TikTok for Business

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 12 months (as opposed to just being stuck in your house), you’ll have have noticed the explosion of TikTok onto the Irish social media scene.

Most of us have passed Lockdown being entertained by an abundance of TikTok challanges, dances and skits – and we’ve loved it! Other social media platforms are scrambled to get in on the craze, most notably Instagram, with their version of TikTok called Reels.

But fun aside, what value can TikTok add to business and should it now form part of your social media strategy?

Your first consideration – as with any social media platform – should be ‘Is my audience on TikTok?’ If not, don’t waste your time (don’t let that stop you TikTok’ing on your own time, if that’s your vibe!).

The largest demographic of TikTok users is between the ages of 16 and 24. But don’t let that fool you into thinking TikTok is just a fad for Generation Z. Since its launch in 2018, TikTok has evolved from a video-creation app solely meant for users to express their creativity to a marketing and advertising option….because as we know, where users flock, businesses soon follow.

TikTok is different to other social media platforms in that it allows accounts to connect using video in bite-sized pieces of snappy and engaging content. TikTok allows video to be delivered exactly as it should be online.

TikTok for Business

2020 has seen an influx of politicians, celebrities, influencers and businesses turn to TikTok to try to enhance their reach and engagement. And to look cool, of course. The algorithm workings of the platform are still a bit of a mystery, but here are some tips to help your business get started:

  1. Put Your Creative Hat On

TikToks users are young and they like fun! Content should be real and light hearted. If you’re struggling to come up with original content, take part in hashtag challenges or trending dances and songs.

2. Get Started!

TikTok is not for wall flowers – dive straight in and start creating your own videos! If you’re not sure where to begin, look at what others are doing.

Videos can be 15 or 60 seconds and you can add music and effects to the finished project. You can also speed up the video, trim it and edit in real-time. And don’t forget to play around with the dozens of available filters (you’ll find all these on the menu to the right hand side).

3. Share Your Video

Before going live you can add the following to your post:

  • Type a description for your video.
  • Add hashtags.
  • @ your friends.
  • Add links.
  • Decide who can see the video.
  • Save the video to an album.

You can also choose to share your video to WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook – tik, tik, tik!

4. Advertise

Advertising is still a growing concept on TikTok, in particular for small brands. Here are some options available:

Brand takeovers: These ads appear in the user’s feed before they see any other user content. They’re linkable to the advertiser’s landing page and are exclusive to different categories. Basically, only one ad can show in that slot for the specific category per day.

Native ads: These video ads play between user content. They can be between 9 and 15 seconds long and include buttons. However, users can skip or scroll past these ads.

Sponsored hashtag challenges: Hashtag challenges are a big deal on TikTok. When there’s a new challenge on the Discover page, millions of users can see it and join in. Your business can pay to sponsor a hashtag challenge and obtain a custom banner across the Discover page. When users tap it, they’re taken to videos that your team creates explaining and demonstrating the challenge, all while promoting your brand.

Branded lenses: Design a TikTok filter related to your business. Users can select the lens when choosing a filter for their video and it’s live for 10 days. The lens is automatically included in the top 10 trending list and it comes in 2D and 3D. TikTok is currently working on an AR version.

So that’s a quick introduction to getting started on TikTok. According to Ipsos MRBI TikTok was the fasted growing social media platform in Ireland in 2020 and its dominance of the market for the younger audience seems to be here to stay…until the next big thing, at least!

For more information on helping your business to stand out online, contact karen@communicationshub.ie

Create a Digital Marketing Plan in Five Steps!

1. Conduct a Situation Analysis

Before you can start to even thing about creating a great Digital Marketing Plan you need to know what what marketing your fighting for attention in. Define your business, your product/service, your customer and, finally, your USP (Unique Selling Point). What makes you different? What need does your product/service satisfy for your customer?

When you have a good definition of your own business, have a snoop at your competitors. How are they marketing themselves? What style of content and platforms are they using? What similarities do you have with the competition – and how do you differ? This may help you see some marketing opportunities.

