Planet Earth is inhabited by 7.2 billion people. 3 billion of these have access to the Internet. 2.1 billion people are active on social media. 1.7 billion people access social networks using a mobile device (About, 2015).
This is phenomenal in my opinion. With remarkable figures like these it is no wonder that the theme of our second DICE conference of First Year was social media and social media marketing. There is no doubt that social media plays a vital role in business. The aim of “Get Social”, which took place in the Helix on the 14th of February 2017 (yes, Valentine’s Day – a fitting day for getting social!), was to raise awareness of the importance of social media marketing and how social media can benefit marketing campaigns.Social media can be described as an online channel of communication, conveyance, combination and cultivation among communities, groups of people who are interconnected and organizations (Tuten & Solomon, 2015). At the Get Social conference we were the audience to a plausible line-up of speakers who shared their expertise in the areas of both marketing and social media with us. The presentations were full of indispensable information to both students, like myself and my peers, and also to business owners and marketing people across the world. One thing that I did notice throughout the conference was that the same points were coming up repeatedly by the speakers. They had many similar thoughts and opinions which gave the advice they were giving us a lot of credibility.
Can you think of all the different types of social media that exist online? Which platforms are popular today?
Blogging is done through the likes of Tumblr and WordPress. Twitter has given rise to a form of creation known as micro-blogging. Image-sharing is a type of social media which is provided by companies such as Instagram and Pinterest. Similar to this is video-sharing through platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo. Facebook and LinkedIn provide an opportunity for networking. The likes of Google Docs and Prezi allow for collaboration.
This is something that one of the speakers at the conference, Matthew Weil, spoke to us about. He is Head of Product at VoiceSage, an interactive messaging platform who claim to make “customer engagement smarter giving you proactive, intelligent conversations with your customers” (VoiceSage). One of the points Matthew made when discussing the positive power of social media was that it can lead to brand advocates. I found this intriguing to think about. If your product/service is admirable then customers will take to social media to applaud it. People will promote your business through social media without you having to pay them in the way that companies may pay celebrities to promote their brand. In fact, personally I would better respect the opinion of an average person who I can relate to than a celebrity because of the likelihood that the celebrity is being paid for their endorsement.
Another topic that Matthew Weil spoke to us about was government intervention, for example in China where strict laws are in place. Social media can blur the lines between what is real and what is not. Corrupt governments can filter what they want and don’t want their people to see and can suggest what people like and follow. Fake accounts are also a problem. Other laws such as strict legal alcohol codes can also be a barrier to social media strategies for alcohol brands. Jameson Brand Manager, Aisling Tobin, spoke to us about this. I admire how hard Aisling and her team work to overcome this barrier in order to maintain a successful social media marketing strategy. She reminded us “content is King, engagement is Queen”. I feel that this is an important point to remember when considering marketing through social media. Both your content and the engagement from your customers need to work together in order for the campaign to be successful.
90% of young adults who are aged between 18 and 29 use social media. Of those over 65 years of age, 35% use social media (Perrin, 2015).
It is important from companies to have up to date and suitable social media strategies. With such a high percentage of young people engaging with social media, a key factor for marketers to consider when designing social media strategies is to find out which social media platforms most young people are using – such as Snapchat! Snapchat was released in 2011 and has since grown to have over 156 million users worldwide today (Snapchat daily active users 2016 | statistic, 2016). Snapchat is on a growth route. Currently only 5% of marketers use Snapchat. However, 16% plan to increase their activity on Snapchat and
28% of marketers have indicated their interest to learn more about Snapchat (Kelly et al., 2016).Head of Social at Bank of Ireland, Anne Marie Boyhan, spoke to us about Bank of Ireland’s social media strategy. They make effective use of Snapchat for engagement, especially targeting those under the age of 21. I found it compelling how Bank of Ireland monitors the success of their use of the app. For example, they detect the number of people who watch the first snap in their Snapchat story and compare it to the amount of people who complete the snapchat story and view the last snap. The numbers reflect the quality of the content. If only a few people continue to watch their Snapchat story until the very end that is an indication that the content of the story isn’t very good. Bank of Ireland have also incorporated their Snapchat into their physical advertising campaigns by including their Snapcode so that people can add them on Snapchat quickly and easily when they see the advertisement – a superb innovative idea.Bank of Ireland is a great example of how marketers using social media to effectively engage with their customers by targeting them where they actually are. Hugh Curran, a digital transformation consultant, also discussed this with us at Get Social. He highlighted the importance of being where your audience is. I believe this is extremely valuable advice. For example, there is not much point in targeting LinkIn if you are a company selling beer! I learned from Hugh that it’s not just about how big your company is, it’s about understanding what people want. This level of understanding will come as a result of having an effective social media strategy. Hugh Curran told us that 65% of Irish companies are on social media. I was surprised by this figure as it is above the European average of around 35%. I would’ve expected the European average to be much higher considering how relevant social media is in 2017!
