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From Butchers to Funeral Homes; The Growth and Relevancy of Social Media for Traditional Businesses

State of the Nation

In a recent study, Facebook was declared the most popular social media platform in Ireland, with 1.3m people using the website. The research was conducted by global digital behaviour analysis firm GlobalWebIndex. The study concluded that when compared with global trends, Ireland’s usage of social media platforms such as the aforementioned Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn, shows greater penetration rates than global averages.

Social media has infiltrated the minds and lives of every major demographic group on our island. Exposure to these platforms can occur at our desks, on our televisions and even from our pockets!

Some quick facts

The 2012 Social Media Marketing Report provided information that businesses operating in today’s world dare ignore to their detriment:

1. 94% of all businesses with a marketing department used social media as part of their marketing platform.

2. 85% of all businesses that have a dedicated social media platform as part of their marketing strategy reported an increase in their market exposure.

3. 58% of businesses that have used social media marketing for over 3 years reported an increase in sales over that period.

But not every business has the means to support a marketing department…

BakeryAt first, it may be a bit perplexing to see a local butcher, a corner-shop or even an establishment as reverent as a funeral home donning the iconic symbols of Facebook or Twitter on their storefront, imploring customer or passersby to “Like” our page or “Follow us”. When looking at the above statistic from The 2012 Social Media Marketing Report, one might deduce that such small and traditional businesses need not bother themselves with digital marketing as they do not operate sophisticated marketing departments. And besides, what interesting subject matter Beauty Parlourcould a local accountancy firm or a florist possibly want to project to the online masses.

Social media platforms such as Facebook, offer an attraction to small businesses as it is a quick, easy and free means of creating an online presence and exposure. The necessity for coding and HTML skills is eliminated. Having a website designed for small, localised businesses can be prohibitively expensive and very unlikely to attract hordes of new customers, so such businesses can use Facebook to build up a local community of fans who may be customers, future customers or other local supporting businesses. It is a very easy way to get your phone number and address out there, and also a forum for reaching out to your customers.

The butcher wishing the local GAA team all the best in their upcoming final, a small accountancy firm posting an explanation about a new government tax scheme, a local shop promoting the discounted goods of the week or a fishing equipment store posting information about the tides. The possibilities for content which interests and benefits your customers is endless.

As previously mentioned, joining these social media platforms is quick, easy and free. However, harnessing the true potential of these social networks to enhance the profile of your business and fully utilise the tools available can be challenging. By devising a focused digital marketing strategy, small businesses can reap huge benefits ranging from increased exposure and sales to being associated with local community initiatives to ensuring your business stands out from the crowd.

Contact us today to enquire about our tailored digital training courses which are geared towards businesses of all shapes and sizes!

 

Written by Martin Gaffney.

Martin currently lives, studies and works for a large multinational in Cork City. He holds a Higher Certificate in Business and is currently studying a Bachelor of Business in Management at Cork Institute of Technology. Martin is an avid technophile and his interests range from engaging digital content to market research. Electronic music and Cork City FC are Martin’s other love interests. You can find him on Twitter @GaffKiiid.

Credit for header image: Dean Meyers under CC License.

Social Media Presentation at the Dublin Food Chain

Social Media Presentation at the Dublin Food Chain

We were really delighted to talk this morning at Dublin Food Chain.

Please visit Dublin Food Chain Breakfast Workshop for the full list of speakers and details about the event.

We hope you liked our presentation on How to serve up tasty social media for the food sector.

If you missed it you can find the presentation below

 

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Meet connector360 at the Dublin Web Summit 2014

The two biggest days in the tech calendar are upon us, The Web Summit. It is now Europe’s largest tech conference held right here in Dublin. The event will see some of the smartest minds from the tech industry come to Ireland and share their knowledge of all things digital.[/blockquote]

Meet connector360 at the Web Summit on 30th – 31st October – just tweet @connector360! – Tweet Now –

SocialMedia.ie-measure-facebook

Match Metrics To Your Strategy – A Focus On Facebook

We have looked at the main success factors in great digital marketing last week, so today we’re going to laser in on one of the social media giants: Facebook.

Besides your own website, Facebook is arguably your online shopfront.  With this in mind, using Facebook to build customer satisfaction is key but monitoring your performance is just as vital.

