After couple of years of extreme engagement in Sri Lankan social media as a creator I like to wrap this year by sharing a couple of things I learnt.
Wipe your make up off.
When I first start making videos, I had a very simple requirement. I just wanted to tell my story. I never thought I would find a whole bunch of people that would relate to my story. I thought I was the only one but it turns out there a lot of people who goes through the same thing just like me. I didn’t want to put out a clean public version of my story. I just wanted to be me and be honest. To my surprise that approach was accepted by a heavily conservative society. I was able to build a massive following within a couple of months. So cut the crap and show real you.
2. Is religion a no go zone?
99% of Sri Lankan population is poor. A good portion of this poor population is also has very low self esteem. Over a couple of centuries, religion was able to programme these people to believe in a un-seen almost un-reachable power. Different religions have a different name for it, but the point is people no longer believe in themselves. This mechanism created people with empty minds and hungry souls. Therefore if you are brand/icon/figure you got two choices.
a) Don’t stir the pot
This method will create you a hell a lot of followers but remember they are poor and they can’t think for themselves. These followers will turn in to paying customers but will they be loyal customers? When someone else come up with a different coloured hat and a rabbit would they still stick with you? I am not sure.
b) Stir the pot but make sure you have a plan.
This method is not easy. You will get bashed. You will pushed to dark corners of social media. Not only that you will get punished by social media algorithms. However, in the end you will end up with smart followers. Not only they are smart, they also spend big. They are loyal and they see value in things. So if you are a business/brand/icon who really want to change people’s lives and collect valuable customers along the way, I recommend you go down in this dirty, rocky path.
3. Sex wins big time.
Sex sells. There is no argument. In a highly conservative country like Sri Lanka, sex can sell anything. This year we saw major musicians using this and getting pretty impressive results. Not only that if you can come up with a campaign that would compliment this man dominated culture you are guaranteed to win. If you are very clever and if you some how design a campaign that will subconsciously put the woman down, you are again on the winning path.
4. What about originality?
This is the big question. What happened to originality? Well, the answer is nothing. As much as sex, religious controversy, political propaganda has it’s own power, originality always by pass everything. Most brands assumes that customers are dumb. In most cases they are dumb but they also know when they see originality. Specially because it’s not something you see everyday in Sri Lankan social media space. (Or offline to be really honest.)
Im my opinion if you can create content with honesty, originality and integrity Sri Lankan social media will reward you. It will take time but you will gather a bunch of real people around you. They will listen to you. They will support you. Most importantly they will turn in to loyal customers.