Caribbean businesses and individuals must build a media presence | Daniella Bien-Aime

business-technology-740Daniella Bien-Aime

Where are the online Caribbean brands?

If you’re a Caribbean professional or run a business, do the terms, building your personal brand or business sound foreign to you?

Are you at a lost as to what the benefits are?

Keep reading… and by the time you finish reading this post, you will have a clear idea of why you should begin to build and expand your media presence.

Some experts are predicting that having a personal brand or creating your media company is the thing of the future. If you are not convinced, you should read Neil Patel’s post, 10 Marketing Predictions You Should Prepare for in 2015. President Obama recognized Patel as a top 100 entrepreneurs under the age of 30. Today, with a dedicated team, he has built an empire based primarily on the platform of blogging.

We shape our story by the narratives we tell

Three months ago, I was speaking with a Haitian colleague who has a significant presence in social media, particularly Twitter. He is doing some interesting work in terms of shaping Haiti’s narrative. Because of his knowledge of Haiti’s political nuances, he writes for some of the Caribbean niche online magazines.

Although he writes for other magazines, he does not have a blog with his name on it or a platform other than the social media channels. He is in essence operating on what the industry calls building your property on a rented lot rather than your land.

Besides, we know that the challenge of renting is that the property owner can raise the rent on you whenever the mood strikes or asks you to vacate the property. Hence, if you have to start out renting, please do so. Though, your goal should be quickly to create the means to own your platform. My hope is that the four reasons below will persuade you to start sooner rather than later.

1. A Media Presence Communicates that You Are Living in the 21st century

The digital world is here to stay, and it will continue to get bigger as more people gain access to the Internet. Consider that by “2020, there will be three more billion people online,” noted B-school founder, Marie Forleo. More businesses, relationships, and connections are going to have a digital component, so the sooner you learn how to use the medium, the better. And from what I’ve observed the market penetration for online Caribbean businesses and individuals is low. If you’re a Caribbean business or you are from one of the Islands, you can change that.

In addition, an increasing number of job positions require that applicants are knowledgeable about social media. For example, if you do a search on Monster.com or indeed.com, many companies are asking the current workforce to know how to use social media or have a presence online. Some jobs no longer ask for a resume; instead, they request for your LinkedIn profile.

It is almost as if your digital presence legitimizes your existence in our present information age. A true story: A friend had a job recently. She met all qualifications, and the company told her that she was capable of doing the job. Still, since she had no digital presence and did not know how to use social media, another candidate landed the position.

2. Permission Is No Longer Necessary to Showcase Your Talent

The individuals’ career survival used to depend solely on the generosity or approval of a boss, or colleague. However, in today’s world, to further individuals’ dreams or aspirations, such dependence is no longer required. Now, at least if you live in the United States, you have the same ability to access information, learn, and share your knowledge as do the management and other colleagues. The advantage of having a media presence through blogging or any other form you prefer is that you do not need the permission to succeed.

If you have a significant presence and if you are contributing something valuable, you will connect with those who are looking for your message and accept what you have to offer. Then you can start building a community around your brand or service. Experts predict that in the future, an increasing number of companies will want to either work with or hire an individual with a strong media presence.

3. Blogging Can Support Your Brand Visibility and Increase Profit

If you want to learn how to differentiate your business and find the right target audience for your company, blogging can be a powerful platform. However, in order to succeed at blogging, you have first to understand why traditional advertising and marketing strategies are not working. Seth Godin’s book on Permission Marketing offers an excellent foundation for understanding why your “business as usual marketing” may not be sufficient or generate the kind of revenue or brand recognition you are seeking.

Creating brand awareness for your enterprise has several benefits according to a HubSpot report. The first benefit is that it allows your business to be seen as the leader in your given field. Moreover, the more people know about your company, the more you build your pool of potential customers. It also allows you to bring a personal side to your business. Your readers will begin to interact with you by commenting, asking questions, and sharing your content. Then you start to see the power of this medium and the potential to turn these fans into partners, donors, clients, or other relations that you seek to form.

Once people begin to feel a strong connection with you, then you have established the kind of trust that if handled with integrity can create lifetime opportunities. In addition, blogging is one way for your potential clients to believe that your business is credible. According to the HubSpot’s 2012 inbound marketing study, “57% of companies that have a blog reported acquiring a customer from their blog.” The same survey revealed, “81% of businesses say that their blog is useful to critical.”

4. Create the Narrative and You Change the Game

One of the privileges of operating in the media space is the incredible opportunity to learn. I consider social media as a virtual classroom if you know how to make the platform work for you. I also get to witness some of the virtual errors in the stories of people whose contextual or historical knowledge is limited in writing stories from the others’ viewpoint. The impediment is the people who should be telling their stories are not. It is time for you to develop the skills and to start lending your voice in shaping your account. When you are the lead narrator of your story, you change the game.

After all, the traditional media has been developing our worldview to accept things that are both genuine and false. Does it not make sense, if it’s your story, or ideas for you to have a part in sharing it with others? Therefore, if you’re a Caribbean descent, your background and story is just as important as any others, and we are waiting for you to expand the circle.

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IMG_0888The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Daniella Bien-Aime. Daniella Bien-Aime is the founder of the Bien-Aime Post, a digital platform that focuses on business, leadership, education, and social media, within the context of the Haitian diaspora and Haiti. Copyright to this article is held by Daniella Bien-Aime and may not be reproduced, republished, shared, hosted, transmitted, or distributed without prior written permission unless indicated otherwise. Follow Daniella on Twitter @dbienaime