We are at a time when customer satisfaction is at an all time low, yet it is becoming a more and more difficult to talk to a human for customer service. Many businesses have lost the personal and trust-filled relationship that is so desired by their clients. In order to maintain and grow a loyal customer base, a company can now achieve those real human connections by means of social networking. Individuals from all areas of the company are readily available to meet the diverse needs of its customers, future employees and each other. Social Networking is at the top of today’s technology and is being utilized by many companies. Our business purpose is to share business ideas and opportunities. This has become an effective tool to meet prospective leads, clients, efficient employees and business partners. [i] Social networking is an easy and cost effective way to make profitable business connections with people that you never knew existed.
▪ An advantage of Social Networking is to create new ways to communicate and share information about our company. Communication is a key to success in any business, and social networking is the best way to facilitate these successful interactions.
▪ Social Networking ensures that our company is making new and successful connections. We are able to promote our company’s services on a more personal level.[ii] Both our customers and own employees can build a more trusting relationship through the ease of communication of a social network.
Social Networking has always been an effective source of communication. It has become necessary to change they way we pursue our clients and employees. We want to manage more efficiently, hire the most qualified employees and locate potential clients. Our business has to be aware of not only what we communicate, but how we communicate. Society has changed they way we interact with one another. It use to be highly encouraged, by employers, to meet a potential client or future employee while playing golf, having lunch or maybe even dinner. You would provide your sales pitch, hand them a business card and follow back within the next few days to see if they were interested in your business or if you were interested in theirs. This was an approach to maintain a personal relationship and show your future client or future employee how available and interested you are.
Social Networking has grown and we need to be aware of the way we connect and communicate. Communication is no longer just reaching a client or future employee. It is reaching millions of business connections that you never knew existed, through technology. Technology has allowed us to create social sites that can be used for networking your business, via the internet. I use to think social sites such as Myspace.com, Facebook.com, and LinkedIn.com were sites for younger people to socialize with their friends.
After researching these sites, I found that these sites support much more than socializing amongst friends. It has become one of the most effective ways for businesses to communicate and build relationships with other business people and potential employees. Social networking has provided businesses with the following: business development or sales, raising business capital, professional development, getting job assistance with others in your company, recruiting board members, management of employees and social or personal reasons.[iii] Social Networking can add value to a company externally as well as internally. It can be a very powerful tool and when utilized properly we can learn from others as well as ourselves.
There are many companies that have taken the idea of these social sites and utilized them internally. They are using social networking as marketing tool for growing their business. Social Networking is now essential professional competency for employees at all levels. Professionals need to know how to gain visibility and credibility in their target markets and how to build and maintain relationships for long-term growth. They need to develop strategic networking skills and practices to excel. It is the most important tool for intelligence gathering. In a business setting, such as conferences, meetings, and outings, people need to find the latest information on resources, trends and best practices. It is a critical strategy for business development. Employees can create a network of profiles and connect with one another.
Enabling connections among employees, the company could easily establish virtual teams, bring new employees up to speed, improve collaboration and increase retention among people who hadn’t felt a strong sense of belonging.[iv] Social Networking is a method for personal retention because it creates feelings of inclusion and helps people from diverse backgrounds feel listened to and valued. Building up a network of diverse people is very helpful for any business. Contacts with different clusters or groups would help your possibility of greater opportunities. A closed group of contacts will not allow you this kind of exposure. Networking can help you with your contact list. This would then help you to expand your sales and social base. [v] It remains the primary technique that people use to find jobs, change careers or land on their feet after a layoff, merger, or reorganization.[vi]
Through the company’s social network you can create a word-of-mouth marketing stream that reaches people you would never be able to reach on your own or other means. Experts can provide feedback or validation regarding your current ideas or help to create new ones. You can create an advisory board of business people that are regularly available to you and committed to the growth and success of your business. People are given the opportunity to brainstorm which allows you to get outside of the normal way of thinking and create new and innovative ways to grow your business. People in your social network can connect you with potential employees.[vii]
Companies are communicating and connecting using external sites as a tool to check up on employees who are working for them or are a potential candidate. We want to make sure we are ahead of the game, the who’s who if you will. Potential employees seem to be younger and younger. They are not all exploiting the typical Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com to post their resumes or look for jobs anymore. They are developing personal sites with LinkedIn.com and Facebook.com, which are allowing a more personal view of a potential employee or client. More than one in five employers searches social networking sites to screen candidates.
There are many areas of concern that can be researched on networking sites including: information about drug and alcohol use, inappropriate photos, poor communication skills, bad-mouthing of former employers or fellow employees, inaccurate qualifications, unprofessional screen names, notes showing links to criminal behavior, and confidential information about past employers. This is a very effective way to help determine whether a candidate should be hired. You want an employee that can show a professional image, solid references and are a well-rounded candidate in terms of their skills, accomplishments and overall fit for the company.[viii]
Social Networking is a smart and strategic way to keep our company connected and communicating both internally and externally. Remember the old saying, “It is not always what you know, but who you know” and social networking has been an effective tool that has allowed us to broaden our personal relationships with our customers, future employees and each other. Social Networking through technology will allow us to grow with endless possibilities.
[i] Raj, N. A. (2008). For Entrepreneurs: Social Marketing Optimization. Retrieved November 1,2008, for Gaebler Ventures Website:http://www.gaebler.com/Importance-of-Business-Networking-for-Entrepreneurs.htm
[ii] Raj, N. A. (2008). For Entrepreneurs: Social Marketing Optimization. Retrieved November 1,2008, for Gaebler Ventures Website:http://www.gaebler.com/Importance-of-Business-Networking-for-Entrepreneurs.htm
[iii] Darling, D. (2003). The Networking Survival Guide Get the Success You Want by Tapping into the People You Know. New York, New York: McGraw-Hill.
[iv] Brandel, Mary (2008). The new employee connection: Social networking behind the firewall. Retrieved October 25, 2008, for Computerworld Networking & Internet Website:http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&taxonomyName=knowledge_center&articleId=9114560&taxonomyId=1&intsrc=kc_top
[v] Sridhar, B.N (2008). The Importance of Networking in Business. Retrieved October 25, 2008, for [email protected] Website: http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Importance-of-Networking-in-Business&id=1525118
[vi] Baber, A. & Waymon, L. (2007). Make Your Contacts Count Networking Know-How for Business and Career Success. New York, New York: Amacom.
[vii] Fisher, D. (2001). Professional Networking for Dummies. Indianapolis, Indiana: Wiley Publishing, Inc.
[viii]Havenstein, H. (2008). One in five employers uses social networks in hiring process. Retrieved October 26, 2008, for Computerworld Networking & Internet Website:http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&taxonomyName=knowledge_center&articleId=9114560&taxonomyId=1&intsrc=kc_top