As a college student and a graduate looking for work, I was constantly reminded of the old adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Professors, advisors and even my parents stressed the importance of making face-to-face connections in order to generate opportunities. Social media is taking the old adage and amplifying it to a point where it is no longer helpful for jobseekers to connect with employers online, or companies to connect with customers online, it’s absolutely essential.
From the standpoint of a company, the more you know about your customers, competitors, employees and key influencers in your industry, the more successful you will be.
Scott Elser suggests monitoring where your competitors are utilizing their resources to determine your social media strategy. Although I see the value of keeping tabs on your competitors, I think it’s more complex than Elser states it. Stephanie Chandler says that social media is a great way to capitalize on your competitors because most companies aren’t doing an adequate job utilizing social media. If your competitors aren’t using social media to its full potential, than why should you use them as a guideline for what your social media strategy should be?
While creating my blog about wedding planning, I looked at successful wedding blogs to see how they were reaching their audiences. Scoping out my competitors did inspire me to try different things, but it wasn’t until I was experimenting with my own blog, that I discovered what did and didn’t work.
Many authors stress that the best way for a company to connect with an audience is to be human, whether it’s through your employees’ posts or great storytelling. A prime example of how effective storytelling can benefit a company can be seen in one of the most popular Super Bowl ads this year.
Clydesdales don’t really relate to beer, but this commercial humanized Budweiser’s brand. The same theory holds true with social media. Successful companies are able to connect with their audience by using great messages that people want to retweet, post about on Facebook or blog about.
From the standpoint of a jobseeker, the more you utilize social media to build your personal brand and connect with companies and industry leaders, the more relevant and appealing you will be.
While in college, my classmates and I were constantly warned of how detrimental having social media accounts could be and we were instructed to delete our accounts. It’s true that HR departments are searching for your accounts and using social media to eliminate candidates, but now, it’s more detrimental not to a social media presence. If you’re not using social media to promote your brand and make connections, you’re not relevant.
It’s essential for companies to come off as human, but can the same be said about jobseekers? Is it important to delete all traces of your personal life from social media to appear professional, or do companies view your personal life as an asset, as long as what you express is in good taste?