As the popularity of Social Media is increasing in our space, as a marketing tool and great communication channel, a new breed of persons has emerged. “Influencers”. Who are they?

Politicians and Marketers alike have solicited the services of so called Influencers to get their messages across not only to get numbers (awareness), but also hope that these messages will create fans,voters and customers.

To paraphrase Jonah Berger in his book ‘contagious’ , “ In every society, one out of ten people , tells the rest how to vote, what to wear, what to eat, where to dine, what’s classy and generally create trends”. That one guy in my books is a true influencer.

However this one guy, is more of role that shifts among the ten people depending on the subject matter.

It’s not one guy who knows it all.

Sometimes of course there is this one guy who seems to have an opinion on everything from farming to politics, but does the whole village follow him?

In my village there is this guy, the go to person when it comes to motor vehicles.He is the guy you consult before buying a car, and picking the best mechanic. He might even recommend the insurance company and when you get into that nasty encounter with the traffic cops, he is the guy to call….he knows a guy.

He is however not the go to person for spiritual matters. We have the village pastor for that. We invite him where prayers are required and depend on him to tell us what Pope Francis’ treatise is all about.

My point is our marketers and politicians have assumed that social media numbers equate to being influencers. If one does not pay any regard to what constitutes of the those huge social media numbers, those messages they intend to send will only yield diminishing results.

For example, I follow this comedian, mainly because in the middle of my day he will post something that we be a welcome break from all the crazy clients. I don’t take industry tips from him, for that I follow Gary Vaynerchuk and David Meerman Scott.

A good number of Kenyans follow @Ma3route for traffic updates, and follow @CNN and other media outlets to get the latest news as it breaks.

Despite the huge following that these two handles have, trust me they are not influencers, but authoritative sources of information. They would do poorly as product endorsers, and even worse if they attempted to give spiritual advice.

Hence why I wonder why marketers and politicians have continued to hire people with huge social media following to get their agendas across despite the obvious.

So is it another case of “peculiar kenyan behaviors”?

Have these campaigns yielded any of the desired results?

I’m not saying that these fellows with huge followers are not influencers, but rather they are not influencers in all matters.

When David Meerman posts something on PR and marketing, I edit my presentations and strategies. However,If he appears in a car advert, he will be no different than a mannequin in the same position.

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