Branding, PR, Social Media, Strategy

The Future of the Press model in the rise of Social Media

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Photo Credit: INTERACT

The political landscape has changed significantly in Jamaica in the past couple of years. Social media and digital marketing in general have helped to transform it, as politicians use it as a tool to engage their voters. We saw this in the last general election. JLP was very targeted in its approach, using online digital ads to reach female voters between the ages of 24-35 years old and mobilizing its MPs to use their social media accounts to inform and participate with their audiences.

As social media continues to increase in popularity, so too will politicians using it as a direct line to the public. Politicians can get insight through comments, likes and even debates about what matters to voters. This can dictate strategy and the tailoring of messages, as politicians become more aware of what is important to the masses.

They can bypass the media, as Trump did in the US election, (using half of his ad budget on digital) and continues to do so before his inauguration.

Trump has Influence of Over 17 million

He uses Twitter as a direct line to his now 17 million followers, side-stepping traditional media, sharing his unfiltered personal views. His influence is such that traditional media comments on his every tweet, with bated breath. Instead of the news reporting their views on a topic as given to them with privilege (either through press release or press conference), they are now forced to share the news direct from the source and then try to make sense of it.

Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Andrew Holness and many other heads of state, use social media to converse with their followers. The PAJ’s desire to have more access to the Prime Minister through more press conferences, is their way of making sure that they maintain access to this privilege.

To imply that the press is asking hard-hitting questions that only they are capable of asking, is negating the opinions of the public, who are the same ones that the press is asking the questions on behalf of.

The Media got it wrong in the US election

And journalists are biased most times, even if they try not to be. When I think of the weeks I watched CNN and witnessed numerous conversations, polls and opinions in favour of Clinton’s win—only to be side lined when Trump won. Boy did the media get it wrong! They were so busy trying to scandalize Trump that they failed to listen to the public’s views and report what they found. Isn’t that after all what the press is for?

Andrew Holness’s team continues to use social media as a way to keep the public informed. It is a more calculated form of communication than Trump, as it should be, but it gives you an insight as to how social media is affecting the political landscape in Jamaica. If Andrew Holness can send a Facebook post to his over 190,000 fans and get a response in real-time over going through traditional media sources that may or may not print his story, why should he?

Integrated Approach is still Best

As a communications practitioner, I say integrated approach is still the best way to reach your audience. Using traditional media channels in conjunction with social media and PR is still important to building awareness. Having your news story told by a reputable, respected news source only gives it strength and notoriety. And this I strongly believe, read my article on “Why Traditional Media still Matters” here.

But as someone who saw first-hand how biased the media can be, I say that social media will force the press to re-evaluate their model for how they approach reporting. News will have to become much more objective and integrated with social media. The future of the press relies on it.

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Branding, PR, Social Media

My Personal View: Three Mistakes Malahoo Made

A couple of weeks ago, Marlene Malahoo Forte, current Attorney General of Jamaica and Member of Parliament for  St. James, West Central posted on Twitter that she considered the Embassy flying the rainbow flag at half mast, disrespectful to Jamaica. See the original tweet below:

malahoo-tweet-loopNow this tweet leaves much to interpretation but what we can take from it is that because there is an archaic law against buggery, the U.S. Embassy should not in any way promote the LGBT community, which the rainbow flag represents. For the record, the U.S. Embassy was flying this flag to show solidarity for the people who lost their lives in the Orlando shooting where 49 people died and 53 injured.

We can argue if this argument is valid or not depending on where you stand with gay rights, etc. but that’s not the point of this post.

She went further to post this tweet on June 19th after the backlash she received for the first tweet:

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Here’s what we can learn from Malahoo’s mistakes:

  1. Be aware of online reputation management: As a dignitary or person in a high-profile position, its important to recognise a thing called online reputation management. This is where you monitor and manage you reputation in the online space. It’s fine to have a personal opinion but to broadcast that opinion to your 1,600 followers is not necessarily the way to go.
  2. Have one account: Malahoo currently has two social media accounts. One that is for her “personal views” and one that seems to represent her professional. However, she’s using both in the same way so its not really clear which is which. Doesn’t matter which account you tweet from Malahoo, you will still be judged accordingly.
  3. Have a crisis communication plan: If you do mess up, make sure to have a plan in place. The best way to handle it is to respond to each comment with an explanation and apology.
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blogging, Branding, PR, Social Media, Strategy

Top Seven JA Bloggers to Showcase Your Brand

With the Jamaican blogging community steadily growing and brands trying to find new and innovative ways to engage, marketers need to go beyond traditional media.

Here are a few of my favorite bloggers by category:

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A post shared by Natasha Lee-Duhaney (@natashaleeds) on

Fashion & Lifestyle

1. Natasha Leeds is a young, stylish fashionista who blogs about her fashion and natural hair journey. With over 16k followers on Instagram, she has the potential to reach a wide audience. Best for 16-25 yo. Great for fashion designers, retail and department stores, lifestyle and cultural events, natural hair and beauty products.

