Osinachi Okoye is a lifestyle blogger based in the UK. She posts skincare, beauty and fashion tips on her Instagram and blog. She’s also a freelance digital marketing and social media manager. Check out her Judge.me page for her fashion and beauty recommendations.
“Just show your kinder self, your kinder true self and actually properly take the time and effort to do that because people do appreciate knowing who you are, rather than knowing that you have a pretty face or that you’re selling a product for a particular company.”
Combining her passion and knowledge
What inspired you to start creating content?
Well my first inspirations were blogs. I used to read a lot of them and I found them really helpful. Whether that be personal blogs, where you’re just learning about someone who might be similar to you and you can relate to them, or something completely different. After reading them, I just wanted to try something similar. I knew that it would start off as a personal blog, but I’m interested in everything so my blog was going to reflect that. One day I could talk about who I was, the next day I could write something on how to feel confident or an article on how to crochet or bake something. I just wanted a bit of an everything blog and I wanted to keep it relatable for people.
That’s really interesting because you definitely don’t pin yourself down to one particular niche with your content. Do you ever find that difficult when you’re approaching brands or when brands approach you because you don’t have a singular interest?
Well I suppose in terms of working with brands, I am still very much within lifestyle. It’s still in that corner with some beauty and fashion bits thrown in. I don’t really know why I have that fashion aspect but I do! The one thing I don’t have is fitness though so if I wanted to do a post about exercise or a collaboration with a fitness brand, I wouldn’t be able to. The content would just flop. That kind of thing just isn’t anywhere near my audience. Brands generally categorise me as very lifestyle, with a skincare and beauty focus. My blog is a lot more versatile compared to my instagram. I’ve collaborated with a really wide range of brands who I couldn’t on instagram because it’s a bit more lifestyle-beauty focused. I even collaborated with Panasonic on my blog before!
Do brands want to work with you on the basis that you have a blog or that you have a following on Instagram?
It’s very Instagram focused. I haven’t approached any brands about the blog since last year. The blog is kind of more of my personal thing. I do try and do maybe one collaboration a year to cover whatever it costs to run. Whenever I approach a brand though I always say, “Oh, look at my following on Instagram”, rather than telling them I have a blog. Saying that, some companies, when they see you have a blog, they do offer extra payment or extra products for you to create a review on the blog alongside the social media content. If it’s solely gifted though, you usually have to choose one.
How to effectively play the social media game
“If you’re aware of what’s trending and can jump on it, you could really increase your followers and engagement, particularly with popular sounds and songs on Reels or TikTok. It’s a bit like a price draw: whatever you get is what you get.”
What do you need to make great content which appeals to both brands and your audience?
Makeup, sunshine, space, and a good outfit! A lot of the time, I’m planning content around the weather forecast because dark content is not good content. It doesn’t have to be warm, it just needs to be sunny. I know winters here can be bad, but we do get some sunny spells so it’s just about taking advantage of that. I think people must look at my Instagram and think it’s always summer! I hate wearing make-up so I have to plan around those days I’ll be wearing it too. For me, those are the important things when it comes to making good content.
Do you think it’s more difficult now to get started off than it was when you began?
Yes, 100%. Instagram has adopted a similar algorithm or tactic to TikTok, particularly with Reels. On TikTok you could have 10 videos, with maybe 200 or 300 views and then all of a sudden, overnight one video goes viral. Instagram has adopted that randomness, especially with reels. This is harsh, but if you have nothing special about you, it’s still hard, you won’t stand out. However, if you’re aware of what’s trending and can jump on it, you could really increase your followers and engagement, particularly with popular sounds and songs on Reels or TikTok. It’s a bit like a prize draw: whatever you get is what you get. It’s just more to do with luck these days than it was before.
Your content has really taken off on Instagram but you do create or have a presence on other platforms. Could you speak a little bit about that?
To be honest with you, there wasn’t a strategic meeting where everyone sat down and went “Okay, we’re gonna do this on Instagram,” it just happened. I was watching a lot of YouTube videos and I was really interested in social media. I had a bit of a background in digital marketing but I hadn’t started working in it then. I actually started off on Twitter and built a following there but it was very time consuming. You have to constantly join threads and engage to stay relevant on Twitter. I know that Instagram is one of those things that if you don’t engage you get forgotten about, but Twitter’s worse than that. You have to be creating at least 10, 20 tweets a day just to stay relevant. So with Twitter I said to myself, I’m going to build a following there, but it’s not a priority. I also had Facebook when I began but it had much more of an older demographic. I only started with Youtube last year but I hated recording myself so I’ve been quite inconsistent with it. YouTube doesn’t really bring a lot of leads over to your other channels, it’s just kind of isolated unless you’re super popular. For me, Instagram just looked a lot more interesting. People get to know your face, really get to know who you are. And then maybe they’ll be interested in digging into your other content. So Instagram just kind of seemed like a better, more fun and engaging platform when I started and it’s taken off from there.
