Jamaica

11 Shocking Facts & Statistics about ‘Brand Jamaica’

Hot Topics

While doing research for Repositioning Brand Jamaica: A Social Media Approach, the paper I will be presenting at the inaugural Brand Jamaica symposium this month, I came across some seriously depressing facts and statistics about our beloved country.

Grouped together, they paint a picture of a country headed for disaster, unless we do something about it.

 

Brand Jamaica

  1. ‘Brand Jamaica’ is estimated to be worth between US$33 – 35 billion, but the island loses about US$20 billion of this economic value due to increasing problems with trademarking Jamaican products overseas. (Source)
  1. In most countries across the world, any third party can register a trademark a product with the name ‘Jamaica’ with no association with the country. (Source)

Murder Rate

  1. Jamaica has the sixth highest murder rate in the world, according to the 2013 Global Study on Homicide report. (Source)

Corruption

  1. The country ranks 85 out of 175 countries on the Corruption Perception Index, which ranks countries based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be. (Source)

Homophobia

  1. In 2006, TIME Magazine dubbed Jamaica ‘the most homophobic place on Earth’. This article is still referenced today. (Source)
  1. A recent documentary, “Young and Gay: Jamaica’s Gully Queens” highlights the struggles of the LGBT community in Jamaica, also gained significant attention, but representatives of the country have not acknowledged or responded to the issues raised in the film. (Source)

Tourism

  1. While there was overall growth experienced by most of the countries closest to Jamaica with similar tourism offerings (Bahamas, Cuba, Dominic Republic, Haiti, and Puerto Rico) between 2008 – 2013, Jamaica experienced a decline in year over year growth. (Source: World Bank)

tourism receipts graph

Economic Performance

  1. Jamaica is one of the slowest growing developing countries in the world, with real per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increasing at an average of approximately one percent per year over the past 30 years. (Source)
  1. The debt to GDP ratio, which was estimated to be about 140% at the end of the 2014/15 fiscal year, is also among the highest in the developing world. (Source)

Financial Well-Being

  1. Jamaica’s financial well-being is the lowest in the Caribbean region, ranking 115 on the Financial Well-Being Index out of 145 countries, below Haiti (109) and Greece (113). (Source)

Unemployment

  1. Unemployment has consistently risen since 2008, with a high of 16.5% of the workforce unemployed in 2013 and youth unemployment more than twice the national rate. (Source)
Jamaican comedians

3 Hilarious Jamaican Comedians You Should Follow on Instagram

People On The Web

Sometimes you want quality, educational content that’s also marginally entertaining.

And sometimes you just want crazy, ratchet videos to make you laugh your ass off.

If you fall into the second category, but you don’t have too much time on your hands, then these 15-second skits, showcasing the more colourful side of Jamaican behaviour, are right up your alley.

 

1. @quiteperry

quiteperry

Rohan Perry, though fairly new to Instagram comedy scene, is no stranger to the entertainment industry, which might explain his meteoric growth in the past 16 weeks (when he posted the first comedy vid).

While he captures the attention of nearly 50,000 followers with his dramatic recounts of Jamaican women in various situations, he runs the PR and events firm, Perry Promotions.

Recent Highlights:

"If Rapunzel was a Jamaican.." – #QuitePerry 💇🏻 #TagAFriend (s/o @blameitonkway)

A video posted by Rohan Perry (@quiteperry) on

"That person thats always looking for a fight…" #Remake from (@nellysofunny) 👋 #TagAFriend

A video posted by Rohan Perry (@quiteperry) on

2. @princemarni

princemarni

Princemarni (Andrew Qualis), also dubbed Mr. #OxtailBone (see the first video to find out why – NSFW), and his partner-in-crime, gyalisinparis, are comedians based in NYC.

He has explored several video channels, starting with YouTube, but found his home on Instagram, where he has racked up over 55,000 followers. Most of his videos feature Susan, a ‘Jamaican ghetto girl’ who’s not afraid to ‘talk di tings’ and demand attention and respect from those around her.

