Social media adoption figures have sky rocketed in Ireland in the last few years. The Irish market has shown an engagement with social networks that is among the highest in Europe. We are the 4th heaviest users of social media in the EU, the 2nd highest users of Linkedin after the USA, and 1 of every 5 minutes we spend online is spent on social networks.
In contrast Irish businesses have been relatively slow to adopt social media as a tool to engage with this very active online audience and to leverage it effectively for commercial return.
We have spoken before about the value of social media for building brand awareness online. Implementing a social media strategy for business takes an investment of time and resources. To maximize the return on this investment, it is vital that businesses understand and select the right social media fit for their brand and design content that suits the activity typical of each individual network and their brands relevant target audience. Selecting the right type of social network for your brand requires a number of considerations.
Which social networks suit your brand?
With so many social networks available it is important to pick the type that best fits with your brand image/personality/values etc., your product type, and that has the highest propensity of target market users. Remember, different social networks serve different purposes and target different markets.
- For consumer brands operating in Ireland the focus must include Facebook. In both Ireland and worldwide Facebook continues to dominate where consumers spend their time online. It is still a less relevant platform though for B2B interaction compared to other options available.
- Twitter should also be considered. Penetration numbers with Irish audiences mean that members of your target audience can be found in that space too but engagement style is quite different to Facebook. Twitter is also a very valuable B2B platform, again depending on your target audience.
- YouTube is the second largest social media site after Facebook and the second largest search engine after Google making it one of the hottest social media platforms. It’s an ideal platform B2B or B2C to expand your content marketing and grow your brand awareness, when used appropriately. It also brings your brand alive in a more personal way, in terms of getting a sense of your brand personality.
- Linkedin is the professional social media network and very business orientated. With 591,000 Irish users it is a must for any professionally orientated brand serving a B2B market. This audience is typically older, educated and has higher incomes. Three quarters of Linkedin members have a college or university degree. Two thirds are over thirty-five and seven out of ten earn over $60k/€50k.
- Pinterest is a more recent social media platform to show significant and very rapid growth globally as well as in Ireland and has passed out Twitter in the US in term of frequency of online activity. It should definitely be considered by brands that have compelling visual content; particularly if they also sell consumer products relating to food, the home, arts & crafts, style & fashion, vacations & travel, inspiration & education etc. It has a very strong female usage bias in the US but is more equally balanced between the genders in the UK.
- Google+ is growing at an increasingly fast rate, particularly among males in the 25 – 35 age. It has increased its audience share in Ireland by 13% since the beginning of the year and this looks set to continue.
Where are your brands target customers?
Pick the appropriate social network that contains the maximum number of your brands target audience.
With over 2,093,900 Facebook users in Ireland, 68.5% of the population, it is safe to say that Facebook should be a focus for any consumer brands looking to increase target awareness online, particularly within the Irish market. The same applies with Twitter, who have over 180,000 Irish members and growing daily.
Facebook is more popular among Irish females and the average age of a Facebook user is 30.5 years. While the highest portion of Facebook users are in the 15-35 age bracket, the 55+ is growing at the highest rate.
Why do they use social media and when are they most active?
Depending on your audience type and relevant platform, they are largely using social media for their personal entertainment. However professional platforms like Linkedin are business orientated and used for multiple professionally related reasons e.g. information sources/sharing, building professional profiles and brand awareness, networking and recruitment etc.
This is important to remember when exploring how best to target your online customers. No social demographic wants to read content that is entirely promotional or irrelevant to their interests. All media strives to produce interesting, entertaining, and compelling content and social media should be exactly the same.
Understanding what your target audience is doing online makes it easier to target them with messages that catch their attention and stimulate interaction. Entertaining content typically gets most attention and is usually the most widely shared.
Latest figures from American markets show a growing trend amongst audiences to use social networks, particularly Facebook and Youtube, while watching television and sporting events. Audiences are looking to interact and share their experience in real time.
On the other hand Linkedin often hits peak use at lunchtime in the US through to the afternoon for viewing public profiles, while engaging from their desks, and mobile usage peaks after dinner in the evening as users think about their personal/business goals etc.
It is important for marketers to become skilled in engaging in conversations about hot topics in order to generate relevant customer interest online. Brands who join in conversations and do not simply try to self promote typically create far more valuable interactions with their online audience.
What content will resonate with your audience?
Monitoring the online conversations of target audiences can provide valuable insight into the type of information that engages brand/customer interactions most.
Compelling Content is Key
When it comes to content for social networks it is not one fit for all. Each social network will have unique audience interactions requiring its own brand strategy. Tone, content type, and audience demographic vary between networks. Brands who push the same content on all their social media profiles are wasting a valuable opportunity to increase target awareness.
Posts should be tailored to the fit each individual social network. If your brand uses Facebook to promote sales and promotions then consider using Twitter as a customer services tool. Like any marketing campaign it is important to gage reactions and adjust your social media campaign accordingly.
• Does your brand have a social media strategy?
• Is your brand active in a social network that maximizes target audience reach?
• Can we help you to tailor your online activity to maximize your ROI in social media marketing?