Keeping in mind that the world is in the digital age, we have gathered a list of influential social media pros, who are becoming beacons in their own right. Hiyam Al Jabri stands as one of our women influencers.
Read the full interview below.
What inspired you to pursue social media?
“Well, at first, social media was a place for me to connect with friends and colleagues from all over the world. Then, when I became a public figure with my first appearance on TV, I needed to connect with my audience, showcase the events I go to and the outfits I wore. However, later I realised that social media is the perfect platform to deliver my message in life, which is “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
How have your social media feeds evolved over time? Any specific turning points?
“At first, I was showcasing my work and supporting Omani designers and make-up artists and photographers. Then I started putting images from my day and covering the events I attended. Later, this evolved to images of my travels. And now, I post on all that in addition to business collaborations with different sectors.
“My turning point was my first TV show, before that social media was a way to connect with people that I know and it was a private platform. Becoming a public figure was a real turning point in my life but my image on social media was drawn by the different experiences in my life and I could say even the smallest of events in my life made tiny but consequential turning points.”
How do you decide which brands to partner with, and how do you ensure that your followers are receptive to sponsored content?
“For me, it doesn’t matter if the brand is known or a start-up, as long as I like it and it doesn’t go against my morals or values. I make sure that my audience are receptive by being completely honest with them, I don’t mention the things that I don’t like but I focus more on what I like and this gives me credibility.”
Is there a central message or theme that you hope people take away from your social media content?
“If by central message you mean how I want to be viewed, then I would say I want the audience not to put me in to a bracket with any other influencer and not compare me to them.
“My central message in my posts or feeds is always stay positive, develop yourself, work hard, and be kind. A woman once told me, “You always choose the right thing to say under your image. I like your choice of words.” This is the kind of impact I want to have on people. I want to inspire people to see that anything is possible; today I am living a life one day I dreamed of, so can they.”
What emerging marketing trends in social media industry do you feel will shape the next few years?
“I believe that it is already happening. Traditional media will always be there but digital marketing will take the top place. You can see now that all the high- end brands have social media accounts. If they don’t, they will fall behind.”
What’s the most challenging part of working in social media? And what advice would you give to those interested in building a following online?
“The most difficult thing is that you have to think hard if your content will have a positive effect on people and whether it will make an impact. You have to be really careful about what you post because you don’t know who considers you a role model and one word can ruin that. Also, people might only see now the success of the influencers, but they don’t know the hard work (sweat and tears) that has gone behind this success.
“My advice for people is to find their role models in social media and start somewhere, but work on finding their own ways and be themselves. Stay away from negative people and get ready for reality, as you will never be able to please everyone. There will always be haters or judgmental people. Continue till you reach your goals and then set bigger goals.”