Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Using social media as job search and career development business analysis resources 4: tapping into a wider range of insider sources 3

This is my fourth installment to a series on the points of intersection between business intelligence and its gathering, and social media and related interactive online channels as sources of actionable information and insight, as they can be applied to job search and career development (see Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3, postings 397 and following for Parts 1-3.)

I began explicitly discussing social media resources as minable sources of business insight and business intelligence in this context in Part 3 of this series, focusing there in more established tools and social media channels. My goal for this posting is to continue that discussion, and with a wider ranging consideration of both older and more established, and newer social media options.

To keep my selection of social media options and resources meaningfully focused here, I will at least start out by listing and at least briefly discussing a set of ten explicitly social media sites that are widely used by businesses. If you want to gain insight and gather business intelligence about a business that you work for now or that you would seek employment with, and you want to widen the net you throw in gathering this information to include social media sources, at least start with the sites that businesses most actively use. And with that stated, I suggest at least starting this type of information gathering campaign with:

1. Facebook: this is a very well established social networking site that few would consider cutting edge. But as of this writing, Facebook claims that their system includes within it some 1.36 billion users. This includes a seemingly endless number of individual users, but a very large and actively growing number of businesses and organizations also have and display their own Facebook pages too, and actively manage and update what they show there and actively interact with people who go to their pages and reach out to them through their Facebook walls, etc. (I add here as a parenthetical note for the context of this series installment, that I will definitely come back to Facebook and its issues when discussing how you use social media too, and how businesses that you reach out to can and do reach back to learn about you as a job candidate or an employee.)
2. Twitter: this microblogging site with its 140 character-maximum posted text messages is very actively used by a very large number of businesses as they reach out to share short messages and compact hyperlinks to more detailed web-based content sources. Twitter’s short message format works very well on smartphones and for people who only want to see brief messages in deciding where and when they would opt-in for more, so effective business use of resources like Twitter means crafting messages for sharing through them, that would catch a reader’s active attention and make them curious enough about them to reach back for more. And if a reader is interested enough they can opt-in to follow another individual or a business on this site and be sent word of new tweets as they go live from them – just as interested viewers can select to friend a Facebook page holder and to get updates from them.
3. YouTube: this is also a social media site of seemingly ancient stature and certainly when measured in terms of the pace of social media development. But this is still the most widely used video sharing social media site in the world and both for those who would post this type of content and for those who would view it. This means endless numbers of video clips, with and without accompanying sound tracks, of cats and kittens doing odd or amusing things, and endless flows of personal video messages that would only hold meaning to direct acquaintances of whoever posted them. But a large number of businesses post video content through YouTube too and as part of their overall marketing outreach and for customer support and for a wide range of other purposes too.
4. Google+: offers a wide range of interactive connectivity resources that businesses can and do find useful for reaching out to and interacting with their markets, and with the world around them as a whole. And Google itself is so influential and so widely used, globally, that essentially any social media initiative that it offers would likely end up on a list of this type. Google+ was first introduced in June 2011 and was opened up to support use by businesses as such and their brands in November of that year.
5. LinkedIn: this is the premiere global business-oriented social networking site and it is and has been a key place to post online versions of your resume and to do background research on others who you might wish to business network with. And LinkedIn has over 150 million registered users in some 200 countries so its reach for this is large. This means looking up and learning about individuals in businesses that you would want to seek employment with and it can mean using LinkedIn to reach out to network with them. But it also means learning more about and social media connecting with those businesses too, as LinkedIn actively supports and encourages the posting of company profiles too, where businesses can and do have their own profile pages, can set up their own LinkedIn groups and more. This site can be a rich source of business intelligence and both about specific individuals who you would want to network with and meet, and about specific businesses as well.

