Monday, 7 October 2013

Everything you need to know about the ‘mobile generation'

Technology can have a huge say in the way am entire generation acts – while in the 90’s we might have been talking about a ‘digital’ generation, the teens and young adults of the 2010’s could be considered as the ‘mobile’ generation. The people of this generation are permanently connected with technology, wherever they are – they use their phones, tablets and other mobile devices to check social media, talk to their friends, browse the web and check out businesses and shop. Technology takes a huge part of their lives and affects them in some way or another on a daily basis.

The biggest characteristic of the mobile generation, is, of course, the almost permanent use of mobile devices – they are constantly connected with the digital world. This is a notion that many outside this generation fail to fully understand. The world is drastically different from what it was 10, or even 5 years ago. The way we interact and consume content is very rapidly evolving, and smartphone and tablet usage evolves year after year. The businesses that want to succeed in this market have to make a considerable effort to understand this generation and be able to speak in its language.

The mobile generation will likely:
  • Check their smartphones first thing in the morning and last thing at night
  • Consume content (news, movies and TV shows, music, books, etc.) on their smartphones and tablets
  • Use their mobile devices to connect with their friends online, via social networks
  • Use their mobile devices to shop

The number of smartphone users grows rapidly every year, and the UK is no exception to this trend:


As you can see, it is estimated that the number of smartphone users in the UK will nearly double in just 5 years, from 2011 to 2016, when an estimated 62.2% of the population will own a smartphone. At this rate, it is probably safe to assume that very soon, smartphones will become the new norm in the UK, as well as other developed countries.
Smartphone penetration is usually at it’s highest among young adults and students, aged 18 to 24, followed closely by teenagers and adults aged 25 to 34:


Smartphone users are also increasingly using their mobile phones to access the Internet. From 2010 to 2013, the number of people accessing the Internet using their phones has nearly doubled, from 24% to 53% (Office for National Statistics).


The previous chart reveals that 16-24 year olds are also the most avid users of Internet on a mobile phone, followed closely by people in the 25-34 age group.
Another big characteristic among the mobile generation is the frequent use of social media. In the UK, social media is extremely popular. In fact, recent statistics reveal that the British are, right after the Netherlands, the most fervent users of social media in Europe (Daily Mail). The same report has found that nearly half of the UK’s 33 million Internet users access social networks every day – with a majority of these users between the ages of 16 and 24 years old. Many of these social media users take to mobile devices to access their social profiles:


Many smartphone users use their phones to make online searches. Studies have found that 30% of the searches conducted are for high street retailers, second only to ‘news’, the most searched for category at 54% (The Direct Marketing Association UK and New Media Trend Watch UK).  This shows that the mobile generation makes use of their mobile devices to check out businesses online and on the go. 
There is no denying the importance of mobile devices in the lives of millions of the UK’s residents. The number of people owning smartphones and other mobile devices is very rapidly increasing, and as technology evolves and prices drop, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices will become an essential part of even more people’s lives.

How important are smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices in your life? Let us know in you comments!

Monday, 30 September 2013

5 Ways Small Businesses Can Use Social Media To Reach Their Audience

Social media offers an easy and free way of reaching your audience and speaking directly to and with them. Any type of business can use social media successfully, no matter how small. However, it can definitely be more difficult for small businesses as opposed to established brands to build a decent following and see results from social media – but with enough knowledge, some time and effort, even the smallest and newest businesses can start seeing some great results from social media.
  • Social media can help small businesses to:
  • Communicate with their audience directly
  • Build meaningful relationships with their customers
  • Get more traffic
  • Make more sales
  • Get more engagement
  • Raise awarenessManage their customer service
  • Advertise their products for free
Although social media can take some time to work, it’s important not be discouraged. Here are a few essential tips that will help your small business get the best results from social media:

1. Your profiles

Your social media profiles pages are extremely important. Make sure that whenever you start a new social media account, you complete all the necessary information, provide links to your websites, and choose great images as profile and timeline pictures. It’s important to not do this half-heartedly and also make sure that you maintain a certain uniformity across your different social media profiles, so as to avoid any confusion from your audience. The better your profiles look, the bigger the chances that your audience will check it out!

2. Build a following

When you start a new profile, it can be quite disconcerting to see that you don’t have any followers. But there’s no need for panicking as you can easily start building a following. While in the beginning your only focus might be to just get as many new followers as possible, even if they are spam, remember that won’t help your business much. In order to grow your business and your following, it’s indicated to have engaged followers that are interested in your business. Spammers usually won’t retweet you, or share your updates or engage in conversation with you, and this is after all the purpose of social media – to build relationships with your audience and to grow it.
Start by engaging with other users, and posting updates on a regular basis, preferably daily. These are the first steps in building your very own social audience.

3. Share quality content

One of the best ways to be successful on social media, and get more fans and followers at the same time, is to share great, quality content. Best case, you have a blog of your own and you can share your own articles. You can also use content curation tools such as to look for great content that you can easily share with your followers with only a few clicks. Great content on a regular basis will keep your audience interested, help you get more fans and followers and will help establish your business as more influential and knowledgeable.

