Influencer marketing as a marketing strategy has become widely popular in the recent past,
worldwide. With the COVID-19 pandemic causing a recession in the employment market and
a boom in social media usage and traffic, more and more influencers are starting to project
and take over the digital space with their content. And realizing this potential, brands have
also started moving away from the traditional marketing methods to such social media
influencers to reach their target audience and create authentic purchase intent and
Influencers across different social media like Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Trell,
etc., create digital content on their respective fields of expertise, which include fashion,
beauty, travel, food, luxury, tech, fitness, and so on. These influencers are followed by
audiences who genuinely like their content and are hence loyal to them. It is this bond
between the influencers and their audiences that makes them extremely valuable to brands.
To get a better understanding of the work and efforts that goes into content creation and
becoming an influencer, we had a chat with Bigg Boss fame Kannada television actress and
influencer, Shalini Satyanarayan, who gave us an insight about her journey to becoming a
social media influencer and much more!
Q: Tell us a little about yourself!
Shalini: I started my acting career when I was a 5 yrs old kid. I did a theatre play with one of
the very big theatre personalities in Karnataka called Prema Karan and that was my first taste
of going on stage and getting applause. After that, I was very clear that this is all I wanted to
do though my mother and sister tried to change my mind quite a lot of times. I was
determined to go down this road.
Q: How has social media helped you connect with your audience?
Shalini: I initially joined Facebook and 4 yrs ago I joined Instagram, which I had no clue
about. It was during my time in Bigg Boss Kannada 4 that I received immense support from
my audience through these social media platforms. So many people, especially women, were rooting for me and were genuinely happy for me as I progressed in the show, and that moved
Q: How long did it take to establish yourself as an influencer and how did you do it?
Shalini: I think my whole journey in my field has contributed directly to my success online. I
did not appear on social media one fine day and people did not just start following me out of
nowhere. My audiences follow me because they have seen my body of work throughout the
years and know me and what I have to offer.
Q: What is the hardest thing you face as an influencer?
Shalini: The hardest part is to be relevant and to stand out because there’s a lot of noise on
social media. To be successful as an influencer, it is necessary to stand out from the rest, and
to stand out, one needs to have fresh, out of the box and relevant content. One might go viral
with just a video or post, and get a lot of following and likes because of that video or post, but
to sustain that across all the videos and posts, one must have real talent and a stronghold on
the content one is creating.
Q: How challenging has it been for you to balance your personal and professional life?
Shalini: My work calls for a lot of commitment and time, and since it cannot be boxed into
the 9 to 5 time frame, it certainly gets to me. I have a loving family who supports me and my
daughter, who I love spending time with, is very understanding when I am busy with work
calls and messages and does not throw any tantrums when I get too busy. However, if I find
myself being too busy on a given day, I ensure that I will be free during the next two days.
Q: What is the secret behind the success of your content in Kannada?
Shalini: Even though it has been 22 years since I first entered this field, I feel the reason why
my content is successful is that I reinvent myself whenever it is required. I am not stagnant
and I can identify what type of content will work and what will not with my audience and its
Q: How have your brand partnership campaigns been? Walk us through it.
Shalini: Frankly, I have not done a lot of brand endorsements, maybe one or two of them. I
feel that brands are yet to see that I can be influential because my audience has faith in me
and will listen to what I have to say about a product. And the products that I choose to
endorse will also be of such quality and honesty.
Q: What are your thoughts on gender equality and inclusion? Do you think there is a
gender bias in our industry?
Shalini: There is such a huge gender bias in our industry that it has come to a point where we
just have to accept its existence. We must either equip ourselves to face it in the right way or
let it negatively impact us. It has not been a cakewalk for me, all these years, facing and
fighting gender inequality, pay inequality, and so on, but working hard and constantly
fighting these kept me afloat and helped me build my career. If we are addressing gender
bias, we need to start at the grassroots, which is our own homes. We do not talk enough about
that, because we like to be a part of that discussion only at a much bigger scale. If charity
begins at home, so does change!
Q: How do we deal with our prejudices and learn from them?
Shalini: We are very judgemental and very quick to criticize anyone and anything. I have
also done that in the past, but it is important to realize our mistakes, rectify them, and evolve.
That is the only way we can deal with these prejudices.
Q: How has COVID-19 affected your work and how have you coped?
Shalini: I am an artist and artists get paid only through their projects, but due to the
pandemic, there have been quite a lot of cancellations in terms of the projects. We must
accept the situation and go with the flow, just like we rejoice when we have continuous work.
Alas! Everything cannot be rosy all the time. I do have my days when I feel low, but I do not
let it impact me for a long time. Acceptance is the key.
Q: What does the future of the influencers’ industry look like?
Shalini: The future of this industry certainly looks bright in terms of viewership, considering
how hooked people have become to social media lately. But it also depends on how socially
responsible the present and upcoming influencers are and the kind of content they put out into
Q: Lastly, do you have any advice for budding bloggers/influencers?
Shalini: To all the budding bloggers/ influencers, make sure you know your content and your
audience. Start a blog or vlog with purpose and not on a whim, do your research well, have a
plan, and then go online with it.
As Shalini mentioned, the future of the influencers’ industry certainly looks bright, despite
the prevailing prejudices and pandemic! Know more about influencer marketing, influencers, and
successful marketing campaigns at influencer.in.
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