Welcome to my first post for The Pulse. I’m delighted to be invited to share my thoughts, tactics and insights with you around Social Media and Social Networking for business. My new posts will pop up every Wednesday and I look forward to your comments, feedback and suggestions – they may well form next week’s article!
Networking to meet potential new customers, partners or suppliers is nothing new. We’ve been doing it for hundreds of years on street corners, in milk bars, coffee shops, bars and now online.
In the past networking was hyper local and face to face. Now the world’s your oyster! With networks like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and blogs you can develop international networks, sourcing the latest in thought leadership, best practice and creative ideas. Your business card is now your Linkedin or Twitter profile.
As a leader in your company, whether you’re the CEO or a senior manager you can see the potential in using social media to connect, influence and engage but others aren’t so sure about this ‘new stuff’.
It’s important to reinforce that networking is nothing new. However the people out networking in the past were probably sales people, managers, CEO’s, business owners etc. Now anyone can use social networks, everyone in the company could have a part to play.
Social Media is not just about external relationships, but internal collaboration too. Recently we’ve started to see some of the large corporates launch internal social campaigns to drive awareness and demonstrate how social tools can impact the whole business.
Silos are so last century, information gate keepers just hold companies back from creative innovation. In today’s digital age no one in your business should be asking the same question about how to do something if it’s been asked before.
So where do you start? First I’d encourage you to realise people will be using social networks whether you like it or not, so embrace it; with some rules. Create a social media policy for your company that includes an overview of best practice guidelines and establish a listening center to monitor conversations around key people and keywords, brand names etc.
And then take a look at a tool like Yammer. Yammer is a free private social network. Many companies are using Yammer with great success.
Yammer should be used for work discussions only. It’s a fantastic way for people across all departments and teams to share knowledge, ideas, announcements and get to know others around the office.
So before you embark on external social media projects that will likely need significant internal buy-in and support; get your team on board, familiar and confident using social tools. The better you can share on the inside the better you’ll engage on the outside.
Next Wednesday I’ll be writing about how to integrate Social Media throughout your marketing channels for maximum exposure.
But until then, over to you.
Have you integrated social media within your company? What worked? What didn’t? Did you find it difficult to get everyone on board?