Commonly known as Unemployed youth, his first paid influencing gig was in 2018, the same year he joined Twitter. It has been nearly four years and Namanya has attracted brands and individuals as a social media influencer.
“I failed to get a job after a series of applications to both government and private entities. I settled for social media influencing which became my job,” Namanya reveals.
He recalls that everything started out as a hobby sharing tweets, after emailing companies in quest for jobs.
He notes that he did not anticipate the level of significance social media business could make in Uganda that to date it’s a big thing.
His job is to influence narratives, business and projects on his social media account dubbed Unemployed Youth, at a fee.
Namanya’s path to social media influencing began earlier in 2019 after he had graduated at Makerere University in Kampala. He recalls that life after graduating was tough that his fruitless quest for a job prompted him to get creative.
“I was lucky that people gave me attention and liked my posts. I discovered I could make money out of it by promoting brands,” he says.
He says that he used a phone he bought from his savings to ready himself for the venture.
Influencing for brands in Uganda is really lucrative enough to pay your bills and many influencers are making a living out of it.
Internet is the new age now and many brands are leveraging that to market their product.
Namanya testifies that during the Covid-19 pandemic, it was through technology that many businesses were able to thrive and remain in business.
According to Namanya, as an influencer, one needs to be consistent. “Well, after graduating, I started to build my brand on social media, especially Twitter. While I was doing that, brands started to reach out to me because I had many followers within a short time. Brands approached me to run adverts on my page for a fee. They absolutely trust me so I decided to go into it full time. Also, instead of waiting for brands to reach out to me, I started reaching out to brands. That’s how I started getting more paid collaborations as well,” says Namanya.
Namanya says one can become a social media influencer in Uganda and earn money.
“To become a successful social media influencer, you first need to pick your niche and platform and build a significant following. Once you have that, you can then start reaching out to brands and pitch your services to them. It is also important to build organic relationships with brands by engaging with their social media content and mentioning their products for free if you like them,” he says.
Namanya says there is no minimum requirement on the number of followers, as anyone can be an influencer as long as they have a loyal audience and expertise in their niche.
Still, anywhere over the 1000 follower mark is a good place to start.
Namanya was never a stranger to hustling, while a student at University, he juggled business and education. He recalls selling jewellery around campu,s the business that helped him buy data and handle his other demands.
He adds that since he had a phone, he had to use the same phone to research and train himself for the business.
In the process, Namanya got his first project which he recalls came from.
United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and the agency that organised paid him Shs150,000 a day. He used the money to get a better phone.
He says that with Twitter being a game of numbers, he was approached by marketing and public relations agencies for assignments and also on several occasions recommended by friends.
Sometimes not for money
Namanya says that social media is a new age of media where not only money can be made but also championing community causes that can change lives.
He has been behind the famous campaign to stop police brutality in Uganda which came on the heels of the general election campaign and the lockdown that manifested unspeakable brutality to civilians.
Moving forward, Namanya has managed to influences charitable causes to benefit the less privileged in the communities, fundraising through Twitter.
Why social media influencing
Namanya reckons that he can’t pretend that he chose to be a social media influencer but it is a job he ended up doing after trying to get a job and he failing. He, however, reveals that the venture became lucrative and readily available for him and hence choosing it as a profession.
The influencer who also trades as unemployed youth on Twitter reveals that he chose to earn from the cyber space while rooting for fellow youth and airing out their grievances.
“It is a career that maybe was never meant to be but sometimes you have to settle for what is available and dearly cherish it,” he adds
His charges range from Shs7,000 to Shs25,000, per tweet and the magnitude of the project. He says that sometimes he charges Shs250,000 per-day for a project.
“I charge based on how long I’m required to push a brand and what I’m required to push and how big the business is, with that I mean small scale businesses or starting businesses,“ he adds.
Namanya has worked with some of Uganda’s top notch brands as an influencer through their media agencies. “I work with a lot of top companies,” he says. “Working with top brands has made me stand out, I have worked with a couple of companies including MTN, Hisense, Kempten Safaris, Whisper Restaurant, Lyka Online shops, and Eunice Kitchen among others,” says Namanya.
Tips for being an influencer
Before you go on this influencer journey, follow these steps:
• Decide your niche and stick to it
It’s easier to grow a page if you specialise in one or a few things so people will know what to expect from you.
Think about it, when you follow an account that’s not a friend or celebrity it’s usually because they post something specific that you like such as make-up tutorials, fitness or fashion inspiration, food recipes etc.
• Think of yourself as a brand
If you are building a brand, there has to be some level of self-reflection. Your page needs to be an honest extension of you.
What do you stand for? What’s your vibe? Make sure your feed represents your personal brand.
• Figure out your why
What is the purpose/aim of your account? Is it purely for fun or is it business? And then decide how much time you want to invest in it to match what you expect to gain from it.
• Have a theme for your pictures
Everybody likes things, make sure you have a flow going on your page. There are so many categories to pick from. You can use a consistent colour theme or even have a particular object in all your photos to test your creativity.
Even if it’s just the same filter, aesthetically planned feeds are nice to look at.
• Work, Work, Work
Put relative time and effort into your posts and try to be as creative as possible. Try having “content creation” sessions once or multiple times a week like you have study sessions.
Take down any ideas that pop in your mind in your memo pad so you can use them for post and caption ideas later.
That is the whole point of social media! Respond to your comments and engage with the accounts you follow so they are encouraged to engage with you too.
The more engagement you have the greater the chances of your page being discovered by people and brands.
• Use hashtags
The hashtag game is always changing but it doesn’t hurt to experiment with a few and see how it affects the engagement of your posts.
Also, try to use less popular hashtags so ones that have less than 1 million posts. You will have to search for hashtags in your niche and find the ones that people use but don’t abuse like #fitness or #love
• Collaborate with people in your niche
Follow and engage with accounts in your niche to let other people interested in your niche see your profile, the more your account is seen, the greater chances you have of gaining new followers.
You can also do story shout outs with people in your niche for more exposure or even try to ask them out for coffee.
• Track your engagement
Pay attention to what posts people respond to best. Figure out what content your followers enjoy viewing.
Track the times you get the best engagement that usually helps get followers.