Instagram, just like other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat has for the last few years become popular as more youth own smart phones and continuously post photos of themselves and their friends.
Instagram started on December 6 and is estimated to register 800 million users monthly. The most followed Instagram account belongs to a 25-year-old Pop singer, producer and actress Selena Gomez. She boasts of 138 million followers and only follows 36 people.
Selena Gomez is followed by Real Madrid and Portugal football player Cristiano Ronaldo. The 5-time World Football Player of the year has 132 million followers and follows 396 accounts.
Both of these stars also make a lot of money off their rich following. Ronaldo earns a staggering £308,000 per Instagram photo, approximately Rwf344 million.
Selena Gomez reportedly gets 200,000 new followers each day, Selena's brand is becoming supernatural force of sorts.
An estimate from D'Marie claimed in July 2016 that a single post Selena shares across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are worth $550,000 (up from her $250,000 per post).
Corporate Companies pay these celebrities to wear or use their products or tag a brand on their instagram accounts. Some companies send free products to influencers, in the hope that he or she will feature the products in a post.
Here’s in Rwanda, just as it is everywhere, the key to getting brand sponsorships is having a lot of followers.
Worldwide, the standard looks to be the same. Agencies that connects brands with Instagram influencers, usually doesn’t choose accounts that have fewer than 10 thousand followers.
Sunday Times’ Athan Tashobya looks at the Rwandan singers with the biggest following on Instagram and how they use it to promote brands and their work.
With 234k followers, the US based R&B maestro is the most followed artist in Rwanda. Each of his posts averages 10,000 views. Just like many other fellow Rwandan artists, most of Meddy’s Instagram posts are about the videos shared by his fans while singing some of his songs.
Apart from some photos endorsing his Airtel partnership deal and Mutzig concert, the rest are personal photos. There are a couple of other posts seen promoting fellow local and regional artists.
Despite coming second, the US-based Rwanda singer is the only artist with a verified Instagram account. He boasts of 223k followers and most of his 996 posts are videos of his fans, singing and dancing to his songs, promoting songs and concerts of fellow local and regional artists.
The Ben is brand ambassador for Belaire French wine. His posts average about 10,000 views and likes.
The ‘Ko Nashize’ hit maker is the best female singer in the country and it is no wonder that she commands the biggest following on instragram among female singers. Knowless is married to popular music promoter and producer Clement Ishimwe.
Butera is a brand ambassador for iTel mobile phones. She mostly posts about her music, those of her colleagues, fans and family photos and videos of her family.
The London based Afro pop singer has been on and off the music scene in the recent past after returning back to school but he still commands respect among his peers and fans in Rwanda for his hit singles and collabos released before 2012.
Kitoko mainly engages his Instagram followers with his work, life and support to fellow artists.
Singer Thomas Muyombo aka Tom Close is a practicing doctor and author. He is regarded as a veteran of R&B in Rwanda.
Although he is not as active as he was in the past on the music scene, Tom still commands a relatively huge social media following especially on Instagram with 145k followers.
The father of two is also into charity and recently donated 300 children’s books to Kigali Public Library. The donation is part of the singer’s campaign to promote a reading culture in the country.
The ever-green Tom Close is an author of about 80 children’s books, and boasts of five music albums.
Most of his post is about his music career, his wife and children plus promotional materials of his friends and colleagues.
He’s also the Brand Ambassador of BPR Bank.
He’s not short of controversies especially after quitting popular music group Urban boys to start a solo career after 10 years together but there is no doubt that Madiba is one of the most talented singers in the country.
He recently started Mane Records music label with his cousin singer Queen Cha and friend Marina.
He is the sixth most followed artist in Rwanda with 138k followers. Most of his 1856 posts are about his music, videos of his fans singing and dancing to his songs and his social life.
He rose to fame in 2012 with “Uwo munsi” during his last year in High School and Christopher Muneza has since become a household name.
