Sarah Langa on the highs and lows of digital content creation and making money as an influencer

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It took eight years for Sarah Langa to build her luxury influencer brand.
It took eight years for Sarah Langa to build her luxury influencer brand.
Sarah Langa/Instagram

She has a huge following on social media as a content creator. She boasts of 569 000 followers on Instagram and almost 89 000 on Twitter and her numbers continue to grow.

She makes sure of it because that's how she gets paid. 

Johannesburg-born brand influencer and content creator Sarah Langa (28) says her job might seem glamorous and alluring from the outside, but behind the designer brands, contour makeup and an expensive-looking lifestyle is hard work.

“The business of content creation involves a lot of hard work and dedication and having a thick skin,” she tells Drum.

She has been criticised by many and called 'not the sharpest tool in the shed', but Sarah stands her ground and continues to be one of the leading social media trendsetters.

“I don’t get used to negative criticism. Just one mistake and you are constantly reminded. But I have learned that not everything is about me,” Sarah says. Through many methods of self-affirmation, Sarah can brush off negative comments.

“A lot of people use social media to vent and offload personal baggage. I’ve learned that sometimes people say comments that have nothing to do with me, they project their own experiences, and they haven’t had the opportunity to get to me personally,” Sarah says. 

“Opening a window to your life can make people think they know you and I deal with negativity by understanding that not everyone is going to like me. Practicing self-love is very important to me. I do this through meditation, daily positive self-affirmations, reciting the things I like about myself, showing gratitude and also through music, music that makes me feel good. And I attend virtual therapy sessions to help put everything in perspective.”

This is what has kept her ahead of the game.

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She started her career eight years. She learned basic photographic skills and photo and video editing.

“I had to learn those skills in the beginning to create my content. Starting, one could not always afford a professional photographer, so. I taught myself how to do flat lays, choose settings, create sets, understand social media marketing and edit my content. Even today, I still edit my images according to my style.”

Her brand goes beyond being an influencer.

“I have gone one step and learned it and learned about marketing. I invested my time understand the different clients I cater for and be able to determine when something doesn’t align with my brand.”

Today, she comes highly recommended amongst the list of influencers.

“It took time and consistency. Most of the work I did, in the beginning, was for free, to help me build my name and credibility,” Sarah says. 

Her first paying gig was in the Woolworths autumn/winter campaign in 2015.

“The job was spread out to about three months where I had to do a variety of tasks. I can’t quite remember but I made almost R90 000 in the three months, and that’s when I realised it was worth the hard work,” Sarah says 

“But each job depends on the brief. I know people who charge R3 000, some R5 000 and other R40 000 for a social media post, it all depends on the kind of work one does and the brief,” Sarah says.

Not wanting to let out too many industry secrets Sarah says it all looks glamorous, but she needed to educate herself about the business of influencing because it is not just a hobby but a career.

She got her Postgraduate from Wits Business School and is in the process of getting her Master’s Degree in Business administration. 

“I’m an advocate for education. I believe it can open many doors. The unemployment rates in South Africa are not good, but not everyone can be an entrepreneur, education skills, and able to make it without education. It does more than just teach you but works on confidence and give yourself necessary tools.”

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This year, she one of the stars participating at the Vodacom Red Vip experience. While this year, the Vodacom Durban July was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vodacom Red Vip has launched a month-long virtual fashion, lifestyle, and celebrity experience aimed at giving consumers the tools they need to elevate their fashion aspirations.

The curated experience includes a masterclass is hosted by presenter Maps Maponyane and joining him will be Bathu founder Theo Baloyi, fashion designer Gert Johan Coetzee will, and Sarah will give tips on how to create Instagram-able fashion moments.

“I have always gone for fashion and not the horses, and it’s been a perfect opportunity to dress up and meet friends, to network and have fun. All Vodacom Red Vip contract users have access to the masterclass with a variety of benefits and we will share educational tools and fashion tips,” Sarah says. 

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