‘Influencer‘ is the current buzzword online, with the advent of the emerging technological revolution where everything is digital. It’s become the new ‘in’ thing, especially among SPM graduates who want to pursue it as a full-time career, rather than a degree. It’s easier than ever to become known online through social media – or isn’t it?
Want to know what it’s like being an influencer/content creator? We interviewed Afif Farhan (@afifexp), a Malaysian fresh high-school graduate and up-and-coming influencer with a passion for content creating, on his take on becoming a content creator on Tiktok!
Afif: To be honest, I started making videos a very long time ago. I was inspired by Minecraft YouTubers at 9 years old, then I started dabbling in skits when I was 11, and soon after, I tried storytelling videos. And my YouTube channel got noticed, sitting at about 3000 subscribers.
Afif: Then I got from a comment that said, “You should try Tiktok, I’ve heard it’s fairly easy to gain views and followers”. So I tried it. It didn’t get a lot of viewers, then I stopped and I continued my YouTube thing.
And then after I finished my SPM, I decided to try Tiktok again, because I thought it would be a good opportunity to make content about SPM. And it turns out I was correct. Then I created my first five videos, but shortly after, I wasn’t sure what type of content to make anymore. I thought, if I created content that was different from my original topic, I wouldn’t get any views anymore. But I tried it once, and for some reason, the video which wasn’t correlated to SPM got a lot of views as well – 200,000 views – so I went on with it.
@afifexptying a plastic bag like a pro 😎♬ kiss me more – audios <3
Think about your audience
Afif: I believe that audience engagement is number one, because without the audience, we have basically nothing.
So on Tiktok, to get constantly high views, you have to always think about the audience and how you write your story. It doesn’t just apply to storytellers like me; it can apply to any type of content. But every video, I believe, has a certain storyline that has a plot to it, as simple as it may be. So I believe that every creator should always focus on the storyline – if it connects well, if it makes sense to the audience – whether they can watch the first five seconds of the video and know exactly what they’re getting themselves into.
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Afif: One of the things that got me started with it are the flexibility in working hours. And there’s not much work that goes into making videos. It takes me around three to four hours a day to make a single one-minute video because I try to make as good videos as possible for audience engagement. I think that suits my lifestyle, where I can make videos in the evening and then post them at 7pm.
Connecting with people
Afif: Besides that, I think that the best part is getting to connect with hundreds and thousands of people around the world. When I look at the comments, I would read every single one and it makes me feel good on the inside. It’s like a sense of self-pride for me.
@afifexpmeeting a follower for the first time!♬ Happier Than Ever – Billie Eilish
Income opportunities are scarce
Afif: The misconception everyone has is that people think that I’m rich. But the pay is not good at all; it’s way less than the basic salary. After talking to other Malaysian Tiktokers, if you want to get a decent pay as an influencer, you need to have at least 200,000 followers, and you need to get consistently high views – around 80,000 views and above per video.
Followers > Views is the most common mentality
Afif: Another thing is, Malaysians usually focus on followers instead of views. Companies would focus on and invest in creators with 300,000 followers, even if their views are very little, whereas I believe the view count is the most important thing when it comes to having a social media account.
@afifexp Replying to @sheyizzaty ♬ kiss me more – audios <3
5. What are your thoughts on pursuing a career as an influencer after SPM, rather than getting a degree?
Not a viable active career choice
Afif: I don’t think it’s beneficial to drop out just to become a social media influencer, because like I said before, the pay is not very good. To get a basic salary, you have to have like 200,000 followers on average.
Study and create!
Afif: It’s easier to pursue a career when you’re studying than when you’re already working. When you’re studying, you only have to study for four or five hours a day, and in the evening, you can focus on making the best videos as possible, and learn how your audience works.
Degree = respect
Afif: And usually when people study, they don’t only pursue it for the knowledge, but for the title as well. In Malaysia, people place importance on having a degree, especially in the corporate world. You get to gain more respect the higher you study, so I believe it’s better to continue studying than focusing solely on a career on social media.
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6. What advice would you give to people who are starting out/planning to start out in this industry?
Create to engage
Afif: Do not study the algorithm, but rather, study the audience. Make the best videos you can, and you’ll eventually get there. And I wouldn’t really heavily rely on trends; it will help, but I personally don’t want my life to be controlled by trends to gain viewership. I would suggest to have a healthy lifestyle and work life.
Consistency is key
Afif: Be consistent in making videos – the more frequently you upload, the more followers you get; and the higher your chances are in getting your first 10,000 views, 100,000 views, 1 million views.
Afif: Start early. The best time is when you’re studying and you’re not really loaded with work, giving you more time to focus on content creation and understanding your audience.
“It’s only cringe until you’re popular”
Afif: Your first video, or in fact, every single video you make will probably be cringe. No matter what cringy content you make, when you’re popular, people won’t call you cringe anymore, because you already have a name for yourself. So just keep doing it.
If you’re considering to have a stable career where you get good pay without having a degree, plus making a name for yourself online, why not try becoming a real estate negotiator with us?
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