How to Network Online in the Age of Social Distancing

Featured

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.

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

Featured

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.

Featured

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.

My 1st Podcast Interview EVER! With Latoya Wakefield of Tallawah Podcast.

Featured

I’m brutally honest in my first podcast about my struggles as a single parent, my depression, working in a male-dominant industry and the sacrifices I’ve had to make to get ahead. I’m grateful to no longer have to ask for permission to be who I am.

Listen to my one-hour interview as I talk about the journey of founding Love Not Likes and The Storyteller Agency. Co.

EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS
• I share why I believe Jamaica is ten years behind digitally.
• “I’ve always said I want to be paid to be myself.” As a creative, through my agency, I am able to focus on creating opportunities through visibility and attraction marketing.
• The Storyteller Agency Co. aims to create a buzz online, typically for the less mainstream events. Their focus is to create experiential experiences to up-level interest and exposure within the digital space.
• “For me achievement is being recognized in my community.”
• I talk about my struggle with depression intermittently throughout her journey, my credit to therapy, meditation and consistently practicing gratitude as essential in keeping grounded.
• About success and finding your own path, I state, “You need to find the empty spaces in the market that are not being utilized and that, of course, depends on your interest and what your niche is.”

Me with some of the Love Not Likes Blogger community at the launch of Caribbean Dreams fusion media launch

Listen www.anchor.fm/tallawah-podcast .

7th Annual Jamaica Music Conference: Traditional vs. New Media

Featured
Photo Credit: William Richards

I was invited to be a panelist at the 7th Annual Jamaica Music Conference to discuss the social and Emerging Media for the future of reggae and dancehall music. I was invited because we are currently running an influencer campaign for the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport’s Reggae Month’s activities, highlighting some of the great cultural activities and special events on the schedule.

The panelists were on the new media side: Ari Hammond and Naro Hart, Hosts, of The Fix Podcast on YouTube and representatives of traditional media: Ellen Khoelings and Pete Lilly from the popular German-based reggae magazine, Riddim Magazine. And me, the Founder of Love Not Likes, a blogger/influencer network. Although Love Not Likes is fairly new, I’ve been working in marketing and communications for over a decade and so I’m familiar with both mediums.

Photo Credit: William Richards

It was a great opportunity for me to show that they are also different kinds of non-traditional media platforms like CaribVoxx, KingstonCityLife, Haute People and LuxuryJa, dedicated to creating great local content that can also connect with the Diaspora.

Watch part of the discussion on OnStage’s YouTube channel.

Correction: YouTube is number two, not number the number one social media channel.

ABOUT JAMAICA MUSIC CONFERENCE

This is a sponsored post by The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport for Reggae Month. All reviews and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.


Jamaica Music Conference is the preeminent music conference that connects music artists, creatives, and entrepreneurs globally with the who’s who in the Jamaica music industry. Now in its 7th staging, the JMC provides an opportunity for independent music professionals to network and collaborate with industry peers, seasoned professionals and creatives, showcase emerging talent,and learn best practices and gain insights into the ever-changing business of music, through relevant panel discussions and interactive workshops.

Down in Jamaica Where I Born and Grow: Ode to Reggae Month

Featured

Love Not Likes blogging network I founded recently signed on to help The Ministry of Culture, Entertainment, Gender and Sport to spread the word about Reggae Month in the online space including social media and blogs.

The goal of Reggae Month is to attract international acclaim for Jamaica as the reggae mecca of the world, enhance travel and tourism for the month of February, and provide an educational platform of entertainment for all ages.

One of the bloggers was out of the country and I filled in, so I went to Montego Bay to cover the first Children of the Icons concert held in Sam Sharpe Square. The first thing I have to tell you about these Reggae Month events is that they are all FREE. It’s amazing to see the wonderful talent that exists in this country.

We traveled on the bus with the musicians who were mostly quiet and reflective. When we got to the Square, I was amazed by the set up. The backdrop was the Sam Sharpe Cultural Centre and on the side of the building was Haile Selassie looking down on us.

The acts that came on were Imeru Tafari (Ifrica’s son), Jahbari, Indie Allen (who is slated to be at the Jamaica Rum Festival March 1st, 2020, another great event put on by the Ministry of Tourism) considers himself an emerging artist but I must say he’s now my new favourite. With charisma that of a seasoned performer, his song, ” Catch a Fire” is now fully repeat on the playlist. Another amazing performer was Richie Spice, who energized the crowd. Richie Spice sang all the songs I’d hadn’t heard in years–Earth a Run Red, Brown Skin, Ghetto Girl…all of them!

Richie is the representation of everything Reggae Month represents, the brother of Pliers and has been singing since the 90’s. He’s been traveling around the world, carrying the message of reggae all the while staying true to himself. Giving the same energy that he would have given a crowd of 10,000 people, I was honored to hear his new release, “Together We Stand”.