Recent Highlights:

🐂🐂JAMAICAN version of mmmmfreestyle 😂 #MmmmmFreestyle #HeAndHerTv #YaadVineENT w/ @gyalisinparis @shadowintricate @neil_hypelyfe

A video posted by 🎥YaadVineENT🌟Mr #OxtailBone (@princemarni) on

[ but why Suzan stay soh]😑. "When you dating a Jamaican ghetto girl"😑 #YaadVineENT #HeAndHerTv

A video posted by 🎥YaadVineENT🌟Mr #OxtailBone (@princemarni) on

3. @majahhype

majahhype

Majah Hype (Collin Nigel McPherson) was raised in Kingston, Jamaica and currently lives in New York. His combined talents of acting, singing and improv make for a diverse and entertaining Instagram timeline.

He’s well-known for his ability to demonstrate how various West Indians would act in the same scenario, complete with perfect accents. He also takes on the role of many characters, including Sister Sandrine, Grandpa James, and Di Ras, whom each offer a different perspective on Jamaican personalities and culture.

Recent Highlights:

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I’ll Be Presenting at the Inaugural Brand Jamaica Symposium in July!

Personal Life

As Jamaicans, we are all proud to get the opportunity to give back to our country and use our knowledge and expertise to contribute to this little island we love.

So when I was contacted and asked to be a part of the first Brand Jamaica Symposium taking place at the University of West Indies, Mona Campus on July 16 & 17, I jumped in with two feet, and two arms, and even a head. You get the point.

I will be on a panel exploring how we can reposition the Jamaican brand and handle communication challenges. My specific contribution will be a presentation on using social media to improve the image and economic performance of our country.

The preparations are well under way for the symposium. I got a draft copy of the programme and there are some really profound and talented persons involved – and that’s just from the panel I’m on!

Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing some information about my paper, “Repositioning Brand Jamaica: A Social Media Approach” and more details of the event and how you can participate. Please join in the conversation and share this event on social media. Snippet from the official release below.

The Re:Imagine Jamaica Project, the nation brand think tank founded by Jamaican journalist and scholar, Dr. Hume Johnson, collaborates with the University of the West Indies’ Centre for Leadership and Governance (CLG) to stage the inaugural Brand Jamaica symposium on July 16 & 17, 2015 at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Kingston, Jamaica (Multi-Purpose Room, Main Library).

This premier event will bring together key professionals and practitioners in business, tourism, creative industries, sports, science and technology, media communication, marketing, politics, and academia. The goal is to discuss key issues, trends, challenges and practices that are shaping Jamaica’s public international image, as well as share experiences, perspectives, insights and the latest developments in the national drive to lift, promote and protect Brand Jamaica.

The keynote speaker of the Brand Jamaica Symposium 2015 is Samantha North, an Istanbul-based place brand specialist and freelance journalist with the UK Telegraph and Al Jazeera.From the Re-Imagine Jamaica Blog

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malcolm gladwell

Choice, Happiness and Spaghetti Sauce – TED Talk by Malcolm Gladwell

Solopreneur Advice

There is never one perfect formula that fits everyone all the time. Even our preference for  basic needs – food, water and shelter – are diverse, so it’s a wonder why businesses try to create one product that appeals to everyone. It will never work.

This is the concept Malcolm Gladwell addresses in the below TED Talk entitled, “Choice, Happiness and Spaghetti Sauce”.

I love TED Talks but never get to watch them as frequently as I’d like because…ain’t nobody…you know the rest. Anyway, I happened to glimpse this one by one of my favourite authors ever and thought, “I MUST watch!” So glad I did!

Malcolm Gladwell, in case you haven’t heard, is the amazing author of the Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers and others – all books that talk about social psychology and human behaviour. Fascinating stuff!

Well, without further ado. Have a listen! I promise entertainment, deep thought and lessons you’ll carry with you for a long time to come.

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PayPal Locking Out Payoneer…Again. Here How To Get Your Money

Working Online
 This is an old post I had to revive because, yet again, persons are having difficulties adding Payoneer cards to their PayPal accounts. This time, it seems PayPal has figured out how to distinguish Payoneer routing numbers. So here are a few alternatives EVERYONE should look into just in case the transfer process stops working altogether. 

 

It was brought to my attention recently that PayPal will no longer facilitate transfers through Payoneer’s US Payment Service.

This has thrown a wrench into the business models of so many of my colleagues who make an income online and use Payoneer to get their money to Jamaica.

