This week in our Micro-Influencers spotlight section, we feature mathematician turned fashion and lifestyle influencer, Zainab Ademola. Zainab is the first child of a family of five, she was born in Lagos and raised in Abuja. She’s a graduate of Mathematics from the University of Ilorin.

In this interview, Zainab Ademola gets candid about her journey into life as an influencer and lets us into some trade secrets and advice for those who are on their way to becoming influencers.

Zainab has always enjoyed dressing up, putting on makeup, and looking good while doing so. She also used to create crazy commercial scenarios in her head, “especially when I see a video, and in my head, I’m like, “Zainab, you’ll kill that”. Then came social media, and she turned Instagram into her runway. Last year, she started sharing her style, hacks, lifestyle and fashion tips, and it’s been going great.

Zainab Ademola also creates entertainment content, which we found interesting. She’s a mathematician turned Fashion and Lifestyle influencer, who also does, entertainment content. We had to know what birthed her passion for entertainment.

“Acting has always been my first love. Lip-synching, imitating people’s voices and how they walk, is my thing too, and my friends find it funny. They encouraged me to post content like that. I created a TikTok account during the lockdown, and I was making videos, but on September 1st 2020, I recreated a video called “Dangbana Choko” and it went viral. I got comments from Adekunle Gold, VJ Adams, Kiekie and other celebrities, and that motivated me to keep putting out those kinds of content. Although most of it is funny, I wouldn’t call them comedy skits because the videos weren’t originally mine. But it feels good to make people laugh and imitate characters perfectly.”

Having different content niches is great, but without symmetry, it can look like a hot mess rather than fun and exciting. We asked Zainab how she’s able to combine all of hers in a way that her community is not confused.

“Initially, I was skeptical about posting my entertainment content on my page; because I didn’t want to disorganize my feed. But the engagement helped my insights, and I also figured I enjoyed creating the entertaining content. The reason I created my social media account was to showcase my talent, so nothing is stopping me from showing it to the world.

Choosing brands to work with is a big part of being an influencer, and it is important to have a set of principles and standards for selection to preserve one’s reputation. We asked Zainab how she makes a choice.

“I work with fashion, beauty, skincare, lifestyle, and sometimes I promote songs on my page. The brands I work with need to have the same values as mine. So they don’t try to change my brand image. For example, if it’s a skincare brand, it has to be products that are 100% safe on the skin. When/if I eventually find a brand that ticks all the boxes, I pitch to them, and if the response is positive, we get to work. I have worked with PR teams before, but it was a one-time thing. So most of the brands I’ve worked with reached out to me.”

Zainab Ademola has worked with some major brands such as; McVities, Kelloggs and Bitnob. Of all the brand partnerships she had, we wanted to know which she considered the most successful in terms of the brand’s getting more sales and engagement. She answers, “every brand partnership I’ve had has been a successful one.”

When creating content for your audience, you can choose to keep it simple and uncomplicated. But when creating content for a brand, you must be extremely innovative to attract the audience’s attention and pique their interest. We asked Zainab how she comes up with content ideas when working for a brand.

“I get inspiration from the brand itself, so the content I create doesn’t go outside the brand’s identity; I get creative with it. I really can’t say how exactly I get my idea because this might sound like a cliché, but it just comes to me.”

Zainab’s 3 favourite apps for content creation are; Facetune, Inshot, and Picsart. She prefers these three because the interface is user-friendly, easy to understand, and the features are endless if you get creative with them. 

Zainab’s position as an influencer requires her to develop images and video content, and what she’s done so far is impressive. We wanted to know if she took classes, learned on the job, or had a professional do it for her.

“Content creation isn’t as easy as it looks online. It is a full-time job, so one needs help. My friend helps me take my crisp outdoor pictures. She knows my angles, and that makes the job super easy. When it comes to editing, I do all of that myself, and because I like to experiment, evolve and try new things, I take classes and watch videos online to help improve my skills.”

Her Instagram page is aesthetically pleasing, it caught our attention, and we had to know her secret to this as well. she responds, “One of the most important things I do to plan my feed is making sure I take my pictures in places with airy, light, and clear backgrounds. I use natural presets in the Lightroom app that makes my feed look as clear and cohesive as possible.”

Outside of being an influencer, Zainab is currently undergoing the Nigerian National Youth Service Program. She admits that life doing content creation gets tough online, mostly when the art you put so much work into doesn’t get the recognition or engagement it deserves. “I get my motivation by reminding myself why I started the journey in the first place; to get recognized for what I do and get better at it.”

We wanted to know what Zainab thinks are the best and worst aspects of being an Influencer. “I think the best thing about being an influencer is having a community that believes in you, trust your judgement and cheers you on, even when you do the bare minimum. The only bad thing I can say about being an influencer is that everyone thinks you have a lot of money and you get brand deals at the snap of a finger.”

Finally, Zainab Ademola shared some advice for potential those looking to become influencers. She says, “The best thing you can do for yourself as a content creator is to identify your niche, take small steps, learn on the job, build a community and always be yourself.”

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