How do content creators stand out in a sea of misinformation and build credible content?

Falguni Vasavada, Professor at MICA and Digital Creator, underscored the challenge of rising above conflicting narratives for content creators to gain audience trust. Sharan Hegde, Finance Content Creator and Co-founder/CEO of 1% Club sheds light on the efforts of finfluencers in building trustworthy brands

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 Falguni Vasavada, Sharan Hegde

(L) Falguni Vasavada, Sharan Hegde (R)

Mumbai: In today's world, trust can be hard to come by as we grapple with the rise of deep fakes and widespread misinformation making headlines. For content creators and brands trying to find their footing in this chaotic landscape, building trust is crucial. 

Falguni Vasavada, Professor at MICA and Digital Creator, underscored the challenge of rising above conflicting narratives for content creators to gain audience trust. Sharan Hegde, Finance Content Creator and Co-Founder/CEO of 1% Club, shed light on the efforts of finfluencers in building trustworthy brands.

During a panel discussion at Goafest 2024, Falguni Vasavada, Professor, MICA, and Digital Creator, highlighted how, amidst conflicting narratives, content creators can rise above the noise and earn the trust of their audience, and Sharan Hegde, Finance Content Creator and Co-Founder and CEO of 1% Club, shed light on finfluencers circling to create a trustworthy brand.

Manisha Kapoor, CEO and Secretary General of ASCI, led the panel discussion by asking what content creators and brands can do to maintain and build trust.  

Vasavada, in response, stated, “Whether it's content creators building their brand or brands operating in the social media space, it's crucial to understand the legacy of your brand and your purpose in this world.”

This understanding helps identify the 2-3 key areas of expertise where you can bring authenticity and credibility. Being authentic and credible is especially important today, given the vast amount of information available at everyone's fingertips, she added. 

She further said, “Whether you're creating your content, curating content from other sources, or engaging in conversations, everything should align with these core areas of expertise.”

This consistency helps build a trustworthy persona and fosters genuine connections with your audience, as Vasavada highlighted.

As an academic and originally a content creator with a unique social media presence, Vasavada

took the audience through her experiences as a content creator and highlighted insights into her journey. 

She stated, “Having been in academia for 25 years, I've always had forums and platforms to discuss my areas of expertise with students, at conferences, through research, and in training programmes at MICA.”

However, alongside my academic career, I developed personal passions in areas such as gender, inclusivity, equity, feminism, body positivity, fashion, and women empowerment, she emphasised.

With such a realisation, Vasavada shared that she wanted a platform to voice these passions and connect with her audience. 

“Social media provided that opportunity, allowing me to go beyond my professional identity and academic credentials. It offered a space for personal branding where I could share my journey and insights,” she said.

Expanding on this, she highlighted, “My content creation journey began with the rise of social media in India. Over the last decade, I've remained consistent because these topics are not just areas of interest but passions I live and breathe.”

“When you love what you do, content creation comes naturally,” she further added. That resonance with her audience motivated Vasavada to create more. 

Taking the discussion to the financial aspect of creators, Kapoor highlighted the fact that financial content creators or finfluencers play a crucial role in simplifying complex financial topics and providing accessible advice. 

However, the financial content world is also plagued by scams and fraud, raising concerns among regulators and the government. For example, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has imposed hefty fines on some content creators for unethical practices. 

Given the significant opportunities and equally stark challenges, Hegde shed light on how finfluencers can create a circle of trust and build a trustworthy brand in their space

Responding to it, Hegde stated that financial scams had existed long before finfluencers came into the picture. 

“If you look at the financial ecosystem, you have banks, financial advisors, mutual fund distributors, and insurance advisors. It's only recently that finance influencers have emerged. Despite this, awareness of investing and finance remains minimal, barely scratching the surface,” he added.

Hegde emphasised that even though financial awareness is still under 1%, scams persist. Miscreants will always find ways to exploit opportunities for illegal gain. 

The key issue is understanding regulations properly. The scams involving finance content creators often stem from their entry into SEBI's domain without proper licensing, whether it's giving advice, stock tips, or futures and options recommendations, he opined.

Building trust is straightforward: educate your audience and make them aware of what is right and wrong, Hegde emphasised.