A smart dive into the world of the Indian Social Media influencers


FICCI FRAMES 2019 is successfully maintaining its reputation by talking about the things that are relevant and what the young content creators, writers and media-related professionals of today want to hear, and presented an interesting dive into the world of Indian Social Media Influencers.

The Influencer’s Adda: Leveraging Social Media to Achieve Your Dreams was an informative and enlightening session. The discussion was about the age of influencers,  and who better talk about that than the very famous influencers of today: MostlySane i.e. Prajakta Kohli, who has about 3.4 million followers on YouTube; Rohan Joshi, a well-known Indian Stand-Up comedian and co-founder of AIB; Srishti Dixit,Instagram blogger; Gaurav Gera, actor and comedian, and Ssumier Pasricha,  again a comedian and actor widely known for creating viral comedy videos. So, a whole lot of talent and intellectual, very witty and on-point remarks.

The discussion sought to address the growing need of brands to target social media  influencers to endorse them. Using movies, TV stars, or models to endorse your product are now becoming the traditional methods of marketing.

In today’s digital world, regular content creators with niche audiences can often offer more value to brands. Instagrammers are entertaining their followers with their distinct talents and are building an ever increasing following. They are engaging with their audience, understanding them well and hence are able to create content that is more relevant.

However, it is getting exhausting and stressful for them as they have to put something out every day to remain in front of the eyes of audience or to be seen in their feed, on which Prajakta Kohli said she has many college students approaching her and telling her that they aspire to be an engineer and a YouTuber on the side, which she found “very absurd” as according to her “being an engineer and a YouTuber at the same time is just like being an engineer and a doctor at the same time”. It is not possible because the amount of effort and work that these influencers have to make and do are not any less than what an engineer or a doctor would put in.

The moderator of the session, Nishant Radia, Co-Founder, Vidooly, asked the panel about their approach and style of working for brands as every influencer on social media is famous for their own distinct talents, and plugging brands or products in their content can be a little tricky.

Rohan Joshi replied to that by saying he makes sure that the video is working and is making sense even if the brand or product is removed from it as he cannot compromise on his content just for the sake of endorsements. He looks for two things: one, that the brand he is promoting is something that he himself would buy or think of buying, and then he manages to naturally fit it in his content. He also said he works in a way that the message that the brand wants to send is delivered and circulated that the communication begins. He focuses more on the comments than the likes.

Ssumier Pasricha said that the brands need to understand whom to approach, and should give it a deep thought. Calling out 4-5 influencers at a time and asking them to promote your product is not going to work as everyone has their own ways of working and creating content, as his character Pammi Aunty cannot relate to a condom brand and will find difficulty pitching it or will do it in her own authentic way, which the brands then should agree upon. He said he doesn’t like brands interfering with his content for their placements, and if they do so, he loses connection with it.

Prajakta had a softer view towards this as she said that the influencer is really new and the brands are still used to traditional forms of advertising and they are still catching up.

When asked about their favourite collaborations, Gaurav Gera mentioned the Ashish Chanchalani collaboration with Akshay Kumar for the movie Gold. However, Ssumier had a completely opposite view to it. He said he does not appreciate comedy with abuses. He finds that kind of comedy to be poor in content and frankly he is not too big of a fan so “I don’t go by the kind of comedy”. Rohan Joshi sitting right next to him could have been a little offended by that as his way of stand-up is basically what Ssumier was talking about, but he understood that and agreed as everyone has their own taste in content. For some it works for some it doesn’t, and Rohan Joshi or Ashish Chanchalani are widely accepted and appreciated by millennials and their content has much more funny remarks than the abuses.

Rohan Joshi said that Netflix India is doing quite amazing collaborations, while Prajakta appreciated her fellow-panellist Gaurav’s collaboration with Rajkummar Rao.

They further discussed the new social media platforms like TikTok and WeChat, which they had mixed views about. Guarav Gera and  Ssumier are on TikTok and find it interesting because of the different filters and options of making a video and as it has the feature which allows people to lip sync, and that is what Indians are fascinated by as it gives them  the feeling of acting in a Bollywood movie.

For Rohan as a creator, he doesn’t have anything to put up on TikTok, while Shrishti said she was trying to make some videos on it for some time and it was daunting to be on TikTok. “It is very hard to make videos on TikTok. We tried to make videos for a week and we were exhausted. We are tired. We don’t want another platform. We have our hands full with Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat. Or maybe we are tired or too old to learn any new application right now,” Shrishti said.

The burnout that usually happens to creators engaged in social media is a very serious thing, and Srishti Dixit said she has seen some issues relating to the same, and hence according to her, every creator deserves a break at some point. Social Media is rigged against them in such a way that they have to be in everyone’s feed every day, and that is stressful.

Rohan Joshi said one starts weighing one’s own self- worth based on the likes and followers that they get, and it hence becomes difficult. The best way to deal with this is to accept that the internet moves fast, and it has its own shelf-life, “and there will be five different people on the panel three years from now”.

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