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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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.

The perfect example of this relatable to Jamaica was when Campari took Shanzi.a to Italy for the unveiling of the Red Diaries commercial.

And Jamaica is such an IG worthy place in and of itself, that to really create a superior buzz, you would have to take the influencer out of the country.

However, we’ve seen these experiences happening right here with 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?

 

 

 

 

 

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Coffee Talk and Branding

No man is an island and therefore, having conversations with someone that speaks my language is very important from time to time. Picasso had Matisse, Basquiat had Warhol, you get the drift. It’s important for me to have people in the industry, that I can discuss things like social media, advertising, brand development and graphic design. There are very few people that understand all those things and that do them well, Phillip Clayton to me is one of the few people that uses his online platform in the way that I do—to connect with thought leaders from all over the world and learn and interact with them.  He is a branding development specialist with over 15 years of experience working in the advertising industry. He is also a member of the International Commission of Judges for the 2019 PAC, Global Leadership Awards, a commission that celebrates great packaging design in the world. Yes, that’s makes us design nerds! We are very much a like in a lot of ways, and so it’s great to talk shop with him from time to time.

We talked bout a lot of things in the span of four hours at a local coffee shop and he introduced me to this book called The Brand Gap, which is now my new favorite guide to branding. It confirms things I’ve known intrinsically for years, such as the no logo test and the idea that a brand is not just a logo (which I talk about in my previous article, Branding is More than a Logo. ) Anyways, let’s get to the nitty gritty.

We talked about a few things such as:

  • People skim on paying an agency to do research and develop their entire brand’s identity (not just their logo)  and rather pay a graphic designer peanuts to create a logo that will become obsolete in a few years or doesn’t appeal to their target audience.
  • A lot of people don’t understand the meaning of the word branding:

    Branding is a process of creating a unique image or name or logo or symbol or combination of any of these for a specific product in consumer’s mind which differentiates it from competitor’s products.

  • Phillip does not like the word “branding” and prefers brand development, whereas for me, the two can work interchangeably. However, where we both agree is that developing a brand identity is more than just a logo, it’s everything from how the company answers their phone, their internal comms, website–the full gamut of communication.
  • Many companies in Jamaica don’t understand the mixed messages they’re sending when their branding is so confusing. This can be as simple as a font choice. Color has a psychological effect as well, which I will touch on in another post.
  • The brands we love like Coca-Cola for example,  have been able to differentiate over the years by making only slight changes to their logo. The reason for this is that they understand their brand is more than just their logo, its everything from that signature bottle to the brand experience.Coca-Cola-e1453357263954-1024x407.png
  • Some brands know when to innovate by listening to their consumer, for example, Federal Express changed their logo to FedEx because that is what customers were calling the company anyway. So they listened and evolved.fedex4_thumb.jpg
  • Some brands think that jumping on every trendy viral topic is the way to go but if it isn’t true to the brand, then they should avoid it all together. For example, McDonalds decided to recreate the famous Banksy shredding painting with a graphic on their social media. The attempt seems lazy and forced and doesn’t speak well to Banksy’s painting or McDonald’s.

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AND finally, I’ve been talking about personal branding for years, and how using your presence online and offline can bring opportunities for you but David Olgivy puts it simply and we call can relate to this: you build a brand by doing the work, then the rest will follow.

 

So tell me what brands do you love and why? And do you love the brand because of the product or service it offers, or are the two not mutually exclusive? And should I continue this coffee talk series and talk to other people about branding and advertising? Who’s down?

 

Follow Phillip Clayton on instagram or twitter.

 

Branding is More than a Logo

n-5-packshot-default-125530-8801294680094Chanel is one of the most iconic brands in the history of the world. The logo hasn’t changed or been updated since its inception. It was created in 1925 by the owner of Chanel empire, Gabrielle Coco Chanel herself and is basically her initials. Her brand is a champion for the feminist cause hence their association with strong women like Marilyn Munroe and Nicki Minaj.

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But it’s so much more than that. The inventor of the little black dress (LBD) and Chanel No. 5, her products will still be in high demand years from now.

