Social Media Advertising Do's and Don'ts for Kenyan Businesses

Are you a business owner in Kenya looking to expand your reach and grow your customer base? Social media advertising can be a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal. With over 10 million active social media users in Kenya, social media platforms offer businesses the opportunity to reach a large and engaged audience.

But how do you ensure your social media advertising efforts are effective and deliver the results you want?

In this article, we discuss the Do's and Don'ts of Social Media Advertising for Kenyan Businesses. We also present some best practices for optimizing advertising campaigns.

Definition of social media advertising

Social media advertising is a form of digital advertising that uses social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and others. It is used to promote products, services, or businesses.

These platforms offer companies the opportunity to target specific audiences and reach large audiences at a lower cost than traditional advertising methods.

With social media promotions, businesses can create targeted ads that appear in users' social media feeds or as sponsored content. These ads can take on different formats, such as video ads, image ads, carousel ads, and more.

This depends on the platform and the objective of the advertising campaign.

Businesses can create ads that aim to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to their website, generate leads, or increase sales. Advertising on social media also allows businesses to track their ads' performance and optimize their campaigns based on real-time data and analytics.

Importance of social media advertising in Kenya

Social media advertising has become an essential part of Internet marketing strategies.

Here are some reasons why social media advertising is so significant for businesses:

  • Reach a large and engaged audience: Social media platforms offer businesses a vast and highly engaged audience that spends significant time on these channels. By leveraging social media advertising, businesses can effectively capture their audience and boost engagement rates.

  • Cost-effective advertising: Social media advertising is a cost-effective advertising method compared to traditional marketing. It allows businesses to reach their target audience at a fraction of traditional advertising costs.

  • Targeted advertising: Advertising on social networks allows businesses to attract specific demographics, interests, behaviors, and locations. This targeted advertising approach helps companies reach the right people and increase advertising effectiveness.

  • Measurable results: Advertising on social media delivers measurable results and allows businesses to track their paid campaigns. They can track key performance indicators (KPIs) such as click-through rates, engagement rates, and conversion rates, making it easier to evaluate advertising campaigns.

  • Increased brand awareness: Advertising on social media helps businesses increase brand awareness by reaching a large and engaged audience. This can lead to more website traffic, higher sales, and enhanced brand awareness.

  • Strengthens brand loyalty: By engaging with audiences on social media platforms, social media advertising helps businesses develop brand loyalty. Companies can respond to comments and messages and actively engage in conversations on social media to build relationships with their audience.

Dos and Don'ts of social media advertising in Kenya

To ensure the effectiveness of your social media advertising in Kenya, it's important to follow certain best practices.

Some social media advertising rules include:

Identify your target audience.

Identifying your target audience is a vital first step in creating effective social media campaigns. Once you know who your target audience is, you can tailor your message, images, and tone to appeal to their interests and preferences.

Here are some key points to consider when identifying your target audience:

  • Demographics: Start by identifying basic demographic information about your target audience, including age, gender, location, income, education, and occupation. Using this information, you can craft a more specific and targeted message.

  • Interests: Identify your target audience's interests, hobbies, and activities. Using this information, you can create content and messages that speak directly to your target audience's interests.

  • Behaviors: Examine your target audience's behaviors and habits, such as their buying patterns, how they consume content, and how they interact with brands. With this information, you can create ads that resonate.

  • Pain points: Identify the problems or challenges your target audience faces. Using this information, you can create ads that offer solutions to their problems. You can also position your product or service as the answer to their needs.

  • Buyer Personas: Once you have gathered all the relevant information about your target audience, you can create buyer personas. A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer based on research and data about your target audience. You can use these personas to guide your messaging and ad targeting.

Set clear goals for your ad campaign

Setting clear goals for your ad campaign is essential to ensure your efforts are targeted and focused on achieving specific results.

Below are some additional points to consider when setting goals:

  • Specific: Your goals should be specific and clearly defined. Avoid vague goals like "increase sales" and instead set concrete goals like "increase online sales by 20% within the next 3 months"

  • Measurable: Your goals should be measurable so you can track progress and determine whether or not you have achieved them. This way, you can adjust your strategies as needed. For example, if your goal is to increase traffic to your website, you can track this with tools like Google Analytics.

