Handle It Africa 2019 conference by Olufemi Oguntamu Penzaarville

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by Portia Abel

The third edition of Handle It Africa was resplendent as celebrities, influencers and young society sharpers converged at Oriental Hotel Lagos on Friday May 17th, 2019 to discuss all things social media.

Handle It Africa 2019:

Conversations at Nigeria’s foremost and most engaging social media conference centred around brands’ expectation from influencers, creating exciting content, the power of lifestyle in social media campaigns, using social media to control political narratives and creating additional value with social media.

Themed ‘Extending the Frontiers’, the conference was attended by predominantly upwardly mobile young Nigerians yearning to learn more about the pros and cons of social media.

Adenike Adebayo, a movie reviewer and filmmaker, helmed the first panel which featured Akah Nnani, Winifred Emmanuel, MC Lively and Oyinkansola Ewunmi.

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Speaking of how he found success on social media, MC Lively pointed to originality, saying: “I basically just told my story” and added that “to blow is not nearly as important as staying relevant”.

Oyinkansola and Emmanuel harped on the need to have a consistent presence, adopt a human and engaging approach to attain success on social media.

Akah, who admitted that he “struggled and stumbled” before he found his balance, warned that “we should not be slave to clicks and likes”.

Chidi Okereke moderated the session on ‘What do Brands Really Want?’ while Terver Bendega, Amalia Sebakunzi, Tobi Bakre and Sisi Yemmie served as panelists.

The quartet spoke about the fragile relationship between brand and influencers while they also proffered solutions to the problems that arise from unsatisfactory campaigns.

According to Terver Bendega, “the tension between influencers and brands comes up when influencers overestimate how much influence they have” while Amalia noted that “the essence of an influencer is to create original content”.

Reacting, Bakre said influencers should be carried along if there’s going to be a meeting between agencies and brands. He stressed that brands should engage influencers on longer tenures for cheaper rates and urged people with personal brands not to accept every job offered to them.

Commenting on pro-bono influencing, Sisi Yemmie admitted that smaller brands should be given significant discounts to aid their growth while she also expressed reservations over outrightly free jobs.

Tomike Adeoye helmed the panel on ‘Unleashing The Power Of Lifestyle in Social Media Campaigns’. It featured Mimi Onalaja, Ozinna Anumudu, and Timini Egbuson.

The trio talked extensively about bringing authenticity into lifestyle influencing while Anumudu pointed out the difference between organic and curated lifestyles on social media.

Ezugwu Chukwudi moderated the fiery session on ‘Can Social Media Control Political Narratives?’, with Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji, Ferdy Adimefe and Farouq Abbas serving as the panelists.
All three panel members agreed that there is only so much change that can be made through social media.

Akerele-Ogunsiji said social media, for the Nigerian youth, is overrated, adding that “as long as our people are poor and uneducated, social media will not drive any political narrative”.

Adimefe, on the other hand, noted that “social media can actually shape narratives but it takes more than social media to change a nation” while Abbas lamented that “we are not using social media very well”.

The last session, led by Olayemi Ogunwole (Honeypot), featured contributions from Tolu ‘Toolz’ Oniru-Demuren, Mercy Johnson and Dotun. They spoke on the theme, ‘Creating Additional Value Using Social Media’.

The conference, which is the brainchild of Olufemi Oguntamu, is designed as a platform to help brands and individuals harness the benefits of social media. Oguntamu is a social media professional and founder of Penzaarville.

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