#SMW Lagos 2016: The Power of Media and Influence

Consistent use of a digital platform can position you as an expert

Day 2 of #SMWLagos was all about the power of media and influence. Attendees got up close and personal with some of Nigeria’s leading digital voices. Influencers in various mediums shared their experience and expertise on how they navigated their passions into lucrative careers. From photographers to bloggers to Web designers, these Nigerians are leading a creative wave and inspiring a nation.

The morning sessions kicked off with “The Africa You Don’t See” featuring some of Nigeria’s top Instagram photographers. They shared their creative process and gave insights on creating content and sharing both the good, the bad, and the ugly of Nigerian culture.

[RELATED: #SMW Lagos 2016: Africans Claiming Their Piece of the Digital Pie]

Photographer Yagazieemezie on creating content: “It might sound corny or cliché but when it comes to creating images for social media I just go with passion and authenticity. I usually don’t take pictures with a forced set up, or pictures I really don’t care about, or because I want Likes. I do it because I am genuinely interested. And, of course, consistency is key with any digital platform.”

TomSaater, badass a documentary photographer/photojournalist who joined Instagram just two years ago, and who on occasion you’ll find taking images alongside troops from the Boko Haram regime, offered this tidbit on how he navigated Instagram, hashtags and all.

“I joined Instagram two years ago. A friend told me about it and told me I should put my pictures on there. I would just post pictures, I didn’t understand it. For like six months I was just posting photos from my travels or assignments. I just selected photographs and stories that I loved. People would see them and I started getting a lot of comments, people would follow me and tell me, ‘Oh, you should use this hashtag.’ But for over a year, I didn’t understand it and I didn’t have an active website.”

“Last year I had only 2,000 followers, then I woke up one day and I had all these followers. My phone was so busy. I got an e-mail from Instagram saying, Congratulations, you’ve been selected as an Instagram photographer to watch out for. The woman then said, ‘Look, we’ve been watching you for the last six months and you’ve very consistent with posting. We’re seeing the reaction from your followers and people have been reaching out to us to get in contact with you.’ So I think it’s about consistency. People will find you.” Saater has gone on to work with many other publications, including The New York Times which, of course, found him on Instagram. #ItCanBeDone

Later in the afternoon the Business of Design session was filled to capacity with coders and Web designers eager to hear from millennial Nigeria CEOs running their own software and Web design firms. While Nigeria’s currency may be encountering some issues—shade, no shade—the design industry is still booming and paying very well. The panelists each shared what a typical day looks like. You guessed it—a lot of meetings. They also shared what they’ve learned working with clients. The overall consensus: The client isn’t always right. Panelists also shared some tips on building a healthy company culture. More on that to come!