How Nigerian Content Creators Can Create Purposeful Content That Drives Social Change And Makes A Meaningful Impact

Henshaw Jacobson Photo blog

In recent years, the landscape of content creation in Nigeria has undergone a significant transformation. With an alarming unemployment rate of 53.4% in Nigeria according to World of Statistics report in August 2023, Nigerian youth have turned to social media influencing and content creation and monetization as a means of livelihood. Platforms like Tiktok, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube have given rise to young stars such as Emmanuel Chukwuemeka, popularly known as Mr. Funny aka Sabinus, who have not only gained fame but also amassed wealth, even building homes for themselves and their parents. Personally, I, Henshaw Jacobson, made my first million through content creation and monetization. This is how the majority of Nigerian reality TV stars, such as Mercy Eke, White Money, Ceec, and more, sustain their livelihoods and keep up with their celebrity lifestyle 

As of January 2023, Nigeria boasted a staggering 31.6 million active social media users, with WhatsApp leading as the most popular platform, followed by Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. Moreover, Nigeria is also number one on the list of countries with the highest daily time spent on social media with 04:20  followed closely by Brazil and South Africa both with  03:44  according to World of Statistics reports in April 2023. This digital revolution has democratized income generation, enabling even teenagers to become millionaires through platforms like TikTok and Instagram. Recently, X, formerly known as Twitter started paying Nigerian creators and reports say many X users like Daniel Regha received over $10,000 as their first payment. Convert that to Naira and you have over N9,000,000. 

However, this digital revolution comes with a dark side. In the pursuit of online fame and fortune, many people engage in senseless pranks and create questionable content just to garner followers and become influencers. This rush to popularity often leads to content that negatively impacts our culture and tarnishes Nigeria’s image on the global stage. Some even resort to reckless acts, pushing boundaries for the sake of trending, often at the expense of others.

Recent incidents highlight this growing problem. A group of young men were arrested for a disturbing prank involving stripping a woman naked and assaulting her, all in the name of garnering attention. Investigation revealed that the same lady  had previously engaged in equally ill-advised stunts, such as bathing with raw eggs and posting the videos on Facebook all in a bid to attract followers.  Looking at her Facebook page, you will see that there is nothing she has not done for clout. If not that she was arrested, nobody would have known that the assault was a prank to gain followers. In late August, a video  of a popular Nigerian Tiktoker masturbating circulated online, with many speculating that she had done it solely to gain followers. Such behavior has a detrimental impact, particularly on younger audiences who may be exposed to inappropriate content on platforms like Tiktok without their parent’s knowledge.

Amidst this tumultuous digital landscape, Nigerian content creators are emerging as catalysts for positive social change. They possess the unique ability to engage their followers, stir emotions, and initiate discussions that can drive tangible and meaningful change. The #EndSars campaign stands as a prime example. Although initially aimed at ending police brutality, the movement eventually led to an attempt to  reform of the Nigerian police force and improved welfare for its officers. A government committee was formed to address police brutality, and the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was disbanded. This achievement would not have been possible without social media platforms like Twitter and influential figures like Falz, Mr. Macaroni, and many others who actively participated in the campaign. Young Nigerians not only used Twitter  to mobilize support for the End Sars Movement but also raised funds through social media to sustain the cause. Even when they bank accounts used for the End SARS campaign-related transactions were allegedly frozen, they switched to crypto and this time people around the world who believed in the cause also donated to support the movement.

This demonstrates the potential of social media to drive positive change beyond mere trending and clout-chasing.

In this article, i delve into strategies that Nigerian social media users, especially influencers and content creators can employ to create purposeful content that drives social change and makes a meaningful impact. My approach is based on my experience  as a digital Public Relations (PR) expert , a seasoned digital marketing professional, and a media entrepreneur- the founder of Naira Diary, a new media brand committed to telling  Nigerian stories and amplifying stories told by Nigerians.

1. Identifying Your Cause

 Before you get started with purposeful content creation, you have to  identify a cause that resonates deeply with you and your followers. It’s crucial to select a pressing social issue that aligns with your values and passions as a person. Alignment with your value system and passion is essential because you need passion to keep going, and if the cause does not align with your values as a person, it might be contradictory. For instance, you can’t fight for inequality if you don’t believe in equality. There are many problems in Nigeria, and you can choose one. This could range from gender equality, education, environmental conservation, healthcare,      poverty alleviation, rape, human rights, job creation, insecurity, political awareness, or any other matter of significance in Nigeria. In cases where you don’t want to lead a cause, you can still identify one that aligns with your values  and support. Just don’t sit on the fence.

2. Research and Understanding

Creating content with the intention of driving social change necessitates a thorough understanding of peculiar Nigerian issues. If you are looking to create purposeful content to drive change, you should dedicate time to research, gather reliable information, and gain insights from experts or individuals directly impacted by the issue. You can visit communities and speak with locals for better understanding. It’s only when you have an understanding that you can create content to address the issues. Many times, the photos and videos do not reflect the true nature of things. For example, if you want to address the Niger Delta issues, you might need to visit the creeks or speak with indigenes or residents to truly know what’s happening.