 

Facebook – Made to Measure

Okay, so you have built up a healthy following and you feel you are engaging your fans well.  Regular updates and the odd cat meme?  Excellent, but remember that every aspect of your Facebook interaction with fans can be measured to hone your efforts further.   One point to note however, is to link these metrics with your Facebook strategy.

The basic (and the most popular) metrics to note are fan count, likes & comments.  As these grow, they provide many a marketer with a warm and fuzzy feeling of success!  Simply speaking, a rise here is a positive step but if not allied to your objectives they mean surprisingly little.

Measure Against Your Goals – An Example

A brief example that this humble writer can recount was from time spent working with a local visual arts festival.  One early objective was a campaign for artistic submissions launched worldwide to give the festival an international flavour.   The net was spread wide to forums, Facebook & Twitter communities etc to attract them.  After this big push, the event’s Facebook friend count increased by 400% in three weeks!   Cue the celebrations, until the next phase of marketing began.  This was centered upon promoting ticket sales and attendance, where local fans are the obvious target.   The discovery was sobering – our hyper-inflated friend count revealed that most of these new fans were international, from Asia, South America, even Australia…  None exactly in a position to attend a festival in Dublin!

Ready, Take Aim, Measure

What to take from here is that while basic Facebook metrics often highlight positive trends, they may not be the right ones for your aims.

Looking to spread great content?  – Look for number of shares of your links, or its ‘viral’ spread

Promoting an event? – Measure if fans are primarily in your area, promote posts to local users only

Increasing leads & referrals? – Check Google Analytics, are clicks from Facebook to your website growing?

If you want to use social media to improve your business, you’re in for the long game.  Returns may not be rapid, or easy to pinpoint at first but keep your objectives in mind and stay the course.  Growing your Facebook presence must be a means, not an end.  Whatever your business is looking to achieve, use Facebook to assist these goals and measure to suit.

business-engine-banner

Installing The Digital Marketing Cog Into Your Business Engine

Think of your business as an engine (a finely tuned one, no doubt)! If you introduce a new part or component into any engine, it will affect how the rest of the system performs. This principle is certainly true when looking at the explosive growth of digital marketing and its integration into your marketing and business functions. Let’s look at your business holistically and ensure that any digital integration assists and augments your existing business engine – a new part installed to increase performance!

 

Digital VS Traditional Marketing – No Need To Argue

Your business now has access to an already massive and ever growing digital marketing toolkit – a huge array of methods to interact with, understand and sell to customers online. Pulling back the curtain into this world means that you can dispense with traditional methods in future and bask in the warm success web based marketing offers? Not quite!

Traditional methods should rather be combined with and enhanced by digital options rather than being dispensed with. These methods have not been made obsolete by any means. Depending on the size of your business, the old reliables of TV, radio and print advertising can still be highly effective means for creating mass brand awareness. Direct mailing has stood the test of time but has arguably been surpassed by email marketing and is an example of digital’s great impact on the marketing old school.

Many companies have married old and new and created a little synergy by making the call to action on these campaigns digital based. Point customers to your website, encourage them to follow and interact on social media. Now these passive, unknown customers are made visible and ready for you to build relationships, leads and sales. This gives your brand an extra dimension through digital and is something we will delve into more tomorrow.

Tune-Up Your Other Functions With Digital

Once the marketing department have caught the digital bug, it often takes longer for these same approaches to be considered throughout the rest of the organisation.

Many firm’s customer service is still primarily phone based, but this burden on costs and man hours can be reduced by introducing platforms such as customer forums, live chat services and even website FAQ sections. If you are increasingly savvy gaining customers digitally, they may be disappointed that they cannot then follow up at other stages of their life cycle with you by these means also.

Digital is here to stay, so integrate it when possible all around your business, it should improve performance to misfiring parts and have the already finely tuned functions purring like a kitten.

Social Media Training – Special Offer for May

Training

SocialMedia.ie is continuing to train more and more people every day in the basics of social media. That’s why we are launching a multipart, introductory course to Social Media.

These days you need to be engaged with social media programs and platforms to stay up to date with the latest tools, technologies and trends especially if you work in business.

