The 2011/05/27 at 10:24
Two years have passed since the two Spanish Chambers of Commerce and Industry most present on Internet created their first profiles on the social network Facebook, in May 2009. At that time, they were pioneers amongst the Spanish Chamber network. Today, their bets have paid off, in popularity at least. The CCI of Salamanca is hot on the heels of the Madrid Chamber in terms of Facebook “friend” numbers: 7,200 compared with 8,600. And yet, it works with 20 times fewer businesses than the Madrid Chamber: 25,000 as opposed to the 500,000 Madrid companies. The two CCIs take great care to cultivate their online presence. The Madrid Chamber has been active on Twitter (3,200 subscribers) and Youtube since 2009, as well as four platforms it joined in 2010: Picotea (a Spanish micro-blogging web site), Blogspot, Flickr and Slideshare. In Salamanca, Twitter was taken up in winter 2011 only (322 subscribers), but the Chamber has been posting its photos and videos on Flickr and Youtube since 2010. Promoting activities, diffusing images and videos of institutional events...
All this feeds the bulk of the Chambers’s social network activity. But not exclusively. “Cybernauts are very interested in information on business creation, technology, new uses of marketing and corporate social responsibility,” explains Covadonga Fernández, Communications Manager of the Madrid Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In addition, for a few weeks now, the CCI has been publishing images found from its centenarian photographic archives. In Salamanca, social networks, namely Twitter, have allowed a greater echo to be given to reform proposals aimed at political parties, jointly drafted by the Chamber and the region’s employers’ confederation, CONFAES, during the municipal campaign in May. “By being present on social networks, we set up a more direct channel of communication with businesses,” underlines Sara Gutiérrez, Manager of the small communications team of the Salamanca Chamber. “But our arrival also met another challenge: being the first to back new technologies.” The great immediacy and spontaneity allowed by social networks are also attractive to the Madrid CCI. “These channels enable us to carry out more business-friendly and informal communication. They are also an extraordinary vehicle for drawing the Madrid CCI services closer to a younger public,” continues Covadonga Fernández.
Optional today, indispensable tomorrow?
This reactivity may well also be one of the keys to the survival of the Chambers of Commerce which will no longer be financed by compulsory membership fees from 2013 onwards, as it will be necessary to adapt to business needs in order to draw companies towards paying services. This new page in the history of Spanish Chambers will certainly be translated by budgetary cuts for some. Will communications policies be affected? “We are going to do everything we can to stop this,” assures Covadonga Fernández. In Madrid as in Salamanca, it is the communications team that is in charge of moderating networks. But the latter Chamber also invested in a new Community Manager in 2010, who joined the team now made up of four persons.
It hopes that staff numbers can be maintained. “Communication with businesses remains our big wager,” declares Sara Gutiérrez. According to the two Chambers, results are positive for the moment. But it is “too early to place figures on them,” according to Covadonga Fernández. “Proof that we are on the right track lies in the profiles of the majority of cybernauts who follow us and who correspond to the business sector: they are men between 25 and 44 years (54 % of the audience) who live in the Madrid region (44 %).” The Salamanca Chamber has not placed figures on yield either. “But our greatest success is to observe that many other Chambers and the Upper Council of Chambers have followed us on social networks,” enthuses Sara Gutiérrez. The presence of the Upper Council nevertheless remains more timid. It may have acquired 5,000 Facebook friends, but only 254 Twitter subscribers.