The Candidate View

You’re “In the Know”
Isn’t is a great feeling to get those mini-updates from friends, family members, and former work colleagues that you’d love to stay in touch with but simply can’t find the time each day to do so? A quick glance at your social media site will provide the funny update, the mention of unusable concert tickets, pictures of the kids you haven’t seen in years, and a host of other information you’d love to know.

You’re “Known”
This could also be entitled – Market Yourself! When I worked for larger corporations, employees wondered whether their advancement was based on “what” they knew (and how they performed) or “who” they knew. I use the get the question, “Andy, is it who you know or what you know?” They often laughed at me when I’d respond, “It’s not who you know and it’s not what you know. It’s who knows what you know.” The same is true for life. People need to know who you are and what you offer in order to know whether you’re the person they should contact for your advice, service, product, or whatever you offer that benefits society. Social Media is one of the single greatest tools to “market” you’re abilities, expertise, and interests because it allows you to “go viral” instantly. The more people that are aware of your talents, the more opportunities you have to help.

It Helps Provide Employment Security
There are several facets at play. First, you can brand yourself as an expert in your field by educating your immediate and extended networks on your work experience and accomplishments. Often times, the social media sites will proactively notify your network whenever you update your work experience or current employer. Second, you can connect to others within and outside of your field to strengthen your professional and personal networks. When people change jobs, the majority of the opportunities will come from their network of contacts. In this case, the more you have, the safer you’ll be. Lastly, social media sites provide visibility to opportunities in the market. Certainly, sites such as Linked In provide employment opportunities, but Facebook also has a MarketPlace for jobs and other opportunities. Some companies are even Tweeting their employment needs.

You Have Access to Who and What you Need 
Many people would agree that the pace of life today is far swifter than it was 50, 20, or 10 years ago. In my opinion, technology is the primary enabler (uh, culprit) for this. The countless industrial and commercial advancements have also increased people’s appetites for a higher quality of living. The ability to satisfy these appetites also seems to require many more caretakers than in the past. Companies that use to design and build all components of their products now outsource each of the 20 required items to a different company. Tradesmen that could remodel the house now look like a team of specialists. Someone needs to know exactly how to fasten the doorknob. Another puts the walls up. Another paints them. Somewhere along the way, we also felt the need to exhaust our children as well. Little League seasons that use to last eight weeks in the summer have now become three seasons of eight weeks each. Extend these analogies to whatever facet of your life makes sense. But, be assured, it will require access to more people to make it happen. This requires more energy and friends. You guessed it. Social Media can make it easier for you.

The Company View

The Naked Truth is More Believable
Is there a better way for companies to receive candid feedback from their customers? These are individuals who use their products and services and cannot be fired. What a concept. While many organizations, especially product companies, survey their customers, distribution of this information is limited to the internal organization. Let’s face it, the information from these surveys that is shared with the public is the glowing reviews of how happy their customers are with the products. Why do you think 78% of consumers trust peer reviews and recommendations while a mere 14% trust advertisements?

It’s an Advertiser’s Dream Come True
Social media is now the number one online activity. It has surpassed email and, yes, even has outraced porn surfing to reach to the top spot. Statistically, 2/3 of the global Internet population visits social networks, which are growing at three times the overall rate of the Internet. Facebook has become the operating system of the social web and Twitter projects it will have one billion users by 2012. Who wouldn’t want to tap into that heavy consumer traffic?

It is Immediate
The speed at which this information is distributed is, well, instant. A company can communicate to its employees and customers simultaneously and instantly by updating the content on its site. The social medium provides an ability to communicate great news or mediate invalid of degrading information.

It is Cost Effective
Why do you think the TV networks air so many “Reality Shows”? It isn’t because they are all high-quality TV. It’s because they are entertaining to the masses and cost virtually nothing to create and make. Profits are strong even when the viewership isn’t as high. The Social Medium for companies is both inexpensive, easy to maintain, and can provide and distribute more valuable information (i.e., to and from its customers, employees, etc.). To attract new and keep existing customers, this raw information is much more potent than any of the advertisements the company is likely to spend millions creating.