The outbreak of the Covid19 pandemic has inevitably forced many consumers towards online channels of attaining products and services making this trend become the new normal. Now, the “new age” of internet and social media (Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Facebook etc.) is changing the landscape of traditional business marketing strategies in Uganda.
This is inevitably exerting a lot of pressure on many companies and businesses to welcome and appreciate the idea of having an online presence, incorporated with hiring social media marketing influencers, if they want to remain as market players in such an uncertain but competitive environment. The time has come for every leader and entrepreneur who intends to succeed to take charge of their growth trajectory rather than merely traditional marketing strategies- Forbes.
Influencer marketing is more than just mere paid partnerships collaborations and ads; it’s about strengthening your brand’s reputation in the market through building honest relationships amongst all your stakeholders. This is through accepting new innovations and creativeness, honest opinions as well as feedback from the market to meet its respective demands. This communication, interaction and engagement from stakeholders and the business’ social media platforms respectively promotes brand awareness and a reach to the target audience/market. This inevitably drives sales and widens the businesses’ profit margins for long term growth.
This kind of marketing comes in many forms, whether it’s short videos on TikTok and YouTube, luring images on Instagram or even trending hashtags on Twitter. Nowadays, people would rather associate themselves with brands or products that they see their favorite social media personalities working with or using, other than something random.
However, it is entirely upon businesses to identify the right social media influencers for their brands and products. This is to avoid future consequences like legal battles and any other circumstance that would negatively impact the business. As a business, you don’t want to risk your reputation because one of the influencers you are working with is pulling off a bad stunt on social media.
I sat down with a content creator and online marketer; Rachael Nalumu to talk about the landscape of influencer marketing in Uganda-and what life is being one.
When and how did you start your digital marketing influencer journey?
Rachael: So my journey started when I started an accessories line in Canada in 2013/2014 on the side as I was working in finance. With my accessories line, I understood the importance of social media and using influencers to drive sales. As I got more exposure, other brands started reaching out, and here we are!
How many brands have you worked with and what has been your experience?
Rachael: I’ve worked with quite a number of them! Initially, I started getting my brand collaboration through my accessories line in Canada. And now that I am in Uganda, my experience has been good; however, most business owners do not really understand social media analytics and statistics or even the worth of paying a content creator/influencer to market their product or brand. So it becomes very challenging to monetize such a market or industry.
In your perspective, how important is influencer marketing to businesses?
Rachael: it is very important. It is exactly like a commercial running on TV. Anything they create whether it is a photo on a billboard or advert on TV, that’s eyes that are going to see it. What I love about Uganda is that people are more influenced online than they are abroad. People would call her fashion box (online brand) for items that they’d seen me wearing from her store because of a video or picture I posted on Instagram. However, the biggest percentage of marketing here is still about word of mouth, therefore, it’s upon businesses, now more than ever, to establish a solid online presence. And then if they can have a content creator or an influencer on board, the better in order to expand their market reach.
How do you measure your success as a digital marketing influencer while working with brands and businesses?
Rachael: Personally, I have always understood the importance of staying within your niche so that you are able to measure your performance. It is important to have your analytics in check and understand how they work for example;
- Engagement rate. Obviously the higher the numbers of followers, the lower the engagement rate however, companies should be in position to set a minimum engagement rate target that the influencers they are collaborating with should reach.
- Organic follower vs. the following ratio is also very because sometimes people buy followers and yet again these bought followers don’t fit in your demographic niche.
How have your interactions been with brands, and do they welcome your creative thinking?
Rachael: It depends on how the partnership between the influencer and the brand is executed. Sometimes brands give you a product and just tell you to do whatever you want with it because they want organic and authentic market statistics from your audience. On the other hand however, other brands will give you talking points and concepts on how to execute the marketing of the product.
How can businesses improve their relationships with digital influencers?
Rachael: I think they need to have someone in-house on the marketing team that should be able to strategize the marketing and identify the benefits of brings a content creator or digital marketing influencer on board. Businesses should also realize the time and effort influencers put into producing content to promote a product and brand and they (businesses) should be in a position to reciprocate that effort accordingly.
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs who would love to join the digital marketing industry?
Rachael: You need to know the reason why you’re doing this and become crystal clear about your purpose and vision. Identify your driving force, become consistent and the rest will be history.
MACLEAN ATUHAIRE is a UGANDAN writer/author whose work has been published by the Nile Post. Her work focuses on socio-economic issues that she hopes is impactful and enlightening to the readers. Get in touch with her at [email protected] and follow her on twitter at @AtuhaireMaclea.