What professionals need to do is understand how to leverage online communities and social networks.
Here are some ideas. Got any more? Add them in the comments below:
1. Leverage these communities and networks to gain insights
a. This is basically using the conversations that are happening to get business insights that one can use in work. What do people feel about your companies’ products, services, leadership? What are they saying about your competitors? These communities are like large undirected focus groups. Irrespective of what function you work in – feedback that you share within the company shows your initiative and understanding of this medium which is always a good thing.
b. The other aspect of insights is to study the demographics your company addresses and understand what are their other shared passions and interests. This is very useful if you are working for a lifestyle brand.
c. Tools that help you do so: From free tools like Twitter search and Google search to more complicated tools like social media monitoring tools that have licensing costs (but can use for free for a certain time frame).
2. Use social media to help you do your own job better and faster.
a. Once one is part of a community it is easier to ask the community for suggestions on how to do your job better. Asking suggestions on “how to” do things can give you insights that you never might have considered.
3. Use social media to share your learnings
a. Without sharing confidential company information you can share the learnings you gained to provide value to the community and build one’s social capital.
b. Sharing your insights and knowledge also positions others to learn from you and be seen as an expert – helping you build your own personal brand – that helps you in hiring team members in the future.
U Use social media to learn
a. With the rise of MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) from sites like Udacity, Coursera, EdX to learn anything from the best professors from the best university and a global classroom of thousands.
b. Find and participate in Twitterchats and contribute and ask questions to learn and interact with people in the community of practice. See this excellent article on how the #IndiaHRChat became a Twitter-MOOC by Tanvi Gautam. Also see the interesting integration of YouTube and Twitter by IndiaHRLive and Social Samosa's Twangouts