On a small button given out to Social Media Week Lagos attendees and speakers on the first day read the hashtag #IMadeHistory. While Social Media Week conferences have been taking place throughout North America, Europe, and Asia for almost five years, the inaugural Social Media Week conference in Africa took place in Lagos, Nigeria on Monday, February 19.
At the first event that morning, Open Government & Social Media, attendees from as far as countries like The Netherlands and cities like Austin, Texas gathered at the PEGS (Politics, Economy, Government & Society) Hub in Lagos e-Learning Center. Flat screen televisions displayed a live Twitter feed of those tweeting about the event with the hashtag #smwLASG as everyone prepared for an important discussion around the role of the federal goverment in the digital age. Panelists H.E Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, Commisioner Honorable Adebiyi Mabadje, and Nokia Backbone Managing Director Gerald Ilukwe profiled the Federal Governments OneGov.net platform and explored the LASG’s efforts in creating an open and connected Nigeria.
Digging further into the tools used to enhance our social media experience, the panel Pushing the Envelope presented by headlining sponsors Google examined how African businesses can create value by leveraging YouTube, Google search, and Google hangouts. The ultra-sleek Porsche Center in Victoria Island provided an appropriately contemporary setting for the BIT (Business, Information, and Technology) Hub, where a silver Porsche model greeted guests and panelists alike. #smwEnvelope was the hashtag of the moment during the presentation, while integral marketing, strategic and advertising professionals from the Google Nigeria team informed the audience of the importance of having not just a business website, but social engagement as well.
Three speakers presented best practices around how to optimize their businesses by demonstrating innovative strategies, like providing customers with unique, intimate product-focused experiences in Google hangout or gauging the level of customer and market interest using YouTube TrueVeil. Popular mobile application Afrinolly, P-Square’s viral video “Beautiful Onyinye,” and Nigerian beauty vlogger Patricia Obright were all pointed to as ways in which Nigerian content creators have enhanced their brands, traffic, and viral potential using the methods shown during the presentation.
More attendees arrived for Entrepreneurship in the Digital Age following Pushing the Envelope, amping the audience number up to about 200 guests. The panelists represented a diverse showing from the African Diaspora, confirming the wide-reaching capabilities for social media. Chicago-based Nigerian Luvvie Ajayi, a social media strategist, writer and non-profit founder, Atlanta-based Nigerian Tiwa Works, the founder of event-planning and marketing company Tiwaworks and CEO of Atlanta Greek Picnic, answered questions posed by African-American Cherae Robinson, the head of strategic partnerships and development at CIMMYT.
Tips and personal insight gained over the years from Ajayi and Works addressed not only their accomplishments, but perhaps most revealing of all, their past failings, which served as invaluable precautionary tales. Using an iPad and the Livestream application, the Social Media Week Lagos team was also able to broadcast the panel to interested viewers across the globe, who also chimed in using the hashtag #smwDigitalAge and frantically tweeted and retweeted sound bites and quotations.
The final panel that I attended, NOLLYWOOD! The Power of Being Social, added a cultural element to the mix. Entrepreneur, blogger, and former model Linda Ikeji and popular Nigerian blogger Olori Supergal of Olorisupergal.com spoke with Nollywood talent promoter Seun Oloketuyi about their respective professions, their suggestions on making online content lucrative, and their criteria for becoming self employed by creating content. “You need passion,” Ikeji said. If not you’re wasting your time.” Judging from the thriving, engaged audience that turned out throughout the day, Social Media Week Lagos attendees are neither lacking in the passion nor wasting their time at this history-making event.
Continue to follow us on Twitter at @SMWLagos where we are live-tweeting about the many, daily social media panels, concerts, tours and more. For the full conference schedule and more information, please head to http://socialmediaweek.org/lagos/schedule/.