Years before the advent of social media, traditional media ruled the airwaves and brands were willing and open to pay any amount of money set by media houses to get noticed and heard by people who were glued to their favourite Television shows and their preferred Radio programmes. It’s during these TV shows and radio programmes that brands discovered that they can ran ads or sponsor some of the TV programmes with Titles, in fact, the word soap opera, one of the most popular TV titles in the world, came out of a Procter and Gamble’s need to connect with their target customers without nudging them too much.
In the 1920s, the radio industry desperately needed to drum up advertising revenue to help increase station ratings and, by extension, overall profits. Radio executives soon realized they had a ready-made consumer base as an audience. Since most women in those days were stay-at-home wives and mothers, they were also the main consumers of household items. So all the execs had to do was come up with programming to appeal to these women, and then convince the makers of various household goods to advertise their products during breaks in the programming. Thus, the daytime serial was born.
Procter & Gamble’s Oxydol soap powder, which was running behind Lever Brothers’ Rinso among leading laundry detergents, was the first to get in on the act. The agency used a one cent sale—consumers who bought one box of the product at the regular price would receive a second box for a penny—to encourage women to try Oxydol. Then the company put their product into daytime radio by sponsoring “Ma Perkins,” a drama about a woman who ran a lumberyard in the fictitious town of Rushville Center, in 1933. They tested the show, along with its ad, on a station in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the summer and fall. In December, “Ma Perkins” went national on NBC.
Procter & Gamble began to both sponsor and produce numerous new radio shows, which became known as soap operas. This was a huge success for the company made out of the discovery that people can be attached to brands that support things people care about on TV, as faithful listeners flocked to the grocery stores and became loyal buyers of P&G’s products.
In the decades that followed, the soap company sponsored some 20 soap operas on radio and, eventually, television and became a pioneer in producing award-winning daytime serials.
Overtime, brands like P&G and Coca Cola realized that sponsoring shows wasn’t enough to ramp up their sales from radio and TV. They started exploring another strategy of working with key icons in entertainment space that had been in existence for years, though celebrity endorsements started way back in the 1700, it picked up momentum from 1940s when the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Santa Claus(Yes, him)started appearing in commercials like those of Coca Cola as a sign of endorsing them and this came at a time when TV was on the rise across the world.
This is the closest it can get to the definition of what influencer marketing is, at least by use of references that most people can relate to, it didn’t just start with social media. We can therefore conclusively say that an influencer is someone who has the power to change perception among potential customers, and orients marketing activities around traits that his/her fans can relate to.
This decades-old tradition of marketing has since shifted and changed in order to appeal to different audiences and be usable and consumed in different platforms, social media accelerated the tactic of influencer marketing since everyone now has the power to create content.
Influencer Marketing Today
Decades have passed and we find ourselves in marketing 3.0. At this stage of the history of influencer marketing, several developments can be observed that are crucial for the use of influencer marketing, we are familiar with today. Social changes enable developing niche markets. Now the customer is more than just a run-of-the-mill consumer but a human being with his own values.
Furthermore, the rise of social media leads to far more than just a value-cantered marketing 3.0, but to an era of participation – anyone can create content online. It’s become a hot topic for marketers — probably because we are realizing how powerful it is, especially as an alternative to traditional advertising that can be expensive and inefficient. More importantly, consumers don’t like to be advertised to and marketing messages have less credibility every day.
Social Media has also changes how brands view who an influencer is and it’s modern definition has changed to fit each platform. One of the biggest misconceptions about influencers today is that they are someone with a large social media following. This thinking confuses influence with popularity. The act of influencing requires a specific result: a change in thinking or behaviour. An influencer, therefore, is someone who has the power to influence the perception of others or gets them to do something different.
Influencers are people who’ve spent time building their own brand and cultivating their audience; they will be naturally protective of their reputation and the people who trust them. They’re people who had the patience and focus to succeed in social media, one organic follower at a time—people like this aren’t interested in a quick payout.
Influencer Marketing is also not about quick payouts from brands and working with anyone who calls himself an influencer. It’s the same kind of slow-and-steady approach as Social Media and Content Marketing, where your campaign isn’t about directly selling your wares. It’s about demonstrating your authority, credibility, and thought-leadership within your industry. It’s about becoming synonymous with whatever it is that you offer, like when people say they’re going to Google something instead of searching for it online.
Influencer Marketing in Kenya
Kenya is one of those countries that is technologically advanced compared to other African countries, I mean, we have better internet speed than the United States. Kenya has the world’s 14th-fastest mobile internet speed, according to a report from the content delivery network Akamai, which collects data from more 130 countries. This not only shows how heavily Kenyans are attached to the internet but demonstrated great potential for businesses that seek to acquire more customers being their locality.
The use of the mobile phone to access various services has risen rapidly for the past 10 years, Kenyans can access services ranging from paying their bills on the go to creating content on the move due to the cheap data plans offered by the various Telecoms who are fighting each other to the ground with the aim of winning Kenyans’ hearts. In the past, creating content was only limited to big media houses with huge budgets, in this day and age, creation of content is just one hashtag away. What one needs is just a mobile phone and a data plan for them to get started creating their own content geared towards a certain audience the creator has in mind.
