Online craze opens new business line for celebs


Kenyans’ online craze has attracted marketers who are cashing in on local celebrities’ fan base to push sales of various products that are delivered via courier.

A proponent of social media marketing, Kamarichi Mbarani says using social media celebrities fan bases has resulted in the formation of a new business line where product manufacturers and distributors directly target segmented audiences whose tastes are aligned to their heroines or heroes.

“We have signed 13 celebrities who endorse various products on their fan pages on Twitter,” he says.

Mr Mbarani’s Promo.ke has since enrolled 13 famous personalities in TV, radio, comedy, music, and fashion where local product dealers plug in to sell products.

“The firm, which raised Sh8.5 million from local investors for their new outfit said social media influencers’ handles proved viable avenues for driving sales for beauty and wellness product, clothing and footwear, electronics, event tickets and travel products,” he said.

“This is a viable distribution alternative that is far cheaper than the conventional channels that would involve physical marketing of products.

“It enables manufacturers and distributors of various products to target specific audiences.”

Mr Mbarani says product marketers signed commercial contracts with the personalities who earn a commission every time a product is sold via their pages.

He says the new venture has enjoyed higher sales since March as Kenyans shunned visiting stores in favour of e-shopping and purchases settled on the platform, sadly due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Mbarani says the formation of the social media marketing portal started seven years ago where the Sh8.5 million was raised from local angel investors.

Part of the funds was spent on establishing products’ distribution and marketing portal with three permanent employees hired to undertake sales and office-to-office deliveries across Nairobi while out of town deliveries are made via courier.

“We have also developed a research hub that informs the products sold on the celebrities’ portals on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Tik-Tok. This de-risks investment from failure since only on-demand products are uploaded,” he says.

In some instances, the celebrities don clothing on sale as well as use the wellness products that they then affirm their usefulness by writing favourable content on their blogs.

Mr Mbarani says research data then informed new products to be sold where local startups were assisted to market the products as well as set up businesses that conform to regulatory requirements.

“We earn a commission every time a product is sold, and our strategy is to rope in as many product sellers as possible,” he said.

On each celebrity’s social media handle is a promotional list of products where fans click on the product’s code to order for the same.

The new marketing platform, he said, is informed by individual tastes as researched on each social media influencers platform as part of an ‘experience’ that a fan gets for following a celebrity.

The new strategy is informed by an emerging trend in which different age groups are known to patronise specific social media handles.

Among the most followed Kenyans online include secular artist-cum-model, Akothee, radio commentator-comedian Jalang’o, TV personalities Betty Kyalo and Jeff Koinange as well as musician Tanasha Donna Oketch.