By Ayo Onikoyi
…Explains how she’s connecting brands to social influencers in Africa
Cutekimani is one of the very few bright minds in the media that is breaking through the feminine stereotypes and also trailing the blaze for others to follow.
As an entrepreneur in the media industry in Nigeria, she has worn many hats interchangeably- a new media strategist, radio presenter, publicist, blogger and even an actress – an art she has passionately mastered.
Esther Tosin Adekeye, popularly referred to as Cutekimani is the founder of Estol Africa, a subsidiary of Estol Props Media.
Estol Africa is a leading Influencer Marketing Agency in Africa established in 2014 to help brands engage their audience and build meaningful relationships through social advocacy; a company that prides itself in delivering impactful social campaigns through its network of influencers in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya.
How did the name ‘Cutekimani’ come about?
During my undergraduate days at the University of Lagos, I worked for a campus magazine where I would dig up dirty stories- about the bad guys, molestation, bribery, and social vices in school. So for security reasons, I needed to have an abstract name that could never be traced back to me. I also had a radio show where I used to dish out lots of scoops about the “Under G” activities on campus.
My on air name was Fantasia till I graduated and went for my NYSC at Silver Bird, in Port Harcourt. When Mr. Gibson Lee who was the TV director, asked the name I would love to bear now that I was in Port Harcourt, I started looking at the ceiling; then he gave me 30 minutes to come up with a name.
I told God I wanted something that defined me, which was African, interesting & hip. I got on Google and started searching till I found ‘Kimani’, an Ethiopian name that meant smart, sexy & successful. I later settled for Cutekimani when I discovered that Kimani had been taken already on social media.
Have you always wanted to be in the media or was it by accident?
I grew up as a creative child; having engaged in lots of stage plays, cultural dances, even being engaged as a child model in various television commercials from my nursery, primary and secondary school days.
I already had a lot of confidence facing the crowd and as an orator. Coming from that background, I could not have found myself in any other field rather than the creative industry. Television newscasters always fascinated me, and this was the reason I decided to study Mass Communications in the University, though I ended up majoring in Public Relations and Advertising. Therefore, it is safe to say media was all I always wanted to do.
How have you been able to gather and maintain your social media followership?
I personally don’t know any cheat code to build social media followership; it took me years to build and it takes strategy to maintain. When I got my first blackberry, twitter was one of the inbuilt apps and so I started exploring.
I was in Port Harcourt then and I believed it was a “Lagos thing” so I reached out to a friend who had about 40 followers then to put me through and give me shout outs, follow back Fridays, follow trains and all.
I started growing bit by bit, returned to Lagos and every time I was on radio I enjoined listeners to follow me, I sent broadcasts on BBM, invited my Facebook friends and it started growing more rapidly and that’s one of my strengths, I grew from offline to online. At the time the EME album was dropped, I was on the campaign, it was necessary to use all my contacts to push the album hence the need for daily BBM broadcasts, Facebook blasts and more.
Which of the social media platforms are your favorites as a social media strategist?
All of these platforms are work tools for me, so it’s not about me anymore. As a social media influencer you need to have your own strengths, you definitely can’t conquer all of the social media platforms so it’s best to own at least three and own them well. That’s why we run influencer engagements for brands, we use various influencers per platforms because we realize an influencer might have eyes for fashion, good pictures, have active 100k followers on Instagram and a little over 5k active followers on twitter. Some are Snapchat lords while some have owned LinkedIn or even their blogs. You will always catch me on Twitter and Instagram before Snapchat, Facebook or even LinkedIn. My love for Twitter was one of the reasons I started my over two-years old TweetChat tagged #KimaniOffAir. At the time I figured I needed to also have a platform where I daily inform people beyond social media, I started my website.
Based on your experience who would you call a social media influencer?
A social media influencer is an online brand advocate who talks favorably about a brand or product, and then passes on positive messages about the brand to other people, spreading the word through their personal social media pages. He is a user on social media who has established credibility in a specific field, has access to a large audience and can persuade others by virtue of their authenticity and reach. He takes part in relevant conversations across a variety of networks.
Do you make it a point of duty to post online every day?
Yes, posts go up on at least three of my social media pages every day; in fact, as a social media influencer, you should have at least two posts on your Instagram daily, be active on twitter between 6am and 12am and be active between 8am and 6pm on LinkedIn. I have account managers who also manage my account especially when I am on a trip or when we have events to live feed from, just as I also manage accounts for brands and individuals, meaning you cannot be off social media for any reason during work period. It’s so serious that at least one of my account managers travel with me just to ensure we don’t go offline
How do you manage a large network of social influencers and determine which is best fit for a campaign?
We have developed an in-house process that allows us vet, structure and categorize our talents based on certain checklist, like their areas of interests, platforms of strength, social followings, engagement rate, etc. Thereby when we get a communication brief from our client we are able to provide different classes of influencers that would be able to effectively achieve the campaign’s goal.
What are some of the brands Estol Africa has been able to work on?
Quite a lot, we have been privileged to work on some really exciting brands like Airtel Nigeria, Kenya Airways, Intel, Gala, Minimie Chin Chin, Payporte, Visa and Canon.
What’s your thought on entrepreneurship, is it learnt or innate?
Entrepreneurship is just a polished word for a hustler, and I tell you, no one learns to be a hustler, it is inborn. The first thing you need as an entrepreneur is the drive, before the skills. Even if you didn’t have the skills, the drive will push you to acquire skills. So entrepreneurship is innate.
What are your social media handles?
I am @cutekimani across all platforms