By CAREEREALISM Founder, J.T. O’Donnell
Recently, I read an interview in BusinessWeek with Salesforce.com Chairman & CEO, Marc Benioff regarding their new internal social media platform, Chatter. Haven’t heard of it? Well, think of Chatter as the best of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Apps and WordPress inside a private network for employees. (Here’s a recent article outlining it’s latest functionality.) All I can say is, “Three cheers for Chatter!” For over a year now, We’ve been telling our readers using social media tools would eventually become part of their job descriptions. Thank you Salesforce.com for making the prediction a reality!
As soon as I got a look at this program, I immediately saw 10 ways an employee could use this tool to catapult their career within their company. Anyone who’s company has implemented Chatter and is not using it – listen up! You are missing out on a major opportunity. Honestly, it’s like being given the keys to the ‘Secret-to-Professional-Success Chamber’ and saying, “No thanks. I’ll stay here in the Let-My-Career-Get-Stale Room.”
Here are 10 ways you can start using Chatter to advance your career:
Start Your Own Daily Advice Column – Each morning, post the URL to an article you think fellow staffers would find of interest. This shows management and peers you’re staying on top of industry news and information, a.k.a. it proves you care about your job and the success of the company you work for.
Make New Friends – Find and follow 5 employees you don’t know, particularly in departments or geographic regions outside of your own. This can help you get a more comprehensive view of what happens day-to-day in the company. Plus, if they choose to follow you back, they’ll get your daily morning update and will see how you’re contributing to the organization.
Keep Old Friends Close – Send a quick ‘hello’ and some valuable content to 5 people you’ve known for a while at the company – but don’t see daily. Staying on co-workers’ radar screens keep you at the top of their minds. You just never know when a plum assignment or opportunity to get some face-time with an executive could materialize because a co-worker said, “You should talk to so-and-so.”
Follow the Big-Guns – Read each day what the top players at the company are thinking and doing. What if you got thrown into a meeting or unexpectedly shared an elevator with a company executive? You’ll want to be prepared to have a smart, meaningful conversation with those who can help your career.
Join a Group – Find a group discussing something related to your job and get involved. There’s always something to be learned when great minds get together on-line. Plus, it will help you find new people to connect with.
Start a Group – Identify a problem you want to solve in the organization and start a group to get people all over the company discussing ways to solve it. As the leader of the group, you’ll earn respect for your proactive approach and will gain valuable insight and build powerful relationships with co-workers who are also passionate about solving this problem…the perfect way to create your next promotion in the company!
Play Matchmaker – Locate two people in your network who aren’t connected and introduce them to one another. Share what you respect about each one and why you thought they should connect. As the facilitator of this introduction, you’ll be remembered for wanting to help both of them succeed.
Post Some BIBO – BIBO stands for Best Info By Others. Read what others are talking about and push out their BIBO to your followers. Not only are you showing respect for your peers’ work, you’re also helping them get exposure in the company, which builds your credibility as a collaborator and team player.
Compliment Others – The most valuable currency employees have is the ability to compliment. I’m not talking about appreciation (read here why compliments are far better than appreciation). I’m talking about sincere, respectable compliments. Send a compliment to co-workers whenever you can – especially, the ones you don’t personally like all that much. Learning to compliment the good in each employee is a valuable career development strategy. And thanks to Chatter, you can do it on-line as opposed to in-person!
Teach Other How to Use Chatter – Find someone who isn’t using Chatter and have a conversation with them to find out what’s holding them back. Often, it’s the fear of making a mistake, which quite frankly, is a good reason to be careful as you engage in using this type of professional development program. (Here are my 6 Rules for Social Media Use which can help employees get comfortable with using these tools effectively.) The goal is to show them even a little usage is better than none at all.
So, are you thinking, ”She’s crazy. I’m not doing all that. I don’t want to look like a total brown-nose!”
It’s your career and you can do what you want with it. But, keep in mind…while you’re busy acting like you aren’t trying to get ahead, many of your peers will opt to embrace these concepts and learn how to leverage Chatter to advance professionally. So, with that in mind, here’s one last thought: I guarantee management is watching the early adopters of Chatter – that’s why they installed it.
J.T. O’Donnell is a nationally syndicated career expert and workplace consultant. Her advice reaches 7M+ readers weekly. She is also the founder of the top 10 career blog, CAREEREALISM.com and creator of the only Career HMO. She works with both individuals and corporations of all sizes, helping them improve the effectiveness and engagement of their staff. Want more info on how she can help your team take your company’s productivity to new heights using social media? Request more info at [email protected].
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