Duo wants influencers to level up campaigns

By Milliam Murigi
Wednesday, May 5th, 2021
Wowzi co-founders Brian Mogeni and Mike Otieno Photo/PD/MILLIAM MURIGI
In summary
    • The co-founders of Wowzi saw a gap in the influener industry.
    • The platform links brands ad agencies to influencers and vice versa.
    • It has four levels of influencers, depending on the number of followers they command.

A few years ago, Brian Mogeni was looking for an influencer to work with. Before he could get one, he had to pass through the “cartels” that rule the influencer market. However, despite all this process, the job was not well done as he expected.

Disappointed by the result, Brian vowed never to use influencer services again. But his business needed influencer marketing more than he thought. So, eventually he had to rethink his decision.

Along the process, he realised there was a big gap in the influencer marketing industry despite being one of the fastest-growing industries with an annual growth of 19 per cent.

“I realised that only celebrities were termed as influencers yet there are so many digital influencers who have the potential to put a brand in front of a huge audience,” he says.

Huge potential

Noticing a gap, Brian decided to come up with a solution. But since he couldn’t do it alone, he joined hands with two other partners; Mike Otieno and Hassan Bashir and together they founded Wowzi an end-to-end influencer marketing platform connecting influencers to brands/advertisers.

To them, any social media user that has managed to build a large, engaged, and active following is an influencer.

Any individual that has the complete attention of their audience, and can change opinions and influence behaviour, can also be referred to as an influencer.

The reason being, they are specialists in their niches and have established high levels of trust and two-way communication with their followers. 

“Our platform is full-service, meaning that we help brands through every stage of the influencer marketing process, from influencer discovery, through influencer management, assisting with content creation, to analysing and reporting on a campaign’s success,” says Brian.

According to him, the idea of coming up with this platform was borne after the three realised that despite the huge opportunity that lies in the influencer marketing industry only a few individuals are benefitting.

However, now not only celebrities can make an impact, but also popular bloggers, social stars, or even everyday consumers.

Everyone that has access to social media has the potential to become an influencer.

“With our platform, anyone can become an influencer as long as they meet certain requirements.

For example, one must have a minimum of 250 followers on any of their social media accounts.

The accounts must also be clean with no nude posts, drug promotions, or such vices.

We do background checks and verify the quality of an influencer’s output before he or she gets the job,” he says. 

And how does this platform work? First of all, you have to register either as an advertiser or as an influencer.

After registration, the platform allows advertisers to load a brief about what the influencer needs to do then select influencers they would like to engage with. 

Deliveries and timelines

To create value for money, a brand can target specific influencers depending on the target market.

A brand can also decide to work with certain demography of influencers such as male or female, certain age groups, and specific occupations. 

On the influencer side, once selected you are notified. You can choose to accept or decline the job.

If you accept there will be reminders about that specific job. Once the job is done successfully you receive your payment. However, if you fail to deliver you don’t get paid.

“Payment has for long been a challenge when it comes to influencer marketing since brands have a challenge assessing their return on investment.

However, with our platform, a brand can see immediate gains while an influencer does not have to guess what his earnings are.

They are automatically computed. The whole process is controlled by Wowzi. We pay our influencers twice per week,” he adds. 

Though people think this model will push mega-influencers and big agencies out of the market, Brian says that it is not true; instead the model is creating a bigger market for both influencers and agencies since they are exposing them to global brands inaccessible to them before.

Win-win situation

“Wowzi is here to change the influencer marketing narrative. We want to make the influencer marketing process simpler and more straightforward. We also want to bring more influencers on board.

This will ensure brands have varieties to choose from. This will also help expose influencers to different brands,” says Brian.

For sustainability purposes, he reveals they retain a fraction of the funds going through the platform.

So far they have 30,000 influencers and over 100 local and international brands on the platform.

“Our wish is that more brands and influencers come on board and create a win-win situation. Our goal is to create one million jobs before the year ends.

To achieve this, plans are underway to introduce other channels such as taking influencer marketing to the ground,” notes Brian.

The platform has five categories of influencers. The first is the nano category, where influencers have about 250 to 5,000 followers, then micro influencers with 5,000 to 30,000 followers, and macro-influencers with between 30,000 to 100,000 followings.

The fourth category is mega influencers who command followings of between 100,000 to 500,000 and the final category is premium influencers who command more than half a million followings.

Though the business hasn’t faced many challenges, he says that it has not been easy to change nano influencers’ behaviour.

To solve this, they have been using seasoned influencers to mentor them, an effort that is paying off.

He says the success of the startup has been achieved so fast because, to many brands, the process of discovering influencers, contacting, and selecting the most suitable ones, and then running campaigns with them is time-consuming and most of them have turned to this platform, which is making it simpler and straightforward.

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