Nixon Kanali

Why I enjoy being a digital influencer and how I became one

Over the last few years, technology has revolutionized our perspective of the world and everything we do.  The technology has created amazing tools and resources which so many of us have taken advantage of and used to create personal brands and even build careers.

The technology has also made it possible for us to discover so many things including utility devices like smartphones and also interact with the rest of the world through social media. It is something as a person I have come to enjoy since my days in college studying journalism.

I am a trained journalist having graduated in 2014 and later went ahead to work with a few organizations as a communications intern and later on a communications person. During this period, I still had a keen interest in digital media and would spend most of my time on my blog and social media channels sharing content on topics that would interest me.  This is basically how I started being a digital influencer.

Every Tuesday, I remember we once teamed up with some few friends in the same space to push online conversations around tech products under the hashtag #TechTuesdayKE. It was one of the biggest conversations Kenyans on social media, especially on Twitter would engage in every Tuesday.

One of the questions I always get especially when people visit my LinkedIn profile or any other social media platform is, who is a digital influencer? Why do I have that tag splashed all over my online life? Well, a digital influencer is anyone who can create an effect, change opinions and behaviors and also drive measurable outcomes online. This could be through blogs or using social networks or even messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram.

So why do I enjoy being a digital influencer? Well, as I had mentioned earlier this blog post I am a journalism graduate who decided not to join the Kenyan mainstream media. In fact, the closest I have come to going mainstream was during my first internship at the Kenyan News Agency in Nakuru, Kenya. The second was during my time at Family Media where I would be invited every Tuesday talk about technology on Radio 316. This, I did for a few weeks before joining a local company as a communications and Public Relations lead.

Being a digital influencer helps me express my opinions and engage openly with my followers. My audience trusts me and the products and services I buy to use. Because of I am in the trenches of what consumers want, I offer firsthand insight into the wants and needs of what the audience I want to reach. This enables me to respond with an offering that adds value to my experiences.  This is something I would not be able to do before the evolution of the internet.

You will agree with me that marketing has undergone an enormous power and this is driven by consumers’ demand for more authenticity from brands. As a digital influencer, this authenticity is what I spend my time online offering to my followers through my blog and social media channels. This could be talking about a new phone I have used and sharing my experience, talk about my experience using a certain service or even food I ate from a new restaurant in town.

 

I enjoy doing all this because my followers value my input and are always flooding my inbox or replying to my newsletter with questions about some of the topics I talk about. They trust me over celebrities that have a perceived monetary relationship to promote products and brands.

As a digital influencer I am not limited to just talking and writing about products I use. I have spent so much time-sharing African tech and business news stories I find interesting with my followers. Some of these readers are always spending so much time online, on social media and they will always find time to comment and react to what I share. At the same time, I get time to attend tech events happening in Nairobi at least once every week and this gives me the opportunity to interact with industry leaders, talk to them and go ahead to share a few things I learn through my social channels.

Well, there’s so much to talk about but one thing for sure is that digital influencers across the world are winning the batter for consumer trust. There might not be some monetary value for it but some of them do it because they enjoy talking about different things. Of course, traditional celebrities continue to wield more power but digital influencers still have a place and an audience that listens to them.

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