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“Get FIT” says the largely inactive (and, I admit, ‘slightly’ overweight) marketing geek who spends around 10 hours a day hunched over a laptop. Oh the hypocritical irony of it all.
OK, I was getting all short-hand on you…I mean get Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for your social media marketing. I’ll leave the fitness advice to true experts, such as those soap opera and reality TV show ‘stars’ who like to release exercise DVDs around this time of the year.
What follows now is a heady mix of my own fallible opinions and the results of some very in-depth social media trends research from the U.S.A.
Despite the fact that as I write this Facebook is actually down and not working for anybody anywhere in the world(!!), Facebook remains a very important platform for marketing to prospective and existing parents in the UK. It is also a very powerful customer service tool when used correctly and monitored closely. Your prospective and existing customers are on Facebook, in their hundreds, thousands and millions.
Over 24 million people log in every day in the UK to see videos of cats or things their tenuous acquaintances are eating or have eaten. That’s over a third of the population. To put that into parochial terms, if you own a nursery store in Bristol then around 150,000 people on your doorstep log into Facebook every day. If you are based in the Birmingham area then it’s over 366,000 people. If you are national then it’s…over 24 million people!
Not all of them are potential or existing parents, but a decent percentage of them who aren’t will be close to someone who has a baby before too long or who has had one recently. It’s an audience, and a very big one, and right now you really should be on there as a business with a proper business page and doing what you can to promote your wares and brand to that substantial audience.
Facebook has advertising services which let you target people by location, gender, age and even interests such as pregnancy or parenting and you can test this for yourself very, very cheaply.
Right now, ignore anything you read about Facebook being in decline. Yes their growth has slowed up but that is no surprise as they have nearly everyone on it already. Today and for the foreseeable future it is huge and parents, especially new mums, love it and use it frequently.
If you want to be thinking about the future and how social media uptake and behaviour may twist or change then I would recommend embracing Instagram if you haven’t done so already. Research from the States within the last 12 months has convincingly shown a surge of enthusiasm and uptake for Instagram among teenagers and millennials (people who hit adulthood around the year 2000). This is echoed by UK youngsters too and research over here suggests they are staying off Facebook because their parents are on it!
32% of US teenagers say Instagram is their most important social media service, compared with 14% for Facebook. 73% said they used it, compared to 47% for Facebook. Around 55% of 18 to 29 years olds used Instagram, which means it is now more highly used than Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn over there in that age group.
At the start of 2015 there were 300 million users of Instagram. This month they just went through the 400 million user milestone. Instagram is gathering a real head of steam and is being loved by young folk and those young folk will be your customers through the forthcoming years so start curating your own Instagram page soon if you aren’t already. They will expect you to have one. It is image based, and there is no part of the nursery industry that does not lend itself well to images and photography and it is not difficult to use. Don’t miss the boat on this one!
That leaves me with Twitter, and what’s not to like?
Well, OK, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea but it’s very easy to use and an instant way to share updates and photos. It integrates easily with websites so you can squirt news straight onto your webpages from your mobile phone and it is fast becoming an established channel for consumers to ask direct questions to brands and retailers. The right answer in a timely manner can bring customers to you as it can lead to very public displays of great customer service and that has real value in the modern consumer’s mind.
User numbers in the UK are sketchy for Twitter, but they are believed to be somewhere in the 9.5 to 10 million mark, which is still a decent chunk of the UK population. Once again, your customers and prospects are on there and in volume so go find them and follow them. They will already expect you to be available through Twitter.
So, it is Facebook for its genuine marketing power and massive in-situ audience; Instagram for the sharing of lovely images whilst waiting for the existing ultra-fans to get older and start breeding, and Twitter for the instant broadcast capabilities and incredible customer service opportunities.
They would be my top 3 for the nursery industry. Maybe you agree or disagree, and do let me know. Not right now though…I’m off to the gym.
If you have any questions about Digital Marketing and how you are or could be using it then please get in touch and we will be happy to chat about it with you. We can even train you up if you want to get started the right way…