How small businesses can use social media to pivot in 2021

With the Jamaican economy contracting by 9.4 per cent in the December quarter of last year, small businesses need to stay afloat.

While most small businesses are attempting to limit their interaction with the customer, because COVID-19 is known to be spread by direct contact, social media has become critical to marketing in the pandemic.

Kesi Gardner, the chief storyteller of The Storyteller Agency. Co, which consults medium to small businesses operating as a collective of creatives that focus on food, travel, and lifestyle, specialising in creating robust, integrated campaigns to help brands stand out above the noise.

“Our ethos is rooted in brand storytelling. Storytelling when used correctly, is a powerful business tool and skill that every business building a powerful and long-lasting brand should aim to master,” she says.

Gardner who has over 20 years experience working in marketing and advertising, has a blog,, that has been hailed as one of the top 200 marketing blogs on the web by FeedSpot.

Here are some tips, she suggests medium to small businesses can use to boost their visibility online with a limited budget:

Use the art of storytelling

Use storytelling to bridge the gap between brand and consumer. According to NPR, “When you listen to a story, your brain waves actually start to synchronise with those of the storyteller. And reading a narrative activates brain regions involved in deciphering or imagining a person’s motives and perspective, research has found.”

“Telling stories about what inspired you to start your company really resonates with people and personal branding is becoming more and more important as people need to feel connected,” she says.

Use the original content

Using original content is key to building customer loyalty. According to Google, the world’s biggest search engine, takes notice of original content and takes it in as a factor for contributing to a website’s credibility, which increases its likelihood of ranking higher in search engine results for the keyword involved in the text. 

“If you want to be seen, you need original, relevant content. Jamaican photographers are making some interesting content these days, but if you can’t afford one, don’t hesitate to use your smartphone,” she says.

Use free photo-editing apps

Once you’ve taken the photos in the most natural light possible, you can edit with free photo-editing apps downloaded from the Apple or Google Play store. Some suggestions include Snapseed, Lightroom, VSCO, Adobe Photoshop Express, and Lightroom.

You can use royalty-free stock images

If you can’t afford original content, Kesi recommends using some royalty-free stock image sites like Unsplash, Pexels, and Pixabay. Check the site’s privacy policy, which will cite if permission is given to use without credit.

Invest in influencer marketing

 According to Harvard Business Review: “The allocation of marketing budgets towards influencers is on the rise, up to 7.5 per cent from 6.5 per cent a year ago and expected to rise to 12.7 per cent in the next three years.

“As online traffic continues to increase, it will be critical for brands to identify the right influencers to attract target customers and identify growth segments.

“It will also be important for social media managers to invest in influencer training and relationship building. Influencers are a great way to build trust and authentic relationships with followers, who may end up being paying customers. Scheduling individual and group touchpoints with influencers to discuss product updates and gain feedback on trends they are observing will go a long way toward fostering a mutually beneficial partnership.” 

Says Gardner: “Influencer marketing is still very new to Jamaica but we are seeing more culturally diverse creators talking about  topics such as travel, fashion and food. I’m interested to see other kinds of influencers come to the fore in other industries like technology, the environment, business and even medicine.”

Guest Post: 10 Reasons Why Affiliate Campaigns Fail: The Common Mistakes

Affiliate marketing has been a popular source of income online for almost 20 years.

However, many influencers and bloggers have come to disregard affiliate campaigns as they are paid more on a paid post basis.

Let’s explore the many reasons why affiliate campaigns fail and the mistakes often made by influencers, content creators and bloggers when trying to craft them.

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”

Theodore Roosevelt

Before we dive into the strategies and techniques required for affiliate success, the first step all successful affiliates take is analysing and evaluating themselves, their “show” (blog, vlog, social accounts, etc.) and their audience.

Mistake #1: Not checking in with yourself

This is often overlooked by people because they think, “I know why I’m here, I don’t need to remind myself.”

Don’t make this mistake!

Without first understanding who you are, what’s unique about you, what your niche is, what your sub-niches are and what makes you attractive as a character it is likely you’ll miss a key reason as to why your audience will purchase through you.  

What you need to realise is your show is your business and your audience are your customers. Every business needs to tailor its message, branding and offerings to their existing or dream customers.

