First published Thursday, May 15, 2014
In the rapidly changing digital world, there are an increasing number of ways to keep in touch, to comment, to raise your profile and on the flip side, get caught out by a status update or throw away remark.
Whereas in days gone by the local grapevine would maybe take a day or two to spread a rumour, positive or negative, these days news can travel in a matter of minutes, and to a far broader audience than perhaps you intended.
Of course, whether you are the employer or the employee, there are benefits to having a presence on social media platforms. There are several different ones available, and for many, the best results will be achieved by using a mixture of them.
Facebook, once the online equivalent of someone’s school year book, is now far more than that. It is a predominantly social network (full of amongst other things pictures of parties, kids, and cute animals) but there are business benefits to being part of the scene. It can provide your business with a more ‘approachable’ feel, and be a means through which, as with most social media streams, you can drive traffic to your website. For an employee whether current or potential, it’s something to handle a little carefully – who can see your updates, who is on your friends list sharing things you post? The photos of you and your mates on a pub crawl round the town may not be something you want to share with everyone!
Twitter allows some pretty quick interaction from a business perspective, and used wisely can do wonders for your image and reputation. We’ve all seen the stories of various major businesses who have turned negative situations around very quickly through quick and appropriate use of Twitter, but equally sometimes things can go sour rapidly too. Likewise seemingly ‘throwaway’ comments about your football team top scorer (or not!) or the person who cut you up on the drive to work can land you in trouble, both with your employer, and on occasion the police.
Google+ is still for some, one of those ‘we know it exists, but what do we do with it?’ sites. From an SEO perspective it’s good to have provided you can commit to putting some content through fairly regularly. You can also link it up with Google Places, and YouTube amongst others, and so maintain a strong profile and image using multiple streams. It is perhaps more business orientated than Facebook, and more ‘grown up’ (less pictures of kids, cats and parties). Given that Google will search this platform more readily than others, bear in mind that what you post will almost certainly be seen at some stage.
The last of the ‘main crop’ of social media platforms, at least for this article, is LinkedIn. There is a lot of conversation going on at present about LinkedIn taking over from Facebook for a lot of people, however given how much a ‘Premium’ account can cost, you would have to be pretty sure on the benefits of it to spend that kind of cash (a basic account is free). From a business point of view LinkedIn is well worth taking a good look at. There are groups and discussion fora that can be of great interest to your sector, and provoke interesting ideas and outputs. Additionally you can create a company profile page in the same way as you can on Facebook, but here it’s maybe a little more ‘grown up’.
From an individual perspective, LinkedIn allows you to build your own profile and ‘market’ yourself to the wider world in a professional capacity. As you can populate your profile with work, interests, awards and other achievements, it effectively becomes your online CV (bear this in mind when submitting yours in a job application – here at the Recruiter Group we actively check your CV against your LinkedIn profile and will question you on anything that’s not matching up!) LinkedIn can keep you in the loop of opportunities that may be of interest to you, and on occasion may provide a potential employer with the information they want to approach you and make an offer, even if you’re not actively looking.
Regardless of where you spend most of your time online, and whether you are doing so from a business or personal perspective, keep in mind that whatever you post and share will be there on a potentially global stage. Reputations can take years to build, but minutes to shatter. If you’re posting personally, stop and think it over before you hit the share button, if you’re posting as an organsation, spending some time working up a social media policy in line with your marketing strategy can save costly errors later on.
Last but not least, keep it social! It’s called social media for a reason, so when you’re using it, keep it straightforward – jargon, lengthy technical discussions and ‘buzz’ words may mean something to a few, but are unlikely to mean much to your potential audience. Keep the content fresh, and keep it relevant, and if a particular platform isn’t right for you or your business, then don’t feel you have to be there!
First posted on The Recruiter Group Blog