Thursday 21 September 2017

Ireland ahead of EU average for social media take-up by firms

Olivia Leonard, Facebook’s director of SMB EMEA speaking at the event in Dublin yesterday
Olivia Leonard, Facebook’s director of SMB EMEA speaking at the event in Dublin yesterday
Michael Cogley

Michael Cogley

The Ice Bucket charity challenge played a pivotal role in the explosion of video - and now Facebook alone has eight billion video views on its site every day.

According to Facebook SME manager Helen Smyth, the challenge was the first time the potential of online video was recognised.

"The Ice Bucket Challenge was when we saw video absolutely shoot up. We had something like a five-fold increase in views within that period of time.

"We were starting video around then and we pivoted with our engineering team to really improve the quality of native video on Facebook and that has been a phenomenal trend we've jumped on to."

In 2014 the viral video craze took social media by storm, raising over €1m for the Irish Motor Neuron Disease Association as well a further $100m for the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association in the US.

Ms Smyth said Ireland was part of a global surge in video use that has spiked since social media sites started inserting videos directly into news feeds.

The Facebook head was speaking at the launch of its 'Boost Your Business' European tour in Kilmainham, Dublin, yesterday.

It showed off the potential of Facebook advertising to SMEs.

More than 400 businesses attended the event that included one to one consultations as well as a panel Q&A hosted by Irish Independent business columnist Richard Curran.

The event aims to encourage businesses to start using digital technologies for both advertising and brand awareness.

Ms Smyth said interaction between Irish businesses and their customers is already quite high, adding: "87pc of our Facebook users in Ireland are connected to a local business, which is actually higher than most of our other European markets and this really shows how much support they want to give".

Irish skincare company Vita Liberata was among the firms at the event with chief operating officer Johnny Choda explaining its usage of Facebook.

"Now it's much more about driving people to the store using social media. "So for us it's about using all those channels be it Facebook or Instagram and showing the customer that they can buy here."

Overall the social media take- up has been quite strong among Irish firms when compared to competitors in other European countries.

According to Ireland's digital scorecard, published by the European Commission, 31pc of firms are using social media compared to the EU average of 14pc. The use of eInvoices in Ireland is also 3 percentage points higher than the EU average at 14pc. Meanwhile, just under a quarter of Irish SMEs are selling their products and services online.

Irish Independent

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