How I Became a Social Media Influencer

I started my Instagram page back in 2015 as a fitness inspiration account to keep me accountable while I was doing Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide also known as BBG.

There were a whole bunch of girls around the world who started their guide around the same time as me so I gained followers relatively quickly because my page was a source of motivation for all the new girls starting.

My page grew as BBG grew in popularity, and it eventually grew to where it is now. I became an ambassador for BBG Cape Town in 2016 and we hosted regular BBG workout events until the end of 2017.

Over the years I continued to document my fitness journey and post relatable content. Workout memes, inspirational quotes, and transformation pictures really motivated me and seemed to connect well with people on similar journeys.

I got into fitness to empower myself because I had no confidence in myself before I started working out regularly, even though I played sport throughout my life.

I started my fitness page in 2015 but my health and fitness journey started in 2013 back when I used to use Twitter for workout motivation.

If you’re a blogger, photographer, fashion stylist, makeup artist. Read this...we're spilling the tea Click To Tweet

Before you go on this influencer journey, follow these steps:

1. Decide your niche and stick to it

 

It’s easier to grow a page if you specialize in one or a few things so people will know what to expect from you.

Think about it, when you follow an account that’s not a friend or celebrity it’s usually because they post something specific that you like eg. make-up tutorials, fitness or fashion inspiration, food recipes etc.

2. Think of yourself as a brand

If you’re building a brand, there has to be some level of self-reflection your page needs to be an honest extension of you.

What do you stand for? What’s your vibe? Make sure your feed represents your personal brand.

3. Figure out your why

What’s the purpose/aim of your account?

Is it purely for fun or is it business? And then decide how much time you want to invest in it to match what you expect to gain from it.

4. Have a theme for your pictures

Everybody likes things, make sure you have a flow going on your page. There are so many categories to pick from. You can use a consistent color theme or even have a particular object in all your photos to test your creativity.

Even if it’s just the same filter, aesthetically planned feeds are nice to look at.

5. Work, Work, Work

Put relative time and effort into your posts and try to be as creative as possible. Try having “content creation” sessions once or multiple times a week like you have study sessions.

And/or take down any ideas that pop in your mind in your memo pad so you can use them for post and caption ideas later.

6. Socialize

That’s the whole point of social media! Respond to your comments and engage with the accounts you follow so they are encouraged to engage with you too.

The more engagement you have the greater the chances are of your page being discovered by people and brands.

7. Use hashtags

The hashtag game is always changing but it doesn’t hurt to experiment with a few and see how it affects the engagement of your posts.

Also, try to use less popular hashtags so ones that have less than 1M posts. You’ll have to search for hashtags in your niche and find the ones that people use but don’t abuse like #fitness or #love

8. Collaborate with people in your niche

Follow and engage with accounts in your niche to let other people interested in your niche see your profile, the more your account has seen the greater chances you have of gaining new followers.

You can also do story shoutouts with people in your niche for more exposure or even try to ask them out for coffee.

9. Track your engagement

Pay attention to what posts people respond to best. Figure out what content your followers enjoy viewing. Track the times you get the best engagement, that usually helps get followers.

10. Have fun

It’s really not that deep unless you see it as a business, then different rules apply but don’t let social media get to you.

Remember, Instagram isn’t real life and real life has so much more to offer than aesthetics. That doesn’t mean I don’t love a pretty bowl of oats, just remember to keep everything in context.

The Bottom Line

Relax!

When you focus less on structure after you’ve done your content planning, more ideas tend to come your way. If you are someone takes their own photos.

I would recommend walking around with a portable camera or learn some tricks with your phone. People really do gravitate to someone they sense is genuine or can add value. I think you need to stay up to date with all the changes and continuously adapt your content (Try to think of ways you can make yourself invaluable) if you really want to slay the game.

For more on Shalom’s fitness journey and amazing fitspo, find her on the gram.


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Giving it 110%: How to be a fitness entrepreneur and slay in your tech job at Google

bami bam bam boogie fitness entrepreneur
Bami, founder of Bam Bam Boogie has created a global operation from a ‘side hustle’ Click To Tweet

Imagine working at Google and trailblazing your very own dance fitness sensation. That’s what founder of Bam Bam Boogie, Bami is doing.

In less than a year, this Google marketing specialist and fitness entrepreneur has run fitness classes in Brazil, London, Vegas, Texas, Toronto, and Dublin. Talk about major multi-tasking and creating a global operation from a ‘side hustle’.

SLA contributor Abiola caught up with Bami to find out just how the heck she has achieved all of this in such a short space of time, and how this is only just the beginning.


Tell us about Bam Bam Boogie (BBB) and how you got started

Bam Bam Boogie is an Afro-Caribbean-inspired dance workout that pairs traditional fitness movements with authentic Afro-Caribbean dance styles to the beat of contemporary afrobeats, dancehall, reggaeton, soca, and hip-hop. We foster an environment of diversity and inclusivity: anyone and everyone is welcome at Bam Bam Boogie.