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All the brand elements scream luxury. From the entrance to the stores, to the branding, to the ad campaigns –they all symbolize one thing, sophistication.

 

But great brands are more than just the logo and the branding. They’re built on story telling. Coco Chanel, grew up alone in an orphanage and fought her way out of poverty to success. The communication built on her journey to success, is why her quotes are posted by modern women everywhere, and the iconic Chanel suit is a staple in every successful woman’s wardrobe.

So ask yourself do your customers know your brand’s story? When customers fall in love with a brand its because it connects with them on an emotional level, it makes the brand stand out.

What do customers think of your brand? A lot of people think that creating a brand for your business just involves designing a logo. And although a logo is an important statement its not the only thing to consider.

Do you need help creating your brand identity? It’s not as complicated as it sounds.

Before you begin the design stage of your logo, here are a few things to consider:

Define your brand

What do people like about your product or service? How does your product or service stand out in the marketplace? The first step is to define your brand. Think of it as having a personality. People are attracted to your personality by the colors that you use, your choice of words, the images that you select for your graphic design materials, the designs that you use for your signs and of course, your logo.

 

The brand identity depends on your target audience

Your brand identity also depends on who you are trying to reach. If your customers are the youth market, you may want to use fun colors and catchy phrases. If your customers are a niche market, you may want to use a more technical language that is applicable to the industry.

These tips are valuable in helping you create an brand identity that suits your messages and appeals to your target audience. Professional help can make all the difference.

 

 

The Way to Measure Social Media

Measurement of Social Media 

When we look at all the stuff brands are doing online to get attention above all the noise, we need to look at innovative ways to stand out in a crowd. However at the end of the day, it comes down to the ROI (Return On Investment).

As we look at the ROI of social media to dictate how a campaign is successful or not, we must also look at the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) :

Is the campaign successful in terms of getting the traction it should?

Are we getting a “buzz”?

Are people sharing organically?

Are people talking about it online as well as offline?

Brand Loyalty & Sales Spike

Surely, the impact of a campaign is no longer in just how much likes it receives. We also need to look beyond, not just if it is resonating with the target but if there is an increase in brand loyalty and ultimately, sales.

Top 7 Jamaican 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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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. *Updated: Natasha moved to Miami but visits Jamaica every year.

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.

*Updated: Nataliah is now Marketing Manager for Maxie stores.

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.

*Updated: Lauren lives in California with her husband and dog, Henry.

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.

*Updated: This group no longer has a blog together but both are doing well as individuals.

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.

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!

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.

How to Reinvent Yourself

After struggling as a graphic designer in a third world country, where design skills were not appreciated, I decided to move to the U.S. to re-invent myself.

Here’s how I did it:

HOW TO REINVENT YOURSELF

These tips can help anyone else who is also struggling with changing their career or wanting to expand their capacity within their current field.

1. Determine where you want to go. When I started out, I wanted to remain in Advertising, but to switch roles to  Account Management, working on Strategy and dealing with clients’ needs, determining the best approach to expressing their key messages – my role is constantly evolving and as social media becomes a driving force in PR, I will stay in it.

2. Develop a Narrative. Explain your past and find a way to bring the story to the present. In my situation, Communications and Graphic Design are in a way still very much related, so bridging the gap was a very easy transition – my interest came from wanting to offer more services to my clients.

3. Reintroduce Yourself. My colleagues know me as a Graphic Designer because I have spent most of my working life as one. Even when I apply for jobs people still want to put me in the Design role because that is where I have the most experience.

Emailing everyone you know individually of your new path will help to redirect your goal. People will then remember your new title and recommend and refer you to new jobs and potential business ventures.

4. Show what you are made of. If you don’t show people what the new direction of your career is they will never know, which is why I started this blog.

5. Go to events and show them your business card . Become more acquainted with people in the industry. Make sure you introduce yourself with your new title. If no name cards are provided at the event, make sure to make one of your own and wear it. This will help people to see you and remember the title you have decided to acquire.

If you need any advice, tweet me @KesiAGardner