Equally, Christopher has attracted a growing following on Instagram. Just like his colleagues, he continues to post videos of his fans dancing and singing to his songs, his work and personal posts.
Bruce Melodie is undoubtedly Rwanda’s most talented vocalist, singer and songwriter.
The ‘Ndi Mukinya’ hit maker has won many hearts with his compositions and recently became the first Rwandan artist to take part in the Nairobi based Coke Studio Africa 2017.
As a result he has expanded his fan base from Rwanda to Kenya and other parts of Africa.
With 123k followers on Instagram, Bruce is growing strong and continues to share his work and that of his colleagues particularly his recent collaboration hit Nta Kibazo with local rapper Riderman and Urban Boys.
Yvan Burabyo alias Yvan Buravan closes the life of the top 10 most followed singers on Instagram.
The young singer mostly posts about his music work, videos on his fans singing and dancing to his rumba style of music and personal posts.
The 27-year-old singer, real names Yvonne Mujyemana, started her music career in 2010 with support from her cousin Safi Madiba, who was a then member of the Urban Boys, before rapper Riderman signed her to his record company, Ibisumizi Studio. She enjoys a wide fan base, seen from some of her reposts on instagram.
Grace Abayizera, known by the stage name Young Grace, is one of the few female rappers in the country and in an effort to cultivate a huge fan base, Grace has recorded collabos with other popular Rwandan musicians, including Jay Polly and Knowless among others.
The artiste has been on the music scene for slightly over eight years and is a common face at the annual music competition Primus Guma Guma Superstar, which has also contributed to her fame.
Platini Nemeye is a member of the music duo, Dream Boys, an R&B group created in 2009. They won the Primus Guma Guma Super Star Season 7 last year and are managed under the Kina Music music label but compose their own songs, which are produced in Uganda and Rwanda. Even though the singer rarely posts, he commands a wide fan base and followers.
Rickie Rukabuza, commonly known as DJ Pius, in 2016 decided to embark on a solo career after splitting with Innocent Aidan Tumaini aka Tkay with whom he created Two 4 Real in 2009.
He quickly gained fame, in Rwanda and Uganda after he released his collabo, 'Agatako' with Ugandan musician Jose Chameleon.
The singer continues to gain popularity from both countries given his ability to sing in different languages. His instagram posts are both music related and personal.
Charly and Nina
Born Charlotte Rulinda and Fatuma Nina Umuhoza respectively, the dynamic duo first met in 2010 during a music gig as backup singers. Within six years however, the singers have been able to dominate the country’s music scene.
Despite recently parting ways with their long-time manager Alex Muyoboke, the Zahabu singers have been hard at work, securing performance contracts both from the region and internationally, such as Rwanda Connect, an annual musical event that happens in Uganda and their music tour in Europe, which they aggressively market on their Instagram posts.
They have also collaborated with regional artistes including Burundian singer Big Faizzo, with their Indoro hit, Bebe cool with I do and Uganda's Geosteady with Owooma, which all enjoy massive airplay regionally.
It was after Alpha Rwirangira won the East Africa Tusker Project Fame, in 2009 that his professional music career began. This followed collabos with Tanzanian A.Y on a song called Songa Mbele, and Bebe Cool’s Come To Me song that both enjoyed massive airplay regionally.
The singer and song writer later moved to the United States in 2012 to attend Campbellsville University, in Kentucky to pursue his music studies. While there, he has released a couple of songs including Yamungu, Yes, and Merci that have received wide airplay back home. Many of his fans have taken to instagram to sing to their favorite songs, which the singer in return re posts.
The singer-cum radio presenter, real names Austin Luwano is an African Dancehall and Afrobeat who began singing professionally in July 2009.
As an artiste, his persona is that of a Lover boy, that is madly in love with the ladies and is always coining new slang terms with which to serenade them. While on radio, he eases into his comical side. Perhaps his two different sides is what has garnered him a wide fan base.
Further reporting by Sharon Kantengwa.