If you think participating in social media is a waste of time, CompTIA’s Nov. 14 webinar, “How to Use Social Media to be More Effective at your Job,” sponsored by the trade association’s Advancing Women in IT (AWIT) community, will convince you otherwise.
Look around, urged webinar panelist Ginger Clay, marketing strategist at the business coaching firm 4-Profit LLC. “Your competitors are social, the people around you are being social,” she said. “They are talking to your clients. Even if you aren’t, they are.”
LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, SlideShare and even Facebook can help you be more effective at your job by strengthening relationships with colleagues, customers and partners – current and future. And strong relationships are the cornerstone to business success, contends Clay, fellow panelist Richard Tubb, a UK-based consultant to SMB IT companies, and moderator Michelle Ragusa, global customer and partner experience manager at Cisco Systems.
Engaging with people on social media – no matter what platform used – “is a great way to get noticed and get ahead,” said Tubb, who operates a Tubblog, his blog giving news and advice to SMB IT companies.
Social media allows companies and individuals to attract people by offering relevant, useful information, Clay said. “It allows us to pull people to us through [offering] relevant information versus the traditional spray-and-pray marketing approach.” She added that solving someone’s problem is the quickest way to get noticed. “When we talk about the problems that we solve, instantly we engage with our clients and our response rates start to rise.”
Social media tips and suggestions from Clay and Tubb included, by platform:
LinkedIn: “Really instrumental in helping us recruit new talent,” Clay said. This platform for building business relationships is often underused, Tubb contended. He urged attendees to spend 30 seconds personalizing any LinkedIn invitations. “Tell the person where you met, why you should connect and what benefit they’re going to get out of it,” he said. And once you do connect, spend 30 seconds looking at their profile – their history, interests and connections.
SlideShare: Posting content on SlideShare can generate business leads, Clay said. “People see our content and reach out to us.”
YouTube: “It’s a great way of branding,” said Clay, who has used YouTube for a training library.
Twitter: Initiating real-time, unfiltered conversations with clients and industry colleagues can build brand credibility. “It’s not hosted on your website, so it doesn’t feel so marketing-y,” Clay said.
Google+: “Some of the best people in our industry are on Google+,” Tubb said. “The signal-to-noise ratio is actually quite good because not everybody is using it.” Google+ participation can improve your ranking on Google search. Google Authorship allows you to link content you publish on another domain to your Google+ profile, he said. The item will appear in Google search results with the author’s profile photo, which can lead to greater notice in the search results.
Blogging: “Everybody’s got something to say,” Tubb said. Too frequently new bloggers give up quickly because they don’t get comments or feedback on their early posts. Be consistent in your posts and keep writing, he urged. “If you continue to write for yourself and enjoy the writing process, people will enjoy what you have to say.”
Facebook: Do people make buying decisions based on what they see on Facebook? “Of course they do,” said Clay, explaining that Facebook is one of many influencers. Facebook is “one of the easiest tools for making yourself known, for giving a pictorial representation of what you do,” she said. “It makes you human, and people do business with people they like and trust.” Finally, Clay added, “Facebook ads make it really easy to target people.”
Use your time on social media wisely, urged Tubb, by employing tracking tools like Bitly.com and social media management tools like Buffer. “Get to the point. Do the important things. Don’t just get into the habit of clicking on a lot of tweets.”
Business success on social media is not measured in sales, or in the number of Facebook Likes or LinkedIn connections, Tubb and Clay agreed. “You are looking for areas of engagement, the number of conversations you are having with people – good (conversations) or bad,” Tubb said.