by Michelle LaBrosse
Technology has become an indispensable part of our everyday lives. With so much new innovation and information being made available every day, it’s sometimes difficult to distinguish the “time wasters” from the “time savers.” One such format is social media. At first glance, it may seem like a time waster—but read on, and I’ll show you how it can actually be a huge time saver for you and your massage team.
Here are five ways to think about social media in your role as a team leader:
1. Information seeker and sharer. Blogging and posting tweets (a post or status update on the social networking site Twitter) and status updates can give you the opportunity to share some really great information. There are certainly some people who post about their every thought and their last meal; however, there are thousands of others who tweet great articles, white papers and insights that have saved me tremendous time and provided me with a whole new path. As they say, “Take what you like and leave the rest.”
2. The sense of community. What are your passions and interests as a person and as a team leader? By searching for your interests in such communities as LinkedIn or Facebook, you can quickly become connected to other people who have the same interests you do. Even better, you can pose questions and help other people out who may be facing a challenge you have already tackled.
3. Virtually possible. To some, using social media for professional purposes may seem a little unorthodox or even a little taboo. The idea that social media and networking can actually help advance your massage team’s goals can still seem philosophical if you haven’t experienced the instant gratification of getting an update or a tweet.
Personally, I believe anything that helps people connect, build relationships and communicate information in a quick and accurate manner is ideal. The question becomes, “How does the role of technology effectively enforce a social community, and how does an organization define using social media for formal, business purposes versus informal, recreational fun?” This is where the word explore comes in. Try some sites and see what works well for you. If you work for a massage franchise, spa or clinic, check and see if the company has rules or standards regarding social media. For example, some companies have policies about blogging or using certain sites if the company’s name is included.
4. Cooperation, collaboration and common sense. Are you already a member of a “live community” in your neighborhood or industry? Taking it online and creating a group page on a social media site gives your community a central place to share photos, articles and updates—and even have fun, too. Fun is allowed, but use common sense. A good rule of thumb is: Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your grandmother or prospective employer to read.
5. Expertise hunters. Invite your team to hunt for hot spots of massage expertise everywhere on the Web, from blogs to groups within social networks. Come together, compare notes and share the information you find. As a team, you can become your own social network for filtering information and staying on top of key trends in the massage industry.
Evaluate the risks and rewards
Social media can help you connect with other professionals and can become a trusted resource. Keep in mind you need to be cautious as you explore this new terrain, as there can be unforeseen bumps and roadblocks. The good news is navigating is an educational process and, in time, you will learn how to use social media as an effective component of your business.
Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, is the founder of Cheetah Learning, and author of Cheetah Negotiations and Cheetah Project Management. The Project Management Institute, www.pmi.org, recently selected LaBrosse as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Project Management in the World, and only one of two women selected from the training and education industry. She is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Owner President Managers (OPM) program and also holds engineering degrees from Syracuse University and the University of Dayton. Her articles have appeared in more than 100 publications and Web sites around the world. Her monthly column, the Know How Network, is carried by more than 400 publications, and her monthly newsletter goes out to more than 50,000 people. Her radio program, Your World Your Way, is a weekly broadcast that looks at how Project Management fuels success.