While official details are still unclear – PayPal has not put out an official written statement, Payoneer has not acknowledged that this is happening, and a source has confirmed receiving money through the service up to this morning – many of are concerned about the future our online businesses should PayPal continue to be the playground bully. If you have been or are going to be affected by this change, here’s how you can handle it.

 

Q: I’m tired of PayPal! What’s the best alternative to PayPal that I can use internationally?

A: Skrill (formerly known as MoneyBookers)

Not only is Skrill a good replacement for PayPal, it might be a replacement for Payoneer too – since it combines many of the features of both services.

Skrill offers you the ability to pay for goods online, as well as collect money from clients and customers (or whomever). It also provides a Prepaid Mastercard which functions very similarly to the one Payoneer offers.

Skrill also has a partnership with many of the top freelance and affiliate sites (including PeoplePerHour, my personal favourite) so you can transfer money to them directly. Previously, collecting from these sites required transferring from the site to PayPal, and then to Payoneer, losing a percentage of your money every step of the way.

I only signed up for Skrill recently and haven’t made it through all the steps yet so I can’t provide my own thoughts on how they function. However, if they do all they claim and do it well, this PayPal block may be a blessing in disguise. (If you currently use Skrill outside of the US, please comment and tell us how you find their service!)

 

Q: I don’t use freelance sites, but my clients pay me through PayPal or I use a service like Freshbooks to invoice them – is there another way they can pay me?

A: Use Payoneer’s US Payment Service – it’s pretty easy!

It’s a little known fact that clients can actually pay you through Payoneer directly. With their US Payment service, you can send invoices to clients (it’s right there on the home page) and they can go to load.payoneer.com (no www) and pay you there.

It’s prudent to advise them why you are changing payment methods and let them know that Payoneer might request some personal details before confirming the initial transaction – this is because Payoneer only facilitates business transactions and they take serious precautionary measures to enforce this.

(Side note: this is actually more cost-effective because Payoneer only takes 3.5% of payments, while PayPal took about 5% plus the 1% fee to transfer to Payoneer.)

For persons using invoicing services to bill clients, you have two options – you can switch to Invoicera, which allows transfers to Skrill – or you can skip the option to pay directly through PayPal on Freshbooks invoices and include a note with the Payoneer link (don’t forget to include the information they will need to enter).

 

Q: I sell goods through an online store or my website and I use PayPal’s Checkout service – what alternative can I use for this?

A: 2Checkout seems like the best option right now.

2Checkout is an online payment processing service that helps you accept credit cards, PayPal and debit cards. The best part about 2Checkout is it’s partnership with Payoneer.

All you have to do is add your Payoneer card to 2Checkout – which takes less than 5 minutes – and you can transfer any money earned through your online store or website to Payoneer.

2Checkout works with several checkout plugins to facilitate transactions. I don’t know much else about integrating it into your website but I figure since you were already using PayPal’s checkout service, this should be a breeze for you.

 

Q: I still have money in PayPal right now, how do I get it out?!

A: Try withdrawing it first, ask a friend to facilitate or *sigh* request a cheque and wait about 81 days :(

Sorry to say, there are only two explicit ways to get money out of PayPal – a US bank account or a cheque.

If you already have your Payoneer details added to your account, you can attempt to make a transfer the usual way – the most they can do is decline the transaction, so it can’t hurt.

If you’ve just received your Payoneer card, try emailing them the US account information from Payoneer (but don’t tell them it’s from Payoneer!), tell them you are having difficulties adding it and ask them to put it in for you.

If you have a friend who has a US bank account or another account that is accepted by PayPal, you can strike up a deal to send it to them and then they can give it to you. I don’t like this arrangement for several reasons, so it’s not highly recommended but if you’re in a bind, it’s an option.

If you’ve exhausted these possibilities and you still come up short, go ahead and request that cheque. If you are as untrusting of the local mailing system as I am (they’ve lost a few things for me), then call PayPal and request that the cheque be sent through a courier or registered mail. You will have to pay extra but if you want to ensure that you get that cheque, it’s worth it.

Remember that you will have to deposit that cheque into a local account once it’s received and the entire process from request to cash in hand takes about 81 days. (A cheque changing facility might offer an immediate solution – I’m not sure.)

 

Can’t We All Just Get Along

So those are my suggestions until this PayPal decided to play nice again. I also wish Jamaican government and banks stop hindering the progress of the country and start allowing foreign currency to flow in through standard bank transfers from PayPal. Like seriously, who loses in that?!