  • Achievable: Your goals should be challenging, but achievable. Avoid setting unrealistic goals that are impossible to achieve, as this can lead to frustration and disappointment. Consider your available resources and skills when setting goals.

  • Relevant: Your goals should be relevant to your overall business objectives. Make sure your ad campaign goals align with your business objectives and contribute to your overall growth.

  • Time-bound: Your goals should have a specific timeframe for implementation. This will keep you on track and ensure progress toward your goals. Also, a firm timeline will help you determine whether or not you need to adjust your strategies to meet your goals.

Choose the right social media platform 

To choose the right social media platform for your target audience, you need to know the demographics and characteristics of each platform.

Here are some of the most popular social media platforms in Kenya and the corresponding demographic characteristics of their users:

  • Facebook

Facebook is one of the most popular social media platforms in Kenya, with 9 million active users as of January 2023. The platform is particularly popular among young adults and older age groups. Facebook has a relatively balanced gender user base, with slightly more male than female users.

  • Twitter

Twitter is another popular social media platform in Kenya, with 1.9 million active users as of January 2023. The platform is particularly popular among younger age groups, with the majority of users between 18 and 34 years old. Twitter also has a slightly higher proportion of male users than female users.

  • Instagram

Instagram is a visually oriented social media platform that has gained popularity in recent years, especially among younger audiences. The platform has 2.2 million active users in Kenya (as of January 2023), with the majority of users between 18 and 24. Instagram also has a higher proportion of male users than female users.

  • LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a professional networking platform popular among professionals, job seekers, and businesses. The platform has 3.5 million active users in Kenya as of January 2023, with the majority of users between 25 and 34. LinkedIn also has a slightly higher proportion of male users than female users.

  • YouTube

YouTube is a video platform that has gained popularity in recent years, especially among younger audiences. As of January 2023, the platform had 9.4 million active users in Kenya, with the majority between the ages of 18 and 34. YouTube also has a higher proportion of male users than female users.

Create engaging ad content

Your ad content should be visually appealing and grab your target audience's attention.

To create engaging ad content that resonates with your target audience, follow these best practices:

  • Know your audience: As mentioned earlier, understanding your audience is key to creating content that resonates with them. Use your market research and buyer personas to create messages that speak directly to your audience's interests, problems, and desires.

  • Write compelling copy: Your ad content should be clear, concise, and easy to understand. Avoid jargon or overly complicated wording that could confuse or scare your target audience.

  • Use visuals: As the saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words." Use high-quality images, videos, or graphics that are relevant to your message and visually appealing to your intended audience.

  • Highlight your unique value proposition: Make sure your ad content highlights what makes your brand or product unique. This will set you apart from your competitors and leave a lasting impression on your target audience

  • Use a call-to-action (CTA): Your ad content should encourage action, whether it's clicking through to your website, signing up for a newsletter, or making a purchase. Use a clear and meaningful CTA that encourages your target market to take the desired action.

  • Test and repeat: Creating engaging ad content is not a one-time task. Test and tweak your content to optimize performance. Experiment with different images, messages, and CTAs to see what resonates best with your audience.

Monitor and analyze your advertising campaign

Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) such as click-through rates, engagement rates, and conversion rates is essential to measuring the success of your ad campaign to ensure it's working well and meeting its goals.

Here are some points to consider:

  • Set up regular reporting intervals to track your ad campaign's performance against the KPIs you set. This will help you determine which areas are underperforming and which exceed your expectations.

  • Use analytics tools like Google Analytics, Facebook Ads Manager, or Twitter Analytics to track your ad campaign's performance.

  • Monitor and analyze the data regularly to identify opportunities for improvement or issues to address.

  • Keep a close eye on your ad spend and make sure you're getting a positive return on investment (ROI). If you find that your ad spend isn't translating into conversions, it may be time to adjust your strategy.

  • Keep an eye on the key performance indicators (KPIs) you've identified. These may include click-through rates, engagement rates, conversion rates, and return on investment (ROI).

  • Compare your ad campaign's performance against industry benchmarks and your previous campaigns to get a better sense of how it's performing.

