Mina Einifar: MA Student, Digital Marketing Expert, and Influencer Activist

June 29, 2022

Meet Mina Einifar. She's a School of Communication graduate student, digital marketing expert, and Instagram influencer activist. After completing her MA at the University of Tehran, where she researched the self-representation of Iranian women on Instagram, she came to SFU to study how Iranian women use social media for feminist activism. As a social media user herself, Mina focuses her Instagram content on work life, productivity, and digital world trends.

When Mina first created her Instagram account, she never intended it to become an influencing page. She just loved creating and sharing content! But slowly, after posing engaging content about digital trends and her experiences as a social media expert while simultaneously finding her place in Vancouver after leaving Tehran, the followers grew. Her personal experiences gained traction across the globe.

We sat down with Mina and chatted about navigating the digital world, as well as her academic experiences.

What are the differences and/or challenges between social media audiences in Tehran and Vancouver?

One of the biggest differences between the two places are engagement rates. Engagement in Tehran, or Iran in general, is very high. The average engagement rate around the world is about 4%, but in Iran it's 10%. My audience in Tehran really love commenting on and engaging with my content. It was a little discouraging when I first moved here to see the low engagement rate within the city. I had to get used to the lower numbers. A challenge of having two vast audiences is finding mutual and universal topics. Naturally there are different things going on in each part of the world. A news event in Vancouver may not be interesting to someone in rural Iran. So it's hard to find topics that everyone can relate to. It's challenged me to have a more vast point of view and put myself in my audiences' shoes.

What advice do you have for women who want to be influencer activists?

I would for sure say not to focus so much on the financial aspect of Instagram. If you only focus on how much money you're making, your content is going to suffer and then your growth will too. You need to make your content the priority. Create content that you're passionate about and keep the money objectives on the backburner. I also recommend not getting too obsessed over the number of followers you have. The algorithms are constantly changing and everyone loses followers from time to time. If you obsess too much over the numbers, it will start to negatively impact your mental health. Content creation is supposed to be fun, not mentally draining.

What does a day in the life of an influencer look like?

The weekends are when I focus on my content creation. I always post in the morning because that's when my content will reach my Tehran audiences. I take at least an hour to edit and write the post. After posting, I will spend usually an hour or so engaging with my audiences. I try to pre-create other posts for the week since my schedule is so hectic on the week days. I also work on Youtube, so I spend time recording videos on the weekend too.

Tell us more about your MA research.

I'm looking at how Iranian women demonstrate feminist activism on Instagram. Feminist activism has a long history in Iran, but there has also been a lot of limitations in the past to do so. Online platforms allow women to express themselves freely without needing persmission. I'm studying the central topics they're talking about and how their audiences are engaging. Are these women trying to challenge the institutional structures or are they trying to change people's mindsets? I'm trying to see the priorities of and the attitude toward their content.

What are the intersections between your job and your research?

So my marketing job mainly looks at the business aspect of social media whereas my academic research looks at the cultural and social side of it. But both sides are driven by one main thing: exposure. Businesses use social media to sell their products and influencers use social media to share their ideas and thoughts. Each one is trying to gain visibility.

What are you hoping to accomplish with your research?

In terms of the feminist activists themselves, I hope my research will get them to see their activities from a different point of view, which will help them see what is and isn't working when it comes to engagement. And in terms of the bigger, social picture, my research will show what is happening in the feminist realm within this digital world. It will help everyone get a better understanding of what feminists are really seeking.

How did your CMNS degree help with your social media success?

I started my Instagram account long before I finished my CMNS degree, so you can be successful on social media without having a degree in the field. However, throughout my degree I really started to understand the foundations of social media platforms and new media. When you start to study the concepts more deeply, you lean how to better use the media techniques to achieve what you want. You get to know the roots and effects much better, and you can take full control of your social media actions. Having a CMNS degree has given me a better vision of what I want to achieve from social media.

What are your future goals?

Social media has really helped me with personal branding. I've gotten a lot of digital marketing gigs and clients from it, so I really want to try to develop an online business that doesn't rely on just one platform.

What advice do you have for fellow graduate students?

Ha, it's hard to give advice when I'm in the same stage as them, so I will offer advice as a friend. I would say follow your passion because that's what life is all about. My schedule is really busy with work and studying, but I always try to find the time to work on my social media platform because that's what I'm passionate about. You just need to go for it.

Is there something you know now in grad school that you wish you would've known in undergrad?

I would say I wish I knew that there was no shame in following what I liked. I was always very private about what I was doing. But once I started talking about my passions I got so many opportunities. When you talk about your passion, people will want to know more. So I would say don't be worried about what your friends and family think. If something makes you happy, just do it and focus on your goals.

 

Check out Mina's Instragram page here.

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