At one point, it was ok not to have an account on Facebook or Twitter. However, now that over 72% of United States internet users are on Facebook and 70% of Facebook users reside outside of the USA, according to a recent study, it’s clear that social can’t be ignored any more. Businesses and individuals need a Facebook account to keep up with their peers and potential or current customer base.
Facebook and other social media sites like Twitter, StumbleUpon, and LinkedIn are now an integral part of how the online world communicates every day, either through computers or smartphones, which also have a growing user base.
To Be Taken Seriously, Jump Right In
Businesses, organizations and individuals that jump in head-first and stay connected throughout the myriad changes of social media websites may be perceived more positively than companies or individuals that shy away. A recent article by Newsday.com cites writer Morgan McKean, who explains that:
“These days, any business that doesn’t have a Web presence isn’t taken seriously. What job seekers have to understand is that their career is their business. They must have a place to send potential employers to see their background. The product or brand they are selling is their skill set. They need to have a place to highlight their features and the benefits to working with them. Without these things, they lack credibility in this new job market.”
As McKean points out, job seekers and companies are judged similarly when they have a poor social media and overall online presence. Additionally, having an outdated social media presence may have other negative influences — on an individual’s dating life or a company’s prospective employee pool. Customers do not take a company seriously when they have an outdated website and prospective employees (or romantic interests) may feel the same.
New Skills For A New Communication Reality
Learning to be productive and effective in social media is something that starts earlier than ever nowadays, since it has become an integral part of how we communicate. A middle school in the Louisville, Kentucky area has initiated a social media program called “My Digital Life” that teaches students how to use social media effectively — both to discourage online bullying and to increase awareness about online safety.
Additionally, professionals need to constantly be expanding their knowledge of social media. Thankfully, there are a plethora of resources to learn from, especially when it comes to guides for beginners. For instance, in a January 2012 article on Forbes.com, contributor Haydn Shaughnessy provides tips for professionals who suddenly find themselves charged with developing and managing their company’s social media strategy. He covers topics like ways to build follower counts, how to nurture an online community, and finding content to post via multiple social networking channels.
Other resources for individuals looking to build their social media influence personally and professionally include sites like Marketing Land, but the best way to learn is to create an account and look at how others are approaching the challenge. Find ways to highlight key unique features or qualities while also developing trust and a supportive community that looks forward to staying connected.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.