Your audience follow you because they respect your opinion when it comes to a particular niche. So, really understanding what your niche is and why they respect you is the key.

(Keep your eyes peeled for a future post on actionable ways to do this ‘check in’)

Mistake #2:  Not paying close attention to website tracking

Once you’ve checked in with yourself, it’s time to take a look at the vehicle you are taking your customers on the journey with…

Website/social media tracking is where you can build a clearer picture of what currently works and what doesn’t.

If you don’t take advantage of the tools out there to properly track the successes and failures of your site then you are much less likely to succeed with your affiliate endeavors.

Valuable insights such as what your top performing posts are, what days are best to post on, what time is best to post and frequency of posts can all contribute to better affiliate success.

Mistake #3: Not taking the time to get to know your audience

Through a combination of knowing your niche, what attracts people to you and what is working on your site, you can build valuable insights about your audience.

The game of knowing your audience is perhaps the most important aspect of affiliate campaigns as you are directly persuading people to purchase products through your links.

You wouldn’t start a restaurant in your local area without first finding out what people would like to eat…

The same applies for affiliate campaigns, you need to be totally in sync with what your audiences’ problems/desires are, find the solution and give it to them.

One actionable way to do this is AB testing your audiences responsiveness to different product categories, brands and timings/frequencies of posting; there’s a ton of valuable insights to be gained from this.

I hope this has cleared up why overlooking the evaluation of yourself and your show can easily result in very poor affiliate results.

Mistake #4: Forgetting Previous Campaign Insights

Continuing this theme of using what you’ve already got, if you’ve ever got involved with affiliate campaigns before then you already have access to valuable insights on what works and what doesn’t…

Not taking advantage of these insights is to not learn from your mistakes or your successes; here is a personalised roadmap of what works and what doesn’t – use it!

What doesn’t work should be as much of a focus as what does work, using the correct strategies alongside some that have failed in the past will lose you more sales than it gains you.

The Wrong Choices

All of the above was about using what you’ve already got to your advantage to gain valuable insights into what sparks the fire with your audience. To make the most of these stay tuned for our upcoming “check in” post.

If you have done the above correctly then you are less likely to make other mistakes like:

Mistake #5: Choosing the wrong products

If you’ve looked at your top posts and delved into what your audience likes then you are much less likely to make a brand or product blunder.

It may be that you like a specific brand or have been offered a high commission rate by them, however this doesn’t matter unless your audience is going to relate to the brand and ultimately end up purchasing from them.

Consider asking your followers what they think of the brand, or better yet, ask which brands are their favourites and which they’d like to see you sport. They’ll appreciate you taking the time to ask and it’ll show you care what they think.

This will all help build a community and turn people into hardcore fans.

Mistake #6: Choosing Quantity over Quality

If you’ve looked into your previous affiliate efforts as well as why your audience follow you and what they expect then you’ll find the right balance between content creation and promotional content.

If you try to sell too often then you’ll lose authenticity and if you don’t sell enough then people might lose interest.

“People will continue to buy from you until you either stop selling them stuff or offend them”

Russell Brand

Believe it or not people want to buy from you, they follow you because you solve a problem for them and if you sell them things that will get them closer to their goal then they are going to WANT to buy from you.

Mistake #7: Lacking Authenticity

If you don’t stay true to yourself and stay true to what you love, people will see right through it.

Remember, they follow you for you and the problem you are solving for them, stay true to this and you’ll be good as gold.

Some other more general mistakes people often make include:

Mistake #8: Poor SEO

As has been pointed out in previous last articles, a key advantage of affiliate campaigns is they continue to provide passive income after the event.

However, poor SEO will reduce organic traffic and mean you have less “hot” (solution-searching) traffic coming in from google problem searches.

Mistake #9: Poor Site Quality

The user experience of your vehicle will directly affect the success of affiliate campaigns. If you think about this it really makes a lot of sense.

You are selling other people’s products/services to your audience; would you purchase something from a site that loads mega slowly or that is confusing to navigate?  

Mistake #10: Lack of Salesmanship behind the campaign

The art of selling and copywriting are going to dramatically affect the success of your affiliate campaigns.