3. Use Storytelling

At the heart of purposeful content lies compelling storytelling. Many people already have stereotypical mindsets about a particular issue, and just making random posts might not be enough to change their already-formed opinions. However, with narratives that bring the matter to life through personal stories, authentic experiences, and relatable scenarios, new perspectives can be made known, and a better narrative established. Storytelling has the power to evoke emotions, foster empathy, and make the issue more relatable to the audience, igniting a desire for change. An example is when I attended a wedding in Eziamata Lorji in Aboh Mbaise, Imo State, on April 22, 2023. Contrary to popular opinion that bride price is so expensive, my visit afforded me the opportunity to witness their traditional marriage, starting with the payment of the bride price. To my greatest surprise, everything on the list was less than N200,000. I took to social media to share my experience, and many joined me to share similar experiences. Before we knew it, more than a hundred people on Facebook were talking about how marrying in Mbaise is cheaper than in other places in Nigeria.

4. Showcasing Solutions

While it makes sense to shed light on challenges, purposeful content creators also focus on showcasing solutions. You don’t want to be like most Nigerian political activists who all they do is complain and attack anyone who has a contrary opinion without suggesting any solution or doing something themselves to bring about the change they preach. If you do, you won’t be taken seriously. Highlight individuals, organizations, and      initiatives that are actively addressing the issue and making a positive impact. This not only provides hope but also empowers the audience with actionable steps they can take to contribute. Also, take action to fix the issues, dont only talk about it. Talk is cheap! 

5. Collaborate and Amplify

Collaboration amplifies the impact of purposeful content. You can collaborate with other content creators, NGOs, activists, experts, and even regular social media users who are invested in the same cause. You can also work with media brands like Naira Diary to further promote your content for a wider reach and impact. This diversity of voices and expertise brings depth to the content and widens its reach, ensuring it resonates with a broader audience and, by extension, makes more impact.

6. Use Different Content Formats and Platforms

Different audiences engage with content in various ways, and the psychology of people on each platform differs. While TikTok has more younger users and more teenagers, Facebook, on the other hand, has almost every kind of person, and older people are more on Facebook. Also, each social media platform is uniquely designed and technically different from others. These are things to consider. Content creators can experiment with diverse formats such as videos, podcasts, articles, infographics, and social media posts. These formats allow creators to cater to different preferences and create a multi-dimensional approach to spreading awareness.

7. Empowerment and Call to Action

Empowering the audience to take action is a pivotal aspect of purposeful content. Make it clear what exactly you want them to do.  Whether it’s signing petitions, donating to organizations, volunteering, or even spreading awareness through their own networks, every action counts. You need to know that most of the time, if you don’t tell them what exactly you want them to do, they won’t do it. One of the reasons the New Season Prophetic Prayers (NSPPD) by Pastor Jerry Eze spread like wildfire is because he always tells everyone to share and that by sharing, they will get blessed. If you are like me, chances are you get at least five shares from his morning prayers every day on Whatsapp, Facebook, and Instagram. This was the same thing with the Obedient Campaigns and even the End SARS Campaign. Make sure you encourage people to share your message and incentivize them to do whatever you want them to do.

8.Use Live Videos

Remember during the End SARS campaign, many people at the toll gate used live videos to share live updates and empower their followers to take action. Use live video as much as you can. Visit beautiful places and use live videos to show the world the beautiful side of Nigeria. People might doubt your uploaded video but they will likely not doubt your live video. It’s also a great way to connect more with people who believe in the cause you are fighting for.

9. Long-Term Commitment

Creating meaningful social change is a journey that requires dedication. Content creators should approach their efforts with a long-term commitment to consistently produce content, engage with their audience, and advocate for the cause. You might get any attention at first but keep going. And even when is as if many people are with you on the journey, keep spreading the message until everyone in your target network is reached.

10. Be A Good Ambassador of Nigeria

Every post we make and every action we take contribute to how the world perceives us as a country. If the story the world hears more about us is ‘yahoo yahoo’, of course, that’s what they will know us for.

We Nigerians are the only ones who can improve the image of our dear country. Let’s use social media and every platform available to show the world we are beautiful people blessed with abundant resources.

Let’s also be good ambassadors of Nigeria by doing good and promoting good things about Nigeria.

11. Post More Positive Stories 

There is more good than evil in Nigeria. There are more good people than bad people. However, bad news only gets more publicity and that’s why it’s as if evil is more. You can choose to promote good things about Nigeria. You can choose to amplify good stories about Nigeria. Nigeria is a brand and posting negative things about us only demarkets us as a brand. 

Promote good business, promote good deeds, promote beautiful marriages, promote good friendships, just be a good Nigerian and promote good things.

By identifying meaningful causes, leveraging storytelling, showcasing solutions, collaborating with like-minded individuals, and empowering our followers, we can amplify, influence and pave the way for a brighter future for Nigeria. We have the power to spark conversations, challenge norms, and inspire positive action. This can be done by every social media user in Nigeria. There is no one who cannot make an impact no matter how insignificant you think you are.

I will end with this quote, “Don’t let your life be defined by algorithms. Let your purpose guide your content and create what you truly believe in.

Stand for something, promote something, support something.

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