The first event in the European leg of the Facebook Roadshow took place in Ireland on 31st March 2016. I attended the sold-out event which was held at the Royal Hospital, Dublin, a quaint old building which is no longer a hospital of course. It was a real contrast then to see the major Social Network take over a section with Instagram playing a key role too at the event which was geared to SMEs. Our MC Richard Curran quipped that if we were to explain today’s digital economy to those featured in the portraits on the walls, we would first have to explain that the male wig went out about 200 years ago.
Gareth Lambe, who heads up Facebook Ireland, welcomed the gathered delegates saying that Facebook will have 1500 employees in Dublin by the end of 2016. The Dublin office is the Facebook Headquarters for Europe EMEA. Additionally, they have announced that their first Data Centre outside the US will be built in Clonee, Co. Meath. Construction will commence soon.
We were told that people spend an average 43 minutes on Facebook every day. Really?! I know I do, and quite a lot more some days, but it’s my job. This is a massive opportunity for business and there are 50 billion SMEs globally leveraging it.
The next speaker was Olivia Leonard, Head of SMEs at Facebook EMEA. I agree with her when she said that “The Digital Revolution will be marked out as an era in history just like the Industrial Revolution.” She then brought us three trends that Facebook is seeing currently and she advises that we be mindful of these as we go about drafting our online strategies as small business owners.
Trend #1 – The Shift from Desktop to Mobile
The shift from desktop to mobile has been achieved very rapidly when you take into consideration that the shift from Radio to TV took 60 years. This major shift took more like five! Mobile is becoming a video platform with 8 billion video views on Facebook every day. 75% of these are on mobile, which is not surprising as the majority of users now consume their social newsfeeds on mobile devices. It is projected that 80% of all internet traffic by 2019 will be video. A starling stat. Read it again. I picked up an interesting point and that is that Facebook Pages are already mobile friendly. Come to think of it so is Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat etc. I wish the same could be said for so many small business websites which still operate in a desktop world. The worst sin of all is driving paid traffic from Social Media to a non mobile friendly website. If you are doing that you need a serious brain check. But I digress…..
Trend #2 – The Shift from Text to Visual Communications
There is a significant trend towards visual communications. As I always advocate Visual Marketing this was music to my ears. But it’s more than that we were told. It’s fundamental to the way we live today. Images help us to process information. Video and Live Video is a large component of this. It does neatly play into the hands of Instagram users of course where strong visuals are paramount to capture the eyeballs of its 400 Million monthly active users. We were asked “How visual is your business?” That’s one for you to ponder.
Trend #3 – The Shift from Search to Discovery
With algorithms taking over our newsfeeds everywhere, everybody’s newsfeed is personal to them. One of my favourite quotes from the day was this:
In a world of infinite content, discovery is king.
>>> Click to tweet that quote now <<<
Effective targeting comes into play here in my opinion. As a consumer I do not want to see Ads in my newsfeeds that are irrelevant and annoying. As a Small Business owner you will want to get to the right person, with the right message at the right time.
I’m not entirely sold on this concept of discovery though I appreciate its significance. I wonder does search still signal a stronger intent? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.
The breakout sessions took place after this and I attended two of them where I picked up some more valuable info. One was about growing your business with Facebook and the other was about Instagram.
There was a very very atmosphere around the venue with some very valuable networking taking place. I found the ‘booths’ particularly useful, where one could go to a Facebook rep and ask questions or seek help. They were knowledgeable and pleasant. All in all it was a very worthwhile morning.
If you would like to know more about how to improve your online presence, please do contact me.