Our second DICE Conference took place on the 14th of February. It was quite ironic, if you ask me, given that the title of this event was ‘Get Social’, yet we sat in a darkened hall for the duration of four hours on Valentine’s Day. A very romantic, social setting indeed. The aim of this “Get Social” conference was to enforce the importance of social media in the world of business and entrepreneurship. A variety of marketing and social media experts offered us the chance to comprehend the benefits of integrating social media into one’s business in the short and long run. Speakers included:
- Paul Hayes, CEO of Beachhut PR
- Matthew Weil, Head of Product @ VoiceSage
- Anne Marie Boyhan, Head of Social @ Bank of Ireland
- Aisling Tobin, Brand Manager @ Jameson
- Hugh Curran, Digital Transformation Consultant
- Paul Berney, Managing Director @ mCordis
- Eric Weaver, Vice President of Communication & Marketing Solutions @ Xerox
Paul Hayes, Beachhut PR
Hayes kicked off the conference with a strong underlying message: that one must talk about their impact on the world, as opposed to themselves or their company on social media. Nobody cares about your new business, its accomplishments along the way, or your stream of tweets on how great it is. What people care about is how it affects them, their friends and family.
This is a fair point, as I believe that in today’s age we are increasingly less open to focusing our attention to other people or self-centered social media posts by both fellow users and businesses unless we can benefit from it in any way.
“Don’t tell them you’re great, show them you’re great and they’ll appreciate you more.”
This is a quote that is not only applicable to the topic at hand, but, in my opinion, to life as a whole.
Another idea that was discussed was the concept that one should not talk about where their technology is now, at present, but instead, talk about where it came from and outline where it’s going to go.
An integral characteristic of the entrepreneur is their ability to take risks and be willing to make mistakes, fail, get up and try again. One must persist with their product or company and not allow themselves to be defeated in the face of consumers, particularly in the area of social media – a core element of today’s business environment.
A phrase that stuck with me from Paul Hayes’ speech in relation to startup companies is that it’s not necessarily about whether you can do it, it’s about whether you can survive.
With more and more new companies making themselves known in today’s commercial climate, a forward-looking, engaging and constantly flourishing social media platform is key to their success and survival.
Matthew Weil, Head of Product @ VoiceSage
To start off, Weil addressed the fact that in a constantly evolving commercial platform, businesses find it increasingly difficult to engage with consumers on a personal level. He outlined the fact that in the past, one would utilise their local shop and the business would be familiar with them and their family.
As technology and commercial advancements became more prominent, consumers had more and more of a choice when it came to choosing a business to engage with. Despite this being a positive situation for the consumer, it is not as favourable for a business trying to compete and attract the attention of their target market.
Even I, scrolling through my social media feeds, tend to overlook advertisements from the vast range of businesses all battling for my attention, therefore I have a strong understanding of the message that Weil is trying to put across.
“To truly engage customers for whom “push” advertising is increasingly irrelevant, companies must do more outside the confines of the traditional marketing organization.” (French, LaBerge, and Magill, 2011)
Three social media platforms were discussed by Weil:
From my seat at the very back of the conference hall, I pictured question marks popping up over each person’s head at the mention of ‘Weibo.’ Or perhaps that’s just me making myself feel better for never having heard of this social media platform before.
The infamous Facebook and Twitter need not be discussed in detail as the mere mention of them springs to mind a multitude of thoughts and bits of knowledge. Weibo, on the other hand, I have come to learn, is the Chinese version of Facebook and Twitter combined together – all stemming on a business oriented ecosystem. The reason for this separate entity to the western world is due to the Chinese Government not wanting alternative political views or Governments intruding with the countries own ways. I found this quite fascinating yet also quite frightening as it highlights the power that Governments have over us, in shaping the news and thoughts that they want their people to absorb and be exposed to.
Anne Marie Boyhan, Head of Social @ Bank of Ireland
Anne Marie Boyhan immediately grabbed our attention by showing us an a video of Bank of Ireland’s status in relation to their marketing strategies and outlining their various strengths and achievements. With almost 50,000 followers on Facebook, 31,000 followers on Twitter and 7 million views on YouTube, Bank of Ireland claims that they will be the most digitally connected financial services company in Ireland by 2020. A quote that stuck out to me from this video is;
“We don’t have a choice on whether we DO social media, the question is how well we do it…”
This is a vital message in today’s commercial climate as a business without a social media platform is destined to fail. It has become such an integral part of our everyday lives to the extent where the phrase ‘if you’re not online, you don’t exist’ proves true.
Snapchat is another element that Bank of Ireland have integrated into their social media presence and are hoping to interact with their younger audience on a much larger scale as a result.
