The recently concluded Social Media Week in Lagos, showed that Nigeria can get a lot of things right.
The planning of the showpiece, was world class and exemplified the innovation social media has brought into businesses.
Apparently as a mark of patriotism and respect for the country’s culture seats at the event were beautifully decorated with Ankara.
Once in the hall, the fun began with beeps on your mobile devices, notifying free Wi-Fi access, provided by Nigeria’s pioneer undersea broadband cable investor, Mainone. As such, social media geeks, young tech-preneurs and teeming smart phone freaks were noticeably having a fun-filled day.
Besides this, the SMW was also a learning ground as every session provided an opportunity for small and medium enterprises, SMEs, young innovators, tech-preneurs, millennials, large corporate bodies, among others, to leverage their businesses using social media tools.
The organisers designed the show to provide test cases of people who have grown their businesses with the help of social media. In all the sessions, successful businesses shared real life stories of how they made it. They all admonished budding enterprises to look the way of social media for fast business growth.
Perhaps the most trending technology in social media now, is Vlogging. No doubt it took centre stage at the event. Vloggers are Online video content creators. Discussions at the event revealed that Vloggers make as much as $50,000 dollars a month, making the trade a multimillion dollar venture.
Being a successful Vlogger
During YouTube’s session on promoting businesses and making money via the platform, Dinma Umeh, a beauty and lifestyle Vlogger said she makes all her money on YouTube, as she advised youths to; “Make short videos that relate to something you love, probably a hobby, which the average person can relate to. Nigerianise your content, beauty, lifestyle and inspirational videos attract views a lot.
“I am a full-time content creator on YouTube and thanks to the new version of ad sense, I make all my money on the platform. Hence, young people, businesses and brands can make money via contents that appeal to followers and consumers. Thanks to technology and social media, people can make money doing what they love, the economy will also be better off for it. The key is to seek to educate, add value as well as entertain. Pay attention to analytics to know how to grow and make money.”
Innovation capital of Africa
For instance, a session by Lagos State Government, through its Lagos Innovate initiative, tagged, Destination Next: Making Lagos the Innovation Capital of Africa, revealed plans to create more wealth for start-ups in the state by upscaling innovation infrastructure.
The state said, with this, more foreign innovators would be attracted and more partnerships which would result into more money, would be struck. “Lagos Innovate was set up to create employment and create wealth across the state, giving out loans to about 6,000 businesses at 5 per cent interest rate. We are here to support the start-up ecosystem in Lagos by enabling innovators to grow. We are also giving out discounted access to work spaces.
“What we launched today is designed to support innovation-driven enterprises, tech start-ups that will not require the kind of loans that traditional businesses require, their needs are unique. But it is also in recognition of the fact that we are not just supporting businesses of today, we are supporting enterprises of tomorrow. We are ensuring that Lagos remains competitive in the next 20, 30 or 40 years, which is what any responsible government should do,” said Akintunde Oyebode, Executive Secretary, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund.
On digitizing government, Toba Otusanya, director-general and chief executive officer of the Office of Transformation, Creativity and Innovation disclosed; “Lagos State has Citizen Gate, a platform to bring governance closer to the people. The app is downloadable and is for enquires, commendations and complaints on the platform about government agencies. This is one of the ways government is keying into innovation.
“On digital literacy for civil servants, government is trying to catch up with the private sector so we are training staff to use e-governance solutions. The Citizen Gate platform is in the pilot phase with 22 agencies on board but the final launch will be in April and will feature 92 agencies.”
Future of financial services
On the future of financial services meeting the finance needs of millennials, Ibifuro Adiafi, Innovation Manager, Stabic IBTC Group, during the Stanbic IBTC master class, said the bank is putting customers first by categorising their needs digitally. “The way forward is tailoring services to individual needs, banking for us, is no longer one size fits all. Stanbic is equipped for behavioural change in the digital future.”
On his part, Ademola Adesina, Digital Marketing Manager, Stanbic, stated how the bank is employing technology to keep in touch with what customers want with digital technology: “We already have access and have incorporated technology, Artificial Intelligence, into our system to drive future banking. We are also rapidly moving away from brick and mortar branches. We have solutions for SMEs, essentially, we stand by our customers at every stage of their financial life.”
Educating attendant millennials on investment opportunities, Eloho Onwah, Investment Management, Stanbic said; “Stocks can be invested in. Bringing individuals that have the same financial goals or investment objectives together, is mutual funds, you can invest your savings in that. Money market funds usually require a minimum amount a month, it can be withdrawn anytime. It is relatively risk- free. Treasury bills, on the other hand, is government borrowing from the people, so are bonds. They pay based on current inflation so you do not lose. One way to key into treasury bills as an individual is through mutual funds.”
On the Stanbic Youth Leadership Series, Adesina continued; “We have identified the need to partner with those that develop youths, as well as motivational and inspirational activities. We are connecting with millennials on social media because we want to meet their needs, providing homes and empowerment.”
Unlimited free connectivity
On connectivity, for the third consecutive year, West Africa’s leading connectivity and data center solutions company, MainOne, provided internet connectivity to participants as the exclusive technology partner.
