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Becoming an Influencer: Should You Still Pursue Higher Education?

Ever wonder if you’d need a degree to pursue a career as a social media influencer or a content creator? We discuss below!

If you’ve been endlessly scrolling on TikTok, you probably know of at least one social media personality who’s become a full-time content creator as they rise to fame from creating viral TikTok videos. Take Kate Bartlett, a fashion student in New York as an example. She started off just by sharing her day-in-the-life content and how she manages to survive living in New York City for ‘dirt cheap’. Fast forward today, her significant growth in followers, a total of 1 million to date, has gained her opportunities to work with brands such as Coach, Amazon, Lancome, etc and recently, she was invited to attend a charity gala alongside Bella Hadid and Anna Wintour! Sounds like every influencer’s dream come true?!

With a flexible work schedule, shower of freebies and media kits, social event invites, brand deals, and affiliate marketing opportunities, it’s no surprise that many are choosing to become social media influencers and content creators. In fact, nearly half or 46.7% of content creators are doing it full-time.

What are the benefits of becoming a social media influencer or content creator?

Besides the perks mentioned, there are plenty of other benefits of becoming a content creator for social media. You’re able to curate content from literally anywhere and at anytime. You don’t even need any degree or experience to create content, and best of all, it requires little to no-budget to start! And to minimise risks, you can first try it out as a side hustle before going full-blown into it. You can turn hobbies whether it’s singing, dancing, crocheting, giving expert commentaries, traveling, sharing your daily routine, and even just styling your ootd into content! Heck you can simply be yourself and still make money!

With the accessibility of social media platforms and little commitment required (at the start at least), it’s no wonder why SPM graduates these days are choosing to work as online influencers, e-hailing car drivers, as well as food delivery riders instead of pursuing their studies. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, the global influencer market is expected to steadily increase and reach $16.4 billion this year. So clearly, influencer marketing is here to stay.

Someone opening the Tiktok application on their phone
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So, is tertiary education still relevant?

 

All that said, is having a tertiary education still relevant then? Do you need to pursue a tertiary education to be a social media influencer? 

Well, while it’s not necessary nor a requirement for you to possess any form of credentials to start your very first Tiktok video, having some knowledge and skills certainly help. For instance, if your niche is in showing how to take professional videos, having a background in mass communication or broadcasting will be useful. It was found that 76.8% of content creators do hold a bachelor's degree and at least 7.1% of content creators possess master's degrees.

Besides, if you’re planning to give advice pertaining to mental health, nutrition, or generally any field that requires specialised knowledge, you should have a certification or degree specialising in the field to be qualified to produce content about the topics. This is especially important so that your audience will perceive your content as credible and return for more.  

Now you may be wondering, which field of study would come in handy to propel you towards stardom — a successful social media influencer. While we can’t determine which programme is the most helpful, here are some of our top favourite influencers in Malaysia and what they’ve studied!

 

1. Jenn Chia: Psychology and Communications

I’m sure many of you are familiar with our favourite yet loud Aunty Siow with unmistakable bright pink hair, an alter ego character that Jenn Chia often portrays in her content. With over 400,000 followers on Instagram, Jenn Chia is certainly a recognised social media influencer known for her creative content direction that often ends with an unexpected twist. In an interview with Maggy Wang, Jenn revealed that it was through a communication class presentation in college that sparked her interest in creating video and content!

Image of Jenn Chia

Source: soimjenn.com

2. Ivor Lim Xian Z: Law

Ivor Xian Z or basically the girl who ‘tries everything so you don’t have to’ has garnered fame on Tiktok with more than 350,000 followers to date by creating content of her trying out something new. You’ll instantly recognise her video just by her signature tagline ‘Trying XYZ so you don’t have to’. While being a content creator for social media seems like a huge leap from law, Ivor has used her knowledge in law when dealing with late-paying clients. I guess her background in law proves helpful afterall.

Portrait of Ivor Lim

Source: ivorxianz

3. Nandini Balakrishnan: Mass Communication and Media Studies

Known for her bold and bubbly personality, Nandini has been breaking boundaries on social media with her videos dispelling myths and stereotypes of those discriminated in Malaysia. One of her most famed videos include, ‘5 Reasons Why You Should Never Comment on People’s Skin Colour’. However, Nandini hasn’t always been in the spotlight. An interview with The Sun revealed that before becoming an online personality, Nandini started off writing articles mainly about politics and marginalised community which can be attributed to her background in mass media.

Portrait of Nandini Balakrishnan

Source: says.com

4. Khairul Aming: Mechanical Engineering

Khairul Amin or aka Khairul Aming is best known for his cooking videos that has seen many viral episodes especially during Ramadan. He also produces sambal nyet, a highly in-demand sambal that has sold a million bottles to date and he’s now opened a second factory for production. He learned much about manufacturing during his studies with a minor in material science. It was also during his time at uni that he bought his first DSLR and began his interest in photography and videography before he began creating content for social media.

Portrait of Khairul Aming

Source: Twitter.com

So, if you’re thinking about whether or not you should pursue your tertiary education, think about all the skills and experiences you could gain that’ll be helpful if you decide to become a social media influencer or content creator! Besides, it’s always good to have a backup plan.

Regardless of your decision, it’s imperative for you to make an informed decision before making the tough call in deciding your career pathways.

Want to know what life as an influencer or content creator for social media is like? Partipost is a great place for you to explore and get paid as an influencer! Find out more here.

 

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