SMW Lagos: Social Media Week Expands to Africa

History in the Making: Social Media Week Expands to Africa

New media has changed the way businesses function, increasing the amount of power consumers hold. This shift is evident in the way consumers use, socialize and interact with brands on the Web. Let’s face it: We are now, all—like it or not—immersed in a socially driven society, where the need to share every move, want, or purchase is apparent via our Google+ circles, Foursquare and Facebook check-ins, and instantaneous Twitter updates.

Ann Mack, Director of Trendspotting at JWT in New York, set out Monday to inform brands how they can take advantage of social media at the opening of Social Media Week, showcasing some top consumer trends and the various ways customers interact with them. See what four trends brands should pay close attention to this year--and beyond. --Noni Cavaliere


(Image: Thinkstock)

Social Media Week (SMW) made its debut in Africa on Monday, and the host city, Lagos, is one of Africa’s most vibrant and robust metropolises. With a population of just under 21 million people, and ranked as the seventh fastest growing city in the world, Lagos (locally know as Las Gidi) is playing host to 100 events over a five day period, something that has never been done before in the city.

The dynamic and visionary team behind this landmark event hitting the shores of West Africa is Obi Asika, chairman of Social Media Week Lagos and founder of Dragon Africa, and Ngozi Odita, founder of Society HAE. Odita, who participated in SMW New York as a panelist in 2011, presented the idea to Asika in September of 2012. Together they pitched the founder of SMW and, within a few short weeks, the duo’s proposal was accepted and SMW Lagos planning began.

Asika and Odita have garnered a huge amount of national and international support, most notably from Nigeria’s Honorable Commissioner of Science and Technology Adebiy Mabadeje, but also from former Nigerian presidents, chief executives from the country’s top companies, its advisory board, thought leaders and influencers.

Initially, Asika and Odita planned to fund SMW Lagos personally, but corporate sponsors quickly jumped on board.  The event has received financial support from key sponsors and partners such as Etisalat Nigeria, Stanbic Ibtc Bank, EFInA and Galaxy Backbone. Local companies like MNET, Channel O and Beat FM are serving as media partners.

Thought leaders and influencers have converged on Lagos from around Nigeria, various African countries, the United States and Europe. Attendees have the opportunity to sit in on panel discussions featuring well-known technology ninjas and social media aficionados, as well as expect to hear about how to use leverage social media tools for business success.