Skip to main content

Does social media have any place in business?

Social media is all the rage. But does is help to make meaningful business connections? Help find a new job? Or help find answers to pressing needs or questions?
  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

By John Alexander

Social media is all the rage. But does is help to make meaningful business connections?
Help find a new job? Or help find answers to pressing needs or questions?

I believe the answer is mixed at best but, carefully used, there are ways to make the most of social networking in business.

Personally, I have found business alumni (previous employer) networks helpful in letting
business friends know about new job opportunities and getting answers to industry
specific questions.

I have used LinkedIn to find out if anyone I knew had a relationship
with someone at a company I had need to contact. I have used my college/grad-school
alumni associations to do the same. I have fired questions out into the ether and answers
wonderfully come back. Responses have been good, fast, and generally helpful.

Where I have seen social media in business fair miserably is where it has been used
as a substitute for making a personal connection.

For example, I have a good friend looking for work. She has been aggressive in fashioning
a resume, posting it to job sites,emailing it with cover notes to potential employers,
networking through Facebook and other social networks. She expects that this is enough for
employers to contact her. To invite her to an interview. For them to make the
effort to directly contact her. After over a year, she is still looking.

Through my various business email addresses, I receive invitations to join all sorts
of social networks. From people I don’t know, from organizations I never heard of.
Frankly, I don’t have the time for this type of networking.

I don’t know many busy people who do.

Those people I know who do use these networks seem to get satisfaction
from the time spent and the exchange of communication. My wife, for instance spends
hours each week on Facebook corresponding with people (famous and otherwise) she
doesn’t know in the face-to-face sense.

I am stuck by the similarity to the current TV commercial where a daughter is bemoaning
the fact that her parents only have 12 friends on Facebook while she has over 600.
She doesn’t understand why they are outside, with friends, biking, camping, enjoying
their friends … while she is sitting in front of a computer, exchanging written quips
with “friends” she has never met on a social network. She says having friends on her
social network is “really living.”

Sad but true.

Back to my friend. She believes that the easy route for her -- social media and email-- is
the best way to make contact and has ignored advice to make personal contact.

She's also ignored advice to call the companies where she has an interest and ask for an informational interview; to send a letter through the U.S. Mail to differentiate herself from all the others who rely upon email and social media; to follow up; to make a personal connection with the hiring manager, the employer, the person.

I believe that there is no replacement for making a personal connection in friendships and in business.

Looking someone in the eye is a very human way to connect with another person and very different that the written word alone.

My friend has a wonderful personally that augments the experience on her resume that the resume can never fully communicate.

So where can social networking be most helpful? I have found that this where personal
relationships have been established first. So, a ping from or to a friend (that is a real
friend where I know the person, have spoken with them, and have a relations based upon
human interaction) results in a caring response just as if I’d made a phone call.

In these circumstances, social networks can augment the speed of information exchange. But
social networks cannot replace the human connection.

John Alexander is President of Business Development Advisors,
Founder and Chair of the Twin Cities Angels, and business author
of the Angel Investment Tax Credit. Email him at:John@BusDevAdvisors.com

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-08-07 at 11.43.15 AM

Deputies fatally shoot man in Wright County

Police claim the man, who had allegedly been experiencing a mental health crisis, was armed with a knife.

Ambulance hospital emergency

17-year-old killed in northern Minnesota crash Saturday

The other drive involved in the crash, a 75-year-old man, sustained life-threatening injuries.

ATV

Alcohol a factor as driver rolls ATV into corn field, injuring 3

The crash occurred in Lake Lillian Saturday night.

Minneapolis police

Man dies after being found shot at Minneapolis' 38th and Chicago

Responders were called to the scene early Sunday morning.

Screen Shot 2022-08-07 at 6.34.12 AM

7 children arrested after 'disturbance' at Cabela's, escape in stolen vehicle

Employees called police saying the children were stealing goods from the store.

Screen Shot 2022-08-06 at 6.16.49 PM

Fire sparks evacuation from apartment building, man arrested for arson

Police and fire crews responded to the fire just before 9 a.m. Saturday.

Flickr - utility pole power line

Morning storms cause power outages, ensuing problems in Eagan

There have been reports of disabled traffic lights and issues at local businesses.

kim crockett facebook sos

GOP nominee questions if those with disabilities, non-English speakers should be able to vote

Crockett made the comments in a 2020 radio interview following a ruling from the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Pharmacy

Jury: MN pharmacist did not violate woman's rights by refusing her morning-after pill

Gender Justice, the advocacy group that brought about the lawsuit, says it will appeal the decision.

Screen Shot 2021-10-04 at 3.03.13 PM

Revival to close its original Minneapolis restaurant

Don't worry – it's bringing the chicken to its nearby BBQ joint.

Related

Minneapolis top city for social media jobs

The online publication, All Twitter, says Minneapolis has the 13th-highest volume of social media jobs. The salary for a blogger in the Twin Cities can range from $16,000 – $44,000. A social media marketing manager in Minneapolis is the best paid position with a range of $54,000 to $85,000. California and the Northeast dominate the top five places.

MOA officials: no evidence mall brawl organized through social media

Mall of America officials say they monitor Twitter and other social media outlets and there's no indication the series of fights there Monday were organized ahead of time. While they don't know exactly what triggered the extended brawl they say the large number of shoppers and rumors that famous rap stars were there contributed to a tense atmosphere.

Friends organize search via social media after man posts goodbye, goes missing

Friends and strangers alike are calling on anyone out there to help find Todd Tweedy after the St. Paul man posted this message on Facebook: "One illness I've never been able to defeat is my own depression. I have to say goodbye now." He drives a red Volkswagen Passat, Minnesota plate 545 BLM.

Moorhead Public Schools approve new social media policy

The district says teachers are encouraged to use social media, however, WDAY reports they could be required to give the district access to their personal sites in the event of an investigation.

Duluth's Feisty the seal makes a comeback on social media ... as a New Yorker?

The seal that swam out of her enclosure at the Lake Superior Zoo and took a trip down Grand Avenue during Duluth's summer flood became a social media darling. Now the photo of Feisty is making a comeback, but under false pretenses. The picture is part of a flood of bogus or doctored images purportedly from this week's storm on the east coast. Can New Yorkers really claim Feisty? Fuggedaboutit!

'Do Whatever' campaign taps youth ingenuity, social media to help homeless

WCCO reports on a new campaign launched in Minneapolis that hopes to turn the younger generation's love of online stunts into help for homeless youth. Those who sign on to "Do Whatever It Takes" raise money in exchange for a promise to perform "whatever."

Google: 60% of small businesses in Minnesota don't have a website

Those numbers have Google pushing to connect those businesses to potential customer by offering up free web workshops. So far, more than 900 businesses attended the first workshop held in St. Paul this month.