Interesting interview with Colin Peter O’Riordan
What is your background briefly?
I’ve been working in the marketing industry for over 5 years now. I first studied a Bachelor of Commerce at U.C.C, followed by a Masters in Marketing Practice at N.U.I.G. After graduating, I spent some time working on digital marketing strategy for B2C brands, before trying my hand at inside sales for an online security company. I then moved to New York City and joined Text100 as a Content and Social Media Consultant. Now I work for their sister agency, Brandwidth, as a Social Media Strategist.
Does it seem like a logical background to what you do now?
Absolutely. While I don’t think every career needs to follow a logical or straight forward path, I think studying a range of subjects early in my degree made me confident in my decision to pursue marketing. As I mentioned, I pivoted slightly and gained some experience in sales, but to me that really goes hand-in-hand with marketing anyway. In the early days of my career, I felt drawn to digital, especially social media marketing. I loved that it was a relatively new form of media and was changing constantly.
Social media marketing trends to watch in 2020
1 min pitch for what you are doing now?
Now I work for an innovation agency called Brandwidth. It’s a fully integrated agency with over 100 experts working across technology, research, branding and marketing. My role involves devising social media strategy to meet client objectives based on consumer insight and data. My day could consist of launching new campaigns, raising brand awareness, developing online communities and driving conversions. It’s an exciting place to work.
Do you see any changes happening in social media marketing?
Definitely. From algorithms and metric shifts to new tools and features, social media marketing is constantly changing. On the technology front, we see AR and VR playing a much bigger role in social media. You can expect to see much more immersive content from brands over the next couple of years. Another major change relates to organic reach on social media. It has dropped further and further to the point that it’s barely worth talking about now. Take Facebook for example. Brands now struggle to reach even 1% of their Facebook fans. That’s a big blow for companies who spent many years investing in their page growth.
Is there a way around this decline in reach ?
Well they can still reach a very targeted audience…they just have to pay for it! The decline of organic reach brought about a much more detailed ads manager interface and targeting options. Marketers have become more skilled as a result and strategies have become more complex. Interestingly, Facebook Groups is the one place where companies can still enjoy strong organic reach. It’s an area that brands tended to neglect in the past.
However, in April at Facebook’s F8 conference, Zuckerberg highlighted the importance of community and how Groups would be at the heart of the new Facebook experience. Smart brands are now focusing on building and nurturing these online communities. That is something that takes time and effort, but creating brand advocates is very powerful and pays off in the long run.
What’s your view on the disappearance of likes on Instagram in Ireland?
It’s definitely an interesting test and one that social media marketers are following closely. Instagram have said that the goal is for users to worry less about the number of likes they receive and to just enjoy creating content. It’s obviously a major concern for social media influencers as their success is often measured in likes. In my opinion, it’s more about Instagram making money than promoting positive mental health.
Last year they introduced in-app purchases and I believe their goal is to make more money from working with brands in this way. Essentially, it’s about Instagram replacing the influencer and earning that all important revenue. However, this doesn’t mean the death of influencer marketing. I think the cream always rises to the top and those with loyal communities will still be successful.
What are your top tips for brands who want to succeed on social media?
As we mentioned, organic reach is dead. But brands can see amazing results if they allocate some money to their social media ads. For small brands, a little actually goes a long way! Make sure the relevant infrastructure is put in place from the start. Install pixels on your website for each social media platform. This will allow you to effectively retarget potential customers in the future.
Make sure you test content and get an idea of what your target audience really likes. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different features such as carousels, instant experiences and live video. And lastly, be authentic! Authenticity is essential on social media today. Customers want brands to be honest and down to earth. Showing that human side will make your brand so much more relatable and you will see it pay off in engagements and conversions.
How can people find out more about you & your work?
— Colin P O’Riordan (@RiordanColin) November 1, 2019
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