Social Media Secrets: Driving Growth in the Rural Economy

A few weeks ago, I was invited by Dr. Ian Heywood from the University of Aberdeen Business School to be a presenter at the North East Business Week on the 26th April 2017 at the Aberdeen Exhibition Conference Centre (AECC).

As part of my 30-min seminar slot at the Ultimate Business Show 2017, I will have the opportunity to demonstrate the disruptive power of Social Media in a rural business.

At my job as a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Associate at the ANM Group and the University of Aberdeen, I am working on using social media in support of business development. The early results of my work clearly show how Digital Marketing can add value to any rural businesses in Scotland.

In only 6 months at the ANM Group, we have reached more than 2 million people on Facebook, more than 173,000 of them engaged with us through likes, comments, messages and shares of our posts. On top of that, we increased the Facebook Fans base by 86% (4,450 unique users). All these efforts contributed to a 71% increase in items purchased through the online auction in comparison to last year.

In my seminar slot at 11 am on Wednesday 26th April 2017 at AECC, I will share the techniques and secrets behind this success. Moreover, I will reveal how we captured 25,000 video views in a day, without spending a single penny!

During my seminar, I will also discuss other areas such as:

Business concerns

In my experience, I faced some of the most common business concerns and miss-conceptions in the field such as our audience is not on social media, we are a serious business or what are the benefits to the business?

Unfortunately, a large number of Small and Medium – sized Enterprises (SME) do not see the potential for Return On Investment (ROI) from Social Media marketing.

In fact, only 41% of marketers in SME organizations are aware of how to measure the ROI. Measuring ROI requires careful designing of tactics, engagement, tracking and analyzing the right data.

On Wednesday, I will share with you how we track our performance at the ANM Group.

First Steps in achieving Social Media Success

Social Media success can differ significantly from business to business and there are different ways to achieve it.

First, you would need to identify your business goals and objectives. Good business objectives should be clear, simple and specific. Don’t be afraid to push yourself to think big and visualise where you want to be in future. This vision will be your destination goal and support when building Social Media strategies.

Second, make sure you conduct a Social Media audit. This audit should cover your current online presence, how much of it you control and who is responsible for it. The audit will determine which channels are performing better for your business and what is your audience profile (i.e. demographics, location and interests).

I believe that linking the online campaigns and activities to the business goals the most important task and one of the top 3 marketers challenges along with measuring ROI and developing strategies.

During the seminar, I will share how we approached these issues at the ANM Group.


Around 80% of marketers identify engagement (such as likes, comments, shares etc.) as one of the most important measurements for Social Media success.

Engagement is where you need to be truly creative and grab the limited attention span of people on Social Media. This is also the stepping stone to building community and loyal customers.

I have worked closely with the ANM Group IT and Marketing teams to try different techniques for engaging our audience, such as creating competitions, online conversations, and live videos.

I have found some techniques work better than others, as each campaign serves a different purpose. A few examples of campaigns we created were brand awareness through paid advertising or leading people from Facebook onto our website and then ibidder online auction. Once the people visit the online auction system, they have the option to purchase items from us.


Videos are becoming the most popular way of delivering information to your audience. Facebook with more than 8 billion daily video views is the leading Social Media video platform, followed by YouTube and Snapchat.  Facebook reached this position by setting their algorithm to prioritize videos and even boost live videos.

A common concern among companies and marketers is that videos are expensive and difficult to produce. In my presentation, I will share with you how we addressed this challenge and delivered engaging videos, which have driven up our social media activities.

My key tips

Digital Marketing is a dynamic process which requires continuous learning. Social Media platforms change their algorithms almost every week.

For an SME, it is really important to understand its’ customers and develop an understanding for their online behaviour by using the Social Media analytics and Google Analytics. After all, delivering value to customers is what keeps your business alive.

Strategies and tactics play a significant role in achieving online success. To identify the right tactics a lot of trial and error is required. Luckily, Social Media gives you the option to delete or edit some of your mistakes. But make sure you measure the impact of everything!

Talk to your audience like a real person and not a robot. Interacting with your audience is vital, be their friend and they will love you back.

How to find out more?

To find out more about my work with the ANM Group and the University of Aberdeen, please come along to the seminar at the Ultimate Business Show on the 26th April 2017 from 11 am at Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre.


Acknowledgement: I would like to say a big thank you to everyone at the ANM Group, the University of Aberdeen and the KTP team who have taken part in this project. Without all your support and involvement, I would not have been able to achieve these results.


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