How to Network Online in the Age of Social Distancing

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Many people in the UK, United States, Caribbean and across the world have begun working remotely. If they haven’t been furloughed or laid off; schools have canceled classes for weeks; and restaurants, retail stores, bars, gyms, and other gathering places have closed or limited opening hours. Major events were postponed with a domino-like effect, including Carnival here in Jamaica, South by Southwest, and virtually all sporting events, such as the Olympics, NBA, NFL, and Champs.

These closures are all attempts to force social distancing, a crucially important global public health intervention that can help stop transmission of the coronavirus. With COVID-19, many people in the US, UK and the Caribbean will at some point, either this year or next, get exposed to this virus. Social distancing, health authorities confirm, can slow the spreading, helping to ease the burden on our delicate health care structure. Best practices require maintaining at least a six-foot distance between yourself and others.

People were already making home their headquarters As COVID-19 sweeps around the world, the virus could accelerate a trend that was already underway. Even before social distancing, the home was becoming the HQ for busy people

Google Trends

More time at home and less and less real-life human interaction, you may find that people aren’t always sure how to network in the online space. Hashtags like #WFH, #SocialDistancing #FlattenTheCurve and many other coronavirus related hashtags are sweeping the internet. TikTok dance videos and challenges like #DontRushChallenge has also become quite popular.

NETIQUETTE

Just because we are no longer forced to see each other face-to-face, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t practice etiquette or netiquette.

Netiquette means, “ the importance of proper manners and behavior online. In general, netiquette is the set of professional and social etiquettes practiced and advocated in electronic communication over any computer network. Common guidelines include being courteous and precise, and avoiding cyber-bullying.”

Technopedia.com

Just because we’re indoors and many people now have to resort to online communication, the use of WhatsApp, Zoom and social media networks have now become the norm for communicating. Here are my tips to network online that will reap rewards in the long run.

In 2019, WhatsApp reached 2 billion global users and solidified itself as the most popular mobile messaging app worldwide.

Hubspot, How Five Brands Use WhatsApp for Marketing.

HOW TO NETWORK ONLINE

Do your research: Take the time to Google the person’s name and read their bio, so you can understand what their core business is. For example, I’m in marketing so I’m looking for SMEs who need help marketing their business to the ideal customer. I often network with CEOs and Marketing Managers looking to build out their company’s online presence.

Don’t message at odd hours: Just because the internet is open 24 hours a day, doesn’t mean you need to message at 2 am! We do spend time during the day working, so at night we need to destress. Most times if you message people late at night that you don’t already have a personal relationship with, they are not in the frame of mind to do business. Try to message between the hours of 9 am-5 pm.

Master your elevator pitch: Taking a few minutes to write a script, i.e., one to two sentences introducing yourself. Saying what you do saves people’s time and we all know, time equals money. Still practice etiquette by using a greeting. Be as polite as possible.

Try to take the conversation off social media: The quicker you take the conversation offline, the better. Take the time to get the contact’s phone number or email and make plans to set up a Zoom meeting. We live in an online world but most people still like to work with people they know and trust. That often gets lost online. Set up a WhatsApp Business Account, so you never miss a question from a potential client. Being a connection, meaning friends on Facebook or a follower on Instagram or Twitter, doesn’t mean that you are trusted.

SOCIAL PROOF

Social proof is more vital than ever before, that includes your website, social media networks with a headshot and photos describing your personality are crucial to developing a social media footprint.

The website should include:

Bio, short bio, downloadable press kit, approved headshots, and contact information. Here’s the link to my press and media page.

Buy my top Marketing books of all time to help you navigate the online space.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products and companies I trust and the income goes to keeping the site up and running.

Working From Home? My Budget-Friendly Dream Home Office

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Ok, so you’ve probably gotten used to working from home but now you need to get settled. In order to work most efficiently you need a room of your own away from the hustle and bustle of family life. It’s also much easier to achieve a good work/life balance if you can shut the door on the place where you run your business.

Try to identify an underused room where you’ll be able to focus. This doesn’t need to be a huge space, but comfortable enough for you to work in. Perhaps a spare bedroom or even the garage – with ventilation of course. Here is my dream list of things I want for my home office space.

1. I’m into 20th century modern art, so I want this abstract black and white piece to compliment the pink tones. It reminds me of Robert Motherwell.

