13TH FEBRUARY, 2020

More Irish Businesses Than Ever Are Investing In Social Media Technology

It’s no secret that many Irish business owners are no longer able to splash the cash on large advertising campaigns like they once could. These days, social media is king, and companies are increasingly allocating a large proportion of staff time and resource to social networks such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. It’s all about defining your social media presence, actively maintaining and updating postings for your customers. Those business who opt out now face a real struggle to compete.

Current social media investment in Ireland

Just recently the Irish Business Mindset Report by Three was published, revealing a notable increase in the number of businesses deploying customer relationship management (CRM) tools. It also highlighted a change in how customers and businesses are interacting with each other in general.

Businesses are benefitting from the cost savings that social media marketing brings, as well as the boost in efficiency and customer experience. Since the survey was first undertaken in 2016, around 40% of businesses now use CRM tools - double the number from four years ago. Irish businesses using social media for customer interaction has also increased by a quarter during this time. By 2019, the number had rocketed by over 50% compared to 2016; certainly a sharp upturn. Conversely, emailing is falling out of favour fast, with only 38% of survey respondents depending on email marketing compared to 55% in 2016.

What are Irish businesses using social media for?

There’s a huge range of uses for social media, but one of the key things is in customer relationship management. If a customer wants to complain about something, ask a question or simply make a comment, nowadays they will likely expect it solved via social media. Irish companies are taking this seriously, by leading the way in customer relationship management (CRM) software. In fact, 34% now use it for capturing, storing and sharing information.

Another important use for social media is in online shopping, with users now looking to interact instantly. It could be to ask the company a question about sizing, materials or delivery times for instance. Consumers automatically expect to be able to buy pretty much anything online, and time is of the essence. Many people are simply too busy to pick up the phone or churn out an email, so will look to social media for instant interaction. Businesses which don’t engage with consumers in this way are seriously missing out, and are likely to damage their success long term.

Apps are where it’s at

Going back to Three's Irish Business Mindset Report, we see that 15% of respondents also have their own mobile app (as of 2019). Apps bring with them a whole host of extra benefits, including promotional activities and upselling opportunities. They also encourage repeat business, especially if they launch offers for app users only.

It’s clear that the expectations of customers now are incredibly high, and Irish businesses need to continue striving to meet them. Failing to do so is likely to have a catastrophic effect, as customers are so used to social media being a key part of how brands sell to them. People expect companies to be able to tailor their offerings to them, and to know all about their preferences. This is the case for organisations large and small across all sectors.

Why should a business invest in social media marketing technology?

Social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram mean that people can connect and interact with each other, regardless of where in the world they are. They also allow for a wealth of information to be mined about the customers a business attracts, and databases can be set up to capture and manipulate this information. All sorts of subjects and interests can be extracted, allowing businesses to tailor-make promotions to target the exact audience they want.

Marketing budgets are also a huge consideration, being typically far smaller than they were a decade ago. Every penny invested in social media needs to give optimum value for money, and even if it’s paid for it needs to be inexpensive. Efficiency is very important too, and the social media technology used should mean businesses can connect with audiences far outside their usual reach.

Another part of the cost savings social media can bring is in how it’s resourced. Many Irish businesses simply assign an enthusiastic internal employee to look after it, rather than employing anyone externally. Coupled with this, the platforms themselves are very intuitive to use and require little extra training. They also come with a number of handy tools that allow social media managers to post on multiple platforms simultaneously. Scheduling of posts is commonplace too, which helps to maintain consistency whilst saving time. This is particularly useful over weekends, night times and bank holidays.

Investing in social media technology can be expensive - but research and development (R&D) Tax Credits can help

R&D Tax Credits are offered by the Irish government as an incentive to innovate and grow. If your company has recently invested in explorative work within a scientific or technological field then you could well be entitled to help with the cost. It works by either offering a reduction in a company’s Corporation Tax liability, or as a cash lump sum.

Whether your company has designed a new product, process or service or has upgraded a new one, it’s highly recommended you seek R&D tax relief advice from specialists such as ourselves. Whether large or small, profitable or unprofitable, why not use our Tax Cloud Calculator to see what you could claim - regardless of your industry or sector.

The Tax Cloud portal

When it comes to R&D Tax Credits, a fresh eye over a claim can really help against a backdrop of reports, figures and paperwork. At Tax Cloud we deal only with the R&D aspect of your client’s work and will quickly discount anything that isn’t pertinent to their claim.

If you’re interested in how R&D Tax Credits can make a difference to your clients, call us on (0)1 566 2001 or use our contact form. We’ll then get back to you at a time that suits.

Barrie Dowsett, ACMA, GCMA
Author Barrie Dowsett, ACMA, GCMA CEO, Tax Cloud
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Barrie Dowsett Barrie Dowsett ACMA CGMA Chief Executive Officer
David Farbey David Farbey MA, FISTC, FRSA Technical Consultancy Director
Lisa Waller Lisa Waller CTA, ACCA R&D Tax Manager
Lauren Olson Lauren Olson MA, MISTC Senior Technical Consultant