In recent years within the professional sphere, there has become an increasingly important role for social media. The resultant potential impact this has had on project management should not be discounted. Within project management, social media can be used in a number of useful ways but it’s not popular with every project manager and some believe it is a time-wasting distraction. Therefore, it is important have a very clear understanding of the purpose social media can serve as a tool for project managers and how to harness it for best effect.
There is no denying that when it comes to communication and collaboration, social media platforms have a considerable amount to offer within any team. For project management, where communication is the cornerstone upon which great projects can thrive, then this would appear to make social media an ideal tool that can be harnessed to great effect.
With more and more project teams working from different locations, the need for successful virtual teamwork has never been stronger. With remote and hybrid working commonplace, social media has provided a great way for teams to keep in touch and be updated with ease.
Not only this, but social media platforms have also made it very easy to break down the geographical barriers that can often exist with different offices, often using different software, particularly in different countries. Everyone, regardless of their location has access to at least one of the available social media platforms.
Whilst we often think of social media in terms of the big platforms; X, Facebook and LinkedIn, there are of course internal social platforms that can be used within companies or even created for use in specific projects. It is, therefore, important to remember that social media can also encompass any form of technology that can be used to facilitate dynamic interactions between a team of people. In this context, the social part is the important bit. It can be used for any way in which individuals can interact with each other. Beyond serving as a simple way in which people can communicate, it can also be used to share project-related information and even for the transfer of knowledge within a team.
If all of the members of a project team have access to the same platform then this sharing and transferring of knowledge becomes incredibly simple and also beneficial to all of the members of the team. It does so by facilitating greater collaboration and exchange of ideas.
Social media can also make it much easier when it comes to enhancing stakeholder engagement. For any project manager, it can be important to find the best way to update stakeholders and the right social media platform offers great potential for everything from real-time updates to feedback. It also allows for the project manager to maintain a transparent channel of communication with the project stakeholders at all times. This means that the stakeholders will have access to the most up to date information at their convenience. If they want to check on the project, they will be able to do so without needing to specifically contact the project manager and then wait for the updates.
The use of social media within project management is not, however, without its distractions. These distractions, if not kept in check, have the potential to impact on the productivity of a team. They can also interfere with your project timelines. That means effective time management strategies are vital to help you overcome these challenges whilst still ensuring that you are using social media to the best possible advantage.
Time management strategies should be put in place before the work on a project begins. They will indicate to the team what is and isn’t appropriate use of the social media that you have in place and ensure that there are boundaries that everyone is aware of.
There are of course security and privacy concerns that are associated with the use of any form of social media platforms. This is a common issue that all too often people do not take seriously enough. When it comes to your project-related communications, however, it is important to proceed with some degree of caution.
Much of the information that you will be sharing with your team over social media will be sensitive information relating to your project. Therefore, it is important that you ensure this information is properly safeguarded. Having the right security in place from the outset of the project is essential. It is also important to ensure that the members of the team understand the importance of the basics like not sharing passwords, not leaving themselves logged on to the social media platform when they are away from their desk and being aware of what they are sharing.
One final point to consider is that the quality of communication that you make on social media platforms is also important. This is particularly true when it is being used for work-based communication.
There are some potential challenges that can arise from maintaining a quality of communication on social media platforms and these can stem from the risks associated with the misinterpretation of some text-based communications or the limitations that can sometimes arise from this type of communication. This is particularly the case when your team may be based in different countries and therefore not all speak the same language to the same level of proficiency. Clear and concise language is best in these instances to ensure that communication is most effective.