Leveraging social media to spur SMEs, enterprise growth | The Guardian Nigeria Information

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Past the unfold of pretend information and misinformation, which some social media platforms are related to, hundreds of thousands of lives and companies have been redefined positively by means of the instrumentality of social media and on-line providers.

In 2017, the Director-Basic of Small and Medium Enterprises Growth Company of Nigeria, SMEDAN, Dr. Umaru Radda, stated that just one out of 100 Nigerian graduates is employable, because of poor expertise and lack of entrepreneurial competence.

Radda, who spoke on the opening ceremony of the sensitisation for the Younger Enterprise House owners in Nigeria programme, at Amawbia, in Awka South Native Council of Anambra State, stated that the programme was initiated by SMEDAN as a means of addressing this problem.

Three years after the initiative was birthed, the extent to which the programme has succeeded in addressing the problem stays a topic of conjecture.
Be that as it could, the hovering unemployment figures have pressured 1000’s of Nigerian youths to take their destiny into their arms, and resort to social media, which a large number of them at the moment are utilizing as workplace/retailers with out partitions.

Not solely are they showcasing numerous expertise proper from the consolation of their houses, however they’re additionally deploying little capital to arrange their digital outfits, which generally, is a far cry from what they’d have spent hiring bodily constructions.

Other than the standard on-line sale of products and providers, these new breeds of entrepreneurs are additionally sustaining respectable existence as store house owners, model influencers, bloggers, and social media commentators simply to say just a few. Curiously, their tales are as diverse as their faces are.

As an example, Efemena Pleasure Laba’s journey is extremely inspiring. “I learnt the right way to make hair in 2006, whereas I used to be at residence ready for my admission into the college to sail by means of. It was my dad and I that determined that I ought to be taught a commerce, as an alternative of simply staying at residence all-day, all-night. I had barely learnt the ropes for six months earlier than I used to be admitted into the College of Benin. Consequently, I needed to lower brief the coaching to renew college.

“Nevertheless, earlier than I gained the admission, I had learnt sufficient to earn money from it. That was the explanation that I continued making fellow college students’ hair at a really low-cost price whereas within the hostel. In doing this, I didn’t solely earn money whereas in class but in addition continued mastering new expertise,” stated the graduate of plant biology and bio-technology.

She continued: “I graduated from college in 2011 with a BSc (second class decrease division), underwent the Nationwide Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme in Lagos State, the place I taught, and made corps’ members hair.”

Upon the completion of her nationwide service, Laba, in 2013 was employed by the Ministry of Science and Expertise, the place she labored on the native council degree. “I ended making hair to deal with my job, although the pay was very poor. Two years later, there was a large retrenchment of workers and I used to be amongst that cut-off.

“As a good friend of mine was getting married, she revealed plans to have interaction me as a stylist, and since I had ample time, I began studying extra expertise through Google, particularly the right way to type bridal hair, in addition to make-up artistry,” she stated.

In a bid to succeed in out to extra purchasers, Laba made her presence on social media platforms common. Now, she confesses that the singular gesture has been a giant blessing for her.

“Other than that outing being a very good one, the referrals that I maintain getting from folks that patronise me on social media has been fairly useful,” she stated, including, “I get most of my purchasers from Instagram as a result of I like showcasing photos of my works there, and when most individuals began complementing them, I made a decision to start out posting much more lovely photos of hairdos each Instagram and Fb. On these two platforms, I get extra prospects that pay effectively.”

Laba added: “Now, the social media is like my store, and certainly the platform from which I hyperlink up with my purchasers. Additionally, by means of social media, I’ve met and made hair for some celebrities, together with actresses and scriptwriters. I styled two scriptwriters’ hair for the final AMVCA Awards. Each of them obtained my contact by means of social media.”

Having step by step constructed her purchasers’ base on social media over time, Laba plans to get a digital store, which she intends to make use of as a coaching college principally. “Most of my purchasers desire cellular providers. So even when I get a store, I may not be on floor on a regular basis. However I’m not disposed to the thought of a bodily store in the intervening time. Possibly later.”

Mrs. Jewel Igoni, a materials dealer is one other on-line entrepreneur who has discovered succour on social media, making use of platforms like Fb, WhatsApp and Instagram to service her rising clientele and entice new patrons.