Along with their strong grasp on their social media, they are also doing quite well on the advertising side of things – an equally important element of a company’s success. In early September 2016 Bank of Ireland’s ‘Mortgage Saver’ Advertisement won Ad of the Week on AdWorld.ie. The humorous advertisement, link included below, “provides a fresh approach to one of the most emotional and important decisions that people make in their lives.” (AdWorld.ie, 2016)
Aisling Tobin, Brand Manager @ Jameson
One of my favourite presentations from the ‘Get Social’ conference was Aisling Tobin’s. The video that was shown to us at the beginning aimed to inform us of the brand’s concept as a whole. “’Sine Metu’ meaning ‘Without Fear’ is the Jameson family motto, awarded for their bravery in battling pirates back in the 1500s.” (Blog.whiskeydisks.com, 2012).
The Jameson family motto is one that holds meaning to people throughout the world, with many getting tattoos of this saying, much like infamous phrases such as ‘Carpe diem’, etc. I could feel the history of the brand embedded throughout its design, aesthetic and product as a whole, something that I greatly appreciated.
The fact that Jameson is, after all, an alcoholic beverage, means that they are under strict regulation when it comes to advertising. Although this could understandably hold back the brand in regards to the way in which it can portray their product, with a boastful 3 million facebook followers, it is most certain that they have adopted efficient ways of engaging with their target market regardless of any obstacles that may face them. The artistic and creative nature of the most recent Jameson adverts appeals to me immensely. I have included one below in order for you to see if you agree with me yourself!
Creativity embedded throughout is evident in this video.
Jameson’s target market is referred to as LADS; laid back appreciators and down to earth socials. Despite Tobin emphasizing that this name given to its target consumers is not gender oriented, I found it quite amusing to find that the following slides all included images of actual ‘lads’ enjoying the Jameson beverage, not a woman to be seen in sight.
“Get involved but be true to your brand”
Hugh Curran, Digital Transformation Consultant
After a cheeky selfie with the crowd, Curran outlines that he will be speaking to us about content in relation to social media.
An unappetizing sandwich post by a large (unnamed) company was presented to us on screen, followed by a stream of criticism from Curran. A similar enough product then followed, this time from a much smaller company and the picture was visibly taken with more thought and consideration, making it look a whole lot more appetizing. The purpose of this was to demonstrate the power that a good vs. bad quality picture can have to shape our desire for a particular product.
“It’s not just about how big your company is, it’s about your priorities”
This statement, relating to the example above, outlines that monetary possession is not necessarily the most important aspect of advertising correctly and efficiently for a business. The smaller business above executed the task much better on a much lower budget compared to the larger business, and this was all up on social media for consumers to view and judge.
“With this rise in social media, it appears that corporate communication has been democratized. The power has been taken from those in marketing and public relations by the individuals and communities that create, share, and consume blogs, tweets, Facebook entries, movies, pictures, and so forth.” (Kietzmann et al., 2011).
Regardless of how big or small the company is, consumers nowadays play a significant role in the advertising of a business or product through the widespread availability of voicing and posting praise and complaints online.
Six summarized tips on dealing with your social media efficiently according to Curran:
- Plan your content: Create your content according to events such as sports games, etc. as long as it’s relevant.
- Create your content: Don’t just steal from Google images! This was a very good point to make as even I have found that companies have started to post unoriginal memes on their social media that have no relation to their product whatsoever. Personalisation can go a long way and can really make a business stand out, as opposed to blending in with the crowd.
- Manage your content: Use apps or plan your posts in such a way that you have an objective set out for posting on social media.
- Manage your community: Respond to complaints or queries online, interact with your consumers by liking and retweeting posts that have positive connotations to your product.
- Hire professionals to manage your social media: “Leave the kids alone!” It is important to have an experienced person working with your company’s social media that can be held responsible for any mishaps.
- Be Secure: Employees that end up leaving the company should be removed from social media administration and passwords should be changed regularly to avoid unwanted posts going up from ex-employees.
Overall, it proved to be a successful conference that I genuinely thoroughly enjoyed. As an aspiring entrepreneur myself, I feel that I have gained a great amount of insight into the life and mind of an entrepreneur from our first DICE conference, and now I have added to that knowledge as a result of the ‘Get Social’ event. I am now eagerly anticipating the upcoming and, sadly, last DICE Conference of the year!
- blog.whiskeydisks.com (2012). Jameson Irish Whiskey. [online] Available at: http://blog.whiskeydisks.com/jameson-the-man-and-his-whiskey/ [Accessed 28 Feb. 2017].
- AdWorld.ie. (2016). Ad of the Week: Bank of Ireland Mortgage Saver – Cawley Nea TBWA – AdWorld.ie. [online] Available at:http://www.adworld.ie/2016/09/05/cawley-neatbwa/ [Accessed 28 Mar. 2017]
- Kietzmann, J., Hermkens, K., McCarthy, I. and Silvestre, B. (2011). Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media. Business Horizons, 54, p.242.
- French, T., LaBerge,, L. and Magill, P. (2011). We’re all marketers now. Marketing and Sales Practice, p.1.