Eight Social Media Workplace Opportunities
The use of social media has exploded in the last several years, so much so that it now touches almost every facet of our lives. Friendster, the first social media site, was launched in 2003. Myspace, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter soon followed. Facebook, the most popular of the social media sites, currently has over 500 million users. It is the second most popular website behind Google.
Social media is about community and relationships. You probably already realize how important it is to increase your businesses exposure in your local community. Perhaps you belong to the local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary club or serve on the board of a charitable organization. Think of social media as an online extension of the many networking activities you may already participate in as part of the “real world.” Some of the more commonly known professional sites are LinkedIn, FastPitch and Plaxo. These sites are used for business networking and job hunting. Many people consider them to be customer lead generation vehicles as well. These sites share the common objective of building an online business community. They can support your business by strengthening and expanding its network of contacts. Based on specific trade and business information, LinkedIn, Fastpitch and Plaxo can enable you to connect with individuals who may have mutually beneficial opportunities to offer.
Eight social media workplace opportunities:
- Promote your company’s brand—sales and marketing professionals can use social media to introduce and promote new products and services in a way that increases a potential target market exponentially. Social networking sites allow consumers to communicate with each other and to share their thoughts and ideas about your company’s products. Additionally, social media sites provide consumers with the opportunity to “follow” your products or services or to “tweet” about their experiences, thereby creating a more personal connection while building brand loyalty.
- Engage your customers—whatever your company sells, whether a product or a service, it has a customer base that can be engaged through social media. But the manner of engagement is unique because social media has revolutionized the style of business-to-customer communications. Customers no longer want to be talked at. Instead, they are looking for organizations to listen, to appropriately engage, and to respond to them. Social media sites are now used as a version of electronic word of mouth and provide a platform for your consumers to not only speak directly to your company, but also for consumers to communicate with each other, sharing reviews or testimonials about specific products or services. Companies that join social media sites are able to create stronger relationships with their customers and are also able to improve customer service by utilizing social media to address customer service issues.
- Improved recruiting techniques—the days of simply posting a job on a job board or running a newspaper advertisement is long over. Instead, recruiters today are increasingly turning to social media sites to attract and recruit top talent. In order to avoid being barraged with hundreds of resumes submitted by unqualified candidates, recruiters are choosing to perform targeted searches on professional social media sites, such as LinkedIn. Doing so allows recruiters to search for candidates with specific knowledge, skills and experience. Prospective employees are also using company profiles posted on social media sites to develop lists of companies where they would be interested in working. By creating a detailed profile, your company will be able to attract the best candidates and maintain strong ties with former valued employees who could be potential candidates in the future.
- Employee engagement—Social Networking tools allow organizations to improve communication and productivity among employees. Professional social media sites such as LinkedIn, allow your employees to join specific work groups in order to engage in conversations with other professionals in similar industries. This kind of participation can broaden the employee’s knowledge base and help to generate new and innovative ways of meeting business challenges. Employees can also use social networking sites to build targeted professional networks that can help them stay current with market trends. Allowing employees the latitude to utilize social media techniques also promotes trust with employees and fosters a more collaborative environment.
- Cost effective—using social media as a sales and marketing tool is a very inexpensive mode of advertising because it reaches a vast audience for a marginal investment. Instead of spending large amounts of money on marketing and advertising campaigns, let your happy customers advertise for you. Many consumers rely heavily on social media sites such as Yelp, Urbanspoon, and Citysearch for peer reviews of businesses. Many consumers are no longer going directly to the source for product information; they trust their peers to fairly review products for them. Therefore it’s a good idea to encourage your customers or clients to check-in at your business, or direct them to review your product online. This method ensures that you reach a vast audience via social networks, and even better, doesn’t cost you a thing.
- Share information about your company—both customers and potential employees use social media to research companies that they have an interest in knowing more about. Social media sites provide an excellent medium for companies to share positive information. It is important to leverage sites such as Facebook and Twitter to your advantage. If your company doesn’t already have a Facebook page you should challenge your marketing team to create one. Posting a Facebook page will allow your company to generate an online community of clients or customers that are familiar with your product. Encourage your customers to “like” your Facebook page. Each time an individual “likes” a page; all of their friends see that endorsement and may become motivated to visit your site. If you have a new product coming out—or maybe you’ve been recognized for a current product or service—let your customers know via Twitter. Strategically timed “tweets” disseminate information about your company to thousands of potential customers or employees.
- An opportunity to listen—remember, just because you aren’t listening, doesn’t mean people aren’t talking. Conversations about you and your business may be taking place with you or without you. By actively taking part in the conversations happening on the web, you are able to manage these conversations in a positive manner. Leverage social media to solicit constructive feedback from both customers and employees. Social media allows companies to collect feedback both more quickly and more cost-effectively than does a traditional email or phone survey strategy. Many social media sites allow businesses to create polls, which are posted online and are viewable to anyone that visits your site. This is a great way to get invaluable feedback that you can use to improve your product. Also, by encouraging employees to participate in these polls you can improve employment practices or pinpoint deficiencies in your human capital practices and strategy.
Thought leadership—social media is an ideal venue in which to establish your company as a thought leader. Many companies effectively utilize social media blogging sites to provide company-specific content. Not only does this show your customers that you are a thought leader, it also generates conversation on the topic you choose to blog about. By framing your message in a specific way you are sure to generate consensus which will lead to increased conversation about your topic, and ultimately your company. And when you give people a reason to discuss your topic you are generating online chatter—the goal of any social media strategy.
TriNet serves as a trusted HR partner to growing companies, helping them to contain costs, minimize employer-related risks, relieve administrative burden, and keep focused on their core business functions. From routine employee benefits service and payroll processing to high-level human capital consulting, TriNet’s PEO expertise is integrated with every facet of a client’s organization. Its solutions specialize in serving fast-moving companies in fields such as technology and professional services, who recognize that top-quality employees are the most critical competitive asset. For more information, visit www.trinet.com