YouTube whizkid reveals how he racked up 5 MILLION subscribers — and shares tips on how you can do the same
A social media expert who started life as a penniless orphan in east Africa has revealed his top tips for viral success.
I spoke to Zack Ahmed, 21, who moved to the UK in 2009 and has worked globally recognised campaigns with top brands like Adidas, Guess, Sony and celebs and athletes.
In just a few short years, the young man has racked up over 5 million subscribers on YouTube for his clients — and he spoke to me about how he’s done it and wants to share with you his trade secrets.
“I’ve built global YouTube brands for clients that now have over 5 million subscribers, and hundreds of millions of monthly views,” He explains.
“But people are surprised when they meet me, maybe because I originally came from such a deprived background.
“I sit in a lot of meeting rooms where CEOs and executives are double my age or more, but it feels really gratifying knowing that they value me.”
Zack has built countless channels across different industries and platforms. He said: “I just fall in love with the process.
“By now I’ve got so good at building things, after nearly 10 years really, that it’s a lifestyle.
“My top tip? Basically: don’t stop creating, content is king, keep producing and money will come — but be smart with your niches and content formats.
“When I made my own stuff, I got to understand what the right content creators are and what’s really required.
“So I got the best insights of everything from very early on, especially copyrights and fair use guidelines etc.
“It gives me an automatic advantage above the average person in my field.”
Zack believes some people put too much stock into the hocus-pocus of data trends, or — worse still — the vagaries of search engine algorithms.
He said: “SEO, metadata etc. do play trivial roles — but the first and most important thing is to ensure you have the right content and brand guidelines in place.
“There’s no essential secret, but one solid formula is to create experiences and emotive connections with your audience.
“This is a very big part of creating a brand.
“People think with emotion so catch them with a sensation. There’s also no substitute for time spent on the channel you want to target.”
Zack says: “I’ve been on YouTube for nearly 10 years now, so I grew up in the culture. “I’ve seen so many YouTubers and creators come and go.
“People need to realise that you need to take chances for things to work.”
“Continue building as independent creators are on the rise and people are showing more affinity towards them.
“Try to utilise online courses as much as possible. Sometimes they’re only 2 hours long, but they can teach you so many skills you can use straight away.
“Perseverance is also crucial. Similar to when you go to the gym for the first time — you end up feeling sore the next day, but you have to continue going to see any difference.
“It’s so important to keep going in this field too — it’s almost like survival of the fittest.
“It doesn’t matter where you come from, it’s all about where you are heading. As a wise man famously said “If you’re going through hell — keep going”.”
As a final piece of advice, Zack says there’s no shame in working for free, at least for a while — and he still does this sometimes himself to keep up-to-date on trends.
He added: “I earn a good living from what I do now — but I still do loads of free work.
“Some of that is advising global institutions on ways they can improve their digital channels and things like content.
“Doing all this helps me brush up on my knowledge and skills.
“It’s also an opportunity to build commercial awareness and executive skills.
“So yes, do work for free — I know millionaires and billionaires who still do free work.
“Money isn’t everything — you should never become too money-driven.”
“Keep going and stay focused in your own lane.
Not everyone has it figured out, so enjoy the process.”