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What it takes to become an influencer

Thabsie Biyela has extended her brand as a singer by being an influencer. Picture: Stills By Tom

Thabsie Biyela has extended her brand as a singer by being an influencer. Picture: Stills By Tom

Published Oct 21, 2020


While there is a common misconception that the influencer life is all about posing for pictures and looking cute for the gram, those who do it full-time prove it is anything but. In fact, there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes.

For starters, if you’re an influencer, you have to create content that will be appealing to the audience and make sure that you’re always on the lookout for campaigns – something that’s not cheap.

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The influencer industry is fast-paced and forever changing. There are always new trends and challenges to follow that help influencers increase their following.

At present there is the “Ungaphel’ Umoya” (which can be directly translated to “don’t lose your breath”, but in context it means do not lose your touch). This new slogan for Halls is used by many who vow to stay true to their dreams.

IOL Lifestyle caught up with Simhle Plaatjies, a fitness guru and lifestyle blogger who found herself becoming an influencer, albeit unintentionally. She used to simply post on her account, and as her Instagram popularity grew, brands started approaching her.

Simhle Plaatjiees. Picture: Instagram/@simhle.

On how she stays true to her art, Plaatjies said: “I’m a creative in my own right. I exercise my creativity in my work. It usually appears different because I draw inspiration from different forms of art, and I stay true to myself, which makes everything I do authentic. I’m a perfectionist, I pay attention to detail, and I always produce well-thought-out or conceptualised work.”

However, it’s not always glitz and glamour. Influencers face lots of challenges, too.

Plaatjies admitted: “Being paid late by clients is one of the biggest setbacks. I overcome challenges by making sure I stay on top of things and run my business myself even when I have assistance. The algorithm is a challenge. It lessens your engagement with your followers because they don’t get to see it when you post. I overcome this by reposting my posts on my stories to redirect people. The last challenge is being told what time to post. Everyone’s account is different, and the times your followers are online is different from the next person. The time you post is very specific to your account.”

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Singer and songwriter Thabsie Biyela, who has more than 600K followers on Instagram, said she finds it difficult to keep up with the trends. However, as an artist who suffered a lot during the lockdown, she got into influencing since she couldn’t do gigs. As much as it was a challenge at first, it is something that comes naturally now and she enjoys it as an extension of her brand as an artist.

Thabsi Biyela says being authentic is what sets her apart. Picture: Instagram/@thabsie_sa

“I don’t keep up with trends. I do me and what comes naturally to me – that is what keeps me authentic to who I am and not looking like everyone else. Being authentic is the best thing one can do as people can spot something that is staged. I make it my own – I think that’s what sets everyone apart; we are unique, and that’s where our power lies,” said Biyela.

In other news, award-winning social media influencer, Kefilwe Mabote said she’s going to write a tell-all book. This comes after speculations that her lavish lifestyle was being funded by her boyfriend, Edwin Sodi, whose assets were recently seized after he was arrested by the Hawks.

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Read the full article here.

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