Many procurement professionals shy away from social media due to the overwhelming amount of information out there. It’s simply easier to manage if you avoid the up to the minute news and reports, and rely on the old newspaper or water cooler chat. However, with a few skills you can leverage this powerful tool and reap the rewards in your business.
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1. Build Good Social Media Habits
Before changing how you use social media, set specific guidelines on when to use it. The most effective way is not sitting in front of the never-ending news feeds with glassy eyes all day, it’s simply to make a habit of checking your most important sources for information in the mornings and again in the late afternoon or early evening.
Limiting how much you use it keeps you from getting sidetracked or overwhelmed. Write your social media checking time in your schedule, and limit yourself to these hours.
2. Depend on Conversations More Than News Feeds
Keeping up with all the social media feeds out there is too time consuming and frustrating. Instead, keep up with what your friends are posting and chatting about.
Turn the news gathering time you have into a time for collaboration and discussion with peers, colleagues, and industry leaders instead of trying to chase every trail of information. This way, you get the most up to date stuff in a timely manner without going insane. If you’re following people in the know, you’ll always get accurate and timely information.
3. Get the Right Tools
Depending on the social media accounts you use, there are two ways to approach getting your information. The first is to download apps for each of your social media accounts, such as Google Plus, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Quora. Then you can easily pop on and check updates when you’re ready.
The other method is to download Hootsuite, which gives you access to all your news feeds in one convenient package. Hootsuite is quicker, unless you happen to depend on one of the social media sites it doesn’t support. Either way is fine, so long as you’re sticking to your social media checking schedule.
4. Connect With Suppliers
Keeping up with industry leaders is important, but don’t neglect to follow and share with your suppliers, as well. This is an excellent way to keep your finger on the pulse of your business without seeming like you’re looking over their shoulders.
You’ll know about potential problems in plenty of time to react, without spending countless hours on the phone with customer service asking lots of questions and getting few answers. Your suppliers will likely appreciate your interest in their affairs.
Social media is often a hotbed of too much information, but with these skills you can leverage their usefulness without sucking endless hours out of your day. By using social media properly, you’ll always be in the know yet you won’t be hostage to the 9 p.m. newscast or the newspaper delivery. There’s room in everyone’s day for some social media interaction. [/show_to]
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