The 2012/05/16 at 11:30
Marie Luginsland in Spires
Just one year ago, during the Arab Spring, mobile phones fell silent. And along with them, the German Chamber of Commerce in Tunis. “We then decided to open a Facebook page to continue communicating with our members,” recalls Samira El Ayari, Head of Public Relations. Ever since, over one thous-and cybernauts have pressed on the Chamber’s “Like” button. Long before their Tunisian branch, Germany’s CCIs converted to the spontaneous and instantaneous communication of the so-called Web 2.0. “The social networks of the IHKs and the AHKs (respectively the German CCIs and the overseas German CCIs, editorial note) play an increasingly important role in communication with members. Over one-half of the eighty Chambers are present on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc.,” describes Ivo Schuppe, Head of Social Network Coordination at the DIHK, the federation of German Chambers. Thanks to this involvement, Chambers of Commerce are “following” their members, 47 % of whom use social media themselves. Facebook is the favoured channel for 80 % of these businesses, followed by Xing (professional social network), for 78 % of them. YouTube and Twitter, on the other hand, are only used by half of the businesses.
The IHKs have integrated these new networks in their communication strategies. There is genuine interaction between the paper version of the CCI magazines and mobile communication modes. Facebook, Twitter and Xing also contribute towards the decentralisation of communication in the IHK network. “Our communications division receives messages and then transfers them to other employees,” explains Thomas Waldner, in charge of communications at the IHK of Lübeck. “Everyone becomes a player in these networks depending on the nature of requests and personal fields of competence.” In his opinion, social networks fulfil three functions: communication, reputation and buzz.
Adopted initially to communicate practical information in real time, social networks are now evolving towards more complex tasks. Facebook and its multiple links are allowing CCIs to keep up with their members. Twitter has the tendency to develop according to specific objectives. “We have two major groups of users,” notes Jonas Müllenmeister, from the IHK of Nuremberg. “One, reserved for businesses that don’t hesitate to Twitter back when they are the object of a message; the other, aimed specifically at young people and training. Their questions are transmitted via this vehicle to the relevant services of the Chamber.” The Chamber of Krefeld plans to set up a group for business creators, as well as a blog linked to the paper version of the magazine. The CCI has nevertheless decided not to embark on Xing for the moment, considered “too cumbersome”.
On the other hand, major Chambers such as those of Hamburg, Munich or Bonn are already well-positioned on this network. “Our strategy consists in targeting business creators, company communications managers and the many numerous trade and distribution companies in our city,” says Klaus Mansutti, Marketing Manager at the IHK of Hamburg. The CCIs, each of which has formulated its own good conduct code, will need to face new challenges in the near future. And determine their positioning, following the clash between Facebook and Google+. Or else, as at Lübeck, defend the interest of social medias for businesses before a German Commissioner for Data Protection wishing to ban Facebook(1).
(1) The Commissioner for Data Protection of Schleswig-Holstein wishes to ban Facebook, or at least, the network’s “Like” button. He has not succeeded, but the CCI of Lübeck is very concerned as many of its businesses use this network.
|Active CCIs on twitter|
Lübeck (Schleswig-Holstein): @IHK_Luebeck