negative agenda or even make you venture into politics. You need to know where to draw the line.
Also, other influencers will take that gig. But that’s fine because the market is big. However, keep to your stance, and you’ll get more deals that align with your brand.
Finally, the influencing space is crazy because you’ll feed on clout, which can be good or bad. Many influencers intentionally create scenarios or drama and get involved with all topics to get traffic. While you might get engagements, it can hurt your brand. So avoid getting tempted, especially when jumping on every topic. Not all traffic is good traffic. Stick to the topics you’re known for.
Social media influencing can be very tricky. However, being true to yourself and putting your brand first will help you establish relevance in the market. Over time, it’ll be a lucrative source of income. We hope these real-life tips will also help you get a head start on building your influencing career.
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