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How social media can help your business stay ahead of the curve

To reap the benefits of being a first mover, and enjoy the added push that the social media platforms give when you use one of their new tools, you must continuously be updating your strategy, says Maryrose Lyons, Digital Marketing Strategist at Brightspark Consulting.

For those looking to grow their B2C business, here are two tips for social media for business owners who want to adapt and catch the next wave of social media.

  1. If you haven’t already done so, switch your B2C social media to be Instagram led.

    If you’re operating in the B2C space and your Facebook presence is strongest, then now is the time to make the switch and let Instagram become the lead.

    • Instagram has 1 billion monthly active users1
    • 63% of Americans use Instagram daily
    • The average Instagram user is on for 53 minutes per day

    In Ireland, there has been a steady decline in Facebook activity as more and more people switch to Instagram. Initially it was the 25-34 age group, closely followed by 18-24 year olds who came in from Snapchat, but now the usage of Instagram has moved upwards and is regularly used by people in their 40’s and 50’s.2 The important thing to note is that, in Ireland, Instagram and Facebook usage are neck and neck. I predict that Instagram will overtake Facebook in 2021, so now is the time for savvy business owners to switch focus.

    The big difference between Instagram and Facebook is that businesses are welcome there. Because Facebook existed first as a peer-to-peer network, and the brands and businesses came afterwards, they were never welcome, especially when they used ads to insert their way into our feeds. Instagram, on the other hand, has always welcomed brands. 200 million people visit business pages on Instagram every day. A third of the most popular Stories are from businesses. 85% of Instagram users follow brands.1

    Engagement on Facebook has dropped off and since 2014 has been pay to play. This means that your posts are only really going to be seen by your audience if you promote them using Facebook ads. Instagram isn’t quite there, so there is a real possibility that your posts will be seen by your audience without the need to pay.

    It can be challenging to switch from a Facebook style of posting - links, images, videos, to a visually strong style as dictated by Instagram. However life is a little easier on Instagram because you only really need to produce two or three images or videos for the feed per week - as opposed to daily updates for Facebook. It is still a good idea to post daily on Instagram, but you can hit your total by sharing Stories, which are fun snippets of 15 second video content, or images, that have considerably less production quality values than newsfeed content.

    However please don’t ignore your Facebook audience on my account! You can still post supplementary content there. For example, if you focus on a series of sleep and bed related Instagram posts during the week, you should then tailor the content by sharing articles and tips for better sleep on Facebook.

    If you follow my advice and make the leap to Instagram, you will be very pleasantly surprised at the levels of engagement there. At the beginning, you need to grow your audience. Once you have a few hundred followers, switch your focus to tracking engagement rate per post. Have fun with Stories. There are so many ways to make your content fly without even so much as a decent image e.g. by using stickers. You have no excuse but to post regular content.

    1. If you are already rocking Instagram, now’s the time to introduce a little TikTok to your world!

    A lot has been written about TikTok this past while. I’m in love with TikTok because it is that something different we’ve all been waiting for.

    From an algorithmic point of view, TikTok is entirely different because its famous “for you” feed is based purely on your content choices and shows you more of what you have indicated you like. That’s not how the other social networks operate. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. have algorithms that show you content that your connections like.

    Up to now, that has worked out for them, and for us. Generally, you’d expect to have similar tastes and interests to your friends, so the kind of videos and images we see that make us laugh or make us share are ones that are liked by the group.

    What we’re finding at Brightspark Consulting as we work with our clients on getting them stronger on Instagram, is that some of the top funnel content we produce for Instagram would work equally well on TikTok. We are beginning to see a few brands take baby steps into the world of TikTok. The influencers are already there, with millions emerging. YouTubers and Instagrammers are battling it out in the latest plains of the Gold Rush.

    If you’re a savvy SME business owner reading this and are operating in the B2C space, give your team a little push and challenge them to post one or two Stories style pieces in TikTok this year. Now is a good time to set up an account, and to claim your presence. You won’t be asked to splash the cash just yet, but that time will come as TikTok recently launched a brand new advertising platform.

    For those of you looking to explore social media and other digital options to help your business through the Covid crisis, InterTradeIreland’s E-Merge programme also provides £2500/€2800 fully funded consultancy support to help businesses develop online sales and eCommerce solutions. Maryrose Lyons is an E-Merge Consultant and can provide assistance.

    The online world is full of opportunities for your business - so act now!



    1 Data taken from https://www.omnicoreagency.com/instagram-statistics/

    2 Data taken from https://sproutsocial.com/insights/new-social-media-demographics/#IG-demos

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