Written by Tejumade Haastrup, Digital Content Creator and Author of ‘How to Monetise Your Online Brand Through Instagram’ for Glam Africa Magazine’s Spring 2021 edition.

There’s no denying the power of influencer marketing, it is one of the fastest and most affordable ways to get a brand’s message and products in front of millions of people. While it is popular and recognised as an effective form of marketing in the US and Europe, it is only just beginning to gain momentum in Africa. 

Influencing is not a new concept, as members of society, we are often influenced by people; be it family members, friends or colleagues. The idiom, “keeping up with the Joneses” is used to describe someone who always wants the same expensive objects and to do the same things as their friends. Except now, you can make a living from influencing others provided you have a substantial number of followers on social media.

The influencer marketing industry in Africa is still young with some brands doubtful of the role influencers play in affecting people’s purchasing habits. On the other hand, others have realised the value of this type of digital marketing and include it in their short to medium-term campaign plans. But there is still a lot of uncharted territory when it comes to influencing.

Here are 4 things you should know about influencing in Africa:

Afua Rida, Fashion & Lifestyle Blogger

  1. Influencers are here to stay

Influencer marketing, while still developing in Africa, is one that is becoming integral to a brand’s marketing campaign. According to a survey by Linqia, 92% of marketers who used it in their campaign found it effective. While brands are still sceptical of the impact of influencer content on consumers in comparison to traditional forms of content, it is clear that when brands collaborate with the right influencers, they can achieve great success.

  1. It is difficult to measure ROI

Likes, comments, impressions and website visits are some of the ways that brands measure ROI but this may not be an adequate measure depending on the brand’s objective for the campaign. Most brands are quick to dismiss the impact of influencer marketing and influencers  if they don’t see immediate results in the form of sales. But if you are a new brand or business on the market, the focus should be more on raising brand awareness. Sales will follow when you have established a presence and built trust through influencer campaigns.

  1. Oversaturation in a particular niche

The vast majority of people in Africa who become influencers are in the lifestyle space; travel, fashion and beauty. There is overexposure in these areas which makes it not only very difficult to stand out but also highly competitive. With so many influencers to choose from, many talents go unrecognised.

  1. Size matters

The larger an influencer’s following, the more attractive they look to brands. Some brands even miss the obvious fact that the followers are mostly bots. With the right apps and a few close glances at the types of comments and accounts liking the influencer’s post, it is easy to spot an influencer with fake followers. Unfortunately, many influencers with a small following and high engagement rate miss opportunities because of their smaller audience.

Dimma Umeh, YouTuber/Content Creator

So, is influencing a sustainable career choice in Africa?

Unlike countries like the US and UK, where you can make a full time career out of being an influencer, this is not the case for most in Africa. Influencing is still a hobby or part-time gig that most do out of passion. Success does not come overnight and in most cases, it never comes. This is why some successful influencers in Africa have other businesses and freelance work they do, outside of influencing, which supports them financially.

Influencing in Africa can be a viable career but it is definitely not an easy one which is why many people quit after encountering a few stumbling blocks. It can take several years to build a name for yourself and work with brands you love. But influencing can be a stepping stone into a more sustainable career like marketing and social media management.

Being an influencer requires a level of marketing and social media management skills and with these experiences, one can apply the knowledge and skills from influencing to provide digital marketing skills to other businesses’.

Influencing in Africa is a way to drive brand awareness, recall, increase web traffic, content and sales. And with most businesses moving online, influencing will only likely continue to grow in Africa, to a point where the power and impact influencers have can no longer be denied.