The forth annual Social Media Dublin Seminar held at the Gibson Hotel on 26 January ’18 featured speakers from Dublin Fire Brigade, TV 3, Irish Water and a host of leading Irish brands providing expert knowledge, strategic advice and real-life practical examples of successful social media campaigns. In the following blog I’ve reviewed some of the key insights.
‘Social Media Networks: Usage and Trends’ – by Paul McGarrity, Octave Digital
In the constantly changing world of social media networks, its vital to look closely at the usage and engagement behaviours of different demographics on social media across all leading networks.
Social Media Network Influence
The latest social media usage statistics show the continued global dominance of Facebook for both volume usage and engagement compared to other social media networks. Marketers need to consider the social media networks that benefit from higher time on site and engagement rates. There are also important differences in usage and engagement rates among different demographics.
- Millennials: Facebook is still the most popular network, with Snapchat and Instagram featuring heavily in their social media use.
- Over 35’s: Facebook is by far the most important social media network for the over 35s demographic – dwarfing usage rates for all other networks
The latest volume usage rates of social media networks in Ireland show that Facebook dominates considerably. Also notable is the relatively low rate of usage of Twitter use, a trend that mirrors its stagnation at a global level. Snapchat use stands at an impressive 24% – mostly make up of millennials, over 60% of whom use the App.
Dominant Global Trends
Undoubtedly the most far reaching change of 2018 was the announcement Facebook News Feed changes, a development that will have a considerable impact on businesses and publishers using Facebook as a communications medium. In summary, the changes brought about Facebook, mean:
- Increase the visibility of content from family and friends in news feeds
- Further decrease the visibility of organic facebook posts from brands and organisations
The primary reason Facebook are doing this is simple – they want to increase social interactions between connections through meaningful content. So what’s the impact on brands and organisations? The fact remains that Facebook users continue to reject poor content from brands. It will become harder for many brands to reach and influence followers with organic content and a lot of businesses need to go back to basics on developing smart, engaging content that resonates with people.
Tips for Improving Social Media Marketing in 2018
Overall, I advised attendees to look to three areas to help improve with their use of Social Media.
• Fit In With Why People use Social Media: Your Facebook posts and stories really need to stand out in the News Feed, feature great quality visuals and the desire for people to interact with community news, stories about people and humour (where appropriate)
• Image Strategy: Engagement on social media posts is often closely related to the quality and social appeal of images. But most organisations really struggle when it comes to visual content. If your business has strong visual basis to it – then you need a plan for the images you require to communicate your brand and products visually.
• Resourcing: Resourcing challenges continue to have a huge impact on the effectiveness of social media activity. One of the areas that figured heavily in the Q&A was the lack of knowledge and understanding that Senior management have of the role and benefits of Social media and the need for them to be educated about it’s importance in the media mix.
Patrick Fleming, Chief Fire Officer, Dublin Fire Brigade: ‘Engaging the Public Through Social’
Social Media present the emergency services the opportunity to create awareness, develop relationships with the public and build understanding.
Patrick Fleming set out the three key objectives behind Dublin Fire Brigade’s use of Social Media: To Inform, Educate and Re-assure the public and stakeholders including the media.
Dublin Fire Brigade use fire safety advice posts on Social Media that are appropriate, engaging, humorous, informative and timely. Facebook forms the backbone of their social media activity and is the perfect vehicle for promoting practical examples of fire hazards in the home, using strong visual evidence.
The service also has a duty to quickly and accurately communicate information about live incidents. Given the nature of fire incidents, live conversations, and indeed inaccurate content, can spread very quickly. Patrick Fleming set out the challenge to communicate key facts to the public as well as linking up with other statutory stakeholders who may also be involved to provide authoritative updates on incidents.
Finally, Patrick Fleming set out a number of dominant challenges that also affected other organisations including:
- Workload / Time commitment
- Difficulty with senior management buy in
- 24 / 7 responses and expectations
- Respecting Privacy
Deirdre Macklin, Marketing Director, TV3: ‘Ways of Increasing Brand Engagement’
Engagement with customers before, during and after TV shows is now a critically important brand marketing activity for all broadcasters. Deirdre Macklin outlined the importance of engagement on social media:
- Extend the reach of the brand
- Serves as a key indicator od brand loyalty and advocacy
- TV and Social Media go hand in hand: as 85% are ‘second screening’
- Viewers are more likely to tune into shows following positive recommendation on social media
The Group turned to research as part of their social media improvement strategy and were influenced by:
- Key opportunities for high engagement rates and reach by utilising the Ireland AM and Xpose
- Re-evaluating the volume of content they needed to posts – reducing Facebook Posts to a manageable level.
Reviewing the media habits of their audiences also revealed some very valuable insights including the fact they had not been as active on networks at the times their audiences were. The insights also led them to prioritise a much greater focus on engaging fans in conversations about the shows and issues in a way that was honest, friendly, helpful, funny and trendy.
The new approach yielded significant results for the TV3 on Social Media across key areas including:
- TV3’s Social Media Following grew 12% to 1.32M in 2017
- Over 15.5M video views on Facebook – an increase of 140%
- An increase in Instagram followers of 23.5% to 97,000