Influence. It is something many claim to have but don’t. It’s not something that comes easy – like trust, it is earned. In actual fact, trust goes hand in hand with influence.
When it comes to the digital age marketing known as “influencing”, there are many grifters.
People who claim to have a loyal audience that follows their every word and SBWL to live like them.
But what many fail to realise is how many follow them to keep up with what they are doing, sometimes to ridicule them, others to pass the time.
Safe to say, many people aren’t easily influenced because they know that social media is an illusion.
We all know that people get paid to give their “opinion” about a product and after a few weeks that campaign is over and they are selling a new product for the same audience. Lines are blurred.
However, there are those unicorns who are so good at it, that everything they suggest to their audience is most likely purchased.
But the trick is this: if you want people to be influenced by you, you need to produce content that they can relate to.
They need to trust you enough and feel seen by you to part with their hard-earned Randelas and support your campaign by buying the product or service you are influencing.
Take Kay Yarms for instance. Born Khethokuhle Ngonyama, she is a make-up artist originally from KwaZulu-Natal but currently based in Cape Town.
She has always been known on Instagram for loving make-up which led to her launching a YouTube channel to share make-up tutorials and tips. Today she’s sitting at over 208 000 subscribers.
And the reason for these high subscription numbers? Well, she is arguably the most trusted influencer in South Africa who knows what she’s capable of.
“I can have everything that I dream of. I am a daughter of a king. Greatness is embedded in me, success is tied to my name,” she once tweeted.
And the latest proof of just how beloved and trusted she is happened a few days ago.
The beauty content creator and influencer caused mayhem on Twitter last week when she alluded to a product that will solve many people’s stretch mark problems.
Mind you, the product is not one of those that she has/is working with. It is a beauty product she just tried without any partnerships.
“I wanted to plug you guys with a new product for stretch marks. I’ve only been using it for a month, but the difference is so visible! (I’ve been using magnolia tissue oil, it keeps me moisturised but minimal results) this product has surprised me,” she tweeted.
After keeping her followers in suspense (and increasing engagement numbers in the process), she finally revealed it.
It turns out that the product she has been using is Dawn Repairing Lotion with Argan oil. Yup.
Dawn is one of the most accessible body lotions sold at all South African retailers.
Argan oil is one of the best essential oils used to treat skin infections and has many benefits, including treating acne, moisturising skin, soothing atopic dermatitis and improving wound healing.
Needless to say, Twitter was quickly filled with people sharing their purchase of the lotion, some even buying more than three bottles.
When she went to get more for herself, Kay Yarms shared how she had to go to three different stores before she got any. “You guys didn’t leave any for me,” she tweeted.
You may be wondering why many people went to stores to buy the product only after she suggested it when other YouTubers have spoken about it before her, but no one cared.
Well, it’s because many people trust her opinion and here’s why.
Firstly, Ngonyama has been consistent in her work.
Her YouTube channel is not a hobby, and she respects her subscribers.
She has managed to build that trust hence her voice matters so much.
While she vlogs about hair and make-up, she also vlogs about everyday life.
Like good and bad days, the struggles and the excitements of moving to a new city, travelling and so forth.
She includes her subscribers. Without giving away too much of her personal life, she does involve her subscribers by including them in her everyday life and doing some fun things with them.
For example, during the first lockdown in 2020, when most people were locked at home with nothing to do, she started a #21Beats4Kay where she challenged make-up lovers to do different make-up looks for 21 days.
During that period, they shared different make-up tips, helping the participants improve their skills.
Also, she does engage with her followers.
She doesn’t only respond to people in the same circle(s) as her, but everyone who shows her love and supports her craft.
Ngonyama is relatable. Most influencers only show people the glamorous side of their lives.
Whereas Ngonyama shows the other side of her behind the city girl. She takes pride in the fact that although she is successful and managed to make a name for herself, she is still a farm girl who comes from the rural areas of Ncakubana, a small village in Ixopo in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.
That alone makes her relatable because many people who live in the big cities aren’t originally from there. They are there for work.
So seeing someone who comes from a similar place like them doing great things is truly inspiring.
Another thing that makes her relatable is that she lives a normal life.
Of course, she does enjoy luxury because she works so hard for it, but when it comes to things like grooming eyebrows, she includes everyone.
I remember in one of her videos where she was showing people how to shape their eyebrows using a razor blade and Vaseline jelly.
Not everyone can afford to wax or thread their eyebrows at a salon. But most people can afford to do it the old school way by using a blade.
What sets her apart from others is that she is honest (not that others are not). Honestly is the best principle.
Although she is the type of person who is usually on top of her game, looking all stylish, sometimes she has her days where she is just simple with no make-up, no fancy clothes, just a bare face and sweatpants.
In that way, her subscribers feel closer to her because some of them, like myself, enjoy watching her videos at home with no make-up on.
She oozes positivity. She’s one of those people who believe so much in themselves. She knows that if you put your effort into something, it will pay off. It may not be sooner than you expected, but if you stay consistent your dream will eventually come to fruition.
“Kay Yarms got me waking up before the sun rises, starting my morning with a gospel playlist, falling in love with routine, wanting a stronger relationship with God, eating healthily, staying positive no matter how hard I hit my head. I just love her,” commented @uTshireletso.
Many people on social media have witnessed her growth, which is beautiful. She went from 900 subscribers to over 200k in less than four years.
And when she started her channel, she had never travelled outside of South Africa, but now she has travelled to Dubai.
All that makes her one of the best because people can learn and be inspired by her that all dreams are valid, and if they work hard at it, they will get where they want to be.
The YouTuber continues to grow in her craft and has shown gratitude to everyone who supports her. She said she is getting more love on her latest videos, and that melts her heart.
“Thanks, guys! Every like, rt, comment, mention. I appreciate it so much. So much time & so so much effort goes into my work & I’m happy you love it bc (because) it’s also about to get even better chile,” she tweeted.