Tuesday 24 April 2018

Friday Five: Five Ways Social Media Has Changed How I Work

Why It Matters by Bill Mrazek

It’s safe to say that digital and social media have changed many aspects of our lives. Whether it’s how we read our news, connect with friends and family, share something that’s important to us or those we know, find or apply for a job, ask for help or lend a hand to someone in need, the digital space is changing how we do nearly everything in our lives. Except brushing and flossing your teeth—keep doing that the traditional way.

I have made several personal alterations to my life because of social media, but since I started working at Edelman Digital, the most notable effect has been how I carry out my work.

1. Remember, We’re All in This Together

Search results present pages upon pages of blog posts, hybrid media articles and points of view focusing on [insert social platform here]’s best practices for increasing likes, followers, fans, subscribers, etc. It’s important to remember that all of those engagement numbers come from one source: living, breathing humans. And sometimes the best practice is to go back to the basics of human behavior taught to us in college courses like Communications Theories, Introduction to Public Relations, Sociology or Psychology. As humans, we want to know that someone is listening. Working in the digital space has taught me to remember that it’s called an online community for a reason.

2. Work With Numbers? But I’m a Communications Professional…

I never thought I’d use numbers in my communications work (and enjoy it!), but being able to take engagement metrics and read behind the numbers to determine potential opportunities and build insights is invaluable. I’ve learned to be curious and ask why or how, then take the findings apart and put them all back together.

3. Turn it Around and Look at it From Another Angle

The fast-paced and easily-amplified atmosphere of the digital space forces me to see things from new angles and perspectives. Whether responding to an issue as a community manager, compiling the findings and implications for a quarterly report or writing a blog post, the digital space has taught me to take time to look at the topic from as many perspectives as I can, allowing me to find hidden insight that can be surprising and valuable.

4. Smart and Timely Beats Uncalculated and First

The digital space moves so quickly that it’s easy to fall into a habit of writing hastily, taking a quick glance and sending the work off. Although gut instinct can be a good measuring tool in communication, it’s always beneficial to take that extra second or two before clicking the post button. Developing my career in this demanding industry has taught me to work smartly, not quickly. It’s always beneficial to take time to proofread content before leaving it to the mercy of social platforms.

5. Understanding the Magnitude

The digital space has taught me the magnitude of what social media efforts can do to affect a brand’s image. It’s very important to take ownership of the work I touch, and to put forth the best foot, especially on that extra step. But, it’s equally important to look up or out the window now and then. When all is said and done, the digital space and each client’s brand presence will still be there when I turn on my computer monitor tomorrow.

These are just a few of the ways the digital space has altered the way I work. I would enjoy hearing how it has affected the way professionals work within other practices within public relations, or within other areas of the communications industry. How has the digital space changed how you work?

Social network image courtesy of BigStock.

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