2. Natalia OH: is a mother of two who blogs about Fashion, DIYs and Lifestyle. Best for 25-40 yo target, Twitter Followers: 5k, Instagram Followers: 8k.  Lots of #OOTDs! Winner of the 2012 Jamaica Blog Awards for the Best Beauty and Fashion Blog and is a Gleaner Lifestyle contributor.

Best for fashion designers, retail and department stores, makeup and beauty retailers, restaurants, lifestyle and cultural events and lifestyle brands.

3. Lauren O Lauren has been around for long time (see previous post on our interview with Lauren O Lauren). She moved to the US couple of years ago but still has a strong following in Jamaica. Best for 18-30 yo hipster, Gen Y group.Talks a lot about weave! Twitter followers: 6k, Instagram: 7k. Over 5,000 subscribers on YouTube. Best for tech companies, fashion designers, lifestyle and beauty products and services, fashion and retail outlets. See her most viewed blog which has over 21,000 views.

4. On Orange Street: Lifestyle blog for the life and style of young Caribbean women. Co-founded by Afayah Pendergrast and Monique Kennedy. The content is vivacious! They blog about budgeting and career building. Won the 2014 Caribbean Blog & Social Award for Best Lifestyle Blog. Small following on social networks but there is potential for growth.

Best for banks and insurance companies, the automotive industry, fashion designers, boutique shops and furniture stores, lifestyle and cultural events and lifestyle brands.

5. Irie Diva: is lifestyle Jamaican blogger who writes about a variety of topics including recipes, hair and beauty products and cultural events.Oh and her munchkin!  Twitter Followers: 3k Instagram followers: 1k

Best for cultural and lifestyle events, ital/vegetarian products, natural hair and beauty products, travel and leisure, kids

 

Make Up 

6. Chunchi is a YouTuber who averages over 500 views per video. She vlogs mostly about her makeup skills and reviews beauty products both Jamaican and US based. Twitter Followers: 4k, Instagram Followers: 1k. She would be a great advocate for makeup and natural beauty products.

Raw food fiesta 💃🍜 carrot noodle salad with garlic sesame dressing. I think I'm in love (again). #raw #lunch

A post shared by Jessica Hylton-Leckie (@jessicainthekitchen) on

Food

7. Jessica in the Kitchen won 2014’s Caribbean Blog and Social Media Award for Best Food Blog. Creates innovative, vegetarian recipes fit to be in any food magazine. With beautiful imagery, this blog would be great to feature natural food and drink products. Twitter: 1.4k, Instagram: 1k

If you know any bloggers who you think should be featured, let me know! I’m always looking for new bloggers to follow!

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Branding, PR, Social Media, Strategy

5 Trends Destined to Shape the Media this Year

Last month, myself and a few other marketers came together at a #MarketersMeetUp to discuss our forecasts for 2015. It was an interesting conversation that lead to predictions far beyond this year. These are a few that really stuck:

1. The use of Social Media Influencers.

While Facebook campaigns and viral videos are interesting and can garner likes and shares, they don’t always produce engagement that is long-lasting. With endorsements from social media influencers such as tv personalities, athletes, musicians, etc., brands can not only reach target audiences but can create long-lasting advocates who will willingly share their love for the brand.

Chris Gayle at the 2014 Miss Jamaica Universe Pageant

Had to take a selfie on stage! Lol

A post shared by KingGayle 👑 (@chrisgayle333) on

See the list below of top influencers in Jamaica by category by Twitter followers:

Sports-related: Usain Bolt (< 3.6mil), Chris Gayle (<1.9 mil), Lennox Lewis (<375,000), Yohan Blake (<300,000).

Music: Sean Paul (<1.2 mil), Tessanne Chin (<250,000), Mavado (< 200,000), Jah Cure (<190,000), Taurrus Riley (<160,000), Wayne Marshall (<100,000), Chronixx (<82,000), Protoje (<32,000)

TV Personalities: Miss Kitty (<100,000), Yendi Phillips (<60,000).

An endorsement in a tweet, Facebook post or Instagram post by these top accounts could create an impact.

2. Mobile Integration

With the invent of LoopJamaica.com and its seamless integration onto every new Digicel smartphone, having the latest news at your fingertips will allow brands to target audiences even when they are away from their computers. As mobile use continues to grow, brands will have another channel to tap into. Communication is now a two-pronged approach: stories about the brands and offerings tied into ads with the links to more information about products.

Gleaner and Observer are right behind. Both have apps available for download. Most recently, TeenAge Observer discontinued its printed publication and will now be exclusively online allowing for brands to tap into the Jamaican youth market. With the high cost of print media, the possibilities of curating content that will engage preteens and teens online is limitless.