4. Start polls and competitions

Polls and competitions are great ways of boosting your engagement, traffic, followers and even sales. There are plenty of tools available for each of the most popular social networks to help you easily set up a contest or poll. It takes minimal efforts on your part and can get you some great results. Try for example the Poll app for Facebook polls or Wishpond or Woobox for competitions and sweepstakes.

5. Engage

Engagement, as I’ve mentioned earlier, is extremely important of any social media strategy. If you want to get the best results for your small business on social media, try to engage with as many people as possible on a daily basis, preferably. This entails:
  •       Sharing and retweeting
  •       Asking and answering questions
  •       Taking part in conversations
  •       Liking and +1’s

The more you engage with other users, the more they will engage with you in return. This in turn will lead to more fans and followers, more shares and retweets and a bigger reach.
You can also ‘mention’ people on most major social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.). Whenever you mention someone in one of your updates, they will be notified so there is a much bigger chance that they will see the updates. Try to use this feature whenever possible to attract people into having conversations with you and sharing your updates.

Are you using social media for your small business? What results are you seeing? Please let us know in your comments!

Thursday, 26 September 2013

How To: Use Social Media To Increase Customer Loyalty

Social media offers a great way to not only attract a bigger audience, but also to solidify your current
relationships and increase your customer loyalty. A truly loyal customer has lots of benefits, such as:
  • They will choose your products or services over the competitions’
  • They have the potential to become your brand advocates, both in real life and online
  • They can help you spread your messages by sharing your updates with their own followers on social media
Social media can be easily used to increase customer loyalty – here are a few tips to help:

1. Engage with your audience

It’s very important on social media to engage with your followers and other users on a daily basis.  Many businesses fail to do this, and rather only post their own updates and hope for the best. But in order to increase customer loyalty, as well as follower numbers, and shares, likes, retweets etc. you have to engage yourself in conversations with other users. Engaging on social media usually means:
  • Liking updates
  • Commenting on updates
  •  Sharing and retweeting
  •  Asking and answering questions
  •  Participating in conversations with other social media users

By engaging with your audience constantly, you are showing that you are interested in what they have to say, and not just in advertising your own products and services. This will help you in the long run by helping you gain new customers and increase your customer loyalty.

2. Always manage customer service on social media when needed

If your business has a social networking profile, it will be almost impossible to avoid the occasional questions, comments and complaints about your business or products and services. Make sure to respond to all these questions and comments, as soon as possible. Ideally, you shouldn’t let more than half an hour – an hour pass before you answer a question. On Twitter you should strive to reply within minutes, as a tweet’s lifespan is very short. It’s also important to be very polite when replying to these comments, even if they are quite rude.
By answering promptly and being helpful, it will help increase your customer loyalty – basically, it shows that you are listening to your customers and you are always ready to help them have the best experience when it comes to your products or services. 

3. Offer exclusive deals and competitions for your social media fans and followers

This proven marketing technique works just as well with social media. By organizing competitions and exclusive deals on your social media profiles, you will not only increase your engagement and follower numbers, but also your customer loyalty. You can either create a competition or a printable coupon, for example, that your customers can use in your stores.

4. Use social media to offer value

In order to be successful on social media, it’s important to make sure you aren’t always “selling”. A great way of keeping your audience interested and engaged, as well as of increasing loyalty, is to offer them lots of value with your tweets and posts. If you have a blog, then share your best posts on your social profiles. You can also provide other “goodies”, such as whitepapers or checklists, or anything else that you can think of that will provide value to your audience. Social media is very clustered, and one of the best ways to make sure you stand out is by offering lots of value.

5. Reward your audience

Every time someone takes to social media to speak highly of your product or business, be sure to thank them properly. People love to be heard and acknowledged, and this is a simple and effective way to do it. You can use a tool like Social Mention to track each time your brand name is mentioned across social platforms, so you never miss an opportunity.

Overall, social media is a great tool for increasing customer loyalty. Keep in mind however that it can take a long time to build up your presence, but it’s definitely worth all the effort. 

Are you using social media to increase your customer loyalty? Let us know in your comments!

Friday, 20 September 2013

Students Buying Behavior

Students (or 18 to 24 year olds) might not be the age group with the most pocket money, but don’t let that fool you; they are avid spenders, especially when it comes to certain products – the latest gadgets, alcoholic beverages (beer, beer and more beer!), clothes, furniture, school supplies and take out, among others. Plus there are approximately 2.5 million students in the UK (HESA) – a number too large not to take into account

This age group is very important for several reasons:
  • They hold a huge buying power
  • They are very influential among other age groups 
  • They have their whole lives in front of them where they might get higher paying jobs and they will continue to buy and consume

Students and other younger age groups are big mobile consumers – they are much more likely to use their smartphones for consuming content, browsing the web, using social media and purchasing goods and services.


