Katya Lubchik is a businesswoman, Youtube blogger – founder of the “Arbeiten” channel, World Influencers and Bloggers Awards 2020 winner.
Originally from Minsk, Belarus, she has worked as a model since her 18 and won many beauty contests. The YouTube channel “Arbeiten” is a project that looks inside people’s professions and tells about working both for pleasure and money.
Do you remember the day you’ve decided to create your social media account? Was it created for your personal use or blogging purposes?
None of my social media accounts have been created for professional blogging. The first social network that I’ve been actively using was “Odnoklassniki,” which we hardly remember now. Still, a digital bouquet from one of the users could literally make your day back then. If we talk about Facebook, I’ve started using it to boost my writing skills since FB is all about written posts. With Instagram, everything started from simple interest, and I remember vividly the day I’ve created my account there. It was around October 2012 when I’d read an article on one of the American portals, “How Instagram will change our lives” (which totally came to life a few years later), and decided to figure it out for myself. And a couple of years ago, I’ve joined YouTube, which is the only social platform that I’ve set up for blogging purposes – to show different professions, which I would be interested in exploring myself. Also, I’ve recently read an interesting idea of one futurologist, which stated that in 10 years, each of us would have around 8-10 different social networks, which will customize based on our interests. But for now, I’m carefully selecting my channels to avoid defocus since I aim to provide high-quality content for my users. On the other hand, Tik-Tok, Likee, and sensational Clubhouse’s appearance really prove the demand for new social platforms.
How do you manage to stay genuine with your audience, and are there any particular areas of your life that you prefer to keep private?
Honestly speaking, I do not expose 100% of my life. There are multiple reasons for that: lack of time, simple laziness, or even safety reasons. I especially try to limit my family and children’s appearances, even though my children and my husband (especially him) are really eager to join me on my accounts. But I’m 100% honest with my recommendations. I do not rely on advertising to make my living, and social media is not my source of income, so I’m only showing what I really like. Also, I’m happily sharing my work and studying, which is something that can motivate a person for his/her further growth and development. Even myself, I’m constantly looking for some useful information on social media. For example, it can be some unique quote that most people will not even notice, but it can truly change my views on some things. Another crucial moment for me is to recommend only the products or services that I have tried myself.
How much of your time does it take to be an Influencer? And how time-consuming is content creation?
It’s very hard to say how much time it takes exactly since you can’t really be a part-time influencer. You are either a trendsetter or not. The most important things for content creation are your mood and time. There are days when you physically have no time to go on social media, and I am not even talking about reading messages or writing something, but when I’m in the right mood, I can easily share some cool story. Normally, I post about something that happens to me during the day, on my work, as well as some interesting discoveries during my studies (I am currently actively exploring psychology) or some useful tips that I’ve learned. I am also being invited to various gorgeous events, store openings, presentations of some new collections, charity events, and attending various interviews, beauty brunches, and many other interesting activities – those are something that I can definitely share. Also, lately, many people have come to my page precisely for some motivation, which sincerely surprises me. Still, it pleases me at the same time since the motivation for action is something that seems to be a very important component of social media. Does your popularity on the Internet influence you in real life? Do people on the streets recognize you?
That’s a very cool question! I do not quite understand why I should be considered famous or popular. I’m not some sort of Hollywood actress, not a singer, not a scientist who has made some extraordinary discovery (since it seems to me that these kinds of people are the ones that are truly worthy of fame, not bloggers). But I shall confess that this sort of fame did get me in the last couple of months. As an example, one day I came to a sports club, where my coach told me that he did have some people asking him: “Does even Katya Lyubchik train with you?”, which was such a surprise for me, and I’ve wondered how come that people recognize me. But the answer of my coach was: “Believe me, everyone knows you!”, which really made my day. But I must say that I noticed that people are weirdly looking at me sometimes. My husband and I own a Greek restaurant, and I often film my stories and streams there, and lately, people started to stop by there not just to have some food but also to check me out. It makes me feel like Madonna in such moments.
What advertising offer was the most unusual for you?
