Growing GIZ e-learning platform atingi with micro-influencers

We run a series of experiments with micro-influencers in Kenya to inform atingi’s strategy for user growth across Africa

Growing GIZ e-learning platform with micro-influencers in Kenya

Screenshot of @emillymoraa‘s post for atingi

In Fall 2020, we developed a micro-influencer strategy for GIZ’s e-learning platform in Africa. The project is part of the German development cooperation’s flagship project “Africa Cloud”, which provides access to training opportunities and courses for entrepreneurs and a future-ready workforce.

We ran a series of experiments with a different types of social media influencers, local partners, content formats, and modes of collaboration. We focused on influencers with a following of 500 to 30,000, because they are characterized by higher rates of audience engagement compared to large social media accounts, where most followers consume rather passively.

Atingi learner and micro-influencer for the campaign

Direct micro-influencer collaborations were found not scalable

While Kenyan’s influencer scene has given rise to plenty high-reach social media profiles, we identified only a small number of micro-influencers that aligned well with atingi’s content, brand, and audience. Those we engaged were, for example, an agri-business entrepreneur and a fashion business owner, who we asked to create visual content for Twitter and Instagram.

While these collaborations achieved solid engagement rates and provided us with new content ideas, the time spent on arranging each collaboration did not yet promise to be an efficient strategy for atingi’s user growth.

Kenyan tech partner allowed us scale to 500 influencers

The Kenyan influencer marketing platform Wowzi makes it easy to run influencer marketing at scale. Their platform automates the selection, briefing, and management of thousands of individuals. While they also work with well-known celebrities in Kenya, they built a significant pool of “nano influencers” with a follower count from 500 upwards. Although such social media users may not reach as many people outside their personal network, they naturally maintain strong relationships with their audience. Hence, they have a high impact on their follower’s awareness of content they share.

Screenshot of Wowzi’s App

Wowzi helped us to set up campaigns and provide their influencers with briefings of atingi’s features and value proposition. We involved around 500 influencers with a total audience of 1.4 million people. Since the campaign metrics clearly showed decreasing engagement rates with increasing follower counts, the pilot campaigns with Wowzi helped us to build an even stronger case for atingi’s micro-influencer marketing strategy.

Example of a post created by Wowzi influencer

On top of that, we see huge potential in the fact that with “nano influencers”, the people sharing atingi were in atingi’s target group themselves. Instead of hunting for rare influential role models with the right social media audience, our new approach unlocked a sheer unlimited pool of crowdsourced partners (well-connected students, young adults) for atingi’s growth marketing.

We made atingi’s target group influence itself

WhatsApp Status post for atingi

Now that we found the right type of influencers for atingi, we ran further experiments with regards to the most effective social media platform. Because of the general trend where users increasingly move their social media activity from public feeds towards private messengers and groups (“Dark Social”), we took a closer look at WhatsApp.

Through a Facebook campaign, we built a list of more than one hundred university students and young professionals. For the pilot, we selected 10 people and asked them to share a personalized link of atingi’s landing page. They shared the link with their friends, WhatsApp status, or large university groups.

We tracked the results and reach through the number of unique visitors of each person’s link. Our sample group of 10 people attracted 500 new individuals. We also run a cross-check survey which showed that the links were clicked even by youth in remote and rural areas in Kenya, which is the ideal audience of atingi.

A survey run through our “WhatsApp influencers” showed the wide reach of our new approach

Because the task performed by students are as easy as personalizing a WhatsApp message, the approach will be suitable for more of atingi’s target countries across Africa.

Design Driven Ventures has shown to be an agile and innovative partner with whom we were able to try out different approaches to Micro- and Nano-Influencer-Cooperation in Africa, and identify effective and evidence-based ways of scaling them.

Johannes Pohlmann, Consultant at GIZ

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