Nelly Agbogu is the CEO of Nellies and the founder of Naijabrandchick brand. She speaks on branding and growing a business by leveraging on social media … powered by social media.
By Nelly Agbogu
My name is Nelly Agbogu, CEO of Nellies, a healthy food and snack company located in Lagos and Abuja. I am also the founder of NaijaBrandChick, where I teach people how to use social media for business and create visibility for their brands. I am a mum, wife, sister, aunty and a lot of things; I am authentically me.
I started NaijaBrandChick in December 2015. At that time, I had already started Nellies and I wanted to just talk about how I used social media and the challenges I was encountering in business in Nigeria; basically everything that had to do with business. I was working at that time and I did not make myself known on the NaijaBrandChick page but I was very popular on my Nellies page because I always danced a lot as a form of entertainment.
People would come to me asking for my recipes but I wanted to keep my recipes secret, so I found a way to teach people while at the same time, keeping my recipes to myself. I believe trade secrets should be kept to oneself but I decided that I could teach people how to grow a business. Doing this and working in the oil sector wasn’t a problem because I was doing it online and it wasn’t affecting my work. I worked for 8 years before I resigned to start up Nellies. And after Nellies, I started NaijaBrandChick; there is no NaijaBrandChick without Nellies.
NaijaBrandChick started by chance. I was not expecting it to grow the way it has grown; it was actually an avenue for me to pour out the issues I was having as a business owner and at the same time, help people who wanted me to teach them.
I have enabled a lot of business to grow through a bootcamp, which I do every month. It is called “Instagram Bootcamp.” It lasts for 15 days, and people learn a lot about business. We receive a lot of feedback because they experienced tremendous growth in their business.
I also have a physical workshop where we meet people and teach them Instagram analytics and all the tricks and tips that they need to know to grow their business. I have also been invited to events to speak and teach all the dynamism that goes into the application so it can yield results.
Growing a Business in Nigeria
To grow a business in Nigeria, it is very important that you have a presence on Instagram because most businesses and even the audience are on Instagram. Due to the way Instagram is designed, it makes it easier for people to buy what you are selling. We are in a time where people are moved to order by simply liking a picture; they buy because they like what they see. That visual representation which Instagram brings into place makes it easy for people to buy. That is why your content matters. I would advise business owners to be active on Instagram and Google My Business and make sure that they are focused on getting more visibility.
Increasing My Following
One of the ways I have been able to increase my following is to leverage on ways to create more engagement for my page. It might interest you to know that when you entertain people, offer a discount, teach something, refer people, tell a story, you create more engagement and create more sales.
I have been able to focus mostly on teaching something to people at all times, using my story to create more visibility, trying to entertain people so I am not sounding too serious and always making sure that I am referring someone or talking about someone in a good light. These have made my engagement to grow and it has been phenomenal. I have also used hashtags and my insights strategically.
There are so many challenges I encountered in starting up a business, particularly with Nellies. It was a market that very few people were involved in at the time. The niche was so small and those who were doing it were doing it from their homes. I tried to learn from someone but when we met, the person was unwilling to train me.
So I had to rely on Google and YouTube and that was how I started educating myself. I always tell people that my dustbin swallowed more than N50,000 worth of goods when I was trying to learn because sometimes, it doesn’t turn out well. Another issue I had was getting myself certified with NAFDAC, which we have sorted out now. I also had logistics issues; running on diesel every day, transportation, pricing, and delivery.
NBC Trade Fair
What made me start the NBC Trade Fair was because I noticed that even though a lot of people buy from Instagram, many people had trust issues because they had no idea who they were trading with. I thought to myself, “what if we create visibility and bring this online customers offline so that the customers would see the sellers?” so we decided to hold the first fair and it was phenomenal; a lot of people turned out. We tried it again and the second edition was also amazing.
Advice to Entrepreneurs
Do not give up. It may sound cliché but please do not. There are going to be a lot of challenges and people would question your business, but just keep pushing. You will definitely encounter a lot of challenges but do not give up.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in The Spark Magazine. Find the magazine here to read other articles.