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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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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blogging, Marketing, Social Media, Strategy

Top Ten Jamaican YouTubers you Should Know

After the success of my blog post: Top Seven Bloggers to Showcase your Brand, I decided to take a more in-depth look into the YouTube industry. This is my top ten list based on subscribers and the quality of the original content:

1. Andrew Trabass is not based in Jamaica but you would never know as his accent is straight “yahdie.” His blogs are original and hilarious! Trabass’s has over 284,081 subscribers and over 49,286,894 views on his channel.

He also has a personal v-log that showcases his day-to-day life. He’s a singer/songwriter and even sells t-shirts on his website.

 

2. With boy band looks and charisma, the YaadBwoys are the hottest “yahdies” on YouTube. They over 143,844 subscribers and over 14 million views!  These guys technically don’t live in Jamaica, (they are based in Florida) but the content produced is appealing to the Jamaican teen (girls) market.

3. JamaicanMakeUpArtist offers makeup tutorials and weave reviews. She hosts over 120,000 YouTube subscribers on and 1,393,935 views. She’s ranked in the Top 100 YouTubers on Social Blade. Great for beauty products and makeup brands.

4. See2TwinTwo are Jamaican twins who basically v-log about their lives. Even though they are all grown up, these young ladies would be great for the tween market. They have over 62,000 subscribers with over 4million views! Lots of tag and challenge videos.

5. Copping the Personal Achievement Award for Excellence in Blogging at the Caribbean Blog and Social Media awards last year, Dutty Berry has been an overnight success since he started posting his reviews of Tessanne on NBC’s “The Voice.” He hosts over 60,334 subscribers and has 4,984,166 views on YouTube. He’s currently the spokesperson for #NuhDuttyUpJamaica, a Jamaica Environment Trust public education initiative geared towards keeping coastal environments clean.

He’s also been nominated for YouthView Awards’ Favourite Break Out Celebrity of 2014.

5. Award winning Jamaican Video Blog of the Year in 2012, The Duke Powell Show is funny, authentic Jamaican content with over 49,375 subscribers and over 5 198 302 views.

Popularly known for his video that went viral: “The Pum Pum Tun Up!”

6. Bella Blair is a comedic actress who writes and produces a lot of her own content. She also has a show on RETV called Bella’s Bizarre World. She was recently appointed the brand ambassador for Cran Wata. She boasts over 36,141 subscribers with over 3,690,984 views.

7. With over 15,900 subscribers, Wally British is the rawest talent on the roster. Her unorthodox preaching keeps fans engaged and screaming for more. Subject matter is very adult, so best suited for the 18 years or older crowd.

British would be a great candidate for a public awareness campaign around sex education or any subject matter centered around sex and reproductive health.

8. A modern day Louise Bennett, Carla Moore was inspired to start a channel devoted to sharing her love for her country after going away to study. Just recently, Carla presented a competition sponsored by Jamaica Jazz and Blues requesting video submissions of their best Mariah Carey impression. The winner received a 3-day pass to the event.

With over 10, 463 subscribers, she would be a great spokesperson for anything Jamaica.

9. MakeupbyPetiteSue showcases mostly makeup tutorials and weave reviews. Interesting note, she doesn’t wear foundation! She has over 5,996 subscribers and over 110,201 views on YouTube.

10. Mamachell is a well-poised, sassy media personality and lifestyle blogger who talks about everything from Teen Wolf to the Kartel Murder Trial. She would be great for partnering with brands targeting the entertainment or travel/tourism industry.

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Advertising, Marketing, Media, Social Media, Strategy

Why Traditional Media Still Matters

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Courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Traditional media is still relevant and necessary, particularly in a market where the internet usage is still dodgy. According to The World Bank, only 37.8% of the Jamaican population have access to the internet which in comparison to the U.S. (84% of the population have access to the internet) shows that we are still pretty far behind.

Mobile is steadily following suit, according to the Planning Institute of Jamaica’s Economic and Social Survey released in 2013. Mobile broadband subscribers totaled 2.8 million by June 2013. (See article reference here)

Regardless of the increase in mobile penetration, most of the content produced is customized for the users’ experience. Which basically means most of the information is in sound bite form.

So in order for the viewer to get an in-depth story, they still need to tune in to their local news. Most people also still value media entities as reputable sources of information. Not to mention the amount of hours commuters spend listening to the radio daily.

Looking forward however, integration and creating valuable content that will resonate with the Jamaican consumer will become the key to success for the media industry. Awareness and presence will no longer be enough and brands will need to make interactions as personalized as possible.

You may have already noticed how many media houses and personalities heavily use social media. For example, ZJ Sparks has over 42,000 followers on Twitter (she won the 2014 Caribbean and Social Media Award for Best DJ on Social Media) and usually tweets during air time encouraging her Twitter followers to tune in.

The show NCB’s Capital Quest, is another great example of the integrative approach. NCB Capital Quest is a reality TV show about Small Medium Enterprise (SMEs) business owners competing for a chance to win an equity investment of up to 50 million dollars.

Social media icons appear on-screen throughout the show, reminding users to engage using the hashtag #NCBCapitalQuest. NBC’s Twitter account interacts with viewers as they share their views on social media during air time. Past episodes and more information about the show are posted on their website so viewers can watch again– keeping the brand “top of mind”– even after airtime.

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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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