For me, over the last three years social media has become part and parcel of my professional life. Colleagues have emphasised the importance of building up my and the TDA’s professional reputation by being active online.
Prior to starting my current role as TDA Estates Manager I admit that my online profile was woeful. I used to dismiss social media as ‘not work’ and this was further cemented in that most websites were blocked during the working day. However, I quickly became aware, in no small part to my colleagues in the TDA Marketing Team, the importance of an online presence. It is clear having a Twitter handle or LinkedIn profile has almost become a replacement for a business card and is now as essential.
As a matter of routine I will now check someone’s profile. If I have a meeting planned with someone I haven’t met before or if I am going to a conference and have sight of the delegate list, it’s great for getting an idea of whom I am meeting or might meet. This instantly provides a professional background to someone. It also doubles up whereby it is easy for me to check if a person is being truthful about their achievements and employment history, for example.
Twitter is a great tool for driving media traffic through your own website as a company name will inevitably turn up in search engines. Obviously the more interesting content one generates the more people will follow you. Which hopefully should lead to more business enquiries and leads. I routinely share interesting articles that I believe are relevant to the profession and my colleagues. Similarly I follow people who have the same interests and share their posts and tweets.
On the flip side, I don’t post anything that I don’t think is interesting or relevant. I would rather wait a while. I like a thoughtful and provoking post. I quickly forget a post of someone’s desk for example or a business feed that doesn’t really engage anybody.
It is however important not to crossover into your private social media presence. Facebook and Instagram are great for sharing family adventures. Six out of ten of us log on to social media in some form or another. 18 to 30 year olds spend up to 4 hours a day on social media and it would be easy for the two to become blurred. Keep the two very much separate in my opinion.
If I am honest I am still finding my way as I learn to accept and embrace social media in my working life. I am a convert and now realise this goes hand in hand with good working practice. It is after all business development. I want to use Twitter more and something that I am looking to do. I read an article recently about the top tweeters in Devon and Alan Denby, TDA Director for Economic Strategy, was listed as a top tweeter. This shows the importance of having a high online profile whether this is in Alan’s case highlighting the ambition of Torbay in kick starting redevelopment across the Bay or for some other reason.