Women leaders have been urged to be more innovative and strategic to succeed in utilising digital opportunities to build their businesses and brands.
Speakers at a forum on women leadership in digital called on career and businesswomen to post relevant content that fits their target audience across the various social media networks. The forum, Digitalk, was sponsored by Expedition Maasai Safaris Ltd.
Maggie Ireri of TFA Research Limited said women can only be competitive in driving their agenda on social networks if they are able to reach their audience with the right content in timely manner.
(TOP: Muthoni Maingi, head of digital campaigns at Oxfam International – right – makes her a point during the Digitalk as Noella Musundi, PR and Communications Manager at Kenya Red Cross Society, looks on. Photo: Facebook).
“Competition is not about focusing on what your competitors are doing online, but being able to cut through the clutter to reach your audience with the right message at the right time,” said Ms. Ireri at the forum that brought together social media influencers, mainly women.
Mrs. Ireri who has been at the forefront in use of social media to disseminate findings of opinion polls by his research outfit said choice of language that resonates with particular markets is also key to success in the digital space.
Pauline Njoroge, communications officer at NEPAD/APRM said social media has enhanced the participation of the public in governance and improves access to services. She called on women to take advantage of the various networks to reach out to leaders and voice their views on national issues.
“Digital platforms like e-citizen has minimised human interaction when it comes to access of public services and this has led to reduced corruption and efficient service delivery,” says Pauline.
Ms. Noellah Musundi, PR and Communications Manager at Kenya Red Cross Society, lauded the strides Kenya has made in promoting use of social media and asked women to take advantage of the numerous opportunities available to develop their careers and businesses.
Noellah, however, said use of digital to promoted brands and products and various causes should be matched by offline activities for greater impact.
She warned consumers of digital content to be cautious of fake news which has been on the rise as bloggers capitalise on the growth of the internet audiences to rake in advertising revenues from brands.
James Maina, Expedition Maasai Safaris marketing manager, said the company will support initiatives aimed at enhancing the pace of Kenya’s growth into a digital economy.
“As an international travel company we stand to gain a lot from the growth of social media and we would like to empower every segment of the population, women in particular, to actively participate in the digital space. That is why we have made a strategic decision to partner with Digitalk,” said Maina.
Although Kenya has made progress in digital communication, studies show that there is still gender disparity with the country lagging behind in terms of efforts made to close this divide.
A report launched by the World Wide Web Foundation and the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) in 2017 gave the country a dismal score of 30 per cent.
During the launch of the report, Houlin Zhao, secretary- general of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), noted that closing the digital gender gap — which seems to be widening globally — is not just a moral imperative but a significant opportunity for growth in today’s digital economy.
Experts have also warned that the wide digital gender gap in Kenya is jeopardising the country’s chances of improving and growing its economy.
The organiser of the forum Digitalk forum, Mr. Martin Muli, said the platform is aimed at facilitating increased participation of women in the digital sector.
Mr. Muli said encouraging women to utilise digital opportunities and building a gender balanced tech sector will play an important role that will boost innovation and bring economic benefits to the Kenyan economy.
“Our activities are focussing on three main areas which are challenging stereotypes; promoting digital skills and education and advocating for more women entrepreneurs,” he said at the end of the forum.
The forum was also addressed by Muthoni Maingi, head of digital campaigns at Oxfam International.