e-paper: Firms now looking for consumers to advertise products

According to the latest study by Nielsen, 92 per cent of people trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising.

In Summary
  • East Africa has 20 million social media users according to Hootsuite Digital 2021 Data report.
  • Mobile use has become a key driver of commerce in African markets
WOWZI CEO Brian Mogeni, chairman Bashir Hassan and CO-founder Mike Otieno during launch in Nairobi

A new trend where companies are using consumers to advertise products is taking shape globally, promising jobs to social media users and precise reach for brands. 

This as Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) proves to be the most effective form of advertising. 

According to the latest study by Nielsen, 92 per cent of people trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising.

“Trust, encouraged by social media, significantly affects intention to buy. Therefore, trust has a significant role in e-commerce by directly influencing intention to buy and indirectly influencing perceived usefulness,'' the study says in part. 

The study further shows beyond friends and family, 88 per cent of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts.

A whopping 74 per cent of consumers identify word of mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions but only 33 per cent of businesses are actively seeking out and collecting reviews.

The evolution of social media into a robust mechanism for social transformation and the use of it by brands to push word of mouth is evident.

Despite many adamant critics who insist that tools like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are little more than faddish distractions useful only to exchange trivial information, these critics are being proven wrong time and again.

The combination of word-of-mouth marketing and social media evolution has added wings to nano-marketing, helping brands reach target consumers. 

Nano-marketing happens when an enterprise identifies its target market and then applies razor-sharp marketing aimed at that group to achieve its objective. The trick is to aim at a small group and get the maximum profit from that niche market.

In Kenya, a tech startup Wowzi has announced plans to create one million gig jobs for African youth in 2022 through its online marketplace, after successfully delivering over 150,000 paid jobs this year.

The firm that makes scalable influencer campaigns accessible to brands and companies of any size or industry, says it plans to expand partnerships with local, regional, and multinational FMCG companies.

Wowzi creates, distributes messaging campaigns for clients utilising thousands of real, everyday customers and fans who get paid to offer authentic endorsements online for the products they already love. 

The company pays out Sh5 million every week to influencers amounting to Sh260 million every year.

Speaking during the company's official launch in the East African market, Wowzi Co-Founder and chief executive officer Brian Mogeni said companies are increasingly aligning their marketing strategies to tap into micro and nano content creators looking to monetize their social media accounts.

“Mobile use has become a key driver of commerce in African markets, and it’s where young people already spend their time. Youths only require lightweight remote training to master the key principles of sharing brand messages,'' Mogeni said.

He added that that Wowzi has created the technology platform to efficiently distribute and manage job offers to thousands of youth at a time, brands have an opportunity to engage directly with youth and offer meaningful gig work.

East Africa has 20 million social media users according to Hootsuite Digital 2021 Data report.

Kenya leads the pack with  11 million social media users, 20.2 percent of the population followed by Tanzania at  5.4 million users representing 8.9 per cent of the population while  Uganda has about 3.4 million social media users representing 7.3 per cent of the population.

“Emerging markets are low trust environments, and so the messenger really matters. An endorsement online from someone you really know goes a lot farther than a celebrity endorsement,'' he said. 

 As a result, nano and micro-influencers with smaller, more intimate and engaged followers deliver better-qualified sales leads. And everyone has influence.

Nano influencers are social media users with 250 to 5000 followers. Engagement on posts by nano-influencers is nearly times higher than celebrity personalities” he explained.

The firm has signed up 60, 000 influencers in the East African Region primarily by word of mouth so far and has carried out 10,000 campaigns for over 150 clients.

He gave a recent example where Safaricom Safaricom engaged a small “army” of influencers to create TikTok videos about a new product.

''The campaign garnered three million views within seven hours of going live. The hashtag got eight million views by end of the week,'' Mogeni said.

The firm plans to enter three new markets including Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa over the next month.

Absa Bank Kenya CEO Jeremy Awori who was the chief guest at the launch said micro-influencers live among users, speak their language and share in their beliefs hence increasing chances of conversion.

''There is need to achieve a balance between legacy and new media to reach a diverse audience through the media they consume,'' Awori said.