Unilever East Africa has tightened rules in signing deals with popular local personalities on social media to market its products, the leading consumer goods firm said on Wednesday, taking cue from its parent firm.
The maker of common household brands such as Omo washing powder, Vaseline and food additive Royco said it will no longer work with persons who buy followers to gain popularity on social media.
The practice known as influencer marketing has gained popularity in the country with increased use of social media as a marketing tool, with companies allocating millions of shillings for digital advertisement budgets.
There have, however, been rising cases of some of influencers using dishonest business models such as fake followers, web robots and fraud to land deals with the corporates who pay them to push their brands to consumers.
Market influencers are believed to have deep and direct connections with their audiences whom they engage through their posts on social media sites.
Lack of transparency in the fledgling industry is, however, raising concerns over the effectiveness of the social platforms in marketing brands.
“Kenya has one of the most vibrant digital arenas globally with an internet penetration rate of over 80 per cent,” Unilever in East Africa chief executive Justin Apsey said in a statement.
Unilever’s parent firm last month rallied other corporates at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity – a global event for professionals in creative communications and advertising – to push for greater transparency before inking deals with influencers.