Author Archives: Nerissa Golden

About Nerissa Golden

Nerissa Golden is Media Strategist and Business Coach who helps her clients accelerate their business growth by leveraging high impact communications solutions and income generating strategies. Follow her on twitter @trulynerissa. Email her for coaching services at nerissa@trulycaribbean.net. Learn about upcoming courses at www.nerissagolden.com.

Using Hashtags on Instagram is Must for Business

Instagram is one of the fastest growing social platforms, but do you know how to use it?

While many like to use it as it’s less crowded than Facebook to share photos with friends, if you plan to use it for business then you have to know how to use it correctly.

Using hashtags on instagram is a must.
Using hashtags on instagram is a must.

Instagram is a mobile app for sharing photos around common themes. You use hashtags aka the number or pound sign (#) to tag your images so others can find them.

If you have a brand or offer a service then your images need to be seen by people who could be your next client. How will they find you? You must know what hashtags they use commonly and are interested in.

Let’s take an easy one like travel.

While you can fill the status with “having lots of fun in Antigua”. If you are trying to promote your travel agency, hotel or some other travel-related venture , maybe even luggage then you need to include hashtags such as #Caribbeantravel #picoftheday #instatravel #instapic, #luxury, #luggage.

Make sure Antigua is written with a hashtag in front of it like this #Antigua. Key words should be tagged every time.

Do a search for the top Instagram hashtags in general and also in your area of interest.

Like Follow Lead

As you can’t include an active link in your status for people to click through to your site then you must capture their interest to encourage them to follow you and connect with your on your business platform.

Get more helpful tips on using the top social media platforms correctly in Like Follow Lead: Mastering Social Media for Small Business.

Find me on Instagram @trulycaribbean .

Upgrade your Business Email Address

I tell you the truth. I think twice about recommending your business to colleagues if your email address still says Yahoo or Hotmail.

On a regular basis friends and other clients ask me to refer them to someone who can help them with a business problem. The first place I check is my network. I am always looking for the opportunity to recommend a friend or business contact but I will pass you over if you’ve got an email address that screams I’m not serious.

Even if your business is only part time, you can still present it professionally.

I love Gmail and so you may get a pass if you use one but make sure it uses your company name or your full name rather than hotmess@gmail.com or bootylicious@gmail.com.

email

An even better and the recommended option is to register your company domain name and then create addresses that you can use. Most domains come with options for about 100 addresses which you can create and forward mail through.

Using your company address gives legitimacy to your business and also serves as a daily advertisement.

I always search for the company I see mentioned after the @ symbol. You could gain some new customers simply using an address registered to your domain.

Don’t forget to add links to your social accounts and website to your email signature so it appears every time you send an email. Another way to pick up new customers with minimum effort.

Calypso Hard to Judge

We do it constantly. Raise our friends and foes to their highest level of incompetence. Empowering them to continue a malaise that has chased us through the centuries. Always willing to pull down and silence those who show aptitude and gifts in areas we are limited or have none.
Saturday night’s judging of the Regional Female Calypso was such an event. But it is not a one-off. It is a recurring theme across a nation which continues to see itself in isolation to the rest of the world. It continues to live as a stranger’s paradise where once you get off the plane or the ferry, the rules of the outside world do not apply and you are at the mercy of the smiles or the knives of the inhabitants.
This is the part where I’m supposed to write don’t get me wrong I love Montserrat. But if loving Montserrat means I continue to perpetuate a lie then I guess I don’t.
The show was brilliant. Those seven women delivered. Some of them delivered better than others. The final decision to award local singer Silvina Kandi Malone the first runner up slot was a let down on a spectacular evening of music and it was something everyone felt palpably.
Judges decisions are final but when the audience in the park, those listening on radio can tell that a singer was out of her league and not on the level of her competitors and she gets a top slot then there is a problem. Kandi’s lyrical dexterity was limited by the song choices, which were simply repetitive and have been for some time. They did not take us on a journey, bringing us to a place that the other six women did every time they stood on the stage….hope. Rather she took us around and around back to a chorus which made you just want the song to end.
It didn’t matter that they were singing about domestic abuse, gun violence, political systems that fail us. I kept longing to hear more from these Caribbean women. Every song ended with the idea that there was hope and we were it.
When the judges choose to award a performer a EC$7000 prize they did not deserve, they not only disempower the singer who believes they won fairly but the audience, who now wonders if the hope we feel is worthwhile acting on.
Maybe the violence and weak politicians the Caribbean suffers from are a result of other judgments that have gone against what was right, what was blatantly a decision not to elevate those who have worked and delivered their rightful rewards.
The Montserrat Festival is struggling. It needs to position itself among a region of festivals which have more money and larger media footprints and this competition is one way it can be done. However, when we do not allow the competition to function with integrity, we miss the chance to elevate a “local” show to the real potential it has…which is an international standard calypso competition which gives women a platform that is unmatched.
We’ve got to stop pretending we have arrived and are the only stars worth shining. Clearly Saturday night’s performance showed we have a ways to go in our writing and in our stage performance. If we don’t allow our people to see how they truly match up against other nations we will continue to allow them to leave the insolation of Montserrat’s shores and enter regional and international competitions believing they have a real chance when they aren’t even up to the basic standards. (This would be a perfect opportunity to discuss our queen pageant history but I shall resist the temptation.)
Stop it.
Give our people a real chance to grow by judging them fairly. When we can see how we rank against other singers, dancers, athletes, we can know how much harder we need to work to get better. Giving our people false ideas of greatness only permits them to be happy with mediocrity and that will not do.
The world is waiting to gobble up our children. We owe it to them to prepare them fully and with the best the world has to offer, not just Montserrat.

