Category Archives: Twitter

NBK: Board PR vs. Blog

The month of March has seen quite a bit of online activity at National Bank of Kenya (NBK).

On one side has been the public relations for the bank, of which I get the releases. Yesterday (March 28) the bank sent one, full of caution, urging their customers to ignore, a blog. I wasn’t aware of any, so I searched and found this blog story (by  ) with the headline that the National Bank Board Sacks Munir Ahmed (the CEO of the bank).  

At the beginning of the month (March 1) , the bank had issued another press release with a warning, and a threat to sue a  blogger. The bank also said it had written to the  Central Bank of Kenya Governor and the Cabinet Secretary (a.k.a. Minister) in charge of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) about defamation of banks emanating from unregulated blogging.

The Bank requests members of the public and media to disregard any malicious stories spread by ill-intentioned persons on social media or otherwise about the bank who will soon face the full wrath of the law. 

Immediately after that, the Bloggers Association of Kenya reacted strongly against blanket condemnation of bloggers. in a statement that noted that blogger are regulated by a code of ethics, and that (i)  bloggers could be international (i.e. beyond the jurisdiction of Kenya), and that (ii) NBK should consider charging the said blogger for defamation, which is legislated in law.

Today, the bank sent a press release that indeed, the Board of National Bank has announced that the Bank’s CEO  and five top managers have been sent on compulsory leave pending an internal audit process.   

The Central Bank of Kenya, then released its own statement, welcoming the decisions of the board.

WhatsApp to Replace Twitter as Kenya’s Corporate Darling?

This week, Nendo Ventures and OdipoDev published a Social MediaTrend Report that analyzed recent trends. These included usage and messages on  WhatsApp, Facebook, and over 5 million twitter Kenya messages sent in the last year that spiked during events such as the March 2013 presidential election, the Westgate Mall terror attack and the Kenya@50 independence celebrations. 
They made several predictions in the report which including three main ones:
1. WhatsApp will change the media in 2014-15: With 82% of Kenyans having phones, and 19% with smartphones, WhatsApp which is pre-installed on some phones, is becoming used more and more for sharing of pictures, video, audio, and chats – and they predicted it will become the default communication channels for businesses. Already Citizen has Road Hog and Chase Bank has launched a dedicated WhatsApp channel.
While it’s questionable if Kenyan corporations, having recently embraced Facebook and Twitter, will migrate to WhatsApp, the authors cited the fact that WhatsApp is pre-installed on some phones, and has a very low barriers to entry (compared to Twitter that requires  an e-mail address and some internet knowledge). 

2. Social TV changes everything. This is the age of the second screen where people watch TV, attend events with mobile phones in their hand and chat & comment  on social media. In Kenya, it’s also known as the “Tujuane” syndrome after a local dating TV show that has recorded as many as 9,200 tweets an episode – and it opens a new way for for more advertising and communication from companies to connect with customers.
3. Social media Devolves – it will devolved to counties  – and citizens will set out to claim their web presence and self organize like some groups in Wajir already have. Somewhat related, the 2014 Kenya blog awards highlighted some cool county-focused blogs from Uasin Gishu, Kisumu, Mombasa and Baringo. 

Other predictions
– The establishment of the smart audience – and the authors estimate Kenya has a smart audience of 0.5 million on twitter and 3.8  million on Facebook and TV and other media organization, now use Twitter, rather than SMS as their preferred interaction and feedback channel.
– The rise of social media as a profession

@Mkaigwa briefs the media on the Nendo Social Media report

– The decline of ‘likes’ as a measure on Facebook. The noted that people on some local corporate Facebook walls are asking what a company WhatsApp number is

– Corporate use of WhatsApp to replace intranets
– The role of online media in personal security like the government’s proposed Nyumba Kumi (10 homes) neighborhood watch system.
Fun Fact While they also predicted that this year will see more transparency on the paid interaction between brands and influencers/bloggers to, everyone wanted to know which corporations are paying Kshs 10,000 to 30,000 ($350) per tweet to influencers. 

