The current economic climate has prompted Irish companies to explore new, more cost-effective ways of reaching target markets, including through the use of social media. That’s according to ESB International (ESBI), which has just launched a new corporate blog,

Speaking today, Pat O’Doherty, executive director, ESBI, said social media offers huge potential for Irish companies with overseas markets, such as ESBI’s engineering consultancy business.

“While the use of social media by multinational companies is hardly a new phenomenon, more and more organisations are now realising that blogs – and other social media tools – can offer a very cost-effective way to connect with large international audiences,” he said. “Word-of-mouth has always been an important source of business for ESBI because people trust information that comes from other people they know. Because social media depends on personal contacts to pass on information, it has the same effect but on a much larger scale.”

Research published last year showed that almost 80% of Fortune 100 companies were using at least one form of social media, with one-third using corporate blogs. The research showed that companies from Asia-Pacific and the US have led the charge when it comes to corporate blogging, but that Europe is slowly catching up.

Mr O’Doherty said ESBI decided to embrace corporate blogging as a way of showcasing its expertise in a more engaging, personal and far-reaching way.

“Because we have a huge pool of expertise in ESBI and are involved in some very interesting and pioneering projects, we’re often asked to present at industry events,” he said. “Although this is a great way to meet potential clients, it’s limited in terms of reach and can be expensive when it involves international travel. The blog gives us a new way to connect with our target audiences by allowing us to easily publish and share our views of the industry online – it means we can greatly extend our marketing reach, but at a much lower cost.”

“The other benefit of the blog is it gives a more ‘human’ face to ESBI. All of the entries are written from the perspective of individual members of staff, covering everything from their day-to-day experiences to their opinions on trends and developments in the energy sector. It also gives us a better insight into our market by allowing readers to respond to blog posts with their own views.”

The ESBI blog will cover topics such as renewable energy, combined cycle gas turbine technology (CCGT), carbon capture and storage, SMART networks, ocean energy, power plant operations and maintenance (O&M), carbon reduction strategies and more.

ESBI provides a full range of engineering consultancy services to international utility customers and is currently working on projects in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of ESB, the Irish State-owned electricity company.