Into the Cloud – Up, Up and Away!

Cloud right now is becoming more crucial to the Irish SME’s business operations. In Ireland, many small businesses are now finally coming around to the Cloud. Many would have thought technological upgrading (in a solicitors or accountants office) would be the last thing on their minds given the current instability in the Irish market. Much of the reason for this shift to the Cloud is that entry level into the Cloud is cost efficient, Irish Cloud companies coming to the fore, & a clear opportunity being present.

While some SME’s are finding themselves being shoe-horned into the cloud with the large well known cloud providers for services above & beyond their needs, the others who are braving the new cloud frontier are now engaging with the more ‘local’ cloud providers that are answering the needs of small to medium Irish businesses. For companies, the route into dependence on cloud computing was driven by economics. Building and running IT services for employees is an expensive and unrewarding business.

Sure the idea of the Cloud sounds great but still feels complicated & too abstract for many. However this is in part a misconception that SMEs will land themselves with mounds of process manuals and the likes when in reality much of the complication will be taken care of by the cloud providers (or at least should be in the ideal world). And this is where the specialist small cloud companies come clearly into a league of their own. These will be far more flexible tailoring their services for your needs while always keeping the ideal of ‘personal service’ to the fore.

Dropbox has become an extremely popular service for users looking for cloud-based storage and a better way to manage and collaborate on files, keep their many digital collections in sync across systems, and easily share large files. For more information take a look at the following links:


Why Aren’t Professional Practice Firms More ‘Social’?

Social media has become essential to large organisations as a strategic marketing tool. Organisations such as Coke have exemplified the benefits of the social media marketing. But when it comes to this topic what do Coke have in common with the Irish accountant or solicitor? Not that much obviously. They have a different industry, size, market share, geographical coverage, clientele etc. They may be worlds apart in terms of business strategies but when it comes to what they can achieve through social media, the benefits of using it as a marketing tool are evident.

Coca Cola on Facebook

One could dedicate a novel in praise of social media as a commercial tool however this short blog post will attempt to persuade you of it’s merits with a few clear points.

Firstly, we are conducting further research into social media usage in the professional practice sector, so please take our poll and view the results so far.

Let’s begin with the obvious, social media is free and flexible. With LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and others there is a plethora of networks and mediums to choose from.

An additional advantage is self branding, or in other words ‘control’ over your image. Once you have been advised by a social media strategist on which route to take and how to use social media to win business you have control over content and postings as well as the option to update the various sites whenever it suits you.

Thirdly, placing your firm in a social media network creates another point of contact for clients, as well as allowing you to engage with clients or potential clients directly, or vice versa. Social media is about relationships and building up a rapport with clients or potential clients. The opportunities to interact with clients and communicate are many and varied, so take advantage of them. The goal of this interaction is that they will think of your firm first when the time comes.

Leading on from the previous point, the sheer volume of social media users warrants the investment of time into a social media program.  A social media presence will increase exposure of your firm: 43% of the Irish population are on facebook. The statistics speak for themselves. This data should persuade even small businesses to ‘get social’ with their email and other marketing tactics.

Having the firm’s number in the yellow pages may have been good business practice in the 1970s, not anymore. By employing social media your business will invariably improve its web presence with minimal cost and effort – in essence it makes your firm more ‘findable’ in a world where it’s definitely more more Google, less Post Office.

Following our brief summary of the main benefits of social media, it is our responsibility to highlight that you cannot just ‘begin’ social media marketing your firm.   ‘Jumping on the bandwagon’ does not necessarily mean success: if businesses just simply set up a social networking account and think that sales will start increasing, quite frankly, they are deluded. A poorly implemented strategy can do damage to your reputation. This is not a teenagers facebook page: to think in such a way is comparative to equating a home video to a television advertising campaign. A strategy must be made with a goal: as with any strategy it must be driven by objectives. Take a quick look at our guidelines (image below) which illustrate a basic outline of aspects to be considered and suggest how to organise your social media strategy.

CM Consulting's Guidelines for planning a Social Media Strategy

Well-designed social media programs serve the strategic plan as they integrate into and reinforce the core strategy of a firm. A successful social media program must be carefully planned, coordinated and executed. Social media can be a powerful tool once used properly.

CM Consulting TIPs: Protect your name Accountants and solicitors shouldn’t shy away from connecting in cyberspace —though there are always exceptions. At least grab a username, profiles are going fast and if you don’t pick your name today someone else might!

For more information on this topic click on the diagram above  or visit the CM Consulting website.

Social Media – Integrating Your Marketing Efforts

At the moment social media is central to any firm’s success. There are no two ways about it. If you’re a company operating in the current economic climate and do not have any form of social media in your marketing efforts then you are at a massive disadvantage. It has been recorded that more than 2.5 million websites have integrated with Facebook. This means that more than 2.5 million firms have created opportunities for direct response.

Social Media Landscape

Social Media Landscape

For an SME or start-up this can be crucial to growing the client database and ultimately establishing yourself in a strong position amongst competitors. It has been found that each Facebook user spends an average of 15 hours and 33 minutes per month on the social networking site. Ask yourself ‘how many clients could I gain if users spent 1 minute of that time on our page?’ ‘How much awareness would our firm receive?’ With twitter handling 1.6 billion queries per day it can be an easy to use tool for researching and positioning of the firm.

It is also becoming more and more common for firms to introduce their own apps with over 250 million people accessing Facebook through their mobile devices. The possibilities for firms are endless with social media. As a growing element it is essential that businesses are continuously updating their marketing efforts to integrate the changes within social media.

For more statistics and an interesting read click here.