Somebody please wake up @MagicalKenya
Tourism remains a key pillar for Kenya’s economy, employing thousands of Kenyans and providing billions of shillings in revenue to local businesses and the taxman. It is no wonder we all get feverish whenever travel advisories are issued. The Kenya Tourism Board has quite a task, making sure travel advisory or none, Kenyans and foreigners make different destinations in this beautiful land their top pick holiday destination.
According to their website, the KTB mandate is to develop, implement and co-ordinate a National Tourism marketing strategy that will market Kenya at local, national, regional and international levels as a premier tourist destination; identify tourism market needs and trends and advise tourism stakeholders accordingly; and perform any other functions that are ancillary to the object and purpose for which the Tourism Board is established.
KTB have put out some good films to promote Kenya. I just discovered this one on their YouTube Channel.
Though long, I do love the imagery and the double play on words, showing the diverse possibilities of what one can enjoy in Kenya.
On Instagram however, the story is quite different.
Images have the power to evoke emotions that greatly influence one’s purchase decision. That’s why tour companies invest heavily in photography to promote offers in key destinations. This has made Instagram an important marketing tool for anyone serious about attracting tourists.
Take South Africa for example. Hands down, Kenya has a better tourism offering but when it comes to marketing themselves, there’s a lot KTB can learn from our relatives down south.
They’ve gotten residents to market their country through a simple task of tagging photos they are already taking for a chance of being featured on the South African Tourism Instagram page.
What @MeetSouthAfrica now have is a feed full of breathtaking imagery from different corners of South Africa, showing anyone who wants to visit SA the beauty that awaits them. And because the images aren’t from paid photographers, the viewer knows this is a genuine picture of South Africa.
Getting Instagram users to populate your feed isn’t new. It’s being done right here in Kenya by a group of volunteers running the @IGKenya page.
If you’ve been looking for evidence of how much Kenyans love their country, this is it. There’s no other platform on which people who love photography and Kenya in equal measure are sharing images of their blessed country with the world.
Everyday, many instagrammers are looking out for unique perspectives of this great nation that they can capture, and when they do, they tag their images #IGKenya. These people aren’t motivated by a paycheque – their patriotism and desire to see Kenya showcased in a different light moves them to worldwide recognition.
Now, let’s take a look at KTB’s Instagram feed.
There is no clear direction or creativity; there’s double posts, plagiarism and absenteeism all over the place.
Take their last post above – the one of the playful lions made famous by the Daily Mail. The images belong to Gareth Jones and from the quality at which they were posted, I doesn’t seem KTB got clearance to use them to market Kenya.
The Uhuru Kenyatta image has been posted twice. Yeah, you are patriotic, but a double post?
The six images above were posted in the last two weeks when all eyes were on Kenya as it hosted the Global Entrepreneurship Summit and President Obama. I don’t believe there was a better time this year to capitalise on all the attention that we had as a nation. Was this the best way we could promote tourism? Was it?
Before the build up to the GES, @MagicalKenya hadn’t posted to Instagram for 37 weeks! That’s more than 9 months of keeping their followers waiting for an enticement to tour Kenya. Their last post before that was the photo with two mugs below.
Despite them being kicked and slapped by #KOT over their ‘terrorism hotbed’ story, CNN did a better job of promoting Kenya during GES, asking Twitter and Instagram users to tag their photos #ShowObamaKenya to get featured on their page.
The team that manages @MagicalKenya needs to wake up and smell the Java or go on permanent holiday as they let someone else take over the feed. Kenya is full of more patriotic and passionate people who can do a better job at marketing Kenya at local, national, regional and international levels as a premier tourist destination on Instagram.
Here’s a couple of suggestions: @MagicalKenya can get different individuals to have take-overs of the account for a couple of days or weeks. Pay them to go to different corners of Kenya and post what they see to your page. This is a great strategy to increase followers and populate your feed with amazing content.
Asking people to tag you on their posts for a chance to get featured could also work. Then have someone curate the images and post them on your page while not forgetting to credit the photographer.
Kenyan brands have had great campaigns on IG. Recently, @Airtel_Kenya brought in @jnsilva one of the top Instagrammers worldwide for a photography workshop and takeover of their Instagram account. During his visit, some guys I know took him on an overnight camping trip to Hell’s Gate National Park. The outcome of that trip was the greatest online showcase of Hell’s Gate National Park as a tourism destination.
A simple search of #SilvaMeetsKenya will reveal the amazing beauty that was captured in a couple of days.
Another team to note when it comes to showcasing Kenya’s beauty is @OnetouchLive, a visual art collective documenting the beauty and cultures of Africa to shift perceptions from the common narrative.
Fuelled by curiosity and driven by passion, these guys take self-funded monthly trips to different parts of Kenya, take photos and share them with their online followers to show what a beautiful country they live in.
Kenya is overflowing with individuals and groups like @OneotuchLive and @IGKenya, passionately working to promote tourism in our country at their own cost. It breaks our heart to see the people who our taxes are paying to promote tourism are watching great promotional opportunities go by and other tourism markets like SA zoom past us while they sleep on the job.
Hope this wake up call startles them to do what the rest of us are passionate about.