Growing up in the 1990s and early 2000s, the female influencers I had were mostly the women on MTV — Britney, Christina, Mariah and Beyoncé were constantly blowing my mind with their stance on female empowerment in the male-dominated world.

Today, the ladies that empower us are those that pop up on our social feed. These are the female influencers of social media, and they have changed the world in the most incredible way.

media update's Saads Abrahams spoke to Casey Mantle from 8909 Digital on how female influencers are driving change in marketing. Take a look at what she had to say!

How are female influencers reshaping the marketing industry?

Many female influencers are using their platforms to promote diversity and inclusion, both in terms of the products and services they promote and the people they represent.

For example, @Zarithebosslady, one of the most popular influencers in South Africa and Nigeria, has spoken out about the importance of representation for women of colour. She has also used her platform to promote brands that are owned by women and people of colour.

Female influencers are also breaking down stereotypes about women. They are showing that women can be successful in a variety of fields, from fashion and beauty to business and technology.

For example, Pearl Modiadie, a successful businesswoman and TV personality, is using her platform to show that women can be successful in both the corporate and creative worlds.

They are empowering other women. They are showing women that they can be anything they want to be and that they have the power to make a difference in the world.

Another example is Amanda du-Pont, a well-known actress and activist, who is using her platform to speak out about gender-based violence and to empower women to speak up for themselves.

How have female influencers been able to overcome gender biases in the marketing industry?

Female influencers in South Africa have been able to overcome gender biases in the marketing industry in a number of ways:

  • They have built strong followings and positioned themselves as thought leaders, which makes their voices more credible and almost impossible to ignore.
  • They have partnered with brands that share their values and that are committed to gender equality. This has helped to legitimise their voices and to give them more power to challenge gender bias.
  • Female influencers have spoken out about their experiences of gender bias in the marketing industry. This has helped to raise awareness of the issue and to encourage other women to speak up.
  • Female influencers have formed alliances with other female influencers to support each other and fight for gender equality. This has helped to create a more powerful force for change.

In what ways do female influencers help empower other women?

Being supportive role models
Female influencers can be role models for other women, showing them that it is possible to be successful in a variety of fields. They can also provide inspiration and motivation, showing other women that they can achieve their dreams.

Thando Thabooty Thabethe, a TV personality and model, is known for her positive and uplifting attitude. She uses her platform to promote self-love and to encourage women to chase their dreams.

Breaking down stereotypes
Female influencers can help to break down stereotypes about women — showing that women can be strong, independent and successful. They can also challenge traditional gender roles, showing that women can do anything that men can do.

Promoting body positivity
Female influencers can promote body positivity, showing that women of all shapes and sizes are beautiful.

They can also encourage women to embrace their natural beauty and to feel confident in their own skin. Zinhle Jiyane, a DJ and businesswoman, is known for her honest and relatable content. She uses her platform to promote body positivity and to encourage women to be themselves.

Talking about important issues
Female influencers can talk about important issues that affect women, such as gender-based violence (GBV), sexual harassment and the pay gap.

They can also raise awareness of these issues and encourage women to speak up about them. Sam Lehoko is the director of Rise Against Domestic Violence SA. She has successfully created a sisterhood around GBV and the importance of support in this community.

In another example, Mara Glennie is the founder and director of TEARS foundation, and is very passionate about Women's Rights. Mara survived a life-threatening event involving grievous bodily harm.

After she recovered, she founded TEARS, an organisation that provides a support network for victims of rape and abuse. Her aim is to enable victims of rape and sexual abuse to find the assistance, comfort and compassion they need.

Supporting each other
Female influencers can support each other, both online and offline. They can share advice, tips and support and they can help each other to achieve their goals.

How can aspiring female influencers effectively navigate the competitive landscape of influencer marketing?

The influencer marketing landscape in South Africa is highly competitive. There are many talented and experienced influencers vying for the attention of brands and consumers.

