Andy Yong began posting photos on Instagram in 2016 as a casual hobby, attracted by the platform’s rising popularity in the city-state. But his initial intrigue with mobile photography has blossomed into a full-time career as a social media coach and content creator with over 3 Million followers across Instagram and TikTok.
Armed with only a Nikon camera funded by a part-time job, Andy roamed Singapore’s urban landscape to capture scenes of its streets and skylines to post on Instagram. “I would just leave home, walk around the city, look for interesting subjects to take photos of, look for nice viewpoints,” he said.
The pivotal moment came in 2022 when Andy doubled down on content creation, starting on TikTok, posting daily videos for a month straight – catapulting him from zero followers to six figures. By 2023, he had fully committed to his new role as a creator, leaving behind freelance photography and videography gigs.
“I just want to put 100% effort into one thing,” Andy said, describing his newfound philosophy. That laser focus paid off with what he called his most successful year yet – showcasing the outsized returns possible in social media by dedicating time and continuously improving one’s craft.
Singaporean Andy Yong’s Social Media Rise: From Photography Hobbyist To Full-Time Creator
Mastering the Art of Educational Content Creation in Photography
Andy Yong defines his content as educational, emphasizing a straightforward and solution-oriented approach. “The way I start my videos is identifying a problem… And then I promise a solution,” he explains. The appeal of Andy’s content lies in its directness and brevity, “Before this type of content was big on Instagram and TikTok, people would have to go through ten, 20-minute YouTube videos to learn what I can summarize in 20 seconds” he remarks, highlighting the efficiency and accessibility of his approach.
A crucial aspect of Andy’s strategy is his focus on mobile photography. Recognizing that not everyone has access to professional cameras, but almost everyone has a smartphone, Andy Yong tailors his content to be as inclusive as possible. “I want to relate to as large an audience as possible,” he states. This inclusive approach is further exemplified by his decision to simplify technical jargon. Instead of using terms like ‘aperture,’ he opts for more relatable language like ‘blurriness of background.’
Moreover, Andy’s dedication to inclusivity extends beyond just the content of his videos. He actively responds to the needs of his diverse audience. Noticing the demand for Android-related content, he went out of his way to purchase an Android phone, ensuring that his tips and tricks are relevant to both iPhone and Android users. “I just want to make sure that in my content there’s something for everyone,” he emphasizes.
“Bite-Sized Creative Content”
The phrase “bite-sized creative content” in Andy’s bio has been a constant, even as his approach to content creation has evolved. “It doesn’t limit me,” Andy explains, highlighting its flexibility. He believes this tagline is not confined to photo tips or educational material; it encompasses a broader range of creativity, aligning perfectly with his goal to branch out from purely educational content to include entertaining and inspirational photography. “Bite-sized creative content… it’s all-encompassing. And it’s really on brand with what I want to do in growing my account,” he remarks.
Andy Yong believes that what makes content truly engaging and memorable are relatability and familiarity. He thinks that while achieving viral success with a few videos is relatively straightforward, the real challenge lies in maintaining a consistent high view count and building a lasting identity. “To me, the second level is constantly having viral videos every month and building an identity, building a brand from there,” he states.
Familiarity in content creation involves creating a sense of comfort and recognition among the audience, Andy Yong believes. “You want your audience to associate you with your niche,” Andy asserts, stressing the importance of establishing a unique, recognizable identity in the crowded digital space.
Relatability, according to Andy, is equally vital. “If I were to post a video of how to take nice photos of your washing machine or your umbrella, no one will care because it’s got to be relatable,” he explains.
Bridging the Educational Gap with the Andy Andy Academy
“I get a lot of comments saying, ‘Oh, your videos are great, but can you go slower? Or could you explain this more in-depth?’” Andy shares. These requests highlighted a gap in the content he was able to deliver within the confines of social media platforms, where videos are limited to 90 seconds.
Recognizing this gap, Andy Yong saw an opportunity to expand his educational offerings through a more comprehensive course. “I was always thinking of releasing a course because this would solve all the problems,” he explains. This move was not just about addressing the limitations of social media; it also represented a strategic step towards diversifying his income streams. Previously reliant on brand deals and selling digital products like presets, Andy acknowledges the financial motivations behind the Academy. “Having a course… it’s obviously a higher ticket item and it’s really on brand with my educational style of content,” he says candidly.
Andy Yong plans to create an email list to track his students’ progress, encouraging them to share their before-and-after photos and receive personalized feedback. This approach is a departure from the impersonal nature of social media interactions. “It’s not just thinking of it as just a digital product. I do want to foster a community,” he emphasizes.
Guiding Creators Through Technical and Emotional Challenges
Andy Yong is not only in the educational space for photography but he also conducts in-person social media workshops, where he teaches others how to start from scratch and develop the skill set needed to be successful content creators.
“When you’re just starting as a creator, you don’t really know how to edit your videos properly, you’re not familiar with the algorithm,” Andy explains. With hands-on coaching and time, Andy believes that these skills can be developed relatively easily. “It’s way easier to get someone to be a good video editor than to be a good content creator,” he asserts, highlighting the teachable nature of technical skills.
Andy Yong believes many new creators also face discouragement and self-doubt, especially when their content does not immediately gain traction. He shares the concerns he often hears: “Andy, I follow everything you say, but my videos are not getting viral. They’re not getting any views. I don’t think this is for me.” This emotional hurdle is not just about maintaining motivation; it’s about cultivating discipline. Andy emphasizes the importance of staying on track with a consistent plan and continually striving for improvement.
Andy highlights the continuous learning process involved in his coaching role, especially with the ever-changing nature of social media algorithms. “What works on TikTok, Instagram, it changes so often… I always have to do my research with each new workshop,” he notes. This constant updating of knowledge benefits his students and reinforces his understanding of current trends and best practices in content creation.
The process of preparing for workshops serves as a self-reflective exercise, ensuring he remains true to his principles and teachings. “I would check what I’m writing now for my slides against my content and I would see, are you really practicing what you preach?” he says.
Expanding Horizons with New Courses and Diverse Content
Andy Yong has already launched a course on mobile photography and is now developing a second course focused on growing social media presence. He identifies a need to cater to his international audience, acknowledging that limiting his workshops to in-person sessions in Singapore doesn’t serve his global followers effectively. This upcoming course on social media growth, set to launch later this year, is a response to this demand and will encapsulate the insights he shares in his in-person coaching.
In terms of his content creation, Andy plans to stay true to his roots in educational content while also exploring new formats. He expresses a desire to delve into more entertaining and storytelling content, as well as broadening his scope to include different photography styles. “I want to create more entertaining content, like storytelling, more just purely photography stuff,” he shares.
Andy also sets a goal for follower growth, aiming to reach 3 million by the end of the year. He reflects on the importance of such milestones, not just as numerical achievements but as motivational targets. “Last year’s goal was 2 million… It doesn’t really mean much, but it is something to strive towards,” he states, emphasizing the value of setting goals in content creation.
Expanding his platform presence, Andy is considering exploring YouTube, including both YouTube shorts and long-form videos. This move represents a strategic expansion into different content formats and platforms, broadening his reach and engagement.