(Cover photo: Dan Obura)
The first ever Social Media Week independent took place in Nairobi last week, bringing multiple industry leaders and innovators together with entrepreneurs, corporations and civil society organisations to share how social media and digital technology has transformed their various operating landscapes. Sectors represented during the week included enterprise, healthcare, education, finance, fashion, hospitality, music, sport, media, gender and human rights.
The agenda was delivered via plenary sessions held at the K.I.C.C. as well as in master classes that took place at Strathmore University. Alongside the conference, there was also an exhibition at the KICC featuring Safaricom, Intel and Telkom-Kenya amidst several others.
Day one kicked off with a plenary session exploring how best brands can ensure they are engaging with their target audience. Panellists emphasised the need for organisations to have a social media strategy to be successful in humanising their brands. Another session explored how social media has been adopted in governance, with citizens increasingly using it as a platform to reach out to government agencies. Masterclasses included a class on media buying and the media mix. Speakers on the day included Phillip Ogola (Founder, DigiWave) and Shaffie Weru (RadioHost, Radio Africa Group).
Day two included a panel session on harnessing technology advantage for business growth, where both entrepreneurs and corporate participants shared positive experiences on adopting digital technology. Another session also assessed the impact of online payments, where Danson Muchemi (CEO, JamboPay) reported that in just two years, the Nairobi County e-Jiji platform had transactions amounting to a staggering 13 billion shillings. There was also a session addressing the rights of citizens online, creating much needed awareness on several of the challenges in this evolving realm. Speakers through the day included Zawadi Nyong’o (Digital Media Strategist) and James Gichuhi (MD, ITAC Consulting). Day two also featured classes on content development and digital strategy.
Perhaps one of the event highlights came on day three with a panel on influencer marketing that featured well-known names like Sharon Mundia (This is Ess), Susan Wong (Lifestyle Journalist), Jane Mukami (Fit Kenyan Girl) and Kangai Mwiti (Bellesa Africa). Robin Shelly (Wildfire Influencer Marketing) provided some great insights into this growing marketing trend, while the panelists shared their milestones and challenges in their journeys as influencers. Day three also included a session on women and technology where women in leading
positions in selected technology companies shared their own challenging experiences, as well as initiatives being taken in their organisations to encourage more women to pursue careers in the field. Learning sessions also continued at Strathmore University and included a class on politics and social media.
Day four kicked off with plenary talks on technology in both education and music.Local artists featuring on the music panel included Rufftone and Bahati who shared their appreciation of digital communication. Other sessions throughout the day included a session on social media budgets, one on social media in hospitality and another in crafts and fashion. Speakers on the day included Olive Gachara (Founder, Cotue Magazine), Moses Kemibaro (Founder, Dotsavvy), Martin Nielsen (CEO, Mdundo), Angela Kariuki (Founder, Mkutano Business Events & Travel), Lillian Gaitho (Head of PR, Jumia Travel) and Mandi Sarro (Food Blogger & Radio Presenter).
The last day kicked of with a plenary on leveraging digital innovation in meeting industry needs. Other sessions looked into social media political strategies, SMEs adoption of social media for growth and evolving perspectives on digital media consumption in East and West Africa. Some of the speakers included Tonee Ndungu (Co-founder, Kytabu); Valentine Njoroge (Founder, Dada), Anthony Kariuki, (Hootsuite) and Opeyemi Awoyemi –(Head, Jobberman/BrighterMonday). Several women who also participated in the ‘She Will Connect’ training initiative organised by Intel were also awarded for completing the programme than ran alongside the conference.
About Social Media Week Nairobi:
Nairobi was one of six cities selected to host the global Social Media Week independent event. Under the universal theme of ‘The Invisible Hand: Hidden Forces of Technology’, the event took place between 12th and 16th September and was organised by Go Gaga Experiential Limited. For even further updates, track the conversation on #SMWiNairobi on Twitter and check out session videos here.
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