It has become even easier to distribute this content to various audiences due to the rapid rise of the use of social networks in Kenya. According to a report released by Nendo, WhatsApp is quoted to have 12 million, Facebook (7.1 million), YouTube (8 million), Instagram (4 million), Twitter (1 million), LinkedIn (1 million) and Snapchat (0.25 million).
This rapid rise on the use of social media by Kenyans and various brands has led to the rise of various influencers in Kenya who seek to make a penny from this massive growth in time spent on social networks. Most of these influencers are millennials who seek to dominate digital just the same way our parents dominated TV, Literally. For one to be considered an influencer in Kenya by various brands(brand standards), one must have at least 50,000 followers on Instagram, 10,000 friends and followers on Facebook and at least 10,000 followers on Twitter. LinkedIn is yet to have serious influencers in Kenya since its currently dominated by various thought leaders various industries, and young people in Kenya haven’t grasped the LinkedIn vibe yet for them to start taking it seriously(Wanasema ni ile ya kutafuta Kazi)
The phenomenon of influencer marketing in Kenya started picking in 2011 when Instagram use was taking shape in Kenya, it wasn’t a big deal back then being on Instagram but it was being on Facebook. Most Kenyans were using Facebook to be In touch with their friends but the flexibility of content creation on Facebook back then was cumbersome since video wasn’t heavily consumed by various users, it was a photo and text-based platform. With the rise of Instagram, young people flocked to the app where it was known for keeping up with various celebrities, which later on inspired other young people to create brands of their own in order to increase their followership, hence the rise of accounts with a massive following on Instagram, which trickled on to Facebook.
Timothy Kimani Ndegwa or commonly known as “Njugush” is one of Kenya’s best comedians and entertainers who happened to have gained fame and popularity due to his viral videos and rib-cracking memes in Kenya. He is best known for his witty jokes which sometimes you have to listen/read twice for you to get the intended meaning.
Njugush was born in 1992 in Meru to a religious family. His father is a reverend and a his mum business woman.Due to the nature of his father’s work, he went to six primary schools because his dad got transferred a lot and hence his childhood was never spent in one specific place. His family was strong on religion, his dad being a reverend. Njugush has a younger brother who is almost graduating from Maseno University.
At the age of seven, In class one, he performed his first act of being a thespian. This happened in his church where the play’s director needed a child who would walk around the set without saying a word. His mother let him take the part.
Njugush went later on went to Naaro High School in Kangaru where he cleared his secondary school studies with a C+ and later on auditioned at The Kenya National Theatre as an actor for set books.
After his short stint at The Kenya National Theatre, he joined Kenya Institute of Mass Communication to pursue a career in Journalism as a parallel student considering the fact that his grades couldn’t get him into a government sponsored programme. While in KIM, he started taking part in the school’s activities related to Journalism by hosting a reggae show on the school’s radio station, ECN. He joined the drama club as well at KIM where he met Abel Mutua who spotted his talent of acting different characters in different sets.Abel later on brought him on-board to feature in Hapa Kule news, a satirical TV show which was a major hit in KTN after the prime news at 7:00p.m.
He then became a creative director for Hapa Kule News, which in turn gave birth to The Real House Helps of Kinoo, as its initial name, but was changed to The Real House helps of Kawangware, TRHK. They shot that for two years, after which he left. He left TRHK because Abel left as well. He had the initial concept of the show from way back and wrote all the scripts for Njugush. He later on joined BBC Africa where he hosted a youth governance show and later on joined Abel in Maisha Magic to co-write scripts for Hullaballoo in Maisha Magic.
Blessed Njugush, the influencer.
According to a reporting by Parents Magazine, Njugush stumbled upon online marketing by accident after his engagement in BBC to support his wife, Celestine, who had just started a small business, selling shoes, utensils and clothes. The idea of online marketing was helping Celestine push her merchandise on his social media pages, which had a bit of a following.
They were so idle that to make life bearable, they’d go for walks around the estate. One day while trying to figure out how to kill boredom, they just whipped out their phones and started recording themselves goofing around and posted them on their social media pages. It got a lot of traction so they did another. The more videos they posted, the more views they got and his numbers started growing. Shortly thereafter, brands started asking if they could do product placements on their videos.
His wife was always behind the scenes. However, after a while, guys online started asking who the invisible videographer Njugush was always speaking to was. So she started creeping in on a couple of videos and eventually her character, ‘Wa Kavinye’ became a staple feature.
Due to all the deals they were getting, they set up Njugush creatives which offers digital solutions and content creation to various clients. They have so far signed a deal with Fanaka TV, which airs its content on digital, to present their Biashara Mtaani show.
Blessed Njugush Instagram Account
Njugush’s popularity has largely grown due to his presence on Instagram where he posts content almost twice or thrice a day, he started using Instagram in 2013 when its usage was picking up among Kenyan millenials 3 years later after its founding date. His frequency of posting content is quite consistent and he always entertains his audience with short clips that make you want more of him.
