Social media isn’t just good for company branding.
Recent studies have found that employees who frequently used social media are more productive than those who don’t; the former are more service- and customer-oriented and can get more done in less time than their non-Twitter junkie counterparts.
Why, exactly, does social media usage make a better employee?
1. It makes you more creative
What’s more inspiring than the collective streams of consciousness of hundreds of thousands of people from anywhere in the world? Being an active social media user exposes you to tons of new or unique insight, ideas, and solutions. Image-oriented social networks like Pinterest or Tumblr give added visual inspiration and knowledge for the visual learners out there. All of that content can put you miles ahead of your colleagues who don’t participate in social networking sites.
2. You become a better (and more willing) collaborator
Collaboration is an inherent part of being active on social networks. And collaboration doesn’t just mean a conscious partnership on a particular project. Whether it’s getting involved in a Facebook group, helping spread a hashtag on Twitter, or participating in a forum on LinkedIn, active social media users are likely to have participated in some kind of collaboration effort, whether they realized it at the time or not.
3. Social knowledge = quality assurance
Research and Googling can only get you so far; it’s the real-time, socially-generated knowledge of social networks that provides in-depth consumer/customer insight. This is especially true if you work in a customer service capacity.
Social media, and knowing how to use it well, is an exceptional asset in and of itself in today’s economy. An awesome social media strategy can make your brand more popular than ever before — or create a total disaster.
Obviously, a social media manager needs to be savvy in managing social media, but those skills apply to general customer support and relations as well. Employees who are better socially versed will have better social interactions, meaning easier and better time spent talking to and helping customers, as well as more effective communication within the workplace.
4. You know how to get knowledge more efficiently
Social networks can be great tools to find info or answers to questions. This sounds like a strange claim if you think of “social networks” exclusively in the Facebook/Twitter department; how many times have you tweeted a question to the void without anyone ever offering a solution? However, we (especially Millennials) forget that forums are social networks. They’re also popular search results when running specific questions through search engines, so if you’ve ever Googled something for work and found helpful info on a forum, you’ve technically used social networks to help you on the job.
Online forums are a wealth of information on both the frequency of various problems and user-generated solutions. Active social media users know the power of the masses can collaborate to help solve each other’s problems. Your less social media-savvy counterparts aren’t getting as much done by flipping through old manuals or hunting down other employees or your boss for help.
5. You network more efficiently
You may be thinking: “Duh, LinkedIn.” Yes, that’s the obvious online networking tool. But other seemingly less professional social media sites are often just as useful for networking. Twitter is an obvious one, but Facebook can also be used for networking if you use a professional page. Not only can you reach a broader group of connections, you can do it without spending the extra time hunting people down at events or luncheons just to say hi. Your Twitter followers could be more invaluable than your coworker’s Rolodex.
And remember: social media can only benefit you if you know how it helps. Too much idle Tumblr browsing on the job isn’t necessarily an asset. Everything in moderation.
Featured photo credit: Instagram and Social Media Apps/Jason Howie via secure.flickr.com