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As I mentioned in previous blogs the average age of management and business owners in Ireland is well into their middle age, forties, fifties and ……

This leads me to the believe that they neither understand or want to understand the importance of social media and social business for their business; this in essence is a classic Scotoma.

What’s a Scotoma, I have written about Scotoma’s and what behaviour they represent before, a Scotoma is a blind spot which clouds our view of things or people, but how does this relate to business?

A classic business Scotoma could be described in the following way. Say you have a brilliant sales person in your organisation, this person out sells your other sales staff every week, but there is a flaw, the sales person does not complete the paper work in a neat and tidy manner. The manager fixates on this and keeps pulling the sales person about this, to the point where the sales person leaves the company. A replacement is brought in who does fill in the paper work well but can’t produce the sales figures.

Which would you prefer, sales or paper work. Simple answer no sales no paper work, but the managers behaviour, a Scotoma, has driven the sales person out of the organisation. Blind spots will do this, you lose sight of the real goal. This happens every day in business. Sometimes we are so busy working in our business we do not allow time to work on our business.

It is my belief that social business/media is a Scotoma to Irish business and organisations. There is no doubt, business’s that develop a strategy to enter the online community with a well thought out online marketing campaign, benefit from the initiative.

Most Irish business are staring at a proven method of delivering their marketing message and they think social online is for children to amuse themselves and their friends. They do not even bother to do research, mention the next big thing online, Pinterest to them and watch their facial expression, nothing. Sure Pinterest is early in it’s development and may not be relevant for Irish business just yet but they should know what’s coming and plan accordingly.

Large and small business the world over are leveraging the business possibilities from a strategic entry into the social business field. Coca-Cola, Dell, IBM and Ford are all big business icons. They have all embraced social business. Two years ago the CEO of Coca-Cola set his management a new target, doubling sales in America.

The management expressed the view that they were maxed out in the US market. The CEO disagreed and told them come back with a plan. After much gnashing of teeth they finally did. Today Coca-Cola are about half way thru a 5 five year online marketing initiative and the goal of doubling the US market share is well within sight. How have they achieved these incredible result?

Social Business, building an online community and devising a content marketing strategy. This was uncharted waters for the marketing crew in Coke. They have being setting standards is excellence as have IBM and the other names I mentioned earlier. Strategy and content are the two corners stones of any social business. In an Irish context look at Simply Zesty’s site or how the brilliant Cork company Hairy Baby conduct themselves online, these are not accidents, it is all about strategy.

Can the Irish large business and the SME sector get past it’s scotoma, yes is the answer. Management needs to educate itself about the possible benefits and the ROI which has being in debate for some time. The ROI of social business according to the head of Burberry Angela Ahrendts is, will your business exist in five years if you don’t embrace social. An overstatement? For big business, no not really. Burberry have embraced online marketing and have reaped the rewards, partnering with a company called Sales Force, world leaders in this space.

So how do Irish business beat this scotoma? Firstly become aware of your behaviour. Secondly educate yourself about the subject, billions of people are online. Billions of revenue is being generated yearly and this growth is on a very dramatic upward curve. Find an online marketing company with a proven track record and develop a strategy. Then and only then get your feet wet.