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The Gen X Guide to Social Media

Communication… how to Social Media

Four to five generations can often be found working together in the same workplace with vastly different methods of communication expectations.

Veterans are used to formality — send a memo, have a personal conversation or give them a phone call. Baby Boomers respond best to personal contact too but have grudgingly adapted to voicemail and e-mail. Gen “X”ers expect the immediate response that e-mail and instant messaging bring, while Gen “Y”ers and Millennials have communicated via technology and some form or social media all their lives and find telephone conversations so passé! It’s no surprise that they find texting, and social networking essential and effective. Why call when you can text or upload a photo… A picture is worth a thousand words!!

Having coffee with a close friend a while back we were distracted by a group of teenagers seated nearby taking pictures of their food; they absolutely had to upload it to Instagram! For us that is inconceivable – why share something so every day with anything between 50 and a 1000 people? Who would care! Oh but they care… just ask Kim Kardashian’s 53.7million followers or the 5.4million Barack Obama followers!

“Social media….” interjected my friend. Yes… “Social Media!!!” So how do we know what social media platform to interact with and what to ignore…! There are Instagram, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, SlideShare and the list goes on and on. Which ones are cool and which are taboo? To tweet or to Inmail… that is the question.

In the recruitment world, the challenge is to stay in touch with your clients and normally you would either call them, email them or InMail them and your candidates who you will IM, Text, Facebook, Tweet InMail or Instagram with cool jobs to entice them to talk to you.

There is a fine line between being cool with your communication tools or showing your age and ignorance with social media. On the other hand, the Baby Boomers struggle to understand this need to share everything with the world. If you go to the movies, you “check in” via Facebook so everyone knows what you are up to. If you see something awesome, you Instagram, because everybody needs to see what you see. If you are unhappy with anything political, you tweet to voice your disapproval. If you need to know that you are in the happening, you need to be part of Reddit where all the votes will tell you how up there you are and what is the latest and greatest!

My friend and I are members of Generation X. We’re used to doing things old school but we have recognised the value of social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to engage with the different generations. We are proud to say that we are part of the cult following of Facebook which consists of 1.4 Billion members. How mind-boggling is 1.4 Billion? Well, for starters there are 3.3 Billion people on the Internet every single day. And one billion of them or one-third of them are on Facebook – talk about a gigantic candidate pool to tap into!!!

Social media can also be used to promote businesses. As a matter of fact, among the other interesting data on social media, 70% of business-to-consumer marketers have used Facebook to acquire new customers.

Okay, so I’m convinced that social media is a valuable tool for business. But how do the social media- challenged people like me or presumably those from Generation X adapt to social media so we can utilise its power for business?

  1. Address the behavioral issues. First, you have to remove the thinking that social media is only for the young. You want proof? The fastest growing segment for Facebook is aged 45 to 54 at 46% and 55 to 64 for Twitter at 79%!
    It will take time to be comfortable in social media. Long held beliefs will always come to play periodically. Just remember this simple advice, “Be Yourself” and think before you post anything.
  2. Research the different platforms. Not all social networks are alike. Keep in mind social networks are basically online communities and each one cultivates its own culture over time.
    LinkedIn is more formal and professional and is preferred for making business connections. Facebook and Google Plus are more informal and casual. People use it to connect socially but its volume makes it attractive for businesses to open company pages and place advertisements.
  3. Keep it simple. Once you’ve developed a keen understanding how each network works, choose the communities that would meet your objectives.
    For example, if you wish to establish greater connections for work or develop a data base of potential clients, sign up with LinkedIn. Then open a Facebook personal account so you can set up a company page. If you have physical products to sell, an Instagram or Pinterest account would be advisable.
    Keep your social media strategy simple. When you’re starting out, choose no more than two (2) networks. Slowly add a network once you are more comfortable with social media and have more time to spend on marketing activity.Here are two (2) very important tips when networking:
    • Customise your invitation to connect. There are templates available but it is always better to give the invitation a personal touch. It tells the other person that you spent time doing research and reading up on his or her profile and you are not just accumulating connections to uplift your profile!
    • Build a relationship first. If you come out swinging and propose business, you will fail miserably. Remember this is social networking. People want to get to know you (and maybe your food fetish) first.
  4. Stay active. Social media is a long term process. If you want to enhance your online presence you have to stay active and keep sharing…and sharing and sharing…Your level of activity would depend on the type of network. But generally, you should engage in some type of social media activity everyday to maintain visibility.Social media is a great way to build relationships. When someone comments on a post, you should always make it a point to engage or respond.It doesn’t matter if the comment is positive or negative. The important thing is someone cared enough to read your post and share an opinion.

Before anything else, if you have a blog page on your website, make sure you have social sharing buttons. Blogging is another powerful online marketing tool. Social media will be the perfect medium to deliver your content.

In 2014, 60% of online traffic came from mobile gadgets. It is estimated that by 2017, there will be more than five billion smart phones. What these figures mean is that digital connectivity will play a greater role in the years ahead. Regardless of your generation, you have to get into social media and embrace its benefits for life and business.

Now at Synergy Placements we want to be hip and square at the same time, so that we can interact with all our clients and candidates. We have launched our social media platforms across LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and now through Blogging, it is time for us to dabble in Instagram. Help us to start a cult following by following us on Instagram and uploading a photo of the #coolestjobs  you have come across and help us to launch this successfully to show us yet again the power of social media!!


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