Kenyan Brands Embracing Instagram

With visuals come brand affinity and engagement, and that is one of the reasons brands are embracing Instagram. People, Kenyans in this context, are joining this platform at a significant rate nowadays. Instagram is where brands often tell their inside story in pictures and short videos. On Google Play Store, the Android apps marketplace, Instagram is currently the 7th top free app, ahead of Twitter, OLX and Skype. WhatsApp still tops that chart, but that is a story for another day.

Kenyans brands have embraced social media quite recommendably, but the journey has been a long and winding one with a number not convinced that it is the road to take. So it comes as no surprise that a lot of brands that could benefit from Instagram are not on it. Looking at the mother of social media, the US, brands like Starbucks and Nike are leading the pack in both numbers and engagement. The top 50 brands on Instagram globally, have a 1.5 million followers on average.



From hosting #Instameets with social influencers to sharing pictures and videos of the widely popularized dreamliner to celebrating Kenyan feats like the recent marathon wins, this corporate knows how to maximize on Instagram pretty well. It even celebrates events and commemorations with other countries and adds in the appropriate tags. It also shares tourist destination pictures and events. Images of staff of various standing adds a drop of human to the account. For all this, the airline gets a tonne of love from Instagrammers. Catch them here.

Update: The Official Kenya Airways IG account is @officialkenyaairways, with a debut post on 6 March 2014. This is actually where you can catch up with the KQ Dreamliner conversation. Give them a shout here Kenya Airways on Instagram.



Safaricom’s Instagram is all about its efforts beyond its core business of mobile telephony. The content shared include visuals of the various campaigns to sensitize Kenyans on the plight of the less fortunate in our society, Bob Collymore dressed in a maasai shuka and Safaricom Live events. The account posted a ‘selfie’ in January. A selfie of Safaricom House if that makes sense. Their approach is rather interesting. You will often find the brand using such hashtags as: #Selfie Looking Great. #NoMakeUp #NoDuckFace #LoveSubscribers #BestCoverage #MPESA #2014

Check them out here: SafaricomLtd on Instagram.



This account will leave you salivating and wanting to go on a holiday. It is also a perfect candidate for user-generated or crowd-sourced content. It reposts photos from visitors to their hotels every now and then. As expected, most of the images are snapshots of foods, hotels, events and destinations. Again, the most popular ones are those that feature mouthwatering delicacies. Everyone loves a good plate of food, even when it is way beyond reach. Find Serena Hotels on Instagram here.



Bata Kenya just joined Instagram this year, and they have been awesome. Being a clearly visual brand, images are mostly of Bata shoes on display. But every once in a while, there are photos of shoes as posted by IGers. Other posts include #tbt posts, holiday posts and behind-the-scenes factory shots of the making of Bata shoes tagged #Backroom. What’s more, Bata Kenya actually engages with their audience by responding to queries. Check them out here.

Coca-Cola Kenya is also on Instagram but it is not exactly the epitome of its mastery as it is quite sporadic in its postings. The Kenya Tourism Board’s Magical Kenya had a great run last year but the account is currently dormant.

It is clear that Kenyan Brands have not really appreciated the need to have Instagram in their marketing mix. Maybe we can attribute this to the fact that Kenyans are generally not on Instagram as they are on, say, Facebook. This is perhaps because it’s a mobile app that runs best on high-end smartphones which is still a luxury to a huge part of the population. On the flip side, if you are targeting the savvy urban segment of the Kenyan population, you may want to rethink Instagram.

Should You Be on Instagram?

Instagram helps you engage with your brand voice and visuals giving you the chance to show your creative side. Besides, you can show your customers behind-the-scenes sneak peeks that they may never see anywhere else. The fact that you acknowledge users by actually reposting their own brand experiences makes that customer relationship even tighter. It is instant and powerful.

And if you need to see what industries are topping the engagement charts in the US, here is a breakdown by Simply Measured.

Your thoughts?
Fred Kithinzi

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