Social media has transformed the way people interact and conduct business both in the public and private sector. The Covid19 pandemic, combined economic factors, have led to the emergence of remote work and hybrid environments and different ways of doing commerce. The move away from business lunches, live events, and meetings has propelled digital platforms into becoming a main fulcrum for communications and branding. Those social platforms have especially impacted components of business development, sales, government relations, and marketing and are helping shape pathways to success.
Many users enjoy social mediums because they control the content, and it is non-invasive. Also, it can be perpetually shared. Social media has become a platform to communicate who we are and what we do. Platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, have now become a daily means for sharing content, building networks, and reaching targeted markets. Thought leadership on meaningful topics is of timely interest to everyone and the use of subject matter experts and influencers have become a primary means for brand amplification via articles, blogs, podcasts, and online events.
Today, most senior-level executives on both the public and private sectors have LinkedIn profiles, including administrators, CEOs, CTO, CIOS and their numbers are increasing. They often use it as a conduit for 1) Branding 2) Socializing/Networking; 2) Basic Intelligence; 3) Events: and 4) Strategic Partnering/Marketing.
Branding: the trend of digital brand amplification began to grow at the beginning of the outset of the pandemic. Because of the lack of in person meetings, many companies, new & old, large & small, sought to be more visible and recognized for the unique viability for branding on social media platforms. Companies were and are seeking quality and interesting content that helps enable them to be able to connect with peers and clients. A benefit of social media digital marketing and brand amplification is that it can be very cost-effective, repetitive, and can generate revenue and build positive reputations. A good written message, video or graphic can have a long shelf-life and be shared widely across various social media platforms. Influencers have also become part of the branding mix; expertise bring credibility and attention and many companies have expanded strategies that use influencers and thought leaders who can augment company marketing and sales.
Socializing/networking: social media is in its essence “social.” It is an outlet for networking and connecting with people who share your interests, goals, and professional paths. A platform like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are useful for reconnecting to people you have worked with in past jobs, friends, and alumni of universities, and colleges. In particular, the service encourages you to join professional and hobby interest groups where you can post articles and engage in discussion with group members. I am a big proponent of LinkedIn for networking where I have over 73,000 followers, especially with targeted groups. For example, I have management roles in several of the largest and most influential homeland security groups on LinkedIn. Another key area of group ownership and involvement for me on LinkedIn is with cybersecurity and emerging technology groups where I find the readership are exceptionally informed and active. Also, as a “foodie”, I created the “DC Foodies” LinkedIn group to reach out to others in the greater Washington, DC area that may have a passion for food, wine, and restaurants. On LinkedIn there is a group for almost every subject from healthcare, governing, martial arts, Space, to quantum physics.
Basic Intelligence: Another function of social media is that it provides you with working biographies of members. Whenever I have a meeting with someone new, I can usually find their profile on LinkedIn and see where they worked, what schools they attended and who we know in common. Also, by following the posts in groups, I can view the latest news from a variety of sources on a topic of interest. Also, almost all federal agencies and public entities have their own profiles (and often groups) on LinkedIn that make the basic intel process quick and easy.
Events: There is no better place to go to find out who is hosting what than on social media. This includes LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook in the event domain. Since most publications are intertwined between print and digital media, social media outlets are a fulcrum for seeing what activities are happening in personal or business areas of interest daily.
Strategic Partnering/Marketing: social media is really the Holy Grail for strategic partnering and marketing. Messaging is immediate, perpetual, and cost-effective. It is also much targeted and will allow you to focus communications to audiences, both individual and groups that may have an interest in your offerings and services. For those who are specifically focused on the federal market, LinkedIn is an especially good resource for finding teaming members and potentially partners to pursue opportunities. By being active on LinkedIn, companies can often find you and reach out for help in areas that may be mutually beneficial. As government encourages diverse and multiple partners to work together on programs, the importance of having a strong stable of networked partners is becoming more of a premium.
We are still only in the early era of social media. It will continue to grow and be fused into all aspects of our lives, especially with the growth of augmented reality and emerging communication technologies. Social media vehicles like LinkedIn already have great utility in the workplace both in the corporate world and in government. Linked and other social media platforms are already shaping communications. “Linking in” and being active on social media platforms have become more of an imperative than a choice for those who want to thrive in a digital world.
Chuck Brooks, President of Brooks Consulting International, and Adjunct Faculty at Georgetown University, is a Technology Evangelist, Corporate Executive, Speaker, Writer, Government Relations, Business Development, and Marketing Executive. LinkedIn named Chuck as one of “The Top 5 Tech People to Follow on LinkedIn.” He was named as one of the world’s “10 Best Cyber Security and Technology Experts” by Best Rated, as a “Top 50 Global Influencer in Risk, Compliance,” by Thomson Reuters, “Best of The Word in Security” by CISO Platform, and by IFSEC as the “#2 Global Cybersecurity Influencer.” He was also named “Best in The World in Security” by CISO Platform, one of the “Top 5 Executives to Follow on Cybersecurity” by Executive Mosaic, and as a “Top Leader in Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies” by Thinkers360. Chuck was named by Oncon in 2019 “Top Global Top 50 Marketer” by his peers across industry.
Chuck also a Cybersecurity Expert for “The Network” at the Washington Post, Visiting Editor at Homeland Security Today, Expert for Executive Mosaic/GovCon, and a Contributor to FORBES. He is a featured contributor to Thinkers360
By Chuck Brooks
Keywords: Social, Marketing, Business Strategy