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask in the comments! You can also go ahead and share any other suggestions for persons who might be reading this because knowledge sharing is very important in our line of work. Until then… can’t we just all get along?

sashay and my chai latte blog header

Sashay and My Chai Latte: A Lesson In Personalized Service

Solopreneur Advice

This the tale of two coffee shops…

The Friendly Neighbourhood Coffee Shop

…is close to home, practically walking distance away. Small and quaint, but with a decent sized menu that’s pretty affordable.

With only 4 small tables, most customers don’t even sit – they grab their food, pay and head out.

The staff is friendly, pleasant and efficient.

The Coffee Shop in Town

…is much further away – about three times the distance.

It’s a lot larger and way more popular. Freelancers and entrepreneurs use it as an ‘office away from home’. Students come to piggy back on the free WiFi. The noise level at times makes you wish for the best earplugs money can buy.

The food is good too, but double the price of coffee shop #1, and the staff is just as friendly, pleasant and efficient.

Which One Do I Choose?

Let’s see. I’m carless – which means distance matters. I love supporting small businesses. And I absolutely positively hate noise, especially when I’m working.

So clearly I’m going with coffee shop #1, right?

Wrong. For the past year or so, I’ve bypassed the quaint little coffee house and gone the extra few miles to work from the one in town.

Which seems rather odd…until you pay attention to one tiny detail.

Sashay and My Chai Latte

Coffee Shop #1 used to be my first pick. Until one day while there, they lost power.

Deadline looming. Net down at home. No power there. I need to find another location and fast. Enter coffee shop #2.

So I walk in and Sashay, my server, recommended a Chai Latte. Never heard of the stuff, but she swore by it, so I said, ‘yeah, why not’.

I remember this as the day I fell in love. Chai Lattes are amazing.

When I returned a few days later, Sashay was there. She smiled and said, ‘Would you like another Chai Latte?’

That. Right. There! That had me hooked.

She remembered me, she remembered my order and each time I’ve been there since (at least 20 times), she’s already making it the moment I walk through the door.

The noisy atmosphere? The higher price? The longer distance? I’ll put up with it. All because of Sashay and my Chai Latte.

Takeaways

A few lessons business owners should take from this:

  • Just because you have ‘the right experience’ on paper, doesn’t mean your target customer will think so
  • Never underestimate the effect one day’s bad service can have on your business.
  • Friendly, pleasant, helpful service is a start, but personalized service will get you to the finish line.
  • Find out why your ‘ideal customers’ choose your competitors over you. It may just be one tiny thing. Don’t assume. The reasons may surprise you.

 

 

On Being ‘Unique’

Random Thoughts

Have you ever noticed that being ‘unique’ is in style these days?

I mean, everybody wants to be individualistic and do something ‘different’. They go so far that they will choose the different approach even when it doesn’t suit them. Just to be ‘different’.

But my question is this. If you are doing something ‘different’ because being ‘different’ is what everyone else is doing, isn’t that just another form of fitting in. Aren’t you living up to the status quo by going against the grain just for doing it’s sake?

Truth is, people who are truly different, never care about being different. They do ‘strange’ things because that’s what they want to do, not what the world say they should, or shouldn’t.

Why take the road less travelled if what you really want is just to be on a familiar path? Why not do what everyone else is doing if that’s what you enjoy?

At the end of day, you answer to you, right? And the question you’re answering is…

‘Are YOU happy?’

I know I am.

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How to Get Started with Social Media Marketing

Social Media, Working Online

Recently, I got an email from someone eager to learn social media marketing. When I started out in social media in 2010, there wasn’t nearly as much information online about using social media for business as there is today. Luckily, that has changed. For someone starting out now, I would recommend using the following resources to get started, in the order listed.

An Introduction to Social Media for Business

These resources are perfect starting point for any small business owner who wants to use social media for their business. Of course, understanding this core foundation is key information for anyone wanting to offer social media services to others.

Intro to Social Networks & Social Media for Organizations

Hootsuite University, hosted by Udemy

This free course from Hootsuite University will help you understand the basics of social media, how customers use it and how businesses can use that to their advantage. Highly recommended primer for anyone wanting to pursue social media marketing. Hootsuite is one of the primary tools used for managing social media.

