The professional and personal benefits of social media connectivity
The world is changing faster, the way you used to do things is not the best way to do them anymore. For almost every business, there are processes and advances available right now that would help them to work smarter, better, and more efficiently. But given the rate of change, they likely don’t even know it yet.
Considering the increasing velocity of change, it makes sense that all brands and individuals should be adopting large-scale habitual shifts like social media. Given the rate at which things are evolving, ignoring such advances or avoiding them is only going to leave you further behind in the long run.
Here’s a few ways in which social technology is changing our everyday job and workplace activity.
Bringing us together
Twitter Mention Map via mentionmapp.com
One of the things that excites me most about the connected era is the opportunities provided by greater unification. The ability to connect the world has always been the driving force of social media – Mark Zuckerberg always cites it as his main motivation whenever opportunity presents itself. This is underlined by projects like Facebook’s ‘internet.org’, which aims to ‘bring together technology leaders, non-profits and communities to connect two-thirds of the world that doesn’t have internet access’.
Social technology has the power to bring us together, to work towards a more unified global population. The ability to log onto Meerkat or Periscope and experience another person’s perspective on the world, on the other side of the globe, in real-time, is truly an amazing achievement, and one which we largely take for granted, given its place within the context of advances that have come before it. This type of connectivity was beyond imagination a decade ago, when we were all customising our MySpace pages.
For me, ‘Together’ is the word that comes to mind when considering the opportunities of the socially-empowered generation.
This applies in both a commercial and personal sense, as social media provides everyone with a platform —an opportunity to share their voice with the world — the onus is on us to hear it, to respond and acknowledge and communicate, and thus, expand our horizons.
- In a commercial sense, this puts significantly more power into the hands of the consumer, as brands now have to work harder to find the signals and respond — personalisation is fast becoming the expectation. Brands that fail to recognise this are already lagging behind.
- In a personal sense, it allows every individual to share what they are passionate about and find an audience of like-minded people. No matter what it is you want to do, you can explore it, you can share it, and hopefully, you can find an avenue to make your dreams come true through having the courage to put them out there for others to see.
Social provides opportunity for individuals to build their own persona, to showcase their talents — and increasingly, brands are taking notice, recruiters and businesses are considering your social media activity in their assessment processes. Some see this as a negative, that people might be judging you on your drunken weekend photos or ill-fated high-school fashion choices, but it’s equally possible that they’re doing the opposite —that they’re learning about who you are and what you’re into, what you bring to the table, based on your posts.
Future of work
In this context, the role social media activity will play in the future of work will be even more significant.
Rather than be concerned about judgements, this should inspire you to share more of what you care about, to allow yourself to be yourself through your online profiles. As social media assessment evolves, it’s not your slip-ups that are going to be taken into account, it’s your personality traits.
Researchers have already found that they can build incredibly accurate psychological profiles based solely on people’s Facebook activity, and the accuracy of such assessments is only going to increase as more people grow up on Facebook and other social platforms, logging their experiences, likes, and interests. This type of analysis will eventually your everyday social media activity could lead you to your perfect job, who’re most suited to their culture and values.
Building a successful team requires a mix of personality types, so this should not be seen as a prescription or set of rules a person should follow online in order to meet the requirements of a specific employer. Smart businesses will know that each role in each department will all require different types of people. While the technology will better facilitate finding the right fit, that fit will be varied, specific to each situation.
The greatest audience insights tool
Often times you’ll see people debating the true value of social media for marketing, where the real strength of the medium lies for brands and businesses. It’s a question I often ask when talking to social media industry leaders, what they see as the true value of social. And their answers are always different, always interesting in themselves, but it’s a question that there’s no 100% answer to. But really there is.
The true strength of social media, the element that puts it far and above any other platform and any other communications medium that has come before it, from a marketing and branding standpoint, is data.
Never before have we had access to such an amazing array of insights – the human experience is now being logged, and saved, and filed in easily accessible lines of code, alphabetised and categorised.
For years, businesses have paid millions for audience insights, market research, and feedback surveys, and all of these things have been gold for brands and businesses and have formed the backbone of how they conduct their strategy. But those methods aren’t even close to what we can access now, not even in the same ball park. Social media is the greatest audience insight tool we have ever had, by far.
The depths of social media data have not been, and cannot be, fully assessed and comprehended – because it’s growing in real-time, it’s evolving before our eyes. All the discussion right now is about big data, the value of big data, the power of all the data we have before us. But no one’s fully across how to use it. Because we’ve never had it before, we’ve never had such amazing levels of insight. Where do you begin?
As with the previously noted example of finding the employees best suited to your company, as data analysis advances, social media will form the backbone of virtually every marketing activity.
As we move from retrospective analysis to real-time assessment, social data will enable brands to find the conversations that matter to them, to find the people who’re most likely to be interested in their products and services. And finding them will be crucial — already, people posting on Twitter are expecting brands to respond within an hour. That expectation will spread, but smart brands will move beyond this, and will be monitoring and tracking their target customers, locating them before they’re even thinking about making a purchase.
Social data is loaded with compelling insights, and assessment systems are improving every day, removing inconsistent results, taking out anomalies that can skew the dataset. Digital analytics are advancing at a rapid rate – it’s not crazy to think that your social media activity will one day lead to brands knowing what you want, before you even realise it yourself.
That’s scary, right? That’s a concern. But is it?
Targeted ads are a thing, you get them every time you go online, one way or another. Isn’t it better to get targeted ads that are actually based on your interests, things you actually might click on? You’re going to be shown ads either way – surely more relevant ads are better for both consumers and marketers alike?
And here’s the thing – while targeted marketing like this might be a concern now, the next generation are not only going to be used to such focus, they’re going to expect it. They’ll have grown up with ads based specifically on their online activity — it’ll be how it’s always been for them. The best comparison is online banking – when the suggestion of online banking was first introduced everyone had concerns, but over time those fears have eased. Sure, there are still some hold outs who won’t sign up for online banking, but they’re in the minority.
A distinctive alteration
These are just some of the ways in which social media is about more than just hashtags and memes. It’s not a thing that kids do, it’s not something that’ll be gone tomorrow. Social media is an evolution of our communications process, an evolution that, like other advancements of the modern age, is moving faster than we can even keep up with.
As those processes get quicker and move ahead, transforming the way we live, it’s worth considering the wider implications of your own knowledge and engagement on and in such shifts. That’s not to say we should all be jumping onto every fad, that we should all be early adopters of every gadget and device just in case it becomes the next big thing and we’re left out of the loop.
But social media is clearly more than that. While it’s always possible that Facebook could be overtaken, that some new platform we’ve never heard of might be the new thing in five years time, the process itself, of connecting and communicating, that’s only going to advance and change shape. It’s not going away.
It’s worth considering what social media could mean to you and your business, if not now, then in future – which might be closer than you expect.
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Award-winning Australian recruitment agency, Firebrand Talent, ignites the careers of digital, marketing, creative, communications, advertising, & media talent. If you are looking for your next career move, check out the jobs we currently have on in Sydney & Melbourne.Back