How to market arts and culture through digitalization
To mark this year’s Social Media Week, a panel of discussants held court at Landmark Centre, Oniru, Lagos, to address issues around digitalization and marketing of arts and culture in Nigeria and how much success or otherwise that sector has been so far. On the panel were some leaders in Lagos’ arts and culture community: Ade Bantu of Afropolitan Vibes, Efe Paul Azino of Lagos International Poetry Festival, Aderele Sonariwo of Rele Arts Gallery and Byenyan Jessica Bitrus of Ake Books and Arts Festival. They spoke on how technology has fostered the growth of their brand offerings in the arts and also how it has helped them gain public support and followership.
Moderating the session was blogger and founder of The Sole Adventurer, Bukola Oyebode.
Media Manager of Ake Books and Arts Festival, Bitrus, explained the measures her organisation has put in place to promote its brand, saying, “For us, engaging and bringing new people into the field of arts is something that is very important. What we try to do is relate with our consumers, because we recognise that with audiences, all we have is impassive relationships. We utilise our different platforms in order to keep the traction that we need. For instance, at Ake Festival, we do interviews with all our guests, which we put on YouTube because we know that at the end of the festival, people want to go back and they want something to remind them about the festival.
“So, we know that when people go on YouTube to watch these videos they come back and keep talking about the festival. We also launched the hard copy of Ake Review two years ago, and what is put up is the interview of guests and contributors and we share them all through the year. Using all these platforms, one way or the other people keep coming back to Ake Festival and talking about it.”
Founder and Director of Lagos International Poetry Festival, Azino, told the audience the frequency of time spent online in marketing his brand and how they also leverage digital platforms.
According to him: “We have videos that are posted monthly, or consistently as we want them. We share our videos twice a month on You Tube, Instagram and Facebook, which are very helpful because somehow they help us reach a wider audience. In leveraging influencers, you almost cannot but engage the influencers when promoting your events but this is something you have to work out, maybe a month to two before the event so they have your flyers out early to help publicise your event.”
According to Afropolitan Vibes boss and crooner, Bantu, “We want more people to replicate our model; we want to see live music like what we had in the 1970s and 1980s and this is what we are all about and also using social media to actually share our experience and to hope that one or two people get inspired.”
With regards to the increased pressure artists face to grow the number of followers on social media platforms and to attract sponsorship, Rele Arts Gallery Director, Sonariwo, said, “For me particularly, because I have been in meetings with corporate heads, who are trying to promote certain artists, but they would say ‘you just don’t have the numbers’ and this is very difficult for artists like us because we don’t get the same number of followers like those in entertainment.”
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