How Businesses Can Survive in the Time of Corona and Beyond

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I knew this day would come as I’ve been preaching about Digital Transformation for the past few years now. Since 2002, during the dot.com era when everyone and their mama was making money from building websites, I’ve worked on quite a few.

Somehow that died down in the last decade. Perhaps because of the invention of social media, people feel its so much easier (and cheaper) to focus on building your following on instagram than building your email list and increasing website visitors.

In 2012, I helped a non-profit drive traffic to their website and increased donor loyalty by 25% in a matter of few months . As an international NGO, they heavily relied on funding to implement projects, so this factor was essential. 

Now fast forward to 2020, the Corona virus has halted all major events and social gatherings including weddings, funerals and bank lines for at least two weeks, if not longer. How will small businesses, promoters and event planners survive this massive dent in their income?

Here are some things businesses can do to survive Corona Virus, otherwise known as COVID-19:

  1. Create a website to build credibility. It’s necessary more than ever at this time. Not just for events but for anyone that sells goods and/or services. It allows people to see the services you have to offer as well as, in times of crisis like this, update your customers with the necessary information they need.
  2. Add e-commerce so you can make money online:I wanted to help someone in another country promote their products but they didn’t have a website. How am I supposed to help them promote if they don’t have a way to receive online payments? This also helps you to widen your customer base which is critical in a time like this.
  3. Digital Transformation will be the future of success: For those who are now forced to do remote work, take the time to set up the cloud so you can back up files, digitize your files and include project management systems to increase productivity. Help your staff get digital ready, purchase Google Play gift card for them to buy productivity apps.Then reward them with this .
  4. Create Online challenges to keep people engaged: Show ways your company is helping to fight the Corona Virus by asking your followers to engage in a challenge. Currently, there is the popular #WashYourLyrics challenge but you can also ask people to show how they sanitize their phones or even homes. Or similarly to the #PlankChallenge, they can ask people to show how they are practicing social distancing at this time. Make it fun! It also help to keep you top-of-mind during this difficult time.
  5. By Live Streaming events the show will go on: Have you ever watched a boxing match on pay-per-view? You can also live stream events through your website and ask people to pay to watch it. This is also a great time to set up Eventbrite and Paypal account so you can accept payments.
  6. Brand Partnerships are key: If you’re a promoter, by now you should have your sponsors who you can rely on. If the events scheduled have been postponed or cancelled, they should have some funds in reserve. Ask them to sponsor the live streamed event and show value by mentioning the brand or subtly having it the background while the event is taking place. Encourage people to comment on the livestream and win prizes.
  7. And lastly Care. What as a business are you doing to give back? It’s more than just showing people how to wash their hands. Leave the updates on the virus to the health authorities. How will you help people feed their families and stay healthy during this time? Social good and corporate social responsibility are important so much more now than ever before. 

Beat Street & Dennis Brown Tribute Concert : The Death of Vinyl and the Evolution of Reggae Music

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I took the shuttle from Spanish Court Hotel down to Orange Street, Downtown Kingston, otherwise known as “Beat Street” which runs north from the corner of Parade, last Sunday, February 23rd for one of Kingston Creative’s activities in partnership with Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sports, the Kingston and  St Andrew Municipal Corporation to commemorate Reggae Month.

According to Lonely Planet.com “It’s one of the great wellsprings of Jamaican music and was home to Sir Coxsone Dodd’s legendary Studio One Records, as well as the original studios of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and Prince Buster’s famous Record Shack.”

Feeling nostalgic? Get this tee here

From 1950s to early 70s, ska, rocksteady, reggae, and dub exploded and became a worldwide phenomenon. Record shops and studios monopolized the street and surrounding areas. Beat Street has become an important historical zone that deserves to be preserved and redeveloped as a reggae historical and economic zone. 

We walked along the street and it reminded me of my days of living in New York, where they’d have the street festivals with art, food and music. Vendors were selling roast corn, chicken soup, ital stew,  roots tonic and beer while murals lined both sides.

The music filled the streets as sound systems, Soultone and Shanghai, played music of the three producers, Clement “Coxson” Dodd, Cecil “Prince Buster” Campbell, and Lee “Scratch” Perry and that of Dennis Brown, who lived at “Big Yard” located at 135 Orange Street. 

