Nigeria’s billionaires lose grip on social media

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Whereas political figures and institutions have long embraced the new media as inevitable means of reaching out to their followers, many of the country’s business leaders may not have realised the potential of the platforms.

Checks by our correspondents showed that a handful of notable business tycoons had signed up with the popular platforms. But they have yet to start engaging their fans, leaving several thousands who have connected with them in the dark.

Yet, a chunk of them have not signed up on Facebook and Twitter, much less Instagram, which is mostly associated with celebrities; and other brands still considered as emerging.

Aliko Dangote, the richest African and president of the Dangote Group, tops the list of Nigerian business tycoons whose presence on social media may have fallen short of expectations, when weighed against global trend.

On January 1, Dangote took to his Twitter page to appreciate his teeming customers for patronising his business the previous year.

“Thank you all for a wonderful 2014. I pray the New Year brings you peace, prosperity and countless reasons to celebrate,” he tweeted.

Almost two months after the New Year message, not a word has been heard from the cement guru on the platform, even though his followers, which increase daily, appear to look forward to a robust interaction with him.

His inactivity has not stopped the fame the account has enjoyed. The number of his followers had climbed to 118,000 even though it has not enjoyed regular visit by the account holder.

Dangote’s last tweet, which was posted exactly 12a.m. on January 1, recorded 346 retweets a few minutes after it hit the cyberspace, underlining what Dangote could possibly achieve should he embrace the opportunity fully.

His Google+ account enjoys similar following, hitting 126,324 as of Thursday. But the businessman has also not paid attention to growing his profile on the platform.

Dangote is but one out of several Nigerian enterpreneurs whose interest in social media is yet to match their desire for wealth creation.

Wale Adenuga, the telecommunications guru, may have also ignored social media networking. While Dangote has an account except that it is not put to active use, those who wish to follow Adenuga would be shocked at the number of obviously parody accounts they have to sift through to decipher which is genuinely operated by the Globacom boss.

On Facebook, the name has been subjected to a similar abuse. Obviously operated by fraudsters, the accounts carry photographs and official designation of the Globacom chief, with many accumulating unsuspecting followers from different parts of the world daily.

Apart from his public figure account, Femi Otedola’s name, photograph and bio have also been used by unknown individuals who are cashing in on the low profile of the businessman on both Facebook and Twitter. Many of the fake accounts, which have been operated for years, have as many as 8,000 followers to their credit.

On @FOtedola, one of the cloned accounts associated with the Chief Executive of Forte Oil Plc, Oluwafemi Olufayo, who claimed to have graduated from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile- Ife, Osun State, tweeted asking for a job.

Olufayo is among the 544 gullible individuals who have taken to the pseudo account daily to ask for one favour or the other.

Wale Tinubu, the group chief executive of Oando Plc, seems to stand out on Twitter. His page has become a useful marketing tool. But with mere 220 tweets and a little above 2,000 followers, not many social media experts would agree that the oil magnate has done well in social media branding.

In the past two days, Tinubu, like many other business leaders who stay away from social media for days or weeks, has not tweeted

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