Branding, Social Media

5 Ways to Enhance Your Linkedin Profile

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There is a misconception that Linkedin is not effective in Jamaica. Although recruiters and hiring managers may not frequent Linkedin, it is still a relevant way to network with other professionals and make valuable connections.

First of all Linkedin is focused on showcasing professional accomplishments, a lot of which we don’t go about displaying in our daily lives outside of work. It is the perfect place to connect with people in your industry who could potentially hire you or recommend you for a job.

So here are a few tips you can use to make your profile more appealing to potential employers:

  1. Use a professional profile photo: Take the time to invest in a professional photographer. You can hire one of many spectacular freelance photographers there are out there or you can visit Photodayz in Soverign Centre. Depending on the industry you work in you can dress accordingly. For example, if you work in accounting, you should wear a suit. However, if you work in the creative industry, you can get away with a crisp, white shirt. Women, spend a little extra and get your makeup done. A nice professional photograph just makes you put your best foot forward.
  2. Create an impactful headline: The headline under your name is the first thing people read when they search for your name. Make it count. This you can use to say one, amazing thing about you as a professional. Use adjectives that describe who you are. For example, mine says, “I build brands!” which in a nutshell what I do in my professional life. It’s catchy and it gets the attention of the people that I’m targeting– potential employers and clients.
  3. Tell a story with your bio/summary: This is the opportunity to tell a story about your professional journey and list three accomplishments you’ve made in your career thus far. Keep it concise but quanitfiable. Like for example say, “I increased productivity by 25%.”
  4. Network, network, network: Reach out to people you’ve met offline and in some instances, reach out to people you may be interested in meeting but haven’t had the opportunity yet. Be tactful in your approach. Note that while not everyone would be open to connecting with people they don’t know, others see the value in connecting online.
  5. Share valuable content: Just like any other network, sharing valuable content like blog posts, articles in your industry and quotes is crucial to raising your profile and rank on Linkedin. Share once a day to really add value. People in your network will see you as knowledgeable and come to you for advice when they need it.
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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, Marketing, Social Media, Strategy

Things I Learned from “Creating Winning Social Media Strategies”, Day 2

635987909554348478191657497_social-media-illoDay 2 had a much more in depth breakdown of creating winning social media strategies and there are several things I can share about what I learned but for me the mainstays were the following:

Create a compelling story: When thinking about your content strategy bear in mind that people appeal to positive, compelling stories. Make sure to think of the post as a conversation between the brand the customer. Speak in the voice of the brand– a voice that speaks to its personality and in the way that they can understand. This sets you apart from the noise and helps to build the brand’s story.

Best Times to Post: Now depending on the content you can determine what the best time to post for each platform. However, the times that people are most likely to see your posts are:

Twitter 12-3 pm Monday-Friday, 5-6 pm Wednesday

Facebook: 12-1pm Saturday-Sunday, 3-4pm Wednesday, 1-4pm Thursday-Friday

Instagram: Anytime Monday-Thursday, except between 3-4pm

What works in Jamaica: Jamaica is a special place with its own culture and sayings. With that said be sure to play on the few things that appeal to the Jamaican audience, which are  are culturally relevant like for example, sports–which is very important to the average Jamaican.

If you want to learn more about social media and how to create a winning strategy, I highly recommend this course. It goes into detail which is quite helpful.

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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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Marketing, Social Media, Strategy

Things I learned from “Creating Winning SM Strategies” Seminar, Day 1

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The world of social media is constantly changing and if you don’t try to keep up, you will get lost in the dust. To keep abreast of the latest technologies and also learn more about how we do social media in the Caribbean, I decided to take Carimac’s “Creating Winning Social Media Strategies” by Ross Sheil.

Ross Sheil, former Digital Manager at Digicel Group, has years of experience in the field of social media marketing as it relates to the Caribbean and is very influential on twitter, with some of his work trending on the social network. He even won a Caribbean Addy award for best social media campaign in 2015.

With that being said, I made sure to take a front seat of his class to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I went in of course expecting to know most of the stuff but surprisingly, I learned a few things!

Here is what I learned Day One of the seminar:

Boost Posts a Must for Facebook: With Facebook changing its algorithm and Instagram and Twitter following suit, to to get fans to see your posts you have to boost them. Now I thought that this was an “urban legend” but it is in fact now a mainstay for getting social media engagement on all platforms.

WhatsApp is Big: Mark Zuckerberg said, “Messaging is one of the few things people do more of than social Networking”. Now marketers don’t use it because it is not easy to track, but customers value it because its convenient to use. When we think of social media, WhatsApp doesn’t always come to mind but it is a great tool to get the message out there as people use it more often than other social platforms.

Mobile is a Dominant channel: Now I had forecasted mobile as being a trend from 2015 (Check out my post, 5 Trends Destined to Shape the Media this Year in 2015) but didn’t have the stats to back up  my claims. Based on statistics offered from Digicel, smartphone users spend on average 3.8 hours a day in Jamaica. According to Ross, that’s one day a week! Ross also mentioned that 50% of Digicel’s mobile users in Jamaica are using data plans.