Finally, a SWOT is an essential first step for any Digital Marketing Plan. What are your Strengths and Weaknesses? These are generally internal factors and may be things you have a degree of control over – range of products, method of sale, staff, budget. Opportunities and Threats are external factors and usually outside our control, however, we can often use our strengths to help us navigate through them. An obvious threat right now is Covid19, but before that it was Brexit – anyone remember Brexit???

2. Define Your Target Audience

Who is your customer? Sounds easy, right?

You’d be surprised how many businesses have never taken the time to sit down and really define their customer – what age are they, where do they live, what platforms do they use, what devices, what are their socio-economic preference?

If you don’t know who your customer is, how can you possibly know how to reach and engage them?

3. Set Your Marketing Goals

Digital Marketing Plan

Digital Marketing isn’t about slapping up a post and hoping for the best. It’s SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound.

Marketing goals may include:

  • Sales of specific Products/Services/Events
  • Raising Brand Awareness
  • Increasing Newsletter Sign-ups
  • Reaching new audiences
  • Improve SEO

Once you have defined your marketing goals, you can set about achieving them through creative content, call to actions and setting your goals for measuring ROI.

4. Create & Publish

Digital Marketing Plan

This is the fun part!

Once we have defined our audience and set our marketing goals, we can start to create relevant content. Content can be created, curated or commissioned and, much like baking a cake, success is in a good mix!

The style of content should depend on your audience and the social media platform you are using. Video is content gold right now and gets up to 60% more interaction than images. Luckily, it’s never been easier to make your own, with an abundance of apps available.

Image quality is also really important online and there is no excuse for poor quality and thought out pictures in this day and age. Most smartphones have great inbuilt tools for editing, as do social media apps. If you’re looking for something a bit more high-tech though, there are hundreds of fun and easy to use apps you can download for free.

Infographics are another big hit right now and work well for businesses who need to get a lot of information across in a post. With the current online attention span at less than 8 seconds, we are more likely to engage with a graphic rather than a large paragraph of text. Again, there are plenty of free online tools to help you create an infographic masterpiece!

Next up is to publish. It’s a great idea to schedule posts online and use a content calendar to keep you on track. Creator Studio will allow you to schedule to Facebook and Instagram, and Twitter has recently allowed scheduling in-app also – although for now this is only available on desktop. You’ll need an external scheduling app, like Hootsuite, for LinkedIn.

5. Set Your Budget

Digital Marketing Plan

The key elements of any Digital Marketing Plan are people, time and money….and the first two are very often reliant on the last element.

Your online marketing just won’t work unless you fully commit to it and set aside a budget for content creation and adverts. The day for free dinners online is well and truly over, but the good news is, online dinners won’t break the bank.

Online adverts allow excellent targeting and provide very valuable analytics for businesses. They’re also generally affordable and provide a good ROI and help build brand awareness. Set a 6 month budget and analyse the results – I bet you’ll be impressed!

Karen Twomey has an M.A. in Public Relation with New Media and provides one-to-one and group training sessions in all things online. For more information, see www.communicationshub.ie

Digital Marketing Trends for 2020

Digital Marketing Trends 2020

As the clock ticked down on not only another year, but a whole decade (2020…how old are we all feeling now?!), it’s was a natural time to reflect on the year gone by and focus on what the Digital Marketing trends for 2020 might bring.

From a Digital Marketing point of view, the last ten years have been an explosion of new marketing platforms, content and technology. Social media has led the way in digital marketing strategies – with video, in the moment content and bite sized information at the fore.

The growth of Social Media Marketing is an obvious focus but an even bigger one has been the change in content structure and user engagement both online and offline.

The product has almost become secondary. The customer should now be the focus point of marketing campaigns. In a world where as consumers we are swamped with advertisements, the need for marketing content to connect emotionally is now an essential marketing objective and KPI.

Generic content no longer works. People engage with people. It has to be real.

Digital Marketing Trends 2020

So, enough reflection. What changes might the next decade bring to how we market ourselves as organisations?

Here are my top 5 trends for 2020!