Jamaica Jamaica Exhibition launched 02.02.2020, a palendrome day–the first one in 909 years. Photo Credit: Courtseye Visuals
Ebony Patterson’s installation was the nod to the future of reggae music. Photo Credit: Courts Eye Visuals
Diedre in Wanderland covered Reggae Month’s IG Stories for the launch of NGJ’s Jamaica Jamaica exhibition

On 02.02.2020 the first global palindrome day in 909 years, according to CNN.com, The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports, the National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) and the Jamaica Music Museum along with with La Philharmonie de Paris opened the first of its kind Jamaica, Jamaica!

World Nomad contributor and international travel writer Diedre of http://www.DiedreinWanderland.com was assigned to cover the exhibition as well as the film series for the month. She took over Reggae Month’s IG stories for the day and showed what to expect from the exhibition. Check out http://www.instagram.com/reggaemonthja IG highlights to see an insider’s view of the exhibition.

Initially launched at Philharmonie de Paris in 2017 and titled after the 1985 hit song by Brigadier “The General” Jerry, Jamaica, Jamaica! examines Jamaica has become an extraordinary force in the world heritage and history of music.

From the Afflicted Yard’s photos of Sean Paul, Ninja Man and Vybz Kartel to Peter Tosh’s famed M16 Guitar and the rod that late Prime Minister, Micheal Manley stretched out to the audience as he shared the stage with music icon Bob Marley and late Prime Minister Edward Seaga during the historic “One Love” Peace Concert in Kingston in 1978, the “Jamaica Jamaica Exhibition” features rare memorabilia, photographs, audio-visual clips and art pieces that provides evidence of the potency of how music simultaneously shaped Jamaican culture while impacting world history.

Jamaican music is known world wide yet, its rich history and diversity is often overshadowed by its most famous icon, reggae superstar Bob Marley. This exhibition aims at showcasing a broader vision that has allowed the world to know the island’s music, by digging deep into its past and present in search for the roots of “rebel music”, beyond the cliché and the postcard.

The most ambitious exhibition ever staged on the topic, Jamaica, Jamaica! celebrates the musical innovations born on the island in its specific historic and social contexts, unveiling the story behind the musical genres of kumina, revival, mento, ska, rocksteady, reggae, dub and dancehall – as well as the impact of the local sound system culture, street culture, and visual arts on today’s global pop culture.

You can download the Reggae Month app on the Google Play store and Apple store. There is everything from film series to lectures and concerts. http://www.reggaemonthjamaica.com

The National Gallery of Jamaica opening hours are: Tuesdays -Thursdays: 10 am to 4:30 pm, Fridays: 10 am to 4 pm, Saturdays: 10 am to 3 pm, Last Sundays: the NGJ is open every last Sunday of the month, 11 am to 4 pm. Closed to the public on the other Sundays and on Mondays and Public Holidays (Offices are open on Mondays)

The NGJ is also occasionally open on Sundays and evenings for exhibition openings and special programmes – for more information, please visit their blog regularly.

Admission:

Adults: Ja$ 400

Love Not Likes: Micro-Influencers and Bloggers Take on Jamaica

Featured

I’ve been working in advertising for over 15 years, and as someone who used “influencers” (there wasn’t a name for it at the time) to sell t-shirts online for 2 years, I understand the value of an influencer.

The community is small is in Jamaica, totaling about 20-30 major influencers made up of mostly comedians, lifestyle, beauty and public figure categories.

I was nominated as a People to Watch in 2019, by Kadia Francis, aka the Digital Jamaican who scoured the internet to find micro-influencers and bloggers who write mostly for the love of it and not necessarily the recognition. A micro-influencer tends to have less than 10,000 followers but usually has an intimate community. ( I listed using micro-influencers as one of the 2019 trends in social media. Read here)

We wanted to bring everyone together to bond and network. Most of the people had the same wish–to create content (whether that be in the form of writing, taking photos or making videos, etc), and being able to travel the world while doing so.

list of Jamaican bloggers. love not likes
Love Not Likes Bloggers/Content Creators in the middle of the road at Castleton Gardens

We received sponsorship from Ion Communications and LuxuryJa.

While CPJ, our official refreshment sponsor provided us with Life Span Water and Glinter sparkling water

Photo Credit: Peter Clarke, Rocket Visions JA

Rum Cream, Rumbar rum and vodka came from Worthy Park.

Snacks for the 2.5 drive from National Bakery

Sun Factory provided us with flip-flops for the beach.

Each blogger received customized mugs with their ig handle from The Label Snob , Sharmac Graphics printed the fans for each guest, Just nuff social plan (which includes data and social media) were granted by Digicel Jamaica and TCP offered the bags to carry everything in.

Watch the video of the recap.

The bloggers paid for their transportation and lunch but received reposts and comments from the sponsors, edited photos from established photographers including Machel Witter, Peter Clarke and Darren George (contracted by our partners Ion Communications), to gather content on their behalf. We were even featured on CVM Sunrise. See the full interview below.

So the most burning questions from this experience have been, why call it Love Not Likes? In April 2019, Instagram put out that they were working on changing the platform to eliminate likes, you can read the Forbes article here.

Also, as I said earlier, many of these bloggers do it because they love what they do—sharing their go-to spots in Jamaica, or their beauty secrets, etc. However, they’ve never received corporate sponsorship or even gifted merchandise.

