Aonghus Flynn, Web Developer

How Irish Businesses can make the most of the web

A couple of weeks ago, I was at Dublin Web Summit. There were a lot of fantastic presentations by high profile members of the tech world. Throughout the conference a few common themes emerged for those who run small businesses in Ireland.

Every small company in Ireland should have a website, the excellent gettingbusinessonline.ie allows small businesses to get a basic website online for free.

Now though, it's not just enough to have a website, you must also have a presence on social networks as well. It is now essential for companies to have a facebook or google+ page as well. If you don't, you're competitors may and you risk falling behind.

So why are social networks so important? Simply put, that is where your customers (no matter your business) are. the numbers of people using social networks in Ireland is astounding. According to figures from May 2011, there are 1,942,980 Irish Facebook profiles. That's a lot people that you can target with not a lot of work.

Setting up a facebook account and a google account is easy and free. Setting up a facebook page is also free and really easy to do.

Once you have a facebook page set-up you should use it as the focus for your social strategy. One thing that was repeatedly mentioned at the Dublin Web Summit was that engagement was the most important metric.

So what does engagement mean? In facebook, every post on a page you own has a feedback metric displayed, this metric is calculated as "Number of Comments and Likes per impression". It is not enough to set up a page and post marketing messaging, you have to have content that visitors want share and comment on.

Here are a few pointers for the posts on your facebook pages:

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  • Think about who your audience is, and write your posts in the language of your audience.
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  • Keep the posts short.
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  • Avoid 'marketing speak'.
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  • When someone comments on a post, comment back (it's only polite).
Engagement is really important and does take a bit of time and work, but a successful social media campaign is important for 2 reasons: there are nearly 2 million potential customers; if you don't, you competitors will.