‘Liked’ by many

THEY are the superstars on your social media feed, getting thousands of “likes” and comments with just a selfie.

With hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram and Facebook, such social media influencers are more than just the popular people online – they play a role in affecting what we buy too.

Retailers and businesses across the board have taken notice of this, of course. And all agree there is a large potential to be tapped in roping in social media influencers to take brands further. But while some influencers are self-employed or run their own businesses, there are those who endorse products while being fully employed. And they have been warned by the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF): If they get caught “moonlighting” as an influencer, they may need to face the music from their bosses.

There is no denying the power such individuals wield today, though. Currently, there’s a 132.9% mobile phone penetration rate in Malaysia, based on data from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission. Influencers could certainly reach Malaysian users, whose top online activities are text communication (96.3%), browsing social media (89.3%) and getting information (86.9%), according to the Internet Users Survey 2017. Out of those who visit social networking sites, 97.3% have Facebook accounts, followed by Instagram (56.1%), says the survey. Malaysia Retail Chain Association president Datuk Seri Garry Chua agrees that influencers are important for businesses today and many retailers have included them in marketing strategies.

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