1. SHOPPABLE POSTS

The growth of e-commerce websites and more secure online payment systems has seen online shopping go from strength to strength over the last few years. A report by IBIS World forecasts that over the next few years years revenue from online sales will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 11.2 per cent to €3.8 billion in 2024. It’s not surprising then to see Social Media Platforms falling over themselves to introduce more efficient online shopping options. This is an area that will continue to grow in 2020 offering an easier shop linking system to the seller and a more interactive seamless shopping experience for the buyer. Win/Win.

2. VOICE SEARCH

Hello, Is it me you’re looking for? Anyone else have an Alexa who is slowly becoming your go-to for answers in all things entertaining and factual? It is estimated that in 2020, 50% of all searches will be voice searches. That makes voice search one of the biggest online marketing trends of 2020, meaning it can no longer be ignored by digital marketers! There are a lot of things you can do to optimise your site for voice search, but the most important change involves using long tail keywords like “how to stop eating selection boxes now Christmas is over” instead of a shorter keyword like “selection boxes” Seriously, I’d like to know…asking for a friend, like…

3. IMMERSIVE TECHNOLOGIES

It is predicted that Augmented Reality will outpace Virtual Reality in 2020 and by 2021, VR won’t be able to catch up. AR is already being used by major companies like IKEA, whose app allows customers to see what a piece of furniture would look like in their space before purchasing. Turns out that over sized faux-zebra print throw is a little bit OTT…damn, I hate it when my husband is right.

4. SOCIAL MESSAGING APPS

Messaging apps have experienced a huge growth over the last year or two with the likes of Facebook Messenger really investing in developing the app to grow its use for business. The last IPSOS MRBI Social Media Messaging Stats (June 2019) found that 74% of the Irish population now had WhatsApp accounts, with 59% having Facebook Messanger accounts. Social messaging works because consumers want convenience and interactive experiences. Linking booking forms, shops, etc. to social media accounts offers this, while the integration of a messaging service is the cherry on top!

5. INTERACTIVE CONTENT

See above…consumers are lazy. The more we can spoon-feed them, the better! A recent survey found that 91% of buyers are looking for more interactive content online and in 2020, content marketers will shift their focus to give the people what they want – Shoppable posts, AR/VR, 360-degree video, quizzes, and polls.


All in all, the current trend towards real and ‘in the moment’ content will continue to gain momentum in 2020 making the new decade a slippery slope in terms of digital marketing for those organisations who don’t move with the times.

It’s now essential to have a strong customer focused online presence, no matter what type of organisation you are. More time should be spent thinking about the buyer journey and creating content that compliments that trip. Make sure your customers make it to their destination point following your map. After all, the only impossible journey is the one you never begin…

Digital Marketing Trends 2020

Communications Hub provide one-to-one and group training sessions in all things online including social media marketing, content marketing and search engine optimisation. For more information contact us!

The Rising Star of Instagram!

See that bright glistening star shooting across the social media sphere?  It’s Instagram…

Shooting Star

The rise of Instagram has continued at a rapid pace in 2019 and with no signs of slowing down, it’s becoming the latest ‘go to’ social media platform for business and personal use alike.

In fact, without a doubt, Instagram is now the most popular topic in the social media training classes I run.

Businesses are flocking to get established on the platform and the weird and wonderful world of Insta stories, hashtags and moving emojis is becoming more and more mainstream for many SMEs.

Even Influencer Marketing is starting to make an appearance in the Insta marketing of many small businesses, as they begin to appreciate the ready-made markets these ‘bloggers’ can bring to their brands.

According to the latest IpsosMRBI statistics, 41% of the Irish population now have Instagram accounts – an increase of 4% since December 2018.  Of those  accounts, 65% of users log on daily, bringing it neck in neck with Facebook in terms of daily usage – no mean feat!

So, what is it about Instagram that is so attractive to users?

  1. Its visually driven appeal offers an escape from so much of the clutter and noise of other social media platforms.
  2. It,s not (yet) as advert driven as Facebook, allowing for a more seamless user experience.
  3. It feeds into the popularity of video advertising and storytelling marketing.
  4. It’s fun!

