Social media in Kenya: state of the art and marketing best practices
Africa is set to be the next frontier of economic – and therefore digital – development. And Kenya is right in the heart of it.
With a total Population of 43 million people, Kenya currently has over 12 million people surfing the Internet – roughly 28% of total population. And they are pretty avid social media users, with figures booming over the last few years.
Social media in Kenya is definitely a huge opportunity, especially if we consider the overall local scenario.
China will invest 5 billion dollars for a railway line and energy projects in Kenya, fuelling an economy that is expected to rise by 5.6% in 2013 (according to All Africa). Domestic growth and foreign investments match a pretty well established tech scene, which already gave birth to successful digital projects.
Let’s see in details the numbers of Internet usage in the country.
Facebook and Linkedin: the kings of Kenya
Facebook has about 3.4 million users in Kenya, more than one fourth of total Internet users. 1.2 million of them from 25 to 35 years old, over a million graduated from University.
Other social media like Twitter and Instagram are popular too, and they became center of many online conversations for what concerns the political life (here we wrote about Twitter’s role in spring 2013 Kenyan elections) and artistic scene (here we wrote about the Instagram-based project #Kenya360).
Interesting to notice the huge figures of Linkedin in the country: 973,000 users, making it among the top African countries on the professional social network, along with South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria – according to social media monitoring project KenyaTweets.
Let’s now analyse the digital presence of three brands in Kenya – actually, two brands and one political figure – in order to figure out how social media can be used to engage people in one of the most fervid countries of Africa.
Durex is a cool example of a brand approaching Kenyan youth on Facebook. The tone of voice is fresh, aiming at interaction. The page taps-in the local youth culture, through the global partnership of the brand with MTV and music-related parties and events.
All the online and offline activities are reported on the page, with the production of a number of picture albums. Durex is also active in sharing information and statistics with the aim of creating awareness, through the extensive usage of well curated infograpichs:
Safaricom Ltd. is the leading mobile network operator in Kenya, now partially controlled by the UK-basd group Vodafone. Its Facebook page is one of the most popular in Kenya, and represents a benchmark for a series of reasons.
First of all, it’s interesting to notice how the brand is approaching a younger target through a music-centric strategy, with the involvement of local talents, and frequent contests and offline activities including festivals and concerts. A quick example: here’s a contest based on the lyrics of a song from the popular Burundi-born singer Kidum:
Safaricom is also communicating products and special offers on the page, linking the posts to the company’s website, and is quite active on Facebook for what concern the customer care.
The page is 100% managed in English, although is not hard to find users commenting, replying and generating full threads in Swahili – language to which the brand tend to not reply, keeping the main conversation in English.
Here’s a post about one of the most successful projects launched by Safaricom – mobile payment and money transfer system M-Pesa.
President Uhuru Kenyatta
We had the chance to underline the importance of the political debate inside the African Internet. And to stress the fact that Kenya is on top of it.
The digital-based and crowd-surced reality show Uongozi encountered a great success during the spring 2013 elections, aiming at increasing the awareness towards political issues and enhance activism among a younger target.
So it’s not surprising to notice the numbers of president Uhuru Kenyatta, whose staff is running a very well structured digital strategy.
The digital presence is based on a constant and well-developed storytelling, with a clear multimedia approach and a huge production of pictures. The strategy is also integrated with the Twitter account, followed by over 300 thousand people.
Kenyatta is also present on Youtube through the channel UhuruKenyattaTV, which counts over a million views, and has an official handle on Scribd to present all the documents and speeches the president gave. All of this – of course – is well integrated into his website.
Being an English-speaking country, brands can leverage on a content strategy that can have an international appeal, although a focus must be kept on local cultural background, trends and celebrities. The usage of videos and images is crucial, as all of the most successful pages have a well defined multi-media approach.
With constantly growing numbers in terms of economic growth and Internet usage, Kenya is definitely a country to keep an eye on for every global digital marketer.