Social media is a key tool for MBAs. George Smart talks about how MBAs can make the most out of social media.
All too often updating social media can feel like a laborious task. It is something that should be done, but ends up being executed sporadically and with little impact as a result. Part of this comes down to a scattergun approach – serving up the odd post as and when there is time – and lacking the motivation to define what someone wants to get out of social media.
There can also be controversies around engaging with different platforms for different purposes, and the split between personal vs professional accounts. How can a right tone be struck without compromising authenticity?
While there are several elements to consider, the scope of opportunity within social media is huge. By being clear about what they want to achieve, MBAs can use their social media accounts to do more – whether it’s connecting with peers, positioning themselves as industry thought leaders or simply researching new career opportunities.
Finding the right social media fit
It’s likely that Twitter or LinkedIn will best suit an MBA’s social media needs. At the same time, there’s no need for these channels to necessarily be all-business, all the time.
Mental health in the workplace is one example of a topic that has become increasingly prominent, with more business leaders opening up about their journeys through personal accounts including Twitter, which has evolved to become less formal over the years. Finding the right tone is all about how much you’re willing to share and deciding what is appropriate, but it can be a brilliant opportunity to embrace a more personal, frank approach.
LinkedIn’s blogging platform, Pulse, is also an excellent avenue for longer-form content in which business leaders can share candid insights on hard-to-talk-about topics. From failed projects to issues around staffing, these are things to which people relate because, at one point or another, everyone has been through turbulent times.
Social media shouldn’t necessarily be a soapbox for airing all your personal views. Slamming your local football team or airing your political views might not resonate with your target audience, for example. That said, it’s all about finding what works best for you and asking those all-important questions such as: ‘Why am I saying this and who am I saying it to?’
Using social to stand out from the crowd
Channels like LinkedIn are now a trusted source of news. People are arriving on the platform ready to learn. This is a golden opportunity to answer that desire and position yourself as authoritative and credible.
Gordon Young, Co-founder of marketing magazine The Drum is an interesting example of this. The magazine itself has been on quite a journey; starting out in Glasgow, it now engages with artists, influencers and business people from around the world and has offices in Asia and the US.
Rather than simply plugging its success however, Young recognises that followers want a more engaging formats that keep with The Drum’s explorative, forward-thinking brand, with which he is synonymous.
As a result, he recently posted a video in which he demonstrated how readers can browse and read stories by using Amazon’s voice recognition tool Alexa.
Once I’d seen it, I wanted to learn more and clicked through to Young’s profile, and did an independent Google search where, of course, I landed on a more detailed article in The Drum which offered the full story. From the video, I’ve been given something new to think about; and from Gordon’s perspective, he’d persuaded me to find out more about him as an individual, as well as clicking through to the magazine.
Being imaginative with the content you’re posting doesn’t have to be an all-singing, all-dancing studio production, but looking at different media can help you stand out from the long feed of content through which people are scrolling.
The key to feeling comfortable with social media is having the confidence to wave goodbye to the pressure of being on every channel. Or, no longer thinking you should be approaching all of them wearing a business hat. By finding a space in which you can connect to your community – be it alumni, educational institutes, employees, employers or industry peers – it becomes much easier to deliver authentic content that resonates.
George Smart is Director of Business Development, Europe and North America, at marketing services provider APS Group
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