Brand Advocates are Your Marketing Team: Your most passionate fans can become the best brand advocates one can have. By tapping into them as a resource it will make them feel like members of the team. More people respect and respond to tweets about brands from their friends than tweets from the actual brand itself.

Use Active Voice vs. Passive Voice: Acting voice is where subject does something and the passive voice is when the subject is acted upon by the verb. This one resonated with me as I’ve been accused of writing in the passive voice before so it’s something I can definitely learn from. Using the active voice is just a simpler, more direct way of communicating. Which works best for social.

More about Giving with a Touch of Buy our Stuff: Creating a winning content strategy you can’t just focus on getting customers to buy your product, you have to share tips on how to make people’s lives better from the brands area of expertise coupled with topics that both the brand and customer would be interested in reading.

There are a lot more tips I learned but can’t share everything. If you want to learn more, take the course. Will share Day 2 tomorrow!

 

 

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blogging, Branding, Social Media, Strategy

Social Media Day Jamaica #SMDAYJamaica: How the Popular Jamaican YouTubers do it

I missed the Social Media Week activities in 2015 for Jamaica and I must admit– I’m sorry I did. However, I’m watching the round-up of the YouTubers in Jamaica and how they do what they do.

It’s an inspiring video, not only are they giving you a breakdown of everything that you need to do to make the YouTube channel thrive but, it’s a step by step tutorial almost.

Strategy is Key

It shows you its not as easy as it might seem. Each of these presenters Dutty Berry, Quite Perry and Bella Blair have a comedic flair and natural acting ability.

What they all have in common and are very clear about it, is that they have a strategy. Watch the video and take notes.

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Social Media

Guest Blog: Why Facebook Isn’t Worth It for Small Businesses Anymore

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Source: Shutterstock

If you run a small business, you probably have a Facebook Page. Unless you’ve had this page before 2009 (the early days), you’re probably crazy stressed from trying to keep it up and running. What used to be a ‘great way to connect with fans of your brand and make new ones for free’ is now ‘only 10 of my 2,000 followers saw my last post, maaan, Facebook can go to hell’.

Somewhere along the way (precisely around the time of Facebook’s IPO), things went south. Now there are several reasons why Facebook just isn’t a great fit for businesses trying to grow their brands and connect with others on a tiny budget.

Your Posts are Subjected to Facebook’s Complex Algorithm

If you’ve ever wondered why you have 500 friends and like 20 pages (for example) but you only ever see posts from the same 10 people every time you log on, that’s because Facebook algorithm is doing some serious voodoo on your timeline. It uses a complex algorithm that assesses when a post was made, how popular a post is, how often you interact with the person/brand that made a post, among other factors to determine what you see.

So what does this mean for businesses? Well, if you aren’t a super popular brand, or you don’t constantly post irrelevant memes and funny stuff that have nothing to do with your business, your posts are probably only seen by the miniscule fraction of super brand advocates, which is about 1-2% of your total likes. Ouch.

You Have to Pay for Advertising

To get those posts seen by more people, you gotta advertise. While Facebook advertising is fairly inexpensive, it’s still using money some businesses simply don’t have. Additionally, for small businesses handling their own social media (which I highly recommend), figuring out ads can be quite a difficult, time-consuming task.

You Have to Create Highly Engaging Videos

Back to that algorithm. Another factor it considers is the type of post. While you can post plain text, linked, image or video posts – not all of them are created equal. Nowadays, videos uploaded directly to Facebook are getting the most traction. Facebook claims it’s because that’s what people are into, but it probably has a lot more to do with it competing with YouTube videos.

Of course, the business’ response to this would be upload more videos, right? Wrong. Ain’t nobody got the time or the money or the patience for that. The second best type of post is photos, another money/time suck. So now, not only are you spending on promoting the content, you’ve got to spend on creating it too. All for benefits you might not even get.

You Can’t Really Connect

Social media marketing is about brands connecting with fans and potential fans right? Facebook used to do a fairly good job with the fan connection, but they never really facilitated connecting with potential fans.

Brands can only communicate with individual persons on Facebook if the persons initiates the conversation. This isn’t so on other social media platforms. This may not seem important until you realize just how much you can do with true two-way communication. On Twitter, for example, you can follow people and join in on hot topics or relevant discussions that started without you. Can’t do that on Facebook. You can also search keywords for persons looking for your service and reach out to them, even if they’ve never heard of you. Can’t do that on Facebook either.

Wrap It Up

Sure, there are some Facebook advocates out there saying ‘Facebook reach is not dead’. Some businesses might be afraid to let go because they already spent money and time building a sizeable audience. Others might say that they are fine with spending money to create content and reach their fans.

The question is, if there are other platforms out there that will get you more attention, more engagement and better relationships, wouldn’t the switch be worth it?

Stacy-Ann Hayles is a digital marketing consultant for solopreneurs and small businesses, who spends much of her time lurking in the corners of coffee shops and drawing eyebrows on her dogs. Learn more about her services here and feel free to send her a tweet (and coffee, she loves coffee).

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