On Wednesday 22 April, I set off to the RDS in sunny Dublin with my colleague Steven to attend the Smart Business Show. Armed with an A5 notebook, my plan was gather some expert insight into the world of digital marketing in 2015.
We kicked off the two day event with an interesting talk on Instagram for business from Connector 360’s Conor Lynch. Look out for Steven’s upcoming blog post for the insights he shared
The dynamic Bryan Lavery from Twitter presented in the keynote theatre on why moments matter for SMEs. Bryan emphasised the opportunity that Twitter presents for small and medium businesses. 56% of users have discovered a new business on Twitter and 75% have used it to contact an SME. Some of the tips he shared included:
- ensure your Twitter bio is SEO friendly and includes your brand’s target keywords
- put your Twitter handle on everything, from email signatures to products
- don’t forget about tweeting at weekends; the UK and Ireland has very high weekend Twitter activity
- using pictures can quadruple your engagement and increase retweets by 50%
- tweets with less than 100 characters can see up to 20% more engagement
- accounts that reply to mentions get more engagement
Bryan also highlighted @twitteruki_sme, an account that can help SMEs out with any Twitter for business queries. We learned more about the power of Twitter for small businesses from “Tweeting Goddess” Samantha Kelly who is behind #irishbizparty and #BelfastHour. Samantha’s inspiring talk advocated the importance of being human, being helpful and reaching out on social media.
Facebook for business
Helen Smyth from Facebook hosted a talk on how the platform can be used to grow your business and drive sales. With 1.39 billion monthly users, Facebook is the largest social network.
Helen discussed the multi-screen phenomenon, with people using more than one device. She highlighted Facebook’s advantage at targeting signed in users as they switch between devices, something that cookie technology fails at.
The latest trend in the world of Facebook is the increase in mobile video consumption. Since the boom in video uploads from last year’s “ice bucket challenge”, 1 billion videos are viewed on Facebook daily.
Helen advises really knowing your audience and your business goals before creating content on Facebook. She also highlighted some new Facebook advertising developments; dynamic product ads and the as yet unreleased “Messenger for Business”.
Online advertising & search engine optimisation
The team from Vroom Digital blasted through the ins and outs of using SEO and Adwords for your business. The main difference between the two tactics to drive traffic is that Adwords require an immediate monetary investment and while the effects are immediate they only last as long as you pay. SEO on the other hand, requires a long-term time investment, and the results have greater longevity but can take between 3 and 12 months.
Since Google’s latest update on 21 April 2015, the mobile-friendliness of a website is now indispensable for search marketing. This was the focus of Google’s presentation. Search Quality Analyst Diogo Botelho highlighted resources to help businesses get their website mobile-friendly:
Mobile, mobile, mobile
The importance of mobile was a reoccurring theme through the conference, mentioned by almost everyone. Here are some key facts:
- 80% of Twitter users are mobile
- 83% of Facebook users are mobile
- People are spending an average of 2.85 hour per day on a mobile device
- 65% of people use a smartphone while they are out shopping
Gareth Dunlop from the Digital Marketing Institute gave a talk on the future of digital marketing. Here are some of his insights:
- The digital marketers that are winning in 2015 are the ones that are the most integrated – online and offline.
- User experience so important – if the first website link a person clicks on doesn’t get them to where they want, only 50% will give you another chance and go back to the homepage and start again.
- Research, such as web analytics, is key to making decisions. Gone are the days that business decisions are made on opinion or seniority, now they are made with fact and research.
- Search is moving from indexing to understanding. For example, a user who searches ‘best hotel Belfast’ isn’t searching for the hotel that uses the word best most times on its website, they want the best hotel. Search engines are starting to understand and reflect this.
- SEO is about proving your relevance to customers by providing relevant rich content.
- Mobile marketing is not just marketing on a small screen; it’s marketing to people on the move.