Talk of the influencers

By Iqra Sarfaraz
Tue, 01, 21

As social media became an integrated part of our lives; people are turning to their favourite Instagram stars, Twitter personalities and YouTubers for recommendations. This week You! talks to a few influencers who give an insight to the blogging business…

At record speed, digital technologies have fundamentally changed the way people live, work, learn and socialise everywhere in the world. They are giving new possibilities to people to improve all areas of their lives including access to information; knowledge management; networking; social services; industrial production, and mode of work. Digitalisation has even changed the way people think and communicate. And, the most recent and unique way of modern communication is microblogging.

A microblog is a short piece of content designed for quick audience interactions and microblogging is a combination of instant messaging and content production. With a microblog, you share short messages with an online audience to improve engagement. Social channels like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest are popular platforms for microblogging. Surprisingly, microblogging is even helping many businesses in their promotion. Brands are no longer predominantly working with the big guns that have millions of followers. Now, they are looking for higher engagement rates, better interaction and authenticity to increase the success rates of their digital campaigns. In order to achieve this, brands are choosing to work with nano influencers as well as micro influencers – all of those who have under 50,000 followers.

Social media has given normal people an opportunity to build their own brand through stimulating content and engagement. These new influencers are more relatable than traditional celebrities. Brands are no longer predominantly working with the big guns that have millions of followers, but are looking for higher engagement rates, better interaction and authenticity to increase the success rates of their campaigns.

As social media has become a more integrated part of our lives, influencer marketing has exploded. People are turning to their favourite Instagram stars, Twitter personalities and YouTubers for advice and recommendations on purchasing decisions or life in general.

These influencers are trusted by millions of consumers, and marketers are paying attention. According to the Digital Marketing Institute, it turns out that 86 per cent of them have used influencer marketing since 2017, and budgets for this marketing are skyrocketing.

Sidrah Hammad (@thepoorsophisticate)

Social media has given normal people an opportunity to build their own brand through stimulating content and engagement. These new influencers are more relatable than traditional celebrities. Since more people are joining social media networks every day, companies have realised they can leverage these platforms for marketing.

Keeping this in mind, this week You! has roped in a few microbloggers from Pakistan, Australia and Canada to get an insight about them as microbloggers, how they create content and how has blogging helped stay-at-home moms and women who make a living through blogging worldwide…

How microblogging has revolutionised conversations…

Zahra (@thearchieffect)

Zahra aka @thearchieffect from Toronto, is an architect, interior designer, writer and a mother. She says, “Connecting is a human need as old as the Palaeolithic Age when herd mentality was crucial to survival. People have always loved to talk but what makes Insta blogging or any type of blogging different from traditional conversation is the delayed response. It has brought with it some great aspects where there is a discussion on topics previously considered taboo and not talked about in the mainstream.”

On the other hand, Samreen Essa, who is based in Islamabad and runs a lifestyle blog called @samreenessa, believes, “Blogging has evolved with time. It started with WordPress and Blogspot where we would write about stuff we’d do or wanted to do; it was more like an online journal. Microblogging took over and now we have short and crisp blogs to read.”

Sidrah Hammad, who lives in Sydney and is a mother of two, owns a blog @thepoorsophisticate. According to Sidrah, “Insta blogging has made things instant. In the early days, things that were shared a day later or never at all, are shared instantly. That has made a powerful impact and literally given information on finger tips.”

The era of millennial blogging

Sidra Rizvi (@sidrarizvisays)

Based in Karachi, Sidra Rizvi – with a blog @sidrarizvisays focuses on lifestyle, food, movies, books, travel and fashion – shares, “Millennials grew up with the world at their fingertips. Having access to cameras in their phones, we love recording every part of our lives, be it what food we eat/make or where we go, or even just staying home doing nothing. It is a lifestyle, definitely not a phase.”

With social media gaining a special place in our day-to-day lives, there are many cons to it. While shedding light on this, Sidrah comments, “There are good and bad sides to both things. I love that it is giving youngsters a chance to totally embrace their personalities. That shy kid sitting next to you in class might be total laugh riot on TikTok. But at the same time, the downfall would be that kids are more comfortable at virtual interactions rather than real ones.”

For Zahra, blogging is not a ‘phase’ or just for ‘youngsters’ anymore. She adheres, “It has caught on to everyone like wildfire and if done right it keeps you relevant. Millennials, in fact, are at the greatest advantage within this being the first generation to subscribe to social media and having the best chance to monetise from it.”