3. Online influencing offline

With the success of Dutty Berry, a vlogger who inspired Jamaica to support Tessanne on her road to winning “The Voice” and more recently Bella Blair, brands will feel compelled to utilize these personalities to become ambassadors. The real value in their presence is that they are already engaging online, have a strong fan base and are reaching the audience in a way that traditional media sometimes doesn’t. Bella Blair for example, has a YouTube channel with over 35,000 subscribers and within the past year, received her own show called, “Bella’s Bizarre World” on RETV. Bella is creating content that is fresh, young and different but still appealing to a wide audience. Check out Bella in the new 2015 Cran Wata Ad:

Cran Wata Bella TV Ad

Check out the video that inspired the TV Ad 

4. Mobile Dominance

Its been in discussion for years and now it seems to be on the “tips of the tongues” of many folks, particularly as the rise of mobile usage and telecoms are determined to sell phones and data plans. Websites will have to be designed for mobile as you will lose the interest of readers in a second. Mobile e-commerce is also a forecast for 2015.

5. Blogger Nation

With the success of the Caribbean Blog and Social Media Awards late last year, brands witnessed the possibilities of using bloggers to create content around their messages and offerings. As bloggers continue to grow their audiences and create content that is personal and inspiring–brands will want to get on board.

Here’s Irie Dawta’s Orange Chicken recipe featuring Tru-Juice

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Branding, PR, Social Media

How do You Do Social? Lauren O Lauren

Lauren Dunn: Social Media Darling, owner of blog & YouTube channel Lauren O Lauren.com

With over 5,000 subscribers on YouTube and 8,000 Facebook friends, Lauren has been able to build a loyal fan base with whom she interacts with daily. Lauren not yet thirty, has been working in the media industry since she was 17 years old. With the success of her televion show on Jamaica’s cable tv station Flow 100, Lauren has been able to continue her connection with her audience even after moving to the US with the help of social media. She’s charismatic, bold and fashion forward. What makes Lauren unique is her ability to not just do a fashion feature but encourage her viewers to read books like “Damn Good Advice” by George Lois and find their life’s purpose. She tweets her  random thoughts, world views and quirky ideas to her 6,200 twitter followers and she’s not afraid of being vulnerable, daring  and at times — downright funny.

Here’s Lauren’s take on her social media success:

“Social Media has not only helped my career but in a large respect is responsible for the continuation of it. I started out on television but because of social media I was able to reach a broader audience and maintain the ones I had reached on television. TV shows don’t run forever,so during off season or when I’m not filming I can still keep my fan base close and keep them thoroughly entertained.”

What advice would you give others on using  social media to build their careers?

“If you’re trying to make a name for yourself the best way to do that is by NOT trying to make a name for yourself. Just do what it is that you do and do it better than anyone else can, even if it means spending more time getting it done than others in your field or doing over and over again. Let your work speak for you before you know it your name will build on its own. Be different than mainstream, mainstream is great but it’s easy to fall in line. I don’t go out of my way to stand out but I have realized that regardless of what I do or say I do stand out, my views and opinions have never been inline with the general public and that has been my claim to fame. Being yourself and being able to stand your ground is very important there will be days when you are the only person in the world who believes in your dreams.”

Go check out Lauren’s blog . She showcases fashionistas every Tuesday. Follow her on twitter @LaurenoLauren and Instagram @LaurenoLauren. Send your Fashionable pictures to show@laurenolauren.com

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Branding, PR, Social Media, Strategy

Promoting Events on Social Media

Photo Courtesy of Client Magnets.com

Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of covering an event for the organization I work for. It was remarkably organized and all of Washington’s elite were in attendance.

Now you may ask if the event was so well attended, what would be the benefit of social media? The great thing about social media, particularly twitter is that allows a conversation between people who may or may not know each other or have the opportunity to talk to each other at an event.

Here’s the best way to promote your event on social media:

Pre event: Be sure to create an event page on Facebook and invite every member of the group. Ask the event planners and other stakeholders to invite guests as well. Facebook has a new feature in which you can actually add a link to the where the tickets are being sold.

Be sure to ask guests to check in on Four Square. Four Square is a tool in which when used correctly can create a great buzz around your event.

Use a hashtag: By creating a hashtag it helps people follow the story and contribute to conversation by commenting on the event. The event I worked on had a great conversation going on about issues affecting Africa and the world economy. Former Presidents, Prime ministers, ambassadors, even Grammy Award winners were in attendance.

Showtime:

Promote the use of social media. Ask the audience to engage and if possible publicize for people to see. People like to feel as if they their experience is interactive.

Post Event: Make sure to post pictures on social media with captions of attendees. The quicker you do this, the quicker the buzz around the event will continue. The people who did attend will be anxious to see the pictures of themselves and their friends, as well as the other attendees and the people who were not able to attend will want to see pictures of people who did.

Storify: Make sure you storify it and share it with your audience, this is just another way to keep people talking and perhaps read some of the comments they may have missed from the event.

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