I left good job to focus on social media – Bukola Ogunrinde – Punch Newspapers
Social media influencer, Bukola Ogunrinde, is the CEO of Shawttynatt Media. She speaks with DAVID OLADUNJOYE on managing online interactions and businesses
How would you describe your journey into the social media space?
It was quite an interesting one. I journeyed into the social media space as every regular person did, to connect and network with new people. Over time, I realised I could do more with the platform. I created my first blog in 2012 and that was the beginning of what I am today.
How were you able to get many followers?
Consistency got me followers; it is not rocket science. I was constantly in the faces of people and staying relevant.
What is the weirdest message you have ever got from a follower?
I wish I could screenshot and show you, but what happens in the direct messages box stays in the DM.
Are you satisfied with the number of followers you currently have?
Growth is a part of our lives, and getting more followers is an expansion of one’s audience which equates to better engagement and social media campaigns. I love my followers but I would love to have more followers.
How lucrative is it being a social media influencer?
Influencer marketing delivers a strong return on investment for businesses and with this, their budget increases. It’s mostly a good deal in the life of a social media influencer.
What brands have you successfully campaigned for over the years?
I have campaigned for a lot of brands and I cannot mention them all here, but the list includes Stanbic Ibtc Bank, First City Monument Bank, Fidelity Bank, Sterling Bank, Globacom, MTN, Airtel, Samsung, Mr Chef, OPay, Chivita, among others. I am currently still running campaigns for some of these brands.
When you first joined social media, did you know you were going to be an influencer?
No, I had no idea. The word, ‘influencer’, wasn’t even common then. I joined social media primarily for networking. Blogging and socio blogging/influencing came in later. It was a clear case of passion-turned-career. I had no idea that it would be this profitable.
Have you ever felt that people look down on you because of what you do?
Maybe subconsciously but I wear my badge with pride.
In this age of exposure, people’s opinion on the kind of career path one chooses does not count because no matter what one does, there would always be people that would look down on one. As for me, I don’t take note of such people.
Do lots of celebrities follow you?
A couple of celebrities follow me, such as Don Jazzy, Ruggedman, Simi, Kcee, Iyanya, and Toyin Abraham, among others.
Have you ever been involved in any violent encounter in your line of work?
No, I haven’t.
Have you ever thought of leaving social media because of cyber bullying?
Not at all. I believe bullying is part of the process, and when it comes, I translate it to publicity and move on.
What’s the worst case of cyber bullying you’ve ever experienced?
That was in December 2018 over an outfit I wore to a wedding. The picture went viral and a lot of Nigerians hurled insults at me. But as usual, it was just a 48-hour season of fame.
You have some diehard fans online. Have you had the opportunity to meet them one-on-one?
Yes, I have met a few– from winning date tickets and attending my events. I still hope to meet more.
What influences the jobs you take?
I look out for the brand’s values. I also consider my personal interest and what the client has to offer.
Have you ever turned down any job?
I have turned down not just one but a couple of them.
Have you ever wished your popularity online transcended to the real world?
In some real life situations, I do wish for that, but otherwise, I love it the way it is.
Before you started social media influencing, you were a blogger. Can you tell us about that?
I started off as a self-taught blogger. I created my blog during the fuel subsidy mass strike and protests in 2012. There was a need to publish stories for my friends to keep them informed of the situation of the country. My blog is still active though.
Would you stop being a social media influencer if you get a very good job offer?
No. I actually left a very good job to focus fulltime on social media influencing. For me, it is all about passion.
Since the advent of social media, what is the longest time you have been off the Internet?
I was off social media for a whole year. I had a very demanding job at the time.
You were away from social media for a year, how was that experience for you?
That wasn’t the best of times for me. I wished there was something I could have done. I missed out on quite a number of opportunities due to my unavailability, but I have been able to cover lost grounds over the years. I have not had any reason to go off like that anymore.
What were the highlights of your time as the former public relations officer of the Digital Media Practitioners of Nigeria?
I dealt with enquiries from the public, the press, and related organisations. I was also in charge of adding new members to the association, managing the association’s social media pages and organising relevant training for our members.
How much were you paid for your first social media job?
I was paid N30,000 in 2012.
What’s the first thing you do every morning?
I pick up my phone to check for notifications and I go ahead to pray.
Some people believe there are a lot of hate messages on Nigerian social media space and blogs. What’s your take on that?
I would say people misinterpret a lot without proper research and having a clear understanding of the message that is being put out there.
What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of being a social media influencer?
One of the downsides, for me, is after channeling so much energy into advertising a product or service and it ends up unsatisfactory to the end user. It could be a very tough and unpalatable experience. That is one of the major reasons I request for user experience before advertising certain products.
However, one good side is that it’s invaluable when businesses approach you to be their voice on social media. It means they trust you to deliver and that’s priceless.
What’s your lowest moment as a social media influencer?
When I was combining social media influencing with my regular job, I was not always available for events. I was working remotely at the time and it greatly affected my audience and my clients. There was a particular year I did nothing on social media and I struggled with it. But that’s all behind me now.
Have you ever had any formal training in managing social media?
Working on social media professionally requires constant knowledge because it is an ever-evolving field. However, I have had formal training on managing social media and I have also trained people on social media management.
In what ways do you manage your career?
I know what I want to achieve, so I map out a plan and I’m all set. There’s always pressure at some point, but with one step at a time, I manage perfectly fine.
What other interests do you have aside social media?
I love to cook and I’m hoping to start my own cooking show someday.
What inspired your other business, Shawttynatt Foods?
I have always loved food and cooking. Over the years, I discovered that lots of food items bought in the open market contain a lot of residue, making them impossible to cook with immediately. I stepped in to bridge that gap by processing ready-to-cook food items, so people could save time and energy and still get uncompromised quality of food.
How often do you travel based on your job?
I’m mostly available to travel anytime and I do that often. If my job requires me to be in another city, I would surely be there
Where do you see your media company in the next five years?
When I envision the future, I see us as a leading PR and marketing agency, home and abroad, because we have what it takes to succeed in today’s digital world.
What determine the jobs you turn down?
I don’t run campaigns side by side for competing brands. And what the brand is offering in terms of payment/unrealistic expectations for influencing on my platform is a determinant for me to turn down the job.
What are your hobbies?
I love cooking, traveling and playing games.
How do you like to dress?
I dress according to my mood. There is a 90 per cent chance that you’d always catch me in a T-shirt, jeans and a pair of sneakers.
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