There is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to social media marketing.
Social media analytics helps companies to make decisions about their own approach by gathering data from social media sites and analysing it. This analysis is necessary as social media strategy is just as important as any other business strategy and things in this area are updating and changing at a phenomenal speed. For example, video has become essential with 60% of marketers using it for marketing. 73% plan to increase their use of video. In relation to future plans, 63% of marketers plan on increasing their use of Facebook and YouTube. By far, Facebook is the most important social networking site for marketers. 55% of marketers chose Facebook as their most important platform. LinkedIn was chosen by 18% (Kelly et al., 2016).Customers are all different. This is what Paul Berney told us at the conference. Paul is the co-founder of mCordis which is a mobile and connected marketing advisory and educational marketing services firm. He discussed “the connected individual” with us – a concept that I found fascinating. People are becoming connected before they are even born. Think about the amount of people who upload their baby scans to social media! Paul also spoke to us about how some companies, such as Starbucks, are adapting to social media and using it to come up with a solution to reduce the biggest point of friction for their “connected” customers. Starbucks have launched a strategy to reduce the queues in their franchises by allowing their customers to place an order and pre-pay using their app. In my opinion this is a very commendable initiative which truly captures the power of social media in today’s business world.
“People remember how you make them feel, not what you say” is what we heard from Paul Hayes. He told us that we should resist the temptation to talk about ourselves and instead to talk about our impact on the world. This was a very absorbing statement in my opinion. It was just one of the pieces of valuable advice given to us from the man who is the CEO and founder of Beach Hut PR, a company whose aim is “to deliver the best branding, marketing and communications to clients with the ambition to compete in a global marketplace” (Beach Hut PR). In other words, marketing campaigns should have more of a focus on making the consumers feel good. A worthy tip from Paul which I found thought-provoking was that it is more interesting to have your company mentioned in the 3rd paragraph of a trending article than to have your company in the headline. A very valid point!
If I am being honest I didn’t enjoy the Get Social conference as much as I enjoyed the previous DICE conference, Get Started. You can read my blog post about Get Started here if you have not yet read it. In my opinion, Get Started featured more of a wider variety of speakers than the Get Social conference did. While both sets of speakers consisted of business people with their own unique stories and journeys, the speakers at the Get Started conference had varying messages, advice and opinions whereas the speakers at the Get Social conference tended to overlap a lot in what they were saying and I found their presentations extremely repetitive. However, this reinforces the idea that social media and social media marketing have a few key factors that, once mastered, can have an exceptionally positive influence on any business.
Have a look at this video some key points of social media marketing:
I can safely say I am looking forward to the third DICE conference, Get Digital. It takes place on the 11th of April and will of course be followed by another blog post.
About (2015) Available at: http://linkhumans.com/socialography?utm_content=buffer3339f&utm_medium=social&utm_source=Webbiquity.com (Accessed: 27 February 2017) Kelly, D., Duffy, G., Stelzner, M., Pickering, A., Comm, J. and Yu, D. (2016) ‘Social media examiner: Social media marketing how to, research, case studies, news and more!: Social media examiner’, Available at: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ (Accessed: 28 February 2017) Perrin, A. (2015) Social media usage: 2005-2015. Available at: http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/10/08/social-networking-usage-2005-2015/ (Accessed: 28 February 2017) Snapchat daily active users 2016 | statistic (2016) Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/545967/snapchat-app-dau/ (Accessed: 28 February 2017) Tuten, T., & Solomon, M. (2015). SAGE Publications