See that bright glistening star shooting across the social media sphere? It’s Instagram…
The rise of Instagram has continued at a rapid pace in 2019 and with no signs of slowing down, it’s becoming the latest ‘go to’ social media platform for business and personal use alike.
In fact, without a doubt, Instagram is now the most popular topic in the social media training classes I run.
Businesses are flocking to get established on the platform and the weird and wonderful world of Insta stories, hashtags and moving emojis is becoming more and more mainstream for many SMEs.
Even Influencer Marketing is starting to make an appearance in the Insta marketing of many small businesses, as they begin to appreciate the ready-made markets these ‘bloggers’ can bring to their brands.
According to the latest IpsosMRBI statistics, 41% of the Irish population now have Instagram accounts – an increase of 4% since December 2018. Of those accounts, 65% of users log on daily, bringing it neck in neck with Facebook in terms of daily usage – no mean feat!
So, what is it about Instagram that is so attractive to users?
Its visually driven appeal offers an escape from so much of the clutter and noise of other social media platforms.
It,s not (yet) as advert driven as Facebook, allowing for a more seamless user experience.
It feeds into the popularity of video advertising and storytelling marketing.
So if your business is burying its head in an Insta-sandpit, it’s definitely time to shake it free and get yourself set up! Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform in Ireland (and around the world), with no sign of slowing down.
And, as we all know – where customers gather, businesses quickly follow!
Karen Twomey of COMMUNICATIONS HUB specialises in Digital Marketing Training, Social Media Training and Online Management for Business. For more information contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org
Now that the summer is upon us, we’re winding down after a busy few months of Digital Marketing courses in Cork.
Although, we’re not relaxing too much as September is gearing up to be a very busy month with courses running in Cork Training Centre, Mallow College of Further Education and IRD Duhallow!
The summer months can be a quieter time for many businesses and so it’s a great opportunity to take some time to re-evaluate and even upskill.
Communications Hub offer one-to-one tailor made social media training workshops ranging from 2 hours upwards and covering a variety of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and website blogging.
We can look at putting together online marketing campaigns, running paid adverts, using keywords/hashtags, as well as creating professional looking online graphics and videos.
With 86% of Irish people now researching goods and services online prior to making a commitment to purchase, it has never been more important for businesses to have an effective and targeted online presence.
For more information or to put together a social media training workshop for your business, contact us on email@example.com and we’ll be delighted to help your business stand out online!
Confused about which social media platforms your business should be on? You’re not alone…
This is a question I’m always asked when I’m meeting with a business or running one of my social media training courses. In fact, if I had a euro for each time, I’d be writing this blog from a golden beach in Hawaii…maybe it’s time to reconsider my professional fees.
Anyway, I digress. Back to social media platforms.
Which social media platform is best for your business is a hard question to answer. There may even be a place for many businesses on almost all platforms, but in reality, most businesses won’t have the time, inclination or budget for that.
I always answer that it’s better to be on one social media platform and do it well, rather than be on all of them, and failing miserably.
If you’d like something a bit more technical though here’s a breakdown of age profiles on each social media platform. Think about your audience – Who are they? What age are they? Let that be a guide as to the social media platforms your business uses. It’s also a great guide as to the type of content you should be posting – but that’s a blog for another day.
For those wondering why Snapchat isn’t included in that graph, it’s because Snapchat isn’t a social media platform, it’s a messaging service. But, because I’m such a nice person, I’ve put together some stats on age profile use of that too…you’re welcome.
So, to sum it up. Facebook seems to be a ‘catch-all’ for all age groups, while the likes of Instagram and Twitter tend to appeal to a slightly younger to middle-aged aged group. If your customer is under 25, Snapchat should be a focus for your business online.
Of course, there are always exceptions and the above is just meant as a useful guide for your business when trying to decide the best social media platforms to use.
For more information on social media training and online management, see our website www.communicationshub.ie
This 2.5hr course will improve your online skills and help your business or organisation to stand out on social media.
Topics covered include:
An overview of social media platforms, their audiences and use in
the Irish market
How to create and upload engaging content – text, photos & video
An introduction to Blogging, Email Marketing & Search Engine
How to save time using content calendars and online schedulingSocial Media for Business is the ideal course for anyone who wants to get to know a little more about social media from a professional perspective and improve their online marketing.
