How do you succeed on social media? Look to the influencers, who have turned the practice of sharing branded content online into a lucrative source of income.
Influencers have emerged as key players on the Internet. Singapore is no exception, with a thriving community of micro-influencers. Each influencer has a unique niche and a dedicated online and offline following. Online social media platforms are a powerful tool for marketing in this digital age. With access to a global audience and a search engine algorithm, many businesses are learning from influencers and bringing their brands online.
Let’s learn more about the top 10 social media influencers in Singapore from tech, entrepreneurship, and creative professions!
1) Hooi Ling An
First on the list is Hooi Ling An, the co-founder of Grab. Grab is a ride-hailing and logistics platform in Asia.
Born in Malaysia, Hooi Ling An studied at Harvard and was inspired by a class on building sustainable businesses. At Harvard, she also met a fellow Malaysian, Anthony Tan.
She worked with Anthony Tan on a business idea to improve the safety of taxis in Malaysia. They submitted their idea for a Harvard Business School contest and won the runner-up position. It gave them access to external advisors, resources, and prize money to develop their idea further. Upon graduation, they started a mobile app in Kuala Lumpur called MyTeksi. They later renamed it to Grab to better resonate with regional audiences.
Hooi Ling An’s inspiration behind Grab? She wanted to help under-served consumers in her country. Grab has a passion for bettering the lives of people and benefiting everyone.
Today, as the co-founder of a multinational company with operations in Southeast Asia and beyond, Hooi Ling An inspires many Singaporean entrepreneurs!
2) Brooke Lim
Brooke Lim is a 19-year-old Gen Z content creator, micro-influencer, and tuition teacher. She goes by the social media handle @sugaresque and founded the tuition agency Classicle Club. Classicle Club specializes in tutoring junior college students in the H1 General Paper subject.
Brooke Lim started out tutoring just one student. Her network grew through word-of-mouth, and she established Classicle Club to help more students learn and grow. On her vision behind Classicle Club, Brooke Lim shared that she wanted to give students more agency in their studies and level the educational playing field.
Aside from running Classicle Club, Brooke Lim also shares study tips and life vlogs on her TikTok and Instagram account. Her followers are inspired by her productivity hacks and motivational videos. In Singapore’s saturated tuition industry, Classicle Club’s success is partially boosted by Brooke Lim’s status as an influencer.
What started as a simple desire to tutor fellow students grew into a brand with enthusiastic customers. Brooke Lim combines influencer marketing, content creation, and a vision into a sustainable business model. Her relatable content and sincerity in helping others are excellent examples of how micro-influencers and businesses can build a loyal brand audience!
No stranger to the local community of Instagram influencers, SGAG has over a million followers on Instagram. It is one of Singapore’s most popular social media accounts. SGAG posts witty and relatable memes and videos that resonate with the local population. They also use their platforms to raise awareness of social issues and connect brands with audiences.
SGAG was born from an idea to create a local version of 9GAG, a Hong Kong-based platform for user-generated content. The SGAG founders started out creating memes and jokes about local events. One example? When McDonald’s decided to stop providing curry sauce in Singapore. These funny memes went viral online.
As their popularity rose, the SGAG founders began developing a proper content development strategy to grow the brand. They started watermarking their images and worked with clients to create relatable, localized content.
Their success inspires many local businesses. The founders shared a few tips with business owners during a 2015 digital marketing summit:
- Open-mindedness is critical to staying relevant online.
- Look for new ways to develop your strategy – there are no rules for how to create viral content!
4) The Woke Salaryman
The Woke Salaryman (TWS) is one of Singapore’s most popular financial bloggers leading the rising interest in personal finance. Its founders, He Ruiming and Goh Wei Choon, observed a need for easily digestible personal finance content catering to younger Singaporeans (millennials and Gen Z).
As content creators with prior experience working in a digital advertising agency, TWS’s founders emphasize the importance of thinking creatively when writing about the same topic. For instance, they use different metaphors and life stories to teach financial literacy to their audience. They also create engaging, candid Youtube videos to give the brand a voice and personality.
TWS is well-known in the local personal finance scene for their fresh, relatable content that tackles dry topics. Their recognisable Instagram posts include a distinctive monochromatic art style and the end tagline ‘stay woke, salaryman‘.