To be honest, I don’t advertise on my social media, and I don’t have prices for sponsored stories or posts. I stick to these beliefs and tend to keep it this way, even though I keep receiving more and more advertising offers. I’m open to making some recommendations only if I truly like something and did test it myself, and such cases do not involve any money since I have other sources of income. If we are talking about the most unusual offers – once, I was offered to advertise Belarusian beer in Ukraine. I have to mention that I am not a beer lover at all, and, in general, this offer seemed quite strange to me. I often receive different requests from designers, taxi services, dry cleaners, etc. Frankly speaking, it surprises me. Even if you put together all of my subscribers (across all of the platforms), there are not that many of them. But one of my latest insights was the fact that nowadays, advertisers prefer quality over quantity. That’s why when advertisers check out your page, they pay attention to what kind of subscribers you have, how they engage with your stories and posts, and if they are commenting on it. That is why I do need to advertise this Belarusian beer (just joking)! I can’t let my audience down since it’s crucial for me that the person who is watching my channel receives the highest quality content.
What type of offers do you usually reject?
When I am being offered to advertise something, I often go for it, but I do mention right away that they can give me a product for the test, and If I do like it and continue to use it on a daily basis, I will post about it and tag them. And at the same time, I’m being honest with them and warn them that I will not post anything if I do not like the product or service. In the “Arbeiten” YouTube project, things are a bit different. There is a whole marketing team working on it. We are handling negotiations with some large manufactures and conducting agreements for filming on beneficial terms for both sides.
Could you comment on the following statement: lately, the credibility of bloggers has dropped drastically since 80% of them have a considerable amount of fake subscribers, and nowadays, all of the programs that determine the quality can be easily deceived. For this particular reason, the number of big brands is returning to more conservative advertising methods, the reach of which can be measured.
It is difficult to disagree with the statement that the more bloggers and advertisers are on the market, the less we trust them. Even myself, I do, time to time, approach some bloggers for their advertising services and have experienced 0 outcome from such activities or even harm the reputation. Nowadays, there is a much lower amount of trust in the bloggers, especially those who have every second post sponsored. If we talk about me and my social media, I do not position myself as some sort of a super blogger. I do not have that many subscribers, but they are all real and truly interested in what I have to say. They do not comment on things like “oh, how cute.” Instead, they express their opinion on what is happening. If you look at my audience, you can see that most of them are successful people and are more than 18 years old. That’s what most brands are looking for. Lately, it isn’t easy to stand out on such platforms as Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube, to be remembered. So that people come back to your page to buy something, especially since a big amount of advertising can be quite overwhelming and annoying to your users. That’s why globally, all of the brands (from small local ones to large corporations) are forced to invest in their creativity, since it is the only way in the marketing to save them, along with the quality of the product/service.
What social network is the most influential, in your opinion?
It’s hard to say since each of them has its own niche. In my opinion, if we talk about advertising and its influence on the users – Instagram is still holding 1st position. Teenagers are obsessed with Tik-Tok celebrities. Meanwhile, my five years old son is constantly asking to spend some time on Likee. Although both Tik-Tok and Likee are still quite a mystery for me, since I can’t force myself to start randomly jumping with the music, and now added to all of that, we have the Clubhouse, and maybe in about half a year, we will know what it’s all about.
What do you consider to be the highest peak of a blogger’s success?
In my opinion, the peak of a blogger’s success would be the moment of moving from simple blogging to taking your niche in the industry, as an example launching your own makeup brand, as Kim Kardashian successfully did, since she goes sold out globally within seconds. Another example can be Nastya Ivleeva, who has launched her TV show that gets a record amount of views each time since all of her subscribers watch it. Another point of success for bloggers, in my opinion, is when your social media fame transitions into the hight quality revenue source.
How to be open with an audience of millions? And how to deal with haters, and is it even worth it?
