The 2012/05/14 at 14:30
Stéphanie Salti in London
While social medias are largely used in the BtoC (business to consumer) sphere, they also increasingly play a role in the BtoB (business to business) context. United Kingdom Chambers ( England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) and Ireland Chambers of Commerce first seized this opportunity a few years ago after putting out a few feelers. "We started to pay an interest in social medias in 2009, but at the time, we came up against a certain number of obstacles," explains Ian Talbot, Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland, an organism gathering Irish Chambers of Republic of Ireland. "We didn't know which networks would become the most popular and we wanted to be sure that this initiative would not be taken as spam: we needed to adapt human resources to this new sector.
It was only in 2010 that we got started... and in the end we regretted not going about it earlier." Chambers Ireland, now present on Twitter and YouTube, uses these two means of communication to relay information on chambers of commerce – usually press releases, events, the publication of works. "Social networks are very beneficial as they allow access to a wide group of interested parties instantaneously," explains Ian Talbot.
The organism decided to devote a part-time employee to managing its accounts, monitoring activity, and coming up with suggestions for content. "We also envisaged widening our presence to the professional social network LinkedIn and to Facebook, but we thought that these two channels would not give the same returns on investment," continues Ian Talbot, the Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland. Meanwhile, the BCC (British Chambers of Commerce) network is also very active on social networks, and can be found on YouTube and blogs.
Each network corresponds with a well-defined objective: while the YouTube platform is used for broadcasting highlights from the BCC annual conferences or major national conferences where the organism is represented, blogs allow the network's economists to comment on the state of the British economy: the national budget but also manufacturing production indicators, inflation, unemployment and so on. Twitter, in the meantime, draws the attention of followers on positions taken and CCI news; government organisations, job search centres as well as consultancy firms, academics, parliamentary groups and journalists are offered scoops on information tweeted by the BCC. The same sort of observers also found at Chambers Ireland: with 640 followers (figure observed at the start of April), the organism declares itself to have one of the largest audiences amongst professional organisations in Ireland.
Twitter is also widely used by Chambers Ireland for keeping a watch on developments. "It allows us to take full measure of the priorities in Ireland and to analyse their relevance in relation to our activities," explains Ian Talbot. There are also tools that allow the degree of interaction to be measured. "We can also test reactions to our comments and opinions by using web sites such as Addictomatic (an online tool allowing a watch page to be created on a topic, editorial note). Finally, we shouldn't underestimate the importance of observing the web sites of government organisations, the European Union, or else various international CCIs: certain organisms relay relevant information that bring great added value without us having to make big efforts (to look for it, editorial note)," concludes the Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland. •