For Igoni, the resort to social media was a very simple choice to make, particularly because it was within the total curiosity of the household. Requested why she joined the bandwagon of on-line entrepreneurs, Igoni stated: “I embraced on-line advertising and marketing to have sufficient time to take correct care of our children until they’re impartial.”

She continued: “My husband is an worker who leaves residence very early within the morning solely to return at night time. As we have been simply beginning our household, he reasoned that if I rented a store, I’d spend a bigger a part of my time there, each day, and this might be to the detriment of our younger and far dependent youngsters.

“In response to him, a store away from residence would imply that our infants would certainly lack sufficient relaxation, correct hygiene and expertise stress as they could need to all the time snack on junks rather than correct lunch. Along with this, they’d additionally get residence from the store totally fagged out at night time, and doubtless sleep off earlier than dinner is prepared.

“It was in consideration of those and lots of different elements that we finally arrived at logging on, whereas I have to say is occurring easily,” Igoni stated.
Mrs. Elizabeth Mene, who operates Home of Rajj, had shoemaking as her childhood love. So, “as a baby, I’d take issues from my mother’s vogue home to beautify my footwear. And as I grew older, I turned a artistic designer for my mother for about eight years. However by the point I obtained to 200 Degree within the college, I made a decision to earn money out of it. That was how I ended up making some designs for some vogue occasions in class, which have been profitable, and that was how my enterprise – Home of Rajj began in class. As one which had a aptitude for enterprise, the second I realised that Nigerians overseas have been enthusiastic about ponmo (cow pores and skin), I additionally began exporting it. Alongside the road, I realised that the merchandise that I used to make my footwear have been of low high quality, so I began importing leather-based and a few elaborations from China. Then in 2010, I began importing totally different objects like women purses, garments, kitchen utensils, and many others.

“Whereas doing all these, I didn’t have any social media account, nor was I as a result of I used to be not a social media individual till a good friend informed me I might promote my merchandise on social media, which was simply Fb on the time. The prove was not so nice as a result of I didn’t know something about Google advert sense, or Fb promoting, and many others. However I later obtained used to tapping the advantages of social media. In addition to social media, I even have on-line shops on Konga and Jumia, which have additionally boosted my gross sales an excellent deal over time. To date, I’ve been in a position to obtain loads of gross sales by means of the instrumentality of social media and on-line advertising and marketing. I used to have a bodily store, which was demolished, however when it’s reconstructed, I hope to get one once more. However on-line advertising and marketing has helped me to go on like nothing occurred.”

Not way back, Diamond Financial institution earlier than its acquisition by Entry partnered with Fb to coach over 20, 000 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) within the nation to spice up their companies by means of on-line visibility.

The financial institution emphasised that with the over two billion individuals on Fb, the coaching would allow contributors to showcase their merchandise, in addition to get hyperlinks that will take their companies far and extensive.

On the first part of the coaching for SMEs, which commenced in Calabar, Cross River State with over 120 SME house owners in attendance, Nkem Okoro, an govt of the financial institution stated the outfit was leveraging on know-how to spice up SME companies that will give Diamond Financial institution’s prospects the platform to merge their enterprise with their Fb accounts.

He added that the coaching was in collaboration with SheLeads Africa, a consultant of Fb. He stated: “What we intend to realize is to actualise what we’ve got all the time promised them, monetary and non-financial transactions. This is likely one of the non-financial transactions and we all know that in the event that they succeed of their companies, it’s going to trickle right down to us, and on the finish of all of it, we’re certain it’s going to rub-off on their companies positively.”

One of many beneficiaries, Pastor Peace Ogar, stated: “I’ve learnt the right way to give my enterprise social media presence. I’ve additionally learnt the right way to create content material for my enterprise, and the right way to attain out to my viewers. Frankly, I’ve been utilizing Fb solely to put up photos and relate with mates, however by no means considered utilizing it to increase my enterprise, however right now, I’ve learnt the right way to attain my target market.”

Final month, Fb begun its #FBSuccessStory marketing campaign to highlight Nigerian entrepreneurs utilizing Fb, Instagram and WhatsApp to develop their companies.

The six-week promotion is to rejoice, encourage future entrepreneurs, in addition to spotlight instruments obtainable to them to scale up their ventures.Fb’s Head of Communications, Africa, Kezia Anim-Addo, whereas shedding mild on the initiative stated: “We’re pleased with the position that we’ve got in enabling SMBs to develop and scale. We all know that small companies are the cornerstone of economies and make vital contributions. This marketing campaign is a celebration of a few of these Nigerian SMBs making an affect, each in Nigeria and past.”

