Sales & Marketing

Lessons learned that I hope you can use to market your business and yourself.

Caribbean elections will be won or lost with Social Media, says Media Strategists

MONTSERRAT/UK – Two digital media strategists believe that how Caribbean political parties use social media in the coming years will impact their chances at the polls come Election Day. Nerissa Golden of Goldenmedia and Ursula Barzey of Moxee Marketing say over the next 18 months more than 10 Caribbean countries and Overseas Territories will be heading to the polls to elect new governments, and not including a definitive social media strategy in their campaign could mean a loss of power for incumbents to parties prepared to win by any means necessary.

Nerissa Golden is a media strategist and business coach based on Montserrat.
Nerissa Golden is a media strategist and business coach based on Montserrat.

“Social media has become the most immediate and affordable means of communicating. While Caribbean governments have initiated the use of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, there is this sense that it is to follow a trend without understanding it is the space in which the electorate will deliberate on whether they want to reelect the same team or put new people in power. The present governments have been in power for four or more years and within that time, the power and influence of social media in the region has been amplified significantly. This means you can’t use it on the fly hoping for the best but be very intentional about the goal,” explained Golden, the author of Like. Follow. Lead: Mastering Social Media for Small Business.

According to Internet World Stats, the Caribbean has an estimated 13,480,693 Internet users as of June 2012, with 6,674,100 using Facebook – the most dominant social platform with over 1.15 billion active members. Facebook remains the most popular platform for Caribbean nationals with Twitter in second place. The nation of St. Kitts & Nevis was found to have the highest internet usage for the region with more than 79% of residents online, according to World Development Indicators.

Ursula Barzey, who recently launched the luxury brand portal Caribbean & Co., said in 2004 Barack Obama, then a long shot candidate for the US Presidency, developed an effective online/digital campaign which made heavy use of social media. They repeated and expanded their social media campaign with his second run for office, which was again successful.

However, as most candidates won’t have the financial backing or extended team like President Obama, they should consider a few things before campaigning on social media.

Ursula Barzey heads Moxee Marketing, a digital media company based in the UK.
Ursula Barzey heads Moxee Marketing, a digital media company based in the UK.The strategists suggest that political parties should ask and answer the following questions:

1. Do we have the required expertise to launch an effective social media campaign?

“A poorly executed social media campaign can do more harm than good,” says Barzey. “Having someone on their team who actually understands how to use online/digital marketing tools effectively is critical. With that person in place, two things should then happen. First, the entire team should be briefed/trained on what’s required to effectively implement social media as part of the campaign. With that training complete, the online strategy should be enhanced to include social media.”

“Being on social media doesn’t preclude maintaining a traditional website and other communication mediums, adds Barzey. “As the campaign trail heats up, all related content should be curated on the website, and then shared via social media. Curating on the candidates own website ensures that potential voters and donors can easily learn more about the candidate and their positions on the issues. Also journalists and bloggers covering the campaign have a reference point for background information.”

2. Which social media sites should we be on?

“Maintaining a successful presence on social media sites means being an active participant. It’s not just about pushing the candidates’ message out but being responsive to queries from voters and journalists,” notes Golden. “To ensure that it doesn’t become overwhelming, the social media manager should launch on the two main social media sites: Facebook and Twitter which are massive hangouts for potential voters, donors, journalists, and bloggers. Add YouTube to the mix for showcasing video recordings of political speeches, statements, campaign rallies and campaign advertisements. With an expanded team, candidates can consider establishing on other social media sites like Instagram and Flickr for images.”

The more platforms you add, the more support you will need, the strategists agreed.

3. What is the message to be communicated and how often?

“It’s important that the social media presence for candidates remain active throughout the campaign. So don’t just build up to the launch and then go quiet. Create a content/social media calendar for distributing the campaign message consistently via social media channels. Also, be part of the conversation and remember that once you place something on social media, you really can’t take it back even if you delete. This means, the person assigned to communicating the campaign message must be polished but also personable,” Barzey says.

4. How will the campaign handle a crisis?

“In an ideal world, things will go smoothly with the campaign and there will be no gaffes or scandals to speak of. However, social media can sometimes make a mountain out of a mole hill, so candidates need to be ready with a plan of action to move the conversation along and ideally back on message. That all starts with being empathetic and responsive,” says Golden. “You don’t ignore a negative comment, see it as an opportunity to engage in positive dialogue to clarify your position as the problem solver.”

