As a consulting company, our customers are companies, not individual consumers, so questions may arise like, “Why do we need a social media?” or even, “Is it only a waste of time?” Here is what we think about it.
A huge percent of people (78 % in the US) are using social media. Social media is a main source of information and a big part of human reality these days. French philosopher René Descartes’ non-immortal phrase Cogito ergo sum: “I Think Therefore I Am” has turned to “I Share Therefore I Am”. It relies on thought that without visibility and communication that Social media offers, you don’t exist.
Still, we think that we don’t have to be everywhere all the time. Every company is capable of knowing where it want to exist and to whom. There is a plethora of hashtags and other algorithms available. That kind of content curation brings people to specific places where they feel comfortable and brings us followers who have a large interest in our work.
Our followers are mainly people interested in geospatial aspects – whether the background motivation is their business, every day hobbies or just a love of visualization. Maps used as a business tool are the common thing that ties the group together.
We want more than one way communication. Social media is focusing on discussion. It helps people in business and GIS fields to communicate with each other. Because of that, new ideas spread rapidly. The field is constantly editing itself in the minds of social media users. Consulting events and conferences are still important rendezvous opportunities and a relevant part of business, but social media offers more.
#GIStribe, an active weekly chat in Twitter, is a good example of this empowering platform. Inventor of the #GIStribe, Emily (@wildlifegisgirl), says it is designed to communicate with people in GIS related fields. There are hundreds of people joining weekly in this chat.
Emily says that the goal is to expand the professional network of people in GIS related fields: “It’s more than simply getting somebody’s business card at a networking event. Connecting with people from #GIStribe means you have a vast resource of professionals with varied backgrounds who can provide advice on your projects, who can offer technical support when you’re stuck, who alert you to opportunities you might be interested in, or who might simply want to get together for lunch at an upcoming conference.”
Transparency is the value of the day. Companies are required to open their doors and show where, when, and how they are doing their work. Consulting companies are the pioneers in using GIS with new methods and technologies. That’s why we are expected to display our thoughts and visions about the new innovations.
Actively operating social media can be a way of demonstrating the company’s interests, projects and involvement in the larger world. It’s not a huge investment to operate on basic social media accounts. But the rewards can be high when target groups get to know your company’s values and way of doing things. People exposed to a brand start also to clarify their thoughts about it. “An interesting maps” may turn into “How applications with maps could benefit my business”.
We believe social media is a business development tool. We want to be part of the discussion and share our work. It doesn’t necessarily have an immediate value. For us, there has been a one consistent benefit; it has helped us to ask better questions about our business.
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