Adam: Thanks again for taking the time to go behind the brand. First things first, though, what is something about you that the many people who follow you don’t know?
Markian: I used to be VERY shy. I was the kid at the back of the room at dance parties, I didn’t have many strong friendships, and definitely didn’t have the confidence to approach strangers. Now people don’t believe me when I say this! Making Youtube and Facebook videos has caused a complete 180˚ flip in personality. I became a lot more outgoing by leaving my comfort zone and creating adventurous videos in public!
Adam: How did you become an “influencer”? What is the inside story?
Markian: I don’t have the traditional story. Most creators start by being a bored teenager and flipping on a camera in their room. In my case, I created my first Youtube channel after building a monetization platform for Youtubers called Subscriber Club three years ago. It made sense for me to start a channel in order to reach out to Youtubers and understand how they work. I then saw the value in creating content and building a following so I’ve been making videos ever since! However, I switched from Youtube to Facebook 1.5 years ago after realizing that my Facebook following was growing a lot faster.
Adam: What advice do you have for those interested in working with influencers? How do you do decide who to work with?
Markian: Do you mean working with brands or other creators? I’ve collaborated with many creators of all sizes. I just tell people to give me a good video idea and we’ll do it. In terms of working with brands, I collaborate with brands who would be a good fit with mine. For example, similar young adult demographic, have a meaningful purpose, display positive branding.
Adam: What advice do you have for those interested in becoming influencers?
Markian: Just do it. Don’t wait for the perfect moment because you’re wasting precious time. Another important piece of advice is to have a unique positioning. There are so many creators now and you need to stand out by differentiating yourself and your content. And finally, you have to be 100% committed and work hard. It’s not a hobby, it’s a job (if you want to become a full-time influencer)!
Adam: What is the biggest misconception about the influencer world and life as an influencer?
Markian: People don’t often realize the work that goes on behind the scenes. It may seem like I just post two videos a week and that’s it. But there are a lot of business decisions going on, emails to respond to, strategies to work on, and a whole fan community to respond to.
Adam What has being an influencer taught you about branding and marketing?
Markian: I’ve learned a lot about branding and business (more so than in my college classes). First of all, you need to be unique. I differentiate myself by inspiring people to smile. That is the purpose of my videos and I’d hope that you get that message at first glance at my Instagram. Secondly, you need to be unconventional. There are no guidelines, you are not following your boss’ orders, it’s all on you. Get your videos out there by cold emailing publishers, network with professionals who would want to collaborate, add a viral twist to make your content trending. I guess that’s the entrepreneurial life…
Adam: What are your hobbies and how have they shaped you?
Markian: Soccer is my sport. I’ve played soccer my whole life growing up in Russia, Spain and Hong Kong. I played for USC’s team but now I have stopped to focus on my business. One of my life goals is to become a professional FOOTBALL player (or soccer whatever you want to call it). So look out for Markian Benhamou wearing number 5 in five years.
Adam: Who have been the biggest influences in your life and how do you pay it forward?
Markian: My parents are definitely the biggest influences. Everything that I have learned about business has come from my entrepreneurial dad. He also passes down a lot of wisdom and in making decisions based on what kind of life you want to live. My mom is the extroverted people person in the family that my sister and I are always told to learn from. On the social media side, I’m constantly inspired by my two favorite creators Yes Theory and Nas Daily.
Thank you for letting me share my story and keep smiling!