One of the most popular names in the Indian YouTube circles is Scherezade Shroff. A lawyer by education and a fashion model turned YouTube star, Sherry is an inspiration to many budding YouTube talents in the field of beauty, fashion and lifestyle.
A mashup of creativity, innovation and fun makes Sherry's videos stand apart from other creators. With over 160K subscribers, no doubt Sherry is a busy soul! But our folks at Typito just got lucky and managed to steal some time off her schedule to get some valuable tips on being a groundbreaking YouTuber.
Q1. What really got you into video blogging?
Honestly, it was by accident. I used to model before this and while I was modelling, I used to have a blog. But I didn't really like writing, in fact I hated writing. It was just a way to share my interest in fashion and similar fields.
Around the same time an MCN (Multi Channel Network) approached me and said, "You blog, you model. Why don't you video blog. It's very similar to what you do." At that point, I had not watched a lot of videos of YouTubers. I used to watch videos on how to assemble something, something related to what I do or even cat videos. But there was never a YouTuber I followed or watched. So I didn't really know how this system worked.
Initially I thought it's pretty much like a modelling job, you do a certain amount of videos and that would do. I thought I will give it a shot and started working with them. Over the few months that I worked with them, I started getting a grip of the medium and got involved in the editing and ideation process for each video I did. I figured out that this is what I've been looking for and this is what I should be doing in life!
It was pretty straight forward from there. I started the current channel that I work on which was a huge experiment at that stage. I didn't even have a camera! I used to shoot with my web-camera :D.
Sherry's first YouTube video with the signature 'Hi Guys!' shot using a web camera. And I just went ahead and started creating content without a solid plan. I thought that if I am going to do this for life, I am ready to have my own channel so that I can film whatever I like. That's how I began and it's been going good so far!
Q2. You have built some great rapport with your audience. Can you give some tips to vloggers on how to develop a strong relationship with fans, based on your experience?
Communication with the viewers is key for me. In the last few months, I haven't been able to reply to a lot of comments or make as many videos as I'd have liked since I was busy with my wedding and things have been hectic. Otherwise I try to respond to every comment on every video and I'm getting back to the groove now!
When you create content for your audience - most importantly, you create content that you love and that is a reflection of who you are. At the same time, when you are doing it as a job, you need to listen to the viewers and understand what their responses are.
For instance, I might love to do DIY ('do it yourself') videos, but that might not be what my audience wants to see twice a week, it might be something they'd want to see every 2 weeks. So I guess the only way you know that is by reading your comments, replying to your comments and engaging with your audience. At times I don't agree with them and I convey that with no qualms about it. So it's not always a positive response. It's a discussion and it's great because I feel that's how you evolve and grow. The fact that people can watch your content and not agree with it is something to take in your stride, everybody has their own opinion and I totally encourage that as long as someone is not being rude.
I encourage every kind of opinion on my channel and I think dialogue is very important especially in beauty and fashion. When you're trying to tutor people or tell them what's better and what's to be avoided, people will have questions and it doesn't end with just making a video. For Instance, if I make a video about my skincare routine, I'm stating the products I use, but someone might have a question that is specific to his/her skin type. If they ask me whether something like this behind deep wrinkle filler can help to cover their wrinkles, I can only answer questions like that in the comments because whilst I've heard that it can make such a difference to achieving youthful-looking skin, this type of answer will require a lot more detail so people can fully understand how it works. There's no other way you would anticipate that or will be able to answer it. Skincare is certainly something worth considering if you're planning on being behind the camera sometime soon as you'll want to look your best. Even if you're not, reading Beverly Hills MD reviews will give you a good idea of whether or not you'd like to give such products a shot for clearer, more youthful-looking skin. So according to me, listening to your audience and having a conversation is very important.
Q3. Today you have 160K+ subscribers. Every YouTube vlogger wants to grow their channel and get more subscribers. What do you consider to be some of the most effective ways to do so?
Sherry's YouTube home page is colorful, vibrant and gives a glimpse of the fun loving person that she is.
Honestly, I never put in any kind of money into my channel, it's all been organic growth which is why, I think, it's been slow :D. However I don't think people understand why organic growth is important. At least in India people think, ‘Oh wow this person got 200K or 500K likes in a few months!' While some of them are organic growth, a lot of channels achieve the growth by using paid advertising. I strongly feel organic growth is the best kind of growth because it's sustainable and the kind of people who are subscribing to your channel are genuinely interested in the content. I think this is the best way because the point of building an audience is that it should be a community that shares some common interests. If the subscribers are not genuine then it's not going to work in the long run. At some point you have to let the content do the talking. So I would say the best way to grow organically is to create interesting content, but of course if you're with an MCN then it's a different situation because they're investing in you and could promote your videos.
