If you like it or not, social media is here to stay. Some might want to think that social media is a “passing fad” but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
As more and more people in the Caribbean gain access to the internet, it’s important for brands and businesses to be ready to adapt to the digital-first mindset in the region.
Now by brands I mean professionals, businesses, entrepreneurs, side-hustlers, freelancers, and students.
The problem is that lots of brands in the Caribbean have not researched the value of social media marketing and the advantages it can provide for their bottom line. Whether that’s in getting new customers, selling more products, or finding your dream job.
Honestly, when I look at how Caribbean brands are marketing themselves on social media, I cringe.
Check out the 5 biggest mistakes brands in the Caribbean are making on social media. Open your mind to the possibilities available to you online, so you can build a strong personal brand.
1 | Believing All You Need is a Facebook Page
It’s hard to ignore Facebook’s power as a personal branding tool — not just because Facebook is the largest social networking platform (although its reach is a huge positive in extending your reach in the world).
But did you know that YouTube is actually the most visited social media site in the Caribbean?
Nope not Facebook but YouTube.
Instagram also comes in at a close third but this proves that your target audience is not just hanging out on Facebook.
Now don’t get me wrong, having a page on Facebook is good for several reasons.
With it’s now reach of 2 billion monthly users, odds are the people you want to reach are on Facebook — many of whom search for local businesses and services on the platform, especially on mobile.
However, this shouldn’t be your entire digital strategy.
Mainly because organic reach on the network has declined tremendously, which means that you now can reach less than 2% of your fanbase with each post.
This means that if you have 1000 FaceBook fans, you can only reach 20 of them organically.
That’s not good.
Solution: Create a professional website in addition to a Facebook Page
In the Caribbean, lots of people believe that the only way to grow your brand is through word-of-mouth and who you know.
Now word-of-mouth is still very powerful but having your own website opens the doors to growing your brand to a whole new level.
Having your own website adds professionalism and a sense of legitimacy. By building a website you are giving your brand the opportunity to tell people beyond who you know why they should trust you and buy from you.
Creating a website sets you apart from the competition who are just relying on word-of-mouth tactics and believe it or not, most people will search the internet for a product or service to check the credibility of the provider first.
Also, websites are no longer scary or expensive to make and can be put together in just a matter of hours. Free and inexpensive platforms such as WordPress, (.org not .com), Squarespace, Wix, and Blogger make it easy to set up a professional looking website.
I use WordPress on this website and put together my site by myself following tutorials on Google and YouTube. I would recommend WordPress to anyone who is just starting out and doesn’t have the budget to hire a professional.
2 | Using Social Media as a 24-Hour Sales Pitch
We all know that the ultimate goal of a company is to make sales. If you don’t produce sales your company will suffer and eventually shut down.
Most brands in the Caribbean are on social media to sell stuff. Your consumers, however, are not. They are there for value.
In my newsfeed, I’m constantly seeing brands self promote themselves non-stop and beg people to buy their products.
People are on Facebook to connect with loved ones, find out which one of their friends recently got engaged, and the odd time seek out the latest news and offers.
They don’t want to hear about the $1000TT phone you have for sale on Charlotte street.
That you’ve promoted for the 10th time, within the last two hours.
This has to change.
Brands need to not only think of social media as a distribution channel but also a storytelling channel.
Social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk explains it best with his popular concept and best-selling book “Jab, Jab, Right Hook”.
Vaynerchuk explains that a right hook’s content aims to sell and self-promote and a jab’s content aims to engage and trigger an emotional response. He reveals that brands are throwing far too many right hooks that annoy their online fan base and kill any engagement potential.
Just like the pretend cell phone guy on Charlotte street.
Along with multiple of other brands in the Caribbean who are not following the rules on how to engage with their audience online.
Brands need to create content that connect, educate, and resonate with followers on an emotional level, so when you do want to throw that right hook you will make more sales than you ever imagined.
Brand Lesson: Give before you look to receive. That’s the secret sauce.
3 | Not proofreading your content
Read it once, twice, a third time, even a fourth time. If you don’t proofread your content, there is an impression that you’re careless, unprofessional, and rushed.
Now, I know everyone makes mistakes. No one is perfect. I’m guilty of this myself. But consistently making typos and grammatical errors in your content is a big no no if you want to be taken seriously.
Give time to proofread your work and make sure to read your content out loud.
There are some great tools online that you can use to make sure your content is error-free such as Grammarly and Hemingway App.
4 | Bad Graphic Design
We live in a visual world. But sometimes I look around and feel that doesn’t apply to the Caribbean when it comes to visual branding online.
Most graphics look like people are still using Microsoft Paint from 1997.
Please tell me you’re not.
Effective visual content is key to success on social media.
In fact, the brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it does text.
Over 90% of the information sent to the brain is visual, and 93% of all human communication is visual.
The last thing you want is for your brand to visually communicate to your target audience that you’re not professional, not credible, and not someone who they would like to conduct business with.
Pages with images or video draw, on average, 94% more views than their text-only counterparts, to further emphasize the importance of good design.
Use tools like Canva, Adobe Spark, PicMonkey or a classic like Adobe Photoshop to take your visual identity to the next level.
Remember, strong graphic design = strong customer trust
5 | Sharing Online Content Irrelevant to the Market
Original content creation in the Caribbean needs to improve big time.
Most brands in the region understand the basic process of content curation, which is the process of gathering and sharing information from various sources on a particular topic or area of interest.
But the most important element they miss out on is relevancy.
In the Caribbean, we’ve been taught that our North American and European counterparts are the standard when it comes to disseminating new information online.
But just because a reputable news source abroad writes an article on a certain topic, doesn’t mean it will automatically resonate down here.
That’s why it’s very important to know your audience and provide true value to your customers as stated in point number two.
Now, I know brands in the Caribbean have good intentions when sharing information to their intended audience but the goal is to give people information they can put into action.
It’s the creative and emotionally engaging content that will rise through the clutter and get noticed. Brands in the Caribbean need to make this kind of content happen.
Now take a quick look at your social media and online brand. Do you present yourself as a credible professional or business? If not, use the tips and tools above and do some tweaking to ensure your profiles present you in the best possible light—and have a consistent tone and message across all networks.
Looking for more help on how to build your brand online? Check out my 1:1 branding and social media strategy sessions if you’re ready to LEVEL UP your brand or business.
What are some other mistakes you see brands in the Caribbean making online? How can they improve? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Nadine is a former television broadcaster turned digital marketing strategist and educator. The Trinidadian-Canadian teaches content creators, entrepreneurs, and side-hustle bosses how to market and monetize their skills online. When Nadine isn’t helping high achievers build their brands, you can find her reading a book or jamming to the latest DJ Private Ryan soca mix.