Building A Community And Connecting Through Storytelling – The Journey Of Salem King
In the digital age, social media platforms have become more than just avenues for sharing photos and updates. It has become a space where communities of like minds are built. Among these platforms is Instagram, an empowering social networking app that has become a home for creators and users who enjoy expressing themselves in new ways.
With social media empowering self-expression, changing the direction of human needs, and encouraging an engaging means of interaction, the rapid rise of the Creator Economy remains a ripple effect celebrated globally.
Today, the growth of the Creator Economy has empowered creators and fans to not only shape popular culture but define it. Content creators build online communities around shared interests, bringing people together, building businesses, creating jobs and livelihoods, and reaching audiences they could never have reached. One such creator is Salem King, a Nigerian content creator who started making content as an escape from his sales and marketing role in the real estate industry. In the process, he saw a community naturally form around everything he shared.
Creators and fans have always had a hand in shaping popular culture, but in 2023, they’ve begun to define it. With new creative tools and features emerging daily on Instagram, audience expectations and young creators are evolving, passions are being discovered, and thriving communities are built around shared interests.
Salem’s journey to becoming a Digital Creator in the Creator Economy began in 2019 when he decided to publish his first of 30 videos in 30 days. While sharing his early days on Instagram, Salem said, “I didn’t know this was a strategy for community-building and swift growth on Instagram at the time, but I just wanted to push myself to break out of my comfort zone. I had 1,500 followers then, but in those 30 days, my following went from 1,500 to 5,000 with just 21 posts. People loved what I was sharing, and I went from being a regular Instagram user to someone who was getting hundreds of comments on a post. I was so motivated to keep going and didn’t stop. About a year into making content, I figured out how to monetize and create systems around making content. I figured I’d give more attention to this thing that I’d come to love very much.”
“I have had a few posts that went viral, but I can’t pinpoint any particular one that made me “blow”. I’ve had high points, though. One time, Don Jazzy liked my video. I don’t know how he found it, but he liked it enough to share it on his page. It was a big moment for me. But every other thing has been slow, steady, and consistent,” Salem added.
Like millions of Digital Creators worldwide, Salem discovered empowerment, community, and new ways to express himself through Instagram. According to Salem, “The first time I ever attended a class on how to grow on social media was for Instagram. I was also really enjoying Instagram stories. It was the first place I started posting to, and I loved that the post would disappear after 24 hours which meant low commitment. It was from Instagram stories that I started making content for a wider audience. Instagram made sense for the kind of content I wanted to make. Naturally, my inspiration came from people enjoying the things I enjoyed. People started asking about my process, how I made my videos, edited them, and how I could give so much value within a short time. Soon enough, I began coaching people on such topics, and after a few months, I started getting the attention of brands who would reach out to promote products and such.”
With a growing Instagram community of over 133 thousand followers, Salem King continues building solid connections and unlocking endless growth opportunities through Instagram. While speaking about his Instagram community and how the app has changed his everyday life, Salem said, “Without my community, there’s no Salem King. I genuinely care about my community, and I relate with them accordingly. The number in my bio isn’t just a number. I’m thinking of every single person. When I started making content, I would respond to every comment. In a post of 500 comments, 250 of those could be mine. And I did so from a place of gratitude. I felt like, “Wow, someone took 60 seconds out of their day to watch and comment on my video? Thank you.” Sometimes I’d look at the commenter’s profile so I could respond in a personal way. This habit endeared some people to me because sometimes I’d run into someone in person, and they’d say, “I’ve been following you since 2019, and I love your content.” I respond to comments because the least I can do is engage back.”
Although the down-to-earth digital creator confirmed that he connects with people easier on Instagram, he acknowledged that he still faces challenges as an Influencer in the Creator Economy, including the ease of access to international markets. From Salem’s point of view, “Living and making content in Nigeria has limited my primary audience to mainly Nigerians. It’s a challenge because the world is increasingly a global village, and I’m still figuring out how to navigate and breakthrough. I’m combating this by strategically collaborating with more creators worldwide and maintaining close relationships with international brands and audience members from other parts of the world.”
Through its interactive features, Instagram has become an online muster point globally where active users can connect with more people, build influence, and create compelling content that’s distinctly theirs, ultimately nurturing an online community and bringing the world closer together. For Salem, Instagram Stories is a feature he enjoys as it helps him stay close to his audience and allows him to show his life in a way he doesn’t have to overthink. “It’s great for community building and selling digital products”, he said.
In May 2023, a Statistica report revealed that out of the 12.2 million Instagram users in Nigeria, 37 per cent are between ages 25 and 34, and 32.8 per cent are 18 to 24. As more African creatives use Meta technologies like Instagram to share their creativity and express themselves, many more teens and young adults leverage the app daily to connect to the people and things they love. While discussing what he considers when engaging his young audience, Salem said, “It’s about what they find valuable and need to see or hear but cannot give themselves. I present myself as a solution in those spaces, tell great stories in relatable ways, and figure out a way to invite people into these stories without taking them out of theirs.”
With great followership on Instagram, he has worked with notable brands like Spotify, MTN, Jumia, and Meta.
Get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox every day of the week. Stay informed with the Guardian’s leading coverage of Nigerian and world news, business, technology and sports.