17 May 2010 47 Comments

Social media and Nigeria’s market/brands

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communications & Media specialist, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps Profits and Non-profits with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa) and Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals

social mediaWhen it all started, very few people gave this baby, new trend a chance of survival. There were one thousand and one reasons why people thought it could not survive. The low level of infrastructure, cost of access to Internet was not within the reach of average person on the street. But few of us saw the possibilities of universally connected people, communities and brands that shared opinions and exchanged pleasantries as friends.

 After five years of sticking to it and advocating the possibility of a new world where the voices of the voiceless, so called underdogs who could not afford the cost of putting their opinions on the pages of the regular media now have a new found love, opportunities in the social media platforms. The advent of social media is premised on the need to communicate, share opinion in an environment that encourages cordiality and relationship building.

 Aside from the major platforms like facebook, home-grown platform like Nairaland is becoming a strong platform for bonding with different sections created for auto sales and expression of opinions on various national issues. Over the years, the dynamics of social media appreciation is changing. The level of awareness is increasing especially since the beginning of the year. As our  nation gradually moves towards developing strategy that will move us out of the recession, brand custodians are looking out for ways to cut cost and their eyeballs seem to be strolling towards social media.

 Though what we noticed is that many are yet to take a decisive action in learning the rudiments or establishing social media position in their organizations. While we keep up the advocacy, there seems to be encouraging news that there is a silent crave to know more among the youths and middle age people. At least, the acquisition rate of Nigerians into facebook is presently put at ten thousand every two days. If that continues, we will have millions online in the next few months. This is a great opportunity for brands that know what to do. They may need to learn as much as they can to take advantage of the vast potentials. At the beginning of rebranding exercise led by Prof. Akunyili, I noticed they were not using social media and I have once discussed that on this platform. After an intimate discussion with one of the technocrats invited to craft the rebranding document, I learnt  that it was part of what was submitted but never executed.

 When there is a will there is a way, we woke up this morning with a newspaper report that the President- Dr Goodluck Jonathan promised to open a facebook account to reach Nigerian youths, and it will be a channel to get feedback on electoral reform that is ongoing. That is breakthrough. At least it has started to gain national recognition, awareness and application. It is our prayer that right people will be given right assignment. At our own level, we have noticed the demand for more knowledge on social media surged after our national conference on social media and brand positioning in February 2010. Even though we have also stepped up advocacy in reaching more professionals and individuals as we have the capacity. I have enjoyed various forms of interviews from regular media and we just hope this will continue in the months to come.

 One of the challenges I have also noticed is the fears associated with social media. Many still believe it exposes people to a lot of risk, wastes management time (because of its addictive nature), but all these could be put in proper shape when objective is defined and standards are set in place. One of the greatest challenges to social media application in Nigeria is lack of verifiable data that will support decision making process on whether to use them or not to. I was at a television programme last Saturday where the anchor was insinuating we have two million members on Facebook. As far as we are concerned that is a controversial figure, what we are working with presently as professionals is one million two hundred. So if experts do not agree on figures, how can we convince clients? That is why we are working on having a verifiable data that can help decision making process for users. Around the world, people, management and decision makers have access to such data. This project will be packaged in E-book form and free of download for anyone around the world. This project is opened to sponsorship to any corporate organization that wants to take the advantage of visibility, brand awareness, equity that is often associated with such publications.


 To enhance our community’s knowledge on social media and how it affects business goal, we are planning  a day intensive seminar with the title: Social media and business goal’. It hopes to expose practical, useful ways of using social media to personal and corporate advantage. The facilitators are seasoned experts who have gained varied experience. Dayo Adefila(Head, Strategy and planning at Insight Grey) is an experienced creative , Brand, digital marketing and communication expert; Azubuike ishiekwene , a former director in punch Newspaper will be speaking on finding the confluence between regular and social media for business goal, kingsley Obom- Egbulem-CCO of HCDI and Serenade communications will help to expose trends in corporate communications, marketing while i will also be speaking on other issues. This event comes up June 15, 2010 and cost only twenty five thousand to participate.

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