It all started following a rough time I was going through at the end of 2015. I’d just returned to the UK after my first ever trip back to my ‘homeland’ Nigeria, and although it was an amazing experience, I had a strong sense of emptiness. While ‘going back’ helped me see where I came from, there was still something missing and I couldn’t work out what. Something felt like it just didn’t fit. So after some soul-searching, and that took the form of working out. But being at the gym was so mundane, and it felt like you needed to look a certain way to fit in.

And that’s how BBB was born. I wanted to create a space where people who may not feel 100% confident in the gym, can workout, be free and have fun while doing it. So that’s what I did, and very quickly, it became the most popular Googler-led class at my work gym. (Googler is Google-speak for someone who works at the firm!).

Afro-Caribbean dance at Google? Find out how this woman makes it all work #TeamBoogie Click To Tweet

How did you get your firm to support the BBB movement, and keep supporting it even a year later?

We started as a diversity initiative to generate awareness, celebrate cultures and break down stereotypes in the workplace. That was our USP and it helped me to get buy-in and continued support from my firm. I only had to convince a handful of important people and from there the news spread like wildfire. There’s nothing like word of mouth. Very soon other teams and managers were asking for Bam Bam Boogie conferences and team events!

It’s a fun and easily accessible way to start an important conversation and I think that’s why the firm is so supportive. It strongly reflects their “bring your whole self to work” perspective.

What have been the highlights in taking BBB from some classes in Ireland to around the world?

It’s always amazing when I take BBB to other countries and people find out that I live in Ireland. They look puzzled, first they think, ‘where is that?’ and second, ‘there are African people there?’ It makes me proud to be able to represent the diaspora through BBB.

I loved taking the class to Toronto because that’s where I grew up and become heavily involved in Afro-Carribean culture. Everyone back home was super proud and supporting, and #TeamBoogie Toronto wish they could do classes weekly! I also loved doing it in Vegas because – it’s Vegas right? Everything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas so I guess that’s all I can say about that workshop!

Finally, Sao Paulo was a major highlight because it was my first time in Brazil. The energy was amazing Brazilians can really move – they even taught me a move or two! I loved explaining the concept to Afro-Brazilians because they were so impressed to see someone who looked like them bringing their passions to the corporate world and thriving in both aspects. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.

How do you get so many diverse collaborations and how have they helped your brand?

I’ve had the opportunity to work with lots of different growing brands around the world such as blktckt concept online magazine (USA), u-wantit.com (Nigeria), Organo (USA), Kemetic Knowledge (USA) and Put Power (Canada).

I’ve been able to do this mainly through my network and very open personality. Yes, BBB is a brand, but it is an extension of my personality. I have made this very clear from the start, so within the first 30 seconds of meeting someone, I have already told them about BBB. This helps a lot with word of mouth because it means I’ll always be top of mind. I also I seek out opportunities for myself using social media. I’ll search up relevant hashtags for example “#ukurbanwear” and I will slide into their DMs to see how we can add value to each other’s brands. I like to support brands I believe in especially if they have an ethos that supports Afro-Caribbean Culture.

These collaborations have helped add credibility to my brand as when people see these interviews, blogs, and videos they get to see the entrepreneurial side of BBB. The fact that it’s not just a dance fitness movement but a community used for empowerment and support.

How do you balance a high-powered corporate career with entrepreneurship?

Calculate how many hours you have in a day and break it up according to daily/weekly priorities. #productivity Click To Tweet

Balancing the two is never easy, and some weeks it feels like a 50/50 split in dedication, other times it feels like 110/110 and I’m burning out at both ends. But if you’re passionate you just have to keep pushing. My top 3 tips would be:

  1. Calculate how many hours you have in a day and break it up according to daily/weekly priorities. For example, I know that from the second I wake up I have 16 hours in my day (8 for work hours, 2 for travel time, 3 for eating). That leaves me with 3 hours so then I assign myself a 3 hour task of 3 x 1 hour blocks throughout my day to get it done.
  2. Use your “spare time” to listen to relevant audiobooks. During my lunch and daily commutes I try my best to listen to an audiobook or podcast related to personal-development, whether it be the latest of #AskGaryVee Podcast or an Inspirational Audiobook. This gives you the drive and knowledge you need to get through the toughest of times.
  3. Share your passion with your peers but don’t overshare. Let your colleagues know what you’re up to so they can support you in your endeavours. Bear in mind that they are a key part of your network and will be understand when you can’t make team events because you’re working on something. But be careful not to overshare, though, because not everyone has the same entrepreneurial passion and they could find it overbearing.

What’s most challenging about being an entrepreneur?

The most challenging thing and what most people won’t tell you about is the loneliness. Because social media is so carefully curated to only show the glamorous parts of our lives, it’s easy to forget the grit and elbow grease that it takes to make things a success.

