It’s not often you get the chance to visit the European Headquarters of 3 of the world’s largest social media networks. So when we were invited to join Enterprise Nation’s Go Global Digital Mission to Ireland we jumped at the chance! On a very early Thursday morning last week, we joined 40 food and drink businesses on a mission over to Dublin to learn more about exporting to Ireland and using social media to raise awareness of their unique and delicious products. We wanted to find out what the latest small business advice being offered to startups and growing businesses from the likes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn was. Joining businesses including Creative Nature, Oppo Ice Cream, Jimmy’s Iced Coffee and Bluebird Tea, we headed over the water to sunny Dublin. PicMonkey-Collage First stop was Facebook, where we were taken on a fantastic tour of their partner centre, the top floor of their Dublin office. The area is dedicated to showing off some of the great work Facebook are involved in, including the initiative which aims to get the whole world online. Facebook have even built a drone which flies over Africa beaming out WIFI to hit devices they have provided. The initiative which really stood out was the work they are doing to enhance blind people’s lives. A Siri-type programme has been developed for blind users, which describes out loud what is being seen in pictures in their newsfeeds. For example “A group of females smiling with balloons”. We saw a video of the system in use which was very moving, as these users had not experienced anyone describing the pictures their friends are posting before, and meant they could suddenly be involved in conversations. Good one Facebook! Head of SMB EMEA at Facebook, Olivia Leonard then gave a huge informative talk about where Facebook see the main changes and trends are on their platforms, including Instagram and Whatsapp. Something reiterated again and again was the important move from desktop to mobile for the company, as they find 80% of UK traffic now hits their sites from mobile devices. Every new feature or app is now developed first for mobile, then desktop. They receive 400 million logins a day on mobile. Other dominant trends include video, which is going from strength to strength as they are receiving more than 4 billion video views a day on Facebook. With the purchase of virtual reality company Oculus Rift, Facebook are working on ways to enhance our lives with artificial intelligence. We saw some great example of 10-3o second long videos, including this McDonalds’ World Cup campaign. Another great example of how video content has really lifted a campaign was the St John’s Ambulance #TheChokeables campaign, which has saved 38 lives to date. Leonard encouraged the small businesses in the room to have a go with video, just by recording on their smartphones, to really enhance a story and grab a user’s attention in the newsfeed. Obviously visual content is now king on Facebook, and the memorable advice was that you have less than 3 seconds to make an impression so ensure your content is eye-catching and engaging! Another of the key takeaways from Facebook’s talk was the ability to tell a good story through your Facebook Page. “Don’t just use Facebook like a billboard,” said Leonard. Content ideas for the small businesses included:
  • Stories about characters within your business
  • The processes of creating your product
  • Information about your founder or where the idea came from
  • How you take it to market.
This content is all completely authentic and will instantly set you apart from your competitors. The tips are also designed to avoid the conversation on your Facebook Page jarring, which is very important for keeping your loyal and potential customers interested. It was also an honour to sign the famous Facebook Wall, which features in every Facebook office around the world.   12794451_1708724719369163_6282908094894837716_n We also heard about how offering a personal experience is absolutely key, through the language and images you use. We’ll be touching on this in our upcoming FREE webinar, How to Boost Your Business with Facebook Advertising, on 24th March at 1pm. Sign up here After our jam-packed experience at Facebook, we were zoomed off to Twitter where we learnt about more specific ways that Ireland use Twitter. We saw some great statistics too about how 76% of Twitter users follow brands and companies, and 1 in 5 follow a brand when making a purchase. We saw some examples from the likes of ASOS about how to use Twitter’s image collages to showcase products and build brand reputation, as well as learning about the variety of ad placements you can now purchase within the newsfeeds. Over at LinkedIn, we learnt about how “the cold call is dead” thanks to the wealth of information you can now research about your potential customers and business relationships before making contact. There are 2 billion member updates happening on the platform and 200,000 new Pulse article added every week – so members are using the platform more actively than just an online CV.  Making sure your personal profile is an accurate and credible representation of your business self is key, as we learnt in our recently free webinar on How To Create a Killer Profile. It was fantastic to hear about the latest trends and statistics from each platform, and to hear how they are advising small business. We were honoured to visit each, but the highlight for us for defintely Facebook who offered fantastic tips as well as impressing us with their brilliant new innovations. You can see some more pictures from our trip on our Facebook Page here, and take a look at the #GoGlobal hashtag for more content and learnings. A very special thank you to Enterprise Nation for a great experience! 12798832_1708724716035830_9198626400599519761_n