TWO of Donegal’s leading social media figures have been advising businesses on how to use online platforms to enhance their business.
As part of Local Enterprise Week, a Digital Marketing Expo was held in the Clanree Hotel in Letterkenny. The event aimed at presenting idea-provoking panelists, engaging presentations and networking opportunities that will help small businesses optimise the opportunities to grow their business online.
Among the guest speakers was Instragrammer and TikTok star Eric Roberts.
Eric fell into the world of content creation during lockdown and was sucked into the TikTok craze but now has over half a million followers and 21 million likes.
Speaking after the event, Eric said he hoped his presentation showed how beneficial online platforms can be to grow businesses.
“I have been working with brands for the last couple of years and I was able to give an insight into my point of view as an influencer and about how brands use influencers to create content and increase engagement.
“I just shared my experiences and gave some advice to brands that aren’t really in that social media realm and how they can go about it.
“The sooner businesses start, the better it is because if you are not creating content online now, you are going to fall behind,” said Eric.
Eric believes that in order to future-proof a business, it is essential to be online and creating engaging content.
He said it was encouraging to see so many interested businesses turn out at the conference.
“Donegal as a whole, we have always been late to trends but it is good to see businesses with an open mind getting involved in social media.
“A lot of businesses up here would not have social media strategies or someone to run their social media accounts on their payroll but that is so important now.
“It is slowly coming into play where brands are realising the importance of an online presence because in five or six years time, if you are not a business or a brand that has a personality online and creating content, you will just not exist essentially.
“That is just how important it is,” said Eric.
Eric said Donegal is full of traditional businesses which have been around for decades and haven’t had a problem with longevity and word of mouth. But ‘the game is changing’.
“To come into the 21st century, you have to be on all these platforms to resonate with the younger generations that are coming through.
“There are shops that our parents have shopped in but if we want the children to carry on with that tradition, they will have to step up and creating content is the way to do that.
“It is never too late to get involved either. Once you get the ball rolling and get into social media you will realise how simple it is and not as big a mountain to climb as some people believe it to be.
“The best advice I can give is to honest with yourself, your consumer and your audience when creating content,” said Eric.
After lunch ETB Tutor, Fashion Stylist and Social Media Influencer Emma Murray took to the stage to talk all things digital trends.
Emma educated the businesses on why video is king across all content, how you can cross promote via Instagram reels and Tik Tok and how to create high value content that converts.
According to Emma, the digital trends that are worth taking note of for 2023 are customer experience, short video content, user generated content, quality over quantity and most importantly being human.
Emma told the audience that ignoring online marketing is like opening a business and not telling anyone.
“As much as we maybe don’t like social media or as much as you deter away from it, it is hard to get away from it in today’s society.
“It is one of those things that you do need to keep on top of or unfortunately you will get left behind,” she said.
Short video content grabs the consumer’s attention for longer which results in the consumer having longer to make an impression on the business.
Emma said short video content is very beneficial for businesses.
“We are all scrolling on our phones so fast, we want information really quickly and we don’t have time to be reading long paragraphs. Video is your opportunity to create really visual content,” she said.
User generate content was also discussed as Emma explained how customers sometimes creates content businesses can then use on their social media.
“This could be as simple as a review or maybe they talked about your business in a positive way, anything along those lines you can use as content for your business.
“Consumers trust other consumers so it is one of the best ways to build trust within your business as well,” she said.
Lastly, influencer marketing was discussed.
Influencer marketing is a huge industry reaching a total of $16.4 billion in 2022, a number that will only grow as more people come on board.
However, Emma discussed the importance of making sure you trust the ‘right’ influencer.
“It is really important you chose the right influencer, you don’t just go with who has the highest following, make sure you are looking at their metrics,” she warned.
Overall the businesses in attendance took away plenty of beneficial tips and tricks from the workshop.
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