Dubai: When Dmytro Tsvyk and his wife Maria Denysiuk moved to Dubai 10 months ago, they were not aware of specific states or regions in India, much less differentiate between Indian spoken languages.
Today, the couple has a growing social media following of Malayali expats in the UAE on social media. And no, the duo don’t speak Malayalam at all.
Dmytro, a maritime logistics professional, had to move to Dubai for his job last year and his wife and daughter moved with him. But the transition also meant finding a new way to monetize Maria’s social media career.
The couple lived in the Netherlands for nine years and during that time Maria (32) became a social media influencer with hundreds of thousands of followers.
“Maria was the first one who started just joined later to help her with her Instagram, and eventually also started doing blogging myself,” Dmytro told Gulf News over a Zoom video call. The duo said their core audience was from the Netherlands, Germany, Ukraine, Poland and Russia.
The first viral video
So, in an attempt to connect with the local Instagram audience in Dubai, Dmytro thought of using an Indian movie scene as the audio for one of his videos. He added, “It was just I went online and started searching for Indian movies for different things I watched like, I don't know, like 100 probably different videos.” He landed on a scene from a Malayalam movie.
“Also, like the scene itself, like the guy was the phone. So I thought okay, I can also do the same, the same. And then we just did it, like 30 seconds of making video and then it went [viral]. It went all the way up. You know?”
The video titled ‘What will happen with your English after six months in Dubai’ remains one of Dmytro’s most viewed reels. Currently, he has nearly 130,000 followers on Instagram and TikTok.
The resounding response to the video encouraged Dmytro to continue using Malayalam movie scene clips for his reels. Maria also joins him in some of the videos and features them on her Instagram page where she has over 270,000 followers. She also works as an influencer marketing specialist in Dubai.
The couple focuses on diverse topics – while Dmytro has more comedic content, Maria’s focuses on a mix of fitness, parenting, lifestyle and comedy content. The couple also has accounts open for their toddler, Mia, and their pet.
Who suggests the audio clips?
The most popular question by viewers on social media is how Dmytro chooses the clips, and if they are all recommendations.
“Not always… of course, I'm getting recommendations from followers. But… let's say 50 different recommendations, I have a lot of them. But still, I have to choose something from that…” he said.
“So for example, when there are also some, I will say they're funny scenes, but they're about drunk people. I don't want to do that. Or like about some people that what this is related to money, like or not having money, specifically? That also I don't I don't want to do that.”
Dmytro chooses audio clips and then sends them to other Malayali friends or to Maria’s Malayali colleagues to ensure that it doesn’t sound disrespectful to anyone.
The couple, however, do not expect to burst out speaking Malayalam any time soon though they are trying to learn.
Dmytro added, “It's not an easy thing. I think you need really to start from scratch. Every language. Yeah. Also it's very different kins of language [than] that we already speak like Maria for example. She speaks five, six languages.”
Tips for beginners
Instagram success in less than a year is not an easy task and the couple suggested that beginners should focus on content that they love and can make for a long time. Maria said having good-quality videos is critical, with one often overlooked tip.
“Always clean it [camera lens], that's number one topic for everyone. Even if you have the best camera, if you don't clean the lens, you will have the worst quality…”
Dmytro added that consistency is important to growing. He said, “I love this statistic.. Only 10 per cent of people in the entire world, they want to create something. [Only] 10 per cent out of that 10 per cent are creating, and then 10 per cent out of that keep going. And they keep creating.”
“So there's [a] very little per cent [of people] that are consistent, and they keep doing things that they started from beginning.”
The duo also stressed the importance of having an appealing social media presence.
“Today, your social media is like your modern CV… Because even if you're are applying for a job, they will definitely check your social media and they will see what are your goals, your loves and what are you about in general...”