You can purchase this piece here

2. This dalmation polka-dot wall decal has me swooning. I love a good black and white accent wall.

3. Who doesn’t love white pineapples to give us that tropical feel, even though we’re inside?

Get these cute pineapples here

4. Must have: Super cute polka-dot coffee mug from Kate Spade to match my accent wall.

Get this cute thermal mug here

4. Then to monitor my water intake (gotta stay hydrated in these times) I have this cool water bottle!

Keep hydrated with this water bottle. Get it here

5. Even through I’m all about digitizing my life, I couldn’t help but covet these pink “I’m very busy” folders from bando.

This would be a great addition to your home office. Get it here

6. Don’t worry, the other side says, “Let’s Stay In.”

This is such a cool sign. Get it here

5 Reasons you Need a Website Now More than Ever Before

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The reasons why you might be resisting building a website for your business: “I’m not tech savvy”, “they’re too expensive”, “I don’t have the time”, or the infamous “I have enough business and I don’t need one”. The reality is, you don’t need to be tech savvy, getting a professional website for your business can be cheap and easy, and to make it even simpler for you – not having a website is costing you time and money.

According to Hootsuite’s We Are Social 2019 report , released for in January of last year , 1.58 million of Jamaica’s 2.9 million population are active internet users. The median age online is 31 years of age, and they like to shop!

1.You Need to Be Discoverable in Search Engine Results

People don’t just browse the Internet to discover companies they want to do businesses with; more specifically, they visit search engines. Google is the number website for Jamaicans, and when they search with keywords, you want your business to be on the first page. 93% of online experiences start with a search engine. And nearly half of these searches are for local businesses.

So, you need to have a search-optimized company website that can rank well in search engine results. This will ensure consumers are able to find, and connect with, your business.

2. It Can Help You Build Credibility

The 21st century consumer is a skeptic; and they like to look at reviews and testimonials. Having a good website instantly boosts your credibility as a legitimate business.

First impressions matter and websites allow you to make a very strong impression with a well designed introduction for your business.

A website can help showcase your expertise and better position your business. A website can be your number one tool for standing out in a crowd!

3.Your Website Stays Open 24 Hours Per Day

Unlike your business, which most likely does not operate or communicate with customers after-hours, your website stays open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. This means that even when your staff is not available to interact with people looking to do business with you, your website is accessible and able to provide helpful information, serve as a point of contact or even allow customers to make purchases or submit orders.

4.Your Competitors Probably Have One

Most small businesses don’t have their own website. Majority of small businesses DO have a presence online like social media, and it’s likely that your competitors have a website that is appealing to people in your area.

If you want to stay relevant and competitive within your field, it’s important that your business have a footprint online—it not only helps you stay competitive, but it also helps cement your role as a forward-thinking, tech-savvy business.

“If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business.”

Bill Gates

5.  It’s not as hard, or as expensive, as you think

You don’t need to be tech savvy to get a website. I can create a custom site for a reasonable cost.

It can be very cost effective. Websites offer a better return on investment than any other form of advertising. If you’re planning to market your business, a website should be your first priority.

To summarize… You need a website, and it’s easier than ever to get one.

In the 21st century, every person including a person should have a site. I have packages avaialble at my company’s website, The StorytellerAgency.co and there is a massive opportunity to help grow your business.

If you’re going to do one thing today to help your business be more successful, it’s to make getting a website your top priority.

It’s easy to be a better business. Get a website.

The COVID-19 Playlist: Reggae and Dancehall Songs for the apocalypse

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With folks self-quarantining and social-distancing — and all live music entertainment shut down — I’m putting together a stay-at-home soundtrack for the viral apocalypse until Protoje and the crew buss a livestream on us.

Turn your room into a dance with the sleek and portable design of this Marley Bluetooth speaker. Purchase here

Serious times: Gyptian

Untold Stories: Buju Banton

Justice: Sevana

Guide Over us: Sizzla Kalonji

Any Weather: Vybz Kartel

W: Koffee

Hol a Fresh: Red Dragon

Popcaan: Firm and Strong

Listen to your playlist with Beats by Dre Classic Black Headphones. Purchase here

I Can: Chronixx

Fresh & Clean: Jazz Elise

Babylon: Jane MacGizmo

Feeling Chronixxx? Buy a tee

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products and companies I trust and the income goes to keeping the site up and running.

