The speed and ferocity with which social media has adopted itself into the business world was quite shocking. Many organisations did not expect it, many organisations are still only just picking it up and plenty of organisations are still getting it wrong. One place that a lot get it wrong is through thinking that because the young are on it that they know how to use it. There is a huge difference between having a personal social media profile and being able to run a tactical marketing campaign using Twitter or Facebook.
During placements and work experience I have frequently been asked for ideas about using social media and while I hope not to have let down my generation, I also think it is important to acknowledge that this is not a tool exclusive to those born post 1985.
Social media may work differently to other forms of marketing communication tools, it moves quicker and allows direct audience reactions, but to harness its potential it still should be approached with the appropriate business skills. The reality is these business skills are rarely natural and usually require education and experience. We know younger people have a tendency to feel comfortable with social media, but we need to teach them how to use this comfort to create effective results, instead of expecting them to know.
This is not to say we should underestimate the power of a childhood growing up with technology. While I was at school I remember the use of blackboards, the implementation of an ICT lab when I was well into my primary education and we still used old school projectors even in the later half of my secondary education. This is different for my sister, 10 years my junior. The world I knew was one of technology being adopted, the world she knows is of that technology being enhanced. While I consider myself to have very strong computer and internet skills, I have to accept that my sister, who has never known life without a computer or without the internet at her finger tips, will grow up with the potential to be more competent than me. And this is only in 10 years. Imagine how these 10 years will look like in the workplace.
Younger people can bring a wealth of knowledge about the benefits of social media in the workplace, and I don’t mean to undervalue that at all, all I wish to reiterate is the importance of having experienced strategic knowledge to back up social media use.
- 11 Reasons Why A 23-Year-Old Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media (businessinsider.com)
- ‘Social Media Is a Blogger’s Best Friend,’ Says BlogHer Co-Founder (mashable.com)
- The 10 most useful new social media tools of 2012 (so far) (commscorner.com)
- It’s Time to Stop Considering Social Media User a Demographic (blogs.constantcontact.com)