Social media has forever changed the way we interact with each other. Influencer has become a common term, although perceived in different ways. What does it take to be an influencer? How much work goes into actually capitalizing on the influencer economy? We talk to Amna Niazi and Sadaf Zarrar – the dynamic duo behind Siddy Says, one of the pioneering lifestyle and fashion blogs in Pakistan and get answers to all these and many other questions
What are your thoughts on the rise of the influencer economy and the increasing culture of bloggers in Pakistan?
SZ: Digital inevitably allows readers more freedom to access content they choose. With such options available, marketers can no longer afford to send out one-sided, made for all solutions. The rise of influencers therefore is because of both the demand for content as well as markets trying to integrate their brands more organically in the world of consumers. While there has been lots of criticism about bloggers, their endorsements and so on so forth, these arguments inevitably undermine the intelligence of the readers/ viewers. Clearly there are the usual pains any industry faces before it is standardized, I don’t think bloggers and influencers are going anywhere. They key, of course is to find the right niche and stay true to it.
AN: I think we have a long way to go, it’s just the start, but a lot of younger bloggers and vloggers are on track. Unfortunately, influencer has become a loosely used term in the process, but like all fields, with time and output quality, the filter will come in play. As for the economy, again it’s just the start and fashion for example is really investing in digital media and influencers, so are lifestyle brands, however, we still are struggling with quality of output as a community.
As influencers, how important do you think community building is?
SZ: Influencers are because of their community. If you don’t have a tribe to influence, people who look up to you, agree with you, look forward to your opinion, you are nothing. Community is the currency in which influencers deal, the stronger and more engaged your community of followers, the stronger you are.
AN: It should be the most important. On a personal level, I try to bring fashion and community together with my initiative #AmnaNiaziXCharityCloset. I put up my clothes for sale and pledge the money to Edhi Foundation. With SiddySays too we try to raise awareness about important issues, with special focus on women empowerment.