This one yah name “inside the Rockers International”

 As we walked, I met Clive Randy Chin, who sat on the corner with a friend. He told me that his father’s studio  and record shop called Randy’s Group on North Parade was being honored as a musical heritage site.

Clive Randy Chin on Beat Street last Sunday celebrating his Dad’s shop being honored as a musical heritage site
at North Parade

He told me that Ken Boothe, Alton Ellis, Toots and The Maytals,  Dennis Brown, Lord Fraser and even the Peptones all recorded at his father’s studio on North Parade.

Most record shops haven’t survived the death of vinyl or cds for that matter but he made it clear that he’s still producing music but without the overheads—in his home studio.

The Death of Vinyl

So vinyl records ruled that era but as the years went on analog audio recordings degraded the quality of the music as vinyl records and cassette tapes don’t age very well. Did you ever notice when you played a cassette tape over and over again, it affected the sound quality?  If you like to collect vinyl records, here’s a classic by the Crown Prince of Reggae, Dennis Brown, shop here

Nowadays, digital audio recordings are consistently the same sound quality because you can play and copy them endlessly, and they will maintain their original quality forever—unless you manipulate the file, of course.

 I had no prior knowledge of Beat Street or its connection to cultivating reggae and dancehall music until I walked into Trevor “Leggo” Douglas’s recording studio, aka LeggoBeast.

His close relative named, “Q”, sat at the sound machines and answered questions about the history of the studio, how it came to be and where it’s going.

We asked, who had recorded there, to which Q answered, “The better question to ask is, who hasn’t?”

Murals lined the walls of Beat Street. From Sean Paul to Big Youth, Beat Street has seen them all.

Trevor “Leggo” Douglas explained, that every great reggae artist had recorded there from Shaggy to Dennis Brown, with the exception of Bob Marley.

Leggo explained his journey to becoming the owner of the studio, from collecting bottles at dances at 13 to make pocket change, to making cassettes and then migrating to New York to run a robot taxi in order to make enough money to buy the studio equipment and ship them back home.

He then  took us to “Big Yard”, the official childhood home of Dennis Brown. In ruin, however around the back was a small room where people who knew him well lived. Dennis Brown was known for taking care of everyone in the community. They are trying to raise money to make it a museum.

Rockers International is the only surviving vinyl record shop in Jamaica.
Feel like listening to some classics? Purchase Marley Get Together Portable Bluetooth Speaker here

We then walked into Rockers International which is the only surviving vinyl record shop in Jamaica. It reminded me of the shops they used to have in HWT, that my brother used to visit on his trips home from Denmark. He would buy the latest records for his sounds system he and his friends ran.

We finished the day at Randy’s Music Group on North Parade where Randy showed all the old equipment that was gathering dust. Old posters decorated the walls and I found a Magnum Tonic Wine calendar from 2015, I had conceptualized with dancehall artist Stacious posing as an Amazonian woman with a bike man underneath, staring up at her.

Dennis Brown Tribute Concert

I headed back downtown in the evening at the Waterfront where Kristia aka @myrepeatoffender was doing an IG takeover on Reggae Month’s page.

Purchase a memorabilia Dennis Brown T-shirt here

Freddie McGregor, Julian Marley, Richie Stephens and so many other amazing artists came down to tribute Dennis Brown’s birthday.

What a great way to end Reggae Month. Can’t wait until next year!

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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

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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.

Confession: I’m a Social Media Snob and the Apps You Should Use to be one too.

So someone called me a social media snob the other day, and I’m not arguing. I like an aesthetically-pleasing feed.

Honestly though, I’m tired of the DMs from people asking me how they can get their feed looking good. This is very valuable top-secret information that I’m sharing with you (no it’s really not you can find it on the internet but i’m tired of the DMs guys…)

So you can get an Instagram husband to take pictures of you with a DSLR but most people use an iPhone and it works perfectly fine. If you don’t have someone to take pictures of you, you can get a tripod to set up your camera.

If you don’t have a lot of time to take pictures (like I do), you can try the following:

Free Stock images: UnSplash, Pixabay, Pexels. So although I am a content creator, some of the images on my feed aren’t mine. Yes, some of the images I get from free stock sites that match my aesthetic.  You don’t have to credit the photographers based on the license but they always appreciate it when you do. These images are copyright free. If you do decide to use someone else’s images, please get permission and credit them.

