Nigerian Gospel artiste, Nathaniel Bassey, led what was in effect a movement called the #Hallelujahchallenge, with over 70,000 participants joining in a daily midnight praise and worship session, live streamed on Instagram and Facebook. This feat is unprecedented in Nigeria
Nathaniel said the challenge was as a result of God’s inspiration
“I just sensed that God wanted us to praise him in the month of June, in the midnight hour based on Acts 16:25-26 and the kind of praise should be the hallelujah kind of praise.”
As at June 15, the Peak of the challenge with a lot of controversy and attention, Statistics from Evolve Press reveal 10,000 posts with the hashtag “#HallelujahChallenge” and over 18,000 with the hashtag “#olowogbogboro” making it the number one trend in Nigeria. Stats from the last 500 posts for hallelujahchallenge showed it reaching over 3, 000, 000 people with an impression of 4,000,000
According to Bassey, he did not imagine the movement would become so popular on Facebook and Instagram. “The number of people joining the challenge keeps rising on a daily basis, the last session had over 70,000 people and that’s not including the over 90,000 who joined via Facebook,” he said. it even got him a feature on CNN
Here are some of the key takeaways from the #halleluyahchallenge
Religion and Social Media are not oil and water
Prior to the #halleluyahchallenge, social media was mainly seen as a tool for business or entertainment. It was unheard of perhaps even undreamt of, for a religious movement to garner such a large number of views consistently for a period of one month. Nathaniel Bassey has succeeded in proving that Social Media is simply a platform. Once you have the right content, anyone can use it to spread the message to large numbers
Live Performances- Bye stage, hello social media
Another thing that the 30 days of #olowogbogboro taught us was that it is possible to have live performances to huge crowds on social media without the traditional venues for such performances. Nathaniel Bassey for 30 days attracted over 70,000 people combined via Facebook and Instagram watching what was at the core a one hour daily worship performance from a small living room. We have watched clips of live rehearsal sessions online and replicating such a thing for musicians or performers in future is possible with good thought. They would definitely need good sound, short performances not more than an hour or two (because after all this is still Nigeria and Data is expensive) and a time when people are not too distracted. The only thing to left to figure out will be how to monetise the views as there will be no income from ticket sales.
Your content must be relevant
One thing we cannot dispute is that content is King. Nathaniel made sure his content even though inspired by the Spirit of God was relevant to his target audience- Nigerians. We are a very religious lot and any opportunity to Praise God or pray either for our advancement as a country or individual progress is welcome. Even big name celebrities such as Funke Akindele, Rita Dominic, Omoni Oboli caught the bug and were consistently seen joining the session. It even became fashionable with people screen-grabbing shots of themselves participating and commenting and posting it on their handles.
Engaging your audience is key
This is something we have heard over and over again but Bassey walked the talk. He frequently shared testimonies of participants who benefitted from the Challenge. He put up testimonies of successes he believed the challenge recorded such as the arrest of Kidnap kingpin, Evans. He was consistent with his content even in the face of criticism from the likes of Joy Isi Bewaji and popular OAP Freeze. Similarly, even when he was unable to participate due to travel and other engagements, there was always someone to stand in his stead.