Your company is the best place to start networking.
If you were to take all of the advice offered by every social media expert and look for a common thread, it would probably be the importance of networking. That's what social media marketing is all about. Whether you're building connections with the owners of other pages to generate views and influence, or deepening the loyalty of individual customers through live video and comments, social media is the ultimate tool for making business personal. It's called "social" media for a reason.
So it's no surprise that Carlos Gil, a social media marketing speaker, also rates the importance of networking. But while social media speakers also tend to work as consultants for a range of different businesses, Gil is unusual in having a full-time corporate day job. He runs the social media strategy for BMC. It's a multi-billion dollar company that employs more than 6,000 people and supplies IT services for about 82 percent of the Fortune 500.
So as a social media professional, Gil understands content strategy and Facebook advertising and Snapchat. But as a company man, he's also discovered the importance of networking not just online but also within the company.
"You can't do things by yourself," he says. "All the stuff that we social media practitioners tell other people to do online, you have to do when you work at a corporation but even more so because you're constantly under the gun. You have deadlines. Other people depend on you to make them look good. There are lots of moving parts."
It's an important point, and one that's often overlooked. Social media gives us the ability to reach huge numbers of people anywhere they might be, but there are also people all around us, and they matter too. When you work in a large corporation, they matter a great deal.
In fact, they all matter. It's not just a question of making friends with the IT guy so that when your email doesn't work, it gets fixed fast. Everyone from the people who keep your office clean to the CEO is a potential connection that can bring you benefits.
And in the same way that on social media you buy connections with good content, so within a corporation, you buy connections with co-operation. You lend a hand. You listen to people's problems. You go out of your way to help someone when they need it. You make introductions and you take part in corporate activities.
All of those team-building exercises, after-work drinks and the company ping pong league aren't there just to enrich life at work. They're perks with a purpose. They put you in touch with people who need your help and whose help you need. They bring people together.
It's hard to imagine now a business that doesn't use social media. But the first big test of a staff member's networking skills isn't online. It's their ability to talk over the partitions and build connections within the company.
Image Credit: Getty images
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