Embracing change, authenticity, and other key takeaways on content creation from Be YouNick and Niharika NM at TechSparks 2021
The Internet and social media have emerged as unique opportunities for people to reach the masses. With more than one billion users on Instagram and over two billion users on video-streaming platform YouTube, these platforms present a unique opportunity for people to display their talents.
Online engagements have also spawned a unique industry of influencer marketing where brands are tapping prominent digital content creators and influencers to get the word out about their business and brand. But what does it take to cut through the clutter and be the voice that people relate to?
At the 12th edition of startup-tech conference TechSparks, YourStory caught up with content creators Nikunj Lotia (also known as Be YouNick) and Niharika NM, who are winning over the netizens – as much as 1.7 million and 1.9 million followers on Instagram, respectively – with snippets and sketches of relatable comedy.
They both have, invariably, aced creating content and churning a laugh or two from the everyday people.
Here are five key takeaways from the duo on navigating and holding the audience in a fast-changing digital world.
Enjoy the ride. Money should not be the motivator
Hailing from Dombivli, Mumbai, Nikunj said he was always the “class clown” in school and joined YouTube when he was working as a bartender just to make fun of his friends and upload videos.
Niharika hopped on the video-streaming platform when she was 18 with a bargain with her parents: promising them an engineering degree in return for allowing her to make videos as a hobby.
For both Nikunj and Niharika, the journey of becoming influential content creators began from a place of fun and passion. They said that money cannot be the motivator for any aspiring content creators.
“Anybody entering content creation with money as the key motivation could be more likely to feel disappointed because monetising will take time and patience,” according to Niharika.
Nikunj said, “My 50th video did good. All the previous ones remained at 500-1,000 views. If I was motivated to just make money out of it, then I wouldn't have pushed myself throughout those 50 videos to wait for one video to blow up. Of course, people want money but that shouldn't be your first motivation.”
After nearly eight years of making content, Nikunj feels settled and misses the initial periods of hustle mode and experimenting with different kinds of videos.
Now hoping to do this all over again, he plans on moving to Los Angeles and entertaining a new audience in the West, and not just the Indians living there. Nikunj hopes to collaborate with creators there, whom he grew up watching.
Content is king
Nikunj asserted that the platform does not matter as long as one has quality content to offer. He said, “If the content is good, it will work out eventually, whether it is a 45-minute documentary or a 15-second reel.”
However, he said that merely jumping onto trends would serve no good. He believes good content is something one loves watching themselves and can have fun while making it.
Niharika’s journey of venturing both longer sketches on YouTube and 15-second reels on Instagram is a testament to the value of good content.
Influencer marketing is here to stay
"Blooming!" pat came the response from Nikunj when asked about the state of influencer marketing in India.
"I think if influencer marketing was a passing fad, it would have passed long ago but I feel like it's been here for long enough to be taken seriously," Niharika adds.
Weighing in as a content creator and an MBA grad, she said that companies are investing hugely in the Indian influencer marketing industry and that it is going to get only bigger eventually.
“It is here to stay. If you are ready to fight the fight in the beginning to get to a point where you will be a part of the influencer economy, do it,” she said.
The most relatable content comes from being your authentic self. Niharika vouches for authenticity as a creator because she has gone the other way and tried being “someone the internet might like” in her early days.
“I was just trying to pander to the West and make content that the YouTubers in the West were making. Eventually, I knew how to settle into my roots and pull content from my own experiences,” she added.
Nikunj also added that with more money at stake now, the content creation industry seems to follow a textbook comedy and he yearns for a new, real comedy.
Niharika said that the nature of the internet and social media is such that things change constantly and people wake up to a new trend every day. “Plans will go down the drain sometimes but you just have to roll with the punches,” she added.
As far as technology for content creation is concerned, Niharika believes the future will be virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). “We have been at the brink of it (AR and VR) for so long, it is just going to take that one push to get us completely there. And I will swim and try to stay afloat like everybody else.” she quipped
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