Social media, as we know it today, has been with us since the first decade of the 21st century, with LinkedIn launching in 2003, Facebook in 2004, and Twitter in 2006.
Although now it has become a legitimate business tool, it is still widely misunderstood, mistrusted, and misused.
However, it is not just for rigging elections, emotionally abusive trolls, and bored teeenagers.
Social media can bring you real-time news and competitive intelligence, and help you with work-life integration. It is a tool for customer relationship management, and business development.
A social media presence for businesses of all size is a basic service expectation by clients and customers in today’s connected world. The public had become accustomed to contacting businesses via social media, to have a conversation, give feedback and receive customer service.
Social media is about sociology not technology.
Brian Solis (1970 – )
You may choose to avoid social media, but that won’t prevent your clients and customers from discussing your business on social media – you just won’t be part of that conversation, and won’t be able to influence the public discourse about your business …
Personal branding, including a professional social media profile, is also a quintessential professional standard at all levels of seniority, across all industries.
Blogging increasingly forms part of a well-rounded online presence, with professionals sharing their knowledge and opinions, and engaging in conversations with readers. It doesn’t matter what your job or profession is – whether you are a doctor, an engineer, a lawyer, a plumber or a teacher, a blog enables you to share your knowledge, engage your peers, and reach the public and your customers.
Personally, I have had a web presence, and blogged in a range of formats, since 1999, and have been actively engaging with social media since it first emerged.
Many struggle getting their head around the concepts of social media presence, personal branding, and blogging. Even identifying the relevant platforms for creating a business or professional online presence, whether on a website, blog, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram can be a difficult process. Those difficulties can contribute to the unease many feel about social media.