Networking: A social media conference anchored the British Chamber of Commerce for Luxembourg’s annual trade fair Wednesday night.
Photo: Charles Caratini
There are more than one million Facebook members in Luxembourg and the Greater Region, noted Daniel Eischen, CEO of Interact, who served as moderator of the forum. That is not including users of other social networks such as LinkedIn and Zap.lu. Setting the stage, he asked: “Are you able to talk to them? Are they interested? At what cost?”
In its eight year history, Skype has grown to more than 180 million users in 143 countries, said Neil Ward, general manager business operations of Skype in Luxembourg. The internet communications firm uses social media to keep customers happy without having a huge budgetary impact. Instead of manning huge call centres, it encourages users to provide technical support to each other and provide the company with product feedback through its online forums.
By the same token, Skype--recently acquired by Microsoft--does not look at social media primarily as a marketing channel to gain new customers, Ward told Delano following the conference.
That is an objective for BGL BNP Paribas, on the other hand, youth communications manager Ilona Biwer told the audience. By running creative social media promotions--such as sponsoring a David Guetta concert where users were encouraged to contribute to a photo-blog--the firm can reach young people who would not normally be interested in hearing from “a stuffy bank.”
FaceBook, LinkedIn and Twitter are “the easiest steps” and “good things to do,” said Patric De Waha, founder and CEO of Zap.lu. But it’s important to “engage at a deeper level.” He spontaneously suggested the bank create a “forex app” where users would play a foreign exchange game with virtual currencies. De Waha reckoned that if young people gained enough experience online, “they might try it in real life.”
“It’s better to rely on technical means than lawyers,” when it comes to protecting yourself on social media, reckoned Albert Moro, partner at the law firm Clifford Chance. Preventative measures--including correctly drafting vendor contracts and employee policies--will be more effective in the long-run. While criminal and civil cases can be brought if secrets are leaked or the company is defamed, Moro said if “the harm is done, you can only try to mitigate the consequences.”
At the same time, legal action may simply result in more negative newspaper headlines when otherwise “two days later no one will remember it.”