From top right Socialite Vera Sidika, Comedian Njugush, News Presenter Anne Kiguta and Musician cum Socialite Akothee. They earn lots of money owing to their large social media following. Dr. Clara Mundia opines companies should assess data before hiring social media influencers.

By Dr. Clara Mundia

The year 2020, has served us great lessons. While the Covid-19 pandemic ravaged through various establishments, it also fueled the unbeatable spirit of entrepreneurs across the country and across the globe.

During this period, we have witnessed countless innovative methods by Kenyans to make money and keep their families afloat.

In addition, the already rising push for independence and flexible timings has meant that people have become creative in finding effective yet cost efficient tools that would aid in the cultivating their passions and hobbies.

In achieving the above goals, social media platforms have taken center stage as modes and mediums for advertising of both goods and services.

Dalberg Research has established that over 3.6 billion people are using social media all over the world with Kenya having about 10 million users.

With awareness on the influence of social media platforms on brand reputation having grown greatly, entrepreneurs have embraced the now common practice of digital PR which includes working with bloggers and influencers relevant to their PR campaigns.

Read>>>>Report: Brands Have Been Wasting Money Advertising Through Social Media Influencers

The value of influencer marketing can be demonstrated by high consumer recommendation of their favorite influencers.

Return on Investment (ROI) is high when engaging in influencer marketing compared to other forms of marketing. This is supported by the fact that there is a growing young population with a huge online presence and an increasing purchasing power.

Furthermore, influencers have a global audience reach and provides direct and fast access to target groups while attracting lower costs of running brand awareness campaigns. Influencer marketing has proven to be a key mode to connect with the target during COVID times when other avenues are restricted.

While the benefits of digital PR are not in question, there have been claims on increasing poor return on influencer investment which can be attributed to inflation of followers (buying followers/fake accounts), consumer cynicism, unprofessionalism of influencers and poor choice of influencers, focusing on follower numbers other than engagement rates, sponsored posts that do not provide an honest product/service review.

To reap maximum benefits, targeting the right influencers for digital PR campaigns must involve thorough investigative insight to inform a more realistic expectations among brands. Research also helps to identify platforms that will receive the highest engagement rates.

This then meant that research companies that focus on data-driven, evidence-based approaches are valuable to communication and marketing professionals. With research, one can conduct accurate profiling of social media influencers.

Dalberg Research has developed a social media influencer database, a tool meant to provide clarity and allow for cost-efficient and well-targeted marketing using social media personalities.

The LOCANSM digital influencer database contains detailed profiles of the top digital influencers in Kenya. For each influencer, it holds their general location, category, following, activity on the different platforms and the level of content engagement they receive.

In addition to an influencer’s direct followers, it also captures the number and general location of indirect followers, providing an estimation of their extended audience as location is a key factor greatly influencing consumer behaviour and access to products/services.

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The Social Media Influencer Database is a good aid as it provides a breakdown of the influencer’s profiles and companies to determine best matches to fulfil predetermined communication and brand objectives.

This tool will go a long way in helping to establish the true extent of an influencer’s audience and their rate of content engagement to provide insight into their eligibility to sustain a PR campaign for a product/service.

While we have walked a tight rope in 2020, opportunities in influencer marketing are helping to build business brands online and raise awareness amongst the target audience. As the fog from the pandemic slowly clears, businesses can confidently look forward to the new year as they now can accurately target their audience and increase their chances of running powerful digital PR campaigns through target research.

The Writer Is The Location Analytics (LOCAN) Manager, Dalberg Research

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