What the brand needed

In 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the African continent, we were faced with several challenges. Isolation took away many primary sources of income and job losses were fast seeing people being forced to turn to their entrepreneurial side to make a living. This was a time when the brave stood out and the inventive spirits of our people jumped at the chance to grab the bull by the horns of ‘the new normal’.

The era of the side hustle had indeed arrived – and in some cases, even become primary income streams. Meta was there for their communication needs every step of the way.

As the largest social network company in the world, owning Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, never before has Meta had the opportunity, or indeed responsibility, to facilitate human connections as they did in the time of isolation. With people being the centre of Meta’s business, they wanted to showcase how their technologies could assist entrepreneurs and creators in times of reduced marketing options, seamlessly and directly connecting them to their audiences, with quantifiable results.

To that end, the integrated #Changemakers campaign was created. The campaign was curated to showcase how small businesses, entrepreneurs and creators are using Meta technologies to uplift both themselves and their communities.

The campaign was named #Changemakers to highlight how individuals from across the Southern African region used Meta technologies to promote and inspire change in others, while also uplifting themselves and their business ventures.

The nature of the campaign would also be a humanised approach, demonstrating the findings of an earlier study, which showed that 84% of African SMBs that use Meta technologies find them critical in growing their business. These statistics serve as legitimacy to the campaign, while also underscoring the prevalence of Meta in the targeted markets. But nobody cares about the numbers; the campaign needed faces and stories to bring it to life.

Insights and execution

The campaign aimed to speak to consumers, entrepreneurs, and SMB owners across Southern Africa, with strategy aimed at inspiring people to engage with Meta’s platforms (Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp) and use them to create and conduct business initiatives in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, we highlighted how Meta technologies could connect people and serve as a space for self-expression and assist in pursuing and achieving goals important to them and those in their surroundings and circles.

By partnering with reputable PR and multimedia agencies from across Southern Africa, we created a series of short-form videos documenting each subject’s experience of using Meta technologies.

These videos were showcased across Facebook and other relevant social media platforms (including a Facebook Live event), while also gaining coverage throughout traditional media outlets.

The #Changemakers campaign launched hard and fast on 2 December 2021.

The subjects featured were made up of South Africans, Zimbabweans, and Zambians, all operating in different sectors and fulfilling different need using Meta’s technologies. Each video, structured as a vertical short-form docuseries and one to two minutes in length, included first-person interviews of the subjects, who described their ventures, supplied contextual information, commented on their relationships with their audiences and greater community members, and the impact that Meta’s technologies had on their business.

The results

Manifesting from a single social media platform, the success of the #Changemakers campaign is easily measured by its performance not only with the results on that platform, but also its ability to take hold in the real
world through other portals. The campaign demonstrated Meta’s ability to tell stories, to reach people and to demonstrate the capabilities of its technologies and how it is best applied for the betterment of mankind.

The campaign received sizable coverage in three countries across Southern Africa. Sentiment was mostly positive and straightforward, with notable coverage coming from Good Things Guy in South Africa, Chronicle in Zimbabwe, and News Day in Zambia, and included newspaper print articles, online articles, broadcast segments, and tweets from notable public figures.

Some of the notable performance statistics include:

  • All videos of Meta #Changemakers were watched for 58,326 minutes in total.
  • Over the course of the campaign, the posts got a total of 11,628 reactions, 1759 comments, and 463 shares.
  • The campaign reached a total of 2,163,862 unique accounts.
  • The campaign preamplifier post reached 364,962 people, gained 376,361 impressions, and 4683 engagements.
  • Each of the #Changemakers videos reached over 135,000 people and gained over 3600 engagements on Facebook.
  • The #Changemakers Facebook Live event reached 174,580 people and gained 14,734 engagements.
  • Every day, an average of 220 fans commented on the campaign posts.

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