The Importance of Local Activation on Social Media: West Africa/Nigeria

The Mindjumpers Network is still going strong. It’s our own ever-growing global network of Local Social Media Managers around the world who help us ensure contextually relevant content through social listening, content production or response management. The network is filled with talented people who possess great knowledge of social media in their local context and we would like to share some of their great insights with you. This very first post is written by Chinwe Obinwanne, Local Community Manager from Nigeria and part of the Mindjumpers Network.

 

Statistics show that Nigeria has over 60 million internet users; a huge leap from the 57.7 million users it had in 2014. A number that is estimated to almost double in the next five years.

I’m one of these users living in Nigeria and I’ll tell you how we use the internet socially to push a campaign here in Nigeria.

While we do a whole lot with and on the internet, we spend a good portion of our time on the social platforms. Social channels like Facebook, twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Youtube and some others come to mind as platforms that we use to make even the silliest thing go viral in a matter of minutes. All there needs to be is relevance. I’ll explain.

When we (Nigerians) deem something relevant, we make so much noise about it that even the deaf have no choice but to hear.

Things that interest us and engage us socially range from entertainment, football, politics, fashion, gossip, comedy to the downright unexplainable(s) such as reliving memories of the high school past ( as seen in the twitter trend #secschoolinnigeria or the woes of being a man in Nigeria (as made popular by the hashtag #beingamaninnigeria) to name a few.

Second to relevance, influencers play a key role in taking a campaign or cause viral. Take for instance the Nigerian 2015 elections; Nigerians needed a change and we along with social media influencers, utilized the one tool that we could all use irrespective of class or social status to get it; the tool was social media.

The social channels rose up to bridge the communication gap. The social media platforms gave a voice to every Nigerian.

Today, Nigeria is governed by the APC party. A victory that was achieved to a very large extent by the active campaign of young Nigerians on twitter.

 

Brands move in on the Nigerian social media

Smart brands listen and monitor moods and changes in the social sphere of their target regions before launching their products or services.

Doing this, especially while utilizing local social managers who are in these regions and swim in the ever-changing tides of situations, ensures that the brand is communicating to the people through the channels they use, in the voice and language they understand, through the people they listen to.

An example of this is in the recent successful viral Millionaires campaign by Peak Milk starring comedian-come-musician Falz and actor Igwe Tupac in Nigeria via Instagram, Youtube and Facebook. This campaign was a huge success because the brand keyed into our desire and love for humour. The same can be said of the Etisalat ad campaign featuring funny actor, Francis Odega.

Let’s take it to twitter for a moment where a United States company successfully pulled off a social campaign in Nigeria.

The hashtag #thingsilongthroat trended for several days in Nigeria. No one knew that it was a campaign by Pepsi to promote the launch of the 60cl bottle and endorsement of female artiste Seyi Shay. This time, they used their Nigerian celebrity ambassadors Seyi Shay, Wizkid and Tiwa Savage (Nigerian musicians) to introduce the trend on twitter. Blogs and online news websites published articles of the hashtag trend and it went viral like wild fire.

These brands understood the importance of using humor to pass a message in the voice and language (Pidgin English and slangs) we understood, using the people we love (The comedians and musicians) through the channels we communicate (Facebook, Instagram, twitter, Youtube).

 

 

Clickbait: Information overload! How can brands cut-through all the noise?

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 10.11.34You won’t believe the hidden message in this blog post! Or rather – there isn’t one, I just wanted you to click through and read this. But bear with me – I’m about to suggest something incredibly controversial – a never-heard-before admission by a social agency!*

As much as clickbait is the emotional catnip of our online experience and can drive consistent traffic for publishers like The Daily Mail and Huff Post who churn out multiple stories each day, it’s still hugely annoying to discover you’ve been duped by an over-excited headline promising to give you all the feels. For brands, adopting the same practice can negatively affect perception and ultimately – sales. So how can brands cut through all the sensational copy and deliver successful results without falling prey to creating clickbait themselves? How do they beat them rather than join them?

 

Platform crackdown

In the early days of social, Facebook optimised content based on engagement, meaning that if users clicked on a piece of content, it received a higher ranking in newsfeeds. In 2014 Facebook took steps to try and crack down on those gaming this ranking using clickbait, and in February this year it introduced an update based not just on what users engaged with in their feed, but what they wanted to see. Facebook’s advice is that Pages should avoid encouraging people to take action (such as encouraging lots of clicks), because this will likely only cause temporary spikes in metrics that might then be rebalanced by feed’s ranking over time – meaning the latest ranking favours content that users naturally engage with rather than content that users click on through coercion.

 

Last month Instagram followed suit and announced it would alter user’s feeds to optimise the content users “care about the most”, and Twitter has also adopted a similar change (although users can opt-out and revert back to the chronological feed). The changes will hopefully make it harder for clickbaiters to game feeds with meaningless content, but the real aim for the platforms hosting is to surface more engaging content more frequently so users return often and stay longer.

 

The same goes for brands on social. If the content they produce is consistently engaging, then users will interact more frequently, leading others to discover it through preferred ranking. Ultimately, these new newsfeed algorithms exist to generate more meaningful engagement, driving not just clicks, but conversations via comments, and shares.

 

Learn and adapt

Meaningful engagement begins with relevant content that creates value for the user and the brand. While an insight-driven content strategy is key to delivering this, brands should also adapt stories and messages based on the emotional needs and behavior of their audience. This is more than just a case of ‘test and learn’ or refining what has already been done. Brands must also evolve their approach in line with new behaviors, platforms, competitors and rankings or risk being left behind by those who do.

 

A good example of a brand that does this well is Buzzfeed, who’s CEO recently shared their new strategic thinking, revealing how their objective has changed from getting users to click through to their main site to view stories, to allowing content to be consumed directly on other platforms. The new direction was prompted by analysing which content generated clicks and discovering that users prefer to consume some types of content within the platform they are already on. The company also found a discernable difference between user interactions with the same content on different platforms, demonstrating how content demand and consumption vary across sites. What spreads like wildfire on Facebook might fail miserably elsewhere.

 

Relevance is key

For brands looking to use social content to drive click-through to their site, it’s important to balance the goal of the company (clicks to eyeballs, or conversions to sales, for example) with the desire and behavior of users on different sites, and monitor response over time. Relevance is key to interaction, and brands that think like publishers will know that relevance is an ever-changing chameleon. While users are bombarded with meaningless clickbait, there is ample opportunity for brands to channel the social zeitgeist by delivering valuable content that meets audience needs in the format, time and platform that suits them. If they get this right, they won’t need clickbait.

 

At Mindjumpers we help companies and brands to think as publishers and provide end-to-end social media management across multiple markets, encompassing full social strategy, planned and reactive content creation, analysis and reporting.

 

If you’d like to find out more please get in touch.

 

*Don’t be naughty and scroll to the last paragraph – I’ve hidden the controversial part somewhere to optimize your dwell time in finding it!