How Can You Become a Social Media Influencer in Southeast Asia?

Fighting for eyeballs is one

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BY Pauline Mendoza - 23 Feb 2018

How Can You Become a Social Media Influencer in Southeast Asia?

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Whether it’s during their long commute or simply killing time, people look at their phone screens every single day. They scroll through hundreds of posts on their social media feed so it’s no surprise if your next meal or today’s outfit is inspired by a blogger’s Instagram post.

There’s no denying social media’s reach in Southeast Asia. Jakarta, for one, ranked 8th in the most-Instagrammed cities of 2017 published by Instagram on its blog. Over time, influencer marketing has gotten even more attractive to brands. But how does one become a social media influencer in Southeast Asia?

Fight for eyeballs

“Sixty hours of content is uploaded to YouTube every minute — it’s so hard to fight for eyeballs. [Aspiring social media influencers] have to be more creative and more innovative with their own content. At the end of the day, it's content quality that matters,” says Yuhwen Foong, founder of Sushivid, a Malaysian start-up that connects influencers to brands.

“If their content is entertaining or educational or impactful in any way, there is nothing to fear. If their content is bad, and they don't change their ways, they will naturally fade away,” Foong says.

With 95,000 Instagram followers as of this writing, Bali-based photographer Tino Renato shares how he comes up with stunning photos, “I don’t shoot what it looks like, I shoot what it feels like.”

He says that life is full of simple things that people can relate to — raindrops dripping down the window, donuts, or even tea — but these are the ones that take the most effort to capture in photographs.

Social media is saturated, and content creators have to continuously differentiate themselves. They must aim for high-quality posts that can transcend from screen to heart. Followers don’t just come, they are earned by creating value.

Be authentic

Put as much content as you can out there. Let people know about your work and what you’re passionate about. With social media, you’ll never know where your content can take you.

“I get brands to partner with me by making great content and letting them know about my work,” Renato says. “I have my portfolios on wedding, interior, travel, still, and portrait posted.”

Lastly, be authentic.

Authenticity ensures influencers hold engagement because audiences trust them. In an earlier interview with Inc. Southeast Asia, Aaron Brooks, co-founder of influencer marketing firm VAMP, says the best content creators in the influencer industry are the new A-listers.

“Their higher engagement rates prove their stories are more compelling to everyday people than traditional celebrity,” Brooks says.