This Valentine’s Day, I left the romance aside and instead I spent my day at the ‘Get Social’ conference in the Helix. This was my second conference to attend and I was optimistic after having enjoyed the first one. The ‘Get Social’ conference was all about businesses and the importance of getting social. As a millennial (a person reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century), I have grown up in the hands of technology and therefore social media is a strong presence in my life. While I may know the ins and out of Facebook and snapchat, I was intrigued to find out I don’t know it all. Through the speakers, I learned how businesses adapt to the idea of getting social and using social media marketing to promote their brands. So here is what I found out…
1. No one is that interesting!
Paul Hayes, the founder of Beachhut PR, opened with this unusual statement that at first I found a bit confusing. It turns out, he made a lot of sense. Beachhut PR deal with
adventures in tech marketing and his point was that people don’t want to sit and hear someone talk about themselves because, let’s face it, after a while we become uninterested.
Paul Hayes’ advice is to resist the temptation to talk about yourself and instead talk about your impact on the world. This is what needs to come across when you are using social media marketing. Businesses need to adopt this idea. Don’t just talk about where your business and its technology is now, tell your target market where it came from and where it is going to.
Technology is constantly evolving so your business must be one step ahead. There is a need for innovation and consumers always want to hear of the newest things out there in the world. But is the idea enough? No. We need to become the proof of this idea. Above all, connect with people by getting social and make them feel something. Make your story more than about you and that is what people will find interesting.
During my research, I found an interesting article about a young man who found his passion in social media marketing. Read it here to find out more about how to get social successfully!
2. Customer Engagement Is Key!
Matthew Weil is Head of Product at VoiceSage, a company providing interactive customer communications solutions to big businesses such as Argos and AXA Insurance. Customers are the most important people to a business and therefore communicating well with them is vital. By getting social, communication with customers becomes easy. Years ago, interaction between a customer and a business was usually face to face but now there are so many ways to get in contact.
Matthew Weil gave us some examples of these communication platforms including Facebook (1.86 billion monthly active users), Twitter (319 million monthly active users) and one I had never heard of called Sina Weibo (Statista 2016). Sina Weibo is a Chinese business eco system with over 297 million monthly active users (DMR Statistics 2016). From these statistics, we cannot ignore the fact that social media is changing the world and connecting people from every place in the world. This knowledge is why growing businesses are now getting social to find the easiest, most efficient way of engaging with their customers. What technology can do is mind-blowing. For instance, there are now ChatBots which are computer programs that you can essentially have a conversation with. Customers can simply ask the ChatBot their questions about the product or service they want. Amazing, right? There will be no more struggle to engage with every customer, all a business needs to do is get social! Have a look at this video and article I found to help you understand more about Chatbots and their use in social media marketing!
3. Content is King
Every single speaker at the ‘Get Social’ conference talked about content and each speaker is highly successful in terms of getting social. So, if that doesn’t prove its importance, let me explain further. Content is what sets your website apart from the masses and delivers the right message to your customers. Ultimately, content wins the wallets of your customers! Aisling Tobin, Jameson Whiskey Brand Manager, gave a great insight into how to create the perfect content. First, you must always begin with proper market research. Find out who your high value customers are and then define personas for your website. In the case of Jameson whiskey, Aisling told us it’s the LADS (the ‘laid-back, appreciative, down-to-earth’ people we are all familiar with). So, the question a business must ask itself is how can we can make an emotional connection with our customers to drive advocacy levels? The way people consume social media is constantly changing and content must evolve along with it. These steps I have listed below resonated with me and need to be followed if you want to get content correct:
- Watch and listen and then you will learn
- Value exchange – reward your customers for their loyalty
- Be disruptive – but always stay relevant to your brand
During Aisling’s speech, we were lucky enough to get a sneak peek at Jameson Whiskey’s new campaign with their slogan ‘Sine Metu’. Through quality content, their message to the LADS is to ‘fear a bit less and live a bit more’. Without a doubt, they have conveyed the message and triggered an emotional connection with their market. Customers respond to quality content and customer engagement is what we want! Think big, think bold and be original. Social doesn’t work if you don’t have the content that people want to share with one another (Christopher Ratcliff 2014).
4. Video is Vital and Influencers are Important!
Video is projected to claim more than 80% of all web traffic by 2019. 90% of customers report that product videos help them make purchasing decisions. A third of the time people spend online is dedicated to watching videos (Forbes 2017). These are just a few statistics to show you how vital video is. Anne Marie Boyhan is head of social at Bank of Ireland and throughout her speech she reinforced this idea. Today, us humans have the attention spans of goldfish! Most of us don’t bother reading until the very end of an article and if a social media post doesn’t look attractive, we just keep on scrolling. As a result of this, it is becoming increasingly difficult for marketers to get our attention and this is where video comes in. It is what people react to most so it makes sense to use it! During my research, I came across a lot of great video content so if you have some free time and want to watch some quality content, click here!
