New survey reveals high levels of social media usage amongst Ireland’s Business Leaders

  • Three in four (74%) are on Facebook and 50% have Twitter accounts
  • Irish business leaders are more active on social media than the wider population
  • A third have invested in data storage solutions such as the Cloud computing
  • 43% of corporates have hired digital specialists
  • Just 18% allow staff full access to social media

14th January, 2014 – Three quarters of senior business leaders in Ireland have a Facebook account, and 50% are on Twitter, according to first of its kind research, from leading Irish law firm, McCann FitzGerald. The survey, which was compiled by Amárach, was carried out among 250 senior Irish business leaders and decision makers at large corporates, SME’s and micro-businesses and looked at their corporate outlook for 2014 including their attitude to digital technology and social media.

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.

Commenting on the findings, John Cronin, Chairman at McCann FitzGerald said: “The survey provides grounds for optimism in relation to the digital revolution in the Irish business landscape. There is awareness that realising ambitions for growth, increased trade and recruitment will all demand a credible and successful approach to the challenge of the digital revolution.”

The social revolution

Those surveyed by McCann FitzGerald 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.

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.

Paul Lavery, Partner and Head of Technology & Innovation at McCann FitzGerald said: “We are only now at the beginning of the digital revolution for businesses. Already, we have seen new opportunities emerge to sell, serve and retain customers that would have been impossible (or prohibitively expensive) even in the recent past.”

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.

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 contrasted with the most recent IPSOS MRBI Social Networking Quarterly report (Nov 2013), it shows that:

  • 72% of business leaders are present on LinkedIn compared to 23% of the average population
  • 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%

Future proofing

McCann FitzGerald notes that across the businesses surveyed there is a good awareness of the need to future-proof their businesses against new and emerging technological changes. A third of those surveyed had invested in data storage solutions such as cloud computing, while 25% have hired staff with specific digital skills they deem necessary to respond to the new realities, 43% of corporates have hired specific digital skills, and a fifth of SMEs have invested in cloud computing solutions.

The report can be found at http://bit.ly/MFCorporateOutlook

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