Social Networking for Service Managers

Want less face time on Facebook? Tired of being a twit on Twitter? Don’t care if you can Google it? I think we’ve all had occasional overload from Internet social media. Yet, everywhere you go you’re told how this is all vitally important and, ummm,  significant in its importance, because it’s uhhh… significantly important? Sound familiar? It’s all a bit vague, isn’t it. It all of this social media just hype? I don’t think so. There is a lot of hype to social media, but underneath it all there is something to this trend. It’s just a question of finding the right way to use leverage it. So, let’s just cut right to it and look at some of the most uses a manager can have for social media. Here’s my top five:

Develop your network: We all have a network, but some people are very good at developing a network and others are not. More people are terrified than are thrilled by the thought of giving a presentation to a large group or even mixing with a group of
unknown strangers. Social media is another way to build or expand your network. How? I’d start with Twitter.  You can identify individuals with the background that you are looking for through a twitter search, or by using Twellow, Tweeter Karma or other directories. Linked-In is another  source of professionals. You can search by company, by discipline or by joining groups that are relevant to your profession.

Develop new ideas:  Now that you have your network, talk to your people! Tweet about interesting subjects or articles, or re-tweet items of interest from others. Go to Linked in meetings and ask questions, or go to their “answers” section (on the far right of the menu) and ask for a solution to a problem you have. People really want to help, and to show you what they know. Leverage your network to solve tough problems, or use your network to
share solutions rather than re-inventing the wheel!

Collect benchmarks: We all need information when we make business decisions. For example, compensation has been held back for a long time, and everyone I sunder pressure from staff to give raises. Or your best people may be almost ready to leave. You can push for more money based on what you believe is right, or you can push more effectively if you know what your competitors are paying and if they are increasing compensation. The same is true with breaking a hiring freeze, justifying a move to a different set of applications, or implement ting a new business model.

Investigate your industry: Your firm probably hires consultants all the time, or has
internal consulting groups. When your organization is the focus of these consultants, it can be uncomfortable. Suddenly people that you don’t know are making recommendations about the service that you built. While there are definitely consulting projects that sideline the managers, the greater your knowledge (especially about industry trends) the greater the opportunity for an expansive role in changes to come. When change comes, it can be very powerful to say, “I’ve just done a survey of 20 of my peers and found…” Don’t wait for the next corporate change, start building and working your network today!

Find new staff: By building a network of professionals in your own field, you can also build a network of potential hires and keep in touch with their career progress. When
it is time to hire, it’s often difficult to find the right people and when you require very specialized staff the HR department of a large firm often does not have access to the right networks to find good candidates. Develop your own network, but work with your HR department on future hires.

Advancing your career: Just as others may use social networking to develop their careers, it may be very critical to you as well. You will not only find out about positions in other firms, but you may be surprised to learn how many opportunities exit in your own form that you are unaware of. Similarly, there may be many meetings and products that you learn of through your network that can help you develop your skills for your next promotion, even if it is within your own department.

There are some very compelling reasons to use social media to build and expand your own network. Take a look out there and see what exists, and how you can use it!  And that’s
my Niccolls worth for today…

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