[Column] Chioma Nnani: Hype and Substance in Business
One of the things that really amuses me about certain business-owners in Nigeria is the mindset that you need hype for hype.
So I was talking to someone who's really good at internet marketing and she was telling me that some people in my industry buy followers on social media, and how that's a really dumb thing to do. Not that I need to be told that it's not a clever thing to do, because if you're buying followers, those are fake accounts. Meaning they are not people and they can't buy your product or service.
Ergo, it might be great for your ego (Ooh look at me, I have a gazillion followers), but it's terrible for your bank account – because a) you're not making any profit; and b) you're actually making a loss, because you are spending money to look like you have something, which leaves you even worse off.
I am not a fan of a lot of events; I go if it's necessary and/or if I need to show my support. Ergo, I don't attend many events – they have to be worth the time and energy it will take for me to call my stylist (if I don't already have an outfit + accessories), get the transport together, then pull myself to the event … when I could actually be working. Yeah, I hear you – I can't work all the time, I need to network.
It' just that networking seems to work a lot differently in Nigeria, from the way I saw it work in England. The reason that people attend events in the UK (and I presume in many parts of the world) is to make contacts for current and future business endeavours. In Nigeria, it appears folk just wanna take a photo they can upload on Instagram. I will never understand how it is possible (never mind, normal) that you have to look for someone's phone number when you need something they can supply … even after you've taken an Instagram photo with them. So, you're in an even worse position than someone who has never met them! Isn't it easier to ask for someone's number or business card, than it is to say, “Hey, let's take a photo together?”
When there is nothing underneath hype, it is such a waste. That is the reason some people need to get into or create a social media beef; without it, nobody will remember they exist. Because they're not adding anything of value to any space, person or industry.
I am intrigued by this era; it's a powerful time to live and operate. You can literally build a career (a real one) off of social media leverage. And that's even before you get to paid advertising. I keep saying, “That's kinda how I built my brand: social media.” Behind the cool descriptions is a real business – The Fearless Storyteller House Emporium Ltd – that provides products and services. One of my authors told me that (because he has never met me) his friends and family were a bit sceptical. So they were like “How can you agree to publish with someone just because she has a social media profile and she came back from the UK? You sent her money when you've never met her in your life? What if you never see any book?” His turned out to be one of the three November 2016 releases – MURDER AT MIDNIGHT, IFECHIDERE and (the eBook & iBook versions of) FOREVER THERE FOR YOU – by The Fearless Storyteller House Emporium Ltd.
Chioma Nnani is an award-winning author, who also contributes to business, lifestyle and literary publications. One of Africa's most fearless storytellers, she is a 2016 CREATIVE AFRICAN Awards finalist in the category of “Best Fiction Writer”, and a DIVAS OF COLOUR 2016 finalist. Chioma has also been nominated twice for a UK BEFFTA (Black Entertainment Film Fashion Television and Arts) Award in the “Best Author” category, lives in Abuja, where she runs THE FEARLESS STORYTELLER HOUSE EMPORIUM LTD, can be reached on @ChiomaNnani and blogs at www.fearlessstoryteller.com for which she won the 2016 BEFFTA for “Blog of the Year”.