In just one year, Ima transformed from being a lawyer into a successful lifestyle content creator. With 144K followers on TikTok, 32K on Instagram, and 14K on YouTube, she is on top of the creator platform trifecta —YouTube, Instagram and TikTok —that is dominating the video content landscape.

Her journey began in 2021 when she beat procrastination and started her YouTube channel: something she’d wanted to do since her university days. Like many other lifestyle content creators,  the COVID-19 lockdown provided a great opportunity to start a career in content creation. There’s a large audience across the continent and the majority of creators want to target different kinds of audiences – as many as they can – on these three platforms. 

Despite starting on YouTube, it was its newer competitor that carried her to social media popularity. Less than a year after she began posting consistently on the app, her chaotic vlogs and hilarious storytimes drew the attention of a predominantly Gen Z audience, earning her over 100K followers in a matter of months. While TikTok’s demographic ranges from individuals between the ages of 10 and 50, the highest percentage of users on the app are between ages 10 and 19. Ninety-five percent of YouTube users, on the other hand, are between the ages of 19 to 29. 

Miss Ima’s YouTube.

Social media is complex, and each platform requires a unique process for creators looking to navigate and build an audience. While having an audience on TikTok has been beneficial in helping Ima grow her other platforms like YouTube and Instagram, she believes that building niche audiences for these platforms still requires a lot of work. While storytelling thrives on TikTok, its competitor, Instagram, prefers more fast-paced content. 

“In my personal experience, Instagram prefers content that’s more curated as the app is still slightly more formal than TikTok,” she shared. “TikTok, on the other hand, prefers more organic content with a lot of face time. 

Ima believes that to be successful on TikTok, one must have consistency and offer value, even more than other important traits like authenticity. 

“No matter how authentic you are, or how great and interesting your stories are, if you are not showing up every day, it doesn’t matter,” she said. “Also, you have to be offering value to people. Being consistent and offering value in your unique way is what people see as authentic.”

Crafting stories that resonate as a lifestyle content creator

Hamda Koya was working at an ad agency in 2021 where she frequently collaborated with many digital creators for marketing campaigns. As someone who loved to explore places and document these via pictures and videos, she found the concept of being a creator fascinating and decided one day to try her hands at becoming one. This spontaneous experiment led to the birth of The Lagos Tourist, Hamda’s Instagram page. Her content, which is upbeat and happy — a characteristic she says stems from her personality, has attracted 62,000 followers on the app. 

According to Hamda, the secret to being a successful lifestyle content creator is crafting compelling stories that grab the audience’s attention in the first three seconds — a universal truth in the world of marketing. Whether it’s sharing spontaneous adventures or scripted rants, her ultimate content creation strategy is spinning engaging narratives that keep her audience hooked from the beginning. 

“Your video editing skills might be great, and your videos might be nice, but if they can’t find a way to draw attention in the first two or three seconds, you’ll lose the audience,” she said.

Lifestyle content creator

While she shares that she’s not so organised in terms of sticking to schedules and calendars, she uses content buckets that help with an overall sense of direction in regard to what she’s looking to share. 

“I sit and think of what would be funny, relatable and engaging, and then write the script for it.”

In November 2023, Hamda moved to Canada and has been more strategic about the kind of content she puts out. She aims to collaborate with Canadian lifestyle content creators as a way to break into the Canadian creator scene and diversify her audience, which currently consists predominantly of people in Lagos.

Community is the bedrock of creating

Lifestyle content creators
From left to right: Miss Ima, Hamda, and Amaka Amaku

For Amaka Amaku, who has about 20K followers on Instagram, creating content means sharing her everyday life with people online—something she does with an uninhibited flair. She has always posted content on her Instagram for the purpose of sharing, which eventually helped her connect with people and build a community there. It wasn’t until 2019 that she realised that she had built a career out of it. In the year that followed, she got her first brand deal. Beyond publishing photos and videos on her account, the entire concept of creating is one that she enjoys as it allows her to view her everyday life through more curious and interesting lenses.

Amaka also has a TikTok, and while she believes that you can share the same content to both platforms, you still need to optimise for each. 

“Instagram started as a photo-sharing app, and while we now have reels, the attention span of a lot of the audience is still short,” she shared. According to her, the videos on Instagram need to be shorter, have a catchy sound, and be more fast-paced to gain traction

On the other hand, TikTok loves storytelling, in her experience. “If you want to do well; just tell stories. People love hearing what you did, how you did it, and where you did it.”

Whether on Instagram or TikTok, she tailors her content for each platform’s unique audience, understanding the need for brevity on Instagram and the love for storytelling on TikTok.

Amaka’s content is charming, and she shares that a lot of it stems from her resolve to create content from a place of ease and authenticity. This influences her collaborations, as she prefers to partner with brands that allow her to create exciting, organic content that aligns with her brand. 

“The perception I hope people have of me and my content is of a girl just living her life and enjoying it,” she shared with TechCabal.

From creator to influencer 

Social media marketing has become one of the most effective ways for brands to reach newer markets, and digital creators who can lend their platforms are in high demand. Being an influencer or lifestyle content creator in a market like Nigeria is unpredictable, as there’s not a lot of structure. Unlike mega influencers and celebrities who get paid a ton of money to promote on their accounts, micro and mid-tier influencers sometimes have to grapple with fair compensation and unreasonable demands from brands. For new lifestyle content creators, this can be a problem. 

“Some people believe content creation is easy and think you don’t deserve to be paid a lot,” Ima shared. “Regardless of how easy or simple it looks, a lot of time and effort goes into creating and editing content. There’s also been a lot that’s spent on building the community these brands to take advantage of.”

For Hamda, working with brands as an early creator was smooth as she had already understood the environment and had built relationships with a lot of other marketers. Several brand collaborations came from her within her existing network, and attending various events within the niches she was interested in. 

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