Under The Hoodie - Peace Obinani, Social Media Lead at Piggyvest

In this edition, Peace talks to us about handling social media for a tech company, hating the 9 to 5 lifestyle, and starting a community for non-tech talents in tech.

Under The Hoodie - Peace Obinani, Social Media Lead at Piggyvest
UTH With Peace Obinani

Under The Hoodie is a weekly series where we talk to people about their journey into tech. It focuses on the intersection between life and career. UTH Week 14.

Peace is the Social Media Lead and at Piggyvest where she manages the social media support and content creation teams. She also runs Non-Tech in Tech— a community for people who work in non-technical roles within tech companies.

In this edition, Peace talks to us about handling social media for a tech company, hating the 9 to 5 lifestyle, and starting a community for non-tech talents in tech.

I’m going through Piggyvest’s social media now. How much of it do you influence?
All of it.

All the memes and funny posts?
Everything. My team also handles social media support.

How many people are on the team?
There are about 10 people currently.

What’s your day to day as the Social Media Lead of Piggyvest like?
There's the social media side of things—the content, the banter, the spontaneous stuff, reaching out to people, the interviews. Then there's the product side of things, where I'm more involved with the product itself—product iterations, fixes, working with the engineering team. And then there is the customer success/support side of things—handling escalation, responding to very difficult cases, reaching out to partners, etc. It’s FinTech so a lot of things that happen on the go, a partner could be down and that affects our service, so we have to come up with a response to the situation.

My days are usually one, or the other or all of them.

Your day to day sounds very engaging. How long have you been managing social media at Piggyvest?
It has been about a year. I didn’t start out at Piggyvest as a social media person. I started off as a customer success intern and was assigned to social media—Twitter specifically . At the time, it was just responding to customer requests and complaints.

Over time, we needed more hands and the team expanded. Eventually, my team lead at the time had to go on maternity leave and I filled in for her. That’s how I was able to step up into the role. I did a good job at handling the social media team, and I got the job full time.

Was your internship at Piggyvest fresh out of school?
No, it wasn’t. Fresh out of school, I didn’t want to do a 9 to 5, so I ran a business. At that time, I also didn’t want to go for NYSC. It took about a year after I was done with my tertiary education before I decided to go and serve.

I came back to Lagos after camp, and someone sent me a tweet from Piggyvest saying they were looking for customer success interns. I applied for it and went for the interview. Before I got home, I had received an offer letter. I wasn’t really sure about the offer since I didn’t want to do a 9 to 5, but it has been great so far because it’s not a very rigid environment.

Have you now changed your mind about the 9 to 5 thing?
No, I still don’t like 9 to 5s [laughs]

So, how do you work then?
The 9 to 5 thing isn’t really about work hours. It’s more about having to wake up, going to an office, having to dress a certain kind of way, talk a certain kind of way and all that.

So, it’s more of an idea than a fixed schedule for you?
[laughs] Yes, because of the nature of my work on social media and support, there’s no fixed schedule or holiday. Imagine Piggyvest not being online for one day. There will be chaos.

How do you think of creating social media content for a brand like Piggyvest?
I think the first thing is to understand your audience and the way you have positioned the brand. Yes, everyone knows that Piggyvest is fintech and can be serious, but over time we’ve built a nature of banter and engagement.

Over time, I’ve developed the ability to get into trending conversations, memes, you know just creating content that people find great. After that though, we always come back to the basics of reminding people of the key things like saving for rainy days and investing.

It’s a very fast paced and spontaneous environment. Sometimes I have content planned and things happen and I can’t post it. For instance, say we’re experiencing a down time and people have a challenge with withdrawing, it would make no sense to go ahead with a meme, even if we have it scheduled.

I also have a lot of autonomy on the content direction and timing. There’s no one breathing down my neck asking why we haven’t posted or questioning me about what I’ve posted.

What has been the most challenging part of your work?
Well, I think I naturally like challenges. If I don’t feel challenged, then there’s a problem. When I had to fill in for my team lead, it was like throwing me into the water and saying swim or drown. I was still finding my feet at the time and it was quite interesting to me.

Then, I think managing people has been challenging too. When I joined it was just one or two people, now we have about 10 people on the team. Many of them came in as raw talents and I had to train and micro-manage them for two to three months. That was even more stressful than when I was working on my own. Sometimes, I had to do damage control for some of their mistakes. When they settled in, it made the entire process worth it.

Then I also had to do my first official firing, which was a very hard decision for me.

What was your first firing like?
I hired two interns and one was not performing so well, and this was despite both of them receiving the same training. I understand that people don’t learn at the same pace, so I gave room for growth and was patient with the person, but they never really came up to speed.

Then there were also a lot of excuses. I understand that things happen, but there’s only so much anyone can tolerate. It was also starting to affect the team’s performance and other interns were complaining, so I had to let them go.

That sounds like it was a lot to deal with. You mentioned that you do some work with the product team, what was that like?
I started getting involved with the product as soon as I resumed. I was just this young, curious person who was eager to know everything about the company. I used to make product suggestions that I thought customers would like. Then there were certain features that we would need at customer support, and I would stay back with the product team to solve them. Then I would stay back in the office until 10/11pm. It wasn’t a problem because I enjoyed it.

As I transitioned into social media manager, I got even more involved, especially with product launches, understanding the product life cycle, creating the FAQs, the roll-out plans, the launch plans, etc.

Do you intend on transitioning into a product marketing role?
I think I’m already doing some part the work, if we’re keeping it a buck. But I hope to transition fully into the role some time in the future.

Can you tell us what your allure to product marketing is?
I like the fact that it’s cross-functional. I can’t properly manage a brand where users are not satisfied. It’s impossible to separate one’s self from that. It’s a holistic role that allows me to get things done to improve the experience of the users.

Interesting. If you were to advise someone who was looking to be a social media manager, what would you tell them?
It pretty much starts with understanding every side of the product. Since I started at customer support, it helped me understand how to relate with customers better.

You have to understand the brand, understand what you want to say and how you want to say it. You have to get a feel for the tone of the brand.

I also think it also pays to build a community, so when people engage you, they find you more relatable and can vibe with you.

I thought you were going to give us the secret to your memes
[laughs] the memes are very spontaneous. For one, I was awake watching the Euros and by 1:30 am, I had drafted it. I decided to delay it until morning so it could get maximum engagements.

It also helps that I don’t have a lot of oversight, so it gives me control over the content.

You also run Non-tech in tech. What’s that like?
I think I started it because of the narrative that once you work in tech, you have to code. Then there are also communities for technical talents but very few for non-technical people who handle crucial roles.

So, I created Non-tech in tech to change the narrative about people that work in tech, and also help people transitioning into a tech role.

You can find Non-tech in tech on Twitter here.

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