Keeping fans engaged and dealing with trolls are not the only challenges that bother new-age Instagrammers or YouTubers. Maintaining a balance between their original content and that promoted by the brands they collaborate with, is on top of the mind of some of India’s successful social media creators.
For YouTube and Instagram sensation Sejal Kumar, shedding inhibitions is the key to success in the social media space.
“We are the first generation creators. When it comes to brands and collaborations, a lot of people think that they can take advantage of us… they tend to take us for granted. But creators have power. They should speak up on issues that they feel need to be addressed,” said Sejal while participating at the inaugural ‘Instagram Experience’ (IGX) event over the weekend.
Sejal posts a wide variety of content related to lifestyle, travel, fashion, acting and singing, for her 1.17 million subscribers and 6.48 lakh followers on Instagram.
Mallika Dua, who has 7.71 lakh followers on Instagram and over 55,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel, feels that one should learn to say no when it comes to uninteresting content pushed by brands.
“I have strict guidelines on what I endorse and I what do not,” said Dua, who worked as an advertising professional before focusing on her social media content to carve out a new career.
Malayalam actress Priya Prakash Varrier, who shot to fame with her ‘wink song’ ‘Manikya Malaraya Poovi…’ from the film ‘Oru Addar Love’, believes social media has made the celebrity that she is today.
“Initially Instagram was a private space and suddenly something happened. It was surreal to me as I could not figure out what was happening to my account. There was rush of followers every day. After that I realised that I need to try and make my feed interesting,” she said.
Asked if she felt the pressure to keep up with the expectations, Varrier said she enjoyed it.
Pooja Dhingra, who started her business 10 years ago with a phone in her kitchen, bets on the power of the social media.
Dhingra first started using Facebook to share what she baked and how, and then moved on to Instagram. She now calls herself “Macaron Lady” and has 3.6 million followers on Instagram.
Asked about her key to success on the social media, she emphasised on being authentic. “I think it’s about being real. The people can see through it. If you are being real with people, you get love in return,” she said.
Sejal stresses on being a adventurous. “Don’t be afraid. The Internet really changes at the speed of light. If you try something and it does not work, people will forget it. So keep trying new things,” she said.
But staying safe and dealing with trolls remain the top concerns for social media creators across platforms, though of late many of these platforms have started giving creators more control over who they interact with. Instagram’s ‘Restrict’ feature, for example, allows users to prevent online bullies from reaching them.