Idris Okuneye (Bobrisky) Socialite, Ambassador to Hairnymph
Toke Makinwa (Presenter Radio/Tv, Vlogger, Best Selling Author of “On Becoming”), Brand Ambassador to Ciroc
Laura Ikeji Kanu (Fashion Entrepreneur,Owner & Director of Laura Ikeji Store, Ambassador to Ohram Tea)
I know that this topic will cause a lot of people to swear for me but hey! what you’re about to read will teach you a lot of sense if you’re an entrepreneur or aspiring to be one. And to the ladies I’m using as case studies, come and pay me for free publicity o! Lol. Just kidding (how typically Nigerian of me to add “o!” at the end of that statement). Anyways, serious mode activated now.
I particularly chose these three people because, they have one particular thing in common. They get a regular dose of insults from Instagram trolls, they are continuously referred to as fake wanna be’s, too ratchet/ local and people complain about them giving out too much information about their private lives thereby making everything about them public. But I’m not concerned with such opinions about them just as they are less concerned. My focus on this post will be on their business strategies on Instagram.
The first thing we need to understand is how Instagram works. Instagram is one of the many social media platforms that works literally with the power of visuals; that’s pictures/videos. Facebook operates almost like Instagram but the difference is that, Instagram is built like a photo album so that user’s profile can be seen together with the outlook of their page. So; say for instance, you upload an aesthetically pleasing photo/ an interesting video, backed up with a bomb caption that hits the nail on the head rather than beat about the bush, coupled with the right tags to increase your reach of audience. If consistently done, even without boosting a post, there’ll be an automatic increase in followers, likes, re-posts, and the rise of a fan base that could become paying clients or conversions who’ll take it upon themselves to spread the word about your product or service.
Take Toke Makinwa for instance. I used to feel that she was simply a hopeless self lover (which isn’t really a bad thing if you ask me though) but then, I attended the She Leads Africa event held at the Railway Shed in Lagos, January this year and from all the things she said during the Q/A session with her friend, Smart Money Arese, I held on to this one.
“I usually laugh hard when people call me names like “notice me” and all sorts. What they don’t know is that, I am actually sending messages to top brands out there that, hey! I’m available to become your ambassador. That’t why whatever I wear something that’s beautiful, I put it up on Instagram, when I’m air borne, I put it up on Instagram to showcase my travel style. That way, I’m speaking to brands like Prada, Dolce & Gabana, top airlines etc. And thanks to God, it’s working! I’m effectively selling myself and I won’t stop until I’m in everybody’s face and they start hitting me up for business deals.”
I hope you all know that as a result of her consistency in utilizing that platform,she’s become a brand of her own and to several others including notable brands such as Payporte and Ciroc, over time. You might want to argue that her celebrity status pushed her up but please have a rethink.
Look at Laura Ikeji. Is there any name she hasn’t been called on her Instagram page? She’s been called all sorts especially the popular one that she’s riding on the wings of her blogger sister’s success. But, here’s a fact. Laura Ikeji Kanu is now very successful with her clothes business. She’s soon to unveil her own Jeans line which is already undergoing production. What trips me about her publicity strategy is that, she has identified what thrills her followers and her fans about her page and thus, to keep them engaged and interested in her wares, she entertains them with a lot of dance videos and pictures of her modelling her wares. In the process, she gives them style tips and options to grow an affordable closet.
This particular caption she made on one of her posts totally makes a lot of sense.
“Dear Entrepreneurs on Instagram, listen! Being classy doesn’t necessarily help sell anything on Instagram. See, if you have something to sell on here and you are unknown, darling be as loud as possible. Classy sellers have clients that are friends and family. If you don’t have rich friends and family, be LOUD! shout, dance, annoy, do whatever to get people’s attention, drag them to your page so they can see your products. By the way, not all classy people are rich, some of them don’t have SHIN GBAIN! All they have are invites to events in Lagos. Nothing more. Be wise”
To tell the truth, call her loud or ratchet or whatever but this caption is one of the best business advise I had ever come across in a long while. Some busy bodies even went ahead to slam her on her page as usual saying that being loud doesn’t work for everybody. Honey, loudness means so many things in business and in her context, I think it means “ANNOUNCEMENT”.Announce your trade and see it grow. Laura isn’t just successful as a business woman; she’s also brand ambassador to some brands as well. Way to go Laura!
“Now, when I say Oshey, you say Barrrdest!” I guess we already know whose slogan that is. Lol. Bobrisky is another Instagram Queen (don’t even think about contesting that with me cos I can’t deal) who’s been making waves. For me, I’m not really particular about his gender but what fascinates me about s/he is his calculated manipulation of Instagram to building himself as a brand, selling his Bob’s Whitening Creme and also staying relevant. Idris Okuneye knows that Nigerians frown at the kind of lifestyle he poses to live and thus goes ahead to capitalize on their emotion and the attention given, to create and grow a fan base. He uses tactics like providing rumors about him wanting to get a boob and ass job, a false engagement announcement to his imaginary bae and controversial videos of him dancing or goofing around as well as sexy, girly photos of himself all made up.
Some people see his lifestyle as a taboo and highly controversial however, I’m going to say this as a communicator. Bobrisky has succeded in not only utilizing the power of visuals strongly on Instagram, he has also succeeded in using “NOISE” as a powerful tool to his own advantage. Before now, who knew about him? I bet nobody did but now, he’s all over the place.
His noise has made him influential and successful to an extent and whether we like it or yes, there are brands that will still identify with s/he because, every market has it’s own audience and sales are made everyday at a per second billing rate. So, there are existing brands that will need his fan base to thrive in their own industry. It’s more like rub my back and I rub yours in the Nigerian context.
Point being made
This post is not out to encourage anyone to act like anyone or to become a brand ambassador by force. You are already a brand of your own self. As an entrepreneur or an aspiring one, try to listen to what’s not said than the numerous things being said. A lot of people have judged and castigated these people about their lifestyle on Instagram and even SnapChat but, they’re still holding their own and their business is booming.
The deal is, social media has evolved beyond the point of simply connecting with old or lost friends. It is now one of the greatest marketing tools if used the right way, to carve a niche for yourself and your business. Companies, organisations and brands actually pay millions to social media strategists to build an online presence for them so as to resonate around the world, engage their audience as well as staying relevant in their industries. So, how about you who’s still aspiring and struggling, who can’t afford such expenses on promoting your product or service? Remember, Social media has come to stay so, utilize it while you can.
Learn from the gurus. Don’t focus on their personal issues cos their focus is not your focus. Focus on your focus to building your own brand/ business. Own yours. Do you as my sisters in business will say. Live and let live.
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