Choose from one of the three options:

Option 1 Option 2 Option 3
May 8th May 8th and 15th May 8th, 15th and 22nd
Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & YouTube in more detail plus Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, mobile media and online strategy. Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & YouTube in more detail plus Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, mobile media and online strategy.
 You will also learn about budget software tools for measurement, monitoring and managing social media like a pro.
€55 €95 €145

If you’re interested in this offer then please call us at  +353 (0) 1 906 0006

All classes starts at 6:30pm and finishes at 9pm.

The classes will take place at the Digital Depot on Thomas Street, part of the Digital Hub.

 

Social Media Advertising Options on Facebook

Welcome back for part 2 in our series on advertising your business through social media. This week I’ll be looking at Facebook and showing you why it’s such a good option for your organisation.

Facebook

Facebook Ad

Ads appear on the right-hand side of your Facebook profile and newsfeed. They take the form of ads from the specific company and require no social interaction. It’s very simple and can be used to transport the user to your organisation’s website or even your Facebook business page. This can easily be initiated from: https://www.facebook.com/advertising

When promoting your Facebook page, you’re able to select where the user wll end up when they click on your ad. To get the most Likes, sending them to your timeline is usually the best option; there they can see the summary of your organisation and easily Like your page. On the other hand, if you want to promote another part of your page, you can easily send them to another area of your page. Be careful to make sure the user knows where they are going before clicking on the ad; it might be considered annoying and unwanted otherwise. If people expect one thing in the ad, and land on a page unrelated to what they saw in the ad, they’re much less likely to remain on the page and engage with your content.

Sponsored Story

These work as  a result of someone interacting with your ad and what you are promoting. Usually they appear as “John Doe Likes your organisation”. Sponsored stories can be beneficial because they appear on all this user’s friends’ newsfeeds; bringing awareness of your brand to there conscious, that they might not have been the case otherwise. Many companies track higher clickthrough rates from this medium than other types of Facebook advertising; just goes to show the power people have on influencing others, even through social media.

Promoted Posts

Another nifty tool the wonderful people of Facebook have created is promoted posts. These allow you to promote a post that already exists on your page. The idea is raise awareness or draw attention to specific offers or announcements on your organisation’s Facebook page. You can promote any post that has already been posted to your page (you just might need to look back a bit if it’s an old one).

Please note: when you’re posting something to your page with the intention of promoting it in the future, you cannot change the copy of the ad generated. All this means is that the first line of your ad will be the promoted part; so keep it exciting and eye-catching so that it engages with your target audience. A lot of companies use this method of advertising to draw attention to some piece of corporate social responsibility work they took part in or to advertise their latest deals.

Sponsored App

If your business has an app on Facebook, you can sponsor that app to get new users or increase it’s engagement with other users. When you click on the app settings, it will offer you the option to ‘Get New Users’. Here Facebook will generate an ad for you app and you can edit it to reflect the app’s benefits, before it goes out to new users. If you select the ‘Increase App Engagement’ option, your ad will be shown to current app users to increase their engagement with the app. It’s a simple way of promoting the app aspect of your company’s Facebook page.

Event Sponsorship

Ever wanted to increase the attendance of one of your company’s social functions to the public? Event sponsorship is a very handy tool to do just that! Here Facebook creates an ad and shows it to people who are likely to attend your event. This has been proven to increase attendance rates at certain public events organised by organisations. A lot of people need to be reminded that upcoming events are there and available for them to attend. A little ad here and there can plant the seeds in their mind and chances are they’ll bring a friend!

Targeting & Optimization

I’d like to finish off by talking a little bit about targeting and optimization of ads on Facebook; I mean what’s the point in creating the message if it’s not effective and reaching the people you want it to reach, you know? So here are some targeting and optimization tips:

  1. Facebook allows you to target by location country (and sometimes city), as well as by gender. So keep this in mind when targeting a specific market for your ads.
  2. You can also target by interest! Simply pick the applicable interests to your ad and away it goes. Facebook can manage this because they track the interests people have stated they have, as well as following the pages people Like.
  3. Facebook know how many people are attached to each interest, location, or gender so you can check if your targeted area is too small and whether or not you should expand your niche.
  4. Facebook have also released Sponsored Results which allows marketers to sponsor their results in the search bar on Facebook. This means that when people search for something related to your sponsored result, your page, app, or event will appear in the search bar.