Working from November 18 to,
The mission, which started on November 18, and is predicted to finish on December 21, 2020, showcases 4 Nigerian entrepreneurs which have skilled development through the use of Fb’s choices to beat enterprise challenges, join to focus on audiences, and obtain successes in marketplaces.

The featured entrepreneurs are Tricia Ikponmwonba of TriciaBiz, Samiah Oyekan-Ahmed of The Reward Supply, Oluwatoyin Onigbanjo of Augustsecrets, and Gina Ehikodi-Ojo of Foodies and Spice.

Featured within the programme and commenting on Fb’s affect on her enterprise, Oyekan-Ahmed, a medical doctor-turned entrepreneur and founding father of The Reward Supply, acknowledged: “My enterprise skilled phenomenal development utilizing Fb, Instagram and WhatsApp. I used to be in a position to construct a formidable group on the platforms utilizing viewers insights, which helped me to ship significant messages to new and present prospects. Because of this development, I’ve been in a position to make use of extra individuals and ship extra gross sales.”

Ikponmwonba, founding father of Tricia Biz, a web-based coaching and academy platform in Lagos, has used Instagram to succeed in and information over 130, 000 small and medium scale companies in rising their backside strains in numerous industries worldwide.

Onigbanjo of Augustsecrets, is an award-winning youngster diet model within the nation that gives wholesome, handmade cereals and snacks for infants. And the founder fed over 30, 000 youngsters along with her merchandise inside the first 18 months.

The affect of social media is rising by the day. Other than being a social platform, an rising variety of companies at the moment are utilizing them to succeed in their purchasers in addition to win new ones leveraging on their potential as instruments for financial growth.

Made potential by the appearance of the Web, with social media platforms comparable to Fb and WhatsApp, SMEs can achieve entry to assets that have been in any other case not obtainable to them, improve their scope and worthiness, domesticate strategic partnerships, and improve their contact with prospects and suppliers.

Whereas researches have proven that the media play vital position in governance, financial and political growth, social media assist in creating particular communities, additional media growth in Nigeria, whereas many are thrilled by the potential of YouTube, which is threatening nationwide tv.

Past creating communities and teams the place members share widespread pursuits, keep linked, and interact in fruitful or consequential friendships which can be extremely interactive, social media has additionally proved to be a device for social activism, and a potent instrument for glowing, stirring and setting in movement social actions within the current instances.

Areas comparable to schooling, politics, faith, well being communication, and so forth have additionally skilled the superior energy of the social media, and that is seen of their dynamic civic engagement, which they create to bear, particularly in socio-political issues

A number of research have affirmed the varied makes use of of Fb, LinkedIn, and Twitter, however with the emergence of WhatsApp, new features of social media have additionally been thrown up. One in all such is their effectiveness in industrial transactions, whilst WhatsApp is believed to be essentially the most broadly used social media amongst youths in tertiary establishments.

Whereas this growth opens up alternatives for instructional publishers, world manufacturers and organisations have additionally grabbed alternatives supplied by social media to widen the frontiers of their advertising and marketing technique.

Indisputably, social media stays a strong device for participating prospects and followers in a dialog. It opens up two-way communication between enterprise and customers, connecting each events and offering methods of popularising much less acquainted manufacturers.

A telecoms professional, Kehinde Aluko, stated social media permits interplay, and by participating in dialog, “you’ll achieve publicity on social channels and improve credibility by getting your prospects to refer your model, or discuss their expertise along with your firm.”

Certainly, in a dynamic market atmosphere, distribution channels, advertising and marketing actions, diversification methods, and meals high quality are more and more vital.

Aluko, who stated that innovation in social networking media has revolutionised the world in 21st Century, added that social networking media current potential alternatives for brand new types of communication and commerce between entrepreneurs and customers.

“As advertisers usually wish to discover some methods to observe their goal audiences, many new media alternatives are introduced to advertisers. Communication by means of social networking media is extra specified, with an efficient interactive technique amongst its customers. In current days, Web promoting has taken new kinds, which have extra benefits over conventional mediums like print media, TV, and radio. Advertising and marketing communication is turning into exact, private, fascinating, interactive, and social.”

With an estimated inhabitants of over 200 million individuals, StatCounter, a worldwide statistics platform, knowledgeable that as of October 2020, Fb has 55.13 per cent penetration in Nigeria.

