Social Mixer 2024 Singapore
Is an influencer career sustainable amidst micro content rise, gen AI and geopolitics?

Is an influencer career sustainable amidst micro content rise, gen AI and geopolitics?

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The influencer marketing scene is ever evolving with nano and micro-influencers now taking a piece of the pie of brand deals and collaborations. In fact, 67% of marketers said that they are upping their investment in influencer marketing this year, according to influencer marketing platform Partipost. Of which, nano-influencers have emerged as a powerful force in influencer marketing. So where does this put influencers who have long been in the game?

According to CEO of Hepmil Singapore Adrian Ang and YouTuber and influencer Preeti Nair (otherwise known as Preetipls), there's still plenty of pie left for the OG influencers once you've carved a good slice for yourself. What the early adopters of content creation such as Ang and Nair bring to the table, are storytelling principles that can cut across platforms or formats.

"What we bring to the social media landscape today is experience. Social media has changed a lot over the years," said Ang on a panel at Content360 Singapore. When asked what he makes of the competition, Ang said:

Don't miss: Interview: Porsche APAC’s marketing director on why traditional influencer marketing lacks authenticity 

With nano and micro influencers, competition is good, it pushes the boundaries of storytelling.

"When TikTok blew up, there was this whole new wave of creators and suddenly everybody - including myself - had to sit down and think about how we can up our game, how we can differentiate ourselves better?"

Ang added that the benefit micro-influencers have over the ones with a bigger following is the ability to experiment at a much faster rate. This becomes a learning experience for influencers who can then take some pointers and apply to their own content, said Ang.

When questioned on why he has embraced a niche area such as becoming a dad-fluencer, Ang said he wanted to share his status and experience of a new father, something that isn't often seen in the social media space where mom influencers are more present.

"I love storytelling and I'm just like 'hey, you know, let me just share a nugget of my life right now, which includes my new role as a dad', and the surprising thing is that a lot of people love to see parenthood through a dad's view, because the parenting space usually comes from the perspective of a mother," added Ang.

Likewise, Nair, who began her influencing career on YouTube, has created her brand around being a self-claimed Singapore's top influencer who can do anything and everything. Nair explains that what has worked for her is having fun and having a laugh at whatever content she creates.

Much like Ang, Nair takes the introduction of new types of influencers to reinvent herself and diversify the content she creates, according to the needs of consumers. On top of her long-form videos on YouTube, Nair now creates short-form videos for TikTok and Instagram and has launched her own podcast.

I definitely feel the need to reinvent myself, I feel the need to change it up here.

"With social media, a big part of it has always been trends. So naturally, as a content creator, you always got to know what's going on online. Or what's something that I can do my version of a trend, or how can I make this me," said Nair.

Having a point of view

Whilst the social media and the influencer scene has evolved greatly, it is still an unpredictable job for creators. According to Nair, independent content creators may go through months of not having enough projects or enough jobs to sustain themselves, adding that sustainability has been a concern for her “for quite a while”.

Nair has been dubbed as controversial throughout her career for speaking her truth, and certain views of hers has cause her to lose opportunities, she admits.

“I think the word people used to describe me was controversial, but I think it belittles what I choose to talk about. I don't think any of the things I experienced and shared were controversial but rather how I felt about something or experienced something. If you look at my career, I've been talking about race and minority representation since day one,” said Nair, adding:

“I need to critically think about what I say yes to, what I say no to. There’s the responsibility out there, if you have a certain amount of influence, a certain number of followers."

Nair added that the relationships made after a controversy are far more valuable as the brands are more aware of what she stands for and understands her intentions better. Most recently, influencers and brands alike have been impacted by the war between Hamas and Israel. In Malaysia, brands such as Starbucks and McDonald’s have been facing boycotts. While the impact isn't as strongly felt in Singapore as it is in Malaysia and Indonesia, many influencers are starting to think twice before accepting work with certain brands. 

“It’s so tricky because you always have to think about the relationship with a brand and of course, with everything happening in the world, a lot of boycotting brands and choosing who you align yourself with, that has become a very tricky place to navigate in the last couple of months,” added Nair.

Nair added that for her, what is most important is for a brand to be aligned with her values and morals. "Even if they can’t afford my rates, it's always going to be that I'll try my best to make it work, because I think I am very happy to be aligned with this brand," she said.

Ang agrees, saying that, a sustainable career can be ultimately achieved through brand safety. This may come in communicating certain thoughts, values and principles with a thought-out approach.

“I think for us as the creators, one thing that we have advocated since day one is brand safety. I think we also want a sustainable career as a creator so have to have a very good understanding of what kind of content, what kind of attention do you want to get? What kind of values and principles do you have,” said Ang.

“Looking at society, what do they think about? What will the reaction be? This is an important part of the process because as content creators, we’re not just creating content, you want to make this a sustainable career,” said Ang. “It’s just you being professional, impactful and having all these things well thought through before deciding to put up a piece of content.”

Impact of generative AI 

With generative AI becoming the next big thing, 82% of local Singapore companies surveyed said that the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) has required them to reinvent their business in 2024. This is above the global average of 62%. For content creators, the use of AI has also helped in the creation of ideas.

According to Ang, generative AI has aided him in idea generation as it expedites the process of brainstorming. "Now, you can just put a prompt into ChatGPT and it can give you a really substantial ideas, but of course, you have to refine it. I don't think AI will replace humans or creators, it's just kind of fastens and improves the entire process, which I think is very valuable in this space," said Ang. 

Likewise, Nair said that generative AI has been helpful with market research in a matter of seconds and finding out what content pieces are currently trending, but it does not help her to create content. 

At the end of the day, I don't think you can completely replace content creators.

"The whole point of why creators are even relevant is because people are people. They want the human touch, and they follow you typically for your personality." 

Join us on 12 June 2024 for an exciting experience as Content360 makes its debut in Malaysia! Brace yourself to join the crème de la crème of the content marketing industry hailing from across the region. Immerse yourself in a dynamic atmosphere, and uncover the latest trends with thought leaders and solution providers from the realm of content.

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Faking death and kidnapping: Are influencers pushing marketing gimmicks too far? 

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