When: Thurs 22nd Feb from 10.00am – 12.30pm or
Thurs 1st March from 7.00pm – 9.30pm
Where: Fermoy Community Youth Centre
Cost: €30 p.p.
For further details or to book a place, see the below links:
I’ll be running a WordPress & Blogging Workshop on Wednesday 24th May from 7pm until 9.30pm in Fermoy Community Youth Centre. This workshop will talk you through the basics of creating a WordPress website/Blog, Content Management Systems (CMS), SEO, Plug-ins and writing for an online audience.
Cost: €25.00 p.p.and booking is essential as numbers are limited.
For further details or to book your place contact Karen Twomey at 0877642575 or firstname.lastname@example.org
When I do social media training with businesses I never leave without having set them up on an online scheduler and, without fail, it positively affects their ability to produce good quality online content.
The benefits of using a scheduler include saving time, enabling better targeting and making it easier to implement a well-planned content calendar. An online scheduler will also allow you to view all of your online profiles on one dashboard, which makes for easier measurement of analytics.
And they’re not the only reasons why you should be using one…
LISTEN TO YOUR AUDIENCE
Monitor your brand, your competition, and what your customers are saying about you on social media.
ENGAGE WITH CUSTOMERS
Never miss an opportunity to connect with your audience or join conversations that are important to your brand.
MEASURE YOUR SOCIAL ROI
Make smarter, data-driven social media marketing decisions with confidence, so you can grow your business and your revenue.
My favourite scheduler is Hootsuite which supports social network integrations for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Blogger, and much more. It also has some great downloads such as:
Hootlet – ‘Find & Share Anywhere’. Quickly and easily share content to your social networks from anywhere on the web
Hootsuite App – Free mobile app to schedule, publish, and monitor conversations
Hootsuite App Directory – Collection of extensions and applications business professionals can add to their Hootsuite dashboard to create a customised experience eg. Dropbox, Gmail, Google Drive, Mailchimp, Review Tracker, Survey Monkey, Vimeo.
While Hootsuite works for me, there are other options out there too such as Everypost, Buffer and Social Oomph. Several custom pricing plans are available, and each can be tested out through a free trial period.
Each social media scheduler has advantages and special features, but it all comes down to what you personally prefer. Whichever one you choose, just make sure your business is using one. You’ll reap the benefits, I promise!
Karen Twomey is a freelance PR & Social Media Consultant who specialises in online campaigns and social media training. For further details check out her website www.communicationshub.ie
Due to the success of our last Social Media for Business Course in Fermoy, I’m delighted to be running a further course on Wednesday 7th December from 7 p.m. – 9.00 p.m. in Fermoy Community Youth Centre.
As a business, social media is one of the easiest and cost-effective ways to reach your customers and create awareness around your products and services. To ensure you are using the right platforms and the right content social media training is essential – your business will thank you!
This 2 hour social media training course will teach you:
The best online platforms to use for your business
How to create engaging content
How to save time by using content calendars and online scheduling
An introduction to blogging, email marketing and SEO
How to manage your business’s online reputation.
Places are limited and cost €25.00 per person.
Communications Hub will be running further social media training courses, as well as blogging, online reputation management, content marketing and content scheduling courses in the New Year.
For further details or to book your place call Karen Twomey on 0877642575 or email: email@example.com
I was delighted to give a presentation on the importance of reputation in business at a recent NRG Networking Group meeting in Fermoy.
The worlds of marketing and public relations often intertwine but, fundamentally, marketing is concerned with the promotion of goods and services. PR is more focused on the bigger picture – the brand, image and message of a business, in essence, the management of reputation.
When I asked the group how many had recently googled their businesses, very few had. It surprised me, but on the other hand, when you are the owner of a small business, you are your business. Both of your reputations are intertwined and it is almost impossible for one to operate independently of the other.
As the old saying goes ‘What other people think of you, is none of your business’ but, of course, in business, it absolutely is your business! That doesn’t make it any easier to hear and accept critique, though- which can often be interpreted as criticism when we are personally invested in a business – which we always are when self-employed.
Imagine how useful it would be though, to know what your customers like, what they want, what you could do better. Imagine how much you could improve your customers experience if you knew what worked and what was important. As a small business, our reputation and service are often the only things that enable us to remain viable and compete, especially in this era of online shopping and increasing multi-national competitors.
