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Published by Afterschool.my on Oct 29, 2022, 02:14 pm
In the past decade, social media has taken the world by storm— and it's even more evident now seeing how SPM leavers prefer to fast-track their way to the working world by becoming influencers and content creators instead of furthering their studies. While concerns about mounting debt and uncertainty of job opportunities are entirely understandable, continuing your studies is much more than stepping foot on the battered floors of a corporate building.
We've got the chance to speak with a few influencers, who share the same sentiments when it comes to the importance of pursuing higher education for one’s future endeavours.
"As much as I love creating content, I realised this is a fast-paced industry. Consumers love seeing constant new faces on their phone screens; therefore, it might be challenging to stay relevant at all times," says Haziq Rafi (24). Posting content that centres around skincare and cafe hunting spots, the Johor-based influencer brands himself through a minimalist modern angle— lo-fi background songs and a low light filter protruding a relaxing vibe that managed to capture his viewer's attention. On Tiktok, Haziq's following grew exponentially when he started posting cosy cafe recommendations in Johor to chill with friends.
Growing up in a family that prioritises education, Haziq shares how continuing his studies has aided him to produce quality content.
Exposure to higher-level academics and brainstorming sessions has helped Haziq build his critical thinking skills, enabling him to churn out quality content for his social media presence and curate content that caters to his niche.
"The algorithm in social media is constantly changing, and because of that, I have to figure out how to keep my audience engaged at all times. Analysing which videos gain more traction and figuring out ways to build engagement allows me to narrow my focus to sustain as a content creator."
Luckily, Haziq's full-time job revolves around digital marketing, enabling him to apply those skills in his workplace and help increase awareness of his current company's presence.
What started as a hobby ended up being Haziq's source of earning extra coins on the side during his student days.
"Don't put all your eggs in one basket"— a noteworthy reminder from Haziq, as expanding knowledge and skill to more than one branch ensures future job security. (pic: Haziq graduated from UMT in Bachelor of Food Science)
Defining his content's aesthetic has connected Haziq to international and local skincare brands for honest reviews.
Like Haziq, 26-year-old rising star Yasmin Khalid agrees that developing critical thinking skills is paramount to discerning information; and she would not be able to do that without the experience and training she has gotten from entering University.
A law-graduate-turned-actress-slash-influencer, Yasmin is able to usher into the entertainment industry when she started actively posting Instagram and Tiktok content that allowed the right people to discover her. Serendipity found Yasmin, which gave her access to casting calls, where she finally landed her first role in a TV3 drama series.
The ambitious lady expressed how important it is for young girls never to neglect their education, no matter how many other opportunities are presented in front of them right now.
"Education is the key to unlocking the golden door of freedom, and having the freedom to make choices can be empowering for women - since we are free to pursue the life we want. Moreover, if we are educated, we can execute with confidence wherever we go or whatever we do in life."
When a brand requires you to provide deliverables, you need a written agreement to ensure you are well compensated for your time, effort, creativity and exposure. Learning Contract Law influenced Yasmin to have a "legal mind" in negotiating contracts to protect herself in case her client refuses to fulfil their end of the bargain. "It is essential that there is transparency of information and precision in defining the scope of work when it comes to contract T&Cs. If they are unwilling to negotiate the contract where it is supposed to be a mutually beneficial relationship, I would be quite hesitant to work with them. Normally, when they are difficult in the beginning, it is a red flag that it won't get any easier later. Overall, I would not simply sign a contract without doing all these steps." Yasmin advises.
After finishing her A-levels at INTEC Education College, Yasmin furthered her quest for knowledge and graduated with a Bachelor of Laws at IIUM
Now the face for the popular cosmetics brand called “SimplySiti”, Yasmin is slowly building her name in the industry one deal at a time
“I hope to cultivate an image to the younger audiences out there that you can still be active, fun, sometimes silly on social media, and still have substance.”
Staying on topic, Sarah Ain Akhirah (preferably known as "Keera"), firmly believes that knowledge is power. In a competitive world, fully understanding a particular subject will show that you're much more than just a person blathering in front of a camera.
"Pursuing higher education can bring you more exposure from various sides of the media, which will later be incredibly useful as you build your career as a content creator," says the bubbly 27-year-old.
Posting Asian makeup and lifestyle on her socials @keeracakedherface, Keera has worked with over 150 brands in total and has managed to attract many followers (and land on FYPs) through her quirky personality. Her Tiktok videos include beauty tips and tricks, "what to buy in Guardian during sale", and "Foodventures" series with occasional daily life content (plus cats…furry felines is always a soft spot for the masses. Always).
Graduating from MMU with a Bachelor's in Finance, Keera admits that her studies have helped her develop into a content creator that emphasises quality and substance rather than just posting meaningless short clips on social platforms.
As an influencer, you're technically running a business with YOU as the centre of your own "brand",— and you can't run a business without making the right financial decisions that will affect your overall income.
"Before accepting any paid reviews, I would always check whether the guidelines given by the agency's campaign align with the payment, scope of content and the content style. E.g., if it required me to go outdoors, how much would it cost? Is it worth the total payment? That way, I can determine whether the hustle is worth the price."
At the end of a campaign, you'll also need to prepare an invoice to get reimbursement from agencies. For that matter, Keera would calculate the cost of everything, including the cost of going out, electricity, editing and paid promotion.
"You also need to have a rate card aligned with your quality. It's best to have a rate card for bundle rates (e.g., IG carousel pictures/videos + IG stories + Reels). That way, you can send out your quotation and terms before agreeing with the agency for a campaign," prompts Keera.
Having many presentations, assignments and joining multiple clubs or competitions will sharpen your interpersonal skills and help you speak coherently on camera, besides liaising professionally with clients for brand deals. Keera says, "I can't stress enough how important it is for you to know how to communicate with agencies or PR professionally, while also balancing out your social media persona in front of viewers. When talking to agencies, write professionally, like how you would write emails at work. It will set you apart from the rest as they will see your credibility and integrity as a public figure."
Being a digital creator after working hours gives Keera the freedom to express her creative juice and add a dash of glitz and glam into her life.
Joining brand events gives Keera a chance to expand her social network with other influencers and content creators.
(Canmake's Fairy Secret Land event)
Whichever path you've decided to take, pursuing higher education in Malaysia certainly has more benefits than drawbacks. These individuals prove that learning and experiences, as long as you live, are indeed our best teachers in life.
Are you currently feeling lost, not knowing what course to take or where to continue your studies? Just reach out to our experts, and we'll help you find the best option for you to take your potential to greater heights.
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