twitter: it's time the waste industry woke up

Social media has plenty of friends; it has plenty of enemies too. For every person that loves to tweet, another is equally dismissive of embracing such cuddly virtual communities.

Next week at the RWM show, I will be taking part in a panel debate on how to best maximise these social networks in a professional way. The rise of twitter, LinkedIn, and to a lesser extent Facebook, has presented many businesses with a online platform to engage creatively with their target audiences.

It's fun, it's fast, it's real-time … it also never stops. After a while it can leave you dizzy and wanting to get off. The trouble is, in the waste industry, a lot of people don't want to get on in the first place.

We conducted a survey recently among 400-odd waste professionals and asked them, among other things, what they thought of social media and if they found it of value in their job.

What was interesting was that while over 80% of them used online media to regularly source information, less than half that number were active on social networks. Those who did use social media were mainly on LinkedIn; less than 10% were on twitter.

I can vouch for this – of my 300+ connections on LinkedIn, less than 20 have a twitter account. But why then, are so many of those I know on LinkedIn just occasional users, whereas my twitter comrades are often tweeting nineteen to the dozen?

Perhaps because twitter is so simple, it's very user-intuitive. You can only use 140 characters at a time. But I think it goes deeper than that. Tweets of value get retweeted; news and gossip spreads like wildlife. It feels exciting; like a pulse sensing the public mood.

Whether you love the speed of twitter or prefer the weightier hubs of LinkedIn, the whole point of social networks is just that – to network. Those that are using them wisely are engaging with their audiences in new ways that can benefit their business or organisation, and I will be talking more about that at RWM.

And while nothing will ever beat face-to-face, I feel a lot of our survey respondents are missing a trick by shunning these new channels of communication. I'm hoping the waste sector will have become a little more switched on next time we do our survey.

Maxine Perella will be talking at Maximising social networks on a local level' - a panel debate at the Sauce Communications Hub, RWM, September 15.

maxine perella

Topics: edie
Tags: | Communications | Facebook | Social Media
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