What comes to mind when you hear the words social media? Do you think of sites that are popular today like Twitter, FaceBook, or LinkedIn? Do you think it is just for teens or that it is just a tool to decrease employee productivity? Or, can you see past all the negative hype and see how to exploit social media platforms for a competitive advantage?
That’s right, social media can be your key to competitive advantage.
It is a tool that can help you as an individual or as a business leader to stand head and shoulders above the rest. Let’s be honest, in today’s lagging market, we need a way to stand out in a positive way and to reach our current and potential clients and customers. So, how do we get there? Social media. These are free tools that can be quickly learned and applied in ways that will communicate your brand. If you’re like I was, then you just don’t make the connection how that is possible. Let me share my story.
About two years ago, I participated in a webinar that demonstrated how to use Twitter. I sat through it wondering how in the world this would pertain to me in my role as a human resources director. I did not understand the concept of finding people with a certain background to follow. I did not understand why someone would want to follow me and see what I’m doing moment by moment. And so, like many, I signed off and did not touch it again.
Fast forward to a year ago. I loved reading human resource blogs and started my own human resource blog. I realized that many of the bloggers I was communicating with used Twitter so I signed back in. I followed HR bloggers and other HR professionals and saw them sharing relevant HR articles on trends and core competencies . I began tweeting (sharing information in 140 characters via Twitter) each time I wrote a new post on my blog. My followers would re-tweet it, meaning they would send it to all their followers. I quickly saw my blog stats rise and simultaneously, my Twitter followers increased too.
I was marketing myself!
I fell into a situation where I quickly learned the power Twitter has to connect you with other like-minded professionals in your industry or with a certain market segment that you would like to reach. The one caution I have is that the Twitter community is one not to take advantage of. You have to be genuine and willing to share and communicate, not just push out your personal or company agenda. Otherwise, you will be labeled a spammer and will quickly crash and burn.
Since that time, my blog has seen exponential growth, my personal brand as a HR professional has flourished and I have the opportunity to speak globally about the power of social media.
So, have I piqued your interest in getting involved with social media? Add your questions or your own story in the comments.
Trish–Your initial reluctance and evolving appreciation of social media mirrors mine. I have been introduced to an insightful and intelligent group of HR professionals that I never would have had access to without blogs and twitter. Social Media is not just for kids…it can be a very powerful professional tool.
I agree, it is a tool to build your competitive advantage. One part of that, often missed when people are talking about the benefits is that you can learn and become more effective. By engaging with successful professionals in your chosen topics you will learn some great things that help you be more effective.