Plaqad, a marketing and public relations software company, is set to release a proprietary marketing platform that lets brands advance an affordable, data-driven campaign from start to finish. The platform, which automates the entire campaign workflow, gives users the ability to find and hire talent and service providers, launch a campaign, track and measure campaign performance and process vendor payments—all in one place.
Plaqad launched its initial offering, SocialCred, a free influencer and social media ranking tool, in June. SocialCred is a free influencer and social media ranking tool that leverages non-traditional metrics to measure influence on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
It provides social media users with actionable insights to grow their influence, while also providing brands with sufficient data on influencers to make informed decisions on which creator to partner with. The tool, by downplaying traditional metrics like reach and impressions, also helps to counter influencer fraud and measure real engagement.
Plaqad, first established in 2017 as a startup within BlackHouse Media (BHM), one of the most successful PR companies to come out of Africa, was built to connect brands and individuals to bloggers, news websites, publishers and social influencers.
Today, Plaqad, strengthened by a community of over 15,000 influencers, creators and publishers, has successfully placed over 25,000 pieces of content on social and web platforms across four continents. It has paid out over $1 million on hundreds of campaigns to members, in effect helping its program members monetize their content, platform and influence.
“Plaqad, a contorted way of spelling the word ‘placard,’ is a protest against the norm,” said BlackHouse Media and Plaqad Founder, Ayeni Adekunle. “In line with our mantra ‘Make Your Voice Heard,’ we continue to live our mission to help businesses irrespective of their sizes, location or budget, reach and effectively engage their audience. We conceived the idea for Plaqad to help democratize an important aspect of modern communications.”
Amplifying Your Brand’s Message
Plaqad houses two broad products: PlaqadM, an online freelance marketplace that connects brands to thousands of freelance service providers, and PlaqadIQ, a robust set of social media tracking and analytics tools, to measure and optimize the performance and impact campaigns.
While both products sit on one platform, brands do not have to utilize or pay for both. For example, a brand can pay to track a campaign using PlaqadIQ without having to hire service providers on PlaqadM. This flexibility is also reflected in the platform’s payment models. Plaqad users can choose to pay a monthly or annual subscription, depending on their needs and usage frequency.
“Our platform gives every individual and brand a voice in the marketplace by opening up access to quality talent and tools and automating the entire process of executing PR and marketing campaigns,” said Plaqad CEO Gbenga Sogbaike. “Plaqad levels the playing field, giving SMBs the ability to connect to quality service providers regardless of budget, while also tracking their campaigns real-time all in one place.”
The Plaqad platform is the result of years of industry experience, active listening, data and insights gathering and solution-driven engineering to uniquely solve age-long PR and marketing issues.
Brands and agencies still grapple with challenges relating to limited access to quality talent, poor attribution, opaque agency and influencer practices and a largely cumbersome and slow engagement process. By providing brands, agencies and individuals with the tools and resources they need to effectively engage their desired audience in a seamless and measurable way, Plaqad is helping to address some of these issues.
Plaqad’s history is rooted in innovation, from being the first to create a content trading social network for bloggers, news websites, publishers and social influencers (micro-bloggers), to launching Africa’s first Influencer Compensation Report.
Its parent company BHM has been named PR Agency of the Year for three consecutive years and has published the continent’s only PR report since 2015. BHM built Africa’s first PR app and was named the Best PR Agency to Work in Nigeria in 2017. Its roster of blue-chip clients includes Heineken, ViacomCBS, Coca-Cola, Reckitt Benckiser, MTN and Multichoice. When BHM rolled out its U.K. operations earlier this month, it became the first Nigerian PR firm to go international. Founder Ayeni Adekunle is a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA).
“We are driven by innovation and it is reflected in the solutions we bring to the market,” said Ayeni. “With Plaqad, our goal is to build the most convenient and efficient community-led marketing platform. We want to build communities that give people the power to directly collaborate and exchange value on multiple levels, and ultimately give everyone—organizations and individuals—the power to make their voices heard, without barriers.”
