When President Goodluck Jonathan announced that he would create a Facebook page in order to interact with Nigerians, it became evident that his personal meeting with President Barack Obama earlier in April may have inspired his decision to join the world’s largest social networking site.
Will President Jonathan become Nigeria’s Most Popular Celebrity Leader?
It is no doubt that the U.S President effectively used social media tools such as Facebook, which resulted in a successful election campaign and gave him a landslide victory in the 2008 Presidential elections. Today, he currently has over 10 million fans on Facebook.
On July 9th, 2010, President Jonathan hit the 100, 000 Facebook fans milestone. Since Monday, June 28 when the President posted his first update to date, he has shown that he can relate with the Nigerian people “without the trappings of office”.
In his first update on his page, he wrote:
Today, in fulfillment of the promise I made at the 26th convocation of the University of Port Harcourt on Saturday, 15 May 2010, I have created a facebook fan page to interact with Nigerians. As I said on that day, there is an unchallengeable power of good in the Nigerian nation and her youth and through this medium I want Nigerians to give me the privilege of relating with them without the trappings of office.
How President Goodluck Jonathan Got 100,000 Facebook Fans in 12 Days
Here are a few lessons on how President Jonathan attracted 100, 000 Facebook fans in 12 days. The lessons show how individuals, businesses and brands can connect with their audience in the most effective ways.
President Jonathan speaks with great conviction about his vision for a better Nigeria. This conviction inspires confidence in his ability to deliver the change we’ve been waiting for.
Today, he wrote: “I am convinced that only an educated and enlightened population can bring Nigeria into the knowledge worker age which is why I have personally made it a priority to see that our universities and academic staff get a fair treatment so that the era of truncated academic years is put behind us. Without stability in the education sector our graduates will not have fully developed skills to enable them compete with their counterparts around the world. I came from the academia and know first hand that you get from the system what you put in it and under my watch this administration has started and will keep on investing in education as a way of investing in the future of Nigeria.”
He has shown a great level of commitment by posting an update a day on his Facebook wall. Basically, his daily updates cut across his thoughts on issues such as Elections, Electricity, Environment, Economy and Education amongst others.
President Jonathan communicates very well. His choice and use of words are very noteworthy. He has even connected with his fans by providing them the assurance that he reads their comments.
He wrote: “Again I spent time reading your comments and yesterday a youth named Toyin Dawodu indicated that he had an idea for a project that could deliver 4,000 MWs of electricity. I believe in the creativity and the spirit of innovation resident in our youth and I want to give Toyin Dawodu a chance to be heard. Toyin, someone from my office will make contact with you regarding your idea. I know I can not attend to every comment or suggestion due to time constraints, but please do know that I read them and they influence my actions.”
President Jonathan’s Facebook campaign strategy seems to be about the Nigerian people with a focus on their problems and possible ways to solve them. With Facebook ads, he has shown that online advertising is a great way of reaching out to a target audience.
He has demonstrated a consistent approach in his style of writing as all his updates end with his initials ‘GEJ’ which stands for ‘Goodluck Elebe Jonathan’. Will ‘GEJ’ eventually become his brand name?
But the big question is: Will President Jonathan become the Most Popular Celebrity Leader?
In the words of Chukwudi Ezeagwa (a.k.a Shakar El Swagger) a Nigerian songwriter and performer based in the UK,
A true leader must be a celebrity, if we cannot celebrate you – it means that we don’t like you; it means that we don’t want to see you; it means that you don’t appeal to your people. Take for example in the music world, we have so many artistes but we only celebrate a few of this people because of their unique music and rare personality. We either fall in love with their music or their style even some of us go as far as stalking them, trying to take pictures of them and also idolise them.
Is President Jonathan on his way to becoming the most popular celebrity in Nigeria? Only time will tell.
Loy Okezie is Founder of Startups Nigeria