A recent Google project on how social tools are used in business showed how those embracing them at work are more likely to get promoted than those who don't. The research found 86% of frequent users said they have recently been promoted and 72% said they are likely to be promoted, compared to 61% and 39% of non-users. The report - How social technologies drive business success - hails these workers as 'the new social climbers', because they know how to embrace the tools in the right way to get ahead.
In reality, there are a number of reasons why social networkers are more likely to progress in their career and it appears that the most successful, visionary companies are already acknowledging the benefits of these tools to make it easy to connect and work together online. According to the Google research, high growth companies are most likely to use social tools.
There are a number of ways in which social tools can help with career progression:
Showcasing depth of knowledge
When social tools first appeared they were used by introvert individuals who embraced blogs, answered questions on forums and understood their potential as an outlet for sharing knowledge and exchanging views. This helped them get noticed for their depth of knowledge. In a professional situation, in-depth authority on a relevant topic is extremely attractive to employers and helps to get introverts noticed and promoted without the need for active self-promotion.
Those embracing social networking in the workplace have recognised its potential to broaden their circle of contacts, which can lead to all sorts of useful business connections. Building a network of contacts also offers an effective means of problem solving, giving access to a wider panel of individuals with different areas of expertise, whose knowledge can be tapped into to help solve problems and give advice on unfamiliar situations.
A balance of professional and personal
The most successful social networkers tend to be those who filter personal information to build their own 'brand', including their skillset, experience and connections. That said, individual touches such as occasional updates on hobbies and interests can also lead to more meaningful connections with all kinds of influential people. In Google +, for instance, these contacts with similar interests can be grouped together, making it easier to ensure that your updates and requests are relevant to those receiving them.
Bringing in new insights
Another great opportunity for using social tools to excel comes in using them to learn about your organisation. Many companies have already established a network or blog and are using these channels to provide information about staff skills, company news and initiatives so taking an interest in these forums and communities can be very informative. Using social media to track company references is also a good idea. For instance, if a story about your company breaks on Twitter, and you are the first to spot it this shows senior staff you are taking an interest in the company.
Time management and productivity benefits
Today's 'social climbers' are also using these tools to help them work smarter. Most of us are familiar with being bombarded with emails that we don't have time to read and being pulled into meetings that seem to last longer than necessary. Through thinking creatively about what social tools could do, you can change these time-draining practices in your company. Instant messaging, can be a time saver when you want an answer to a question quickly. Collaborative documents edited online by multiple people could replace meetings. It is only through embracing change and trying out different tools that you will learn these shortcuts for yourself and be seen as a more efficient member of the team.
Driven individuals are likely to grasp any opportunity that come their way to make themselves more successful. Social tools offers such opportunities.