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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Jamaican YouTubers to Follow in 2018

I haven’t written a blog post like this in awhile and the last article I did about this topic got picked up by Buzzebly. You can read it here if you’re interested. This got the highest views to date so I’ve decided to an updated version.

Now a lot has happened in the YouTube atmosphere. A lot of the old YouTubers I mentioned before, no longer post on YouTube. I think some of the mainstays just know how to stay dedicated and keep at it. It takes awhile to build a following and with YouTube becoming the most popular network, there is a market for it.

Now I won’t list them by any relevance. These are the ones I think have the best content, regardless of subscribers.

    Dutty Berry. Dutty Berry has been doing this thing for a couple of years now and I haven’t caught up with him in awhile but I’m pretty sure he’s making a decent living off this YouTube thing along with making appearances and hosting. He has over 140,000 subs and  averages about 100,000 views per video. Dutty Berry has videos sponsored as well, which is a good move. What makes him stand out? His content. You can tell he does his research and makes sure the videos are jam-packed with jokes and up to date news and gossip.
    RushCam. Now if you haven’t seen his YouTube channel yet, you should definitely check him out. He has done a wide range of videos with very relatable Jamaican themes. Everything from Carnival to comparing Tastee and Juicy Beef. This dude has personality and the videos aren’t too long but they leave you laughing your head off and somehow wanting to know more about this character. He has the potential to really grow his following as long as he keeps paying attention to making great content.
    LaurenOLauren Lauren doesn’t live in Jamaica anymore so her videos are based on her life in California but she is still definitely worth a sub. Point blank, this media veteran is hilarious with her rants about trolls and people’s reactions to her hair. Her content has definitely improved and varied over the years and she has grown to 10,000 subs and 18,000 followers on Instagram.
    Lyric Rochester is blowing up YouTube with her makeup tutorials and has almost 200,000 subscribers. She does mostly makeup tutorials but has charisma and is interesting to watch. She’s partnered with Fontana Pharmacy in the past.
    Trabass TV is still going strong with his vlogs, music videos and comic skits. He basically just vlogs his life with his wife Deannae but he’s fun to watch and keeps his viewers entertained. He’s really trying to break into the music industry and he’s been doing it for awhile. He’s had some success with appearances and tours.
    Chantay Lainey has over 4,000 subscribers on YouTube. She does mostly makeup tutorials but has a bit of vlogs mixed in along the way. She’s a twenty-something just living her life with her friends and has brought us along for the ride!

Those are my picks if you know any YouTubers you think I should add to this list. Let me know!

Top Ten Jamaican YouTubers you Should Know

After the success of my blog post: Top Seven Bloggers to Showcase your Brand, I decided to take a more in-depth look into the YouTube industry. This is my top ten list based on subscribers and the quality of the original content:

1. Andrew Trabass is not based in Jamaica but you would never know as his accent is straight “yahdie.” His blogs are original and hilarious! Trabass’s has over 284,081 subscribers and over 49,286,894 views on his channel.

He also has a personal v-log that showcases his day-to-day life. He’s a singer/songwriter and even sells t-shirts on his website.

 

2. With boy band looks and charisma, the YaadBwoys are the hottest “yahdies” on YouTube. They over 143,844 subscribers and over 14 million views!  These guys technically don’t live in Jamaica, (they are based in Florida) but the content produced is appealing to the Jamaican teen (girls) market.

3. JamaicanMakeUpArtist offers makeup tutorials and weave reviews. She hosts over 120,000 YouTube subscribers on and 1,393,935 views. She’s ranked in the Top 100 YouTubers on Social Blade. Great for beauty products and makeup brands.

4. See2TwinTwo are Jamaican twins who basically v-log about their lives. Even though they are all grown up, these young ladies would be great for the tween market. They have over 62,000 subscribers with over 4million views! Lots of tag and challenge videos.

5. Copping the Personal Achievement Award for Excellence in Blogging at the Caribbean Blog and Social Media awards last year, Dutty Berry has been an overnight success since he started posting his reviews of Tessanne on NBC’s “The Voice.” He hosts over 60,334 subscribers and has 4,984,166 views on YouTube. He’s currently the spokesperson for #NuhDuttyUpJamaica, a Jamaica Environment Trust public education initiative geared towards keeping coastal environments clean.

He’s also been nominated for YouthView Awards’ Favourite Break Out Celebrity of 2014.

5. Award winning Jamaican Video Blog of the Year in 2012, The Duke Powell Show is funny, authentic Jamaican content with over 49,375 subscribers and over 5 198 302 views.

Popularly known for his video that went viral: “The Pum Pum Tun Up!”

6. Bella Blair is a comedic actress who writes and produces a lot of her own content. She also has a show on RETV called Bella’s Bizarre World. She was recently appointed the brand ambassador for Cran Wata. She boasts over 36,141 subscribers with over 3,690,984 views.

7. With over 15,900 subscribers, Wally British is the rawest talent on the roster. Her unorthodox preaching keeps fans engaged and screaming for more. Subject matter is very adult, so best suited for the 18 years or older crowd.

British would be a great candidate for a public awareness campaign around sex education or any subject matter centered around sex and reproductive health.

8. A modern day Louise Bennett, Carla Moore was inspired to start a channel devoted to sharing her love for her country after going away to study. Just recently, Carla presented a competition sponsored by Jamaica Jazz and Blues requesting video submissions of their best Mariah Carey impression. The winner received a 3-day pass to the event.

With over 10, 463 subscribers, she would be a great spokesperson for anything Jamaica.

9. MakeupbyPetiteSue showcases mostly makeup tutorials and weave reviews. Interesting note, she doesn’t wear foundation! She has over 5,996 subscribers and over 110,201 views on YouTube.

10. Mamachell is a well-poised, sassy media personality and lifestyle blogger who talks about everything from Teen Wolf to the Kartel Murder Trial. She would be great for partnering with brands targeting the entertainment or travel/tourism industry.

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!