And with this set of more established five in place, I turn to a second set of five that are known but perhaps less well known – but that are still increasingly important business social networking resources to tap into and gain information from:

6. Pinterest: this is a social photo and image sharing site that is organized as an online updatable bulletin board. Businesses that have visually striking content to share use this and similar online social media sites to share it. Pinterest first went live in 2009 and this site supports static photos and other image presentations, videos, discussions and even distribution points for gifts and rewards for viewers. And items that are pinned to one account’s board can be repined on other boards by visitors too, just as Titter messages: tweets can be retweeted and more widely shared by others – allowing these points of content an opportunity to go viral.
7. Ryze: this is a social networking site for business professionals that holds particular interest for entrepreneurs. Founded in 2001, this site has a global reach that includes more than half a million members, and over a thousand organizations host their own networks through Ryze as well. The CEO of Ryze is Adrian Scott, a founding investor of Napster among other enterprises.
8. Talkbiznow: a web-based social media site that has come to be an actively engaging online business community, and particularly for small and growing businesses and for the professionals who would seek them out. This supports social networking with free online profile support and networking outreach and response support, just as are supported by Facebook and LinkedIn. In this, Talkbiznow social networking resources focus in on a more specific target audience, even if larger businesses and recruiters can join and participate too.
9. Affluence: this is a site for investors and for both would-be angel investors and for venture capitalists. And perspective members have to meet this site’s net-worth criteria in order to be allowed in. If Talkbiznow is for the more entrepreneurial and for small businesses including startups and early stage businesses, this is for the investors that they might wish to meet and work with.
10. And finally Quora (with this link leading to their About page): this is a resource where you can ask questions to a globally connected audience that has preselected itself for an interest in posing and responding to questions and to sharing business knowledge and insight. This site was founded because LinkedIn had an immensely popular Answers feature where members could ask either just their own direct connections or a wider LinkedIn community questions and other members could then answer them. And both questions and answers were searchable and answers posted were rated by members of the LinkedIn community as to the value they offered. (Yes, I used to respond to questions that had been posted on that part of the LinkedIn site too.)

With that, I have at least offered a partial and I add very incomplete list of business-supportive if not necessarily entirely business-oriented social media resources (e.g. Facebook, which is an “also business oriented” resource rather than a primarily business oriented one like LinkedIn, Ryze or Talkbiznow.) Virtually any business of any type that you would do business with, is going to have an active presence on at least some of these sites, and particularly among the first five listed. Research any business online that you would seek work with, and either long-term or as a consultant and shorter-term and find where they actively connect through online social media – and if you find new additions to the above starter list that interest you and that you find of value, which you probably will, pursue them as social media resources and as sources of business intelligence too.

I stated at the end of Part 3 that after listing and discussing a wider range of specifically social media resources, I would more fully discuss actually mining them for business intelligence insight. I will do that in my next series installment. And after that, as a by now repeatedly stated promise, I will discuss the two way window quality of social media, and the positives and negatives of “what we ourselves say as to who we are and what we offer as a potential employee in our own jobs and careers initiatives.” And I will discuss the issues of how we shape our message and the impact that this can and increasingly does have in any job search or career development effort. And yes, I will still continue working on the to-address list of points first raised in Part 1 of this series too.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3 and at the first directory page and second, continuation page to this Guide. And you can find this and related material at Social Networking and Business and its continuation page too.

Addendum note added on May 20, 2015: Anyone familiar with the range of online resources available out there for researching businesses has probably noted some significant gaps in my above list. I do not for example include the Better Business Bureau. Look into businesses of interest there, of course and certainly for businesses in the United States, Canada and Mexico. But I have to add that I have found the value of this site to have diminished as a source of insight so I personally am much less likely to turn to it when researching possible sources of concern. But more importantly perhaps, and certainly for a job seeker, I have left out sites such as glassdoor.com. I will discuss that and related online resources in this series, for gathering in confidential information on salary ranges, employee reviews including employee complaints and other sensitive data. But I will do so after at least initially discussing reputations and reputation protection – which I will at least begin discussing in the context of what businesses can find out online about current and potential employees and others. So I note here that this gap is more temporary than anything else and I will add leaker sites to my toolset list that I began assembling here in this posting.

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