SocialCred is Plaqad’s response to the mushrooming issue of influencer fraud and fake news. Its algorithm measures real influence and minimizes influencer fraud by downplaying traditional metrics like follower count, reach and impressions, focusing instead on engagement rate, audience sentiments (positive, neutral or negative), content quality and the creators’ ratio of original to shared posts within a 30-day window.
While designed as a tool for influencers and the brands that want to engage with them, the free app is available to all social media users. Individuals are awarded badges—titled A-Lister, Big Shot, Socialite, Trend Setter, JJC, Superstar, and Learner—based on their rankings.
Beyond the fun factor, SocialCred’s badges serve an important function, helping brands assess and select influencers based on their influence quotient across Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. The platform makes it easier for brands to find genuine influencers who can drive real actions.
It also helps influencers to get better—and acquire bigger and better badges—by offering tips and tools to boost their visibility and social credibility.
“Influencer fraud is one of the biggest threats to the success of brand campaigns,” said Sogbaike. “SocialCred is our first step to promoting greater transparency and accountability in influencer marketing, thereby helping practitioners to counter influencer fraud. SocialCred separates real influencers from those simply faking it. We will keep adding new features to improve the app and expand its use cases.”
SocialCred is available now.
The Plaqad platform, including PlaqadM and Plaqad IQ, will be in full release beginning today. From November 30 through December 15, Plaqad is offering brands, agencies and individuals the opportunity to test drive the game-changing platform at no cost. For more information, visit plaqad.com.
Nigerian Telcos Deploy 53,460 3G, 4G BTSs, 55,725km Optic Cables—Danbatta
The Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta said that third generation (3G) and fourth generation (4G) base transceiver stations (BTS) deployment in Nigeria has increased from 30,000 to 53,460 in the last five years.
Prof. Umar Danbatta who disclosed this stated that fibre optic transmission cables expanded from 47,000km to 54,725km in the same period, resulting in improved broadband/telecoms service delivery to Nigerians.
He stated this at a briefing for the new Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Engr. Festus Yusuf Daudu, on the functions and regulatory activities of the Commission in Abuja on Tuesday.
In the comprehensive briefing, the EVC spoke on NCC’s enabling laws, its mandates, structure, implementation approach of its mandates and methodology, key focus and targets, scorecards, the new soon-to-be-unveiled Strategic Management Vision (SVP), NCC’s contributions to the economy, various regulatory frameworks aimed at improving service delivery, challenges confronting the sector and proposed solutions, among others.
According to him, the effective regulatory regime put in place by the leadership of the Commission has resulted in increased deployment of infrastructure by telecoms operators, which in turn, helped to improve broadband penetration and other related service delivery in the telecoms industry.
“The BTS, fibre optic cables and other related infrastructure are central to the provision of improved service experience for Nigerians by their respective telecoms service providers,” he said, adding that the licensed Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) are also expected to add 38,296km to optic fibre cables when they commence fully operations.
According to the EVC, as at November, 2020, active telephony subscribers stood at 208 million with teledensity standing at 108.92 per cent while active Internet subscriptions were 154.9 million and a broadband penetration of 45.07 per cent, among others.
He also talked on various initiatives undertaken by the Commission to ensure consumer protection and empowerment. These, according to him, include the Declaration of 2017 as Year of the Telecom Consumer, introduction of the 622 Toll Free Line for lodging and resolving consumer complaints and the provision of the 112 Emergency number and activation of 19 Emergency Communications Centre (ECCs).
Other such consumer-centric regulatory measures intervention, according to the EVC, include, issuance of various directions to mobile network operators (MNOs) to protect the consumers from being short-changed, ensuring smooth transition of Etisalat to 9Mobile, consumer outreach programmes, introduction and enforcement of mobile number portability (MNP) as well as introduction of the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) 2442 to check cases of unsolicited text messages.
The EVC disclosed that the number of subscriptions to DND service has hit over 30 million as the service empowers Nigerians to be able to protect themselves from the menace of unsolicited text messages.
