FOL­LOW THEIR LEAD

Who says only young peo­ple can be suc­cess­ful in­flu­encers? These mums over 30 prove that putting their au­then­tic selves on so­cial me­dia can be a win-win formula.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - C Ntents -

Who says only young peo­ple can be suc­cess­ful in­flu­encers? These mums over 30 prove that putting their au­then­tic selves on so­cial me­dia can be a win-win formula.

Leanne Ho was 40 when she signed up for an In­sta­gram ac­count.

Her first photo was a bot­tle of SK-II lo­tion which she placed un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously on her toi­let seat cover. It got just a few dozen “likes” at first. But it was enough to spur her on.

Five years and 4,260 posts later, Leanne has amassed a fol­low­ing of 60,100 on her In­sta­gram ac­count @love­forskin­care, with each post of a beauty prod­uct typ­i­cally gar­ner­ing be­tween 400 and 1,000 likes. She also has a beauty blog of the same name that grabs thou­sands of eye­balls a day.

To­day, she is pur­sued by hun­dreds of cos­met­ics and life­style brands. Many of­fer her free­bies or a fee to have their prod­ucts fea­tured on her plat­forms. On top of that, she gets in­vited to write for mag­a­zines, sit on beauty-award judg­ing pan­els, and be in­volved in prod­uct tests and launches.

The fact that she’s 45 and a mother of two only strength­ens her cred­i­bil­ity and ap­peal.

“If I had let age stop me from em­bark­ing on so­cial me­dia, I’d have missed a beau­ti­ful, en­rich­ing jour­ney,” she says.

STRANGERS WANT A PHOTO

In a land­scape awash with teenage and 20-some­thing in­flu­encers, Leanne is one of a grow­ing num­ber of life­style in­flu­encers in their 30s, 40s, 50s and be­yond who have fig­ured out how to break into the game.

In­stead of sell­ing their youth and pop­u­lar­ity, these older folks are sell­ing their wis­dom and ex­per­tise, or sim­ply the “re­al­ness” of liv­ing, rais­ing a fam­ily, hold­ing a job and deal­ing with age­ing.

And there are huge swathes of au­di­ences who would rather lis­ten to them than young baby-faced in­flu­encers.

Older women who’ve fig­ured out how to dress fash­ion­ably but age-ap­pro­pri­ately, fa­thers strug­gling to make their chil­dren do their home­work, or housewives de­cid­ing be­tween which brand of soya sauce is health­ier – all have the po­ten­tial to find a fol­low­ing on­line if they can write well, take good pic­tures and aren’t pub­lic­ity-shy.

Diah Mas­tura Roslan is what one might call an “In­sta­mum”. At 36, Diah has amassed 41,300 fol­low­ers on her In­sta­gram ac­count @etran­gle, which is also the name of her pop­u­lar blog.

Like Leanne, she gets paid to fea­ture prod­ucts and events. Un­like Leanne, Diah writes on a whole range of fam­ily and life­style goods: While she gets to test beauty prod­ucts, her chil­dren get free clothes, school gear, birth­day par­ties and even braces at the den­tist.

Ex­cept for very pri­vate mo­ments, most things in her life are not off-lim­its to her on­line au­di­ence, so much so that strangers of­ten ap­proach them for pho­tos.

She some­times posts videos of her­self dis­ci­plin­ing her chil­dren. In­stead of get­ting flak, she gets thank-you notes from fans for show­ing them the re­al­i­ties of rais­ing chil­dren.

She says: “It’s important to be some­one whom oth­ers can re­late to. It’s important to show the messy side of life.”

Sim­i­larly, Ka­mana Bhaskaran, an Amer­i­can, moved from Wash­ing­ton DC to Sin­ga­pore al­most a year ago, and has used the op­por­tu­nity to blog about liv­ing and work­ing in a new coun­try.

She doc­u­ments her life on all the ma­jor plat­forms: Face­book, Twit­ter, In­sta­gram and Pinterest.

Be­ing a new mum, she has re­ori­en­tated her so­cial me­dia sites, ti­tled So­cial & Style, to cover moth­er­hood as well. Like Diah, Ka­mana now re­ceives many mes­sages from women who thank her for show­ing life from a mother’s per­spec­tive.

Like other older in­flu­encers, she thinks it’s important to add value to the lives of oth­ers.

“My fol­low­ers make me feel like they are on this ride with me, and I feel their ex­cite­ment when I share these mo­ments with them,” she says. “In fact, I’ve made some of my clos­est friends in the US and Sin­ga­pore through blog­ging.”

We find out more about these three in­flu­encers.

In­stead of sell­ing their youth and pop­u­lar­ity, these older folks are sell­ing their wis­dom and ex­per­tise, or sim­ply the “re­al­ness” of liv­ing, rais­ing a fam­ily, hold­ing a job and deal­ing with age­ing.

As a 45-year-old beauty in­flu­encer, Leanne Ho feels she has an edge over her younger coun­ter­parts.

