Ireland must capitalise from the digital planet

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Interesting article in the Digital Times this week with some timely advice for SMEs.

Once again we receive another report saying Ireland is not embracing and not capitalising on the economic and social opportunities presented by the internet.

The annual report (for 2010) of the Digital Hub Development Agency (DHDA) also highlights the potential cost savings, time efficiencies and service improvements that could be delivered by public and private sector organisations through increased use of the web and digital media tools.

“Despite the huge advancements of recent years, many organisations have been slow to embrace the internet opportunity. Recent surveys indicate that only 20 per cent of SMEs in Ireland are truly active on the internet, for example, compared to 40 per cent in our nearest competitor market, the UK,” says Philip Flynn, chief executive officer of the DHD.

“If harnessed well, [the web] will allow our arts and cultural products to extend their reach to global audiences and our indigenous commercial businesses to grow and expand in world markets.”

Public institutions and SMEs in Ireland generally have been slow to capitalise on the potential of the digital world.

Over the coming year, our priority is to work with the Government to develop a cohesive internet strategy for Ireland. We must foster a spirit of technological advancement and creativity across the country, from our schools to our boardrooms,” says Leonard Donnelly, chairperson of the DHDA.

Some basic ways to capitalise from the digital planet

• First and foremost, making products and services available to purchase online, where feasible – and in the public sector delivering services more conveniently through the use of online tools.

• Capitalising on the pervasive use of social media to interact better with customers; to attract new business from new global markets; to build and sustain a loyal community of customers and clients; and to engage more effectively with members of the public.

• Increased use of ‘webinars’, virtual meetings and conference calls to cut back on meeting costs and travel expenses.

• Making calls via the internet, rather than through traditional telephone lines, to avail of cheaper rates.

Lorna and I think this great advice and fully endorse the report, with one addition – the value of a great blog and engagement with social media to drive online sales, improve customer relations and build a community around your brand.

If you would like to talk to us some more about how we can help you can capitalise upon the new social media platforms then get in touch with us for a free consultation.

About

Marie Ennis-O’Connor BA, MIAPR, holds an Honours degree in History from University College Dublin. She is a graduate of the Irish Academy of Public Relations and has worked in a variety of PR roles over the past 12 years. Marie is editor of several award-winning blogs ranging from life sciences to health to business. She is a panel member of the newly established Bloggers International and is a regular contributor to Health Works Collective, an online community for thought leaders in international healthcare. She is a featured blogger on Webicina, an online service that provides curated medical social media resources in over 80 medical topics and over 17 languages, and has been awarded a top blogger accolade by Empowered Doctor.com and most inspiring writer by WegoHealth. Marie is also in demand as a trainer in social media marketing and travels the country teaching small business owners how to get online and maximise their online presence.

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