Instagram

So if your business is burying its head in an Insta-sandpit, it’s definitely time to shake it free and get yourself set up!  Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform in Ireland (and around the world), with no sign of slowing down.

And, as we all know – where customers gather, businesses quickly follow!

#GetYourInstaOn

Instagram

Karen Twomey of COMMUNICATIONS HUB specialises in Digital Marketing Training, Social Media Training and Online Management for Business.  For more information contact her on karen@communicationshub.ie

 

Social Media Stats Ireland 2019

Ipsos MRBI recently released their most up-to-date social media stats for Ireland and there were very few surprises.

Social Media Stats Ireland

Instagram has continued its enormous growth with 41% of the Irish population now having accounts – an increase of 4% since December 2018.  Of those who have accounts, 65% use it daily, bringing it neck in neck with Facebook in terms of daily usage.

Facebook has remained at a steady 62% in relation to account ownership in Ireland.  This is the same percentage as back in December.  We mustn’t forget that Facebook ownership is probably at a saturated level, so it’s no big surprise that it generally doesn’t see any significant changes.  Of those who have accounts, 65% use it daily, a 1% decrease since the last statistics.

LinkedIn fell by 2% bringing it in line with Twitter account ownership, which saw a 1% growth in users.  Twitter experienced an enormous growth in daily usership of 5% over the same period, bringing it up to 40%.

A new arrival on the on the Ipsos MRBI Irish social media stats is TikTok which has been measured at only 2% account ownership, however those who have accounts are very active with 33% using it daily.

Social Media Stats Ireland

In terms of social media messaging services, WhatsApp remains the most popular choice of download, closely followed by Facebook Messenger which saw a 3% growth in users over the last 6 months.

The losers of the world of social media messaging continue to be Viber, down 3% since December, and Tinder and Snapchat, which have remained stagnant over the six month period.

Social Media Stats Ireland

All in all, the trends of the last twelve months seem to be continuing among social media users in Ireland.  Facebook remains the most popular and most used social media platform, while Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform in the country and is sure to catch up to Facebook in terms of account ownership figures in the near future.

The future is social – make sure your business is!

Karen Twomey of COMMUNICATIONS HUB specialises in Digital Marketing Training, Social Media Training and Online Management for Business.  For more information contact her on karen@communicationshub.ie 

Digital Marketing Courses Cork

It’s that time of the year again when the shadow of those long winter nights is starting to loom.  It’s no coincidence that autumn is the busiest time for night courses – it’s a great time of the year to refocus and take up a new challenge after enjoying all those lazy sunny evenings (ish!).

Digital Marketing Courses Cork

August is always a busy time for me, putting together courses and fielding queries.  This year, there’s enormous demand for upskilling in the area of Digital Marketing and Social Media and I’ll be running numerous courses throughout the autumn.  There are courses to suit all levels of skill and of varying length, depending on the final qualification – internal certification, QQI L5, Diploma.
For ease of reference I’ve included a list of the confirmed Digital Marketing courses below.  There will be new courses added over the coming weeks, so keep an eye on our website!
If the commitment of a night course is too much for you right now but you’d still like to improve your digital marketing and social media skills, we offer one-to-one tailor made sessions and workshops.  Contact Communications Hub for more information!

Digital Marketing Courses for Autumn 2019

  • 4-week Social Media for Business Course running with IRD Duhallow starting in September:
  • 10 week QQI L5 Digital Marketing Course in Mallow College:
  • 10 week course in Cork Training Centre, Bishopstown:
If you need any more information on the above, please don’t hesitate to contact us! Email: karen@communicationshub.ie
Digital Marketing Training

COMMUNICATIONS HUB specialise in Digital Marketing Training, Social Media Training and Online Management for Business. 

Why YouTube?

Does your business have a YouTube channel?  If not, here’s a few good reasons why you should!

Over 77% of the population use YouTube every week – so whether you know it or not, you’re probably a regular user of the platform too!

YouTube was established in 2005 and has grown from strength to strength over the years – much helped, of course, by the explosion of video as a content marketing strategy.  It is now the world’s second largest search engine (after Google) and the second most visited site after Facebook.