In response to it, Twitter has 22.01 per cent; Instagram 6.89 per cent; YouTube 4.Four per cent; Linkedin 0.23 per cent, and Pinterest 11.93 per cent. Aluko disclosed that there are over 90 million small companies on Fb, most of which generate essential promoting income for the platform.

He, who stated that Fb has all the time aimed to assist small companies defined: “Automated Adverts’ and appointments are simply two instruments it has beforehand created to assist small manufacturers succeed on the platform.

“Now, within the mild of COVID-19, Fb has launched the Enterprise Useful resource Hub to assist these affected by the pandemic. The free-to-access hub features a resilience toolkit, which has details about stopping enterprise disruptions, and a fast motion information to assist coordinate response actions,” he acknowledged.

Talking on how the social media has helped increase her enterprise, the Chief Government Officer, Zebelle Curls Pure, a pure hair care model, Religion Adetunji, affirmed that the social media has helped her model lots, describing it as the brand new phrase of the mouth advertising and marketing, the place purchasers are wanting to see what it’s important to provide.

Adetunji stated she makes use of Instagram extra, “however numerous gross sales come from Fb; about 80 per cent. In a month, I make about 30 to 50 per cent of gross sales, with added advertising and marketing from Fb, WhatsApp, and Google advert. It might be extra, however that is topic to a much bigger finances for advertising and marketing.”

In response to her, social media platforms have helped in spreading the model and different merchandise to potential prospects, even overseas. “We reside in a picture and video-crazy digital world, the place individuals wish to see the options of a product. Social media has made this very simple.”

Talking with The Guardian, the rapid previous president, Affiliation of Telecommunications Firms of Nigeria (ATCON), Olusola Teniola, described the affect of social media SMEs as blended.

Basically, Teniola stated social media, for the reason that creation and recognition of Fb, has been a platform used principally for leisure, infotainment, and connecting with household and mates.

He stated when it comes to SMEs productiveness, social media platforms and others prefer it have been used for promoting and advertising and marketing functions that enhances the standard market communications retailers.

Teniola, an engineer, nonetheless, famous that in relation to shifting merchandise and creating progressive options that tackle established enterprise issues, social media hasn’t solved, or improved on what has existed over many a long time.

In response to him, the World Vast Internet (www) has been a greater platform for fixing the various points that companies face, and particularly different progressive options exterior social media platforms which have primarily been used as an extension to advertising and marketing efforts. He harassed that SMEs ought to heed social media limits and underlying constraints.

On presents obtainable to digital entrepreneurs, Teniola stated social media platforms present instruments that help SMEs or digital entrepreneurs to quickly construct their companies on-line. Nevertheless, these are simply instruments in the entire scheme of doing enterprise.

In response to him, what’s extra vital is what precisely is the service, or product that the enterprise is providing to the patron? He identified that the Web expands what the social media platform can provide to these digital entrepreneurs, who’re more proficient at navigating the Web and may handle entry to realize a first-mover benefit, as an illustration.

The previous ATCON boss enumerated the downsides of doing enterprise on the Web to incorporate problem in constructing belief as a result of cyber threats and the presence of the darkish aspect of the Web because it displays society.

He stated the Web is great at transmitting info and speaking utilizing digital know-how. “Nevertheless, belief in cost techniques, logistics, and complicated processes are extensions of the Web that require way more management and a degree of digital literacy within the society to be helpful,” he added.

On potential regulation of social media, Teniola stated it’s not potential to manage . He stated utilizing synthetic intelligence and different analytic instruments could help in educating and filtering sure items of knowledge, or info. Nevertheless, the content material will also be accessed through different means, or pushed onto the darkish aspect of the net, which is then out of the attain of these even trying to manage the knowledge move on the platform. “A really troublesome factor to realize within the extra superior elements of the world the place the Web is closely used,” he acknowledged.

On the right way to make the net area higher and stronger, particularly for our “sleeping economic system,” Teniola stated the federal government can deal with digital expertise acquisition and digital coaching alongside instructional curricula in Science, Expertise, Engineering and Arithmetic (STEM) at a really early stage of studying.

OMG is continually cementing what Social-First means, the way it positively transforms society over the long-term and most significantly, it have to be the industrial mannequin companies convert to. The ethics we reside by, form our values and tradition. We’ve got made nice strides due to the assist we obtain from the general public.



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