7 Jamaican-Made Things You’ll Want on Hand If You Have to Work From Home.

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I’ve been working from home for at least 3 months now since I launched my agency, The Storyteller in January. As someone who is used to being at home most of the day, in all honesty the past few days have been difficult.

Being self-quarantined has forced me to enjoy myself more. Here are some things you need to keep on hand now you’re spending more time at home.

1. THE LABEL SNOB water bottle

During the Corona Pandemic, it makes sense to keep hydrated to boost your immune system. These super cute tumblers will save you some trips to the fridge.

Customize tumblers for every member of your family, so that no one has to fight over who gets to use the good cup! You can also keep hot or cold beverages.

2. HERBOO BOTANICALS face & body oil

If you’re practicing good hygiene but your hands are getting dry from all of the 20-second-hand-washing, use Herboo Botanicals mixed with some shea butter to help soothe your dry skin.

Herboo Face & Body oil is made with an amazing blend of coconut oil, jojoba oil and sage essential oil. This unique mixture also allows you to also remove makeup and reduce stretch marks.  Use my code, “KESI” at checkout for a discount.

3. Those Creative People’s 2020 PLANNA

I know we’re used to using those productivity apps, but writing things down improves memory. Being able to fill in the dates yourself gives you the freedom to use your planna at any point in the year, without wasting pages.

A 2020 planner from TCPtings.com helps you stay organized. Use my promo code “LNL-KESI-5” at checkout to get a 10% discount. It also helps you track things like your fitness, water intake and even moods.

4. MICA candle

Burning candles helps to reduce anxiety and lower levels of depression or stress. Using the principles of aromatherapy, scented candles can create the ideal mood and ambience for your home.

Burn this soy candle to help calm your nerves, so you can focus. Soy is better for your health: Soy burns cleaner and produces as much as 90 percent less soot than paraffin, reducing the amount of indoor air pollution produced.

5.Live Juice Bar food delivery service

Plant-based foods are better for you and the environment, besides it comes with a green juice for breakfast and natural juice for lunch. You also get your food delivered two days in advance, so this also saves on delivery costs.

6. JahMah Live Stream

Keep motivated throughout the day with JahMah livestream and play the your favourite hits. They even have playlists based on your mood.

7. One Love Duvet Cover for Naptime

Get ready for naptime and buy it here

You might want to take nap time around 3 p.m-ish. Don’t worry, we gotchu!

What are your essentials now that you’re working from home?

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products and companies I trust and the income goes to keeping the site up and running.

How to Be an Influencer/Blogger

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Fashion and beauty are popular industries to capitalize on

On Valentine’s Day, February 14th, I was specially invited by the Ministry of Education, Heart/ NTA and Kingston Creative to present on the career paths of a social media influencer and blogger to a group of children from ages 11-17 year olds, grades 7 to nine at the Creative and Cultural Expo at the Institute of Jamaica. Children from as far as St. Elizabeth came for the presentation, and it was a pleasure to have a discussion about the career paths in the digital space. The entire day was dedicated to to Creative Economy Careers! Podcasting, game development and animation were the other career paths presented and it was insightful to see how each presenter received feedback from the audience.

Every speaking engagement I do, I always tailor the presentation to the audience. (You can download the link below) These were young, bright students from all over the island, including as far as St. Elizabeth. They were responsive and eager to hear the different options available to them. I explained that their interests don’t have to be narrowed to comedy, fashion and beauty like most of the popular influencers. They can be influencers in finance, culinary arts, the environment, the topics are endless. I also wanted to make sure they understood the dangers of being a minor online and that they need their parent’s permission before they start.

With mobile penetration growing at the rate it is, it’s great to see that the government is looking to empower the next generation on the future of work, which is Digital.

Digital Transformation is something I’m passionate about and I feel that young people need to see what the world has to offer. More than 4.5 billion people use the internet globally and as of January 2019 in Hootsuite ‘s latest report, 1. 20 million of those are in Jamaica. I spoke about how I built my website in a day even though I failed HTML coding in college. 🤔 Now, why don’t you have a blog yet?

ABOUT KINGSTON CREATIVE

This post is brought to you by Love Not Likes partnership with Kingston Creative. All reviews and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.

Kingston Creative is a registered nonprofit organisation that believes that Kingston is the Creative Capital of the Caribbean. More information can be found at www.kingstoncreative.org.  The NGO is developing an Art District and Creative Hub in Downtown Kingston, Jamaica in partnership with the following “First 50” Sponsors.