Q4. You have some of the most fun and wacky video thumbnails on YouTube. What do you keep in mind when creating those?
I think most of it is just the kind of person I am. There really are no filters in my videos with what I say or what I do. It's not like I need to look perfect everywhere and moreover, I don't really give a lot of focus to those things. I try to create thumbnails that I would feel like clicking on as a viewer and I love fun thumbnails :-). I wouldn't choose to click on a serious or pretty girl thumbnail but the ones with some kind of energy in them.
One of Sherry's latest YouTube video thumbnails. Clearly a poster ninja!
And very often I click or just take a screenshot from the video if I feel that there is something relevant. I feel when a viewer is looking at a lot of thumbnails, they're likely to click on the ones that appeal to them in some way or the other. And I make thumbnails in a way that they appeal to me so I'm hoping that that's what my audience would like as well.
Q5. You said engaging with your audience is one of the important aspects of building a YouTube influencer brand. How much time do you spend replying to comments and personal messages?
Sometimes its hours but I don't really keep a track. I try to focus on one platform at a time, it's not just YouTube but there's Twitter, Instagram and other online forums that I've to respond to. On Instagram, at times I don't really respond for 30-40 pictures and then I sit back one day when I've a couple of hours and go on a responding spree! So there isn't really a fixed time but it definitely takes a lot of hours and as you grow there are more comments to respond to. I would say do whatever works for you as per your schedule. I remember there were days when I sat for 5 hours straight just responding to comments. It totally depends, there are some dedicated days when I sit down and catch up on doing all of it but it's never enough.
Q6. You have a great follower-base on Twitter and Instagram as well. How do you manage to engage with followers in all three channels and which platform do you like the most? :)
I prefer Instagram over other social media platforms because I'm a more of a visual person, which is why I enjoyed YouTube more than my blog.
With over 120k followers, Sherry's Instagram page shares a collage of colorful experiences from her life.
For visuals, Twitter is not the space whereas on Instagram it could be anything; just an image depicting your regular life, it could be something where in you're dressed up, it could just be anything. So I really enjoy Instagram and for me social media is not really work. I enjoy posting on social media as a person. It ends up happening almost every day because there's just so much to share :-).
Q7. Can you share the funniest comment and the most inspiring comment you have received for your videos?
Well, recently after getting married everyone has been asking if I've learnt to cook and be a housewife :D. Questions like "are you going to continue making videos" amuses me. Many in India think, marriage is equal to cooking is equal to not working blah blah,' which is not my idea about life. Considering that people have seen my persona on YouTube, I didn't expect them to make such assumptions and that has been kind of funny and shocking at the same time. If it's helping someone it's wonderful and I feel great that I'm making a difference to someone somewhere. That's always an inspiration.
Q8. Who are your favourite YouTubers/Bloggers - anyone who inspires you?
Honestly, I don't watch videos often because I don't find a lot of time. I also think when you watch a lot of people's content then you feel like you should do what's working for them and then it ends up being someone else's idea and not really your own. So I avoid watching videos in the beauty and fashion domain very often mainly because everyone has their own style. However, in general, I love Casey's vlogs. I used to watch a lot of his videos initially when I started out. I also watch Lilly's videos and I'm subscribed to tons of channels and whatever pops up in my subscription I just watch when I have time.
Q9. Many may not know the gruelling schedule and effort you and your team put in to make each video. Can you share how many hours you invest in making each video - time spent in shooting, editing, promoting etc.
Pretty much everyday and it's just like a full-time job. I have 4 videos going up every week, so its crazy! Mondays and Fridays I have my personal channel to work on and Wednesdays we produce videos for Coupling and on Friday I also have my travel channel. It gets a bit hectic because we're always shooting, editing or uploading.
There isn't much time for other stuff. There is stuff that goes on in the weekend and then you've meetings from work. So it's nothing less than having a morning to night job. :D
Well, Sherry's not done yet! There are more YouTube stories and insights coming your way. So whether your future awaits a YouTube career or not, make sure to get some of the best tips right from the expert in the house. And did you guys know that Sherry was nominated for Fashionista of the Year by the Outlook Social Media Awards? Ain't it awesome!
Make sure you leave a comment if you liked the interview.
This interview was conducted by Matthew John and Ankitha Joseph.