In this feature on #WinWithWomen, we speak to Syifa who is the Social Media Marketing lead at wagely, a leading financial wellness company offering Earned Wage Access (EWA) to employees in Indonesia. Social media marketing has grown to be prevalent across all industries and Syifa shares what it takes to be a Social Media Marketing lead and what drew her to a career in this area.
Hi Syifa, can you tell us more about wagely and your experience being in a start-up?
wagely empowers companies in Indonesia to provide employees instant access to their earned wages whenever they face unexpected urgent needs or expenses that would otherwise force them to turn to predatory lending platforms. The presence of predatory lenders has grown significantly in Indonesia and there are just too many stories on the news about people who weren’t able to pay the money back, got into the cycle of debt, and ended up getting themselves, their families and relatives terrorized by the debt collectors. Having said that, our mission is to enable all employees in Indonesia, especially the blue-collar workers who are living the paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle to create financial wellness and build financial resilience so they don’t have to turn to predatory lenders once something unexpected comes up. Offering employees instant access to earned wages is transforming the employee experience with higher retention rates, increased productivity and better financial wellbeing. This benefit also makes employers an employer of choice which speeds up the recruitment process.
My role at wagely is in marketing and communications, focusing on wagely’s social media strategies on LinkedIn and Instagram amongst others. I am responsible for content writing, graphic designing, social media administration, taking over the KOL management, just recently participating in marketing campaign management, and a little bit of everything you can think of involving marketing and communications at a startup.
As a fresh graduate, the idea of working at a startup is very interesting. As we know, startups roles have a few areas of differences compared to other corporate roles, such as working flexibility, the workplace environment, and the company culture. While not saying either is better than the other, I have experienced working in both and I recognised the differences. wagely caught my attention with their social mission and what they bring to society, not just to gain profits as how most businesses operate, but to give back to the community and provide value to their users. After working at wagely for some time, I see that they are providing value, not only externally but also internally and that is why for me, it’s very enjoyable to work here.
Do you mind sharing a bit more about your career background and how it led you to your current role in Social Media Marketing at wagely?
I studied public relations and graduated in 2020. I thought I would graduate and enter into the public relations sector. However, my first job was as a Marketing and Product Management intern at a Fintech company called PT Finnet Indonesia or commonly known as Finnet, which is a subsidiary of PT Telkom Indonesia. My second job was at an America-based EduTech company, ELSA Corp, as a Content Marketing intern. And now I am working at a Fintech startup that we know as wagely. While I was still studying, I would picture myself working in the fashion or beauty industry, and working at Fintech companies was never really something I had planned. Looking back at my professional experiences, it seems like there is a bond between the Fintech industry and me. Working at Fintech companies was formerly not my interest just because the words “Finance” and “Technology” scared me. But life happens and my path was directed towards Fintech, it was only about time for me to face my fears and step out of my comfort zone.
Why did you choose to pursue a career in marketing and what do you love most about your job?
The relationship between marketing and myself was never intentional. Throughout my studies, I never really saw myself working in marketing because I studied it in my first year of college and never really thought I would be good at it. My interest was in media and creative work. However, as I was approaching the end of my studies, I understood the importance of marketing as it is something that we all need. Big, medium, and small enterprises need marketing. Seeing this fact in the field became the reason I pursued a career in marketing and developed my curiosity to learn more about it. I decided to continue my studies to obtain a master’s degree majoring in marketing communication. I realized that the job that I like doing now involves the two areas that I never foresaw myself enjoying, the combination of Fintech and Marketing.
What I love the most about my job in social media marketing is how much I learn about social media as a marketing tool and not just as a social networking platform. The usage of social media in Indonesia is very high, including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok, YouTube, and many others. Businesses that are not using social media as one of their cheap alternative marketing tools are missing out. I realise that social media holds so much power, flexibility, and efficiency in marketing. The process of understanding your audience, knowing what kind of message they want to see, what type of message you will convey, the creativity in crafting the message itself, and evaluating the feedback, is always interesting for me.
What was your favorite social media marketing campaign that you deployed?
My favourite social media marketing campaign so far would be the independence day campaign that we had on LinkedIn. It was a series of carousel content and a short video that we made virtually for Indonesia’s independence day on 17 August, featuring the founders and employees of wagely. We had fun in the process of planning and executing and the campaign was something that we never had done before. It was one of our efforts to prove our love and our mission towards the country, and to create something different while being separated by distance. In addition, being granted so much trust to execute a raw idea, and having everyone participate in it, was something new and gratifying for me.
What would you say is your biggest success or career highlight?
As a fresh graduate, entering the professional world and learning new things daily, would be something I consider a success. For me, it’s more about the little things that I encounter every day at work, the bigger responsibilities I am given each day, and the success of the projects that the team and I have executed. However, if I have to mention my most memorable career highlight, it was when wagely held a webinar with Dr. Alex Denni, who is the Deputy Minister for Human Resources at the Ministry of State Apparatus Empowerment and Bureaucratic Reform, and I had to jump in at the last minute as the emcee. Although I was a radio announcer and a public speaker back in college, I had never taken on such a job at wagely before. Being able to showcase my talent beyond the scope of marketing in one of wagely’s most prestigious online events is something that will stick in my memory.
Where do you see the future of social media marketing heading?
Social media marketing is going to stay in the industry for a long time. People are transitioning from watching TV to watching Youtube and Netflix. People are transitioning from placing ads on huge billboards that cost billions of dollars to placing ads on Facebook and Instagram to reach a more niche audience. We are transitioning from having face-to-face seminars to having Zoom webinars. Some state agencies have even used social media to conduct campaigns. As bad as it sounds, everyone relies on smartphones daily, making the use of traditional marketing mediums irrelevant and a waste of money for some brands.. Although I wouldn’t say that traditional media is completely dead, many businesses have moved to digital media because it’s more practical and in some cases, it delivers better results. I believe that in the future, social media will be one of the most important tools in doing business in general.
What would you say is a determining factor in encouraging gender balance within the traditionally male-dominated technology industry?
I would say gender balance in technology companies can happen when you put your trust in women. Technology companies are known to be dominated by males. However, we know that nowadays, there are women who can do the job just as well, or even better. Women can lead, women can initiate, women can execute, women can code, women can be creative, women can innovate, women can work behind or in front of the desk, women can deliver results, and that is something that people often underestimate. Without trust, there would be no chance for women. Without trust, there would be no room available to show what women are capable of. Without trust, there would be no women involved. Women’s qualities can be beneficial to the business if only founders, management, or investors put their trust in women. By trusting women, companies are opening themselves to the great possibilities of what women can offer to the industry.
What advice would you give young women who are just starting to work?
As a female and as the youngest employee at wagely, I know that starting a new job can be nerve-wracking. With limited experience, we often dismiss ourselves for not being good enough. However, the feeling of insecurity is the reason why people can’t grow. Everyone starts from zero and it’s a process that all of us will have to go through. I know people with great qualities who don’t get what they deserve because they doubt themselves, yet I know people with limited qualities that get better over time because they have the will to learn and to take opportunities. As cliche as it may sound, we just need to believe in our capabilities and trust the process. As women, we may have to push a bit harder but when you work to deliver your best, giving your all, and proving that you are capable, everything will follow.
Have you drawn inspiration from other women?
I would say I draw inspiration from women around me. My mom as a stay-at-home mom, my friends who are fighting to secure job interviews and my female colleagues who perform and give their best at work. These people inspire me to become a better woman every day. Not every woman faces the same problem, but each woman faces her own problems and has to take care of them. When I feel small about my presence in society, I just need to remind myself that I am a woman and it gives me strength.