This year marks the 22nd annual celebration of digital excellence for business with the eir Spiders Awards taking place this November. Ahead of the awards we’re taking to the road. Our goal? Helping SMEs around the country make the most of digital technologies by bringing them all the top tips, expertise and advice they need. Paul Mulqueen, Head of Small Business at eir, was at our first workshop in Sligo, and gives us the rundown of all the best practice tips we heard from our expert panel.
We kicked off the eir Spiders Digital Workshops in the Building Block Sligo, a co-working space in the heart of the city for anyone in need of a desk, an office, WiFi and more. There we were joined by moderator Aiden Doyle, CEO of Sligo Chamber of Commerce; Sinead Carroll, Founder and CEO at Mini Media and Irish Blogger Agency; Daniel Browne, Commercial Director of Ocean Media and Director of Sea Sessions Surf and Music Festival; and Barry Walsh, Digital Marketing Manager for Supermacs.
We heard about influencer marketing, how important quality content is and how vital it is to really know your customers and understand their needs and preferences. Let’s look at some of the key takeaways in more detail.
Use influencers to get ahead
Sinead Carroll, Founder and CEO at Mini Media and Irish Blogger Agency, highlighted the benefits of using influencer marketing. Online influencers have amassed huge numbers of online fans, built trust and developed strong relationships with their followers. Getting them to share your content, product or service can help you gain wide-scale attention and intensely targeted engagement with relevant audiences.
Sinead pointed out that aligning yourself with an influencer will help you increase your brand awareness. Through bloggers, your content is put in front of potential new customers already interested in your niche. What’s more, all online activity driven by influencers can be tracked and monitored and you can clearly see the impact of your investment. Ensure you’re giving influencers tracked links to place in their content so you can see how much referral traffic is coming to your site from theirs.
Most importantly, as Sinead highlighted, you need to ensure you have a clear actionable goals for your influencer marketing: decide who you want to target, how much you’re willing to spend and set some key objectives that you want to see realised through the partnership.
Content is still King
Daniel Browne, Commercial Director of Ocean Media and of Director of Sea Sessions Surf and Music Festival has seen how content has always been a key player in speaking to your audience. He’s been at the heart of content creation for media for a long time. Whether it’s a print magazine or a 30-second video, what you’re saying and who you’re saying it to is something you need to think about. Daniel highlighted that content is King, but what’s even more important is unique content. Think about your messaging and build a narrative around it that not only reflects your brand but really speaks to your audience. Tell them something new and in a way they can easily access.
Video is more popular than ever now with brands making regular video content and spreading it out on their channels. Daniel wowed attendees with some of the amazing video content he’s produced for the Sea Sessions Surf and Music Festival, making everyone in the room want to be there and be part of it. That’s what the power video content can do – it can be emotive and motivational and help you connect with your audience.
Know your customer
Barry Walsh, Digital Marketing Manager for Supermacs, spoke about the importance of knowing who you’re targeting. He advised attendees to create personas for their target markets, know what they need, what they want and then you can start to address these. Every element of your content should be developed specifically to those personas – think about your imagery, wording, placement of your ads etc. Will they speak to the right demographic?
Your customer should be at the heart of everything you do, throughout the process. Once you start generating content targeted at them, keep analysing and evaluating its effectiveness. Does one type of social media post get more likes than another? If so, ask yourself why. Have you spoken in a particular way or used some type of imagery that may resonate better with them? Analysing your content regularly can be effective market research.
The revolution of Irish social media
With social media still growing in popularity and new forms of social media appearing regularly, how do you know what to use and how to make it work? Should your business be on Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook? It depends on your business and who you’re trying to reach. This is why knowing your customer is key. If you know what age they are, where they’re located and what their interests are, you can decide which type of social media will best reach them. For example, Snapchat is mostly used by 15 – 18 year olds so if your business is aimed at anyone older than this maybe it shouldn’t be your sole focus. Once you’re confident you’re using the right social media channel for your audience it’s important to deliver that good quality content that Daniel mentioned. Ensure your post links back to your website, use high quality images and videos and ensure you’re engaging directly with your followers – answer messages, reply to comments and use social media’s inbuilt analytics to see what’s working well.
Don’t miss the next workshops taking place in Limerick, Cork and Dublin in September. Find out more about where you can hear from leading digital experts near you and register now to be in with the chance of winning a prestigious eir Spider Award this November.
For more insightful blog posts on all aspects of digital marketing and for regular blogs and updates on the eir Spiders Awards, click here