Social media have become a huge part of the lives of millennials. These platforms all started out mostly as post sharing apps and have become successful marketing tools.
As of 2020, one billion users per month access the Instagram app. Millions of business accounts are growing on a daily basis. As well as advertising, sponsored posts and the new shopping feature added a few weeks ago, these are all making the app a dominant marketing tool.
These platforms are being used as a form of personal expression, sharing experiences – sometimes with financial gain or to build new businesses which in turn is helping thousands of the young people achieve their goals.
We asked Suarvo, a young Londoner who started a business thanks to social media platforms. “My Instagram has always been all about fashion, and I’ve always wanted to do something more about it!”.
The young stylist added: “At the beginning of the year I had a bad accident and I was bed-bound for about 10 days. So, at that moment I finally had time and ordered myself a sewing machine and I started playing around with spare fabric. After 3 weeks I had my first sample, that it’s kind of quick considering I’ve never sewed before!”
He started wearing his sample: A mask- integrated jumpsuit around the streets of London.
“Everyone stopped me on the streets to know where I got that from!” Suarvo.
He quickly started to see the potential on it and decided to open the online shop, the suarvostudios.com.
“Instagram right now is the major platform to promote my business, as I’m a stylist I’ve always had a sort of fashion following on social media, I know influencers and people in the industry as I have their support”.
Speaking about the new shopping feature on the app, controversially he didn’t show his support for it. “Instagram already have a lot of advertising at the moment and created a lot of new millionaires”. He added that Instagram has become a huge marketing tool in the twenty-first century “but the shopping feature on the app just makes it not user-friendly anymore.”
“I think it’s more about influencing myself.” Yan Li.
Yan Li’s Weibo account. She has a following of more than 18k users.
Yan Li’s, 24 has a completely different goal. She’s the girl behind a highly followed profile on Weibo. Weibo is the second most popular platform in China, with a total of more than half billion active users per month. Its strong profile makes it also an important channel for brand exposure.
“I’m not trying to make it a big success, I just think everyone should have a platform to speak out when they are young.” Her motivation to start her social media profile came straight after being accepted for a postgraduate study in London as an oversee student from China.
She posted a video with some advice for the admission’s interview which she shared with her friends and siblings. The ‘unexpected popularity’ of the video made her think about a new ‘social media path’, she added. She now has a big following on the Chinese platform.
Li also added: “I think at this stage I still don’t want to use it as a work centre or a source of income, I’m a full-time student and I’m also working as PR.” But speaking about the real face of sponsored posts she admits: “It does bring you some financial help, but most of the time I look at the meaning of the sponsorship and not at the financial side of it.”
“Most millennials…”, Yan Li said, “…use social media platforms to express themselves, and if this is, in addition to my own profit also inspiring others, then it’s a very good thing!”
The Chinese influencer then compared the value of a personal profile on social media to a CV, claiming it to be ‘more complete’ and explicative.
“What school you graduate from is not the priority anymore. If you can show your profile and let more people hear your voice, people will think that you’re not afraid to show your personality and your own ideas. It’s a multi-dimensional tool you can use, more than a simple resume, which is not whole right now!”
She admitted if one day social media would no longer exist, she would surely be sorry, but for no real reason. “I consider it a diary of my own, I would feel the same as my diary was lost. But you can always go on and get a new!”