“Any growth is still growth, and one creator’s journey isn’t the same as another. Showing what truly makes you unique is how you stand out. You just need to start then refine your skills as you go.”
Erika produces highly informative, aesthetically pleasing videos on YouTube. Her content ranges widely; from Instagram hacks to photo editing tutorials, and many more! These videos offer crucial tips and tricks, hence would be able to enrich many of content creators’ learning process.
In this week’s Pixlr Spotlight, Erika talks about how she started her channel, her strategies on maintaining audience engagement, and her advice to upcoming creators.
How did you get started in your YouTube/Instagram?
I recently moved to the USA and I was awaiting my paperwork. I started a YouTube Channel as a creative outlet whilst I was home alone most days. I decided to create an Instagram account where I showed more of my personality and interests so that my audience could connect with me on multiple platforms.
Did you always know you wanted to do this?
I have always been interested in beauty, fashion and technology. Incidentally, Pixlr was one of the very first apps I used when I started getting into photography and editing. I have always taken photos of the most random things and played around with different apps until I’m happy with the end result. Social Media has given me the outlet I needed to share my unique take on beauty and style with the world.
How and when did you know you can make this a career?
I knew from the beginning that if I was consistent and produced good content, then it could become a career for me. After I hit 1000 followers on both Instagram and YouTube was when I started working with brands creatively. I’m still a very small creator, but it goes to show that a good work ethic will get you where you want to be.
How do you keep your audience engaged?
It’s different for each platform. On Instagram, I have found my community by establishing my niche and style. I am laid back and entertaining in my captions and this has helped me to make friends who genuinely support me. On YouTube, I try to make my videos as informative as possible whilst still not being overly long. This helps to get the point across while still being easy to follow.
What do you think it’s most important when you’re looking for ways to engage with your audience?
I think being authentic has helped me the most when I’m looking to engage with my audience. I reply to their comments and questions, I read their captions and leave genuine responses. I give what I would like to receive and it has truly helped me to build a supportive audience that responds well to whatever I create and share.
What do you love most about working in this industry?
It honestly blows my mind that I’ve been able to work with brands I’ve used and admired in the past even while being such a small creator. I love that I have the freedom to create at my own pace and share my work on a platform where so many people are openly supportive.
How do you stay current on all the shifts and innovations?
I try my best to stay up to date with current trends but some just don’t fit my style or personality, so I focus mostly on evergreen content and being authentic. For example, if it’s something I wouldn’t wear then I won’t share it just because it’s trendy. The same for video content, if I’m not comfortable with the topic or have no interest in it, I won’t post it just for views. I care more about curating my page to be entertaining and informative rather than having it be popular.
Have you noticed any positive or negative changes in your work since the pandemic?
At the beginning of the Pandemic, my social channels saw an increase in traffic due to everyone being at home. Unfortunately, it hasn’t lasted as so many social platforms have seen an increase in new users and now it’s much harder to be discovered in my opinion.
What’s the funniest story that comes to mind ever since you started working more indoors due to the pandemic?
I only shoot in natural lighting and I wanted to create something fun for a makeup brand I was partnering with but it was raining every day. I waited until one sunny day and took my tripod to a nearby church at sunset to film the product shots in public just so that I could get that beautiful golden light! No one said a thing to me but it must have been so weird to see me photographing makeup at a church.
Tell us about your production workflow and the planning involved.
I wish I was more organized, honestly! I try to have seven days of Instagram content planned ahead (including reels, which I also post to TikTok). This includes a mix of beauty/skincare, outfits/style inspiration and a weekly mini-vlog. I create all of my own content and I try to post every day.
For Instagram product photography, I wait for a sunny day to get all of my photos and videos which I can then later put together in post-production to create something fun.
For outfit photos, I choose one day a week and a location to get the necessary photos. I’m still working on producing more style content for my socials, but as of now I only shoot one outfit a week.
For YouTube videos, I choose a topic and form the video idea and outline. Once I have that done, I will gather a background and graphics I want to use and start filming the shots. I try to film them all in one day so that I don’t forget any steps, and so that the video flows and doesn’t need too many cuts when I’m editing.
What’s the biggest challenge you face producing content and how do you overcome it?
Creating content is difficult when you’re putting yourself out there. At first, it’s hard to find your community and audience. I struggled a lot with this. I believe being authentic and showing my personality has really helped me to overcome that. It taught me to be confident and believe in myself. Apart from this, creating requires discipline. You have to wake up early and put aside time to get things done. Most of my product photos are taken at 7am when the only good lighting comes into my apartment.
How long does it normally take to create your content and do you have several projects happening at the same time?
I’m working with brands on Instagram a few times a month to create different types of content. They allow me freedom to be as creative as I want with a flexible deadline. I usually plan my content around my deadlines so that I can have the work done in time. It takes me one day to get the shot but that also depends on the weather. I only shoot in natural light so I select the best day of the week for this. YouTube has become harder for me recently because I’m such a perfectionist. I have been focused on trying to gain momentum on Instagram and hence my channel has taken a back seat recently. I’m slowly getting back into it as I learn to manage my time better.
What advice would you give for aspiring creators?
Aspiring creators should just start. In the beginning I was posting one video a day while trying to understand the platform better. I’m pretty sure I was the only one watching my videos too, but then one idea hit after another, and my channel started to see growth. Any growth is still growth, and one creator’s journey isn’t the same as another. Showing what truly makes you unique is how you stand out. You just need to start then refine your skills as you go. My content isn’t the same as it was last year, and in a year I hope it will be better than it is today.
Want more from Erika? Check out her YouTube channel for stunning tutorials!
Read our previous Spotlight interview here.