If you are a US citizen, there’s a 74% chance that you use some form of social media. If you’re under the age of 29, that number jumps to 89%. It’s 2014 folks, and it’s time for project managers to get tweeting.
Can social media really help projects stay on track? Absolutely; when team communication is the number one factor in a project’s success, take advantage of the range of tools available to you and your team online.
Social media: it’s not just about sharing what you ate for breakfast anymore.
Project managers have to share and receive a ton of information, and software companies are catching on. Project management software like Insightly and Slack sync with popular sites like Twitter, and use hashtags to tag projects.
For example, I could tweet, “Just finished researching my blogpost! #CapterraBlog14,” and that would let my project manager know that I’m a few hours away from producing a draft. He could also click the hashtag (#CapterraBlog14), and see all the updates that other writers have made on updating SEO, making design changes, or training new staff in short, 140-character blurbs. Of course, these tweets could be available to the general public, but Twitter also allows its users to make private tweets that can only be shared with a select group of people.
But beyond communicating milestones and accomplishments, social media for project management allows users to create a “flexible” space for their progress. As Michael Klynstra aptly points out, project managers can use blogs and wiki pages to track their progress (and this could also easily act as a free alternative to project management software). Keeping a journal of the project’s problems and solutions can help with future challenges. Additionally, the blog or wiki can be used to train new hires and also encourage the entire project’s team to keep themselves updated on the shifting parts of a complicated project plan.
Long gone are the days where everyone is in a single office. While today one-in-five Americans work from home at least one day a week, one study says that number is expected to increase to 63% by 2018. Social media can help connect telecommuters to the in-office team not just professionally, but emotionally too. Social media allows people to show off a bit of their flair online, so telecommuters feel like they’re working with real people, not just an anonymous body miles away.
Social media also allows project managers to communicate to their team in a dynamic way. Comfortable with YouTube? Use it! Podcasts? Chat it up! The traditional meeting doesn’t have to be in the office anymore, especially when it’s just imparting information. Video can make status updates more engaging and match faces to names, again fostering a closer-knit team.
Finally, use social media for the project itself. If social media could force the Filipino president out of office in 2001, think about what it could do for you and your company. Crowdsourcing is what social media is best at. While it has its time and place, your project could benefit from reaching out to others in your space. Use LinkedIn and Facebook groups to share ideas. Tweet using hashtags to get a conversation going. Subscribe to channels of interest for your project. Doing so will not only help facilitate your project, but it will also help market your company.
Do you use social media in your projects? Do you end up getting distracted, or is it an asset? What would you recommend to people who have never integrated social media into their projects before? Leave your answers in the comments below!
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