Issue 10 - June 13th, 2017
Flip Your Definition of Social
For those who did not grow up in a digitally dominated world, it might be tempting to write off social media as a playground for 20-somethings or a place to share silly cat videos. You would be wrong to do so, not simply from a business marketing standpoint, but perhaps even more importantly from a personal, professional standpoint. The tools that fall under the umbrella of social media have huge implications for today's business professionals that reach beyond these platforms' marketing knack for direct consumer engagement.
Certainly, all of us in the lottery industry acknowledge the power of social media for B2C marketing - to connect with our players, receive instantaneous feedback and appeal to the emerging market. However, I would venture to say that not all of us acknowledge the power of social media to further our own careers through professional networking, education and idea exchange. Don't let the word "social" throw you off. Social simply means communal, collective, societal, interacting populations. Social media at its core is media - digital communication platforms for rapid multiplayer information exchange - versus traditional media that tends to be more one-way. Every industry and every professional should be harnessing social media for advancement.
Immersing yourself in social media can help you stay on top of change and business news. At the last NASPL conference, we heard from futurist Jack Uldrich about the shocking rate of technological change and its impact on companies. If this is true, then shouldn't we, as business leaders, require industry-targeted news at a similar rate? Enter social media, Twitter in particular. Twitter, which allows for real-time sharing of short information nuggets, has revolutionized global news delivery. What do the Hudson River plane crash, the Boston Marathon bombings and the raid of Osama Bin Laden have in common? They are all news stories that first broke on Twitter. Live video streaming is also available en masse, thanks to the Facebook Live feature.
Social media can also put you in the middle of global industry discussions. A perfect example is WeNurses, a nursing community on Twitter that launched in 2012 and currently has over 64,000 followers, mainly nurses or those associated with nursing or health care. WeNurses holds weekly pre-determined chats that are suggested by their followers. This is often done through the use of a key phrase and hashtag symbol (ex. #wenurses) which binds conversations so all participants can follow what is being said in the conversation regardless of whether they are following all the tweets or messages sent by any one individual involved.
Social media is also a rolodex on steroids for professional networking. Using the social network LinkedIn, you can digitally add colleagues and new acquaintances to your network and never have to worry about how to contact them if they change jobs. With their resumes and skills at your fingertips, you are never far from a professional resource - someone whom you can contact with needs, questions or business opportunities. LinkedIn shares how you are connected with others to aid in introductions and what professional groups would be advantageous for you to join. Through your professional connections, you can share research and articles of common interest as well as participate in discussions with those in similar positions. You can also "follow" companies for updates on the latest corporate news and developments.
Finally, social media provides bonding experiences. Traditional media has long given us a steady diet of shareable, mass cultural experiences. Consider the Super Bowl. Even those who do not follow professional football watch so as not to be left out of the chatter at the water cooler the next day. Social media does the same, but in a way in which we can participate in the experience. Think the Ice Bucket and Mannequin Challenges or the Gangnam Style and Harlem Shake viral dance crazes on Facebook. Okay, I admit participating in social media this way will probably not skyrocket your career. However, these common experiences unify us cross-generationally and cross-culturally in a way that only social media can, which does help us relate or find common ground among our coworkers, colleagues and new business associates.
Professional journals, conference calls, face-to-face meetings, trade shows and training seminars all have an undeniable role in our professional and industry advancement, but they should be complemented, expanded upon and amplified by conversations and information exchange in social media. And because social media platforms each have a smart phone app, you are never far from the immediacy of their benefits. This is an area where I believe we as industry professionals and NASPL as an organization have the opportunity to capitalize.