So once, you have your photos, you can mix them with quotes. I use a free tool called Canva . This is a great because there are templates you can use. There really isn’t any excuse as to why your feed can’t be off-the-chain.

Preview: Now die-hard social media people will know this app but for those of you are new and want to step up your game, it allows you to load your images and curate your feed. They also have a stock of free photos to choose from. This allows you pre-plan what your feed is going to look like.

So the idea is to seek balance and symmetry through colour. Choose images that are the same tone and match each other (but it ultimately depends what you’re looking for)

And you can use HootSuite to schedule and it’s free! I post in threes to keep my grid perfect. I’m also OCD, so I will delete something if I feel it doesn’t match my aesthetic.

Learn more about how to grow your instagram here.

Here some grid ideas so you can make your own cool feed.:

You can win with a checker board design

 

Create a white border to give this gallery effect

 

Tile your feed

Most Popular Jamaican Instagram Captions of 2018

Your favourite IG captions of 2018

1.Gratitude is a Must

I want to make a better world for the generation that’s coming up, to promote love and peace, and even though I’m young, I feel that the Creator has blessed me with talent and wisdom to get the job done.”

Koffee

These are the words of Mikayla Simpson, an 18-year-old artist known to many as “Koffee”. Through her music, Koffee has an unwavering mission to empower the youths of her generation as well as to preserve the roots and culture of Jamaica.

“The thing about the song ‘Toast’ is that the meaning is actually included in the lyrics so it’s basically what I was feeling. I said exactly what I felt at the time. What I said was what was on my mind. That was the inspiration, just feel blessed ya know.” -Kofeee, Grammy Award winning Reggae Artist

One thing that made everyone want to know Koffee was her hit single ‘Toast’. It blew up at the end of 2018 as it was as everyone’s Instagram caption, playing all over the radio and “breaking the internet.”

2.Full of Sauce Like Bake Bean

[Chorus]

Fresh, breezy, a so me stay, clean

Gyal dem love mi foot inna mi straight jeans

Me full of sauce like baked beans

No underage, over 18

Cologne make your gyal a daydream

Govana
GOVANA Aka Deablo, Born Romeo Nelson is the prodigy of dancehall artist Aidonia had women all over Jamaica using that line making it the 2nd most popular IG caption of 2018.

3.No Gyal Can See Mi and Cause Problem

In 2018, this was the third most popular IG caption in Jamaica. The line is from Shenseea’s song called Shenyeng anthem. A song dedicated to her 2 million followers and fans around the world.

4.Steam Fish and Okra Body

And IG caption made popular by none other than ZJ Sparks, aka Sparkiebaby.

5.Dem Dead

Why do People Share on Social Media?

This blog has been sitting on my chest for a couple of months. It all came out of something I had shared on social media and people’s reaction to it. It got me thinking, what drives people to share content online. So I did some research and this is what I came up with.

People share parts of their daily lives everyday. From pictures of their children to their vacation and even their private moments. But what makes us share? Is it that we want recognition for our accomplishments? Is it all about likes, shares and retweets?

Intrinsically, sharing has always been a part of our lives. Before the internet, we shared with our family at dinnertime and our coworkers. We shared our family photo albums to visitors on the couch, so the idea of sharing is not new.

According to  The Psychology of How We Share Content, by Jesse Bowman, “To really understand the psychology of sharing, we have to go back to 1966. Long before we had the retweet, Austrian psychologist, Ernest Dichter, published the Harvard Business Review article “How Word-of-Mouth Advertising Works.”

In his article, Dichter outlined four reasons that motivate people to talks about brands and products.

  1. Product Involvement (33%) – The customer’s experience is so pleasurable, it has to be shared.

  2. Self-Involvement (24%) – You, as the sharer, gain attention, feel special like you have inside information or are the first to know.

  3. Other Involvement (20%) – The sharer wants to help others.

  4. Message – Involvement (20%) – The message is so valuable that it has to be shared.

This analysis was helpful in order to understand the psychology of why people share and its incentives. But let’s dig deeper shall we?