Creating a Social Media Strategy

Hootsuite University, hosted by Udemy

Also from Hootsuite University, this course goes more in-depth into what makes social media marketing successful – building a strategy. It provides the steps to building a strategy and a workbook so that you can create your own.

Getting Started with Social Media Series

Social Media Examiner

This is a series of blog posts written over time, bundled by one of the tops blogs in the industry, Social Media Examiner, which gives basic steps and tutorials for everything from setting up pages to writing the best content and tracking social media performance. Social Media Examiner is arguably the best blog for social media managers – it provides tutorials for novices to professionals and keeps you updated on the latest news, trends and best practices in social media.

 

More Resources for Social Media Managers

The following material go a lot more in-depth into the current status of social media, focusing on specific best practices, statistics and useful guides and checklists to help develop social media marketing strategies and tactical plans.

Facebook Studio Edge

Facebook

The best way to learn about anything is from the people who created it. Facebook has built two websites, Facebook Studio and Facebook for Business, dedicated to showing marketers how to most effectively use the platform – they provide training courses, case studies and a gallery of top campaigns.

HubSpot Marketing Library

HubSpot

The term library is appropriately used here. There are so many resources it may overwhelm you at first glance. HubSpot, which specializes in inbound marketing, has created 100+ useful e-books, blogs, worksheets and templates that can come in really handy when you start working with clients. Take your time to review these using the navigation links on the right and bookmark the link for future reference.

“For Social Media Managers” Pinterest Board

Social Media Chica, hosted on Pinterest

Pinterest is a social media network that allows persons to ‘pin’ images unto ‘boards’. I’ve made use of this by creating a board dedicated to great resources I find online that would be useful to social media managers – this include lists, checklists, articles, among other things. It’s frequently updated (everytime I find a useful article or image) and highly recommended.

 

Building a Social Media Business

If you’re planning to start a business as a social media consultant or manager, you’ll need to learn more about how the business of social media works. From establishing your hourly rate to getting clients to tools to help you manage the workload, these are things you’ll need to know to be successful.

How to Build a Part-Time Social Media Business

Alexis Grant of Socialexis

This is the only resource on this list that you have to pay for (US$24, approx. JMD$2500) but I have included it because it is well worth the investment. Alexis Grant has outlined all the steps you need to take to build your business in the most straightforward way and it’s a very short and easy read. If you’ve made it through all the resources above and you are determined to build you own social media business, whether part-time or full-time, read this book!

 

That’s it from me! I 100% guarantee that after you’ve used these resources you’ll be well on your way to starting your social media management business.

kenishia mais

This Jamaican Entrepreneur Started Her Business with US$6 – Here’s Her Story

Solopreneur Advice, Working Online

kenishia maisIf you check out Accessories & Essentials online (go ahead, click here), it will seem like just another start-up online store. When you hear that this store is the brainchild of a 22 year-old Jamaican, who built this business from scratch with JMD$600 (US$6 at the time), then it starts to mean something more.

Since high school, Kenishia Mais knew that owning a business was the path she wanted to take. As a result, her subject choices were all geared in this direction. After school, she took on day jobs in several business and marketing areas to gain some work experience and stability. Her last job ended abruptly and she realized that it wasn’t stable after all. She was ready to pursue her own ventures.

So how did she start a business with US$6?

Her method is highly recommended by some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. It is also the focus of Chris Guillebeau’s popular book, The $100 Startup. She bought the first few items, sold them to friends and colleagues, then used the earnings to fuel more purchases and income.

Allowing the business to grow organically confirmed her market before she invested major resources and minimized risk. This was an intelligent move on her part, yet she had limited knowledge about ‘bootstrapping’. (Bootstrapping is the method of building a self-sustaining business.) She only knew that building a profitable business was her goal and she had limited resources. So she ploughed through and figured things out on her own along the way.

Running the Business

Many business experts recommend creating a business plans first. Kenishia believes she would have abandoned Accessories & Essentials had she done this. Instead, her ‘see it through’ attitude forced her to continue going, even when things weren’t going well. According to her, “if and when things get really tough, wine helps.” (As the host of a podcast called ‘Social Media: Under the Influence’, I’m also a big proponent of alcohol.)