Another thing that Anne Marie talked about was influencers. Just last week, I did a presentation for my marketing module on the topic of the buying centre, a decision-making unit. Within the buying centre, influencers have a key role in the buying process. People value their opinions. For instance, Bank of Ireland has teamed up with beauty blogger Rosie Connolly and James Kavanagh, co-founder of Currabinny foods to help with their social media messaging. According to Boyhan, businesses need to follow the 3 C’s regarding their content: Create, Collaborate, Curate! Create the content, collaborate with influencers and curate by enabling your audience to amplify your message.
5. We are in ‘The Age of the Connected Individual’
*Disclaimer: this paragraph contains the word ‘connected’ a lot!!*
And what does that mean, you may ask? Well, one of our speakers, Paul Berney, informed us that this age is one where the connected individuals are in charge. It is the connected individual that allows a brand to take shape and reach other people. This is what a connected marketer must realise. Because of social platforms, we are all connected. Berney told us that the connected marketer must make a product that satisfies our needs and solves problems. He insists that the digital and the physical must merge to allow for an emotional connection. A prime example of this is Starbucks new idea for reducing queues by using their online service where you can simply order and then collect within minutes! When one connected individual is satisfied with a product or service, they’re going to tell their friends about it, whether it’s through social media or word of mouth and this causes a ripple effect. Think about it, we do it every day! I’ll say it once more… it’s all about connectedness!
6. Old ways won’t open new doors!
Some people tend to object and shy away from change. When we become accustomed to a certain thing or a certain way of doing things, we don’t like to step out of this comfort zone. Businesses are also guilty of this. But what Eric Weaver told the audience is that change is inevitable and in this world of technology and social media, businesses cannot afford to stick to their old ways. The word he used was ‘disruption’. Basically, disruption changes how we think, behave, do business, and learn. According to Weaver, disruption is not always accepted. Harvard business school professor Clayton Christensen says that a disruption displaces an existing market, industry or technology and produces something new and more efficient and worthwhile. It is at once destructive and creative (Forbes 2013).
Innovation is accelerating at an extremely rapid pace and to stay relevant and continue to make a profit, business need to keep up. A decade ago, smartphones didn’t exist. Three decades ago, no one even owned a computer. Hard to believe, right? These days, everyone is talking about the Internet of Things (IoT). To try and put it simply, it is the inter-networking of physical devices and other items embedded with electronics to allow them to collect and exchange data. If that doesn’t make sense, have a look at this video explaining the IoT!
Disruption is the new normal and business competition has never been fiercer. We can see it with the likes of Apple or Netflix, two prime examples of brands that have disrupted their markets! Technology is advancing and there is no point in ignoring it! By 2020, each person is likely to have an average of 5.1 connected devices. By 2020, more than half of major new business processes and systems will incorporate some element of the Internet of Things (Parature 2016). So, whether you like it or not, you need to embrace change in order to stay in the game!
Seth Godin, author, marketer, and public speaker said ‘If you’re not on the internet you don’t exist’. Dramatic statement, I know, but in this day and age he’s right. So, if you are an aspiring entrepreneur or marketer and you haven’t already done so, get on board, and get social!
DMR Statistics 2016. 58 Amazing Weibo Statistics [Online]. Available from: http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/weibo-user-statistics/ [Accessed 27 February 2017]
Statista 2016. Number of facebook users worldwide [Online]. Available from: https://www.statista.com/statistics/264810/number-of-monthly-active-facebook-users-worldwide/ [Accessed 27 February 2017]
Parature 2016. 16 Stunning Statistics that forecast the future of the Internet of Things [Online]. Available from: http://www.parature.com/internet-of-things/ [Accessed 27 February 2017]
Christopher Ratcliff 2014. The importance of quality content [Online]. Available from: https://econsultancy.com/blog/65066-the-importance-of-quality-content/ [Accessed 27 February 2017]
Forbes 2017. Video Marketing: The Future of Content Marketing [Online]. Available from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2017/02/03/video-marketing-the-future-of-content-marketing/#7d8f2ad76b53 [Accessed 27 February 2017]
Forbes 2013. Disruption Vs. Innovation: What’s the Difference? [Online]. Availble from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/carolinehoward/2013/03/27/you-say-innovator-i-say-disruptor-whats-the-difference/#2ae1a8376f43 [Accessed 27 February 2017]