Friday, 6th July: Over 200 Irish SMEs from Westmeath, Offaly, Laois and Longford gathered at the Sheraton Hotel, Athlone, Co. Westmeath, this morning for Boost Your Business, run by Facebook Ireland. At the event, SMEs heard from Facebook’s small and medium business team on industry insights and latest trends. Business owners also participated in workshops to help them grow brand awareness, drive sales and find new customers.
In a fireside chat with RTÉ broadcaster and event host Richard Curran, Minister for Communications, Climate Change and Environment Denis Naughten T.D. spoke about the Trading Online Voucher Scheme, run by his Department, which provides a range of support and resources to businesses who wish to trade online. The Minister also discussed the national broadband roll out plan and announced that applications for the Climate Fund will open on Monday, 9th July. Panellists from Irish Fairy Door Company and Aran Sweater Market shared their experiences and practical advice on how they have achieved growth and success through Facebook and mobile marketing.
Research, The Digital Economy and Society Index Report 2018, by the European Commission shows that Irish SMBs over-perform in all e-commerce criteria compared to European peers, however just 30 percent of Irish businesses are selling online and only 17 percent are selling online to overseas markets. Research also shows that the majority of Irish people (64 percent) shop online and almost 90 percent of Irish internet users research their products online before making offline purchases.
These figures reveal the opportunity available to Irish businesses to tap into this market of consumers, who are both searching for products online and shopping online. According to a survey carried out by Facebook, 85 percent of people in Ireland are connected on Facebook to at least one Irish business, and more than 46 million people from around the world are connected to an Irish business.
Olivia Leonard, Director, SMB EMEA for Facebook emphasised the critical importance of having a mobile strategy: “By 2021, 56 per cent of all digital advertising globally will be spent on mobile. 2016 was the first time we saw global mobile conversions overtake desktop on Facebook, with mobile-first shoppers increasing each year. As a small or medium business, you need to be available and accessible where people spend the majority of their time and that is on mobile. In Ireland, there are approximately 2.8 million people using Facebook on their mobiles and we want to help businesses reach these potential customers.
“In addition to this, there are 46 million people around the world connected to a business in Ireland on Facebook and expanding into new countries has become easier. We want to help businesses unlock the potential of the global market and understand how tools like international Lookalike Audiences and multi-city targeting can enable them to reach new audiences abroad.”
For more information on using Facebook for business, visit the online resource centre, Facebook.com/business, with advice on getting started, running campaigns and examples of business success stories for inspiration.