Knowledge and Confidence are Key to Social Media Success in Ireland

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The recent AMAS survey of Marketing Professionals in Ireland has highlighted a shift in how marketeers are using their resources. Most of the statistics show trends that we all know. Online is powerful, inexpensive and done properly can offer businesses equal if not better returns on their investments. Most interesting about the report is the fear or hurdles that still exist stopping or slowing businesses from using the internet as a marketing platform. As with all technologies there are those that adapt quickly and those that are a bit slower to adapt. Knowledge and confidence are key.

Each Social Media platform has different purposes, rules, participants which can be very confusing and time-consuming to learn and leverage. These platforms are also very dynamic and are always changing depending on the needs of their users. Facebook for instance has completely changed the way the businesses page are set-up. No longer can you create a landing page using the FBML code (html for Facebook) now you need to create and register an app (iframe) to pull the landing page information from a white page on your server directly to the landing page. This is actually a great development as it allows for really customisable pages to represent your campaign or your business in any way you want. It also allows for a huge variety of the type of campaigns you can use on your Facebook page. This type of change, however, is very confusing for business owners and marketing professionals to adapt to.

Knowledge of how to integrate social media with your marketing campaigns and activities can also be a hurdle. Understanding how the conversation is created, maintained is crucial if there is to be real opportunities for conversations and interactions on Social Media platforms. We all know about segmenting markets and then targeting them. But this is traditionally a customer facing exercise. We produce ads, copy etc. that is engineered to evoke a response from our chosen target market. We call this Relationship marketing and it has been around awhile and encourages marketing activities that stimulate conversation and interaction. This works but is still anchored in a business driven, product relevant relationship. With Social Media this has all changed. The message is no longer customer facing but altruistic and customer interactive. On Social Media platforms businesses are expected to give information, activities and experiences that don’t depend on the visitor being a customer. It is truly an exercise in making your business relevant and an opinion leader to your target market and their community.

Confidence is key to successfully integrating your marketing activities to Social Media. As stated before the marketer is expected to understand how the conversation is stimulated, responded to and distributed to the masses. This requires understanding every element of the specific Social Media platform that is being used. This is a big ask as most Marketing Managers are of a generation that did not grow up on Social Media. This can be overcome by hiring marketing assistance with the necessary experience or hiring a specialist company to handle this area of your marketing activities. But if you are a small business without the funds to hire or outsource then this means you have to learn it yourself.

Can You Do It?
Is it possible for marketing managers and small business owners to gain the knowledge and confidence? Yes! Will it take time? Yes! Is it worth the effort? Yes! Those businesses that do not embrace this cultural communication shift are not only losing an opportunity to realise the benefits of Social Media activities but stand a real chance of not being in business in 5 years. If you do not embrace Social Media your competitor most surely will.

For great help and advice on how to use the big three Social Media sites I put some great links below. If you have any questions please leave a comment.


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