Many people think of social media in the workplace and immediately dismiss it as a function of the marketing department. However, you don't have to be in marketing to reap the benefits of social media. Every department, especially IT, can profit from the use of social media. Whether it's accessing timely updates and information on products, getting help and support, or sharing your knowledge with fellow IT professionals, social networking is becoming a powerful tool for IT industry leaders.
We spoke with our IT team here at Advanced Systems Concepts, Inc. to gain insight into the ways they are using social media, and how IT pros can get the most out of social media- with this information, we have created the IT professional's survival guide to social media.
1. Stay in-the-know: The first reason you should be using social media as an IT professional is because it provides you with real time updates of what everyone else is doing around the world.
This may seem useless and arbitrary, but following organizations that you integrate with or partner with on social media can give you all kinds of a head start. Whether they are posting about a new version upgrade release, important changes in their software, potential new mergers, or possible software glitches, you will know about it as soon as it happens. One trick that we use is curating Twitter Lists, which enable you to create indivdual feeds of different pages that you follow- this allows you to look at different feeds based on different topics that you chose. For example, if you want to read tweets about IT Automation, you can create a feed consisting of IT Automation thought leaders and professionals that you can access anytime and view the newest updates from these pages.
Twitter is used more and more everyday to reach out to customers and alert them of important information. An example of a group taking to Twitter to explain a glitch in their software is this tweet from the City of Minneapolis:
When software glitch caused tornado siren warnings to go off throughout the city, they decided to take to Twitter to alert the residents that there was no real harm. Without social media, the people of Minneapolis would not have received this real-time update, and most likely would have been preparing for a tornado and hiding out in a tornado shelter until someone was able to reach them by phone to let them know about the glitch.
2. Keep up with the competition: Social media is a fantastic way to keep up with your competitors and find out what they are doing that you may be missing out on.
By looking at competitor’s social media accounts, you can find out their newest software updates, the customer use-cases that they’re addressing, and get ideas as to what your IT team is not doing that a rival organization may be doing.
An example of an organization sharing their newest version upgrade on social media is when we tweeted about the the ActiveBatch V10 Capabilities:
Our rival organizations can stay current on what we are doing in regards to software releases and our newest features by simply following us on social media.
Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are all also great ways to see what types of events your competitor’s are attending and to get ideas about future tradeshows, webinars, or conferences to attend. Using social media to check in on what everyone else is doing is extremely beneficial to IT teams because it can help them think of new ideas that they have yet to implement in their software.
3. Network: Social media provides you with a simple way to connect with people who have the same interest as you, giving you the opportunity to learn more about the industry and potentially become a known expert and thought leader in a specific area.
By connecting with people on social media who are interested in similar things that you are, you can ask questions, answer questions, and learn about ways you can improve your work. Additionally, using hashtags makes it easier than ever to find people who are talking about the same topics as you.
When this customer tweeted out that he was having a problem, we were immediately notified and able to quickly respond to the issues he was having. By tagging us in his tweet we were able to assist him just as quickly as we would if he had submitted a support ticket.
Tweeting relevant, interesting information and helping out other social media users with questions can help you build up credibility in your industry. Meeting other IT professionals through social media outlets such as Twitter and LinkedIn can in turn help you with networking and future industry opportunities.
Social media is changing the way the world works and the way that businesses operate. It is important that each different department stays current with the latest social media so that your organization stays relevant and well known in the industry.