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We Reached Over 3 Million People With #Social4Media. Here’s Why We Did It, How It Almost Never Happened And Why We Must Do It Again

On Thursday, November 21, 2017, an all day digital training event called Social4Media Masterclass, for journalists, bloggers, social influencers, PR experts, developers and other media professionals was held at Protea, Ikeja GRA, in Lagos. Organised by BHM and supported by ID Africa and Plaqad, the event was free for all 70+ attendees who were lucky to get invited from over 300 that registered online.

Unknown to many, this event almost never held due to difficulties in raising fund for venue, refreshments (buffet), publicity, and so on. Plus, it was also a madly busy time at BHM with barely anyone free enough to spare a minute on a pet project that won’t bring in money. Somehow, it was put together with last minute efforts from the teams at BHM, Plaqad, and ID Africa, plus additional goodwill and support of good friends from outside the organisation.

Social4Media was born out of a desire to help journalists and media professionals better understand the relevant social media platforms, and how to use the available tools for:
1. Telling better stories
2. Connecting with one another
3. Engaging audiences
4. Creating, editing and distributing videos
5. Monetizing content
6. Sourcing for news
7. Increasing website traffic and views
8. Harvesting and interpreting analytics
9. Understanding algorithms
10. Developing strategy

The masterclass comes at an important moment for traditional journalists in Nigeria whose business continues to experience a decline, both in revenue and the core elements of its industry, as a result of digital technology and social media. For example, tech companies in 2016 – Google, Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo – took over 65% of global digital ad revenue, while print ad revenue declined by 10% on the global average.

In Nigeria, studies show that daily newspaper circulation fell from an estimated 500,000 in the early 90s, to less than 300,000 at the beginning of this decade, even though the country’s population increased by 60 million during the same time period. Globally, the average minutes per day spent reading printed publications fell by 29% between 2010 and 2017, while in Africa, print circulation declined by 2.6% year-over-year, and by 1.2% over the last 5 years.

This formed the basis for Ayeni Adekunle and Femi Falodun’s presentations, which reiterated the need for Nigerian media professionals to acquire knowledge and develop strategies that will help them utilize available digital tools to keep their businesses alive. Being a former print journalist himself, Ayeni, BHM’s CEO, understood the challenges and frustrations of many who may be enthusiastic about opportunities on social media, but lack the basic skills, and thus can’t get the best out of these platforms for self development and business growth.

So, rather than wait on the big social platforms to organise a workshop that journalists can attend here in Nigeria, the folks at BHM, decided to call on favours from friends who are experts in various areas of digital media, content marketing and social communications, to share their experiences, tips and tools that can guide others who are hoping to find success on social.

Social4Media turned out to be such a huge success. It had over 70 professionals in attendance, while several more followed online via Facebook Live. Social conversations about the masterclass reached 3.4 million people on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, generating over 12 million impressions in a 2 week period, and receiving significant mentions in over 30 leading print and web news platforms in Nigeria. All of this with barely any paid promotions.

The event had 6 sessions and 11 facilitators training for over 9 hours. Thanks to the expertise of Ayeni Adekunle (BHM) who set the ball rolling with some justification for why the masterclass was created; Femi Falodun (ID Africa) who made a good case for social strategy development and created a framework for ‘Getting Started on Social’; and Ized Uanikhehi (CNN Africa) who presented some useful Social Media Growth Hacks and Fan-building Techniques.

An excellent panel discussion on content and audience engagement featured Tomiwa Aladekomo (Ventra Media), Yemi Adamolekun (EiE Nigeria), Alibaba, Tosin Ajibade (Olorisupergal) and John Adewusi (Funny Africa), while Osagie Alonge (Pulse Nigeria) gave very useful and data-backed insights on Content Distribution & Monetization in Nigeria.

Music star and entertainment executive, MI Abaga and Frank Donga a viral comedy sensation with millions of video views wrapped up the day, with presentations and discussions on their unique audience engagement strategies, and ways in which they’ve managed to build up a community of loyal fans active on social media.

With the success of this maiden edition and feedback from post-event survey respondents, it’s clear that this won’t be the last edition of Social4Media Masterclass. One only hopes that the platform owners – FB, IG, Twitter, will directly participate in the next editions, facilitating or providing training materials for attendees. Also, maybe some more hours need to be allocated for drilling further down into topic areas covered, which may make the event longer than a day.

And why not, if the people want it?

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