Facebook in Nigeria is big; this fact cannot be exaggerated or over emphasised. However, size doesn’t (always) necessarily translate to potency and capacity. The ignorance of this very fact is why there are too many people selling and buying fake penis enlargement pills on the Internet.

Facebook currently has 16Million monthly users in Nigeria and an average of 7.2 million people log in daily from Nigeria. These numbers are mind numbing when compared to Twitter with a paltry 5m+ users.

Now here’s the irony; Facebook has more noir than Twitter, and by noir, I do not mean the quality of being black, elegant and luxurious but noir as represented by the words cynicism, fatalism, and moral ambiguity.

Irrespective of Facebook’s size, news breaks and gets discussed all over Twitter and only manages to surface on Facebook 24hrs (slightly exaggerated) after it has become stale on Twitter. There’s a higher possibility of a link on Twitter being a verified source of information than on Facebook. Facebook is daily becoming a breeding place for click baits and editorial booby traps.

You could rely to a large extent on Twitter for a research project, news lead and sources than Facebook.

The gong is struck on Twitter while Facebook receives the echo whose velocity must have reduced due to time and distance travelled. Twitter is fast paced; it’s like the streets of Lagos while conversations on Facebook are a bit laid back like some other Nigerian states.

A recent report by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology supports most of the arguments I have made about the psychographics of these two platforms. The research by MIT suggests that people/employees well exposed to Twitter tend to generate better ideas. Although the report wasn’t making any sort of comparism between these two platforms, it supports my argument and position.

All that being said doesn’t presuppose that there are no bad spots on Twitter’s highway. Nigerian twitter is a bit of a treacherous dog-eats-dog jungle. What happens there is a daily clash of pseudo-intellectualism and what some have described as QWERTY thuggery. It requires a bit of a near super-human power to really detect real from feigned if your marketing strategy relies on mainstream twitter, as it can be really deceptive. In addition, the MIT report also states “Twitter activity and size measures such as the number of tweets, number of followers and number of people followed does not correlate with personal innovation”. This will strike a cord with most digital agencies and their brands, as most brands have had to pick out influencers for their product campaign by merely using number of followers as a parameter. An innovative influencer with 5000 followers can give more mileage than a random unimaginative user with 25,000 followers.

Virality isn’t necessarily about the mass of people at the source of origin but the quality of product, quality of story craft and quality of activation and engagement. A ‘share a coke’ campaign in the hands of a creative user with 1000 followers will go viral without much effort.

All I’ve been trying to say is this, you cannot succeed in digital marketing using a one size fits all approach or to put it in a more agency-like speak, you cannot succeed in digital marketing with a single copy and creative approach to Facebook and Twitter at the same time. Understanding the cultural nuances of these two platforms plays a huge role in getting your campaign strategy right. A lot of digital marketers treat these different platforms with a plug and play mindset, which I find really worrisome and wonder how they measure the success of their campaigns.

Yes, you had 100 clicks but could there have been 1000 clicks for the same content? The secret to this is crafting distinct engagement strategies for the different platforms.

I’d give you one out of several examples I have toyed with. A while back I experimented with headlines of articles on a publication I run. An article was posted on Facebook with same headline I used on the website and twitter and it had a few clicks, we rewrote the headline of same article to conform with the culture nuances of Facebook and posted same article, the traction and engagement received tripled that of the former.

Pick an individual, serve him with the same thing but designed differently and he will react to it in a predictably different manner because of his exposure to cultural patterns on these different platforms.

I will use Victor Asemota as my specimen here, I guess you all know him; he has a near god status in the tech and startup conversations on twitter. Just last week I said to him on Facebook that he has a dual-personality. The Victor of twitter is a completely different person from the Victor of Facebook. He writes differently, engages and jokes differently on these two platforms. Assuming that Victor represents the greater percentage of your target audience, how do you reach victor without successfully crafting messages that reflect his dual personality?

Culture is everything. What most digital agencies in Nigeria lack is the ability to function as an observatory or culture laboratory for the brands they work for. What we must know as digital strategists is that great strategies can be resisted by strong/unfamiliar cultures. It’s the reason they say “culture eats strategy for breakfast” Culture can counteract and resist a good campaign, no matter how good the product is.

Perez Tigidam Author

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