Changes In Kenya’s Social Media Over The Last Year
It’s no surprise that social media has allowed us to communicate in ways thought impossible even 30 years ago.
Largely due to a culture-wide paradigm shift in the possibilities of the Internet, the use of social media as an accepted means of communication. As social media usage increases all over the world following the COVID-19 pandemic and recent crises across the world, Kenya has been found to be one of the leading countries in East Africa in this regard.
Social media provides a great space for people’s psychological needs of being ‘found’ or ‘recognised’ through blogs, social networking, sharing stories/images, etc. As it entwines further in complex ways with people’s lives, this post is about how Kenya’s social media usage has changed in the past 12 months, following drastic national and international occurrences.
While most Kenyans use social media to stay in touch with people, another main reason for using it is to keep up with news, politics and entertainment. As platforms like Facebook and Instagram introduce more features and gain wider audiences, we find that how people use social media also evolves.
Image Source: We Are Social, Hootsuite
With an active 8.8 million users out of a 53 million population on social media, the majority is in the 18-34 age group who spend an average of 3 hours and 23 minutes per day on it.
Image Source: NapoleonCat
With the upcoming 2022 election race, many political and diplomatic leaders have taken to platforms such as Twitter to voice their opinions on various matters related to the opposition and social issues. Furthermore, police departments have taken to using social media in active ways.
Image Source: The Star
As over 66 percent of Kenyans have participated in an online debate via a social media platform, often Facebook – these have become places for not only replacing ‘neighbourhood networks’ with online groups, but also act as a place for agitation for social change and sharing information (such as videos) to commend or condemn incidences. However, this use of social media also meant the spread of “fake news” and propaganda, especially before and during election seasons.
Image Source: Yellow Pages Kenya
This proliferation of Internet-enabled mobiles meant rapid development of social networking sites. Formerly driven by celebrities, now the advertising industry is taken over by young Kenyans with high follower counts, via endorsements and influencer marketing.
In business, influencers are those who affect sales but are removed from the actual purchase decision. Their reputation – or social proof – makes them trustworthy, and is similar to what we’d call testimonial marketing. This establishment of the trust is furthered by the way influencers are becoming upfront with their sponsorship deals, and has made Kenyans more trusting of influencers as a whole. Finding the right influencer for your business is important, as you want them to be relevant and relatable to your target demographic, and this applies to SMEs as well with “micro-influencers” or people who target a specific niche. Not only do influencers advertise for companies, but also can be popular because they post original content.
Image Source: Nairobi Wire
Interestingly, projections for 2020 show that micro-influencers will outrank major influencers as they enjoy higher engagement rates on platforms like Twitter and Instagram.
“Moving forward we must be innovative in how we tell our stories and embrace new ways of storytelling that will be rooted in facts and data. We will have to go beyond the breaking news and give more in-depth stories which are contextualised for relevance.”
- Judie Kaberia, award-winning journalist and Foundation Board Chair, Kenya – Africa Check
We know how to stay up-to-date, and get you there too. Digital Odyssey can help you stay on top of trends to effectively navigate the complex waters of the internet. Our marketing agency can help you with further ideas on how to design world-class websites, seamless user journeys, and digital marketing campaigns.
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