Towards the twilight years of the last decade, as Instagram gossip blogs took over dominance in the Nigerian cyberspace, Victor Ehindero, CEO, PotTV, was determined to have his fair share of the digital pie. So, he moved to WhatsApp, knowing that platforms like “Instablog were already emerging,” and Instagram had become a saturated space.
Ehindero recounts his journey from Instagram to WhatsApp. Take a look at our blog.
WhatsApp’s move to WhatsApp
Ehindero discovered that Instagram was already saturated the moment he joined it. He is not going to be discouraged. In August 2016, he switched to WhatsApp and began broadcasting news to his contacts.
Miles away, Snapchat’s founders had refused to sell the company to Meta, then known as Facebook. Meta launched the 24-hour-per-hour features that made Snapchat so attractive across all of its platforms.
On WhatsApp, one of Meta’s products, Status was launched, modelled off Snapchat. This was Ehindero’s big win.
It has been our area of expertise for a while. Victor Ehindero, PotTV’s CEO
How to pivot to content creation
He changed from broadcasting to posting on his Status. He posted news content, but he soon realized that it was impossible to make a profit in this space. WhatsApp was planning to launch a misinformation campaign. Misinformation became a major concern. He thought it was a poor bet but that it could be salvaged.
“If we were going to be a news platform, we had to have credible news,” he said.
“For a while, we were posting news and other content, but we discovered that people only want news because when it’s breaking. We decided to get out of that news sphere in order to be above the noise. Then, we concentrated on content that we could find from Twitter. What we did was post reactions to the news.”
Victor Ehindero began to move beyond just reacting to the news and started to work on keeping his viewers engaged and glued with his status. He started to host what he called at the time “Relationship 101, and “Confession nights,” asking viewers trivia questions and posting memes to answers.
“The content we are sharing on our platform, the activities we were doing, were generating so much organic buzz that many other people wanted just to join,” he said.
“We told our viewers ‘if you like what we’re doing, invite your friends’. We had so many mouth-to-mouth recommendations.”
To increase his contact list
Ehindero wasn’t sure they would invite their friends, but “they invited them because it was something new. It wasn’t like the usual ask to go on Twitter or Instagram. People started trooping in, saying, ‘please save my contact, I want to view your status’. That was how we started building it.”
He rebranded under PotTV and has enjoyed an upward trajectory.
“We were growing by crazy numbers. People fell in love what we were doing. It was like a fresh breath of social media,” he said.
Inadvertently, he launched a new group of WhatsApp influencers. They have created a variety of brands of content over the years for their WhatsApp contacts and monetised the platform in the same way as Twitter, Tiktok, and Instagram influencers.
“People started setting up their own, saying ‘this thing is possible. I can do my own.’ We are widely acknowledged as the source of WhatsApp influencers,” he said.
On building a media empire
PotTV’s traffic grew quickly after he began monetizing it in 2018. It was time to expand.
“I realized I needed a working structure in late 2018. Most people don’t realize that we have a full working structure at the backend,” he said.
It was too much for me to handle alone. The foundational team was born. Victor Ehindero
He is now on the brink of creating his media empire. He has opened an office, complete with a studio, and has over 15 employees on PotTV’s monthly payroll.
“We have customer care. We have an advertisement inquiry section. We have content writers. We are gradually evolving into a media company,” he said.
This rise hasn’t been without any huddles. As many other WhatsApp influencers have discovered, there is a limit on WhatsApp’s growth. WhatsApp won’t allow more than a certain number of people to view one’s status.
He quickly created three additional accounts to accommodate more users. His status can be viewed by over 170,000 people, with an average of 30,000 to 40% per hour. This is, of course, excluding people that turn off read receipt, who when they view one’s status, one can’t know.
“We have one of the most active platforms,” Ehindero said.
Even though rumours continue to swirl that WhatsApp influencers may sell their contacts for some extra coins to advertisers, PotTV is still building the trust of its contacts.
What’s next for PotTV and Victor Ehindero?
“Our goal in the next year is to double that number,” he said.
“We have launched our office and we have a studio set up already. We are looking to make a quiet move into the media business, offering media services. We are growing into a very big media and advertising company.”
“That’s just it for us, growth,” he added. “We’ve cracked the code, and I trust that everything is going to go smoothly.”