Ghanaian Celebrity Stylist Afua Rida Talked with Meghan McCormick a Contributor at Forbes about how to Build a Career as an Influencer

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In my perspective, this story captures emotions and commands attention, it’s specific and clear on what one needs to know in order to become a successful influencer in Ghana or elsewhere. Way back in October, 2019 one of Ghana’s celebrity fashion stylist, Afua Rida had a thorough conversation with Meghan McCormick, a Contributor at Forbes about how to build a Career as an influencer. We deem it pleasurable to bring you the whole story here. Enjoy your reading!

There is something intriguing about the career of an influencer. Their lives seem so glamorous, but at the same time so attainable. We’ve all cooked a beautiful meal or put together a super smart outfit, shared a picture of it on Instagram, and thought to ourselves, “I could be paid to do this.” Taking the step from hobby to career can be scary, but it’s exactly what Afua Rida did.

She was working in the African fashion scene and realized that there were not that many platforms for African creatives to share their work. She thought to herself, “I guess I could take pictures of myself wearing these brands and put them up.” She wanted to change the narrative of what African art, African fashion, and African creatives look like and thought that this could be her small contribution.

“We are quite creative. Depending on where you are in Africa it’s a different vibe, it’s a different culture, different colors, different prints. Most of the time, when I look into the U.S., when people want to tap into African culture they put on a Dashiki. For me we’re beyond the Dashiki”, she said

Afua Rida posing right and hanging out at Ambiance by Talata

In the beginning, it was just for fun. She would go to Ghanaian designers whom she admired, like Christie Brown, and say “Please, I really love your garment could I just put it on and write an article about it.” The influencer industry did not really exist yet in Ghana and so they were happy to let her promote their brands for free. And then one day, Vlisco, the leading brand forAfrican-print fabric, approached her to do a campaign with them and offered to pay her. And so, what began as a hobby, turned into an income stream, and eventually a career.

Influencer is a new career across the continent. While African millennials, like millennials everywhere, reach for their phones first thing in the morning and start scrolling Instagram, they may think more carefully about how much data they are using. They may also lack the ability to buy what they are seeing, not because it’s too pricey, but because they don’t have a credit card or shipping is complicated and expensive. But things are changing. Africa has the world’s fastest growing middle-class. From 2015 to 2030,consumer spending on the continent is projected to double.

Brands need to be ready and in this context, Rida believes that more African influencers will not make it harder for her to make a living in the industry, but easier. The more people that are out there educating brands about the power of influencer marketing, the better. And so, she generously shared three tips on how you can become an influencer.

You can’t go into it initially because you want to make a lot of money.”
In the beginning, you probably will not make any money, and once you start, there will be times when there are no jobs coming in. Until you are established, make this your side-hustle. At this phase, Rida counsels, “Pick something that you love. Use your phone, take some pictures, have a clear story and be yourself.” Followers can tell when you are not being authentic, but if you are, then followers will come, and eventually, so will the paid partnerships.

Start reaching out to brands humbly
Rida says that you need to know your value. If you have 5,000 followers, you cannot reach out to brands asking for $1M. You may even have to do some free work to prove yourself. So when are you “big enough” to start asking to be paid? Rida waited until she had 10,000 followers but doesn’t think that you should wait that long. It’s not just about the number of followers, but how engaged they are.

According to Rida, there are influencers with as little as 2000 followers, but 80% of their followers are seeing their posts, liking, and clicking links. “Micro-influencers can be just as profitable. Once you figure out your system and your stories, start reaching out. Once you put out a couple of partnerships, then you can say this is how many people viewed it, liked it, clicked on the link,” she said. That’s when you can start getting paid.

Don’t buy followers
So how do you go from the 835 followers you have today to 10,000? It may seem daunting, but whatever you do, don’t buy followers. “It’s dishonest. Most people follow people because of the amount of followers they have, so if you are lying about that, you are leading people astray,” says Rida. Not buying followers also makes your work better. When you grow your followers organically you get to see what people like and respond to and what does not perform so well. “It also feels better when you reach certain milestones,” adds Rida.

Rida’s dream is to work in every African country so that people can learn that “in Africa there is a different way of life that’s beautiful, colorful, and so tasty!” You just have to spend a minute scrolling on her Instagram page to understand that this is what she believes and to see the truth in her perspective. Once you know your truth, there is nothing stopping you. Start posting pictures today and you too can become an influencer.

See the elegant style images of staycation edit by our very own Ghanaian based designer, Christie Brown.


Author: Meghan McCormi

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