Linking up online

Social media is more than just another buzzword. It’s a tool that can enrich your company culture, build your company’s online presence and help you reach new customers.

“Social media is transforming how companies run their marketing and communications initiatives,” says Mark Fiala, adjunct professor at University of Phoenix’s Cleveland Campus. “While it’s tempting for some to think it’s a passing fad, these tools have become so widespread so quickly that they’re not going to just fade away. Savvy companies that get into it right away will have a competitive advantage. If you can get out there early or even first, you’re going to be in a better position than someone who is trying to jump in later.”

Fiala incorporates new social media techniques into his curriculum, focusing on teaching students how to use social media in a way that is relevant for business.

Smart Business learned more from Fiala about how you can use social media to reach new customers and prospects that previously didn’t even know your company existed.

How can companies use social media to strengthen their cultures and stay connected to their employees?

For their internal cultures, they can use sites like Facebook and LinkedIn to build a community among their own employees. It’s also very valuable for building your candidate pool — people you’d like to attract back to the business And since hiring quality employees is so critical for any company’s long-term success, every advantage you can have in attracting high-quality employees is important.

But it is also another communications tool for your current employees. You can never over-communicate to your employees. Facebook and LinkedIn are tools your employees are using. Communication is all about being understood and reaching the people with whom you want to connect. If they are on Facebook and LinkedIn, you need to be out there as well if you’re going to connect with them, along with the other things you do through e-mail and newsletters.