As a local business, you ignore your reputation at your peril. If you don’t conduct local market research, that too could be to your detriment. So, make it part of your business plan to take some time to ‘step outside the building’ every few months. And, Google yourself – often.
Reputation is important, mind it and it will mind you!
How many of us really stop and think about the true importance of reputation in business? This concept of ‘corporate reputation’ is often only associated with larger corporations and organisations. In truth, the smaller your business, the more your corporate reputation matters.
A knock to the reputation of a large corporation may wipe millions off the share price, but for a smaller business, it may shut it down. This is particularly true in small local markets, where corporate and personal reputations can be of equal importance.
“Corporate reputation can be described as the overall estimation in which an organisation is held by its internal and external stakeholders, based on its past actions and probability of its future behaviour.” (www.cuttingedgepr.com)
For many organisations, reputation is one of their greatest assets and they work hard to maintain it and build a ‘bank of goodwill’. This ‘bank of goodwill’ is the positivity stakeholders hold towards a business. In times of negativity, such a ‘bank’ may encourage stakeholders to remain loyal and protect reputation.
Larger organisations may generally weather reputational damage better than their smaller counterparts – often possessing such a market share that it’s difficult to avoid doing business with them. Other times a brand can be so desired, consumers simply just don’t care.
Take Nestle, for example, which has been described as one of the ‘most hated companies in the world’ thanks to its long history of child labour, unethical promotion and mislabelling (to name but a few of its violations). Despite the company’s horrific reputation, it still remains one of the world’s largest food companies.
Compare this to smaller local businesses. For these, it can be difficult to compete with bigger companies and the growing online market. It is often, in fact, thanks to their good reputation that they continue to compete and remain viable in the market.
When I think of my own local town, I could tell you the reputation of most of the businesses who trade there. Those who are too dear, those who supply the best cup of coffee, and those who are simply nice to visit and provide some old-fashioned banter with your goods.
How many of those businesses are actually aware of their own reputation though? How many of them take the time to ‘step outside the building’ and listen to what people have to say? In this digital age, ‘stepping outside the building’ can take many different forms.
The good old tried and tested method of clipboard (or tablet) in hand and pounding the pavements is sure to yield valuable results, but you can also carry out your research without ever actually leaving the building. There are numerous free online surveys available that can be shared via email or social media.
Or of course, a business could just ask their customers directly -what would help to make your experience a better one? It seems absurd the amount of businesses who fail to ask their customers what is they want. How many businesses close down because they fail to do this?
Of course, you can never fully control reputation, but you can try to manage it. A business’s reputation may vary from stakeholder to stakeholder, according to their experiences in dealing with the business or what they have heard about it from others.
How reputation affects stakeholders:
Customers If a business is well-regarded by its customers, they will prefer to deal with it ahead of others. These customers will influence other potential customers by word of mouth & online recommendations – a happy customer tells a friend, an unhappy customer tells the world.
SuppliersA good reputation increases trust of ability to pay and to provide fair trading terms. If a problem occurs in a trading relationship, suppliers will be more inclined to give the benefit of the doubt where a business has a reputation for fair dealing.
Employees Businesses who have a reputation of treating staff poorly tend to attract a certain type of people to work for them – this directly impacts on customer experience and satisfaction.
So, what are the benefits of a good reputation:
Customer preference in doing business with a company when other companies’ products and services are available at a similar cost and quality – especially important in small local markets.
Ability to charge a premium for products and services – Helps to compete with an online market
Stakeholder support for an organisation in times of controversy – When the well-regarded Cork restaurant Son of a Bun was recently hit with a HSE temporary closure order they received huge support from their stakeholders, both when they were closed and when they re-opened, and came out the other side reputation intact.
Improves a company or organisation’s value in the financial marketplace.
We may not be able to control reputation, but here are some tips for managing it:
Establish trust – Keep your word.
Be Responsive – Let customers know they are important to you.
Crisis Management – Resolve errors and mistakes quickly.
Offer value – Don’t rip people off.
Confidentiality – Respect people’s privacy.
Stay relevant – Move with the times in terms of technology, stock, services.
Communication – Be professional in your correspondence with staff, suppliers and customers. Maintain a good online presence.
Community Involvement – Sponsorship, volunteering, etc.
however much you may value your reputation, one thing is certain – there is a high cost to pay for losing it.