The average YouTube user spends an unbelievable 21 minutes per browsing session – compare this to Facebook at 11 minutes, Instagram at 6 and eBay at 6! (Similarweb.com 2019).

YouTube

 

In fact, over one billion hours of videos are now watched on YouTube every day with 1.9 billion monthly active logged-in users.  Of those 75% report watching YouTube on their mobile devices (Hubspot 2019) – a fact that should be kept in mind when designing YouTube content and adverts.

Useless Fact

The most watched video on YouTube is Despacito by Luis Fonsi.  Gangnam Style was the first you-tube video to be watched over a billion times.  It took five months to hit 1 billion views – in comparison to Despacito which took just over 97 days!

YouTube

Moving swiftly on…

YouTube ads can be In-Stream, In-Search and In-Display and research has found that they are 84% more likely to hold attention than TV ads.  After all, who watches live TV anymore!

YouTube ads can be especially good for building brand awareness, influencing behaviour and driving customers to your website…and who doesn’t want more customers, right?!

Of course, I can’t write a blog on YouTube without mentioning the important fact that it’s owned by Google and rates very highly in terms of SEO and SERP.  Couple that with the fact that video gets up to 60% more interaction than images online and it makes Youtube a no brainer for any digital marketing strategy!

I bet you’ve been singing this in your head since I mentioned it, right?  Here you go…

#YouTube #DigitalMarketing #VideoMarketing

Karen Twomey MA BSc is a freelance Digital Marketing Consultant and delivers a part-time QQI L5 Digital Marketing course in Mallow College of Further Education and a Digital Marketing Institute Professional Diploma in Cork Training Centre.  She also provides bespoke one-to-one and group training sessions.  For more information contact karen@communicationshub.ie

Time for a Night Class?

The best thing about teaching, is the money…joke! (That’s possibly the worst part).

Communications Hub

As we finished up another run of Digital Marketing night classes last night, I began to reflect on the drive home what delivering these courses means to me.  It is January after all, and a great time to reflect!

I’ve been involved in delivering adult education for over two years now and in that time I’ve evolved so much myself in terms of my knowledge, my experience and, mostly, my confidence.  I can now say, hand on heart, that I love teaching and the best part of teaching, is the great people I get to meet along the way.

Teaching adults is, I imagine, very different to teaching children.  My students rarely throw tantrums, hardly every fight during break and I’ve yet to have an irate parent accost me in the carpark.  All and all, they’re pretty nice people.  I  tend to like them.

Communications HubSome are employees, others self-employed, some are unemployed and more are just out of college.  Whatever their status, all of them are there to upskill and learn something new to help them along their journey.

That thirst for knowledge is the common denominator that binds them.  I watch them over the course of the semester as they develop friendships, support each other and engage in general banter, and it’s such as positive transition.

You can never underestimate how hard it is for an adult to return to education.  So many haven’t been in a classroom setting for years.  So many never finished school first time around.  For others English isn’t even their first language.

I know, I too returned to college as an adult.  My previous career had run off with that mythical creature, the Celtic tiger, and left me abandoned at a crossroads.  I desperately needed to upskill and move forward onto a new career path.

Communications HubWhile pouring over college courses one Friday night (there may also have been some pouring of wine involved), I stumbled on a course that stirred something in me.  On a whim, I enrolled, and before I knew what I was doing I was walking back into Cork Institute of Technology for the first time since I had originally left it in 1998.  I’m glad to say both it and I had changed enormously, and for the better, in the elapsed 17 years.

But this isn’t a blog about me and my story in adult education.  I only mention it to reiterate how returning to education and learning a new skill changed my life.  It changed everything about me.  It awakened my brain, gave me a new outlook on life and gave me back some of the confidence and self-belief that I had lost along the way.

You will never regret the things you’ve learned – the knowledge, the skills – you will only regret the opportunities you didn’t take to help yourself along your journey.  Nobody is ever too old to return to education.  You are never too ‘stupid’ to learn something new.  You are never too ‘out of touch’ to embrace a new skill.

