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 Brands you MUST follow on Instagram

Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 1.38.27 AM.pngGood design is so important in getting the right audience to flock to your brand. Great design induces brand loyalty and affects the subconscious. It’s a lot more important than a lot of marketers realize.

I really would love to raise the standard of design in general for social media in Jamaica. I think it can be done. I see it in these pages. So let’s get into it:

  1. @Bijoux_ja is a mood. The luxury is finite on this page. But it still has the ability to be authentically Jamaican. I don’t know how they do what they do but I love it. You should follow them just for the aesthetic. It’s a must.
  2. @Swizzbeads The editing might throw you off but that’s what makes their page so unique. Not to mention the detail to the styling. The model seems to take her swizz beads everywhere. Makes us want to go too.
  3. @summerhouseja From the teasers to the attention to details, this page is an aesthetic. The images are inviting and it really makes you want to go. I’m not a fan of grids but I think this was a perfect way to launch the restaurant and spark interest. The content is also great. The way they gave you insight into the concept was very well thought out.
  4. @jaejolly This carefully curated feed is on point! They focus on creating an aesthetic and switch up between models poses and swimsuits images. The brightly colored swimsuits pop off the page and the whole island vibe got us wanting to live in the jungle. 10/10 would recommend!
  5. @maxiestores They make the effort to really curate their feed. It always has a theme! It might be red theme or a blue theme but its so seamless. I live for it!
  6. @chillitosjamexican I don’t know who their agency is but they look like they have one. Those images are taken with lighting and symmetry in mind. It targets the Millennials well with just a touch of humor to keep you wanting more.
  7. @cafeblueja Last but certainly not least Cafe Blue is one of my faves! It’s so authentically Jamaican and they are always doing fun to stuff to spark interest from their audience.
  8. @kayainc It’s all about the green! This carefully curated feed showcases the offerings of the dispensary Kaya Inc. It also give you developments in the cannabis industry.

Well those are the list of my favorite brands to follow on instagram. If there any other that have a great aesthetic: careful placement of photos, great photos and a thought behind it let me know. What makes a great instagram feed? Let me know.

Please don’t tell me about personal accounts. I want to know about brands only. I might do one for personal accounts soon. Let me know if you’re interested in reading that one! Don’t forget to follow me on instagram at @kesigardner

 

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!

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

Blogging for Dummies

 
So you don’t seem to be getting the traffic that you need to your website. It seems that all you have is static content that no one is interested in, right?
The best way to get people interested in your product is to highlight the benefits of having your product, by telling people about your product. Right?
But, the news sources don’t care about your product or service and Novia McDonald-Whyte, the Style Editor of The Jamaica Observer hung up on you because you couldn’t remember if she worked for the Gleaner or the Observer (true story by the way).
So what are you going to do?

 

START A BLOG

 

That’s right! Start a blog! It’s the easiest thing to do. Blogger and WordPress make it so easy to create your own pages, and post them on the Internet.
Now you’re probably thinking, if I have a website, why do I need a blog? Well here is the thing, a lot of time the website’s information is static, meaning it can’t be changed and shared as organically as you would like it to be.
The people who may be interested in your product or service are not interested in static information. People want knowledge, information that is engaging, kind of like this blog.  (Just checking if you are paying attention)
The good thing about writing a blog for your company is that it’s simple to do; you are not tied to the CEO or Managing Director’s messages to write the blog entry. The benefit of having a blog, is that anyone from your company can write something, as it is more informal than a website page.

BLOGGING HELPS TO TARGET DIFFERENT AUDIENCES

 

Another good thing about having a blog is that the content keeps changing, as you add more content, and more blog posts are for different target groups or different services your company has to offer, it will bring more traffic to your website and ultimately drive sales.
So what do people want to read? I think most of the time people are interested in reading about personal experiences, triumphs and the brand experience.