As a result, it is important for aspiring female influencers to develop a clear strategy and execute it effectively. My best advice would be to follow these steps:                                                                                                  

  1. Find your niche: Ask yourself these questions:
    • What are you passionate about
    • What are you knowledgeable about?
    • What makes you unique?                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Once you know your niche, you can focus your content and marketing efforts on reaching people who are interested in what you have to offer.                                                                                                                           
  1. Build a strong following: The more followers you have, the more attractive you will be to brands. There are many ways to build a following, such as creating high-quality content, engaging with your audience and using social media effectively.
  2. Be authentic: People can spot a fake from a mile away. Be yourself and let your personality shine through in your content. This will help you connect with your audience on a deeper level.
  3. Partner with the right brands: Not all brands are created equal. When you partner with a brand, make sure that it is a brand that you believe in and that aligns with your values. This will help you create authentic content that your audience will appreciate.
  4. Be patient: It takes time to build a successful influencer career. Don't get discouraged if you don't see results overnight. Keep creating great content, engaging with your audience and partnering with the right brands. Eventually, you will achieve your goals.

What role do female influencers play in promoting diversity and inclusivity in marketing?

Female influencers play a significant role in promoting diversity and inclusivity in marketing in South Africa. They do this in a number of ways, including the following:

Using their platforms to represent a variety of identities
These can include, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and ability. This helps to show that people from all walks of life can be successful influencers.

Partnering with brands that promote diversity and inclusivity

This helps to raise awareness of these issues and to show that brands are committed to representing a variety of people.

Creating content that celebrates diversity and inclusivity

This can include sharing stories about people from different backgrounds, highlighting products and services that are designed for people of all abilities, and using inclusive language.

Rasheeqah Karriem-Hock is a social media creator who does this beautifully with her unique creativity and style as she demonstrates how inspirational women's lives can be. She has recently become a part of the Female Voices development programme.

She shares her moments of vulnerability, humour, honest advice, hope for the future and a strong spirit of determination.

Speaking out against discrimination and prejudice

Female influencers can speak out against discrimination and prejudice. This can help to raise awareness of these issues and to encourage people to challenge discrimination.

How can marketers better support and amplify the voices of female influencers?

  • Be inclusive: Make sure that your marketing campaigns are inclusive of female influencers from all backgrounds. This means working with influencers from different races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations and abilities.
  • Partner with female influencers who are aligned with your brand's values: This will help to ensure that your brand's message is communicated in a way that is authentic and resonates with your target audience.
  • Pay female influencers fairly: This means paying them a rate that is comparable to what male influencers are paid and being transparent by disclosing financial arrangements with influencers. It also means paying them on time and in full.
  • Give female influencers creative control: This means giving them the freedom to choose the topics they want to cover, the way they want to present their content and the brands they want to partner with.
  • Use your platform to amplify the voices of female influencers: By sharing their content, promoting their work and speaking out about the importance of diversity and inclusion in marketing.
  • Be an ally: Marketers can be allies to female influencers by supporting them, speaking up for them and valuing their professional opinions. This means listening to their experiences, believing them and taking action to make the marketing industry more equitable.
By following these tips, marketers can help to create a more supportive and inclusive environment for female influencers in South Africa. This will help to ensure that female influencers are able to use their platforms to reach their full potential.

What steps can the industry take to further empower and uplift female influencers in marketing?

  • Promoting female influencers: Marketers can promote female influencers by sharing their content, featuring them in their marketing campaigns and speaking out about their work.
  • Creating training and development programmes: Marketers can create training and development programmes for female influencers to help them develop their skills and knowledge.
  • Establishing mentorship programmes: Marketers can establish mentorship programmes to connect female influencers with experienced professionals who can provide guidance and support.
  • Funding initiatives: Marketers can fund initiatives that support female influencers, such as scholarships, grants and accelerator programmes.
  • Create networking opportunities: Networking with other influencers is a great way to learn from their experiences and get advice. There are many online forums and communities where you can connect with other influencers, but it would be great to see a brand championing this.
What are your thoughts on how female influencers are driving change? Let us know in the comments section below.

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If you want to find out more, then check out: Is influencer marketing the most powerful form of marketing — in 200 words or less?
*Image courtesy of Canva and Casey Mantle