There may never be a right time to take up a class.  There will only ever be now, today.  Make the decision and you’ll make it work.  What’s the worst that can happen?

Communications Hub

Karen Twomey MA BSc is a freelance Digital Marketing Consultant and delivers a part-time QQI L5 Digital Marketing course in Mallow College of Further Education and a Digital Marketing Institute Professional Diploma in Cork Training Centre.  She also provides bespoke one-to-one and group training sessions.  For more information you can contact her on karen@communicationshub.ie or see her website.

 

 

 

Digital Marketing in 2019

It would be rude of me to start the first blog of 2019 without wishing you all a very Happy New Year!

Well here we are, on the 12 month countdown to 2020!  Maybe it’s just me, but it’s hard to believe we are almost 20 years into the new millennium.  So much has changed in terms of technology and communication and with it, society as a whole has also changed.

It would be nice to see those changes as ‘advancements’ and ‘enhancements’ to how we live and do business, but in truth the huge growth in technology has been a double-edged sword in many ways.  However, that’s a blog for another day and this blog is all about positivity for the year ahead!

The last few years have seen huge changes in how we do business and, in particular, how we market ourselves and communicate with our stakeholders.  Most businesses have embraced the online world in at least some way, be it a website, social media platform or email marketing.

Not every business is necessarily comfortable with being online, but they are savvy enough to understand that the wheel keeps turning and you have to roll with it.  After all, if you’re not moving forward…

Digital Marketing

For me, 2018 was a major year of change in how businesses went about their digital marketing and social media marketing.  It was the year that businesses started to understand that the best way to showcase online was by showing some personality.

Marketing is no longer about just selling goods and services, it’s about storytelling.

It’s about showing who you are and what’s important to you.  It’s about relationship building, and the only way to for a business to do that is to take responsibility for their online presence.

It’s not enough to just pay someone in-house or otherwise to ‘do your social’.  It has to be about more than that.  There has to be joined up thinking and contributions to what forms your online marketing plan.  The best social media content is when it’s real and authentic and, to achieve that, everybody in an organisation needs to be on board.

So, last year saw me delivering a huge amount of Digital Marketing training sessions all over the country to all different types of industries.  All of the businesses attending these sessions wanted to get a better understanding of how to manage their brands online.

They understood the importance of taking some control to help grow their business’ online presence.

Digital Marketing

We covered everything from Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Blogging, Organic SEO, Paid SEO, Email Marketing to the basics of content creation including picture and video editing, keywords and hashtags!  And they weren’t the only ones learning – along the way, I was too.

That’s the interesting thing about Digital Marketing – there’s no such thing as an expert.  It’s a constantly changing and evolving field of study and, in truth, it moves so fast that we’re always playing catch up.  

So, whatever your goals for 2019 might be, do yourself and your business a favour and get yourself online!  Do a course, do some YouTubing – just do something to improve your Digital Marketing skills!  I promise it will be worth it!

Digital Marketing

Karen Twomey is a Digital Marketing Consultant with Communications Hub  and specialises in providing Digital Marketing and Social Media Training for businesses.  For further information Tel: 087 7642576 or email: Karen@communicationshub.ie

 

Certificate in Digital Marketing for 2019?

New Year, New Skills?

The Certificate in Digital Marketing QQI L5 will kick off again  for 2019 on 28th January at Mallow Night School, which is part of Mallow College of Further Education.

The course runs on Monday nights from 6.30 to 9.30 for 12 weeks and includes digital marketing modules on:

  • Social Media for Business – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram & Snapchat
  • WordPress & Blogging
  • Creating Online Marketing Schedules
  • Creating text, photo and video content
  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Google Analytics
  • Email Marketing Campaigns

The focus of the Certificate in Digital Marketing is to gain a sound knowledge of digital marketing for business and organisational use and learn some practical take-home skills to help you improve your marketing and communications online, as well as integrating digital marketing strategies with traditional marketing methods.

For further information on the course or to sign up online and receive a discount on fees, see NightSchool.ie

Digital Marketing

 

 

 

 

 

 

#Digitalmarketing  #NightClasses