The impact of influencer marketing on social networks and online media, in general, is self-evident in markets across Africa. There is a frenzy in the air as companies try to out-do each other to gain attention and this has opened the way for influencers to gain a deepening niche in the PR industry. More brands than ever before are demanding that their marketing or communication agencies provide a list of potential influencers who can work or collaborate with them, to generate authentic endorsements for their products or services.

However, a quick look into the Ugandan market and you will notice some distinct nuances. For instance, the most common is that the bulk of business conferences use almost the same influencer personas to push conversations and hashtags on the Twitter platform. On Instagram small business owners, like salons, make-up artists, food bloggers, fashion designers, musicians and so on, have done some collaborations to push content. A few influencers marshalling content onto YouTube, like the Crystal Newman channel, Black no Sugar channel and others which I subscribe to. However, this particular platform is not yet being fully exploited by many individuals in the influencer marketing space in Uganda.

Nevertheless, I want to focus on the business side of influencers, specifically getting a seat at the table and negotiating your fee. Your following is usually the yardstick most decision makers consider to engage and collaborate with an Influencer. In more sophisticated markets, marketing and communications agencies used a social media tool to measure the influencers social standing known as ‘klout’ but mid last year Lithium Technologies, the owners decided to shut it down. Klout allowed users to link up their social media accounts and even their blog sites to see how influential they were online. It gave everyone a score out of 100, so you could see how you measured up against other influencers and thought leaders online.

Similar platforms have taken up where Klout left off but all have a common objective; to confirm the authentic following, age, level of engagement, topics and so on. Although these tools ease the selection and criterion process, influencers also have to factor a few things. Much time and money goes into defining and building the kind of influencer you want to be followed. It involves choosing a particular social media platform/s to curate content that appeals to your ideal target audience, blog and website where all your content is exclusively published is a start. There are pros and cons, together with cost implications to keep your content fresh and on trend.

Content development and production take a huge chunk of the total cost in making sure you stand out in an ever-crowded marketplace. Other associated costs go into location scouting, video and photography editing skills, the software to use (either free or purchased), camera, lighting and props equipment etc. In Uganda, the budgets are not as defined as other markets where for instance, if you have 400k followers on Instagram you would earn $4000 a year. A post on Instagram would pop up a rate card of between $500 and $1000 because that’s how the numbers have been drilled down to accountability for value proposition i.e. reach, engagement KPI’s. On the other hand, some influencers in Uganda can rack up some hefty budgets. Their value proposition is justified in the quality and not the quantity of their following. Not many have millions or thousands of followers and traffic to their blogs is not as high.

Thus another opportunity is being explored for a more specific kind of influencer or a ‘Micro influencer’ who can be defined as someone with an audience within the follower range of 2,000 and 50,000 people. Collaborations and brand mentions in content produced by influencers is justified by the niche target market, which is able to achieve the brand’s marketing objectives. Some are very focused in their value proposition such that a mention on their platforms will earn the attention and influence decisions on the business, political and economic front. To wrap up, the Ugandan influencer marketing landscape is growing, and some influencers have a specific rate card for service delivery, thus positioning themselves and the brands they work with effortlessly. A relationship of trust and accountability to their craft is also built with their followers over time.

About the Author: WMC Editor

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