“As it is, be­ing older means I would have had more time to ex­pe­ri­ence beauty prod­ucts and see the long-term re­sults of skin­care,” says Leanne, a stay-at-home mum to two teenage boys, who think that she has a cool hobby.

“I hope to share and guide oth­ers through these per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences.”

She posts about her daily beauty and skin­care rou­tines, prod­ucts that she uses, and, some­times, on cel­e­bra­tory events in her life.

She started her In­sta­gram ac­count five years ago and now has 60,100 fol­low­ers. In 2015, she started a blog, where she writes longer re­views and at times, there is more in-depth shar­ing of per­sonal emo­tions.

“It felt ther­a­peu­tic to in­dulge in my love for tak­ing pho­tos, styling them, and also shar­ing my be­lief in tak­ing good care of our­selves which, in this case, is us­ing skin-lov­ing beauty prod­ucts,” she says, on why she jumped on the so­cial me­dia band­wagon.

With beauty blog­gers mostly in the age range of 16 to 30, Leanne is one of the older ones, but she sees it more as a group of peo­ple com­ing to­gether based on sim­i­lar in­ter­ests, to share and in­spire each other.

“Sur­rounded by younger ones, I con­tinue to learn and gain in­sights from their per­spec­tive,” says the former flight stewardess.

“If I let age stop me from em­bark­ing on some­thing new, I’d have missed this part of the jour­ney.”

Beauty brands in­vite her for launches, and oc­ca­sion­ally, she gets re­quests for fur­ther col­lab­o­ra­tions for cam­paigns, and to par­tic­i­pate in fo­cus groups. She has also been in­vited to be on the jury pan­els for beauty prod­uct awards and as a guest con­trib­u­tor for mag­a­zines.

She does spon­sored posts, too, and her fee can range from “three to four fig­ures, de­pend­ing on the com­plex­ity of the re­quire­ments, or com­pen­sa­tion for time and props needed for pro­duc­tion”, she re­veals.

Leanne doesn’t think the trend of so­cial me­dia in­flu­encers will die down. “With new launches hap­pen­ing so quickly, both brands and con­sumers need a voice to cut through the noise, fast,” she says.

“In­flu­encers help to de­liver the mar­ket­ing mes­sage fast, in­ter­act with the com­mu­nity, and make con­nec­tions, through their shar­ing of per­sonal picks and ex­pe­ri­ences.”

REAL CON­NEC­TION

Her day in­volves car­ing for her kids, photo-tak­ing ses­sions, at­tend­ing events, do­ing post­ings on the go, and writ­ing re­views only at night.

She be­lieves that she is pop­u­lar on so­cial me­dia be­cause she has a real con­nec­tion with her read­ers and fol­low­ers.

“Re­flect your in­di­vid­ual style and opin­ion but respect oth­ers for theirs, too,” she says.

When­ever fol­low­ers get in touch with her, she tries to ac­knowl­edge each com­ment. “Shar­ing reg­u­lar key updates via pho­tos which ex­press your style and per­son­al­ity also help in es­tab­lish­ing a more per­sonal con­nec­tion,” she notes.

She cu­rates all her pho­tos her­self, and uses her trusty smart­phone for quick snaps, and some lenses for blog shots. For quick videos, she films and ed­its on her own, but en­gages a prod­uct crew for pro­fes­sional videos.

Her posts are mostly vi­brant and happy to en­cour­age, spread joy and pos­i­tive vibes, Leanne says. She shares what works for her and where pos­si­ble, us­age tips to make it work for dif­fer­ent skin types.

How­ever, she has no clear an­swer on how to at­tract fol­low­ers. “Per­haps it lies in the fo­cus of the ac­tion it­self. If the em­pha­sis is on tak­ing a good photo that ex­presses what you want to say, then the chances of achiev­ing that is much higher.”

Her ad­vice is to “work on your con­tent. Cre­ate from within, what and how you see it. It doesn’t need to be on-trend or com­mand re­sponses. Don’t aim to please, but hope to tell a story.”

Diah Mas­tura Roslan started blog­ging when she was 18 years old. At that time, she sim­ply wanted a plat­form to chan­nel her thoughts and make new friends.

“There was no such thing as an ‘in­flu­encer’ back then,” she re­calls. “And no one talked about how many ‘fol­low­ers’ you had. I was re­ally just a reg­u­lar girl blog­ging about ran­dom things.”

Fast for­ward 18 years later, and Diah is mar­ried with four chil­dren. She is also one of the most pop­u­lar In­sta­moms in Sin­ga­pore, with a fol­low­ing of 41,800 on In­sta­gram, 18,000 on Face­book, and thou­sands of daily page views for her blog.

Last year, In­flu­ence Asia named her one of the top 15 in­flu­encers in the Par­ent­ing cat­e­gory.

