The Power of Connection: A Journey of Online Networking in Nigeria

Nov 30 / NiYA

Once upon a time in Nigeria, a land brimming with untapped potential, there lived four ambitious individuals - Amina, Osamudiamhen, Chinasa, and Temidayo. Each of them had unique dreams and aspirations but faced the challenge of limited opportunities in their respective fields due to their lack of networking knowledge and options. Determined to overcome this hurdle, they embarked on a journey to discover the top 7 effective online networking strategies that would change their lives forever.

Statistics: The Need for Online Networking

Before delving into their individual stories, let's take a closer look at some eye-opening statistics. According to Statista, as of January 2023, Nigeria registered approximately 122 million active internet users, which corresponds to about half of the total population. This is a huge population that presents opportunities to connect with target audience on the internet. However, only a small fraction of Nigerian understand the power of online networking and how to harness its full potentials for personal and professional growth.

Now let us see what these four individuals did to make the best of online networking. 

Amina's Poetic Adventure

Amina, a young poet from Zamfara, with a heart full of words waiting to be shared, found it challenging to showcase her work beyond her local community. She was eager to connect with other poets, publishers, and literary enthusiasts who could help her bring her poetry to the world. Through online networking platforms such as social media groups and dedicated poetry forums, Amina stumbled upon a vibrant global community of poets and authors. She joined various poetry groups, participated in online workshops, and even collaborated with established writers. This exposure not only enhanced her skills but also opened doors for her to publish her first poetry collection, receiving critical acclaim and capturing the hearts of readers worldwide.

Osamudiamhen's Creative Connections

Osamudiamhen, a talented graphics designer in Benin City, Edo State, with an eye for aesthetics, faced difficulties in finding clients for his freelance projects. He knew he had the skills, but he lacked the connections to showcase his talent. Determined to change his situation, Osamudiamhen decided to leverage the power of Online Portfolios, Website, social media platforms and professional groups related to graphic design and visual arts. He created his online portfolio on platforms Behance, Dribble, ArtStation and even went as far as building his own portfolio website using such platforms as sitecliq.  By sharing his portfolio, engaging in discussions, and offering valuable insights, Osamudiamhen captured the attention of potential clients and collaborators from around the globe. Soon enough, he started receiving regular projects from both local and international clients, establishing himself as a sought-after designer known for his unique style and creative prowess.

Chinasa's Educational Network

Chinasa, a young and enthusiastic teacher living in Enugu State, yearned to learn new teaching methods and connect with educators worldwide to broaden her knowledge. However, the lack of networking opportunities in her community limited her growth. Determined to make a difference, Chinasa turned to online platforms dedicated to education. First she learned how to create elearning courses by joining a Whatsapp group for online teachers. She found out it was not so difficult to create short videos about her lessons. Next, she started posting her videos on YouTube and Social media so she can reach more parents who could not send their kids to school. She would attend webinars, organize online classes, comment on other people posts on Linkedin and she became more visible. 

Soon, her state Governor reached out to her through the Ministry of education to work on a project to build an Online Academy for the State. Together with other local and International partners, instructors, tech companies, they created the first online school to cater for the needs of Secondary school students across the state. This exposure not only enhanced her career prospects, but also grew her revenue tremendously, and made Chinasa a sort-after teacher and instructor across the country and beyond. 

Temidayo's Agricultural Triumph

Temidayo, a passionate farmer with a deep love for the land, faced numerous challenges in his agricultural journey. He was born and bred in Osogbo in Osun State and has been farming since after he left secondary school. He was known in his community but has always dreamt of growing and finding reliable buyers for his farm produce in other parts of Nigeria. He opened special media accounts and tried to post every now and then, but did not witness much growth. One day, he attended a conference in Lagos where he met like-minded individuals in the agricultural sector and was amazed at the new technologies being used to connect farmers with consumers. He wondered to himself - where have I been all these while?

He collected some of the contacts and joined their Online facebook Groups and Whatsapp groups. He also quickly registered his farm as a business name with the Corporate Affairs Commission, built a simple website and rebranded his business. He learnt a lot by reading posts from other people where they shared their experiences, market insights, and sometimes buyers that need produce from farms. As he started commenting, he began to gain visibility and others would applaud his comment. 

Through these connections, Temidayo secured lucrative contracts with local restaurants and even established export partnerships, expanding his reach beyond Nigeria's borders. His dedication to online networking not only improved his sales but also empowered other farmers in his community by sharing the knowledge he gained.

Challenges of Online Networking: Empathy and Connectivity

While the successes of Amina, Osamudiamhen, Chinasa, and Temidayo illustrate the power of online networking, they also faced certain challenges along the way:

  • Limited internet access
  • The influence of people around you
  • Unreliable electricity supply
  • Your personality and fear of trying new things

These are also hurdles that hinder progress for many young Nigerians. Additionally, building genuine relationships online require empathy, understanding cultural differences, and establishing trust, which can be challenging to achieve through virtual interactions alone. Despite these challenges, our determined individuals persevered, adapting and finding ways to overcome the obstacles in their path.

How to Network Online for First-Timers

Recognizing the barriers faced by young first-timers, Amina, Osamudiamhen, Chinasa, and Temidayo decided to compile their experiences and craft a comprehensive guide to online networking for those just starting out. They emphasized:

  • the importance of being active on relevant online and social media platforms,
  • having a personal portfolio website or page to inform, educate and showcase yourself and your works
  • joining professional groups and communities,
  • initiating conversations,
  • be willing to help others through a shared connection for success and
  • actively seeking mentorship opportunities.

Their guide aims to empower others and eliminate the fear of stepping into the online networking world. They provide practical tips on leveraging hashtags, engaging in meaningful discussions, and reaching out to potential collaborators or clients. By sharing their knowledge, they hope to inspire and empower fellow young Nigerians to navigate the digital realm with confidence and unlock their full potential.

A journey of a 1000 steps, always begins with 1 step

The journey of these four individuals is one of getting started and being resilient. As youths in Nigeria, the opportunities are endless - huge population, global market, powerful network and a supporting family and friends ecosystem. They shattered the limitations imposed by a lack of physical networking options and embraced the digital realm with open arms. Through their determination, they proved that dreams can be turned into reality, even in a developing country like Nigeria, by utilizing the power of online connection. They showed that by reaching out, connecting, and collaborating, one can overcome barriers, expand horizons, and achieve success beyond imagination.

Remember, these can apply to anyone, in any field, in any location, across all industries. The world is waiting to connect with you - Embrace online networking, unlock your potential, and let your aspirations soar high!

This story serves as a testament to the power of online networking and stands as an inspiration for young people in Nigeria and beyond, encouraging them to seize the opportunities the digital world offers and create a brighter future.