I still can’t believe I am an influencer, machan: Niharika NM on crossing one million followers
Niharika NM talks about her real-life parents, her journey to becoming a social media star and much more
Niharika NM talks about her journey to becoming a social media star and gaining one million followers in 2 months

I still can’t believe I am an influencer, machan: Niharika NM on crossing one million followers

Niharika NM talks about her journey to becoming a social media star and gaining one million followers in 2 months
  • Advertising and Media Insider introduces you to its latest property, The Influencer Adda, where we speak to social media stars who have made it big -- about their journey.
  • Today, we speak to Niharika NM, a social media star who has been winning hearts on the internet with her honest Instagram Reels.
  • She also completed an amazing feat of touching one million followers in just two months.
  • We spoke to us about the inspiration behind becoming a content creator, her real-life parents, sense of responsibility that comes with one million followers, sang her favourite Indian jingle and a lot more.
Niharika NM made surviving 2020 a little bit easier for us with her sass, humor and rant. She recently became the fastest-growing content creators on Instagram by touching 1 million followers in just two months. The fact that Niharika went from 100k to 1 million in just two months testifies how much the internet is obsessed with her. So, for our second episode, we did not need to look any further; Niharika was an obvious choice.

We reached out to Niharika to get her to spill the tea behind her amazing feat of crossing one million, get a peek into her real life and ‘Reel’ life, and we got her to sing her favourite Indian jingle.

“Honestly, I have no idea. I genuinely do not know how whatever happened, happened. Whenever someone calls me an influencer, I ask, ‘Who me?’” says Niharika on crossing one million and becoming an influencer.

She is quite content with her growth trajectory and aims to just make her audience smile a little, one video at a time.

“I just bring whatever I do offline, online -- be it my energy, personality or the type of jokes I crack. Whatever I say to my friends I just bring that online and I am just glad that people can resonate with it to a point that we were able to get to one million in two months. I still can’t believe it. We just did that, oh my god,” adds Niharika as she looks at her phone in awe and surprise.

However, having an influence on one million people also comes with its own challenges.

On whether she feels a sense of responsibility towards her fans, she nods. “I do. In terms of content, I want to be able to give the best I can to them. They give so much love and support and I feel I don’t want to disappoint them even with one video. So I put a lot of pressure on myself that this video needs to be perfect. I need to edit out this one second or it might be too long. I am very particular about those little things. I just hope I don’t disappoint them because I am scared of disappointing them. But I am also aware that I can’t impress them with all of my videos. So, I make sure that I remind myself that I need to create content that I am proud of and hope that people will like that.”

As a social media star, you constantly weigh your progress with the kind of numbers you achieve: you keep a tab on views and shares on each video. On top of that, comedy is also very subjective and we Indians love trolling from the comfort of our homes -- sitting cooped up inside our blankets and behind our screens.

Niharika has already learnt how to not get lost in the number game.

“I didn’t even expect a quarter of the numbers we are getting today. So I am very grateful for everything that’s happening. I am not greedier. For now, I just focus on my content and don’t check the number of likes and views too much because I know it can get a little overwhelming to keep. So, once I upload a video, I just ignore it. I don’t check how many views it got, nothing. I upload and I am like ok, onto the next one now.”

Between studying in the US for MBA and creating content regularly, Niharika only gets 4 hours of sleep everyday. Luckily, we caught her on the day when she had slept soundly for 8 hours, which Niharika says is quite rare. (Maybe we are her luck charm).

“Honestly, I want to say I do sleep because my mom is gonna be watching/reading this and she’s gonna be worried, but I don’t have the best sleeping schedule. I am really not proud of it. Functioning between two time zones, it gets a little difficult but I get at least four hours of sleep a day,” shares Niharika.

She started her brand journey with Daniel Wellington when she only had 5,000 followers. That was the first time she felt, “Wooh, I am an influencer.”

Now, she is hoping to get a brand deal with Nike or Adidas: two brands that have always been on her vision board.

From joking with friends to joking in front of one million virtual people

Niharika found her inspiration in people around her. Her friends and family are her biggest cheerleaders. (Where can we buy such friends, da?)

She takes a real-life inspiration and turns that into a video. It is because of this relatable content that Niharika tasted the sweet fruit of success much quicker than a lot of other influencers. She is honest and rants about little hurdles in our life.

On finding the route to content creation, Niharika says, “It was never a plan per se. When I was in engineering in second year, I used to crack all these dumb one-liner jokes to my friends and at that time, they told me that if I could make money out of this, I would be super rich. I’d wonder who would employ me for this. That’s when YouTube was becoming a thing and I jumped on that bandwagon. It got difficult to juggle between academics and YouTube, so content fell off my radar. I realised that I can make short-format videos, I tried my hand at it. YouTube was my creative outlet and it got big all of a sudden.”

Turning everyday life stories into Reels and her beloved-character Mom

“I don’t have a process. I just talk to my friends and family for inspiration and they are all so animated, over-the-top. They are such clowns that I tend to find content when I interact with them. I just call them and ask them about their day, they’d complain about something and I make that into a video. I just make a list of ideas on my Notes App whenever I talk to them,” says Niharika.

Her recent video about random uncles gargling and making weird sounds was inspired by her father’s friend.

Her most loved character, her reel-life mother, which was also the first character she wrote, is a little exaggerated. She says that the audience enjoys her mother character more than ‘her as a person.’

“They say, can you do that again? We like the mom better,” chuckles Niharika.

Telling us more about her real-life parents, Niharika shares, “My characters are a little bit like my characters. They are exaggerated for comic-timing and to make it funnier. Most of the dialogues are what my parents have said to me before -- just my expressions are exaggerated. At the same time, they are quite chill but they are savage.

Niharika is fondly called ‘Honey’ at home and growing up, when Idea dropped its most-love jingle, ‘Hunny Bunny,’ her parents and relatives found the perfect pop-culture reference to annoy her.

Revisiting her childhood days, she sang her favourite jingle for us.

“You are my pumpkin-pumpkin, hello hunny bunny. Honey was my nickname at home and it became easier for my family to sing that jingle to get my attention. I used to hate. They would be like, ‘Hello Pumpkin, Pumpkin.’ So, I love that jingle,” recalls Niharika.

Vision for brand Niharika and tips for budding creators

Her focus in 2021 is to focus more on long-form content.

Sharing her vision, Niharika says, “I wanna get back on my YouTube game and try my hand at long-form content. I also want to be able to start a content-series on Instagram that very ‘me’ and not just Reels. Hopefully, also be able to experiment with blog-style content. That’s as far as my brain has thought for myself for this year. Hopefully, something cooler will come across.”

About personal growth, she wants to focus on becoming a little less co-dependent. After the pandemic and moving to LA away from her parents, she realised that she is a very people-person.

“I am very co-dependent on my family and friends. I hate being by myself and love being around people. After the pandemic, I realised that I can be by myself and it isn’t as bad as I made it seem. Having said that, I’d like to be around people.”

Switching to her South Indian, she added, “You know those kind of people who go to watch a movie alone or go out for a meal, I don’t get how they do it? I would be awkward by myself. So, my 2021 resolution is to be a little more independent.”

Her advice to budding content creators is a simple mantra she follows. “Be yourself and make content that you are proud of. Do what makes you happy. You will find people who appreciate you, for you. Don’t stress. There’s enough space for everyone on social media. Follow your own path and do not care about people’s opinions -- opinions are not facts. Do your thing,” she concludes.

(And that, dear reader, is our 2021 resolution too)