5) Michelle Tan
Michelle Tan (also known as Tan Li Yan or Mirchelley) is a Singaporean beauty and fitness influencer. Her website mirchelleymuses.com hosts blogs about a range of topics related to lifestyle, beauty, and entertainment. Michelle was the winner of the FHM Models competition in 2013. She has more than 160,000 followers on her Instagram.
Michelle inspires and empowers future young female models looking to build successful careers in the industry.
Michelle’s dedication to curating fun and helpful content for her followers on her website is a practical lesson for all businesses who want to create valuable content.
6) Derek Cheong
Engineering undergraduate Derek Cheong was the winner of MasterChef Singapore Season 2. He is the founder of Twelve Flavours and Kakkow SG. He also co-founded Broux SG.
Winning MasterChef Singapore allowed him to access high-tech cooking equipment, internship opportunities with top chefs in Singapore, cash prizes, and a book publishing deal. He has used the knowledge and feedback from the competition to improve and innovate recipes for his food businesses.
In an 8 Days interview, Derek shared that MasterChef Singapore was just one of the many milestones on his journey to becoming a professional chef. Continuously refining his skills and learning to work under pressure are vital to bringing his expertise and businesses to the next level!
7) Rachel Lim
Rachel Lim is the co-founder and chief brand officer of Love, Bonito, a Singapore-based fashion e-commerce platform operating across Southeast Asia,
Love, Bonito started as a small passion project named Bonito Chico which sold second hand clothes. Rachel Lim and her co-founders felt that most international clothing brands sold clothing that did not fit Asian women well. It inspired them to create their own clothing line, and Bonito Chico was rebranded to Love, Bonito. Today, it is a well-loved multimillion-dollar home-grown brand catering to Asian women’s fashion.
Rachel Lim was listed by Forbes as Asia’s 30under30 in 2016 and Asia’s Most Influential by TatlerAsia in 2021 & 2022. She hopes to be an inspiration to female entrepreneurs everywhere.
Love, Bonito occupies a niche in the fashion industry by providing comfortable clothing tailored for an Asian audience. Its unique products and services helped the brand earn a loyal target audience and customer base.
8) Joel Neoh
Joel Neoh is the ex-founder of Fave, a mobile payment platform and fintech company. FavePay experienced rapid adoption of its payment service when it was introduced in 2018. Today, FavePay is connected with other mobile payment services like PayLah! and GooglePay to offer cashback and perks to users.
How did FavePay succeed?
By enabling easy adoption of its services by consumers and retailers, it created a seamless payment experience. It also had fast implementation and a good track record, incentivizing customers and fellow businesses to partner with it.
Joel Neoh hoped FavePay would help build sustainable and efficient infrastructure to support widespread cashless payment in Southeast Asia. He left Fave in March 2023. However, the lessons from Fave’s success are valuable for any business owner!
9) Darius Cheung
Darius Cheng co-founded 99.co, a leading real estate tech firm. It specializes in digital advertising for properties. 99.co established its niche by offering a user-friendly search interface and platform. It distinguished itself from other property search platforms with additional features that help customers make the most informed decision.
In an interview with Peak Magazine, Darius Cheng shared the lessons he learned from developing 99.co:
- In business, seek to develop solutions for new or future problems.
- Respond quickly to changes.
- Aim to leave a legacy with your brand.
10) Xia Xue
Arguably one of Singapore’s earliest and most well-known bloggers, Xia Xue (real name Wendy Cheng) blogs primarily about fashion, beauty, and current affairs. She also owns an online beauty business called plastic cosmetics.
Aside from brand sponsorships, Xia Xue is also well-known for being candid and unflinchingly honest about her opinions online. Her Youtube videos contain reality TV-style content mixed with beauty tutorials and scathing humor. She is one of ClickNetwork’s featured Youtube Channels. ClickNetwork is a Singapore-based reality lifestyle channel with over a million subscribers.
With more than 582,000 followers on Instagram, Xia Xue is a household name and one of the top influencers in Singapore. She has established her niche in the local Internet landscape as a blogger, social commentator, and influencer!
These top 10 Singapore influencers hail from different backgrounds and industries. However, they have the common traits of being innovative, bold, and open to change. Their products and services have positively impacted local and regional audiences.
Whether you’re a small business or an established brand looking to expand your customer base, you can learn something from them. Use tips from these inspiring success stories to help your brand stand out and build a devoted target audience!