The list of the bloggers/micro-influencers/YouTubers who attended were:

Jhunelle Jureidini: a full-time travel blogger who finds most of the unknown places in Jamaica and highlights them.

Sue-Tanya McHorgh: a website developer and lifestyle blogger who also has an online clothing store.

Diedre McLeod: A travel blogger who teaches travelers how to travel the world on a budget.

View this post on Instagram

Anybody ever ask you why you always have ONE BAG AH TINGS in your bag? 🤣 Bae is usually guilty amirite!? * You ever checked out the things you are carrying in your bag? Like really looked at what's in your bag? What do you have languishing in there? Old receipts, snack wrappers (cuz you do your part for the environment), broken makeup, random stuff that you not sure why they're ever there in the first place? LoL I may have stopped talking about a bag and now having full-on philosophical ramblings on life 🙊. But honestly, I try to be intentional about what I put in my bag. I don't want to be literally carrying around useless baggage. And this beach bag from @thosecreativepeople can really hold ONE BAG AH TINGS! Fyi it's great for trips not just to the beach. On my last trip to the beach it really shined. It's Spacious. Great for holding towels, water shoes, food, sunscreen and more. Check my blog about "How to do One Bag Ah Tings on your next trip to Portland" to see how handy the bag is (LinkInBio or bit.ly/oneBagAhTings) And tell me if you love it! * * * * * * * 📸@rockstaar_ 👜@thosecreativepeople #gifted #sponsoredpost #iamwandering #wanderoften #tcptings #thosecreativepeople #beachbagswag #beachlovers🌴 #JamaicaJamaica #proud876 #wanderlustcollection #frenchmanscove #jamaicabeach #portlandjamaica #weekendgetaways #blackgirlstraveltoo #fabuplus #blacktraveljourney #weekendmood #whatsinyourbag #cluttered #baggage #beachlifeisthebestlife #onthebeach

A post shared by Diedre McLeod🔸Travel Blogger (@diedreinwanderland) on

Lucienne Antonio: A blogger who also can secure your next budget vacation.

Kemar Royal: a content creator/droner who lives for adventure

Ronnia Cherry, a creative with multiple interests, all surrounding creating a platform for Jamaican creatives. Learn more about her

Tashi Grant: A media maven who started her lifestyle/travel blog called The Hopper

Rachael Campbell: a travel vlogger who likes to party.

Jehmeil Shrouder: a YouTuber on a mission to be successful.

Ornella Green: A lifestyle/beauty blogger who aspires to travel the world.

So I wanted to make them feel special, i.e. find a way to show them and the world, that micro-influencers have value. Many influencers only big up a brand because they are getting paid, which sometimes loses its authenticity.

So let’s even get more pedantic, people think influencer is a dirty/bad word. What is an influencer, really?

An influencer is an individual who’s capable of affecting (i.e., influencing) people’s purchase decisions because of his/her knowledge or authority. What’s more, this individual has a following – usually on social media – in a specific niche, such as fashion, food, fitness, photography, and so on. YouTube marketing is also quite common.

Tech Jury ( see article here)

According to influencer marketing research, many companies will hire brand ambassadors to promote their products. While the most visible brand ambassadors are celebrity influencers, micro-bloggers can often get in on the action, too – they increase a brand’s visibility more locally. Another sponsored content format consists of paid for articles and blogs, which appear as editorials in an online publication.

So now we have that out of the way, let’s talk about the alignment with the government’s growth strategy. Chris Dehring spoke at the Jamaica Diaspora Conference a couple of months ago and he talked about the importance of creating alternative job opportunities for young people.

The insights that came out of the trip was that most of them want to live a digital nomad lifestyle. It seems pretty simple, but when you live on an island, you tend to only think about Jamaica and even some think smaller–only Kingston and St. Andrew.

Our aim is to create a network and community with bloggers/micro-influencers who want to monetize. We’ve invited Lauren Dunn, otherwise known as Lauren O Lauren to give a masterclass at CoWork on Thursday, July 18th. Lauren has been working in Silicon Valley and has been able to grow her following and monetize for the last few years. Please call 876 881-7830 to purchase tickets.

We’re also building a community of bloggers, content creators, photographers who want to collaborate. Please follow @lovenotlikesja on Instagram or email us at lovenotlikes@gmail.com for more information.

Why Traditional Media Still Matters

elijah-o-donnell-603766-unsplash.jpg

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.

How you tweet @Tessanne tells so much about you

@Tessanne has captured Jamaican’s hearts over the past few weeks with her musical renditions on The Voice. Many Jamaicans at home and abroad have rallied together to support her through social media.

Several companies have also jumped on the Tessanne train, sharing Jamaica’s sentiments of love and support.

However, when a brand or company’s social media manager gets so caught up in the competition and forgets who they are representing – where do you draw the line? Are companies or brands entitled to express a clear distaste for a particular contestant or song?

I understand the need for engagement,  but posting negative comments about other contestants is very unprofessional. Companies shouldn’t show dissatisfaction so intently that they risk alienating their core audience. Remember, you are managing not only reputation, you are representing Brand Jamaica.