BY MORGAN LEGEL
Journal Staff

The COVID-19 pandemic has made two Guam-based social media influencers re-think how they represent themselves and the businesses for which they are brand ambassadors.

Photos courtesy of Iowani Unpingco and Alura Guerrero

As the threat of Coronavirus on the island slowly decreases, the island is comfortably settling in to what many are describing as “the new normal.” From wearing masks everywhere to constantly sanitizing hands, some habits picked up during the stay-at-home order are continuing in every day life.

As odd as it seems, even those whose jobs mainly reside on the internet have experienced a change throughout the whole pandemic as well.

“Just like any other business, booking clients may have stopped but perfecting my craft hasn’t,” said Iowani Unpingco, a makeup artist. “I used this somber time to inspire myself and to find the courage to step outside of my comfort zone and develop new series of techniques.”

Also a social media influencer with more than 52,000 followers, Unpingco said he has had to re-think how to get content for self-promotion.

“Although there has been a brief hold in productivity, the content for social media is still there. This quarantine period has given me the opportunity to be more creative for future content. Just like any influencer, I have a library of content that I have stored. I can easily access the content from my library (camera roll) and pull from those files. I have dabbled and began doing makeup tutorials both recorded and live broadcasts,” he said.

Alura D. Duenas Guerrero, another Guam-based influencer with nearly 1,200 followers, had to switch up how she produced content as well.

“My life has changed in many ways since this pandemic happened,” she said. “I was working a part time job before quarantine. I used to go out a lot and take photos to post new content on social media. Since the quarantine started, I noticed more people spending time on social media. I took that opportunity to create content on Tik Tok to help boost myself, showcasing who I am.”

When it comes to what they choose to post and which companies they choose to work with, influencers have to be very careful and creative, especially on a small island like Guam.

“You need to find something you love with a passion — the ability to capture people’s attention and to inspire strangers. You also need to have a good eye for content. The other 50% is having the ability to be relevant, coming from a small island like Guam. There are so many other outlets you’re competing with around the world. As long as you have the drive and you’re focused, you can achieve notoriety,” Unpingco said.

Duenas Guerrero said an important aspect of promotion is representation. “We live on a small island and we want to represent our island proudly.”

Both Unpingco and Duenas Guerrero work with different companies and brands. From cosmetics to Calvin Klein, and derma to dental, these two influencers are not short on brands to represent.

“The brands I work with are brands that reflect me as a person and products or services I truly believe in. I am just very grateful to be working with brands I believe in and I could honestly promote on my social media platforms,” said Duenas Guerrero.

In terms of how often he posts and about what, Unpingco said. “Not much has changed, but I definitely think that content is still king. Companies will now, more than ever, need influencers and ambassadors to promote their brand as the economy starts back up.” mbj