Social media platforms like Twitter and Reddit offer access the most relevant voices in IT, enabling IT pros to participate in discussions germane to their daily tasks, and explore innovations and solutions that can make their jobs easier and more efficient. But with so many options to choose from and so much nonsense on the web, it can be difficult to navigate. These social media tips will help steer you in the right direction.
1. Find the right platform
Like all media, social media requires you to learn to filter out the noise to find what you’re looking for: you can search the #automation hashtag on Twitter for hours and still not find what you’re looking for. Look for an IT-oriented platform offering real-time views of what other IT pros are discussing, sharing, and reading—it’s easier to separate relevant, quality information and conversation.
Spiceworks is helping tech pros and vendors accomplish their jobs in a truly social way, sparking conversations on myriad topics and interacting with fellow IT pros, vendors, and brands. If you’re an IT manager, offering a similar platform to your IT staff can strengthen the conversation and collaboration between IT team members. If you’re looking to build a reputation as a thought leader in IT, there’s a host of social media tips online. This is also a great way to build a reputation for your company as the ultimate authority in your vertical.
2. Look to your peers
Gone are the days when accessing inside views in IT meant joining professional associations or making an expensive pilgrimage to industry events. According to an ITWorld survey, 87 percent of IT pros see value in reaching out to peers with similar job titles for advice about a technology purchase, and the average IT pro spends 4.25 hours reading IT-related content. “The activity of our audience in social media has gone up dramatically over the past year,” says to John Gallant, chief content officer at IDG Enterprise. “We’re seeing social media enable direct connections among peers that are so valuable. And we want to facilitate those peer connections.”
Platforms like ITWorld offer a one-stop-shop for IT pros looking for IT news and resources, and a like-minded community. The site features breaking news, blogs, on-demand webcasts, and a chat room for users looking for live conversations with fellow professionals.
Reddit has a bad reputation for being a time waster, among other things, but used responsibly, it offers invaluable suggestions and solutions for common issues facing IT pros. Subreddits like the ACM Queue for practicing IT pros and the professional IT workers community are for IT pros only, and feature a network of professionals looking for answers to job- and career-related issues.
Crowdsourcing is an inexpensive way to develop new ideas and find solutions that add value to a business. It not only stirs up interest in what’s happening within the IT department, but also creates a healthy competition, an environment that encourages engagement and allows managers to rapidly collect a variety of ideas. Large enterprises are deploying the crowdsourcing approach through open crowdsourcing platforms and collaboration platforms like Atlassian Confluence, while others are using social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to crowdsource ideas and solutions.
“The benefits of these competitions and open submissions,” says James Dixon, CTO of Pentaho, “are that people enjoy participating, creating, and competing with each other. As well, your community of users are enabled to participate, which helps increase customer engagement.”
Outsourcing connections with other IT experts and establishing your organization as a leader in your vertical is critical to the future of your department. Social media can be a time-waster if used for the wrong reasons—like meme-making and selfie-posting—but it’s potential as a career resource is unmatched.