By Nicola Gallagher for Prime Focus Magazine
The Internet has widened the market for media consumption. Mike Diamonds, a young entrepreneur, has successfully channelled his passions for fitness and motivation to capitalize on this growing platform in order to develop a fitness brand.
With almost 2,000 subscribers on YouTube and over 22,000 followers on Instagram, Mike, a twenty-two year old Namibian who is currently entering his second year of medical school in Russia, is on his way to accomplishing his dreams of expanding his brand and rising to YouTube fitness stardom. After only a year, Mike already makes money off of advertisements that play before his videos through Fullscreen, a program that manages ads for YouTube.
To reach this level of success, Mike has made sure that his brand is something that is personal, memorable and consistent. Through various YouTube videos as well as high quality fitness Instagram photos, Mike has shared his fervour for fitness and motivation to people across the globe.
With a captivating surname, Mike wanted to create a brand capitalizing on its catchiness. Back in his high school football days, his teammates would call out ‘Diamonds’ for him to pass the ball. Mike’s jersey number has stuck as well, as you will find him via @MikeDiamonds23 on YouTube, Instagram and Twitter. Although Mike has only been bodybuilding for two years, he says, “Fitness is a foundation of my persona and has always been part of my life. As an active kid, I played football.”
Mike launched his digital fitness adventure on Instagram and moved onto YouTube from there, “I was inspired by my friend who saw my photos and encouraged me to make videos. I knew that I needed to become more serious about going to the gym and to learn about nutrition to be as resourceful as possible.”
With an ingenious knack for business development,Mike wanted to transcend the banality of most exercise YouTube channels. He says, “I wanted to represent something greater than just doing squats in the gym. Something that incorporated hard work and motivation as well as fitness.”
Mike strategically found his niche and shared it with the digital world. He joined the fitness social media world when it was not mainstream and made it his own. He says, “YouTube content needs to have something to be remembered,” and with a name like Diamonds, Mike has developed a brand that is unforgettable.
The young entrepreneur knows the importance of consistency and stresses the necessity for all his products to emulate the founding elements of the brand, “The logo, videography, as well as interaction with subscribers, all has to be consistent with the Diamonds Fitness brand.” Even his videos start with the same catchphrase.
Mike describes the pressure to keep up with the calibre of the brand and to not let the quality of his videos waiver, “Just like in hip hop, if you only release one hit you will die out.” Because of the intricate creation, production, and distribution process, Mike has help from his friend KK. Mike comes up with an idea, and KK told Prime Focus, “I begin to visualize angles, think of how to edit and then tie it to the concept.”
Carrying on with the music metaphor, Mike compares collaborating with other YouTubers to music artists creating tracks together. Recently, he flew to the UK to collaborate with Sean Thompson, a prominent fitness video blogger. A few years ago, Mike discovered Sean on YouTube and was inspired by his prolific fitness videos.
A large part of gaining a following is staying true to the goals of the channel, while at the same time experimenting with a diverse range of videos. Mike is moving towards including nutrition, interviews, and other types of content on his channel. Mike has also created various series including “Dreams to Reality” which he stresses, “Because my videos are about my life and my passions, people have access to a large part me.”
Through YouTube analytic programs, Mike looks at the demographics of viewers and uses this information strategically. He says, “You have this in your arsenal and are able to create videos that people like.” In terms of viewership, Namibia comes in third behind the US and the UK.
Mike emphasizes the importance of being genuine, relatable, and comfortable in front of the camera. Mike has grown into an entertainer and speaks from his heart.
With all business ventures, challenges arise. Mike has invested a large sum of money in film equipment. However, his investment has reaped great benefits in terms of getting his brand on its feet. Plus, the ads that Fullscreen places on his videos have allowed him to earn back some of his investment.
This millennial looks forward to growing and expanding his brand. With the introduction of merchandise including exercise t-shirts, he has begun to make the Diamonds Fitness logo more visible. Through social media, fans are able to reach out to Mike to get the merchandise as well as to have conversations with him.
Mike finds that YouTube, a place to have digitally mediated face-to-face interactions as well as written correspondence, is the best platform to receive feedback. In reference to the personal characteristic of social media interactions he says, “I receive motivation from people. My hard work is out there, and I can’t hide. People leave comments and want to talk about my brand.”
In Mike’s mind, success does not mean going viral or getting sponsorships. He says, “I just love making videos that have an effect. Whether sponsoring happens or not, nothing will take away my love of motivating my subscribers.” However, Mike hopes that he can attract the attention of Fitness sponsors so that he has the resources to expand his channel and to even put Southern Africa on the map.
As a millennial doing big things in the digital realm, Mike’s advice to young entrepreneurs is to continue working hard. He stresses, “If you have a talent, don’t waste it. Don’t take an extra day to do it either because someone else will do it.”
Finally, with fitness being such a large part of his being as well as his brand, Mike has advice for gym goers, “You have to balance nutrition and fitness, as well as be patient.” Mike further stressed the importance of finding a mentor. With access to YouTube, anyone can have a personal nutritionist and trainer.
Head over to check out @MikeDiamonds23’s videos and photos. Mike’s dedication and his drive to succeed make him an inspiration for all gym-goers as well as people dreaming of starting their own brand or business.