Interview with an Influencer: Vicky Banham

What do you do, and how did you get to where you are?

Okay well, I wanted to be a makeup artist when I was around 13, so that was what I wanted to do with my life and school became completely irrelevant… I just wanted to play with makeup! Then when I was 17, I was introduced to content and making videos on Facebook and I just thought I’d post and see if anyone liked my makeup, but still with the aim to go into makeup artistry after. But then it just kicked off, my first video on Facebook got 13,000 views which really boosted my confidence. It’s not a huge amount now, but for someone sat in their bedroom it really was. Then it just kind of kicked off from there, I was trying to get 1,000 likes by Christmas from May; I ended up then getting 10,000 by October so that was really cool. I then just kept on making content and then in February I was introduced to musical.ly, which is kind of a kids app, and since being on that I’ve hit 170k which is really cool. So that’s basically where I am at, still making makeup videos as well as sketches, lip syncing on musical.ly and that’s it really.

So who first introduced you to musical.ly?

Craig Fox, we had a meeting and he told me all about it.

What sort of brands have you worked with in the past?

So I did some work with Tropic, which is a skincare brand, and I also did some things with the FA and X Factor, and Feel Good Drinks I’ve done some things for. I haven’t really been focused on getting brand deals and I’ve just been working on growing it, so I figured that throwing ads and spons in my follower’s faces wasn’t going to help that really. So I’ve just been working up to it and now is the time I feel I can really do it.

What’s your favourite type of content to create?

I love the back pieces I create, like this one here, and well watching them on musical.ly, I love doing that.

Is there something you wish brands knew about you personally before working with you?

I wish they knew the force of musical.ly, because obviously I’m so passionate about it and I think it’s amazing. But it’s difficult because it’s such a baby in terms of apps, so brands are wary of using it. That is something I can guarantee will be 10/10 in a campaign but it takes some trust.

Musical.ly is quite a young platform, in terms of its audience, do you think there are any ethical considerations when advertising on there?

Yes definitely, I think you have to consistently keep in mind who the audience is, but that comes with any platform to be honest. Say you’re on Instagram and you’ve got a strong 13-year-old audience, you wouldn’t go promoting an alcohol or sports/body image brand. You have to be naturally aware of who you’re pitching to, so in that sense, musical.ly would be a great place for a kids-type products, whereas on Facebook now, there are no kids now under the age of 16, so for that sense it is a great way to reach that audience that is unreachable on other platforms.

Would you consider yourself a role model to that audience?

Haha, no, I consider them like my friends. When people message and get freaked out saying “oh my god, a famous person is replying to me” I just think, I’m their mate online. I think I took that inspiration from Jenna Marbles, she’s a role model for me and I love what she stands for. On musical.ly I’ve taken that insight to get people to chat with me, we’re internet friends.

How do you keep engaged with them across all the different channels then?

Oh my gosh it’s hard, Snapchat is the main one, when I live stream, for example, I’ll say hit me up on Snapchat to see what I’m up to after this, or if people have any questions I’ll reply. On musical.ly, because I post daily, that counts as the communication, I find it is so personal, especially as the app itself is such a community.

So if you hadn’t of gotten into this, do you think you would have gone into makeup artistry?

Yeah but I don’t think I would have enjoyed it. If it was a film or something really cool, where I get to meet people and it gets to be shown. I think that’s the main thing, subconsciously though because I didn’t really think about it before. If you think about it, content creation is where people can see it on a wide scale, as with film and music videos, people are seeing it on a wide scale. The only thing with content is that I get the comments direct through to myself, rather than just doing it and hoping people like it, I know they do. I just like compliments!

Yes I suppose that is the thing about social media, and everyone becoming their own publisher and can manage the worldly perception of themselves, how do you manage that perception online?

Well, when I first started I didn’t manage it very well, it was a weekly conversation to say “I’m going to quit, I can’t do it anymore!”. But I think it’s a good thing that negative comments, especially, come through as I used to be so bad at dealing with negativity, whereas now if someone makes a comment, even the stupid ones about my appearance, I just can brush it off because I’m well aware of how I look. Now I’m just not self-conscious and I don’t care what they think. Sometimes I’ll get comments when I do artistic pieces, for example over Halloween I did a lot of artistic work before going back to daily stuff, and people said: “oh we preferred your artistic stuff”. Which is kind of a backhanded compliment, as they don’t like the daily stuff, but they really enjoy the other stuff, so it’s good to know what I’m good at and what people like to see.

It’s interesting to listen to your followers and then show what they want, whereas a lot of traditional advertising would be pushing what we think people want to see, on them. Do you find that being able to know what your followers like, and reflecting that, makes social media a better platform?

Yes definitely, in terms of the FA campaign, it was about dancers and the whole time I said, “I’m not a dancer and I haven’t danced since I was about 12”. But they were fine and said it doesn’t matter, so my persona on musical.ly is silly anyway, I’m a big kid and I made the content authentic to that. It actually turned out to be one of my best performing videos, and it was sponsored. So in that sense, if you just keep in mind what they want, and what they like from you, which is personality. So before, had I of had that come through 6 months ago when I was unsure about who I was online, I would have done it really seriously because it was paid. Now I’ve learnt that just because someone’s giving me money, it doesn’t mean I change who I am.

So retaining that authenticity online is important to remember when dealing with brands?

Absolutely, I think so, because there is no point in somebody, for example a watch company coming to me and asking me to post on musical.ly, if I acted really seriously and just said ‘look at this watch’ it’s so not me. Whereas with the FA, I was jumping about my lounge and still having fun myself, which I think is really important for content creation, because if you’re not having fun, what is the point?

And finally, how is it working with Goat?

Very good, my main thing is really the communication, it’s really 10/10. With the latest campaign, it has been a bit complicated, but I’ve been messaging Nanna left right and centre, and she’s replying every time, keeping me informed and saying ‘can you do this or that’ and it’s so good. Whereas sometimes you get people who give little direction, and it’s difficult to figure it out. I’m a big fan of specific directions, which can be annoying for some people when I’m asking 100 questions, but at least then I can deliver a piece of really good content.

Awesome, well thank you very much for joining me for Interview with an Influencer!