What are the most positive aspects of partnering with a company and how could brands improve their relationships with influencers?
Well I suppose on the positive side of things, you get to find new products that you like or enjoy. It’s really fun if you get to make content around a product you like, it makes things a lot easier. You also get to work with interesting companies which is great! What’s really good too is when brands continue to check up on you after the campaign. They really want to make sure the product is still working for you and they’re actually interested in the review you might have created for them. That’s a really great way of maintaining a relationship with an influencer.
In terms of negative experiences, they usually happen when you and the brand aren’t on the same page. When it comes to sponsorships, they might ask you to redo content. You might have to redo it a couple of times because they’re paying you to get it right. I’m fine with that but if it’s a gifted product worth £10 and it’s being rejected multiple times because there’s no clear brief, that’s really frustrating. I’m not your marketing team, I’m not your design team, so let me know how you want me to present this. Give me photos, moodboards, outlines. Just let me know what you want. Sometimes you just need to give people guidance. With one of my collaborations last month, we just kept going back and forth and they rejected my content five times. Then they sent over an image which I literally recreated and it was fine on the first go. I couldn’t understand why they hadn’t just done that from the start. I prefer brands to have a really detailed outline of what they want. I much prefer that to a company saying “Oh no, we’re fine with anything”, and then you go back to them with content and they reject it. A lot of people at my level aren’t full time. We literally get an evening and we say, “Okay, let’s do this.” If brands could be really clear on the content they’re looking for from the start, that would make things so much easier, particularly for smaller creators.
The balance between life online and offline
How do you find balancing your other commitments with social media?
Well I have loads of time at the moment as I’m studying, so I just work around that. Going into my final year will be a bit harder but I still have time right now for content. I’m not a crazy library student, I do make time for myself! I don’t find the timing aspect too difficult, it’s more the ideas that I sometimes get stuck on. I get to a point where I think I can’t take another photo of my face, I need to come up with something else. I’m a thrifter, so if I have the chance to go and get some new outfits, I will. I’m pretty certain every single top that I have is already on Instagram! I always have time to be honest. It’s only an hour or 30 minutes out of my day so it’s okay for me.
“Show that you’re a friendly, approachable person in your content and that makes a difference.”
How do you find seeing the version of your peers on instagram versus knowing the reality of what goes on in their daily life?
I’m not really affected by it because I know what goes on behind the scenes. I don’t look anything like I do on my instagram most of the time. On there, I have lighter, clearer skin and I’m really well dressed and it’s not really like that in real life. It’s just the best version of myself. I’m one of the people selling a specific image of themselves so I’m fully aware that real life is nothing like that. I don’t get roped in. I do extra and modelling work as well, so I’m very aware of what goes on backstage. I know what goes into that final image or video and how long it’s taken.
What piece of advice would you give to an aspiring content creator?
Well at the beginning, there’s a lot of dedication required. Keeping your audience engaged is really important. Every time I take time off, I see how much that affects my engagement so that’s even more important when you’re starting out. The main thing I would say though is to show you’re human. Show that you’re a friendly, approachable person in your content and that makes a difference. People feel like they know who you are then and will want to engage with you. Just show your kinder self, your kinder true self and actually properly take the time and effort to do that because people do appreciate knowing who you are, rather than knowing that you have a pretty face or that you’re selling a product for a particular company. That’s what my advice would be.
And finally, one last question: how has your experience been with your Judge.me Recommendations page?
It has been interesting. Transferring all my sponsored posts have been really easy thanks to the Instagram post extraction part of it. I’ve also found that’s it’s a great way of promoting other platforms especially YouTube due to the embedded part of it. I’m still exploring but it’s been good so far.
Great to hear! We have a lot more features in the pipeline for it so we can’t wait for you to use them. It was great chatting with you Osi and we look forward to seeing what you do next.
All photos courtesy of Osiblogs.