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. 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 Internet.org 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.