Social interaction without the presence of Internet playing at least a small role in it can be difficult these days. Why has social media taken over our free time as well as work time and what makes social media management so valuable – is it all about keeping pace with changing trends or pervasive need for availability? In any case, social media management can be vitally important for both, managers and employees. A far-reaching and interconnected network of information and contacts can be a powerful weapon or a gold mine.
In the following article, we take a look at an interview with Reid Hoffman, one of the co-founders of LinkedIn, now a representative of this business social network service as an executive chairman. Some of you are already familiar with this name, others are surely placed in a bewilderment. Mr. Hoffman is a man who is capable of miracles in the field of networking and there is a great amount we can learn from him.
On the skin of an extraordinary man
Let’s familiarize ourselves with who this extraordinary man is. As mentioned ahead, he was one of the pioneers who founded the social network platform assigned for businesses that has become known to everyone as LinkedIn. He is a pioneer in this field as much as his thoughts were breakthroughs in the years ´93 and ´94; in this period there were not many opportunities when it comes to online networking, so this idea was evolving hand-in-hand with the Internet and people’s ability to use it.
“An entrepreneur is someone who jumps off a cliff, and builds a plane on his way down.”
Basically, the social servers and social management tools were set for a purpose. And the purpose changes with time and as technologies evolve. What is the key to success with social media, how can somebody see, or better foresee demand and its adaptation in the next few years? It all starts with networking. Next, we will bore into some extracts from an interview made by Khan Academy. Letter K stands for a founder of this educational server, Salman Khan, whereas letter R represents Khan’s interviewee Reid Hoffman.
K: And this was the first social network idea. And then you’re next couple of roles were exploring that space.
R: Yes, well I’ve always been, and I think this is true of many entrepreneurs, and I actually still by this point would never dream that the word entrepreneur applied to me, was that they have some vision for how technology or product or the way the world can be a problem solved. And for me it was this question of “How are we better as individuals and as a society?” “How do we have that conversation?” “How do we move forward?” And so, all of the social dynamics of what is called “online” or “online systems” like for example, “What is your identity?” “How do you post pictures?” How do you find other people?” “How do you communicate with them?” “How do you work with them?” All of these things were kind of key. And so I knew that’s what I wanted to be doing and I wanted to be pulling up experience…”
5 Steps to success
After reading of these brainstorming and thought-provoking words of Mr. Hoffman, you should have an inclination of the depth of the whole idea. The mistake that people make is to think that LinkedIn is just sharing information on the server and maybe one day somebody will see and contact you, and offer you your dream job. Time to wake up!
We are monitored and evaluated on every particular step we make online. Regardless of whether it is true or not, we should be careful about what we share online in the social media channels. There is a risk that a single social media update turns into a bottomless well under your feet. Likewise, there is a possibility the same update shows your mature opinion and indicates your strengths in communication through reactions on various articles or shared pictures.
We must admit that to keep pace with modern technology is not always easy. There are plenty of publications instructing you on how to successfully navigate your way through the Internet with the result of landing a dream job or widening your professional network, Reid Hoffman among them. But if you do not have time to read an entire publication on the matter you could simply keep in mind these five key points:
Plan ahead: Write down all your ideas for social media posts. Make a weekly or a monthly plan of posts and keep in mind holidays, like Mothers’ Day or Halloween, and incorporate them into your updates. You might also want to spend a minute or two on considering what sorts of reactions your update might awaken and plan ahead some good responses for different scenarios.
Identify your focus platforms: What is the target group of your business? What is the industry you would like to get involved with? Keep such things in mind when creating social media updates. Also, think about which social media platforms are then the most beneficial for you. There is no point to spend time on showing up everywhere if your target group is not involved in Snapchat, for example.
Take lots of photos: People are visual creatures and even if you are not interested in art, your eye is caught by pictures rather than plain text. Rather than using ready-made pictures searched from online we would recommend photos taken by you or someone you know in your social media updates. Take a bunch of photos once in a few months and you have plenty to go with.
Set aside time to engage: It is not enough to just post updates online, you must also be active yourself. Have an hour a day to check your social media channels and answer to the commentators. Show people that you are active and available. This is an easy way to increase your visibility and connect with your interest groups.
Brainstorm: Be alert and ready for ideas and inspiration all the time and everywhere. If you see an advertisement on TV or on the street that causes a reaction in you write it down: what was the reaction and why? Is this a reaction you want to avoid or use in your social media channels and how could you achieve it? Also be open and ask your co-workers and employees what their thoughts have been about the previous social media updates. Plan together, fresh ideas and different ways of looking at things can never hurt.
“The fastest way to change yourself is to hang out with people who are already the way you want to be.” (Reid Hoffman)
Get in the game
There are plenty of companies offering social media management so that you would not have to spend time on it yourself. But before you go for the seemingly easy option, ask yourself is it really worth it? How could this big, possibly international company know your company in any other way than a part of the gray mass they serve daily in a routine manner? Is there a benefit in the end if your social media channel had a more intimate overlook of you or your company? Could that be your competitive edge?
Whether you hire a company to look after your social media management or you take care of it yourself the fact remains that social media is a major platform and player in today’s marketplaces. And if you want to succeed you need to be there. But keep in mind that social media is a delicate instrument and one tiny step to the wrong direction can have massive consequences. Getting back to the character of Reid Hoffman we could note that he abounds strong social conscience, which sources from education and interest in history, sociology, and human psychology. He was able to connect needs of ordinary people with an incredibly difficult mechanism of entrepreneurship and business. He was also able to see into this issue and he does not hesitate to share his views with people who want to understand them. Even if his business is not related to yours his story is an inspirational one. And that is what social media is all about eventually: inspiration.