Just 18pc of Irish firms allow unfettered access to social services such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook at work, according to new research from Amarach and McCann Fitzgerald.
The survey of 250 firms found that 48pc of companies in Ireland allow limited access to social media at work, while a further 18pc block it altogether.
Among ‘business leaders’, Facebook is the social media channel of choice, with 37pc using it daily. This compares to just 14pc using LinkedIn daily and 15pc using Twitter daily. Twitter is the least used major social media service among Irish business leaders, with 50pc reporting no account.
Despite the moderate access to social media for staff, Irish companies are starting to take social media seriously as a business channel. According to the Amarach research, 63pc of firms here categorise social media as “very relevant” or “somewhat relevant”. Asked why, almost half said it was useful for advertising, while a quarter said it could be used for communicating directly with customers. Just 20pc regard social media as “irrelevant”, according to the research.
Meanwhile, a majority of Irish companies expect to move sales online this year, with over half predicting at least 10pc of their revenue from internet trade in 2014.
The online sales trend marks a shift in attitudes from Irish companies, which have been reluctant to invest in internet trade channels up to now.
In 2013, 69pc of Irish companies recorded less than 10pc of sales online, according to the Amarach. However, that figure is set to fall to just 49pc this year, according to the same companies.
And while 47pc of Irish companies took in no sales at all online last year, just 35pc of Irish firms intend to stay away from internet sales this year.
Meanwhile, the number of Irish companies measuring between 10pc and 50pc of sales online will jump from 23pc to 31pc this year, according to the research. 7pc of Irish firms will record over 70pc of their sales online this year.
Among business sectors, smaller companies expect to see a larger share of online sales than corporate firms. A third of hospitality sector sales will be online, according to the research, while 40pc of sales from firms selling mostly overseas will be over the internet.