SINGAPORE – It is not always a bed of roses behind the glamorous façade of an influencer, according to YouTubers Jianhao Tan and Dee Kosh, host Kelly Latimer, and Taiwanese make-up guru Kevin Chou. The four of them are the mentors for Starhub’s “I Can Be An Influencer” competition, Singapore’s first talent search for social media influencers. The four were at the semi-finals of the competition on Sunday (6 Oct).
Everyone wants to get a slice of the influencer pie but do they really have what it takes?
Debunking the myths of influencers being attention-seeking wannabes or airheads, the influencers spilled the beans on what it takes to be an influencer – and it is more than just hard work.
On the doubt and negativity that comes with being an influencer, Dee Kosh said that the hate from naysayers nowadays stems from being jealous of how influencers can “just post pictures and get money”. He has no qualms about telling these people to “do it themselves if they think it’s so easy”.
Jianhao had a different take.
“I don’t think it’s much of an issue anymore,” he said. “Back when I first started my company, we used to have to do a lot of convincing that this is actually a legit job. Nowadays, you can’t deny the power of influencer marketing. The industry is going to be worth up to $10 billion by 2020. I have seen companies trying to stay away from influencers or social media, thinking that it makes them more authentic. But sooner or later, they realise that this is something they have to eventually succumb to and if they are too late on it, they are going to lose out. A lot of brands are going with influencers now.”
“I would identify myself as a content creator because primarily I make videos. When people say I’m an influencer, I’m okay with that too.”
Being an influencer is not an easy job, according to Dee Kosh, who is also a DJ with 98FM.
Dee Kosh said one must keep updating oneself to be in the know of what is going on. Hard work and being thick-skinned are also very important.
He added, “Social media platforms are technical; there are a lot of algorithms that go into them. Learn it, learn these algorithms and the platforms and how they work.”
All four mentors expressed that it is important to be authentic and be yourself.
“People do not want to meet you in real life and realise you are nothing like what you are online”, said host and artiste Kelly Latimer, who also juggles motherhood alongside social media.
“Viewers can sniff out fakeness in a beat so don’t even try to fake it for long”, said Kevin, who is best known for dishing out make-up advice on Taiwanese beauty programme Lady First and has a following of 54 million on Weibo.
Kevin said that he loves to share tips and knowledge with his followers, so he has never gotten tired of his job and has been doing it for 20 over years. Passion in what you do is very important as well and viewers can see that through their screens.
For them, they get satisfaction from even influencing just one person. Kelly Latimer said that one of her bugbears is seeing a photo without a caption when the person who posted it could have made good use of it. She tries to “include a snippet, a piece of advice or even just a motivational quote”.
Are there days when they just feel like they want to take a break from social media?
Jianhao said, “There are days when you are just in the worst of moods and you don’t want to share anything but at the same time, this is also social media, if you don’t post anything, you will be forgotten so quickly. You always have to stay relevant.”
The top 10 finalists of ‘I Can Be An Influencer’ will vie for the top 3 places by creating creative brand content to market selected products “live” at the Grand Finals on 10 November 2019. Winners stand to win prizes worth over $115,000, including a three-year endorsement contract worth $100,000 by Gain City, the presenter of the inaugural contest.