BTW Congratulations to Crystal Cummings-Beckles for retaining her crown. She was in a word, brilliant. Her writing prowess was also seen through the performances by Shaunelle McKenzie of St. Vincent (I wanted her to either win or be runner-up. She was that good.) Menell from St. Lucia…the woman delivered. Kandi could benefit from doing what these women have done which is to try different writers; perform regularly throughout the year; and compete in different forums outside their comfort zones so they can grow.

Festival Day is in the New Caribbean Christmas Anthology

Image from Festival Day by Kathryn Duncan of KaribGraphics Trinidad
Image from Festival Day by Kathryn Duncan of KaribGraphics Trinidad

It is always great when you can make something old new again. In this case, one of my favourite poems from Islands Days is now featured in the new Caribbean Christmas Anthology just released by CaribbeanReads Publishers.

Festival Day which highlights the dual celebration of Christmas and the cultural festival on Montserrat is included Round My Christmas Tree.

The book features 27 stories, poems, recipes, and artwork that range from the sacred to irreverent and from heart-warming to just down-right funny, according to the publisher’s website.

Get yours by clicking on the ad below.

How Many Customers Does Your Business Really Need?

No one is buying?

The market’s just not big enough.

Our population is too small.

All of these are comments I hear regularly from business owners and people considering starting a business on Montserrat.

black-business-ownerWhile there is truth to all of the above statements, often we generalize and take on other people’s assumptions without testing them for ourselves.

Consider no one is buying. Are you running a business where you need people to purchase your service daily or can one good sale per week set you right and meet your monthly sales goals? Evaluate what your daily, weekly and monthly sales targets need to be and then evaluate your systems with those figures in mind. If you do require daily sales then what promotions or changes can you make to improve how your customers engage with your product or services? Maybe you are not advertising enough or not advertising on the media platforms or in the locations where your customers are.

The market’s just not big enough. Montserrat (5000) is one of the smallest markets in the region and while many think that is the case, places such as Saba (1800+) and St. Eustatius (3000+) have even smaller populations. Again look at your market. Do you need all 5000 people on Montserrat to keep you in business? Even if you did, could you meet the demand? The better plan would be to look at your sales targets and ensure they cover your expenses and a reasonable profit. How many people would need to purchase your cleaning or accounting service this month?

If your goal was 10,000 per month then evaluate your pricing packages. How many private homes would you need to clean monthly to reach that goal? How many businesses would it take to reach the target? If you have support then maybe it can be done by taking on more private homes or increasing the fees for servicing businesses.

Our population is just too small. Small gives you the opportunity to be unique and create a premium and quality product. If you look around and see everyone doing the same thing, then it does not make sense to follow the trend. All of you will be competing with the same products in the same space. Rather, find a way to position your products and services in the market so you stand out. Develop unique products, offer exceptional service, personalize your offerings to keep customers coming back.

Rather than listening to the voices around you who are often only repeating what they’ve heard from others, do you own research and listen to your inner expert.

Use the Start a Business in 5 Days Workbook to help you develop your market and sales strategy.