Friday, March 21, 2014

WhatsApp to Replace Twitter as Kenya's Corporate Darling?

This week, Nendo Ventures and OdipoDev published a Social MediaTrend Report that analyzed recent trends. These included usage and messages on  WhatsApp, Facebook, and over 5 million twitter Kenya messages sent in the last year that spiked during events such as the March 2013 presidential election, the Westgate Mall terror attack and the Kenya@50 independence celebrations. 

They made several predictions in the report which including three main ones:

1. WhatsApp will change the media in 2014-15: With 82% of Kenyans having phones, and 19% with smartphones, WhatsApp which is pre-installed on some phones, is becoming used more and more for sharing of pictures, video, audio, and chats - and they predicted it will become the default communication channels for businesses. Already Citizen has Road Hog and Chase Bank has launched a dedicated WhatsApp channel.

While it's questionable if Kenyan corporations, having recently embraced Facebook and Twitter, will migrate to WhatsApp, the authors cited the fact that WhatsApp is pre-installed on some phones, and has a very low barriers to entry (compared to Twitter that requires  an e-mail address and some internet knowledge). 

2. Social TV changes everything. This is the age of the second screen where people watch TV, attend events with mobile phones in their hand and chat & comment  on social media. In Kenya, it's also known as the "Tujuane" syndrome after a local dating TV show that has recorded as many as 9,200 tweets an episode - and it opens a new way for for more advertising and communication from companies to connect with customers.

3. Social media Devolves - it will devolved to counties  - and citizens will set out to claim their web presence and self organize like some groups in Wajir already have. Somewhat related, the 2014 Kenya blog awards highlighted some cool county-focused blogs from Uasin Gishu, Kisumu, Mombasa and Baringo. 

Other predictions
- The establishment of the smart audience - and the authors estimate Kenya has a smart audience of 0.5 million on twitter and 3.8  million on Facebook and TV and other media organization, now use Twitter, rather than SMS as their preferred interaction and feedback channel.
- The rise of social media as a profession
@Mkaigwa briefs the media on the Nendo Social Media report
- The decline of 'likes' as a measure on Facebook. The noted that people on some local corporate Facebook walls are asking what a company WhatsApp number is
- Corporate use of WhatsApp to replace intranets
- The role of online media in personal security like the government’s proposed Nyumba Kumi (10 homes) neighborhood watch system.
- Fun Fact While they also predicted that this year will see more transparency on the paid interaction between brands and influencers/bloggers to, everyone wanted to know which corporations are paying Kshs 10,000 to 30,000 ($350) per tweet to influencers. 

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