Valentines Day 2017 brought us back to The Helix to bring us a better understanding on the wide range of social media marketing strategies going on today and how exactly businesses can grow using their social media platforms! We now live in a world dominated by social media – with over 2 billion people worldwide engaging with social networks. Businesses simply cannot fall behind and with advertising online becoming more widely used – they need to know how to adapt.
What’s Best For You?
With over 60 social media platforms available to individuals and businesses today – choosing the right options is essential for the success of a marketing campaign. One thing that was noticeable throughout the Get Social conference was the emphasis on video. According to Hugh Curran, 75% of people today watch video on demand – with 60% of those using a smartphone to do so. With numbers like that – it would be foolish for any business not to attempt to use online videos to enhance their brand. YouTube offers a simple way to share your videos to large audiences – with approximately 900 million unique visitors to YouTube each month and being available to people in 88 countries worldwide.
An issue with video is the price. Smaller businesses may struggle to afford the hefty prices that come with high quality cameras, editing software and even the expertise needed to produce effective material. Therefore, different platforms may be better options for businesses. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are four of the most widely used social media platforms by people of all ages today.
Ann Marie Boyhan of Bank of Ireland revealed that they were the first bank to use Snapchat. This is an easy to implement method and has been hugely successful in engaging with the younger population, and instead of pushing advertising on the young people – they asked them what they wanted to see and that’s what they go with!
Facebook and Twitter are two of the longest serving and more recognized social media sites today. In the fourth quarter of 2016, Facebook had 1.86 billion monthly active users. At Get Social, Matthew Weill discussed the importance of Facebook today – showing us the mass amount of users as almost everyone in The Helix admitted to having a Facebook profile. It allows businesses to get directly involved into peoples lives – without seeming intrusive. Twitter, on the other hand allows for direct communication between businesses and consumers. If there’s a problem, or if people like a product/service it is possible for views to be expressed and problems to be solved before growing. With over 500 million tweets sent each day – Twitter is an ideal and extremely useful tool for businesses to collect information on their products and services from consumers.
A more obscure social media platform introduced to us at the conference by Matthew Weill is Sina Weibo – a Chinese platform that is almost a hybrid of Facebook and Twitter – but is used purely for business. With 600 million registered users, Weibo is no joke. While it has the features that Twitter and Facebook has, such as verified users – it also adds a whole new level to make it more attractive for users. A Medal Reward System encourages people to use Weibo more, and as we know from our DICE lectures – an element of Gamification assists in the success of any project. China benefits greatly for this as it ensures that all money stays in the country.
Your Content Is The Key To Your Success
There is no way to succeed if your content isn’t up to scratch. The most important message that was mentioned by all 7 speakers at Get Social was the emphasis put on creating good content, and making that content to suit your consumers. Without the content – your business is nothing and you’re set up for failure.
Paul Hayes of Beachhut PR was the first to drive this message into our heads, and if there was someone to do it – it was him. What do you think of when you think of to succeed? That you should have your name all over the place. This is not the case, however, and he made it clear to us – don’t be the headline – be the most important point of the story. This different way of thinking helps you to realise not to do what people think you should do, but make the impact they expect you to make.
As Hugh Curran pointed out to us – 60% of the content created is poor. Poor content is as good as no content, and will not help in making an impact of the world. It is essential for any business to make their own story, create their own content and build towards making an impact on the business world. Not following the crowd gives you a high chance of success – don’t create a business… create a sector!
Falling behind is a massive problem faced by businesses today. We live in a changing world, and technology is a big example of that. Businesses such as Kodak and Blockbuster failed to adapt to the changing environment in front of them. As Eric Weaver pointed out to us – it is possible for a business that was once the biggest and most successful in the world to fail in a matter of year due to an inability to spot a change. Aisling Tobin of Jameson showed us that you have to listen to your consumers and learn from them. This led them to release their new product – Sine Metu Spirits. What I found interesting about Aisling and what she was speaking about was, even though she was there discussing a new product release and almost advertising it – her message didn’t waver. To succeed, stay relevant and engage with your consumers.
Engage and Be Relevant
What attracts you to a product or service? If I was to guess, I’d say that the relevance is a huge deciding factor. We don’t want to fall behind in trends, and possibly run the risk of damaging your reputation. Businesses have to have the same outlook. Online trends today are massive – and people are constantly discussing them in their day to day lives. Take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge for example. Anyone who has access to internet and social media platforms were aware of the trend at the time. Although it may have been ridiculous, it was all for a good cause – and that encouraged people to take part. Before too long, it was all over the world. Businesses can use these trends to raise awareness for their products and best of all, it doesn’t take a lot of time and money to be effective.
One major issue that companies face is only following trends that apply to them and their product/service. Being a part of a trend that has no relevance to you but brings you success can be worse than not being part of that trend at all. Aisling Tobin opened my eyes to this, as with Jameson being an alcohol selling company – it is important that they stick to trends that can be easily associated with alcohol. Sports events such as rugby and football matches are a perfect example of this. If you look at the other side, however, consumers are sensitive. Aisling Tobin stated that “Just because something is trending, doesn’t mean you should jump on it” and discussed the difference between a brand such as Jameson discussing an important topic today such as Global Warming, and Innocent Smoothies discussing it. Consumers realise which brand the topic is most suited to, and therefore have more respect to that company compared to the one doing it for publicity.
Engagement with consumers can be one of the easiest and most effective ways of making them feel valued. Simple engagement with consumers online, such as retweeting a tweet that promotes your product, or on the flip side, replying to a consumers tweet who wasn’t happy with your product and trying to resolve the issue as best possible quickly can have a massive positive impact on the reputation of the business. Shaping your campaign in order to get people to share their experience (positive, ideally) will end up with the business reaping the benefits. Not only will this drive new consumers to the brand, but it will help them learn what is good, and what may be missing from the product. Bank of Ireland host Q and A’s over on their Facebook page with popular figures that encourage people to take part, and therefore they appreciate Bank of Ireland that bit more. As Paul Hayes stated “earned media beats bought media.”
Press Releases can be of benefit for businesses in a number of ways. Paul Hayes states believes that they can be useful for two reasons to raise money or to gain customers. Social Media presences such as Kylie Jenner can be used as a way to promote new products. With almost 88 million followers on her instagram – one post can generate huge publicity for a business. Unfortunately for the businesses however, these advertisements are not cheap. It is estimated that an Instagram account with a few million followers can make up to $75,000 per post. With success not guaranteed – that can be a big risk for smaller businesses. YouTubers with massive followings such as PewDiePie are hugely attractive for businesses as their fans believe in every word that they say. One drawback to these posts are the fact that by law – some of the posts have to be labelled with #ad or #spon which turns people off the product.
Thank you for reading this blog on Get Social! I hope I have helped pass on some of the vast knowledge that I learned by attending this conference. Next up for us is Get Digital on the 11th of April so keep an eye out here to find out all the happenings from that!