The Internet has one hand on the Steering wheel

Is internet running our lives or ruining our lives? It depends on which side of the equation you are looking at the issue from. But the undeniable fact is, the internet is running our lives.

According to a global marketing group, the number of internet users in Kenya in the year 2000 was 200,000. As of June 2017, the figure had shot to 43,329,434 users, which represents about 89% of the country’s population. If we are to statistically look at it, this represents a 21,564% growth in internet penetration between the year 2000 and 2017! And to throw another spanner in the works, 99% of these users use their mobile phones to access the Internet! Just one minute to take that in. There’s a minefield right there.

Related: Power of Internet to Small Businesses 

What does this important information mean to you? It depends on who you are.

A Maasai in Kenya uses phone. (Photo courtesy: Oxfam)

To a person deep in rural Kenya, a person whose chances of interacting with a computer remains negligible, this news injects a dose of fresh life to them. The phone is no longer just a simple gadget that helps you to receive and make calls. It has now become a gateway through which you can access virtually any information on anything of interest. It helps you to know the weather that shall be there in mid-December, to help you plan your planting and harvesting times so that your product can be ripe at exactly Christmas time. You can know the best ratios to use to mix your chicken feed to get the best eggs. And you can send to people photos of your very healthy cabbages, as you request them to make orders. All this from your seemingly small yet so powerful mobile phone.

Related: If it’s not mobile friendly, it’s not a website

To a person in the urban area, you realize you don’t have to buy the physical newspaper because you can read the online version. You realize you don’t even have to visit the supermarket and make the boring queues. You just open an app on your phone and make an order from an online-shop. And before you make the order, you first compare the prices across different vendors and pick your vendor of choice. And in a short while, a hoot at your doorstep notifies you that your product has arrived. All that without putting down your cup of coffee. Now you start feeling powerful. You are liberated. When you know more, you can decide better. Sellers no longer exploit your ignorance. You can quickly confirm the features of what they are selling to you. You can even compare their prices with those of competitors. You slowly shake your head as you wonder how sweet this is getting.

(Photo Courtesy ExpertBeacon)

Social media has taken it even higher. Before you leave the house you can now plan your routes since a specific Twitter handle is enough to let you know which roads have traffic jam and which are fine. You can boost your apartment security and policing by maintaining a common Whatsapp group, where people promptly post incidences of potential security scenes and everyone acts accordingly. Who uses whistles these days to alert neighbors about intruders? Nay, we shout online.

As is clear to see, the penetration of internet has caused a wave which is difficult to ignore. How can you ignore a population where 44% of the people have smart phones? It does not matter what you do with the internet, but the more you discover about the internet and its increasing rate of penetration, the more you realize that it is not just social media. That it is really a portal to get nearly anything done. You can sell, buy, read, write, talk to, view, anything.

In Kenya, the number of people on social media is in excess of 10 million, with 7 million of these on Facebook. That’s another landmine right there.

As a corporate, this means that there are 10 million people who continually hang around a place where you can conveniently engage them at their comfort if you were to come up with an elaborate and effective social media campaign. And when you look closely at what they post there, you will realize that whenever they are dissatisfied with a product, they don’t call you to tell you. Rather, they come to this powerful platform and tell the whole world how poor your services are. It means that they take the powerful thing called a screenshot and in black and white show the whole world the poor work that you are capable of rendering.

(Photo Courtesy)

This means that as a corporate or a business, if you are serious about getting new and retaining existing customers, this is the right place to get them! Have several of your customer care guys permanently head-quartered on social media. Listen to the needs of these millions and provide a solution tailored just to meet that! Listen to their grievances and complaints and swiftly fix them (and let them know you have!). Correct any misunderstandings that you may see, any propaganda or smear-campaign that may be gaining traction. And do this swiftly, or else it will be too late, as some stories of some local banks here in Kenya will show you. Don’t know where to start consuming this social media mammoth? That’s our tea and bread at Clinet Online. Talk to us and consider it done.

Related: How can Digital Branding help your Business?

It means this is the time to get your business a website if you don’t have any. That this is the time to consider upgrading your current website that was not made with the future in mind nor with the customer at heart. It might mean this is the time to reach the 12 million who own smart phones by getting your business an Android app that people can download and happily use. And you don’t have to know the technicalities of all that. That is our daily concern. At Clinet Online we’ll take you there and keep you flying.

This looks like just the time; tomorrow might be too late.