Social Media in Business: Wake Up, Millennials!

Social media and modern technology are supposedly second nature to the Millennial Generation. So why is it that young adults appear to know little about social media for business? While simple social media norms and guidelines seem blatantly obvious to B2B and B2C marketers, my insight as a business student and socially-tuned-in Millennial intern at Nimble tells me that college students don’t know the basic fundamentals of social media marketing.

You can (and should) use Twitter as a business tool.

Facebook is for friends, LinkedIn is for work, and Twitter is for my friend circle to follow the little thoughts running through my head at any given time. For your typical college student, this formula applies. However, young adults don’t know the power and breadth of Twitter. Not only does Twitter serve as a great marketing and publicity tool for a company (and for personal branding), but Twitter enables users to expand their network far beyond what LinkedIn can offer. For example, before starting my internship at Nimble, I used Twitter solely to follow my friends and sports analysts. Today, I use my Twitter account to follow and interact with leaders and influencers in the industry, many of whom now follow me back. While these connections might not be as personal as those of my LinkedIn account, they are credible resources I wouldn’t have found in any other place.

Bottom line: Aspiring young business professionals need to ditch the assumption that LinkedIn is the sole professional network and quickly accept Twitter as an essential marketing and personal branding tool

You can (and should) build your influence and your personal brand.

In all facets of our daily lives, we constantly seek ways to perform more efficiently and effectively. The same applies to social media. Applications such as Klout and Kred measure one’s social media influence and outreach across a variety of platforms. Surprisingly, of my 2200+ Facebook friends, I am one of just 138 friends that are registered for Klout. Facebook and other social media platforms are easy tools for  connecting and sharing with our circles, yet free and simple methods to improve influence and outreach are scarcely used. While they help shape and improve our personal brand, I see little of the work of classmates and friends because their work is swallowed into the endless sea of online information.

Bottom Line: Take advantage of tools to help you. For example here’s one about how Bing and Instagram are now part of Klout.

You can (and should) practice good Contact Relationship Management (CRM) habits.

Believe it or not, when I tell my friends—the majority of whom are business students as well—that I work for a CRM platform, I have to explain what CRM is to them each time. How is this possible? This was Lecture 14 in our Marketing Fundamentals class! In one instance, I asked my friend who interns for a global financial services company what CRM his company employs. He responded that he records his interactions with prospects and customers on a scrap piece of paper, and there is no record of date last contact, etc. With such critical information being handled in such a disorganized and unreliable fashion, I can only imagine the amount of mistakes and wasted effort. This anecdotal experience demonstrates a lack of efficient business practices, including building and maintaining external relationships.

Bottom Line: Here’s a Chris Brogan article on personal branding to get you started.

As a Nimble Intern, I have unquestionably been shaped into a proponent of effective CRM and social media management. I am grateful for the exposure I have had and tidbits I’ve picked up about networking and professionalism. These experiences have alerted me to the fact that basic social media fundamentals are being ignored by my classmates. Making a few adjustments to their social media and marketing approach would increase their credibility, build their networks, and undoubtedly improve their chances of landing a job upon graduation.

Sam Lejfer is from Boston. He is a sophomore at the University of Southern California, majoring in Business Administration.