The previous graph shows just how big a part mobile is in the lives of student consumers. As you can see, 18 to 24 year olds are part of the most likely age group to read posts from organisations, brands and events on social media, to click on advertisements and to receive coupons, offers and deal for various businesses.

UK consumers in general are using their mobile devices (smartphones, tablets) increasingly more to make purchases online, even more than they use desktop computers (RichRelevance,  Internet Retailing). Students, being one of the most tech-savvy consumer age group, are the most likely to use their mobile devices for these reasons.

Young adults and students are also more likely than older people to buy take out and ready meals and eat out, because they are either trying to save time or simply don’t enjoy cooking (International Markets Bureau).  Students are also more likely to go out more and socialise, leading them to purchase beverages (coffee, tea, soft drinks, etc.) while out, as well as grab snacks and ready meals from their local cafes and restaurants.

While students can be very brand conscious, especially when it comes to technology and gadgets, they are more likely to search for the best deals when it comes to perishable goods, such as food and beverages. Since their incomes are lower than with older age groups, they are also more likely to take part in loyalty programs, and look online for and use offers, deals and coupons.

Students are also big drinkers – reports found that students spend approximately £3.2 billion on nights out in pubs and bars, meaning that “one in ten of all drinks sold in pubs, bars and clubs during term time is bought by a student” (The Beans Group). The report also found that students “will trade up whenever they can and have a sharp awareness of premium products, often seen as an occasional treat” and that “the modern student population is increasingly diverse with a growing proportion seeking to indulge their luxury tastes on a limited budget” (Kylie Poole, CGA). This shows that students aren’t always put off by bigger prices if they feel like they are getting more value out of it.

An interesting fact about the majority of the UK’s student population is that they can be very loyal to the brands they use: 65% say that “I know and trust the products I use now and am likely to keep using most of them” (Youth Marketing Insights, The Beans Group). This also shows that if brands want more customer loyalty, they should try to capture more students’ attention.

The same report also found that, perhaps unsurprisingly, students can be very determined and impulsive when they really want something: 52% of them said that, “If I really want something, I will buy it regardless.”

Students are an integral part of the UK’s economy – they are avid consumers and trendsetters, and they are intelligent and very informed. They are also highly mobile and digital, and more likely to look for deals and offers. 

Is your business trying to appeal to students?

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

How-to: Get The Edge On Competing Salons

It's not news that profit margins on the high street have suffered as a result of the recent recession. What may suprise a few though is that hair salons are no exception to this trend.

According to a recent survey, customers have begun to cut back on discretionary spending such as hair and beauty products. 

Surely then it is the smallest salons that are suffering the most, those that are unable to weather the storm. 

 Apparently not, on closer inspection it appears that the salon industry is pretty unique on the highstreet; no one company holds more than 2.5% market share! In actual fact the hair and beauty industry is a fiercely competitive lanscape for even the most established of brands. Salons then need to find affordable ways to remain competitive and gain the edge on their competitors. 

Is it time for the hair and beauty industry to embrace mobile technology? 

Mobile applications offer significant potential benefits to salon owners. By achieving the dual goals of: targeting new customers and deepening existing customer loyalty, they could well prove a valuable weapon in the battle for highstreet survival. Most applications do not cost businesses much and by identifying the correct mobile solution, both of these objectives can be achieved and exploited. 

Take for example loyalty cards: Many salons already offer a stamp based paper loyalty card (eg "Visit 9 times get % discount on your 10th visit"). For a minimal monthly fee, being able to mirror this offer on their customers' mobile phones has genuine advantages:

- Convenience:  customers do not have to worry about losing or misplacing their loyalty cards. They know that all the data is in their phones and not taking up space in their purses or wallets.

- Customer understanding: what do we really know about our customers? Their names? The way they like their hair cut? Wouldn’t it be more useful to understand spending habits, not just in your salon but across the high street. Perhaps this person might be a valuable brand advocate across social networks. These benefits are only available through a digital device.

- Personalisation: in order to really make a customer feel special, the reward provided has got to suit them. There is no point offering a reward that the customer does not value. Mobile loyalty devices help salons identify what rewards will appeal to customers and in turn trigger them to spend more, visit more frequently or tell more of their friends.

Encouraging customer to share offers with their social networks can have really positive results for the salon. People are becoming immune to offers being presented to them by businesses, but are more open to offers recommended by their friends. 

Posting to customer's social networks on their behalf however, is a fine line to tread in the 'cool v creepy' tightrope that mobile apps walk. Some customers may feel that this is a little intrusive, yet other will be happy for the app to do this if there is a reward such as 20% discount for clicking on a link. What is certain is that customers should be made aware before they start using the app, that content may be posted on their on their behalf with an "opt out" option for each customer.

Having completed several surveys, we are now about to start building an updated version of Loyalli. The update is going to contain some really exciting new features aimed specifically at salons! Features for driving new business, encouraging repeat business and developing customers into brand advocates!

If you would like to learn more do be in touch!