  • Optimize your ad campaign based on data and insights. Remember to regularly review your goals and KPIs and adjust them as needed.

Use social proof to increase the credibility

Incorporating social proof elements can increase your ad campaign's credibility. Social proof is a psychological phenomenon in which people trust and act based on others' actions.

There are several types of social proof, such as customer reviews, testimonials, and influencer recommendations, that you can use to increase your brand's credibility.

Here's a closer look at the different types of social proof:

  • Customer reviews: Positive reviews from satisfied customers can build trust and credibility with potential customers. Consider including customer reviews in your ad copy or on your website.

  • Testimonials: Testimonials from satisfied customers or industry experts can also build credibility. Post testimonials on your website or social media.

  • Influencer endorsement: Influencers are individuals with a large social media following and can lend credibility to your brand by recommending your product or service. Consider partnering with relevant influencers to promote your advertising campaign.

Incorporating social proof elements into your ad campaigns can increase conversion likelihood and ultimately drive business growth. To maintain your brand's trust and credibility, it's important to ensure the social proof is genuine and not fake.

Dont's of social media advertising in Kenya

As important as it is to know what to do when creating social media advertising, it's also imperative to know what not to do.

Here are some things to remember:

Don't use irrelevant targeting criteria

Using irrelevant targeting criteria can significantly affect your social media ad campaign's success. To effectively reach your target audience, it's critical to consider relevant criteria such as interests, behaviors, and demographics.

Below are some reasons to use relevant targeting criteria:

  • Saves advertising budget: By using relevant targeting criteria, you can ensure that your ads are shown to the right audience, minimizing ad waste risk.

  • Increases ad effectiveness: Reaching the right audience through relevant targeting criteria increases engagement and conversion. If your ad is shown to irrelevant audiences, this can result in lower engagement rates, which in turn results in a lower return on investment (ROI).

  • A better understanding of your target audience: Using appropriate targeting criteria allows you to better understand your target audience. You gain insights into their interests, behaviors, and demographics and can tailor your messages to resonate with them.

  • It improves your ad relevance score: Social media platforms use ad relevance scores to determine the quality and relevance of your ads. By using relevant targeting criteria, you can improve your ad relevance and increase the likelihood that your ads will be seen by your intended audience.

Using specific and relevant targeting criteria is imperative to reach the right audience and increase your social media campaign's success. This way, you can save on your advertising budget and increase advertising effectiveness.

Don't ignore the importance of ad placement

When advertising on social media, ad placement is crucial because it can greatly affect your ads' performance. Not paying attention to ad placement can result in your ads not reaching your target audience or being displayed in a place where they're less likely to be seen or clicked on.

To ensure the success of your ad campaign, it's essential to choose the right ad placement for your target audience.

Several factors should be considered when choosing an ad placement. These factors include the type of ad, the social media platform you're using, and the preferences of your target audience.

Different ad formats such as image ads, video ads, and carousel ads may work better in certain places than in others. For example, video ads on Facebook and Instagram perform well in feed placements.

It's also important to consider your target audience's behavior and preferences when choosing an ad placement. For example, if your target audience spends most of their time on mobile devices, it may be beneficial to choose mobile-specific ad placements.

To choose the right ad placement for your campaign, you need to conduct research and test different placements to find out which ones work best.

Social media platforms typically offer insights into ad performance based on placement, so you can adjust and optimize your ad placement strategy accordingly.

Ultimately, choosing the right ad placement can increase your ad visibility, engagement, and conversions, leading to a successful ad campaign.

Don't spend too much on your ad campaign

When running an ad campaign, it's important to set a budget and stick to it. Spending too much can quickly deplete your budget and result in a lower return on your investment.

To optimize your ad budget and avoid overspending, consider the following tips:

  • Set a clear budget: Before launching your ad campaign, set a budget that aligns with your goals and resources. This will help you stay on track and avoid overspending.

  • Use budgeting tools: Many advertising platforms offer tools to optimize your advertising budget. For example, you can set a daily or lifetime budget to ensure you don't overspend.

  • Monitor your spending: Keep a close eye on your ad spending throughout your campaign. This will help you determine where you're overspending and make adjustments as needed.