Though the business has come a far way, it’s still young and primed for growth. To fund the business, Kenishia has other online ventures. She also offers consultation and project management services on a referral basis. The latter she is able to do because of her experience in setting up her own business. Her work day activities include managing inventory, processing orders and marketing, among other things. With no employees, she executes all the daily tasks, but sometimes enlists help through contractors on freelance sites like oDesk.

Challenges

Of course, with all the effort that Kenishia has put in, she has had a few challenges along the way. When I asked her what her biggest challenges are in operating an online business in Jamaica, here’s what she had to say:

The most difficult part of doing business in Jamaica is that most people seem to have a limited comfort zone. Things that are pretty standard in other countries are unheard of in Jamaica. We’re constantly playing catch-up, and when you’re doing that, you’re not innovating.

When running a business online, the most difficult aspects are proper positioning and building trust in your brand. You need that if you’re going to ask people to give you their credit card and personal identity information. It requires a lot of trust, and trust and credibility takes a lot of time to build.

With all that said, she is still appreciative of all the benefits running an online store has brought:

My online store is never closed. Customers can log on and make their purchases at their own convenience, wherever in the world they are. Within a week of launching Accessories & Essentials’ website, I had visitors from countries I’ve never visited. Not a lot of brick and mortars can boast that kind of diverse and international [appeal].

Motivation

For persons who want to start a business, she advises, “Just get off your ass and do it!” Research is important, but it’s the implementation that counts. It’s easy to get bogged down with varying opinions and theories. At some point, you just have to make a decision and move forward.

Kenishia also believes in continuous education – which is why she makes time to read business blogs and books. These keep her updated on the latest industry-related news. Some of her favourites include Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Wall Street Journal and Kissmetrics. Her inspiration and motivation comes from speakers such as Zig Ziglar and Les Brown. She swears that The 50th Law by 50 Cent and Robert Greene and The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco changed her life. (I haven’t read them yet but they’re next on my list after that recommendation!)

Future Plans

As for future plans, she doesn’t have everything all figured out yet. Her aim is to grow Accessories & Essentials into the premiere regional online ladies’ boutique. She also plans to establish a few other ventures. As for life plans, she’s just taking things one step at a time.

To get in touch with Kenishia, you can check out her Facebook page or send her a tweet. Don’t forget to check out Accessories & Essentials and like them on Facebook.

Speaker at Business Conference and Presentation.

How to Prepare for Social Media Management of a Live Event

Social Media

Managing social media for a live event is nothing like doing it on a daily basis for a brand. For regular management, you often schedule messages for a week or so in advance, check in every few hours and pass on queries to relevant departments. With a live event, everything is happening in the moment.

People asking for directions to the bathroom can’t wait for you to obtain a venue map. Others at home are counting on your posts to determine whether they should attend. Any number of things could go wrong with your equipment at a crucial point in the event when ‘we’re having technical difficulties’ just won’t cut it.

The truth it, preparing to handle social media for a live event has a lot more to do with event planning than it does social media management. So if the former isn’t your forte, here’s a list of the things you need to get in order before your event so you can focus on the stuff you’re actually good at.

Assign roles to social media team

If your event is small (less than 100 guests), one dedicated social media manager will do. Larger events will require more hands. Be sure to divvy up the tasks so that each person knows exactly what they should be doing, or some channel may get abandoned while others get too much attention.

For a small team, break it down by channel – one person handles Twitter, one Instagram, etc. Larger teams can break it down by channel, then role – one person handles posting tweets, one person handles responses and another takes care of hashtag mentions, etc. If you have a tweet screen at the event, have one person dedicated to that to make sure no unacceptable tweets get past the filters.

Establish Social Media Command Center and access points

Large events are typically very stringent on who has access to various points in the venue, and the person planning the layout doesn’t always take the social media team into consideration. Make sure you prepare a list of the things you’ll need and hand it over to the relevant persons. Included on that list should be:

  • A secure control room or tent within view and earshot of the stage (secure because you’ll have a lot of tech equipment there)
  • Power supply, a surge protector and lighting in the room/tent
  • The number of passes/armbands you’ll need for your team and the places you’ll need access to – opt for production access passes instead of media, since these will allow you to go backstage to get quotes and pictures with special guests and take behind-the-scenes pics of the production crew at work.

