When it comes to e-commerce and social media marketing, Caribbean entrepreneurs and small businesses have almost always found themselves at a disadvantage.
While their counterparts in North America, Latin America, and Europe benefit from early consumer adoption and relatively strong governmental support, Caribbean businessmen and women have had to struggle to catch up.
Hoping to change that narrative, is one young woman from Trinidad & Tobago who is teaching entrepreneurs how to effectively use social media for business through storytelling, personal branding, and content marketing.
My name is Jhalisa John, and I'm a serial entrepreneur and social media marketing consultant. At the age of 20, I started my first e-commerce business with the aim of bringing online shopping closer to the Caribbean.
I quickly realized that while I was busy learning how to create press releases and design traditional radio campaigns at school, the world around me had changed drastically.
I was ill-equipped to tackle the new realities of social media marketing.
I first had to unlearn everything I thought I knew about business, and then I had to teach myself digital marketing. That's when I discovered the magnificent powers of storytelling, personal branding, and content marketing.
With every Facebook ad that didn't work or every Instagram post that received no likes, I gained valuable insights and was then able to go back to the drawing board where I would tweak and perfect my strategy.
By the time I had finally found my rhythm, I had unintentionally attracted a few keen small business owners who saw the potential in what I was doing.
That's where it all started for me.
My very first client hired me to create Instagram Stories for their business.
With time, they kept asking me if I could help them with other aspects of their marketing like Facebook ads, influencer outreach, and creating a comprehensive Instagram strategy.
One client led to another client and another client, and before I even realized it, I was operating a marketing agency.
In 2017, I decided to take a leap of faith and launch Jhalisa John & Company.
Today, I work with clients from all over the world and from every industry imaginable.
My services range from brand strategy and customer experiences to website design and preparing multi-channel social media marketing campaigns.
When clients come to me, they usually lack the clarity and confidence to tackle social media on their own.
We may work together for months developing, testing, and cementing a solid strategy, but we also focus a lot on cultivating the right mindset.
Once I believe the client is competent enough to create content and manage their online presence, I cut the proverbial umbilical cord and set them free.
In some cases, I may reserve a minor consultancy role, but I strongly believe in helping my clients get to a point where they don't need to rely very heavily on me.
That's why social media management is not one of the core services I offer.
Each and every entrepreneur who starts a business is more than capable of being the public face of that business, telling great stories, and sharing relevant content with their communities.
Some people just need a little assistance with the discovery.