SOCIAL MEDIA is booming in the business community. The medium has become integral to marketing, sales, public relations, policy, and strategy. The impact it has had on how we conduct business has become so transformational that the protocols are still evolving. Whether you are a veteran of digital communication or a newbie to the world of instant and perpetual content sharing, there are some fundamental steps to follow on social media to make your presence more effective for you personally and/or for your company.
1) Join: as the analogy with playing the lottery states, “you cannot win if you don’t play.” There is a multitude of excellent social media forums to consider joining and playing in. The key ones from my personal perspective are LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google, Pinterest, and FedScoop because they all offer professional outlets to learn, participate, and contribute to discussions relating to my business and social interests. I particularly enjoy LinkedIn because of its business and public policy orientation.
2) Establish a Social Media Profile: It is important to create profiles on the various sites that are accurate, interesting, and representative of your core interests and capabilities. As the Founder of the Internet, Google’s Vint Cerf noted recently, on the Internet, there is no such thing as privacy. Expect your profile to be seen and make sure it portrays the public face you desire. A good idea is to search prominent leaders’ profiles in the areas of your business or professional interest to see how they word, format, and describe their passions.
3) Be Relevant: Social media is living media and it helps brand you and your company. Be aware of your audience’s interests and contemplate what they would like to see in terms of content. Joining topic-specific groups of special interest to you is a great way to keep current on the issues of the day. It is also the perfect forum for sharing articles, comments, and your own writings with like-minded members. Corporate and academic Alumni groups are really good venues to join and share accomplishments.
4) Be Polite, helpful, and Kind: There is no reason for name-calling and being rude. Discussion of ideas in an open forum should be civil. Group moderators try to enforce parameters but sometimes hurtful comments slip in. If you want to be impactful on social media, be positive and compliment others when they share items that are of value. I am a big proponent of “liking” or endorsing people and content when it is meaningful. I also try to alert or refer people to jobs if I am in a position to help. All across social media there are many opportunities to assist for social good and to join and promote activities/groups that have charitable and philanthropic motives online.
5) Operations & Maintenance (O & M): It is useful to be organized and current and continually update your profile and add projects, jobs, published writings, and engagements. Many of the social media vehicles will keep you abreast of birthdays, job changes, and work anniversaries of to whom you are connected. It is a great way to stay abreast of what your network in doing and be a part of the social media fabric.
6) Find Me and Connect on LinkedIn and Twitter: LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/chuckbrooks/ or Twitter: @ChuckDBrooks