By Kristen Gramigna
Having an online presence may not seem like a top priority when you’re a CIO, but it can have far more direct impact on business than you may think. Here’s a look at the important role your online activity plays in your company’s reputation, and ultimately, its success.
It proves you can walk the walk. Whether you view social media as a routine part of your day or a productivity killer, the data is conclusive: Your customers spend quite a bit of time on it. Adweek reports that adults across age groups spend a collective 40 minutes a day on Facebook. Millennials spend a half hour each day on Tumblr, and about 20 minutes (each) on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. Forbes reports that the fastest growing demographic on Google+ is between 45 and 54 years old; the majority of Twitter’s fastest new adopters skew 55 years and older. Aside from the high levels of social media use, it’s easy for anyone to check whether you’re active on social media. As the technology leader in your company, your presence on these channels proves that you’re in touch with the constantly evolving and shifting tech landscape, and what it means for your customers and their daily habits.
It gives you a platform to be a thought leader. Customers want to feel confident that the information they entrust a company to handle is secure. Your online activity, whether by way of a blog, contributions to forums on Reddit, or periodic insights published on social networks like LinkedIn allows you to voice your opinions, knowledge and perspective in front of a broad audience. The more consistently and intelligently you use online media to establish yourself as a knowledgeable leader with a point of view, the more likely it is that others will read your posts, opine and share your thoughts. As you develop an audience, you can use online forums to engage in two-way conversations that demonstrate your level of engagement and knowledge in the technology space.
It contributes to your brand identity. A company’s brand identity is visually communicated by logos, taglines, fonts and images, but the degree to which it’s accepted by customers ultimately rests on whether they view the brand as something with which they can identify and trust, based on their experiences and values. It’s hard to convince a person to feel a particular way about your company if they aren’t able to touch, see or feel it directly. Your online activity can put a “face” to your company’s brand, to transform what may feel intangible to customers, into a living and breathing entity. Consider the popularity of social media channels, and what has driven adoption, trust and loyalty. According to July 2015 Quantcast data, Facebook has 900 million users. By contrast, the second most popular social media channel (Twitter) has 300 million users. Not coincidentally, Facebook has two very vocal personalities — founder Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg — helping to build and sustain its presence online and in the media.
It can build your recruiting efforts. Your ability to attract and retain a steady funnel of fresh IT talent is one of the keys to your businesses’ ability to remain competitive. A survey by Jobvite revealed that 24 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds and 17 percent of 30-to-39-year-olds use Twitter to research a company before they apply for a job positing. The same research indicated that more than percent of hiring managers plan to incorporate social recruiting into their hiring strategies. Your online activity can support the success of those efforts by demonstrating that your company isn’t just online to find talent; it has an established, and well-respected voice in the online community.
Establishing an online presence is free, accessible any time of day, and possibly one of the most important contributions you can make when it comes to build you and your company’s reputation as leaders in technology. Experiment with the different publishing platforms and social media channels to find which are the best for communicating your point of view, and make the time to consistently share your thoughts and opinions online.
Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, a credit card processing firm. She has more than 20 years experience in the bankcard industry in marketing, direct sales and sales management. Follow her on Twitter at @BluePay_CMO.
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