The New York Times Customer Insight Group published the study, “The Psychology of Sharing” which divided why we share into five categories and further broke down the personas of people who share into six profiles.

Personas of Sharers (Preferred Channels)

  1. Altruists – share content to be helpful. (Facebook, Email)
  2. Careerists – share to build a professional reputation. (Linkedin, Email)
  3. Hipsters – share cutting edge and creative content that builds their identity. (Facebook, Twitter)
  4. Boomerangs – share content to get reaction from audience, seeks validation. (Facebook, Twitter)
  5. Connectors – share content to stay connected with others and make plans. (Facebook, Email)
  6. Selectives – put more thought into what they share and with whom they share it. (Email)

It’s easy to determine from both studies that people share for their own self-interests. But the last reason why we share, spread the word about causes or brands, touches on another major reason why we share: emotion.
But I think we share because it makes us look good. I also believe that people are natural storytellers, and all great brands also learn to tell stories. If you can learn to tell an interesting story, it will be shared.

Typically what leads a person to share something on social media is when it has a connection to them as an individual, be it political, emotional, cute or funny. People want to share with others how they perceive the world and reflect their tastes and how they define themselves.

So what motivates you to share? Attention? Likes? Comments? Shares? What would you like to share but don’t?

 

 

The Age of the Selfie is Over: Here’s What to Do Instead

 

The age of the selfie is over. The selfie queen herself, with a coffee book about selfies, Kim Kardashian, has been banned from taking them.

After she injured her wrist, Kardashian was given doctor’s orders to lay off of it — and, with that, stop taking selfies. “My hand hurts. I forgot my brace,” Kim tells Khloé Kardashian and Kris Jenner in a new clip of Keeping Up With the Kardashians posted to E! News.  – W Magazine

 

The truth is, the age of the selfie has been dying out for years now and even though Kim posts a selfie from time to time, she now reverts to posting photos from magazine shoots or pictures taken by her assistant or daughter North.

You can also notice a trend on Instagram in general, people are preferring more posed photos of themselves, taken by someone else.

So here’s some photo ideas of what’s been trending.

Photos with Epic Backdrops

It really doesn’t matter how you pose, it’s all about the background. So make sure it’s an gorgeous landscape, typically a remote one that no one has any idea where to find. First them!

#Belfie Replaces the #Selfie

Turn your back to the camera and twist your upper body around and smile. This is another pose that Kim made famous, the #belfie. It’s really about emphasizing the butt. So be cheeky!

Take the Travel Photos to the Next Level

The trend this summer was all about those travel photos. This is a little bit more than the first photo, this is about posing in front of iconic places like the Eiffel Tower or Times Square for maximum effect. Here’s former Miss Jamaica in Tuscany, pretty iconic. #UnderTheTuscanSun

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Sangiovese 🍇 #ChiantiClassico

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Make IG Your Runway

We’re not talking about the impromptu photoshoot of you posing with your phone. This is you thinking about a concept, getting wardrobe, makeup and hair organized and going to a location to shoot.

Slay in Your Carnival Costume

Many people don’t know Carnival is a year round thing. There’s Trinidad, Cayman, Barbados, Miami, etc. You could be feting all year! However, if you don’t post any other photo for the rest of the year, post your Carnival costume.

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Came through drippin’

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Squad Goals Up

Serving looks with your besties is also something to consider…

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#StBarth

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Take That Overhead Shot

These may require a drone, but will make for a truly interesting photo op…

HiJi Cam it Out

The filter app responsible for making your photos look like they were taken on a disposable camera has built a huge following this year.

Barbie Feet

Another silly, but definitely cute pose to try. ‘Barbie feet’ is exactly what is says on the tin—when taking a full-length shot, rise up on your tippy-toes as if you’re wearing an invisible heel. Among other things, it helps your legs look longer and your feet more dainty. – Vogue Australia

Tryptich Posts

Beyonce has been grid obsessed and posting three times in a row lately. Be like Beyonce or Sevana.

 

Tripytch Post with Singer Sevana
Tripytch Post with Singer Sevana @callmesevana

5 Most Instagrammable Places in Jamaica

If you’re traveling to Jamaica or consider yourself a dryland tourist, here are the top 5 places you must take for Instagram. These locations will have you using the #ILiveWhereYouVacay hashtag in no time. You can vote here.