  • Test and adjust: Continually test and adjust your ad campaign to optimize its effectiveness. This way, you can identify opportunities to reduce ad spend and still get the results you want.

Don't ignore social media engagement

Engaging with your audience on social media is essential to building a strong online presence and cultivating a loyal customer base.

Here are some tips to remember when engaging on social media:

  • Respond promptly: It's critical to respond promptly to comments, messages and mentions on social media. This shows your audience that you're actively listening and interested in their opinions and feedback.

  • Be authentic: When communicating with your audience on social media, be authentic and genuine. Avoid pre-written responses or automated messages.

  • Engage in conversations: Don't wait for your audience to converse with you. Engage in relevant conversations and hashtags to build relationships with potential customers.

  • Provide value: When interacting with your audience on social media, provide value. This can be in the form of helpful tips, advice, or resources related to your business or industry.

  • Show your personality: Social media is a place where people expect to connect with others, not faceless businesses. So don't be afraid to show your personality and inject humor or personality into your posts and replies. This can help humanize your brand and make it more likable to your audience.

  • Build relationships: Social media engagement is about building relationships with your audience. Take the time to get to know your followers and show them that you value their posts and feedback.

Don't ignore negative feedback

Ignoring negative feedback can hurt your business in the long run. This is especially true on social media where an adverse comment can spread quickly and damage your brand's reputation.

There is a need to respond to negative feedback promptly and professionally. This is to show your audience that you care about their opinions and are committed to providing excellent customer service.

Below are some tips on how to handle negative feedback and turn it into an opportunity to improve your brand image:

  • Listen and understand: When you receive negative feedback, listen and understand the customer's concern. Acknowledge his/her frustration and show empathy for the situation. This helps de-escalate the situation and prevents further escalation.

  • Respond promptly and professionally: Once you understand the problem, respond promptly and professionally to the customer's feedback. Avoid defensive or accusatory language and focus on addressing the customer's concern.

  • Conduct the conversation offline: Sometimes a public response isn't appropriate, especially if the issue is sensitive and requires more personal attention. In such cases, it's better to take the conversation offline and resolve the issue via direct message or email.

  • Follow up and follow through After the issue has been resolved, it's worthwhile to follow up with the customer and make sure they're satisfied with the solution. This builds trust and shows your commitment to excellent customer service.

  • Learn from feedback: Negative feedback can be an opportunity to learn and improve your business. Use feedback to identify areas for improvement and make changes to avoid similar issues in the future.

By handling negative feedback professionally and using it as an opportunity to improve, you can turn a potentially damaging situation into a positive one. This will improve your brand's reputation.

Don't promise falsely

To ensure the effectiveness of your social media advertising in Kenya, it is essential to avoid making false promises or claims that you cannot fulfill. Instead, your ads should be honest, accurate, and transparent about the product or service you promote.

Here are some reasons to avoid false promises:

  • Damage to your business reputation: Making false promises can harm your business's reputation, resulting in negative reviews, decreased customer trust, and loss of business. To establish trust with your audience, it is crucial to be transparent and truthful about your product or service.

  • Violation of advertising laws and regulations: Advertising laws and regulations exist to protect consumers from misleading or deceptive advertising. Making false claims can lead to legal consequences, fines, and damage to your brand's reputation.

  • Customer dissatisfaction: If your product or service fails to deliver what was promised, customers will feel disappointed and may give negative feedback, which can harm your business's reputation. Unsatisfied customers are also less likely to return or recommend your business to others.

  • Unethical advertising practices: False advertisements are unethical and can damage trust between businesses and consumers. It is important, to be honest, and transparent about your product or service, so customers can make informed decisions.


Social media is a powerful tool for businesses in Kenya, and advertising on social media is a crucial component of digital marketing strategies. To create successful advertising campaigns that resonate with your target audience, it's vital to follow the dos and don'ts of social media advertising.

In addition, it's important to implement best practices. It's also imperative to keep up with the latest trends and continuously monitor and analyze your campaigns for optimal performance. With these strategies, you can achieve the results you want and maximize social media advertising.

Do you want supreme results from your social media efforts? Contact Tabala Digital Solutions for expert advice on social media advertising and other digital marketing services.

Tabala Digital team
Date: Mar 30 2023

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