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BW Businessworld

The RoI From Social

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Almost 25 per cent of the time Indians spend online is on social media. Time that you could have spent on forex trading, investing in stocks, or other productive pursuits. Not to mention, real work (yes, a lot of Indian surfing takes place on company resources). Luckily, given its addictive quality, social media can be fun as well as productive. Social media is considered ‘free’. It is possible to participate in these forums without spending money, but to see actual results (we’ll come to what these are in a bit) you will have to put in a lot of effort. Time is money, so it’s better to invest it wisely. It’s important to know which sites are best suited for what purpose, as otherwise your precious time is in danger of being squandered. 

Before we go further, allow me to let you in on a secret. Nothing, I repeat, nothing, you share on the Internet is a secret. So, while this article will elaborate on what you can do differently as a job-seeker, recruiter, businessman or self-employed expert, they are not silos. So, no matter what your reason is for entering the world of social media, you must decide how you are going to present yourself. Decide which aspects of your expertise, family milestones, professional progress and political orientation are most beneficial to your end goals. Social media is intensely personal — sharing your opinions on polarising topics can lead to you losing your friends, clients and employers. 

Moving along, what are the possible productive results we can expect from our investment in social media?

Career Enhancement
LinkedIn: Before any kind of HR decision, people will Google your name. Chances are the first hit is your LinkedIn profile. Ensure that it is complete, current and conveys an accurate description of how you want to be perceived. Highlight things like awards and key achievements to stand out. A good photo helps. Nicely done recommendations (not lightweight endorsements) will add heft to your profile. And, yes, be liberal with your email ID and phone number.

Become a member of groups that give you access to the kind of person you want to be friends with. Since most people hate being solicited with a request to buy or hire as soon as they connect with you, engage with a person for at least three months before springing on them. You can show your friendship by congratulating them on job changes, liking posts and so on.

SlideShare: Create an account and post your professional content there. Ensure it does not have any confidential data. Link your SlideShare account to your LinkedIn profile.

Twitter: Works best if you have high quality professional content or comments to share. A good way to engage with potential bosses and employees.

Facebook: Pictures and clips of professional achievements help spread the word and also enhance your standing. But don’t overdo it.

Business Generation
LinkedIn: All the things required for career enhancement are applicable here, too.  In addition, you must polish up your company page, and be active on a few groups where you can meet the right people. Post a regular update on your company, (and your) progress and milestones. Consider sponsoring updates to ensure your network actually sees your posts (without the paid option perhaps only 10 per cent or less of your followers will see your content).

Twitter: Make new friends in a business context. The friendship is based on relevant content, so if you don’t have something to say on a daily basis, Twitter may not be for you. SlideShare:  In addition to sharing brochures, decks and infographics, set up a lead capture form.

Facebook: Set up a company page and post updates, but with sponsoring updates.

YouTube: S
et up a dedicated channel and post videos of your speeches, product demonstrations and sales pitches.

WhatsApp: A community of like-minded individuals with whom you can share short bursts of useful information.

Continuous Education
Most of us are overwhelmed by information. If you have the right connections on these channels, then they will filter it and you can cherry-pick the best content. You will also find out the latest happenings in your industry, neighbourhood, area of interest — no matter how small or niche these are. Twitter and LinkedIn have drip-feed content on general interest topics and your profession. Facebook helps you find ‘popular’ articles, products and solutions. With Pinterest, you can create awesome mood boards from the best in the world. And YouTube provides step-by-step instruction videos on almost anything you’d like to do.
 
With social media, you’re never at a loss for what to say after you say hello. Now, go play!  

(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 30-06-2014) ]]>