The partnership which was targeted at delivering value to the organisers and event guests, saw MainOne design and install an advanced managed Wi-Fi solution at the event venue, providing up to 1Gbps data capacity unhindered and free to users throughout the facility and for dedicated livestreaming of the event.
Speaking at the sidelines of the event, Head of Marketing at MainOne, Tayo Ashiru described the event as an industry platform to help people and businesses connect and share trends, ideas and inspiration focused on improving better efficiency in a hyper-connected world. “The company’s continuous support for SMW Lagos, underscores our belief that with the right connection, businesses can be catalyzed and industries transformed with huge benefits for the economy.”
Attendees at the event leveraged MainOne’s unlimited access to the Internet during the event and took advantage of the opportunity to freely browse the Internet and engage on social media platforms. The organizsers of the event also used the unlimited capacity to provide live streaming to thousands of participants not physically present at the event.
At Piggybank.ng’s session on Millennial and Money with the topic: Savings, finance and planning around money, Arese Ugwu, author of Smart Money Woman condemned Africa’s money culture thus; “We erroneously measure financial success by what we are able to make and spend, instead of how much we are able to keep and grow. However, not knowing why you are saving or not setting goals for saving, will result in wasting the money after you have succeeded in saving. Tag your savings; X amount = health, X amount = rent, X amount = clothes, X amount = fees and so on. Don’t save money to spend, save money to build wealth. Hence, make a budget. Budget is not about self deprivation but about allotting resources.”
Investing is not magic
Arase advised; “Ensure you do not create frivolous needs. Have money goals so that you spend intentionally not on impulse. Be disciplined enough to stand by your choices. Investing is not magic, avoid money doubling schemes; bit coin, crypto currency, multi level marketing, particularly if you do not understand them thoroughly. No matter how much you want to grow wealth, invest only disposable income, do not invest your rent or school fees.
“Change your money mentality. Do not see money in your account as a means to chase status symbols; flashy cars, as opposed to a model you can actually maintain, accessories or clothes that mostly celebrities wear. Build assets that can pay for your lifestyle. Divide unexpected income, gifts or bonuses, into savings and payment of bills; do not go on a spending spree. Know that how you spend N10 will determine how you spend 10 million.”
Chijioke Dozie, founder, Paylater.ng was particular about prioritising what money is to be spent on; “Don’t borrow money for flexing. Young people need to manage money and decide what is really important. Start saving, even N1,000 a month goes a long way, with time you learn to enjoy it. Saving is great but it is best to mix it with investment. For instance, buy shares, buy bonds. Ensure you build wealth so you are prepared for the long-term.”
Surviving in the digital future
For Microsoft, Digital Transformation: Does your business have what it takes to survive in the digital age?, was discussed and Akin Banuso, General Manager, Microsoft Nigeria, who implored: “The problem with Nigeria is that we stopped innovating since the advent of crude oil, we could afford to import everything we desired. As it stands, any industry can be digitally disrupted, it is simply about adding value to life. The biggest innovation segment is Internet of Things, IoT, and young innovators, as well as start-ups, can key into this. For instance, aspects of government can be digitized, that is taking segments and digitizing it.”
Just as Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu of Tony Elumelu Foundation advised businesses thus; “Don’t be a victim of disruption, adapt to changing times and use it to grow your business. The mantra for today is innovation. If the new idea, product or method betters the way people do things then it is an innovation.”
During Beat 99.9 fm’s session on how radio and TV personalities influence people on social media, panellists called for presenters to watch what they post as they determine what their followers post on social media.
However, social media and innovations are making it easier for artistes to reach fans, get feedback and meet their needs.
Beat fm also called for the public figures to post responsibly as it affects youths who are constantly on social media.
INEC, technology for elections
At INEC’s Citizens, Government and Technology session, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, via Skype from Abuja, said the Commission will consolidate on the success of the last general elections and rely greatly on the strength of technology to deliver on 2019 elections, as well as for the two gubernatorial elections in Ekiti and Osun in July and September respectively.
According to him, the Commission has studied all the complaints from the field and has set to task to ensure a hitch-free election. “INEC is fixing the card readers and has started training staff. We are going to enhance the functionality of all the equipment to be deployed for the election. The hallmark of the current process is to ensure the use of technology to protect the integrity of the elections.
While calling on Nigerians to register and get their PVCs, Yakubu said; “The updated voters’ register will be displayed between March 26 and 31 to allow citizens check and note any discrepancies in the list, as well as ensure that those that are not eligible to vote are removed. So far, last Friday, 108 applications have been processed for political parties to add to the 68 registered as at December.
Commenting on the issue of underage voting in Kano, Yakubu said; “These are elections that are not the legal and constitutional responsibilities of INEC. There are legal entities that conduct local and government elections in the country. However, an eight man panel has been set up to investigate the matter and I assure you that we shall address all issues concerning the election.”
The Social Media Week Lagos is Africa’s largest tech and digital media event and usually convenes business leaders, global thinkers, entrepreneurs, Fintech firms, and media entrepreneurs.