Influencer Game:  Controversies That Have Dogged Kenyan Influencers

Article by Maureen Kasuku
Posted: September 16, 2020  

Final case study of our 3-part series Influencer Game highlights the controversies that have dogged Kenyan influencers recently. From pseudo Christianity, aviation gaffe to beef with a tour company.

Wa Jesus Family not so Christ like

Christian couple Kabii and Milly known on the internet as “Wa Jesus” Family (For Jesus) have a disciple-like following on their social media platforms. Their schtick is wholesome family videos centered around “modern Christian” living. 

They do product placement on their videos and posts and have endorsed various service providers. There’s this time a young creative posted a pic of them wearing her Ankara shirts hoping she’d get traction to her site. The next day, the couple posted the same pic having cropped her out asking fans to buy the same shirts from them for twice the price! Not so Christ like huh? Get the entire scoop here

Predictably, the internet wasn’t too happy. They got thrown under the bus and were forced to pull down that post. They moved on with their lives like nothing happened. Yikes! 

Akothee’s Airline Gaffe

Outspoken Facebook & Instagram personality Akothee was contracted by a certain airline company as their brand ambassadeur. She was instrumental in amplifying their digital presence and gaining hundreds of thousands of followers for their social media platforms. At one point, she was synonymous with the airline’s name.

Then the airline started experiencing consistent mishaps that almost cost people’s lives! The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) threatened to take stern action against the company.

Akothee being the committed brand ambassadeur she is, put out a statement on her social media platforms that many viewed as unprofessional and caused the brand more harm.

Here’s what she posted:

You have never heard any complaints of funny incidents, personally I have my bedroom in the plane, I spend more time at the airports than in my homes, so I will clearly tell you that the two incidents that **Airlines** has hard (sic) is not new. It happens if not daily then a couple of times on different airlines! The only challenge here is **Airlines**is a famous airline, the celebrity Airline with many fans and haters too”.

Akothee knows where her side of the bread is buttered. She was just doing her job. But consistent airline mishaps are not fodder for “fans and haters” Akothee. Twitter imploded! And The KCAA swiftly moved in to audit the airline. Haven’t seen her promoting the airline of late. Gee, I wonder why.

Njugush Caught in between Tour Company Battle

Instagram Comedian Njugush has a lot on his influencer plate. From promoting hygiene products to working with telcos and tour companies. Not too long ago, a certain tour company partnered with him to promote their tour packages.

Njugush was having a grand ol’ time in the Mara posting pics with the company’s hashtag. One of his posts got some major traction because it seemed to mock a rival tour company.

This is what happened:

Njugush posted a video of him pushing tour company X’s van. It seemed to be experiencing mechanical difficulties. He joked that they should pay him to promote their brand.

Tour company Y (which had contracted Njugush) liked the post in what was interpreted as a passive aggressive jibe.

This sparked a tour company war on twitter. The memes that ensued were hilarious.

It was all fun and games until Tour company X threatened to sue Njugush for malice. The internet imploded in defence of Njugush and they dropped the case.

Whew! Not a good look for all three parties.


Here’s how brands can stay above Influencer drama

Go through an influencer marketing agency.

The influencer space today is so crowded and untamed that it can be difficult to know how to break in. Odds are that neither you nor your team has the time it takes to sort through the crowds of influencers out there and perform the in-depth analysis needed to profile each one. Finding an influencer marketing agency can ease some of the burden of the search and spot the right influencer for you in the process.

It’s not always easy to tell which influencers are likely to get involved in online drama and which aren’t. Companies dedicated to matching brands with influencers are intimately familiar with how certain influencers operate and can help you figure out which are most likely to stay out of trouble.

Find influencers who match your brand.

One of the biggest mistakes brands make when finding influencers is getting into a “bad marriage” —partnering with an influencer who’s not a good fit for your brand. If your influencer of choice isn’t interested in or dedicated to your brand, they’re more likely to mess up their posts or say things about your product which could be damaging.

Look for influencers who have promoted similar products to yours in the past and make sure that they’re prepared to deliver the message you want delivered.

Look for a clean track record.

It may seem obvious, but it’s important to do some digging into your potential influencer’s background before you develop a relationship. Most companies just look at the most recent posts in order to understand what an influencer’s current content style is like, but that never tells the full story.

Looking at older posts, even ones from before your influencer achieved prominence, can often give you a better understanding of how that influencer interacts with others naturally. Even if their current profile is clean of any controversy, potentially problematic habits have the potential to sprout up again.

Go for established names.

The influencer boom has made notable influencers more in-demand than ever, so more and more brands are gravitating towards up-and-coming influencers in the hopes of developing relationships early. While this might make more sense financially, nascent influencers also come with greater risks.

An influencer without an established track record can be difficult to fully understand. As helpful as it is to do background digging and personal interviews, it’s hard to know exactly what an influencer is going to be like without seeing them in action for an extended period of time. Gravitate towards established personalities first in order to test the waters.

Stick to platforms you know.

Marketers say that Instagram is the most important platform for their influencer strategy. Other platforms like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook are all important to certain influencers but tend to cater to more niche communities. As tempting as it can be to get your brand on as many platforms as possible as quickly as possible, that strategy can lead to problems.

Each social media platform has different standards for what constitutes effective influencer marketing so do your homework and focus on what will work best for your brand.



*Read on how much influencers get paid in Kenya and the spectacular rise of Influencer Azziad 

*Image: Courtesy





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