Social Media trends for 2014

9 01 2014

The Social Media Today website recently published a very interesting article on UK Social Media statistics for 2014.

Some noticeable trends that interested me:

  1. Facebook’s growth has come to an end as it is now fully “mainstream”
  2. 40% of Twitter users prefer to simply read content and use it as a way to curate news feeds
  3. LinkedIn is by far the most effective social media platform for driving visitors to corporate websites which also reflects a move away from using LinkedIn as an online CV
  4. No confirmed user statistics for Google Plus
  5. Pinterest and Instagram are growing quickly but from very small bases
  6. Snapchat and WhatsApp are growing also, especially among younger age groups

What struck me most, however, is the lack of hard statistics for most of the platforms. One of the great strengths of digital marketing is its ability to provide measurable numbers but they seem to be sadly lacking here.


Is Graph Search a game changer?

18 02 2013

Niall Harbison, co-founder of Simply Zesty, will be a popular speaker, I suspect, at DMX Dublin 2013. The Simply Zesty story is fantastic and it’s great to see an Irish company doing so well. Niall recently spoke at a PM Forum event in the newly refurbished offices of Ernst & Young. He gave the following advice which I thought cut through the haze that often surrounds social media.

  1. Pick one channel and get it right
    The four dominant social media channels are Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn with Google+ coming in fifth. Niall’s advice was to ignore this months trend and get one of these channels right.
  2. Blog
    Simply Zesty owes its success to top quality blogging. If you blog then you own the content, it is always yours.
  3. Set goals
    It might be a bit of a cliché but how many so-called social media experts fail to set real, meaningful goals that make a difference to your business. Collecting ‘likes’ or followers is not a real goal.
  4. Avoid the “arms race” for Facebook likes
    The new Graph Search feature currently being rolled out by Facebook will make chasing vast numbers of ‘likes’ almost irrelevant. Facebook will allow users to search based on what their friends recommend rather than the quantity of likes.

I was very struck by how powerful Niall believes Facebook will become. He cited the example of Netflix using Facebook logins to illustrate how he believes that Facebook will soon be the real backbone of the Internet. Combined with the potential of Graph Search Niall sees a strong future for Facebook.

Dublin SEO Summit

28 09 2012

I attended the Dublin SEO Summit last Friday which was organised by e-Celtic.

I was particularly interested in the presentation by Niall Harbison, founder of Simply Zesty. Simply Zesty are pioneers in the use of Social Media and built the business through social media rather than via more traditional means. This made some of Niall’s comment all the more interesting.

Use Google if you want to drive traffic

I was surprised at Niall being so strong in his support of search over social but he pointed out that 75% of traffic to websites comes from Google. This is because when we want to find something we go to Google. We search. We find. We click through. We are comfortable leaving Google once we have the answer. In contrast we are not comfortable leaving Facebook. When we are in Facebook we like to stay in Facebook and do not want to click on external links.

Use social media for brand build

Simply Zesty used social media to build awareness of their brand. They combined blogging with sharing through various social channels to grow the business. This approach works because once a potential customer engages (share, like, follow, etc.) then they are interested and you can draw them in with relevant content.

Social media takes time

Simply Zesty typically have 3 to 4 people working for a day on each blog post. This is the secret to their success. Well researched, well written, relevant content. Many people believe that social media is quick and instant. Simply Zesty show that it is not but it can be very successful.

Email is massively powerful

I couldn’t agree more with this. Email gives you the power to control the message you are sending. It gives you the power to segment your audience. It gives you the power to be relevant and direct. It also gives you great analytics and the ability to react quickly to the insights you receive.

Twitter is a press release

7 09 2012

I attended the Marketing Institute of Ireland’s Digital Thursday event where the speaker was Lisa Clancy, Communications Director of the GAA. Lisa took us through the digital journey that the GAA is going through. I wrote a guest post for the MII blog on the event which give more detail than I cover here.

One aspect I want to focus on here is the GAA’s use of Twitter and a brilliant piece of advice Lisa gave to us: Twitter is a press release. If you are managing a corporate Twitter account this is vital to remember. Based on Lisa’s experience with the GAA here are some questions that we should all ask ourselves before tweeting.

  1. Is the information correct? If you are the official voice of your organisation do not tweet or retweet rumours or unchecked statements.
  2. Is this the official view of the organisation? It is all too easy to tweet a personal view but if you are using a corporate account then you should be careful of this. Lisa gave the example of an over enthusiastic county PRO criticising the referee at a match through the official County Board Twitter account.
  3. Is the tweet relevant? If you have a diverse audience then tweeting information that is only relevant to a tiny minority of your followers will simply annoy them. Don’t tweet just because you can.
  4. Get your timing right. Use your analytics and any other tools available to find out when your audience is most active and time your tweets for then.

Simple stuff but good advice all the same.

Facebook App Checklist

22 07 2012

At a recent Digital Marketing Institute members event Andrew Weld-Moore of Facebook gave some very candid advice to anyone considering creating a Facebook application. He recommended the following three questions need to be answered.

Do you need an app to engage with your current fans (or to drive new fans to your page)?

Do you want to host a marketing campaign on Facebook?

Do you have a budget to promote your app?

Each of these questions is designed to see if you are best positioned to benefit from a Facebook app. Do not build an app just because you can and definitely make sure you have a promotional budget. Your budget should be 20% to create the app and 80% to promote it.

Facebook stats

20 07 2012

The Digital Marketing Institute focused on Facebook at their member session on June 21st. Apart from being taken through the new offerings from Facebook for marketers the speakers also shared some statistics on Facebook usage in Ireland. I think these are worth sharing.

  • Facebook has 2 million active users (an active user is someone who logs in at least once a week.
  • Approximately 1.25 million people log in each day.
  • Circa 1 million users log in via mobile.
  • On average users spend 5 hours per month on Facebook.
  • The average number of friends is 240 compared with 130 globally.
  • The male/female split is 47/53.
  • 54% of users are aged between 18 and 34.

And finally, Dublin Airport is the most popular Facebook check in location in Ireland.

Facebook is certainly in the news this week.

23 05 2012

You can’t really avoid Facebook at the moment. It is all over the media right now including media that normally is not too interested in social media or IPO’s.

The IPO: a success or a failure?

One of the difficulties of becoming a publicly quoted company is that you can become a victim of the whims of the stock market. One piece of bad news, such as poor quarterly results, can undo years of solid achievement. Equally, one piece of good news can mask all sorts of problems. This is what has happened to Facebook. Questions have been asked about the IPO and suddenly people get nervous. As the court cases and class actions begin we may learn more but the fact remains that the IPO raised a huge amount of money for Facebook and with an initial valuation of around $100 billion dollars even a 50% loss in value would still see Facebook being a very large company.

Problems with future revenue

The news that GM had cancelled its Facebook advertising campaign was badly timed from Facebook’s perspective but does it represent a real problem? There are two arguments here:

  1. Digital media prides itself on being measurable particularly when compared to traditional media. If Facebook cannot deliver results then it is in trouble.
  2. Social media advertising is not like traditional advertising. You don’t just place ads and wait for customers to arrive. You need to engage with them. If you engage and provide really good content then your campaigns will be a success.

Views of GM’s decision to leave Facebook advertising tend to be coloured by which side of the argument you are on. Either GM did a bad job or Facebook advertising does not work. Perhaps it is a bit of both.

Problems with mobile advertising

This problem is real and has been highlighted by Facebook. Advertising on mobile platforms is harder mainly because of the screen size and as we move to mobile devices rather than PC’s Facebook will have to find a solution if it is to continue to drive advertising revenue.