There are so many people, businesses out there that just don’t get it yet. They view, preach, and legislate Social Media out of the workplace. The thinking goes that if the employees are on Facebook then they are not being productive, when it is actually the other way around. There are multiple studies that back this up. One report warns that by stopping workers from surfing the web, businesses are contributing to a loss of productivity work up to $8 billion every year. And that was back in 2007. And not only that, by allowing workers a bit more freedom on the Internet, businesses can boost morale while improving company profits.
Social Media, and especially email are now necessities to business growth. So what is the best way to use Social Media and email? Here are 4 general rules.
- Incoming Email. Delete, reply, archive, or mark for later. Delete is obvious, but you need to use it often. Reply, get it done and then you don’t have to worry about it later. Try not to mark simple replies for later. Archive means move it out of the inbox and into the appropriate folder for future reference. That means to need to create subfolders. This is important, but easy, so if you don’t know how to do this, you need to find someone to show you. And finally, mark for later is something you can’t do within 2 minutes of reading the email, but needs to be done. At the end of the day/week you should review all of these before you go home.
- Get rid of the distractions. Spam filters are a requirement on email. And for Facebook, create your own filter. If you are going to use Facebook for business, you need to “hide” all the non-important, non-business related streams. This means all the game (Farmville) updates from your friends, AND your friends (cousins, people from high school or college that you barely remember, etc). To do this, click on the “X” to the right of the post, click “Hide all by name“, and then they are hidden, never to waste your time again. If you want to see what they are up to, just type their name in the search box at the top and read away.
- Interact. With email that is obvious, with all other Social Media it still needs to be a requirement. The more you interact with your business related stream, the stronger your Social Media presence becomes. So listen, COMMENT, and talk to them. Congratulate people on their success and offer to meet for coffee. You might be able to help them in their business and make a bit of money at the same time (It is NOT a crime to make money helping people.)
- Know where your audience is and BE THERE. If you customer, business supplier, or interested person is on Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, LinkedIn, or anywhere else, you need to be THERE. Now that you are there, see step 3.
Social Media is much more than networking, it is building a relationship with other people. Whether they are clients, potential clients, businesses, or just curious people, they are all vital for business growth in the future. Embrace it.