This guest post was written by Martyn Rosney, Corporate Account Manager at Wilson Hartnell, the Irish arm of Ogilvy Public Relations.
Leading Irish law firm McCann FitzGerald* has just published research into the social media habits of Ireland’s top business leaders. The findings reveal the growing awareness that digital trends represent a structural rather than a cyclical source of change for Irish businesses and that, with 80% of adults now online, businesses need to have a clear digital strategy and embrace this medium.
These findings can be used as a good indicator for the attitude of international business leaders as a portion of those surveyed are decision makers of multinationals based in Ireland.
Although we have companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google and LinkedIn headquartering their EMEA and international operations here in Ireland, many corporates have been slow to embrace social media at a corporate level. This is indicative of the apprehension many of those in senior corporate positions, not just in Ireland but globally, feel toward what they perceive as the relatively new phenomenon of social media.
For the first time on record, those surveyed by McCann FitzGerald have confirmed that they recognise that social media has revolutionised the way businesses communicate with their customers and their staff. The vast majority of firms (63%) expect social media to be relevant to their business in 2014. Few, however, expect social media to work as a sales channel per se.
Interestingly, the business decision makers surveyed are themselves quite sophisticated users of social media. Three quarters of those senior decision makers surveyed claim to have a Facebook account, with almost 40% logging on daily. In terms of LinkedIn, 14% claim to log on daily, with a further 22% claiming to log on once a week. Interestingly, some 50% of those surveyed have a Twitter account, with 15% logging on daily, and 22% report they access Google+ daily.
Corporate reputation in the digital world is viewed as a growing challenge for many businesses, as is the dilemma of managing staff access to social media. Only 18% of firms surveyed allow staff access all the time, with 48% offering limited access, and 18% of firms are still blocking staff access completely.
The data highlights the higher levels of social media usage amongst Ireland’s business leaders compared to the wider population. When the McCann FitzGerald research is compared with the most recent IPSOS MRBI Social Networking Quarterly report (Nov 2013) which surveyed the presence of the general Irish population on Facebook, it shows that:
- 72% of business leaders are present on LinkedIn compared to 23% of the average population in Ireland
- 74% have a Facebook account compared to 55% of the average population
- Almost twice the as many business leaders have a Twitter account with 50% present compared to 27%
The full report can be found at http://bit.ly/MFCorporateOutlook
*Please note: McCann FitzGerald is a client of Wilson Hartnell