LAST_UPDATETue, 19 Jun 2018 10am

M'sian Beauty Instagrammer Tells Why Social Media Influencers Are On The Rise

Gone were the days where advertising depended solely on TV commercials and magazine ads as the newest ‘influencer marketing’ trend gradually takes over and it packs a serious punch.

In this day age, social media continues to rise in popularity and consumers are not as bothered to look to tradition forms of advertisement but instead, they prefer the advice of other fellow consumers on social media to decide their purchasing decisions.

With the conveniences offered at the tip of our fingers, just about anyone now can create content and build a relevant audience on their social media and publishing platforms like creating quality videos and visual content on their mobile phones, post about their experiences on their blogs, and share that content instantly with millions on social media.

Our social media feeds are now packed with updates of our favorite Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat personalities as these apparent influencers offer insights and their opinions are valued by the tens of thousands. And even famous brands are taking note as they foster and build relationships with these social influencers, teaming up in what has become a powerful marketing solution for brands.

We at Malaysian Digest decided to take a closer look at this growing trend of social media influencers in Malaysia.

Meet Haneesa Aka Neesot, Who Has Thousands Following Her Social Media Postings On Beauty And Make-Up Tips

A social media influencer is someone with an established and loyal following that can help a brand’s potential customers make a buying decision through social networking. These individuals can be bloggers, product reviewers, industry experts, or an otherwise trusted source of information unique to an industry and target demographic.

These social influences have built up their personal brand and audience through regularly posting quality content, resulting in a highly engaged and loyal audience. They also best represent the values of the brands themselves.

We were very fortunate to speak to Haneesa, or adorably known as Neesot, who seems to be the jack-o-all-trades as not only is she an excellent freelance makeup artist but also a very talented singer!

Student by day, beauty enthusiast by night. Everyone wants to know what Haneesa’s up to and her latest makeup obsession. With a growing number of followers, this young and talented beauty has a lot going on for her.

“My career was greatly influenced by my Instagram and Twitter platform as I often share a lot of content there. I used to post Youtube videos but not so much now as my makeup artist job and student responsibilities started to kick in.

“It gets pretty hectic and challenging when you have to balance your work, student, social and family life. But of course it is worth it in the end,” as she shares with us snippets of the life she leads.

Social media influencers are people who create and share interesting or valuable content with the niche audiences that follow them. They might be bloggers with large readerships or socially savvy consumers with loyal followers on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.

And normally, these 'influencers' are well trusted by their audiences as they share what they strongly are favour for whether it's about food, parenting, fitness, fashion, beauty or technology.

But is there a time period for these social media influencers? With the current state of the economy and their relevance in the industry, will the number of social media influencer continue to rise or otherwise?

“I have actually asked myself this before and as from what I see now, advertisements are timeless but forever changing. We may or may not still be relevant in the future but as long as we are all dependent on our social applications, influencers are in good hands,” said Haneesa.

Based on research, there are plenty out there who dedicate their career solely as a social media influencer. As to whether she really sees it as a certified career since technically, a social media influencer isn't listed in Jobstreet, Haneesa said it is possible and it can be if someone is really good and passionate in what they are doing.

“All in or all out. That way, anything is truly possible,” she said cooly.

These days, companies of various brands choose the likes of social of media influencers in their marketing campaign instead of advertising companies or certified beauty writers for publishing companies like CLEO.

Haneesa believes that most companies approach the younger generation especially because they are able to verbally and physically influence more than before towards friends and peers of the same interests.

“We are active, adventurous, fresh, young, relatable, in touch with trends and quite tech savvy so I feel that social media influencers are the perfect medium for brands to have their products or events to be spoken of in the popular culture scene,” said the talented MUA.

Her advice to others out there who aspire to thread the same path as her but are held back due to various reasons, Haneesa stresses on how we must know exactly what we are really passionate about.

“When you discover that, you will make something out of it and from there you can share your ideas and work to the rest of the world. That would then keep you motivated.

“From my observation, the likes of us are rising everyday and I see most of them have the same taste and style just because they want to have a certain persona or image so that they are more relatable and have greater followings.

“However, very few have the courage to be a little different. As for me, I see it as an opportunity as that is how people will remember you. The fact is to accept from the start that not everybody is going to like you but the right people will do and that is all that matters. Your work shouldn't feel like work, but instead it should fulfill you,” said Haneesa, adding that everything else will then fall into place later.

Local Beauty Brand Reveals Why It Depends On Social Media Influencers

As the volume of data available increases online, the more consumers want specific information aligned with their unique needs. Working with social media influencers is a way for brands to reach people whose interests and demographics represent a highly qualified consumer.

Proudly and locally based here in Kuala Lumpur, Velvet Vanity is an independent makeup company founded in 2016. While still new in the industry, Velvet Vanity has managed to grow a huge number of following and dedicated consumers.

Velvet Vanity Cosmetics sells an amazing liquid-to-matte lipstick which is proudly made-in-Malaysia, 100% vegan and cruelty-free. Its sole product is professionally produced and tastefully designed, from its packaging to the ecommerce platform.

Malaysian Digest spoke to Nur Adlina Nadirah, the founder of Velvet Vanity herself, to gain insights and perspectives on the use of social media influencers for a company’s marketing campaign.

“The role played by these influencers are vital due to their large following on their social media platforms. When they are popularly known online, that means they have a specific content in their social media that people like to see and watch.