In recognition of the tremendous economic growth opportunities afforded by the deployment of broadband and its associated technologies, Danbatta said the Commission has positioned itself in government’s drive for a digital Nigeria, as contained in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020 – 2025), the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (2020 – 2030) and the Strategic Management Plan (2020 – 2024) of the Commission.
“The Commission will continue to put in its best in the discharge of its mandates, especially in facilitating the deployment of broadband, which is central to diversifying the Nigerian economy and national development. Also, it is our belief that the communications industry, under the leadership of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, will experience more quantum leaps and retain its current leadership role in the telecommunications space,” he said.
In his reaction, the Perm Sec commended the leadership of the Commission, acknowledging the upward growth attributed to the effective regulatory regime, the central role NCC is playing in the digital transformation of the Nigerian economy as well as the impressive contribution of the sector to the country’s Gross Domestic (GDP).
“I want to thank NCC for its contribution to the Nigerian economy so far. I am not exaggerating about the achievements of NCC, in terms of contribution to GDP and how NCC’s effective regulatory role has been helping the economy in so many ways,” he said, adding that NCC leadership also contributed to his success as the Chairman of the World Radio Conference in 2015.
Engr. Daudu urged the Commission on the need for increased collaboration and teamwork with the Ministry, other agencies and industry stakeholders towards achieving the Federal Government’s objective of a digital economy. He also promised to support the Commission in whatever ways possible towards achieving its regulatory mandates.
UK-Nigeria Tech Hub Unveils Virtual Capacity Building Programmes
The UK-Nigeria Tech Hub has launched amongst others two virtual programmes- the Design School Programme for aspiring product designers seeking to start a career in tech and the Future Females Business School programme for early-stage female entrepreneurs with tech-enabled businesses in Nigeria.
The Design School programme will run for two months and will provide an opportunity for 30 aspiring product designers to undergo an intensive training to equip them with necessary digital and product design skills. Application closes on January 25th 2021 and interested persons can apply using this link- http://bit.ly/DufunaDesignSchool
The Future Females Business programme is targeted at providing 100 early-stage female entrepreneurs with tech-enabled business in Nigeria an opportunity to upskill and gain digital skills aimed at bringing their business to life. The programme will run for 3 months and will include 10 modules, masterclasses, coaching sessions and guest features of industry experts in Nigeria. Applications closes on January 25th 2021 and interested persons can apply using this link- https://futurefemales.typeform.com/to/zGzqkKbV
While encouraging interested applicants to apply, the Country Director of the UK-Nigeria Tech Hub, Honey Ogundeyi said: “These programmes will help promote gender inclusive economic growth as well as upgrade digital skills in Nigeria thereby developing the tech-ecosystem.”
FG Happy As Telcos Link 48m SIM Cards With NIN
The federal government has lauded Nigeria’s telecommunications operators for linking 47.8 million subscriber identification modules (SIMs) with the national identity number (NIN) in the ongoing exercise.
At an average of three to four SIMs per subscriber, this means many millions will be linked up before the deadline in February 2021. This was disclosed at the end of a review meeting on 18th January 2021 by the Technical Implementation Committee under the Ministerial Task Force.
The committee reported significant progress in the ongoing NIN-SIM linkage exercise. So far, a total of 47.8 million NINs have been collected by the mobile operators.
Reacting to the report, the minister of communications and digital economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, expressed satisfaction with this commendable achievement, saying government appreciates the commitment demonstrated by all stakeholders and citizens and urged them to submit their NINs before 9th February, 2021 deadline.
The minister urged the technical team to fast-track the processes so that the project is delivered soonest. The technical committee drew attention to the App developed by federal government which allows subscribers to link up to a maximum of seven SIMs to their NIN.
The minister concluded by reminding Nigerians to secure and protect their NINs, urging subscribers to desist from selling their NINs or allowing others to use their NINs for registration. “For any action committed with the SIM, good or bad, it will be officially traced and attached to the NIN owner,” the Minister warned.
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