The Grande is rafting on the Rio Grande

There are many variations to this, but any pose you choose will definitely be monumental. Go early morning and float gently through the waters on your long bamboo raft. The ride itself is about 3 hours but make sure you bring your own photographer because it’s difficult to keep your balance and take a selfie at the same time.

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so far so good 💕 #themacmillans

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Frenchman’s Cove is a Classic

Taking a picture at the famous swing at Frenchman’s Cove is a must when visiting Portland. Other major cool spots include the river flowing into the beach, Blue Lagoon and the Trident Castle. Almost every spot in Port Antonio is grand.

 

Sandals Suite Life is the Living Your Best Life Hashtag IRL

If you want to say you’re truly living your best life, you have to photograph the over water bungalows. Jamaican Influencers such as Corey Hamilton, Natasha Leeds and Yendi Phillips have taken epic shots there. The drone shots of the heart shaped bungalow formation shot!

Take the Plunge at The Old Spanish Bridge

Another money shot is the Old Spanish Bridge, a hidden gem is just 45 minutes from Ocho Rios. The road may only be for the 4 wheel drive but it’s definitely worth the effort. With its rope swing, you can get a pretty cool capture like Kaci Fennel’s. If you’re into landscape shots the bridge in the background is also quite beautiful. If you’re brave enough,  get some video swinging on the rope!

Strawberry Hill Hotel is the Mostest

Just imagine an image that looks like you’re staring over a cliff overlooking Kingston but it’s really just an Infiniti pool? This optical illusion is a must for anyone visiting Jamaica. Not to mention the view itself!

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Reflecting…. • • "Death is only the end if you assume the story is about you" • • There are moments in life where I get lost in my head; lost in my feelings…just yearning for clarity. The past couple years have just been filled with so much loss it has left me doing a lot of questioning. Some persons who I truly loved, cared for, respected and held in high regard have left this realm. Some through agonizing illness, tragic accidents and some violenly ripped away. I ponder on each of them. I ask repeatedly "Why would God let bad things happen to good people?" Why would God allow His children who are serving His kingdom to experience such suffering? I remember struggling with this very concept with my mother's death and I was so hurt and felt so betrayed by God as a young girl that I turned away from Him. 16 years later, I am now asking again…this time from the perspective of someone who has rekindled her relationship and who is serving His kingdom. And while it still carries weight and pain, I acknowledge the promise of free will of man. I understand that as mankind we have choice. And with that comes so much of the turmoil we now encounter in existence. But I also more than anything understand that what we do here is not about us, but living in His truth and promise, in accordance to His word, to fulfill the purpose He whispers in our soul, and when the day of reckoning comes, to go home to Him knowing it is well and it is done. #MyHeartWasHeavy #SometimesYouHaveToBareYourSoul #But #IPlaceItAtHisFeet #ThePowerOfSurrender #Peace #Understanding #Clarity #ForMyFriends #ForMyLovedOnes #ForThoseFeelingHurt #ForThoseGoingThroughLoss • • Thank you @_jayenigma for this capture. • • PS. @keneealintonboutique I LOVE this dress!

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Honorable mentions include:

Waterfall at Serendipity Holistic Resort

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#serendipityresort #bluemountain #jamaica my #paradise

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Fleet Street

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В столице Ямайки (г. Кингстон) есть замечательная улица (Fleet street), которая наполнена необычными граффити. Я, как человек неравнодушный к уличному арту, была в полнейшем восторге от того, что мне все-таки удалось там побывать (thanks, Jan😘)! На фото лишь малая часть увиденных мною работ и к тому же они не передают всю ту атмосферу, которая там присутствует! А ещё, в конце этой улицы есть чудесная местная школа, куда нам посчастливилось заглянуть и прогуляться по всей его территории с маленькими ямайскими школьниками. #jamaica #kingston #fleetstreet #art #streetart #lovely #graffiti #photography #picoftheday #instagram #world #love #travel #happy #girl #vacation #vibes #ямайка #кингстон #грффити #арт #искусство #уличныйарт #фото #отпуск #красота

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Victoria Pier Waterfront/DownTown Kingston 

So all these places are up for debate! Do you agree with picks? Which places do you think are the most instagrammable places in Jamaica? Vote here

7 Must-Haves for Instagram going into 2019

So many brands and influencers are still struggling to master all the features on IG.