Banks on Social Media

This week, Equity Bank went live on twitter – and joined other top bank groups in Kenya in their use of social media to respond to customer issues. About half of Kenya’s 46 banks are now on Twitter ( see this list of local banks on twitter), but as the table below shows,  the number of bank customers likely to use social media is a small fraction of the total numbers.
Social media stats on Kenya’s largest bank groups
While Facebook is a powerful medium for banks to convey news and products promotions (some even tweet links to longer pieces or videos on Facebook, not their own websites)  and get feedback, Twitter is equally as powerful on but for customers  as it gives them the ability to tag a bank manager or CEO’s or any widely watched trend such as  #twitterthumbsup (for good customer service) or #twitterbigstick for bad customer experiences. 
In the Bob Collymore era, Safaricom has raced to be the acknowledged corporate leader in Kenyan social media with 363,337 Facebook fans and two widely followed twitter channels – including one dedicated to customer care issues with over 47,000 followers  – but this is a company with over 19 million customers.

Is Social Media a Career?

There have been a few jobs advertised of late for social media positions including at diverse companies like the Kenya Airports Authority, Nation Media Group and now Squad Digital (for Rwanda). 

But there’s more to these jobs than just being on Facebook or Twitter, and ultimately they are about communications – being aware & monitoring of what’s being said or written, then communicating a company position to the public, communicating product features, changes  & news, or communicating with customers in customer service – and to communicate properly, entails an understanding of media, marketing, campaigns, product cycles, consumer behaviour etc. This  Citizen news piece gives a behind the scenes look at the currently widely-acknowledged corporate leader in social media engagement – Safaricom.
Not all companies are ready for social media, nor should they all be online – and while the current mediums are blogs, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, they may next be on others such as G+, Whive or Mxit, having come from engaging on company websites and email. But ultimately, it’s about communications, not social media, and as @kaboro said – if all you know is Facebook & twitter, you’ll be out of a job before long.

Idea Exchange: TEDx, Peace, Books and Samosas

Last week was a very busy one in terms of tech, with AITEC East Africa, and Google’s GKenya over-lapping on two days.

This coming weekend has the second edition of TEDx Nairobi at the Leakey Auditorium, National Museum of Kenya, on Saturday September 18. There have been other TEDx events held in the last few weeks including TEDxKibera, TEDxMathare, and a running series of TED videos at the Westgate Cinema.

Also starting the same day as TEDx, is the SAMOSA Festival; this has no correlation with the popular snack, but it stands for the South Asian Mosaic of Society and the Arts, which is a weeklong celebration with various events staged at different locales in Nairobi from September 18 to 25. It also features a mentorship program for young entrepreneurs and professionals.

The Africa Union Peace Day is being observed on September 21 2010, and will be marked by cessation of conflict hostilities, distribution of humanitarian supplies, one minute of silence at 10.00AM (GMT), development work by members of the armed forces, football games, and lesson plans in schools.

Rounding off the month is the grand Storymoja Hay Festival over three days, from October 1 – 3 at the Railway Club grounds in Nairobi. It has over 60 events bringing together writers, business & cultural leaders to share stories, ideas and unique talks like “Demystifying the American Visa Process,” “Peculiar Kenyans,” “How to buy and sell real estate,” and “Publish your own (Children’s) book in two hours.”

EDIT: The Nairobi Book Fair takes place at Sarit Centre from September 22-26.

Others ideas from Twitter
– @firesidecom: Safaricom is taking on Access Kenya & Zuku with unlimited residential broadband at Kshs. 3,999 (~$49) for 512Kbps via wimax for residential areas – its available of prepay and postpaid, with free quick installation, equipment,. Also available is 1mbps for Kshs 6,000 and 2mbps for Kshs 7,000.
– @akcorporate Did you know that you can listen to Classic 105.2 FM through Access Kenya?
– @MTrackKenyaLtd: MTrack – Personal tracking (Children & Elderly) services