In the recent past, a small community of Kenyans (#KOT) Kenyan On Twitter, have shown they are an influential group to reckon with, they have shown that social media in Kenya has a place in influencing what brands post online. I draw this view from the recent incident involving Korean Air, as published on Business Daily – (Extract below).

“Korean Air sorry for calling Kenyans ‘primitive’

Print screen of the Korean Air advert that has generated debate on the social media.

KOT reacted to this content with such vigor making it go viral on Twitter hence promoting a reaction from the management of Korean Air to apologize and unpublish the advert.

Social Media in Kenya: Wake up call for Kenyan Businesses

Is there a learning point here for our local brands? yes there is. There are brands that have constantly being mentioned by #KOT on #TwitterBigStick, but do not seem to have any effect on the way they run their operations.

Korean Air would have chosen to ignore what #KOT was raving about but they seem to understand the importance the damage bad publicity online can affect their future business. It is important for brands to remember that the internet is not localized. So whatever topic is trending from one community however small .e.g. #KOT, is accessible by other online communities worldwide.

So can those Kenyan brands which continually ignore mentions by #KOT know that this trend is not sustainable. More and more people are turning to social media in Kenya to find out what their friends are saying about a particular brand or products. We all know that people buy from those they trust and those whom they have been referred to by their friends.

So those brands that continue to ignore conversations on social media, be it in Facebook or Twitter, then they are setting themselves up for failure.

Use Social Media in Kenya as a Communication Tool

The incident with Korean Air presents a good case point from which local brands can learn from, communication!!! While you may want to ignore conversation on social media in Kenya, it will not stop them from taking place. So the best way to move forward is to engage on the same social media platforms.

A conversation is a two way street. Someone has to talk while the other listens. Korean Air listened and reacted.What about local brands?

Time has come for local brands to embrace social media as communication tool that they can use to engage their audience. Use the platforms to talk to them and put in place listening tools to monitor conversations around their brand name, products and services.

Brands have to generate content with which to build conversations on. This kind of engagement creates trust with online communities. These are the same people who become brand ambassadors.

So embrace social media in Kenya and put it to good use.



Written by: 

Pauline is the CEO at Allen Cole, also consults for iWork and Elite Writers Hub. She works with small and medium size organizations to increase their visibility online through corporate blogging, content creation, website development and social media engagement.