Food reviewer Ivy Mak didn't want to be "just another food reviewer" on Instagram. She wanted her page to be beneficial to others, particularly those who were hit by the pandemic and were trying to make a living.
So when her account, @my.food.hunter, started to gain traction and followers, she decided to host giveaways with the aim of supporting small businesses who were trying to get their footing.
“I wanted my page to be meaningful and have value, ” she explains.
The idea of hosting a giveaway struck her in December last year.
“I honestly didn’t know anything about IG (Instagram) giveaways and I actually thought that the concept was like my brainchild, ” says Ivy, adding that she found out pretty soon after that giveaways were very common.
Even so, she felt it would be an effective way to help small businesses.
For each giveaway, she'd tag a small up-and-coming business with the hashtag #kitasapotkita. Participants in the giveaway would have to not only follow her account but also the business she's chosen to support. They would also be required to like the giveaway post and tag a friend and share the post on their own IG account.
“I felt like a giveaway would help small businesses to gain much-needed exposure and publicity by riding on my platform, ” she says.
Mak hosts the giveaways without charging the brands – they get exposure without needing to pay for sponsored ads or to boost their posts.
With 3,725 followers, does not consider herself to be a major influencer. However, she feels that she has the ability to help others in the F&B industry grow their following and believes in "small acts for the greater good of the community".
She believes that “the potential of the social media world is vast and endless” and that Influencers and key opinion leaders should look for opportunities to help those in need.
“If you know how to utilise your strengths, you can do wonders!” she said.
To date, Ivy has done a total of 5 giveaway sessions involving 16 brands, since December 2020.
"Even a simple thing like a giveaway can be a win-win situation for everyone: people are happy to win freebies while she and the businesses gain new followers and publicity," she said.
Raj Krishnasamy, co-founder of KitchenCo, was one who was tagged in a giveaway.
“The giveaway definitely helped get us some traction and visibility, mainly for our Instagram page. We had around 100 over new followers which translated to more sales for us!” he said.
Raj, who started his business in December last year, finds visibility the key to competing with many other businesses.
“It is difficult to stand out without a big advertising budget, ” Raj explained.Jessimah Sulaiman is another small-business owner who is ever-grateful for the collaboration with Mak.
While many seek personal gain with their presence on social media, Jessimah said Mak is “tremendously generous and thoughtful” to create a positive impact for small businesses.
“We need more people like my.food.hunter (Ivy) who strives to make a positive impact on society via social media”, said Jessimah who's business, Feel Good Bites, sells artisan protein balls.
Apart from allowing small businesses to leverage on her popularity, Mak also offers to taste or try their products and offer honest feedback to the business owners.
Raj believes that business play a key role in helping the country revitalise the economy by getting more people back to employment.
“We believe that in these trying times, everyone needs to work together and support each other, ”said Raj who also played his part by hiring chefs and front staff who were laid off while starting his business.
“We must not limit ourselves to creating only a profitable entity. Each business stands to make a difference by being a social enterprise even in the smallest way. It’s crucial for us as individuals or businesses to contribute towards the betterment of our society, ” said Jessimah who is a fan of batik and plans to support and promote Malaysian Batik artists in the near future.
Mak is pleased to have helped small businesses.
“I’m happy to know that I’ve made a positive impact on someone’s life, even if it’s a small one, ” she says, adding that the hit to businesses by the pandemic has been hard and recovery will be challenging.
“To business, strive on!” she concluded.
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