Traditional marketing is a little old school at this time and age where social media bring in the numbers at an affordable budget. It has turned out to be one of the most powerful tools for brands and companies to build a relationship with their customers, a platform that gave birth to influencer marketing key in product promotion.
Millennials in Kenya have taken up space as influencers leveraging on internet connectivity and an engaging audience. In the eyes of ordinary, a notable influencer should have at least 50,000 followers on Instagram, 10,000 friends and followers on Facebook and at least 10,000 followers on Twitter. But a keen eye will not confuse numbers with influence, a gross mistake that has seen many companies plunge into brand crisis.
“Someone can have 100,000 followers but when they post something only 2000 people engage. That person is not influential. But someone with the same number of followers with more engagements on a daily basis is influential,” said Stanley Asembo aka Wafunya, a pioneer in the game.
Little was known about influencers, back in the day, until 2014, when everyone wanted in smart businesses threw in some bucks. It was straightforward an influencer would be contacted by a company and asked to post content in his timeline and then get paid. But as at now, influencer marketing is pegged on engagement, a substantial audience, growth, reach and awareness conversations, to wrap their hands around customers. But this line of business comes with its fair share of drawbacks, if not carefully handled quickly translates into huge losses.
“Influencer marketing is a seasonal profession in Kenya and you can’t fully count on it. It still a trial, and error kind of thing because there is no written script about it. But when gigs come through some pay really well, but some default on you and there is little you can do about it,” said Wafunya,
Brand crisis management has put most influencers at loggerheads with KOT (Kenyans on Twitter), a situationship that Wafunya says can be smoothened if corporates would give up the habit of writing the script for the influencers and let them just do their job the best they know how. According to Wafunya, from the international influencers he follows, they are more advanced than locals because they already know the value of influencer to their brand and they come up with better strategies. Instead of using them as whistleblowers or to spread some narrative about the brand, they make sure they are conversant with the subject matter.
“Most corporates fail to differentiate partnerships with influencers from their employees. Once they have given an influencer the KPIs and the message they want them to communicate, they should let them communicate the message in their own language how they know best because they have a better understanding of the audience.
“Brands end up getting negative vibes online when they use influencers to sweep dirt under the carpet, because corporates are stuck with the mentality of using influencers as their vessels. Some go to the extent of composing posts for the influencer and some ahead posting them without knowledge of it. It becomes challenging for the influencer to defend the brand when countered with negative questions,” he noted.
Having worked with the likes of Multichoice, Magical Kenya, Equity, EABL and currently as an ambassador for 1824, Wafunya highlighted that, corporates should choose creative minds to work with to avoid a crisis. With everyone ditching TV and newspapers for content on their phones, businesses should be setting aside more resources to tap into influencer marketing by all means.