The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) hosted its second annual Social Media Business Conference at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel on Wednesday, February 28, 2018. The event has distinguished itself as a meeting place of movers and shakers in various business sectors across the island – all gathered with the intention of improving their understanding of how social media is impacting and transforming their industries, and the way they do business.
True to form, the event’s presenters did not fail to deliver key insights and provoke ponderances about the future of the Jamaican and global business landscape, especially since it is being continuously redefined and reshaped by social media. This year’s theme, #LikesToProfits, pushed attendees to think more about how they were engaging with their audiences on various social media platforms, and whether or not these methods were truly creating profits for their businesses. Here are diGJamaica’s Top 1o Takeaways from the panel discussion that took place at the event. See our Top 10 Takeaways from last year’s staging here.
Panel discussion moderator: Ingrid Riley, SiliconCaribe
- Deika Morrison of Moonstone Blue
- Terri-Karelle Reid of The Gleaner (Media) Company
- Kemal Brown of Digital Global
- Andre Wedderburn of Trend Media Global
Ingrid posed the question of how brands can get to know who their customers are, and the answers from all four panelists pointed to the same word: LISTEN. Deika said it best when she stated: “Being authentic in social starts with listening. Evolving from traditional media where you put out, talk at, speak to, [we have to recognise that] social is a conversation. … Social media is a digital manifestation of a conversation that your customers are having offline.”
Kemal added to that by saying, “It depends on the organisation and what they want to hear. If you decide to go social, ensure that you’re willing to go social.” What you want to hear and what customers you are targetting will determine what channel you listen through. What are people actually saying? Are they taking time to communicate with your brand? Are you using the tools that track comments across articles, blogs, etc? If not, it’s time to do what is necessary to be able to HEAR what is being said, so you can know how best to join the conversation.
2. Understand human emotions.
Kemal’s response to Ingrid’s question of how brands can be more open using social was pure gold. He advised brands to tell their story creatively and authentically by doing one simple thing: harness human emotions. “Impact comes from understanding human emotions,” he stated, explaining that there is no longer B2B or B2C, there is just H2H – human to human communication. For this to work, however, he explained that teams must be appropriately trained to understanding the nuances of social media.
3. There must be total buy-in at all levels of the organisation.
Ingrid was a punchy moderator whose understanding of the context within which Jamaican social media managers are working was clear. Nowhere was this more evident than when she pointed out that Jamaica has lots of decision makers who are not social. She then asked panelists if this lack of buy-in at senior management levels was optimal. They all answered with a resounding NO, and at various times throughout the panel discussion, they made it clear that there has to be a buy-in from senior leadership come right down to give the greatest power and effectiveness to a brand’s social media thrust.
4. Be authentic.
“Inauthenticity is easy to spot online,” Kemal noted. “It’s like building a relationship – if don’t talk to your husband for a couple of months, its kinda like grounds for divorce. You have to build trust, have a goal-oriented approach, an understanding soul of who you are as an organisataion.” He also noted that being authentic means knowing what not to share and what not to endorse. You don’t have to try to be super hip and fun if that’s not your brand.
5. Pay attention to CONTENT.
Ingrid noted that Facebook has changed its algorithms, and will stop showing brand content in its newsfeed, placing the onus on brands to be more specific regarding CONTENT. Then she asked the million-dollar question: Why is content so darn important? The answers from the panelists were very insightful:
- Terri-Karelle: Consumers are a lot more savvy. Brands have to go beyond the hard sell. Brands have to tell [consumers] WHY this product is important, and position themselves to be seen as an authority in their industry.
- Deika: It’s ALL about the connection. Everyday, there’s more and more information and more noise. You stand out by having content that is connecting with someone, and then motivating them to take an action based on the content that you’ve put in front of them. Content is HOW to make the connection.
Ingrid also asked what type of content should brands be paying attention to. In response, Kemal noted that by 2020, 80%of the internet will be video, and that this will be the primary form of content driving engagement. Why? Because video is like another layer of an experience for consumers. He also said that blogging and vlogging are also great ways to engage audiences.
He also noted that social media has acted as an equaliser. Everyone is a content producer. Individuals are coming up with content faster than brands. He said that this must not be seen as competition, but a collaboration. To stand out, brands must produce content that is humanised and authentic.
6. When using influencer marketing, know the difference between popularity and influence.
How do you determine influence versus popularity? Ingrid posited that influence is the ability to convert a message into action, versus popularity that is just ‘all about me’. Influence means a person is able to drive persons to take action. How you determine influence versus popularity is RESULTS.
7. Leverage data.
Ingrid asked panelists how to leverage data to win in the social space. Kemal answered by saying that data is information, and that the depth that today’s data allows is truly groundbreaking. He noted, “If you are able to harness this information, you can target customers by interest, online behaviour, etc.” He also noted that ‘How did you hear about us’ is one of the most powerful tools to find out what’s working for your business.
Deika urged brands to not get overwhelmed by the data. “Step back and know what are you trying to achieve to know which data points to focus on,” she advised. Terri-Karelle added that ‘big data’ does not mean ‘smart data’, urgin brands to make the data smart enough to drive conversions from #LikesToProfits.
Kemal urged social media managers to care about their audience, their brand, the experiences and the narrative. “Create content that you yourself would want to consume so that quality of life [for your audience] is elevated and value enhanced,” he said. Adding to this, Terri-Karelle and Andre pointed out that brands cannot be everything to everyone. “Stand by your brand ethos, core values, vision and ultimate goal,” Terri-Karelle said. “Be yourself and build brand loyalty.”
9. Think MOBILE.
Andre pointed out that digital is fast growing in the Caribbean, but that it is still very much all about MOBILE. “That’s what enables social,” he said. “So do your research, know your customers and listen to them.” All the panelists made it clear that in order to get the most of social media use, managers must think of these platforms within the wider context of an increasingly digital world. “Sometimes you don’t need to be on social, but to make that decision, you need to know who your customers are,” said Andre. “It’s always important to know who your customers are and what aspect of social media they are using. THINK DIGITAL. THINK MOBILE.”
Before a brand engages in any kind of social market, it should create a strategy. Why? Because, as Andre Wedderburn said, they need an endgame. Deika expounded, explaining that social media focuses heavily on engaging and making emotional connections, and you can’t make emotional connections without a strategy. “If I don’t know what you are trying to achieve, I don’t know what to post, when, how or where,” she said. She also noted that people are watching everything, and warned brands against alienating one market when deciding to go in a particular direction. “Each platform is a part of a strategy,” she said.
Terri-Karelle noted that this strategy must support the overall brand of the company, and that all the company’s various arms of social media use (different platforms, etc) must work together, and reinforce each other. As Deika put it: “You need to be realistic about the platforms, the differences in the platforms, the pros and cons of mechanics and dynamics of how they work within the context of your own resources moneywise and humanwise.”