We tell stories to our friends and colleagues all the time. We love the way a story brings people closer together: how it always reminds you of a person or time, brings the children closer together at storytime, keeps us on the phone with our girlfriends a little longer, keeps us up late in bed to read one more chapter – just to hear a good story.
I launched The Storyteller Agency.Co in January 2020 and we had a great start building long-term partnerships with a non-profit, creating content for brands that needed to connect using locally relevant imagery. To date, we’ve worked with brands such as Joy Spence’s Appleton Estate Night Rum Tour with Freddie McGregor, Ministry of Culture, Gender, and Sport covering Reggae Month, visited by invitation only the home of Cafe Blue, Clifton Mount Estate in the Blue Mountains and several launches and appearances. We were set to work with a regional restaurant chain in March but that got put on hold. Now in its fifth month after doing some great projects, much of our activity has slowed due to COVID-19.
We often pitch to brands and are constantly working on building brand partnerships for the talent on our roster which includes YouTubers, celebrity photographers, bloggers, and influencers.
In February 2020, Hootsuite issued their annual Digital Report, of the 1.63 million internet users there were 1.30 million social media users in Jamaica*(January 2020). That study also showed that the number of social media users in Jamaica increased by 106 thousand (+8.8%) between April 2019 and January 2020. In February 2020, Instagram had 660,000 users. However, Google search still gets far greater traffic.
Google.com is the number one website and search engine in Jamaica. It’s the first place Jamaicans go to search for anything. Yet brands are still using influencers who are only on Instagram. For Reggae Month our influencer campaign was robust, it included Instagram posts and IG takeovers but were supported by blogs to spread the key messages and coverage of the campaign. The blogs ranked on the first page of Google, second to major publications.
In the age of COVID-19, brands are flocking to IG with lives but they should think more long-term. With more people staying at home due to homeschooling and working from home, brands need to focus on how people consume their products in their environment.
More people are spending time on their phones due to curfew but we also know that there is more to connecting with an audience than Instagram. An IG Live stays up for 24 hours and then disappears. I’m suggesting that brands also focus on YouTube which is ranked the second most frequented site on the internet for Jamaicans. YouTube has a far greater reach and stays “live” forever, even if you go live.
YouTuber Annesha Adams used to create travel tips for tourists wanting to visit Jamaica. She also did series on best places to go in Manchester, St. Elizabeth and so on. She had to make a shift since beaches are closed, so she’s sharing more in-depth tips on how to start your own YouTube channel and how to make money online until this is all over.
Some ideas for brands to sponsor during this time are highlighting home consumption and building an emotional connection, by sponsoring Netflix reaction videos, easy to make at home recipes, reviews of tech products and give room makeovers.
Instagram has just started a beta monetization platform, so influencers and musicians will only benefit through brand sponsorships. By going Live on YouTube, content creators can still reap the benefits of monetization even after the event has ended.