Have you ever looked at social media as a culture? This may be a crazy question, but as the use of online marketing and technology advances, more and more executives are talking about the change in communication and connections that are built within the workplace. From job applications on Indeed, to Linked-In profiles, to inside-business-hangouts such as Monday, Function Fox, or Basecamp, there are so many new ways to connect with like-minded businesses, and most importantly, your internal staff[mfn]https://www.forbes.com/sites/julianvigo/2019/09/05/how-internet-marketing-creates-cultural-change/#468371fa13f9[/mfn]. We are seeing a culture shift in large companies that jump on trends and pursue different online platforms to communicate with their clients and staff. Here are the pros and cons we are seeing from an executive and employee perspective.
Pro #1: Workflow
Today we are seeing businesses use a variety of platforms to make workflow is as simple as possible. Let’s take the owner of Mumsnet, Justine Roberts, for example. Her company sends emails to mothers on their due dates to congratulate them on their maternity journey. In an online review, she stated, “This approach is a really effective use of automation, and it’s creative too.”[mfn]https://www.campaignmonitor.com/blog/email-marketing/2019/05/5-brands-crushing-marketing-automation/[/mfn] Sometimes companies think they will lose their personal touch by going automated, but I promise you the creators of these automated tools understand that’s a worry and offer many different ways to edit and customize each email. It’s easy to eliminate the worry of follow-ups and deadlines by teaching your staff how to launch and schedule automated emails.
Con #1: Screen Time
Julian Virgo a contributor at Forbes magazine ran an experiment last year interviewing a variety of people while collecting their thoughts about technological advances in the workplace. The staff that complained about the advances in technology all had similar responses. “Everyone is always looking at their mobiles,” said one and another added, “It is almost easier to write someone an SMS while standing next to them.”[mfn]https://www.forbes.com/sites/julianvigo/2019/09/05/how-internet-marketing-creates-cultural-change/#468371fa13f9[/mfn] As in-person interaction becomes less common, some people are missing that face-to-face interaction and connection that once was the only way to communicate. Depending on the work environment, this could greatly affect the communication and culture of the business. CEO’s have found that educating employees on the benefits of new systems can help shift their perception from being wary of technological advances to being more appreciative of them.
Pro #2: Time Saver
We are seeing employees save time talking to their customers by using automated systems such as Chatbots. Chatbots are bots designed to communicate with human users through the internet. It allows a form of interaction between a human and a machine which happens via messages or voice command. Many times we see chatbots pop up on the lower right hand of our screen asking if we need any help or have any questions on a company’s site.[mfn]https://medium.com/swlh/what-is-a-chatbot-and-how-to-use-it-for-your-business-976ec2e0a99f[/mfn] I saw this last week as I was online shopping. Pier 1 had a pop-up box that asked me if I needed any assistance finding products. Luckily, I didn’t need help, but the personal touch was nice to see. Customers love being taken care of, and this is one way you can show them you care about their online experience on your site.
Con #2: Shutdowns
Technology really does have a mind of its own. Like anything, your apps and devices need to be updated and taken care of to survive. If you don’t make the time to stay on top of updates you may confuse your clients and employees. It’s important to check in with each app or platform you use to make sure everything is running smoothly. You may not have to check-up on a person but an app still will require some attention. The last thing you want is to download an automated app that isn’t automating anything because you forgot to download the newest version. It’s also important to make sure you’re on top of the systems that you purchase and their updates. Many times companies will shut down for a few hours to internally update their systems. Most of the time, these companies will communicate the hours they will be shut down.
Pro #3: Relationships
Just because face-to-face time is being narrowed down by the use of messenger and hangouts doesn’t mean company and client relationships can’t be created. If anything, people are loving the networking opportunities that come with having social media. LinkedIn is one of the best platforms for connecting and seeing what others are doing in the professional world. You can follow a variety of pages that may interest you and befriend coworkers and other like-minded individuals. Who knows, you may be one connection away from your next venture or job opportunity.
Con #3: Relationships 2.0
Although there are many pros in favor of online communication, there can be some cons. It’s important to carry yourself professionally when representing your brand and company online. Many times people post personal content that may not be appropriate for current and future employers to see. Every time I post something on social media I make sure it’s appropriate for anyone and everyone to see…because it’s the internet and even if you have a private profile, you never know who may share or see what your posting. People talk (whether face-to-face or digitally), so just be aware of what you’re putting out there.
From my own experience, I have learned to embrace the evolution of technology and with that the change of culture. I have implemented some amazing systems and connected with incredible individuals. My social media is a culture in itself. I only follow people that I’m interconnected with whether that be through my passion for yoga, digital-media or the F/M community. From a work perspective, if it wasn’t for the software we use, email and Google I wouldn’t be able to help my clients or communicate as efficiently with my co-workers. For me, the culture change has been easy to adapt to and incredibly productive. I feel grateful to help businesses redefine their culture through digital media marketing.