Photo by Jaryd Niles Morris (www.flickr.com/jaryd)
A good friend just asked me for some tips on Social Media For Business In the Caribbean. I was about to respond, when I thought about you and I figured I should also share my thoughts with you at the same time.
What exactly Is Social Media?
There is alot in the news these days about social media and many of us feel intimidated it. Let me put you a little at ease. Social Media is just that – a media that is social. Technology has taken our person to person interactions to another level, by facilitating much more open communication and conversation. We are now able to build on relationships we never would have imagined 10 years ago being able to have. Social Media today, enables just about anyone communicate with anyone who wants to listen and from anywhere in the world in an instant. Tweets, status updates in facebook, notes blogs and more can we shared with millions of people worldwide in an instant.
The world changed whenever there was advancements in communication … ship lines, telegraph, air travel, internet and now we are in the age of social media. Social Media is changing the world by driving conversation and interaction in a way that has never possible. Those who never had a voice, can now speak and be "heard" by a friend living 5 mins away and a friend living in another island, at the same time. Social Media is empowering groups of people who share a common passion to come togethers in a way they they never have before.
What does Social Media Look Like In The Caribbean?
Well one thing is sure, anywhere you go in the Caribbean, the speed at which gossip travels is a kin to Usian Bolt running the 100 m. In our close knit Caribbean societies its easy for juicy gossip to travel the length and breath of the different islandsat break neck paste. Let me help you with this perspective,
You are walking down the road tomorrow and someone comes up to you "I heard that you just celebrated your birthday"
Ah ya with me now? lol.
Alrite now enter Social Media into the mix and look at how this scenario changes….gossip travels faster than 9.58 secs I would advise you keep your closet clean I say. lol.
Seriously in the social media world which enables more communication, conversation and interaction. Hot gossip spreads fast! No longer would you have to wait for an email or a call to be kept up to date because we all have aquired the the power to publish thanks to Social Media. We can publish via a simple twitter or facebook update or in a longer format on a blog, there can be pictures, video, live broadcasts all for free and from anyone. We are all now publishers no longers having to wait for the editor of a local newspaper or the program manager at a local radio or TV station to make a decision on what makes the news and what doesn’t. The news can travel so much more quickly now.
Also because we can all be publishers, you can get your "gossip" directly from the horse’s mouth yourself, by visiting their profile or blog.
Social Media is developing differently in the Caribbean than in the large cities of the developed world. Our size, the absence of technology companies and challenges with setting up e-commerce sites we tend less crucial day to day information published online consistently and that changes the dynamic slightly.
The people who are really embracing the social media in the Caribbean are those who do not have a voice or groups who don’t quite have a well established network as yet. You will find that those people who are not in the mainstream are toying around with the social media to build their audience or to build communities of like minded people.
I am in the entertainment industry so I can give you a very clear example of this. Many of the established main stream Caribbean artistes do not have a regularly updated online presence, meanwhile you will find some of the "underground"/ "up and coming" artistes around the region with some of the best online footprints out there. They have great websites, myspace pages or facebook fan page and more importantly it is very up to date with the latest and greatest news.
Everyone is a publisher now, remember that.
Social Media For Business In The Caribbean
It has been my experience that most business in the Caribbean do a very poor job at implementing Social Media / web 2.0 into their day to day existance. It is truly amazing the kind of cash they might spend on a newspaper ad or any other form of advertising for example.
Why make thousands of people who you and I know don’t care about your business or your product listen to another ad from you. Social Media has given you the gift of communicating directly with your customers. You can build a strong relationsho with them by having more conversation and interaction with them. Also taking time to listen to their concerns and being able to fix them.
What’s that rule again? Its easier to keep a customer that going out and finding new ones? And that other one? … Word Of Mouth marketing in the best marketing?
And we established that social media enables more conversation right? hmmm?
What are people talking about? Are they talking about you? What are they saying? Are they sharing bad experiences? Good experiences?
Do you think there is a way that you can spend those advertising dollars that might make 20 true fans talk about you even more? Do you think that 20 passionate people raving about you can enlist another 20 fans?
Maybe you need to read the marketing lesson I learnt from the Brewsters Road Crew last year check it out here – http://126.96.36.199/~cgraham/coreykgraham.me/brewsters-road-taught-me-a-marketing-lesson/
I am wondering if are hearing me … about the power of social media, word of mouth marketing, everyone being a publisher?
Re-Read the first paragraph of this post!
See, look at that I am sharing this with the world! I have never been published in the newspaper, but I am able to have a voice now and I am able to talk to you. You can talk back to me by commenting on this article. Social Media at its best.
They are 3 companies I that I have talked about or I am about to mention in this blog
– Rex Wireless look what they got out of me – http://188.8.131.52/~cgraham/coreykgraham.me/cg-20-previews-alertmatrix-from-rex-wireless-blackberry-software/
– RIM (BlackBerry) – http://184.108.40.206/~cgraham/coreykgraham.me/cg-20-review-of-the-blackberry-storm/
– Shape Services – Look out this deal is still hot off the press
and more to come
I don’t mean to gossip but they are all international companies. Most of the regional companies… corporations, I have encountered don’t know how to deal with some boy with a 2.0 at the end of his name, asking about getting information or a test drive of the new Rolls-Royce .. with chaffuer in the showroom.
Well to you business people there are several disenchanted writers, and bloggers out there willing to work with you to promote your company for just a few freebies, etc.
The question is though are you ready to work smart?
Corey Graham 2.0