Golden also recommends that politicians not overlook the Diaspora Effect. “Although they cannot vote in local elections, family and friends in the Diaspora can be a major influence in deciding who will win. The Diaspora use social media consistently to search, share and celebrate what is happening at home, often before many on the ground are aware. If they are able to grab the passion and purpose of a candidate and share that message within their network, the result is that those at home will give consideration to the officials whose names and images come up more consistently and effectively in the spaces where they spend the most time, which is online.”

Both strategists recommend that campaigns should have both a party platform as well as social accounts for each candidate. The individual pages should reflect the brand and message of the party but present a more personal look at the candidate running for office. These personal pages should then follow the politician into office.

Follow Nerissa Golden @trulygolden and Ursula Barzey @MoxeeMarketing on Twitter for social media tips.

This Ad has me thinking about the power of words and images

The slogan I’ve used for goldenmedia for many years has been words…images…life.
Today I came across this ad in my Facebook news feed for a South African scotch called Bells. Never heard of it before and I don’t even drink scotch but the ad had me and a few friends teary eyed.
Its not a hard sell ad at all but you get the message and leaves you with a feel good spirit about this company and their product.
In other words, it worked.
It also served as an important reminder to not underestimate or take for granted the power of the right images, words and music to impact and bring about an intended result. We have to remember to be intentional. Only then can we expect to receive what we are after.
The summary on the ad says: “The new Bell’s TV commercial features a father whose intrepid spirit demonstrates just what it takes to be a true Man of Character.”
“Give that man a Bells” is the tag line. I was very happy to find the Behind the Scenes version of the ad. The commercial plays comes at the end of the BTS.
I won’t give it away the storyline.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkE-cbwhhNA

Tell Your Story: Writing a Compelling Job Letter

You don’t need to begin with Once Upon a Time but you do need to find engaging ways to tell the story of your area of expertise.

If you are applying for a new post which you may not have qualifications in, telling the story of how your past experiences have prepared you for the new opportunity is very important.

You must be able to grab the reader from the first paragraph. You don’t do this by saying you have no qualifications but show how through your previous roles you’ve gathered expertise which are applicable to the present position.

Even if the position is in the same company you work for, don’t take it for granted that they know you and what you’ve accomplished. Your priority is not to remind them that you’ve been here for ten years and so you should be their first choice. Rather it is to tell them with a story how your ten years have not been wasted and has given you an understanding of the company’s culture, its vision and enabled you to acquire the skills to execute the role effectively.

Wrap up your letter with a clear vision statement of how you can help them reach the goals identified in their job advert.

Make your contact information very clear and express your willingness to provide additional information and to meet with them to discuss your application further.

I wish you well on your job search.

What's Your Brand Story?

keep calm - tell your storyYou’ve only been in business a few months or maybe a few years but you have got a story worth telling.
People connect with stories and that is not limited to small children. We all love a great story, which is why magazines, news programs and the plethora of blogs online grab us daily.

What story do you tell?

Tell me the story of how you decided to start your business. What was the gap you saw in the market and how you knew you had the ability to fill it?
Have you had a satisfied customer who doesn’t mind shouting from the rooftops how you helped them solve a problem? Then get a few quotes to add substance to your tale. No need to speak dollars and cents unless it is to show how you helped them break the six-figure mark or whatever the target was they had set.
Maybe you are just getting started and so you don’t have any satisfied customer stories to pull from. Don’t despair. Look and listen.
Around you are the stories of life happening. How does your company offer a solution to a problem that a government or financial institution is facing? Do you have alternative and non-traditional strategies to solve an age-old problem? Use these as the basis to show how your company has the answer.
Share these stories on your company website, social media or in a press release to your local and regional media.

Need help crafting your stories? Then drop me an email at gmedia@trulycaribbean.net.

Good Service Counts

Even if you are the only company doing what you do where you are doing it, don’t take it for granted.

Your customers have options to use your service or do without it, even if there are no other choices at the moment.

I’m not one for ranting online but I had to take to twitter today as I couldn’t even get internet service long enough to google or send an email.

Even if the problem turns out to be my fault it would be good if staff respond in a way that shows they want to help. You can only report a fault for so long and never see a human turn out to check it out before you want a new service provider.

Added to the fact that I know I’m not the only one with the issue then you have to wonder whose fault is it really?