Kenya is one of the fastest growing markets for smart phones in Africa, right after Nigeria and South Africa. These smart phones serve as the primary access points to the internet for most people in Africa. The most commonly used social media outlets being, Facebook , Twitter and Instagram. As from December 2012, the number of internet users was approximately 47.3% of the Kenyan population, according to Internet World Statistics. Three years later, the number continues to grow exponentially. The Social Media Awards is an annual event that seeks to celebrate the growing influence of social media in Kenya by awarding outstanding personalities and companies within the sphere of social media. This year’s theme was “Social Media for Economic Empowerment”. There are several categories SOMA recognizes, but the three key categories I chose to focus on are Bizyangu, Facebook Group Award and the Social Governor award. This is, of course, in keeping with the theme.
To kick this off, let’s look at Machakos county, which is one of the most vibrant government offices using the social media platforms. Dr.Alfred Mutua spearheads the social media presence of his county and was easily noticed . This won him the award for the most social governor after being pitted against Nairobi and Mombasa governors .He has been using facebook to announce development projects and events thereby informing the public and attracting investors to the county. Through social media, even people from the diasporas get to keep up with what is happening in Machakos and the work being put in. As we speak, he is announcing work currently being done in preparation for the El Nino rains.
I first encountered the iconic images of Nairobi night life artist, Eric Soi at Havana restaurant in Nairobi. He has a way of expressing Nairobi through colorful paintings of afroed women and pan-africanist young girls. He has transformed his love of art to wearable pieces and accessories. For the fashion conscious , you might notice his tote bags in the streets and high end restaurants. He uses social media to showcase his merchandise , show satisfied customers and also take viewers through the process of creating his masterpieces . He gets to quite a number of the people who follow his page on social media. He was nominated on the bizyangu category which he unfortunately lost to Bonifire Adventures and events.
Fridges, Cooking pots, hair styling services , books and furniture are just a few of the many purchases found on Kilimani Mum’s Marketplace. It serves as a hub of trade on Facebook, and has grown to be a large community with 91,000 members. These members not only provide ready market and sellers, but a warning system against known con artists as well. Therefore, this group, through social media, encourages personal economic growth and a serves a platform for free business advertisement. They were nominated for the Facebook Group award category, but regrettably lost to 21 Days of Change.
At the Indomie stand, they showcased samples of some of their well known products as a company and sold the products to the people who were present at the event at reduced prices and even provided them with demonstrations on how to prepare the products. You can also find some of the recipes and instructions on how to prepare their products on their social media pages, this is one of the ways they get potential customers and create awareness to people who don’t know about it and get investors .
They were among the nominees in the Consumer Product Category