“So their followers is an audience and to us, an audience means potential customers especially for all those brands that breakthrough online,” said the founder of Velvet Vanity.

Velvet has used social media influencers since they had started which was a year ago. From the beginning, explained Adina, they had taken in these influencers as their major medium to market their brand and create a brand-awareness.

When it boils down to choosing a suitable spokesperson for their brand, Adlina acknowledges how in fact social media influencers has become a trend and there are a lot of them out there.

“But each influencer has a very different content from lifestyle to specifically on beauty so they come in various ranges and Velvet Vanity always does a full proper selection beforehand.

“After we have listed all the influencers, we then filter the list by doing sufficient research from their platforms. If we feel their content is highly relatable with our brand, we then proceed to working together in our marketing campaigns,” she said, adding that Velvet Vanity see these social media influencers as a good medium and tool for marketing their brand.

“We have quite a mix of influencers that we approach. For instance, one that isn’t as verbal but shares amazing product reviews through their photography. But on another case, like Nisha Ezzati, we do take note on influencers who are actively interacting with their followers as well.

“Velvet Vanity’s target consumers are aged between 18 to the late millennials so our social media influencers has to also portray a young and relatable character in order for our brand to grow,” she added.

The credibility of these social media influencers can often come into question as most of them are easily rising to fame for unrelated reasons, for example, like having just a pretty face. So how deserving are these influencers of this privilege?

“I quite agree and believe that especially now when the social media world is growing, there are more people who have a large following in their platforms. But then again, not everyone has the same related content that most companies are looking for.

Velvet Vanity Cosmetics being promoted by a SMIVelvet Vanity Cosmetics being promoted by a SMI

“In my opinion, Velvet Vanity would not work with influencers whose following only grew from a rather less of a deserving cause. And other brands and myself has to always consider this especially when choosing the appropriate influencer,” she relayed, adding that companies have to ensure that these social media influencers’ content is relevant to the content and have good relationship with other brands at the same time.

As to whether she sees social media influencer as a career path, personally Adlina feels that with the rise of online businesses, influencers can survive in the long run as a career path as there are many opportunities growing out there through online businesses.

“Even now, there is a managing social media company that hosts an award show (Influence Asia 2017 that was recently held in Kuala Lumpur) for social media influencers to acknowledge and reward them for their efforts in society and helping brands grow.

“So one day, I believe social media influencers will be considered as a real career,” she said.

“It Is A Way To Speak To Your Audience Without The Risk Of Being Rejected”

Back in the day, advertisers had access to detailed research on consumer habits, values, interests, opinions, behaviors, and other psychographic data that helped them drive purchase behavior and product preference.

Advertisers knew more about marketing channels like television, magazines, and radio than consumers did, but with the advent of social media, times have indeed changed.

Fast forward to the present day, consumers know more about a marketing channel than brands do. Millions of consumers have become dependant on creating, sharing, and using socially-driven content.

Malaysian Digest spoke to Mavis Ong, the senior account executive for Havas Worldwide Kuala Lumpur which is one of Malaysia's leading integrated communications agency.

In the context of local beauty and skincare products, Mavis notes that since beauty products are often seasonal, clients would need to utilise assets outside of the traditional advertising methods.

“This is especially true for brands that are targeting the younger audience, namely from the age of 18-40, as skin care products are very product-centric that rely on reviews, clients express that having the extra touch of human elements to talk about the products is a good way to show the target audience what the product is good at,” she explained.

Since the demographics of today have evolved their lifestyles around social media instead of traditional TV viewing, Mavis sees a need to apply this 'influencer marketing' approach in Havas’s advertising campaigns.

“It will also depend on the nature of the brand itself. For example, if it's FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) products, the need for influencer marketing might not necessary be needed.

“However if it's for brands that need to keep up with the trends like fashion, technology and beauty, it really helps to have a proper and statistic influencer marketing campaign.

“With the amount of information that is being pushed to the public from Facebook to YouTube advertisements to have information being pushed through a social media influencer is a way to speak to your audience without the risk of being rejected.

“Also, cost wise, to hire an influencer is going to cost lower than airing a tv advertisement. Not to say that a tv ad is not needed but for brands that want to spend their noise, it's definitely a plus to have a concrete influencer marketing strategy,” said Mavis.

In terms of marketing and advertising local beauty products, the role of social media influencers is indeed growing healthily, noted Mavis, as brands are tapping into the local influencer marketing.

“A proper strategy is to use local influencers to reach out to the local audiences. Social media influencers has changed from a nice-to-have to a must-have. It is definitely a must to have for brands to not be hidden or forgotten.”

On how much role does 'influencer marketing' plays in Havas’ campaigns or strategies when launching a new brand or promoting a new product range, Mavis explains how it would depend largely on the nature of the campaign for if it were to be a product launch then social media influencers is a definite must have to get the buzz around the product. And if it it's a brand campaign then it will take up about 15% of the campaign weightage.

As to whether she sees the growth of this area of 'influencer marketing' locally on whether it is just a passing phase, Mavis denies this and stated that it has definately changed to a must have for most brands in order to stay important in the minds of consumers.

“I would believe that in 5 years brands would definitely have social media influencers as part of their marketing budget. Although it's still new to the Malaysian market, it is definitely growing.

“With the higher statistic of time people spend online each year, it is certainly a medium to reach the younger audience,” she concluded.

-Malaysian Digest