Social networking strategy

Social networking is my thing this year and I just wanted to share my strategy with you in case you find it useful.

I spend about 30 minutes each day managing my Twitter and Linkedin accounts and it really helps.  Each day on Linkedin, I search for others I can connect with. I also look through my connections and find people whom I can endorse and after endorsing them I ask them to endorse me as well. I added my social networks to my email signature so that people I communicate with will add me or view my social networks.

Weekly, I look for one thing on my Linkedin that I can improve and then I improve that area.  It may be adding more detail to a section or revising some wording but I make regular edits.  Next, I Google myself to make sure that no negative information appears about me and that my positive sites appear early in the search results.

Most employers Google potential employees and they check their Linkedin, Twitter and public Facebook so it can really pay off.┬á You can also search for jobs on Linkedin but it will only show jobs that you are connected with so as you add more connections, more jobs will become available.┬á I never would have landed the book contract if it weren’t for Linkedin.

Social Media ÔÇô After the Breach | American Bar Association

Considerable effort can go into stealing personal and company information, but more and more individuals are just giving it away. Today, communication in the workplace has moved to Facebook walls and office gossip is tweeted around the world. YouTube videos portray ÔÇ£behind the scenesÔÇØ footage giving the entire world a glimpse into what once was restricted to employees and an occasional guest. Cast out into the Wild West of time and space that we call the Internet is all manner of private information, both personal and corporate. Telephone numbers, important contacts, addresses, social security numbers, banking and financial data, birth dates, private medical information, and even corporate decisions and strategy are readily and easily available. Moreover, comments made in a personal, trusting setting are now sent into the vast beyond, where they can remain permanently. Read more in the article published in the ABA by me and Timothy Opsitnick.

Increasing security risks associated with social networking

Social Networking is a godsend and a concern, a help and a hindrance, an amazing feat and a terrible nuisance. While these descriptors apply for the individual, they are exacerbated multiple times for a corporation. A corporation needs to be concerned with everything from profits to people, and social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter, or the new Google+ among others have tremendous impact on how a corporation looks at its priority list. Certain facets of social networking can be beneficial to businesses, for example social networking provides a business with free publicity. In addition to publicity, social networking allows a business to  into new markets and different demographics. Though networking brings many new possible clients and expands a business, it can also be riddled with potential pitfalls. For example, a business can divulge too much information via social networking. Also, privacy on sites like Facebook can be a little suspect, and thus put important corporate information at risk.

Now that a brief overview of the potential problems and possible benefits has been explored, a brief definition of Social Networking should be established. For this the Wikipedia definition will suffice, “A social networking service is an online service, platform, or site that focuses on building and reflecting of social networks or social relations among people, who, for example, share interests and/or activities. A social network service essentially consists of a representation of each user (often a profile), his/her social links, and a variety of additional services.” This definition exemplifies that social networks are used for establishing links among people and while it is not explicitly stated corporations. However, it does not address the problems within social networking. This is a problem that cannot be overlooked or understated. Many dangers exist within the milieu of social networking and they must be explored.

 

Advantages

A few of the main goals of a corporation include the growth and sustainability of the company. Social networking provides a very advantageous solution to spreading the word about a company. Whether or not the company is a new up and coming or is looking to reformulate its image within the public eye, social networking can be beneficial. The client base is extensive and the upkeep is at a low cost. With social networking corporations can hit multiple demographics and do it with an individualistic flair. Instead of a billboard advertisement trying to reach everyone, a corporation can use a Facebook post to reach a small population within the larger picture. Social networking can also be an option to solve communications problems. A recent news story that came out on July 6, 2011 discussed Facebook’s new chatting features, layout, and conference calling. As well as these new elements Facebook has also launched the ability to individually video chatting in a partnership with Skype. However, these new features are not the only ways that social networking affords corporations with regards to bridging the communication gap. Social networking could be used to reach the entire employee base within a corporation as a unifying force. Event notifications and shared calendars can insure that projects be completed on time.

Disadvantages

Unfortunately not everything associated with social networking is positive. For a corporation the adverse effects that social networking has on employee productivity can be a problem. People can spend company time on updating their Facebook profiles or checking their twitter feed instead of working on valuable projects. Employees that would be working diligently are instead lured into complacency via social networking. A lack of productivity affects the company through the individual employee; however, social engineering and corporate espionage could compromise the entire corporation. In another blog corporate espionage was discussed at length and its dangers. These dangers are intensified through the use of social networking. People and employees can be seduced and compelled to divulge company sensitive information through social networking sites. Furthermore, once these secrets are published the ownership of the information is disputed. There is ambiguity within the law as to who owns responsibility over what is updated to these social networking websites. A study was done in Spain published on May 9, 2011 that dissected the problems with social networking. The study discussed where the blame falls with regard to libel and slander cases. However, this study could also set a precedent that social networking sites by taking responsibility for the libel that could be posted on their websites also take responsibility for anything posted on their sites including sensitive information or corporate secrets. From an information technology (IT) standpoint social networking could have large costs due to the bandwidth required to manage these sites. The sites themselves may take up relatively small areas of bandwidth, but the problems ensue with the streaming of bandwidth gobbling videos or music. This bandwidth shortage is problematic on an individual level because employees are being less productive by looking at what their friends post, but also can be troubling to corporations heavily involved in publicizing itself via social networking sites. Corporations uploading promotional videos heralding their service or product on these sites can take up a lot of bandwidth traffic. This self-publicizing can create headaches for IT departments.

When it comes to maintaining friendships on the individual level social networking sites provide tremendous opportunities, however possible danger could exist for corporations and companies. These dangers include the possibility of a decline of worker productivity and the ability for social engineers to take advantage of workers otherwise known as corporate espionage. Although there are possible dangers to social networking, the possibilities afforded by networking are not completely bleak. Many benefits can be extruded from the use of social networking sites. For example, a company can use sites like facebook and twitter to connect to specific demographics and really reach out to them. In addition to that, the free publicity afforded by social networking sites is invaluable to corporations. The bottom line is social networking should be used but with extreme caution and acumen.

For further reading

A study analyzes the legal problems of social networks

5 Problems with Social Media *Marketing*

Skype Enables Video Calling on Facebook