“Here at GFR, we talk about social media from time to time. Okay, it probably comes up every week in some way, shape, or form but this week we tackled it head on. We decided to do this not only because it’s a big topic in the news but also because a lot of companies are struggling with how to balance using social media as a marketing tool with the perils of revealing too much personal or sensitive information to the public via their employees or associates.
Stephanie Lloyd is a recruiter here in Atlanta with Calibre Search Group. She says that a lot of people just don’t use basic common sense when it comes to their online identities. A good exercise she says every job candidate should go through is to Google themselves. Potential employers could do this and it’s always a good idea to see what your digital identity looks like.
Sean Nelson wrote the book on LinkedIn quite literally (or at least a book). He began using LinkedIn to expand his insurance business and through that, he’s become an expert on how to effectively use LinkedIn. Now, he teaches others how to do the same. His take on social media is that you must have a strategy and purpose for using it. You wouldn’t attend a networking event without a reason and likewise, you shouldn’t just be haphazardly using social media. LinkedIn is a great business tool and both Sean and Stephanie agreed that it’s basically your online resume so it should closely match if not mirror your actual resume or CV. Sean discussed the importance of joining groups and answering questions to expand your direct network beyond people you already know. He says he spends about 5 hours per week online which he thinks is adequate and it can be easily integrated into your schedule.
In addition to discussing some of the pitfalls of social media, we also discussed why it’s an important tool and that companies should begin to take a proactive role in coaching their employees on how to use it. Used properly, it can be an amazing vehicle for promoting your company in a very positive and genuine way. Zappos is a textbook example of a company that has embraced social media and even incorporates Twitter into its corporate website. Stephanie pointed out that if companies simply try to pretend it doesn’t exist, the conversation will be happening regardless. By engaging in a positive way, a company has the opportunity to guide the discussion about their brand rather than others doing it for them.
All in all, we agreed that social networking is a new tool but in a few years time will be just as natural as using email or the telephone. It’s simply a shift in the way we communicate and most agree, a positive one at that.
Have a stellar week and we’ll see you next Tuesday at 10am!