The secret behind content creation

Samreen Essa (@samreenessa)

Samreen Essa’s blog has evolved with time. With 72.3k followers, her blog shares a slow and conscious lifestyle of hers. It focuses around her daily life stories and experiences. Her unique attitude of consciously doing less and enjoying more in what she does keeps her followers hooked. “To remain true to myself and not to lose my credibility is my main focus while creating content. I don’t want to fake it till I make it. All my content is raw and it is not something I’d do for Instagram specifically; it is something that has happened with me and I want to share it online with my audience. They love the honest things I share or talk about on my blog,” expresses Samreen.

Zahra’s with 20.2k followers on Instagram shares content which is intellectual and thought provoking. On her blog, she talks about mindful living, parenting, wellness and positivity which makes her blog different in so many ways. “I write to create a connection. For me, relationships and connections mean everything. Everything we know today was narrated to us as a story. I believe in the power of storytelling and always try to leave the reader with something to reflect upon,” informs Zahra.

Having 28.7k followers, Sidrah’s blog focuses on home improvement and management. Her fun attitude and DIY projects is what that keeps her followers always in awe of her. On content creation, she tells, “I always try my best to share helpful content. It may seem trivial but ‘how to make your bed’ or ‘how to deep clean your washing machine’ are topics that need to be shared and talked about.”

We all love food and most of us also like to talk about it because why not! Sidra Rizvi, with 968 followers, talks about her approach of creating content. “My blog’s content heavily revolves around food. Things I try out at restaurants – old and new – or the food I try to make after watching some videos. My approach is to tell a story in a way that my readers don’t get bored,” states Sidra.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) versus reader’s satisfaction

Often when you start a blog and aim at earning through it, use of keywords, hashtags and approaching the right audience goes a long way. However, many bloggers give priority to reader’s satisfaction over SEO. With regards to this, Zahra expresses, “Like they say, over a long period of continuous typing even monkeys can write sonnets. Blogging has two main aspects to it, being seen and being read, and you might say that it’s one and the same thing but it’s as different as night from day. It’s important to adhere to SEO but once someone finds you, it really is all about giving the reader what they are looking for. A delicate balance I would say.”

Similarly, according to Sidra, “Personally, I haven’t been too keen to use SEO in my blog. Unless it’s a sponsored post and it’s required, I tend to let words flow freely for my audience. That said, SEO is indeed a very useful tool, especially if you use your blog to earn.”

Is microblogging as easy as it sounds?

Many female bloggers juggle between a 9 to 5 job, household chores and kids. Keeping a schedule can be very fruitful when one has a lot on their plate. “It does get hard balancing a job, kids and home. I have allocated a day of the week for content creation. If you treat it like a job, you will stay on track,” voices Sidrah.

“Professionally I am an interior designer, and I am self-employed. Blogging is a passion of mine and I like to call it my third baby. It’s part documenting my life, part connecting with the outside world and part telling my story as I go through the day. Maintaining a balance can be tricky since social media is addictive, but discipline and schedules help you give everything its due time,” states Zahra.

“Maintaining a balance can be hard, at times I felt like my brain had been drained of any creativity and I just couldn’t write. Blogging needs a clear mind. Even though it doesn’t take long to write the content, editing pictures and videos is time-consuming,” assesses Sidra.

The perks for working moms & married women

As a matter of fact, microblogging has opened doors for many married/unmarried women who aren’t working or can’t go out to work. It doesn’t need any investment and only making an account on Instagram or other microblogging sites can be lucrative. Also, to earn extra bucks, many working moms are also making the most of it and increasing their surplus. “Scope of blogging has changed a lot with time. It was a renowned career internationally and now blogging is becoming a career in Pakistan too. It is still new here in Pakistan but I know a lot of successful bloggers who decided to quit their corporate jobs to become full-time bloggers and they are totally rocking it,” shares Samreen.

“Women in our society are criticised for the smallest things. Mom shaming, body shaming, being too career-oriented, too lazy, we live in so much guilt that if something isn’t working out for us, we inadvertently think it’s our fault,” chimes in Zahra. “Instagram helps these women connect. I have personally talked to so many of them who feel an increased sense of acceptability and better self-esteem after finding other women in similar circumstances. Also, Insta Blogging – if done right – is a very lucrative market to invest yourself into. It can give you some meaningful connections, a small pocket money and a sense of community. To end up earning from it, you need to have a lot of patience and a great plan. Learning as you go can take you places,” she concludes.