Internet Connoisseur Khaled Mazeedi Has Taken The Business Of Influencing To The Next Level

Written in partnership with DN News Desk

Khaled MazeediPhoto Credit: Khaled Mazeedi

The growing popularity of social media has created a powerful platform for individuals and businesses alike to build and shape their personal and corporate narratives. Businesses choose to collaborate with influencers that can advertise and help grow their brands by bringing optimal value in reach, monetization, and exposure.

At just 35, social media influencer and tech entrepreneur Khaled Mazeedi embodies the adage that success is the result of hard work and determination. And while fortune may have played a role in Mazeedi amassing a large number of followers, along with the moniker of ‘influencer’, Mazeedi argues that there is one more critical element for social success, and it’s simple, old-fashioned authenticity and charisma.

As YouTubers, TikTokers, and Instagrammers create and share engaging content, brands look to target new captive consumer segments through a minefield of influencers hoping to represent their products and services in the best way possible.

“It’s difficult for brands to find the right people to represent them. Social media is filled with people with a large following, but many lack the business acumen, the experience, or the sensitivity of representing a major brand. Those that can set themselves apart through authenticity, however, always bring an edge”, says Mazeedi.

Forward-thinking brands see the value of partnering with authentic influencers with millions of active and involved followers, often choosing the best of the best as their representatives in advertising. And the rates are certainly not cheap, with brands paying upwards of $10,000 for a sponsored Instagram post and over $20,000 for in-video promotion on Youtube.

Influencers at the very highest echelon of the market command considerably higher rates; a fact confirmed by Mazeedi.

A recent report on Business Insider reported that brands are projected to spend up to $15 billion on influencer marketing by 2022. The market is exponentially growing, and influencers like Mazeedi and his household social media brand @Ten — which has a global reach extending into the Middle East— can command serious money for collaborations. Thus far, he has worked with a number of brands including Lamborghini, Roger Dubious, and Pirelli.

It’s more than just numbers. Mazeedi, 34, boasts more than 5.5 million followers on Youtube and Instagram, but his success originated from a string of successful entrepreneurial efforts with a number of businesses including Swipemint, a premium metal credit card company.

Mazeedi started sharing his life on social media following his business success, focusing on a bevy of exotic automotive brands including Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and notably, his long association with Bitcoin – a content candy shop for his eager, aspirational audience. Mazeedi applied the same success principles in business to his social influence and as his followers increased he leveraged sales for his personal business and began collaborating with major brands. He claims that people and brands are keen to engage with him because of his unfiltered and authentic content.

“In a region of fakeness, audiences seem to gravitate towards authenticity – it feels like we’re pioneering a new movement. I share my life as it is and people can relate to the up and downs of life, and that’s something everybody can identify with. Social media as a profession has become mainstream in the past few years and although it started as a hobby, it’s growing into a lucrative business unit since people and brands seem to resonate with my approach,” explains Mazeedi.

A pioneering spirit isn’t new to Mazeedi; he has a knack for identifying and exploiting hidden opportunities, or ‘glitches’ in the market; opportunities with outsized risk/reward potential. A number of his businesses are founded on this principle. Now, Mazeedi is penning his process and sharing his success principles in an autobiographical book simply named “The Glitch.”

Mazeedi shares some sage advice for young and aspiring influencers, that success in social media means focusing efforts on just one or two social media platforms to begin.

“Choose your favourite social media platform, and stick to it, Mazeedi says.

The 34-year-old said he started with YouTube, which is a platform he’s always resonated with after spending hours a day watching videos when he was younger. In 2017, he decided to set up his channel @Ten, which is shorthand for the Ten Experience, where he features his Dubai-plated supercars along with day-to-day adventures in Dubai, London, Switzerland, and North America.

“At this stage, I have a lot of followers all over social media,” Mazeedi says. “But my main focus is YouTube. When I create content, I create it with YouTube in mind.”

It’s a mindset that has worked for him, reaching revenues and sponsorship deals topping US $1M a year from Youtube alone, at the peak of his efforts.

“There is no shortcut. You have to put in the hours of work to build a following. But the key is working an angle, standing above the pack and differentiating yourself from other influencers. For some people, it comes naturally, for others they have to think about it. Brands appreciate those that have something unique to offer.” says Mazeedi.

Brands across all industries have come to terms with the fact that marketing on digital channels is vital for any brand to grow. But for brands playing the social media game, this is a very different game, with a very different set of rules. And for brands looking to win the digital war, they need to first fight the war, with influencers as the warriors, and the brands as the generals, architecting brand perception across associations.

“We live in an era where traditional PR does not work like it used to,” Mazeedi says. “Having coverage from traditional media publications like the New York Times, CNN, Bloomberg, or Forbes is not enough to build your brand’s narrative and reputation. In our new era, people put trust in the personality behind the brand. They trust you first, then they buy the brand. Referrals from a trusted authority are an incredibly powerful tool.”

On the perks of having a strong audience on social media, he says, “You can speak directly to your consumers and directly communicate your message as a personality and a business. There is no middle man, there is no filter. It is a new way of growing a company and big brands are beginning to spot the opportunity.”

This could be the reason why brands are spending billions to woo their clients through the social media influencers they follow, and are scaling the use of their own instagram ads, along with partnering with influencers.

CEOs that don’t foresee the importance of social marketing put themselves at a disadvantage, Mazeedi says. And it’s not only fashion brands that stand to benefit.

“They are missing out of a huge market segment. As the future of marketing evolves, I am certain that CEOs can’t hide behind their companies and logos. They need to be on the front line, ready for battle.”

Social media will gradually attract higher percentages of advertising spend, as the return on investment can be tangibly quantified. Recognising this opportunity, big brands are on the prowl for the next big influencers that can take their brand to the next level.

For influencers such as Mazeedi, whose differentiation point is expertise and authenticity, the future brings in unlimited possibilities in brand collaboration.

“I stand for brands that understand the value of social marketing. If I see a brand that understands what I can offer them, and we are aligned in our principles, we will usually find a median to work together. It’s about building a strong relationship and understanding the bigger picture, the monetary gain is secondary.”