Social media has become a part of our daily ritual. As much as it was first conceived as a way to remain connected with our families and friends, the platform has pretty much evolved to include (an almost radically new) profession, Influencers.
In Malaysia, it is a growing area of professional interest as more and more people embrace the digital realm. As of the latest figures provided for 2023, it is estimated that 75% of Malaysian online customers rely on influencers to look for solutions & product knowledge.
Some common issues faced by this soon-to-boom market include:
- Lack of brand collaborations and opportunities
- Ability to standout in both international and local competitors' markets
- Low engagement rate and follower growth
While the abovementioned issues seem as though they are controlled by external factors, it is actually possible to turn them into opportunities.
#SupportLocal. To be a successful Malaysian-grown influencer, it is important to establish yourself as a point of reference for brands. Building rapport and your portfolio can go hand-in-hand. Logically speaking, to earn creditability, you will need a community that backs you up in the market that you want to be a KOL (Key Opinion Leader). Brands, especially globalised ones, require the assistance of a native to provide insights on strategies and ideas that resonate. Therefore, it is important to nurture a localised following that values your thoughts.
Begin at ground level and partner with your local brand that is serving the same industry as the bigger brand you strive to work with. Experiment with different content ideas to be in tune with the targetted audience. Smaller brands are typically more flexible with their guidelines because their priority is in gaining market share. Grow together with them, and who knows, their shot at long-term brand fame could be because of you.
Standing out from your competition requires you to be aware of what makes you, You. Translating to the real world from the digital realm, it is the equivalent of answering “Why should I hire you?” It is stiff competition in the influencer industry globally. Unlike many “real-world” professions, this is one career that allows anyone to be “moonlighting”.
There are (and always will be) someone with a better engagement rate, higher follower count and visually pleasing than you are. In order to position yourself attractively, it is key that you build your persona. No one character is the same.
@Kurtiouss, a Malaysian Content Creator illustrates this very well by doing the opposite. Developing a no-niche personality. Dig deeper and it is in fact, promoting a free-spirited, whatever goes and fuss-free character. Watching his videos is addictive because he gives off an extremely fun vibe which people aspire to have. He stands out in the sea of content creators that have certain telling aesthetics that they align themselves with.
… with the age’ol recipe called Consistency. It is really no secret, but to actually follow through and be as consistent - whether in posting frequency or in terms of your persona upkeep. Audiences today crave authenticity and the only way they are able to know is through your digital feed. Therefore, it is important that as an influencer, you stay true to what you aspire to be. If being fit and fab is what you aim for, work towards it and share it along the way. People who follow you through your journey are likely to stay with you throughout and be your testimony of character.
Another approach that you may consider in expanding your reach is to collaborate with like-minded influencers. 2 is always more fun and engaging in terms of content so find someone that you have a good banter with and content-collaborate away!
If you are data-driven, then hop onto analytics and analyse every single bit of information you can get your hands on. Most social media platforms provide a pretty comprehensive overview that should give you a good foundation to test drive your content.
If numbers scare you, focus your efforts on growing your community. Engage with your followers by initiating postbacks. Platforms such as Instagram and TikTok have made it extremely easy to do so, and as a budding successful Malaysian influencer, you should capitalise on it. Do Q&A, stitch videos up or even host Live sessions. Start somewhere.