Brand Building and Social Media Strategies: 2011 Nigerian PresidentialElections Candidates.Social media was a major “buzz word” in 2008 in many parts of the world. Nigeria was notmuch left out as Facebook alone records at least 1,718,000 Nigerian members. Nigeriansdefinitely love to talk, express opinions and live the community life anywhere they go, andthis is very obvious in the various conversations carried out online by Nigerians acrossvarious nations. Social media marketing has even become another important term inmarketing and it seems this strategy is present in every marketing campaign.Based on recent research carried out by myself and researchers in other countries, socialmedia is mostly used for socializing and communicating with already existing relationshipsor with people based of similar interests or occupations. It is therefore not uncommon forsomeone who likes to watch CNN but has no time to watch as before to “like” CNN onFacebook and subscribe to updates from CNN. It is in this same way that one wouldbecome a fan of The Simpsons on Facebook, “like” my friend’s well written note orcomment on a beautiful picture.The countdown towards the 2011 presidential elections was quite sudden with aspirantsspringing up from everywhere with very eventful declarations. Most sudden were thevarious images, profiles and “conversations carried out by these aspirants on various socialmedia platforms. Funny enough, until now, only one or two candidates had ever beenknown with a profile on any social media platform. Their presence on these media might bea strategy to reach the youthful demographic. This is not a bad suggestion in 2010. But itraises many questions.The average Nigerian youth is on the streets looking for jobs or trying to put his/her ideastogether to start a small business. These youths make out time and money to use theseforms of technology amidst various challenges such as erratic power supply, hunger, jobsearch, ASUU strikes and difficulties which they have come to accept as basic. Some haveeven gone ahead to create innovative applications through these technologies. While theseyoung men and women have been struggling to be at par with their counterparts in othercountries, how many of these candidates have carried out any conversations with them?How many of these young people have been supported, appreciated or even encouragedby these candidates? It takes the same young people to support themselves with programssuch as the future awards.
Any young person in their twenties can identify with Milo, coca-cola, and many products thatwere available for us as we grew up. We are likely to “like” these brands on Facebook oreven carry out conversations with them because we recognize their roles in our growth.Many of us cannot even name one project that many of these candidates have carried outand how it affects us. We do not have an idea of what they plan to do to create more jobopportunities, better business environment, better health care or even basic education. Wewould really love to listen to them. But they have let us down too many times and the socialmedia platforms are not going to make the messages and promises come true. Every socialmedia campaign (like any marketing campaign requires consistency).The lesson for brand builders: build your brand’s quality before attempting to sell. Do nottake your audience for granted. The conversation between you and your audience startsbefore you speak. Most people have “Googled” you before actually meeting you. There areno more passive audiences. Walk the talk, because people are watching and the nextreview might come out before you even release your product.Follow me on twitter @MANmediaMadaboutnewmedia.blogspot.com