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How this 21-year old student is earning a living from social media

From cybercafe attendant to social media guru

#YouthMtaani:  Charles Wahinya's 3 year journey from cybercafe attendant to digital marketing pro

Young people in Kenyan are faced with numerous challenges in Kenya – from unemployment to poor pay, coupled with the rising cost of living.

In our Youth Mtaani segment, we highlight the story of a young man who, despite the hard-economic times, has innovatively harnessed the opportunities brought about by the digital revolution.

Three years ago, Charles Wahinya was a fourth form candidate at in St. Joseph’s High School Githunguri and despite the busy schedule in the final year of high school, he was passionate about social media – often spending time on Facebook to interact.

Wahinya did not know that three years later, he would be earning a living through social media platforms by helping place brands get prominence on digital platforms.

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But the journey has not been easy, as the fourth-year Economics and Finance student at Mount Kenya University has had to balance his studies and work that has little to do with his line of education.

After my form four, I worked in a cybercafé as an attendant. This is where I interacted with people buying and selling products online. I helped clients purchase products on Jumia, Kilimall, Amazon and other e-commerce sites. I learnt about affiliate marketing and I became an affiliate marketer on my social media accounts.

As I continued marketing products online, I learnt about content marketing and I was lucky to get some few clients to run their social media accounts as well as blogs,” he narrated his story.

Wahinya is one of the many young Kenyans who are working hard to acquire skills that were not directly taught in school, but which are important as the world is transitioning in to the digital era.

The 21-year old's expertise includes website marketing which helps brands get an online presence through strategies such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

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Over the past three years, he has worked with various local brands including MotoCar Africa, Bella Safaris and Fauna Safaris, Tuskys, Jumia, among others.

The Englishmen say one man’s meat is another man’s poison and advertising agencies often complain that the work of freelance social media marketers, often referred to as influencers, has adversely affected their work – an argument Wahinya disagrees with.

I believe social media influencing isn’t killing ad agencies, it’s in fact complimenting their work. Audiences sometimes ignore the ads but when the ad is followed through with influencing – there is more visibility and hence increased trust,” he said.

The youthful digital marketer has a message for fellow young Kenyans – “be passionate in learning, researching and practicing. Young people should never look at how much they earn but the skill they get. Digital Marketing is fun and if they do it perfectly, it pays!

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