Youths make a killing as social media influencers

On a Saturday morning, the hashtag NBSKatchUpwas trending on Twitter and a search showed that it referred to one of the entertainment shows on a local television that airs every Friday evening.

This is just a sample of the many topics that trend every day, not necessarily just on Twitter or Facebook but the entire social media.

However, behind those trending topics are youths whose job is to influence and ensure the specific topics are the talk of social media every day, many of whom have taken it up as a full-time job.

“Social media influencing is a full-time job for me and would definitely recommend for anyone employed or not to take up,” Arthur Musinguzi, the General Secretary for Top Bloggers Uganda says.

Top Bloggers Uganda is the umbrella body for some of the country’s digital influencers.

“With the right tools, and mentorship, we believe young people can positively make use of the internet, network with fellows, collaborate and positively contribute to the growth of their societies,” the organization says on its website.


According to some of the people we talked to, when former Prime Minister, John Patrick Amama Mbabazi announced his presidential bid in 2015, he used social media to make the bid trend and after this, many other people including brands followed suit.

Consequently, many others including government bodies have since made use of social media influencers to create awareness.

For 26-year-old Robert Mugerwa, the journey for social media influencing started while he was still in school.

“It all started from high school where I had a phone but I was at the same time so addicted to the internet. All the time I wanted to know what was new and what was trending. With time I started posting news and trending stories on platforms for and engaging my followers,” said Mugerwa who passes off as The Wizy on Twitter.

He adds that with time, he has mastered the game of social media influencing.

How it works

On many events including press conferences and product launches, the social media influencers are asked to come tweet and retweet but also make other related social media posts about the events.

This way, their followers will be made aware of the event or idea they are posting about.

“As an influencer your role is use your power over your audience to command them to do a particular call or action for example convince someone to buy a product, use a service or attend an event,” Mugerwa says.

According to Musinguzi, whereas sometimes they are given content by the clients, on other occasions, they come up with content themselves that is sent out to the public.

“We create our own content but at times clients help out with content,” the journalism and communication graduate says.

This way, when a number of influencers tweet or post about a topic or product on Facebook, it creates significant attention amongst members of the public, especially on social media.

On several occasions, such topics or products are so highly talked about on social media that they become trends that keep going for several days.

Musinguzi who goes by the name Digital Didan on twitter however says there is no formula for topics to trend.

“To ensure that topics trend, one has to study the attention span and time of social media users. Also, content that is of your audience’s interest will easily trend. However, anytime something can shock you and trend. There’s no formula sometimes,” Musinguzi said.

Full time job

Musinguzi, just like many other influencers, owes much of his wealth to social media influencing that he has done for a number of years as a full-time job.

“Everything I have is from social media influencing,” he says.

“We are paid depending on the terms you agree with but mostly, per post, event or monthly.”

However, according to Mugerwa social media influencing should be considered a part time job.

“To me I wouldn’t consider it as a full-time job because there are days when gigs are scarce but you need to survive. If you out there and you want to be a social media influencer, consider it as your part time job,” The Wizy says.

He is however quick to attribute a number of achievements to social media influencing.

“I have worked on a couple brands, but I havealso got the opportunity to meet big people in this country because of social media influencing. I have also made money.”

To Mugerwa, Musinguzi and many other youths out there, social media is not a mere tool for communication but also a vehicle for making money.

The latest report by the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) shows that there are now 21.9 million internet users in Uganda which is nearly half of the country’s population meanwhile social media has continued to set the pace for digital innovation.

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