There's no shortage of proof that social is beneficial for business-and it's here to stay. Now we have evidence that it's influencing long-term career growth for social change agents, too, and we're announcing it at The Social Shake-Up 2014.
We recently surveyed 347 Social Media Today members online, and interviewed four key individuals who self-identify as social change agents. Whether leading a large corporate brand outside its walls, or driving enterprise-wide social collaboration from a cubicle within, these innovative, very public professionals whom we studied are catapulting career opportunities far into the future. The study focused on the impact a social skill set has on individual career performance and options. These skills include collaborative and network technologies, storytelling, crowd-sourcing across geographies and companies, as well as personal values placed on transparency and authenticity.
While we conducted the survey, it was Susan Scrupski's pioneering work that motivated us. Her efforts started in 2009 with The 2.0 Adoption Council, which led to the founding of Change Agents Worldwide, a network of forward-thinking social champions around the world.
Professionals in advertising, marketing, PR, and any discipline that requires a thorough understanding of social media will find the results mostly positive and, at times, probably surprising, like we did.
- The majority of survey respondents are passionate about the values of social. It's not just a job for many. Many survey respondents shared their personal stories on how they took career risks to stand up for their convictions.
- By an overwhelming majority, survey respondents see the social career occupation as positive, leading to greater visibility and opportunities internally and externally.
- Those who indicated that they saw themselves as Change Agents were more likely to be the face of their brand, found Social to be a career boosting asset, and reported they are part of a team dedicated to social initiatives.
When Social Media Today conducted the 2014 Social Change Agent web survey from July 17 to 28, 2014, we were pleasantly amazed by the investment and risks social change agents have taken to stand up for their beliefs about social.
First of all, we couldn't be more proud of the 57 percent of respondents who self-identify as Social Change Agents. In addition, an overwhelming 71 percent of respondents reported they definitely had been in a situation or situations where they had to defend the values of social with colleagues. Similarly, 62 percent reported they had to defend the values of social to a superior. What shocked us is the 20 percent who answered yes to, "Has there ever been a time that you felt you'd be willing to lose your job rather than compromise your convictions about social?"
Taken together, what does it all mean? Clearly, social is not only for the CTO to lead anymore. The question that professionals in all industries should be asking themselves today is, "Do I want to lead my industry in embracing social business, or do I want to help them play catch-up with the competition?" From a strategic perspective the answer is straightforward: the first player in an industry to establish a comprehensive social business strategy gains advantages over their competitors.
From a practical perspective, people and organizations that are not on the social business boat have to make a commitment of time and resources to get on board. Not every company can allocate the needed resources to do so. Every business has to be smart about its own unique situation and set of challenges. That being said, the imperative to business leaders is to look for and reach out to the internal or external social change agents. They can help get the social business boat started.
Are you the captain of social business at your organization, or are you ready to get on board? See the full survey results below, and tweet with us at #socialshakeup to get in on the real-time Twitter conversation.