It was quite difficult for me to open up at first, and at the beginning, I’ve been redoing my stories 75 times since it seemed that something was constantly wrong (nose is no straight enough, eyes are looking the wrong way, etc.). The only advice that I can give here is to keep recording as much as you can. At first, I thought that I’m using some weird phrases, but when you say it more than 50 times, on the 51st time, it won’t seem that weird. For example, “Subscribe to my channel” and “Like it” were the most difficult ones for me to ask for. I was constantly thinking, “OMG, why am I doing it.” But nevertheless, at some point, you just stop being triggered, and everything goes naturally and smoothly. I definitely don’t look at my nose or checking what’s wrong with my face. If I’m cool with my emotions, that’s more than enough! As for your second question, I almost do not face any haters. And even if I do face some, I am pretty interested in having a conversation with this person. Although I realize that it might be a bad idea and after a while, I will get tired of answering. But for now, I’m curious and use it as a chance to prank them. Sometimes I even benefit from such comments. For example, once I’ve read a comment under one of the Arbaiten project’s videos, we talked about the profession of a barista in one of the street coffee spots. The person was saying, “Of course, they would show everything in a perfect condition when the blonde with a camera and money showed up.” After that, we’ve changed the format and started shooting differently. Now we are trying to avoid shooting without a huge team and tend to film with a phone sometimes so that everything is as true to life as possible.
What inspires you to post?
At the very beginning, I was trying to force myself to write content plans, develop strategies. Pretty much, I’ve been trying to behave like a professional blogger. But there is something significant I must say about it – such moments were forcing me to stop enjoying the process and lose my inspiration right away. That’s why I do not have a clear plan and write about things that did inspire me or caught me in the moment. For example, the other day, my husband and I went to a Michelin restaurant, and as one of the main dishes, I was served with a sliced piece of cheese on a plate. Of course, I couldn’t resist posting a story about it, and right away, I’ve received a bunch of reactions. Everything happened at the moment, and I feel like it should be this way. As for my “Arbeiten” project, here we are referring to the requests of our subscribers. We do various polls on what professions people are interested in hearing about and later creating an entire episode dedicated to it. Additionally, we do celebrate the holidays devoted to certain professions and share some exciting life hacks about work.
Do you work on your style yourself, or do you have a professional stylist?
I create my style on my own. I guess I was lucky to some extent since I worked as a fashion journalist at the Paris and Milan Fashion Weeks for ten years. That’s where I had a chance to developed specific skills and decided on what I do like and what suits me. I’m attracted to everything that can be considered strange and very unique. Also, it often happens to me that some of my clothes can be hanging in my closet for 3-4 years without wearing them, and suddenly five years later (when it is considered to be out of style), I start to wear them every single day. That is my style.
What is the most frequently asked question on your social media?
The most frequently asked questions are about clothing brands that I am wearing, even though I find it very weird. For example, I can post some photos and suddenly get a comment: “What is it on your hand?”. After this, I find myself figuring out what’s on my hand. It can be the smallest pixel shining. But it turns out that the person has already figured out what sort of bracelet it is and describes what kind of customizations those bracelets have, how much it cost, where it can be purchased, and happily shares this information with me. In such moments, I am just being impressed with how much free time some people have. Also, I am often being asked about my family and my husband or how I achieved my success. People are also curious about those professions that we are showing in the “Arbeiten” project, what we already cover, and which ones we will show next. By the way, when we are filming new episodes of “Arbeiten” and covering some new profession, we are often being asked how to get this particular job, where can they submit the CV and even asking for the direct contacts of the employer. Thanks to our page, people can get a job, and that’s inspiring.
What was the funniest comment that you can remember?
My husband is usually the author of the funniest comments, even though he is not a public person himself, and his personal accounts are closed. But when he comments on something, it is usually the funniest thing since he is aware of different insights, which he actively uses in his comments.
Do you personally think that celebrities should share their daily life on Instagram? Or should they post only best looks and professionally done photos?
Based on the experience of my page, some cozy personal photos with family members give a much more extensive reach comparing to professionally done photos, even by the most talented and famous photographers. For that particular reason, so many celebrities are using this trick and keep breaking up, getting back together, getting married, and divorced simply to warm up their audience. In such cases, it’s much more about the users’ reaction than about the true meaning behind that photo. For example, if you post a photo of a baby’s feet while everyone knows that this celebrity was pregnant – this picture will be a 100% success and will go viral. At the same time, if I open a new store and post a photo from this place, it is also being actively commented on and highly interests the audience.