 

Group of Multiethnic Busy People Working in an Office

Create the ultimate event cheat sheet

An event cheat sheet has all the information you might need during the night to create the best social media posts, offer the most accurate information and ensure you’re not forgetting anything in the midst of chaos. Here are the main things your cheat sheet should have (you can add more if you think of anything else):

  • Event details – name, venue, start and end times, schedule of activities, hashtag(s), etc.
  • Social media handles for event, venue, organizers, partners and sponsors, special guests, attendees, accredited digital media, etc.
  • FAQ responses – parking space, bathroom location, speaker/performance order are all things you’ll be asked about pretty frequently
  • Roles and contact information for event team members who can answer questions (get more than one phone number in case battery dies)
  • Roles of social media team members, especially if you have a large team

Once you’ve created your cheat sheet, print out enough copies so that you have one set to tape on the wall or desk of your command center, a copy for each of your team members and a few backup copies in case anyone loses theirs (which they will) or someone from the event wants one because you’ve been so amazingly meticulous with putting it together.

Secure internet for team and attendees

Some venues have internet, others don’t. Always check what the internet policy is for the venue in question and plan accordingly. If you have a large event, try to get a sponsor to provide wifi and charging posts for your event attendees – that will keep them active online throughout the event.

If it’s a small event and you’re the only person managing social, having a data plan on your phone or a mobile hotspot will suffice (in Jamaica, you can get a MiFi device from LIME or Digicel). With a larger team and lots of attendees, however, you will want to secure internet from an internet company, rather than use data from a mobile company – since their network will be crowded and possibly slow. Internet service providers typically have temporary services for events. Be sure to set a strong password and provide it only to persons on your team. (I usually only input the password on two laptops then provide access to others via Connectify, so I can see who’s online and kick off devices as necessary).

Put together your Social Media Backup Kit

All backup everything. If you do any mobile social media work at all, you should have a backup kit you can grab and go. Here are the things you should include:

  • Extra charger for each device (you can include just the cable and a charger base)
  • Extension cord
  • Surge protector or power strip with multiple outlets
  • A wireless modem (in case the venue internet doesn’t work)

I also bring along multiple devices along in case I need to move around with my phone or tablet, rather than being stationary.

Hire a dedicated photographer

Any good social media manager knows the value of quality pictures during and immediately after an event. These are often the most viewed posts on any social media profile. To take advantage of this, ensure you have a good photographer with a decent camera and proper uploading equipment on your team.

Your event photographer should be willing to offload pictures during the event, watermark them if necessary, and provide you access so you can pull a few of the best ones for immediate upload.

 

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Pre-write (and schedule) some of your posts

Pre-writing your posts will save you a ton of time and it’s highly recommended. Once you’ve gotten the program or schedule of activities, write your posts about what’s coming up next, what people can expect later on and where different activities are taking place.

Some persons will pre-schedule these posts too, but I don’t and here’s why. Typically these times, although outlined, are not usually set in stone, so I usually just put these posts in a spreadsheet, or add them to an inactive Buffer stream, then drag them to the appropriate stream and share when the time comes.

Get some cool prizes to keep attendees engaged

Sure you want your attendees to focus on what’s happening at your event and immerse themselves in the experience, but you also want them sharing their experience with others (future potential attendees) and connecting with each other. To keep them tuned in to what’s happening on social media, give them some incentives.

A great way to keep them active and engaged is to offer prizes throughout the event. These prizes can be packages from sponsors, branded event gear, backstage access or a meet and greet with one of your special guests. Include a location component, such as taking a picture of the venue, picking up the prize at a sponsor booth or tweeting about something happening – so that only persons at the venue will be able to enter.

Set up your measurement tools

Finally, but super important – make sure you have all your measurement tools in place so that you can accurately capture all the data you need to put in your post-event report. SumAll is great for tracking social media statistics across most channels, you can also check out Talkwalker and Tagboard for hashtag usage across channels and use IFTTT to set up rules to track relevant messages (for example, you can add the tweets you favourite to a spreadsheet to reference feedback posts).

If you’re really ambitious, you can always create your report template before the event, so all it takes is some filling in and copy and pasting relevant stats after the event.

I’m exhausted just thinking about all these preparations so I imagine you may be overwhelmed too, especially if you’ve not really given this much thought. But don’t worry, it does get easier with time and some activities will only require a few adjustments after doing it the first time. Here’s to hoping your event runs just like a well-oiled machine!