StartUp6 is a unique initiative that targets small businesses by providing a platform for them to connect with social media influencers who can use social media tools to expand these businesses.
Chaste Inegbedion is the Chief Product Officer of StartUP6 and an alumnus of Microsoft Cloud Start-Up Academy. In this interview with YNaija’s Impact 365, he talks about the initiative’s goals and how much they’ve helped young entrepreneurs grow.
Can you tell us what StartUP6 is in details?
We’re an influencer platform. We focus on connecting brands with influencers for the purpose of creating positive organic engagement for brands.
StartUP6 uses social media to tell the super untold stories and testimonials of enterprising young individuals globally. We are the hub creating the discussions about the work, creativity, impact and innovativeness of young entrepreneurs on social media.
Why did you choose to create a platform that tends to the needs of social media entrepreneurs above all else?
As a small business owner, one of the challenges you face is communicating with potential customers. Marketers have tried hundreds of methods to accomplish this and the budget are slim for startups. #S6startUP twitter chat- The Twitter advantage for startups as a tool for impact has assisted in revolutionizing the startup space for over 2 years with no charge for participating startups and enterprises. Hosting a tweet chat around your business lets you start and engage in a conversation with your audience that, hopefully, reveals opportunities, problems, and good ideas for fixing those problems. It is like a town meeting, where participants can share their feelings about your brand, provide suggestions, and offer advice to you and other participants. It really breaks down the barriers of communication, and is an extraordinarily valuable resource for small businesses. Twitter is one of the most effective social media platforms for small business. Its reach is truly staggering — 307 million active monthly users as of Q3 2015 — and unlike many other types of social, it is extremely versatile.
How much impact has your work made so far?
For us, it’s the brands who have passed through StartUP6. Over 80 Past editions have featured entrepreneurs and change makers from AIESEC, Vacant Board, BudgIT, IamXtremelyNedu Clothing, Unilag Olodo, ShawttyNatt, Big Timi, Blossom Nnodim, Mary Yang, Bekeme Masade, Esther Ijewere, David Lanre Messan, Prince Adewale Oreshade, Bridget Majola, Wale Anifowose of Lagos Business School, Peter Ayim, Mr Enclave, AWP Network, Olawumi Heavens, HUTBAY,Maggie Mutesi and many others in the last Episodes with a Special Feature from New York, Ghana, South Africa, Alto Palo, Morocco, Rwanda and Kenya… the list goes on. All of them have also become superheroes and helped impact their immediate communities.
What are the challenges you’ve faced?
Influencer marketing is a complex space. Beyond funding to ease off the technical & creative development, we have to battle with sales driven engagement as majorly our roles with the client is to act as connectors to mentors, investors and partners via promotions spiced up with generating a high volume of content in a short period of time that resonates best with our audience. Lastly, last minute cancellation of guest, host and finding replacement for the weekly twitter chat coupled with other factors when it’s non-paid for.
What are your projections for the future of social media in Nigeria?
There are more than 2.3 billion active social media users in the world; According to Mediakix.com, social influencer marketing spend will increase to USD 5 to 10 billion dollars in the next five years. Influencer marketing searches seem to be growing rapidly on google, with maximum interest coming from Nigeria.
One of the important things to note is that the influencers on all these platforms have a niche following and category of influencers vary from platform to platform. Mediakix.com brought together some of the key influencer marketing statistics which included the following:
- 59% of brands will increase influencer marketing budget next year
- The average return on the dollar spent on influencer marketing was USD 6.85. This is one of the most important factors while considering it as active marketing medium;
- Businesses acquired 22% of their customers through influencer marketing; and
- It is estimated that more than 90% people trust word-of-mouth recommendations over ads.
You’re in your 91st edition, do you feel like you’ve accomplished purpose already?
Yes and No as there are rooms for improvement despite our total number of impression till date is over 26 Million and we have had retweets from significant icons like Steven Nguyen, Tomi Davies and Microsoft4Afrika.
We have a combined followership of 1 Million and our tweets reach 700,000 people. Our ‘braggables’ include the recently concluded AFRIMA, Africa Entertainment Legend Awards, Africa Union Youth Day, International Women Day Celebration and the Post Announcement of 1000 Entrepreneurs of the Tony Elumelu Foundation. We want to help with sales conversion and our end goal to connect them for collaboration purposes to Make More Money and More Impact.
What are your future plans for StartUP6?
A lot of big tech. A lot of interesting things in tech. We expanded our tech team, and we’re investing heavily into our marketplace, our database and our information side to get a good understanding of users and what they’re all about.
#S6startUP Mixers: It is a day to collaborate on the business of Social Good, a day when start-up proprietors share their experiences through the labyrinth of entrepreneurship.
The #S6StartUP Sessions are a social media-inspired gathering of young business minds to exchange and formulate ideas, connecting young entrepreneurs – Next Generation thought leaders, sharing content, and having conversations around social media, mobile platforms, politics, society in general, investment, technology, finance, marketing and just about anything that affects our “hustle”.