Social media: Are you a master?

Quick learners: that’s a description of science park and incubator directors. People who deal with new, complicated material on a daily basis. But oddly, very few have mastered their own personal use of social media, says Eileen Walker, chief executive officer, New Markets Group.

Why is this? Although learning about the latest scientific discovery and the newest company financing schemes leaves precious little time for building a social media presence, it’s a critical aspect of effective 21st century park/incubator direction.

As the top representative of your park/incubator — the spokesperson — it falls to you to maximise your park’s success. And social media is today’s most promising marketing tool ­– inexpensive and effective. Mastering it can pay great dividends.

Many guides to social marketing point to a broad but thin approach: Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Facebook. So focus is necessary. The best bets to begin social media mastery for park/incubator directors? Linkedin and Twitter, hands down.

Let’s start with Linkedin. A basic membership level is free. However, Linkedin’s power expands exponentially with higher levels of membership. Consider a premium membership to greatly increase the effectiveness of your corporate intelligence. The premium levels are cost effective, and will prove their worth the first time you’re able to contact and start a conversation with a new potential tenant, whom you otherwise would not be able to reach.

Linkedin allows you to exhibit thought leadership in your community by posting interesting news articles to your contacts. Actively and consistently linking to the contacts you are meeting in person will help to quickly grow your contact list, and thus your sphere of influence. Not to mention your rent roll.

And then there’s Twitter.

The use of Twitter can bump up your corporate intelligence gathering to new heights. Not just a quick and informative replacement for meaningful news sources, Twitter will enable you to be fully informed about your best clients —current and future.

Just starting on Twitter? Set up a free account, and begin by following your park tenant companies and your potential new clients. In no time, you’ll be able to discuss with them their latest achievements with the ease of a stockholder. They’ll follow you back and the process of solidifying your community interactions is underway. When lease renewal time comes around, you’ll be way out in front in the race to a new agreement.

And although corporate intelligence is an outstanding reason to spend time on Twitter, another interesting aspect of Twitter is that it is one of the world’s most important 21st century news sources. With the use of hashtags, breaking stories can be followed for up to the minute reports from news scenes.

Using the Twitter ‘Lists’ function, you can set up not only a separate ‘list’ of your park tenants, but also ‘lists’ of potential new tenants or news sources, such as the BBC, New York Times, and many others. While while waiting in line for coffee or at the airport, you can quickly scan news sources, finding out the backstory on breaking current events. You can also find and pass along articles and other interesting news sources that your Twitter followers — current and future tenants-- might find interesting. This takes just moments per day.

In all your social media efforts, be sure that you are the one personally involved — don’t assume you can leave this to amateurs. Interns and staff are often not sufficiently informed as to the finer nuances of issues, which can backfire. Plan to participate in social media yourself, and plan to include the time to do this as an important part of your daily routine.

Social media: make the decision to become its master, instead of it mastering you.

Need some tips? Find me on Linkedin. Or@_EileenWalker_. Let’s connect!