Having been in the payments industry for over a decade now, I admit that I was originally a social media skeptic in terms of leveraging these networks and platforms to support business objectives, whether for networking, marketing or sales. But, there’s no question that social media is here to stay - Facebook now boasts over one billion users worldwide with an astounding 618 million daily users – Twitter, recognized as the fastest growing social platform, with over 200 million active users – and, LinkedIn, the leading business oriented social networking site in the world, with over 200 million members.
While all three of these platforms make cases for professional use, personally, I have found that the most useful, practical and easy to use is LinkedIn, especially for the vast number of resellers and agents specializing in providing payment processing solutions.
LinkedIn was originally founded in 2002 and launched officially on March 5th 2003. Experiencing amazing growth in just 10 years, LinkedIn is recognized as the leading social platform for business professionals worldwide, available in over 200 countries and territories and more than 15 languages. And, originally targeted more for human resource professionals and professionals looking for a new job opportunity, through it’s groups, company profiles, news, influencers and, of course, advertising, LinkedIn is one social media platform that we all need to be aware of and engaged in.
For those not yet on LinkedIn or using it to its full potential, here are a few things you should know.
- LinkedIn is free. They offer premium paid memberships, but for daily use to foster networking, engagement and learning, it’s not necessary. Just be sure and complete your profile to its fullest. Take the time to note past experience, add a picture, link to your social media feeds (Twitter) and your company website, and make new connections as well as reconnect with those from your past.
- Use LinkedIn for education. Follow key companies you partner with (like Merchant Warehouse) and also seek out key business leaders (think Jack Welch, Richard Branson, and others) as there posts will provide you with real time updates and educational information you can use to grow personally or professionally.
- Engage in group conversations. With over one million groups, LinkedIn groups are a great way to expand your network, engage in conversations to build new relationships and expand your reach, keep apprised of news and the latest trends in our ever-changing world of payments, and ask questions of other leading influencers. And, using the free version, you can join up to 50 groups.
But, with more than one million groups, it may be a challenge to figure out where to start. Within the payments industry, I have found the following to be five that have quality posts and management, active and helpful members and a great range of members (2,000 to 10,000+).
- Merchant Services
- Merchant Partnerships, Credit Card Processing
- ISO and Agent Alliance
- Electronic Transactions Association
- Merchant Level Sales
And, for those interested specifically in mobile payments and commerce, here are three more that will help you get started.
- EWallet and Next Generation Mobile Payment Solutions
- PYMNTS.com: What’s Next in Payments
- Mobile Marketing & Payment Solutions Forum
Investing time and energy into social media definitely provides opportunity for learning and potentially new business as well, but it’s also always an important reminder to follow good social protocol and balance time online with time working locally and meeting prospects, customers and partners in person. Stay engaged and have fun!