An affiliate campaign involves convincing members of your audience to purchase a product or service from another brand, and so you are acting as a third-party salesperson for that company.

This means you will need to be as effective as a salesman/woman if you are to be successful.

Not taking the time to educate yourself on the strategies and techniques employed by such professionals will certainly have a negative impact on your affiliate campaigns.


I hope this has piqued your interest and you are ready to learn how to create widely profitable affiliate campaigns.

Be sure to refer back to this post to help you achieve more with your next affiliate campaign!

Our next affiliate post will be the first of our ‘Affiliate Success’ series where we will take your through the steps required to create successful affiliate campaigns!

Author bio

A.K.A. Green Lantern, George Spain-Warner is a Co-founder of Kinsume, the world’s first eco-affiliate marketplace, and Author of the Exploratree Marketing Blog. Kinsume’s ethos is there’s always a win-win, which is why they’ve given their marketing platform and blog tree planting initiatives. Learn more about them and their story here.

Girl Boss Sue-Tanya McHorgh: From losing her job to Online Entrepreneur

Sue-Tanya hopes to inspire her generation to build their own online businesses. Photo Credit: Rockstaar

What is your dream job? 

To launch my Creatives of the Future e-book, (to purchase, click here) I interviewed some creatives who were already monetizing their platforms because of their work on social media. One of those people is website Designer and Blogger, Sue-Tanya Mchorgh.

  1. What is your dream job? My current job is my dream job. The ability to create and earn from something I am passionate about is a dream come true for me . A lot of people are unhappy in their jobs. Not me. I love my job. 

2. What Netflix series are you binging on? Blacklist

3. Favourite Influencer/YouTuber of all time? @Jadedarmawngsa

4. How has social media helped your career? My social media has helped me with advertising and getting targeted leads for my businesses.

5. What advice would you give others trying to make a name for themselves? Stay focused, have a game plan, a small circle of friends, get a mentor and follow your gut.  

6.What is the last thing you liked on social media? Cat videos. I am obsessed with them.

7. Who is your hero?  My mom. She did an amazing job raising me.

8. How did you get into blogging?  I started blogging because I wanted an outlet to share my travel and entrepreneurial experiences. 

9. Where do you see your career going in the next few years? I hope to perfect my current offerings, expand my businesses, hire employees and venture into coaching small business owners. 

10.What inspires you to create? My customers and my competitors. I love seeing my customers happy. They encourage me to create and improve on my skills. So does the competition. 

By the age of 17, Sue-Tanya Mchorgh knew she wanted to become an entrepreneur. She decided to study Business Administration but due to financial restraints, had to get a job and work overtime to pay tuition.

Juggling a 9-5 while going to school was hard work. Then she got laid off and didn’t have money to finish her studies. Thankfully, she was introduced to the world of working online as a virtual assistant and web designer. A virtual assistant, by definition, is an independent contractor who provides administrative services to clients while operating outside of the client’s office.

Today, she remotely helps clients with everything from social media, story and article writing, video editing, branding, and web design all from her home office.

Since she started in 2017, her client list has grown to include government institutions, realtors and even personal brands. She also owns an online fashion boutique called Suety’s Boutique where she sells her favorite fast-fashion finds.

Sue-Tanya modeled with Those Creative People for the launch of their Color Collection

Sue-Tanya considers herself a girl boss, which is basically a confident, capable woman who pursues her own ambitions instead of settling in life and hopes to inspire her generation through her motivational Instagram account @motivatedbysue.

Today, she’s also been able to live life on her terms by monetizing her social media platforms and carving out a niche as a content creator and blogger. On her website, www.suetanyamchorgh, she shares her opinion about everything from business to fashion. She’s worked with brands like Those Creative People, Kingston Creative, Jamaica Observer’s Take Style Out  and the Ministry of Gender, Culture, Entertainment and Sport highlighting the 2020 Reggae Month activities.

She wants to help entrepreneurs and small businesses create their e-commerce sites, branding kits and social media content. She also teaches others how to become a virtual assistant.

Girl Boss Sue-Tanya is a web designer, brand specialist, and lifestyle blogger. She’s worked with brands like CPJ, Kingston Industrial Garage, Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Those Creative People and others. You can learn about Sue-Tanya at