Big on Instagram: 5 Influential Men on Clout, Content, and Why Care Matters
With a great follower count comes great responsibility.
These days, clout matters. Whether or not you choose to accept it, reality is shaped by the sentiments and sensibilities of social media, where, for better or worse, followers are power. On Instagram, for instance, a large following accords the power of influence and reach—which in turn becomes the power to steer public conversation.
That makes these five #DeeplyDistinct men powerful: Lharby Policarpio, Brent Manalo, Agassi Ching, Culver Padilla, and Tom Tacwigan. Each has followers in the range of six digits. Each can easily collect thousands of engagements on a single post on any given day. Each has a captive audience in the palm of their hands—a megaphone, with which they can speak to multitudes who would listen. The question, then, is: How do they handle this power of influence?
To better understand, we spoke to five #DeeplyDistinct men about how they use their influence, and why it also comes with a responsibility to care. While each abides by his own distinct approach to being a public figure, all of them make an effort to take their audience deep into their lives, to share what matters, and to inspire others to look, feel, and be the best versions of themselves.
Tom Tacwigan, who is now a pilot trainee and a fitness advocate, started racking up a significant following on Instagram when he was featured on TV shows for his dramatic weight loss story. Now, he has 128K as of writing. With his influence, Tom posts transformation photos and other fitness-related content, making sure to take an uplifting, caring tone, rather than one that alienates other people. “I always think of how someone would feel after looking at my profile,” he says.”Would it bring out the best or worst in them? Would it make them feel empowered and inspired?” That’s because he knows he has a responsibility, as someone with significant influence—one that extends well beyond fitness, too. “It’s my responsibility to use my platform to inform my audience about pressing matters,” he says. “Instagram is a tool. It’s not just for photos with inspirational captions—it’s a platform that you can use to inform and to start conversations. It’s not just an app. Use it well.”
Culver Padilla believes that working out, like sports, reveals a person’s true character. This is at the heart of his content, as an award-winning bodybuilder and a fitness coach, and the philosophy that drives him to get in ever better shape. He uses his platform to share that philosophy with his 160K followers. “I make it a point that what they read from me can help them, motivate, inspire, push them to move,” he says. “I want them to challenge not only their mindset, but also their heart and soul.” He also thinks it’s especially important for people to be mindful of their fitness today, as a matter of self-care, and so he makes sure he projects that on social media. “To be physically fit and healthy is always our first line of defense against sickness, so let's take care of ourselves by exercising regularly, eating healthy food, and getting enough sleep.”
Brent Manalo is a model who started to be active on Instagram in 2018. As tends to happen with models, his following came naturally, and soon he realized he had significant influence, now at 237K followers as of writing. He’s keenly aware of the responsibilities that come with it. “I have a young audience,” he acknowledges, “and I have to always remind myself that I have to be responsible in what I post. I want to set a good example.” To him this means talking about important issues and being mindful about misinformation. “I try to educate myself, because the best thing about having a platform is that you can spread awareness on certain causes that need more attention. Influencers have to really use their platform not only to affect people's purchasing decisions, but also to speak up on issues and help shed some light on important things.”
Lharby Policarpio, who now has 339K followers, is an actor who had never planned to be big on Instagram. But eventually, it became a way for him to make a living too. He mainly posts photos of himself, but he takes great care in ensuring that when he does, it inspires others. “As influencers, we must remember that what we post can become an automatic new norm or standard for our followers,” he admits. It’s especially important, then, to be a caring presence in these extraordinary times. “[Amid the pandemic,] we must display a way of life that should inspire people to be more careful with their health and be more compassionate for those in need. That’s why every now and then I put up drives to raise funds to help people in need.”
Agassi Ching was big on YouTube before he was big on Instagram. He’s shared his life with others by making fun videos, and it fulfills him to see how his content affects people. “I love to entertain people because I find great joy when I make others happy,” he says. His YouTube fame spilled over into Instagram, where he now has 731K followers as of writing. But regardless of the platform, his main goal is to inspire others and call them to action. “Care is important lalo na ngayon sa crisis na nae-experience natin. Kailangan natin magtulong-tulong para sa mga taong nangangailangan, and that starts with us. We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”
It's clear that these five influential men take great care in making meaningful content that resonates with and inspires their followers to be their best selves. It's a brand of care that they take in their own lives as well, which is why they exemplify the #DeeplyDistinct lifestyle that NIVEA MEN DEEP Espresso and NIVEA MEN DEEP Amazonia represent.
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