To get some help with your Facebook advertising, please contact us.

Felix McCabe (LinkedIn)

Social Media Advertising Options on Twitter

Advertising your organisation has always been essential in business. Through the various social media outlets this can achieved and managed very easily and with little effect to your bottom line. Over the next few weeks I will be exploring the various methods available to you and your business; looking into the finer details and explaining the nitty gritty bits. This week we’ll be starting with Twitter, so let’s dive right in.

Twitter

– Direct Advertising
(1) Twitter Promoted Tweets
These are tweets, paid for by advertisers, that appear at the top of twitter search results or members’ timelines when he/she logs in. They look like regular tweets with a “Promoted” label and are relatively unobtrusive. They have the advantage of  reaching consumers who might not necessarily follow the brand being promoted. Promoted Tweets are quite cost effective as they operate on a cost per engagement (CPE) basis. This means that the advertiser doesn’t pay unless someone replies, retweets, favourites, or clicks on it.

(2) Twitter Promoted Trends
These are trending topic links that appear on the Twitter home page and reflect what Twitter considers to be the most popular, real-time conversations on Twitter. Advertisers pay a flat fee to promote their brands. When people click on a Promoted Trend link, they see a Twitter search results page listing all the tweets related to that topic. A highly relevant tweet from the advertiser, with the “Promoted” label, appears at the top of the search results page.

(3) Twitter Promoted Accounts
Similar to the “Promoted” tweets and trends, Twitter Promoted Accounts are specific Twitter account links that appear at the top of profile search results pages and at the top of the “Who to follow” section on Twitter. They cost a flat fee, include a “Promoted” label, and can be targeted by country. When people click on a Promoted Account link, they are taken to Twitter profile for that account and can decide whether or not they want to follow the brand.

– Third-Party Network Advertising
There are a quite a few advertising networks that enable companies to pay Twitter members to publish tweets on behalf of a brand. You can find just about any celebrity (like Kim Kardashian) to publish a tweet for your brand through a third-party advertising network. The most popular ones include Sponsored Tweets and TwtMob. This method allows some ease as someone else handles all of the logistics, payments, and so on. There are specific disclosure policies that publishers must comply with in order to stay out of trouble with Twitter and the law; so make sure to pay attention to these.

– Publisher Direct Advertising
Brands can approach individuals who have significant influence on Twitter and offer to pay them for publishing sponsored tweets. Advertisers can reach out to the publishers who already have the trust of their target audiences. Brands use direct advertising to raise awareness, drive specific actions, and attract new customers. Brands can negotiate price, timing, and messaging with individual tweeters and tailor tweets to the appropriate audiences.

To get some help with your social media policy, please contact us.

Felix McCabe (LinkedIn)

5 Tips for making your own Social Media Policy

With the advent of social media, every business from your large, multinational corporation to your small, family-run business needs to have an online presence in order to create and sustain their future interests. Social media is so prolific that you might not even realise how much you and your business are already affected by it. Starting to build your own online presence can be aided greatly with a social media policy.

Here are some tips for making your own policy:

1. What does social media mean for your organisation?

Define what social media means to your organisation. Set out to your employees what the organisation’s online goals are. How they plan to achieve these goals and what their role is in it all.

2. Guidelines for representing the organisation

Guide your employees on how to represent the organisation. This can be used to familiarise employees with different digital communications tools (facebook, twitter, etc.) and teach them how to represent the organisation approriately.

3. Be Polite offline and online

The main thing when dealing with any person in business is to be polite. Just because you’re online and not in person does not change this. Clients appreciate and expect polite staff in all communications from the organisation. Employees should be made aware (even though this one’s a no-brainer).

4. Stick to the law

Your policy should note, and make known to the employees of the relevant legislation involved with social media. This includes data protection, copyright and fair use legislation.

5. Give tips on how to deal withsticky situations

Guidlines on how to handle difficult social media situations e.g: public criticisms of the organisation through social media, should be outlined to the employees to help avoid any public incidents which may damage the organisation.

To get some help with your social media policy, please contact us.

Felix McCabe (LinkedIn)