His Instagram account has 1,007,110 followers as of the date of writing this article with an average engagement rate of 3%, meaning that when he posts a piece of content, 20,000 people will actively engage with the post by either liking, sharing or commenting on the post. His average likes per post is 18,959 while the average comments are 389 per piece of post. In total, he has posted 2527 posts on his Instagram account over a period of 5 years which is pretty impressive considering that every new piece of content has to be fresh and entertaining to his audience.
His account gains an average of 900 followers a day and a monthly average of 10,000 a month which is way beyond what an average account on Instagram gets considering that Instagram has started cutting off organic reach to fans.
These numbers are key because it’s what brands look for when engaging with an influencer. They use a combination of all these factors to compute the aggregated engagement rate that their product/service may get if they were to work with that influencer. Engagement rate in influencer marketing is used to measure the level of interaction an influencer typically receives on their content. Simply put, it is the percentage of the influencer’s audience that responds to their content.
The images above show the visual growth of Njugush’ Instagram account for the past eight months, an indicator that his organic reach has a ripple effect in the acquisition of new followers every month.
An influencer’s engagement rate can also be used to set a benchmark to determine success or failure for your influencer marketing campaign. For instance, if the influencer shares content about your brand that has significantly higher level of engagement than their usual engagement rate, this could indicate that the campaign was very successful. Whereas, if it has a significantly lower engagement rate than their typical rate, this could indicate that there is a problem with the content that may need to be addressed.
One thing that stands out about Njugush’s content posting strategy is that his videos seem to be raw i.e. no editing done to them. This gives the audience the impression that the material posted is not polished up which makes it even more entertaining. The most watched videos on his Instagram account are those that weren’t edited, this is something that brands look for since it shows authenticity of content produced by an influencer, something that Njugush has mastered.
His Instagram ingenuity has led him to work with brands such as Chandaria Industries, Blaze by Safaricom, UNICEF, Simba Corporation, Tuskys, Two Rivers, Bountiful Safaris, Cellulant, Masoko by Safaricom, Huawei and Jiweke Tavern.
Blessed Njugush Facebook Account
Facebook maybe an old sheep among “alive and kicking” lambs but it hasn’t lost it’s cool among people who want to use it to seriously to drive business leads and build personal brands there. There are 2billion of us still using it so it’s going to stick around for quite some time before it becomes part of history.
According to a report last year, Facebook lost 15million users in the US market but remained steady for countries outside the United States hence we may see it’s popularity diminish among younger people over time. Facebook has faced withering scrutiny over user privacy concerns, including the 2018 revelation that the British data firm Cambridge Analytica may have improperly harvested up to 87 million Facebook users’ personal data hence affecting various viewpoints by its users on what they should and shouldn’t post on their Facebook public feeds.
Njugush has grown his Facebook account from 858,064 last year to 999,435 fans as of writing of this article, a sign of a very engaged Facebook account given the fact that Facebook started cutting down on organic reach by both business and personal accounts.
Njugush Facebook Account Fan page following as of 15th Sep 2018,
Njugush uses Facebook to post most of his longer videos between 30secs-90secs that cannot be posted on Instagram due to longevity of the videos. Since Facebook is growing to become a video first platform, viewership of his video content has steadily risen over the past year by over 50% and has increase his engagement rate by 30% based on post engagement analysis done by the Onesha Team.
Njugush creatively uses Facebook as well to drive his fans to his YouTube account to view more engaging video content in order to grow his influence on the video platform that has increasingly become the second largest search engine.
As Njugush continues to grow his Facebook account, we noticed a change in strategy on how he engaged his fans on Facebook this year compared to his content posting strategy last year. Much of his content on Facebook last year was very similar to what he was posting on Instagram hence fans consumed the same content on different platforms (which causes boredom), this year, he has made effort to post content that is exclusive to Facebook and some of it exclusively to Instagram, this may have contributed to a spike in page following over the last six months.
One thing that brands love about Njugush is his diversity of influence on different platforms that he brings to the table. Most influencers in Kenya are only active on one platform and rarely will you find an influencer who actively engages his/her fans on Facebook like Njugush does, we therefore forecast to see more growth of his activity on this platform this year in order to keep his dollars coming in.
For brands that actively want to reach out to an Instagram or Facebook audience, Njugush has the best reach and engagement so far but be prepared to pay handsomely for that reach. To engage him on a campaign, be prepared to part with $1000-$5000 depending on the brand size and longevity of the campaign.
Njugush has a presence on YouTube and Twitter as well but the platforms mentioned above is where he has the biggest impact and the most engagement for brands.
The next phase of influencer marketing in Kenya
Brands are starting to re-allocate their advertising budget from traditional media to digital channels in order to increase reach. Influencer marketing in Kenya will continue to grow due to a surge in content creation among young people and rise of new platforms like Tik Tok, the only question is, how effectively can brands take advantage?
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