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LinkedIn for a Day – Social Media Is No Longer An Option

Published on: 29 Mar, 2013
Updated on: 30 Mar, 2013


By Martin Giles

“I can’t understand the point of Facebook”, “I don’t do Twitter”, I can’t be bothered with LinkedIn”. I think I have said all these things over the last 15 years, or so, but now I am using all three.

I can’t stand against the tsunami that is the social media revolution, and a revolution is exactly what it is. I can see the effect on The Guildford Dragon NEWS directly. When we tweet a headline, which is automatically copied to our Facebook page, more people become aware of it and a number of them click the link to read it.

With LinkedIn, now that my page is in shape I can make more useful connections. I have already raised the profile of The Guildford Dragon NEWS a little further, attracting more followers and readers. Hopefully, some of those will register us as a potential advertising platform too.  I am also reading other articles and messages that are definitely valuable to me.

“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it” Eric Qualman

It seems that Eric Qualman, regarded as a guru in the field of social media, was right when he said, “We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it,” and this is especially true for businesses where more and more sales can be directly or indirectly associated with social media activity.

If you are still unconvinced that it is for you consider these reported statistics:

  • 50% of mobile internet traffic is Facebook – bad customer experience can get communicated fast – so can recommendations
  • The fastest growing section of Facebook users is 55- to 65-year-old females.
  • Some popular celebrities have bigger followings on Twitter than the population of sizeable countries, like Switzerland
  • 80% of companies use social media for recruitment, 95% of those LinkedIn.
  • If Facebook users formed a country it would be the third populous behind only China and India.
  • It took radio 38 years to reach 50 million people, TV 13 years, but the internet just four years.
  • Facebook tops Google in USA for internet activity
  • 90% of millenials (those born between 1980 and 2000) have joined social media
  • Over 50% of the world’s 7 billion people are under the age of 30: they have grown up with social media as the norm

And if you think you are up to speed because you have got an email account, think again, some universities have even stopped issuing email addresses. They expect their students to study and communicate on ereaders, iPads and other tablets.

This was brought home to me when I asked my 16-year-old son, a while ago, why he didn’t use his email account more. He gave me that look that kids keep for parents who have asked a dumb generational question and said, “Because I can speak to everyone I want to on Facebook.”

There might be downsides. There is a definite risk to privacy, it can be surprising to find quite personal information shared with the world as if someone is talking to a personal friend. And the ability to broadcast malicious rumours is there, though subject to libel laws etc as some have found to their cost.

Yesterday, I spent a whole day LinkedIn under the guidance of Nicky Kriel who specialises in teaching those in business how to make the most of social media.

She says: “I am still surprised how much some businesses have to learn about using social media. If you don’t use it these days you are definitely missing out on some important business opportunities.”

Nicky Kriel

So together with Michael Templeman from Velocity Sales Management Ltd; Becky Bristow, the marketing manager at The Lightbox in Woking; and Rebecca Charlesworth from Our Office Ltd, I huddled down in the very comfortable surroundings of The Bar des Arts to learn.

Nicky covered not only the importance of social media but how to present ourselves in the best way, how to be discovered by using the right key words how not to use a ten year old photo of ourselves (yes, just who am I kidding?) and perhaps most importantly, to schedule set aside and regular time to keep contacts, profiles and communications up to date.

We all seem convinced so much so that when the delicious coffee and cakes were brought in we hardly paused, so keen were we to continue our work.

“Social media allows us to behave in ways that we are hardwired for in the first place – as humans. We can get frank recommendations from other humans instead of from faceless companies.”  Francois Gossieaux.

Michael Templeman said at the end: “This has been an extremely productive and enlightening LinkedIn training course. Nicky Kriel was superb, guiding us most appropriately. I can now find more relevant contacts, understand how to seek potential new business and provide much more feedback to group discussions.

“A significant success factor, was the class room environment. It really helped focus the mind during this seven-hour course.”

Using social media has already become an essential skill for most businesses. Setting aside a day to learn how to go about it is actually a very sound business investment.

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