SPON­SOR­SHIPS ARE GOOD FOR THE FAM­ILY

As an In­sta­mom, she doc­u­ments var­i­ous as­pects of her life on­line, such as send­ing her kids to the den­tist, plan­ning their birth­day par­ties and get­ting a new sofa for their home. Some of these ac­tiv­i­ties be­come op­por­tu­ni­ties for col­lab­o­ra­tions with dif­fer­ent brands: Hence, the sofa is spon­sored by a fur­ni­ture store, her daugh­ter’s braces by a den­tal clinic, and the par­ties by var­i­ous party or­gan­is­ers.

Diah is prag­matic about putting her fam­ily life on­line: “I used to work as a teacher, but now I have four kids to raise. Be­ing an in­flu­encer al­lows me to jug­gle all these do­mes­tic re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, while still bring­ing in money for the fam­ily through these spon­sored col­lab­o­ra­tions with brands.

“Be­sides, a lot of these spon­sor­ships are also good for the fam­ily. Who doesn’t want what’s best for their kids? And judg­ing from the kinds of mes­sages

I get from the other mums, they need rec­om­men­da­tions for these things as well. So I see my­self as of­fer­ing in­for­ma­tion that mums can use.”

Diah de­clines to re­veal how much she earns, but says there are months when she earns more than her hus­band, who works in the engi­neer­ing sec­tor.

Like other hus­bands of In­sta­moms, he help­fully takes pic­tures of her and the kids to post on so­cial me­dia. And when the pic­ture re­quires the whole fam­ily in it, their do­mes­tic helper pitches in.

Diah ad­mits: “Some­times photo-tak­ing does stop life in its tracks be­cause you’re try­ing to get the right shot for In­sta­gram. It may seem ar­ti­fi­cial. But then again, there’s so much ‘re­al­ness’ when you’re a mother of four. So, a happy fam­ily photo now and then doesn’t hurt.

“Be­sides, I do put some of that messi­ness of fam­ily life on­line, such as my re­cent video of my chil­dren be­ing dif­fi­cult and not do­ing their home­work. I think it’s important to re­main re­lat­able to the au­di­ence.”

She gets hun­dreds of mes­sages from fans, some of whom have fol­lowed her blog since the late 1990s.

“They grew up with me, and now they’ve be­comes wives and mums just like me. They trust what I say, and some­times e-mail me for ad­vice on their mar­riages and kids. In fact, if they tried a prod­uct I had rec­om­mended and they didn’t like it, they’d con­tact me first be­fore they con­tact the com­pany.”

Diah has even at­tracted govern­ment agen­cies that want her to pro­mote spe­cific mes­sages, such as how to re­duce food wastage or how to pro­tect your fam­ily from dengue.

For the lat­ter, she pho­tographed her cute chil­dren as they sprayed in­sect re­pel­lent on them­selves. “Many of the ad­ver­tis­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties also be­come fam­ily ac­tiv­i­ties in their own right,” she says with a laugh.

Would she want her kids to take a stab at be­ing in­flu­encers too when they grow up? “Why not? They have of­ten starred in my blog posts. It’s about time I starred in theirs.”

“I don’t worry about be­ing per­fect, I share who I re­ally am, and not just the high­light reel.”

READ­ERS KEEP HER GO­ING

Ka­mana be­lieves that be­ing au­then­tic makes for good on­line pres­ence. “I only share con­tent when I’m proud of it. Good-qual­ity pho­tos and writ­ing help set your con­tent apart,” she points out.

She works with a pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­pher to have her pho­tos taken, be­cause she be­lieves in “qual­ity”.

Like most other blog­gers, she has spon­sors and part­ner­ships. She only works with brands that she be­lieves in, such as The Ritz-Carl­ton, Marc Ja­cobs and L’Oreal. Her rates vary be­tween com­pa­nies and on the con­tent.

She makes it a point to be trans­par­ent on her blog when posts are spon­sored or prod­ucts are gifted.

Ka­mana ad­mits that she some­times feels af­fected when she sees younger in­flu­encers in their early 20s with a big­ger fol­low­ing.

“Thank­fully, my read­ers and fol­low­ers keep me go­ing. Also, many moth­ers have reached out to say it is re­fresh­ing to see a mum’s per­spec­tive on fash­ion, fit­ness and well­ness.”

She be­lieves she has an edge over younger in­flu­ences by not stick­ing to one genre. “From fash­ion to fit­ness,

I write about what I love and this res­onates with read­ers.”

Dur­ing her preg­nancy, she shared her pre­na­tal fit­ness rou­tine, and re­ceived re­sponses from ex­pect­ing mums who say the post in­spired them to stay healthy and fit dur­ing their preg­nan­cies, too.

“Even women who weren’t ex­pect­ing wrote to me say­ing the post in­spired them to live a health­ier life,” she adds.

Her hus­band, a busi­ness direc­tor, is not a big fan of the spot­light, and it took him some time to get used to his wife’s blog­ging and so­cial-me­dia pres­ence. This also ex­plains why there are hardly any pic­tures or posts about him.

“While read­ers and fol­low­ers en­joy see­ing as­pects of my life, there are some things I keep per­sonal, such as my re­la­tion­ship with my hus­band.

I also keep posts about the baby to a min­i­mum,” she shares.

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