There are periods of time where you need to isolate yourself from friends and family to get work done. I’ve missed out on countless social events and vacations in order to save money or work on a particular project that needed to be completed by the deadline. A wise woman once told me that “there is a price to pay for everything in life” and as an entrepreneur, you pay that price many times to make your vision a reality.

The most challenging thing and what most people won’t tell you about is the loneliness. Click To Tweet

What would you say to someone who has an idea but isn’t sure where to start?

Do a bit of market research (but not too much that it demotivates you), the easiest way is to do this is to use your network to find someone who is in the industry you want to get into. Ask them relevant questions about their journey and any advice they would give their former self.

Listen attentively, take notes, set yourself one actionable goal from this meeting and achieve it within the next 7 days. It sounds cliche but “just do it”. Let go of what people may think of you, 9/10 times they are just projecting their own fears onto you. You’ve got this!


If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here.

Follow Bam Bam Boogie on Instagram and look out for an event in your city.

The scramble to the top: 8 things overlooked in a fitness entrepreneur’s journey

People have to see to believe that you are capable of transforming fitness goals into a physical reality Click To Tweet

The hustle is real. Becoming a fitness entrepreneur may be one of the hardest career choices a person can make because of the required level of patience and discipline accorded to success in the fitness industry. People often overlook the journey of a fitness entrepreneur owing to the fact that they are not privy to the behind-the-scenes footage in their lives.

Most fitness entrepreneurs start out juggling their passion with another job in order to fund their lifestyle, gain experience and get professional certification. Here are eight considerations that are often overlooked in a fitness entrepreneur’s journey to career growth and stability:

1. Food and supplement expenses

A small fortune may be spent on food depending on fitness goals; weight loss, muscle gain or maintenance. Protein requirements vary per person depending on their body mass index and daily activity levels, so buying protein and multivitamins may be a major consideration.

Sometimes eating a balanced diet may dig a hole in your pocket but the results are totally worth it.

2. Blood, sweat, and tears

In order to stay relevant, you literally have to keep training. This could involve coming up with different challenges, hitting personal targets and diversifying your fitness regime to stay on top of your game.

A serious fitness entrepreneur trains at least five times a week and rests on other days.

3. Getting that perfect shot

It’s time to get into amateur modelling via social media. People have to see to believe that you are capable of transforming fitness goals into a physical reality. Sharing clear photos taken from a good camera is absolutely necessary to showcase your physique to a target audience of potential clients.

Early in one’s journey, a good camera phone may suffice but if you choose to engage your clients and audience through workout videos and short inspirational clips then investing in a professional camera will be worthwhile.

Building an army of loyal clients may take some time but requires consistent effort Click To Tweet

4. Client loyalty

Building an army of loyal clients may take some time but requires a show of consistent efforts on your part. Following through with a plan and holding yourself accountable for every bit of information shared on social media will build trust in potential clients and reinforce working relationships with existing clients.

Let’s face it, you have to lead by example; don’t expect your clients to be thrilled at their chicken salad dinner when you are actively sharing photos of Italian thin crust pepperoni pizza topped with extra cheese and a glass of South African wine.

5. Sponsorships

Becoming a sponsored athlete or fitness professional may not only be for the ‘elite’. You just need to position yourself to attract brands through social media and official websites. The companies that approach fitness professionals may not be in the fitness industry as they may be looking for an unexpected beauty icon or someone to drive their sales traffic.

Although it takes a while to get to this stage, doing what you love for photoshoots, working holidays and press briefings will give you a financial boost and expose you to greater opportunities.

6. Becoming a thought leader

Want to become the next Lita Lewis? Growing in your area of fitness expertise will allow you develop ideologies on a certain type of fitness goal or exercise. Trying and testing what worked for you in your fitness journey will spark peoples’ interest and increase your following.

This can be reinforced by testing your ideologies on yourself and a focus group to build credibility.

Maintaining relevance in the fitness industry can be likened to a product life cycle Click To Tweet

7. Competitions

Sports, physique or athletic competitions are great ways to advertise your personal brand, challenge your physical capabilities while escalating your career to a different level of professionalism.

Placing in a competition usually attracts endorsements from supplement and fitness apparel brands which may be in the form of money or free products in exchange for regular promotion and modelling.

8. Guest appearances

Making a name for yourself in the fitness industry requires you to actively network at fitness festivals and other related events. Popular fitness entrepreneurs may often have the chance to speak at health and wellness workshops or lead a corporate wellness event.

These appearances will ensure that your face becomes familiar to fitness enthusiasts and people that are just beginning their journey.

Maintaining relevance in the fitness industry can be likened to a product life cycle: a fitness entrepreneur will get to a stage that requires innovation to maintain steady growth. This phase is mentally and physically tasking but the benefits accrued are insurmountable.

Apart from growing in discipline and perfecting your time management skills, you get to be in the best shape of your life while turning your passion into profit! This career path may not be suitable for introverts or socially awkward people unless they are willing to grow in their confidence and interpersonal skills. Are you ready to step outside your comfort zone and embark on this journey?