Factors to consider if you want to make money online

Thursday January 31 2019

The ability to work from your desk at home, flexible working hours and the privilege of being on the payroll of multiple employers, working on the digital space is undoubtedly a real treat. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH


As the professional landscape continues to undergo changes, hundreds of jobs are dying as new ones come up. More than 10 digital-based jobs such as vlogging and social media influencing, totally un-heard of only a decade ago, have emerged as the best paying gigs today.
The ability to work from your desk at home, flexible working hours and the privilege of being on the payroll of multiple employers, working on the digital space is undoubtedly a real treat. The digital landscape has its shortcomings too. Coupled with the ever-changing trends, you must be on top of things to survive and flourish online.
Janet Machuka, a media scientist and director at digital Convex Africa Limited, discusses the opportunities, trends, ethics and pitfalls to avoid for those who choose to trade on the web.

Role of digital influencers in business: Be it local or international brands, influencers are considered a critical component in promoting products to push sales. Companies such as Safaricom, even with their powerful marketing strategies and titanic budgets, still rely on digital influencers to promote their products and causes in the society. Unknown five years ago, influencing on social media is gaining traction in Kenya, and is the sole employer of hundreds of young people in Kenya, including students.

The beauty of social influencing is in its flexibility: You can represent as many brands as possible as long as you maintain distinct images for each brand. With an audience on social media, the right appeal and a smartphone, you are good to go.

Authenticity is key: More than ever before, consumption habits of a product are driven by how authentic it is. Before buying a product or subscribing to a service, people now scrutinise providers to ensure they are getting value for their hard-earned money. It is only through sharing accurate information that you build trust with your audience. No one will trust your brand if they suspect deception. Only this week, a number of celebrities came out to denounce a local digital marketer who claimed to help build their personal brands, conning hundreds of people in the process. It is possible to defraud people online by providing inaccurate information about your brand. But the truth always comes out eventually. If you wish to establish a lasting brand online, remember, the internet never forgets.

Content creators will continue to thrive this year: The so-called content kings and queens are creators of short vlogs, blogs and stories on social media that teach people how to apply make-up, cook, shine shoes and fold clothes. However simple and rather ordinary these tasks are, millions of people around the world like to Google them up and learn how to perform them to perfection. It is for this reason that Swedish YouTube vlogger PewDiePie, who reviews video games, has more than 83 million subscribers, the highest in the world.

Expertise is indispensable: You must have the proficiency around the product and be credible. The job of an influencer stretches far beyond just having thousands of followers on social media. It is through connecting with the subject that you are able to appeal to your audience. Glossing over and offering sketchy information about a product only raises doubt about your suitability to promote that product. Remember the audience looks up to you to help them understand the functionality of a product.


Emphasise on personalised content and approach: Most advertisements are impersonal and out of touch with the reality of the intended market. Giving the product and its usage a human touch though is the surest way to get people to try it out. Use language that the audience understands. If need be, use slang. Cut the figure of an ordinary human being. Human beings are inclined to identify with people who share their own circumstances.

Video as marketing tool: However appealing your product is, how you present it ultimately determines whether or not it excels in the market. Writing reviews for products can be a tedious and time-consuming process. Most people find text boring. Use of audio visuals though is easier and more effective.

According to wyzowl, a leading animated explainer video company, the attention span of the average human being is 8.25 seconds shorter than that of the goldfish at nine seconds. Video, however, attracts the longest attention, with the average person following visual content for 2.7 seconds. Making videos three minutes long or shorter is, therefore, an effective marketing strategy. Notably, a millennial is 10 times more likely to watch a video on a WhatsApp status than to read a text.

Social media stories: While these have traditionally been used by social media users to share their personal experiences, stories have become the new frontier for marketing for businesses. Designed to last for a couple of hours, Instastories, for instance, are now being used by major global brands to promote their products. Due to their short expiry, their followers are always on the lookout lest they miss out. You can use stories to promote your blog, online store and to talk about trends in the market.
Privacy and ethics on the digital space is a subject that will continue to feature in discussions this year. Last year, consulting firm Cambridge Analytica had to shut down after the British company was accused of irregularly mining personal data from Facebook users and using the information to influence the users’ decisions. Unless someone has given consent for use of their personal information, do not publish it or share it online. To thrive online, steer clear of practices that violate people’s fundamental right to privacy.