But with Instagram reaching a milestone of 1 billion monthly users in June, it is a platform that can’t be ignored. – Adweek

Some brands are losing out on valuable real estate by not creating something as simple as highlights but there are a few other things you should be doing on IG before the year is out.

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Vertical Videos: How-to

We never thought vertical videos would become a thing but they are here and here to stay! For now. Vertical videos aren’t just for IGTV however, they are now creeping onto other platforms like YouTube and Facebook.

Probably the hardest thing to get right when shooting vertical video for IGTV is aspect ratio, which is the ratio of width to height of your video.

The reason it can be hard to get right is because unless your video is shot on a smartphone (which will usually record in 9:16 if shot vertically), you may need to edit or crop your video in post-production to get the right aspect ratio for IGTV.

So I would recommend shooting vertically, if you’re using a phone or shoot widescreen with the camera so you can always adjust post-production.

Why vertical videos? Instagram wants to encourage people to create video content but, at the same time, to do it exclusively for mobile. We already know that people are more likely to use their mobile devices in a vertical position, hence the type of video.

Advertising agencies will need to bear this in mind when creating their ads to include vertical formats for IGTV.

IGTV is predicted to become the new Youtube in 3-5 years.

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IG Stories Still Relevant

IG stories is a way to extend the conversation. So for example, you post a picture of yourself in an outfit, the stories can be used to tell the back story of the photograph. Where you got the outfit and maybe behind-the-scenes, etc. This will continue to be vital to engagement strategies.

Shoppable Posts an Added Plus

I see so many small businesses missing out on a simple app they can add to their posts that directly links them to the webpage. It’s called Later’s (Linkin.bio). It’s like $US4.99 a month, but the value, is a direct clickable link where shoppers can purchase the item. Instagram also has a shoppable feature that’s pretty simple to use. Not available in Jamaica just yet however, we’ll have to wait our turn.

IG Highlights for FAQs a Necessity

Personally, I get a lot of DMs from people asking  questions about what I do out of curiosity. I haven’t reached the level that I would want to have a FAQs section but if you’re a company or a big brand, I would definitely recommend you having an FAQ highlight so people can learn more about you without having to send a DM every time. Saves a lot of time!

Stories Ads will be a Must

The time of organic reach is over. Brands will have to invest in an ad budget in order to reach their target audience, but not just that, the content will have to be richer and more clickable. Also in terms of the variation in ads, I haven’t seen the numbers yet, but the animated, IG story ads seem to have more traction.

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AR Filters Bring That Cool Factor

So you’ve seen the diamond headband filter by Rihanna and the lip color filter by Kylie Jenner and other popular ones on IG lately right? Influencers will now be able to create their own filters using Facebook AR Studio.

 IG Worthy Branded Wall Backdrop: A Staple for Jamaican Parties

Every event we go to in Jamaica, now has a branded, customized wall. This is no coincidence. This is usually brightly colored wall that is easily identifiable in photos when people post to IG.

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Lil Duval lyrics

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Influencer Patronage will Kick up a Notch

The exclusivity of giving an influencer a special branded invitation to your event or token gift before a party creates a buzz that makes the viewer want to know more.

Frenchmen did it for their parties this year and Moda Market has been handing out special Moda Boxes with goodies inside.

Brands like Benefit of Bohoo in the US, have been able to take carefully selected influencers on a vacation. The idea is to create this cool girl lifestyle, where their followers can go with them on an adventure, wear their products and take IG worthy pictures.

We’ve seen these experiences happening right here with influencers Garfene and Terri-Karelle going on road trips to Skylark Negril and Irie Diva going on a #staycation.

Instagram Worthy Curated Rooms or Walls

Creating an offline, Instagram-worthy experience for your customers can not only help you get more followers, but also generate more sales or visitors.

Think about it like word of mouth, but on Instagram: when a customer is at your place of business and you have created an Instagram-worthy moment, they’ll be happy and excited to snap a photo and share it to their Instagram feeds.

They can then tag your brand in the photo, caption, and location, and inspire their followers to visit your business!

This can be as simple as adding a chic, neon sign or wall decal.

What are some other cool IG Trends you see going into 2019?