Research shows that management in Ireland is largely people in their forties, fifties and sixties. This is the case in both large and small business, private or publicly owned and it is also the case in the management of the public sector.(see link below) It is no wonder Irish business is slow to embrace the new medium that is social media. Being in my mid forties, when I ask my friends if they are on Twitter or Facebook they look at me with horror, as if to say, I would not sully myself or my company, by stooping to that level. Pause for dramatic effect:)
Most of the people I interact with are of a similar age as myself or older. They are business owners and senior management, Social Media is a frivolous pass time in their minds (some thing for their children or grand children) and they can not understand why I am interested and working in the sector. It actually boggles their minds that people could make a living from such a venture. They do not understand the fact that their market/customers are moving to this sector and their companies and services are not currently being offered thru this channel. So in five years they will have no customers and no business.
I did not pause for dramatic effect here because this is a widely held view among the largest companies in the world who are now using social media to develop new markets and to engage with their customers (communities). Coke, Ford, IBM and other large business are actively driving their business growth by creating social business’s to best leverage social media. These companies do not waste money on frivolous fads, they are following their market research which shows their customers are engaged in social media in large numbers.
This does not have to be large business, it can be in any size or business sector. In an Irish context have a look at Simply Zesty, a major success story. The level of company engagement should be dictated by your resources and does not have to be an all consuming and expensive exercise, which is some peoples worry, but these people are somewhat informed. It is the uninformed companies that are the major concern, because their markets are currently moving and they have not done any research to discover where they are going.
This is also the case in the public sector, so much could be done to help to cut costs and help the reduced work force to work smarter so that they can say ahead of demand and help the countries recovery from the current reality.
I will cover some of the areas that should be explored over the coming months how you can look to leverage the sector and give examples of successful companies.