The social media landscape has been used for many things in the past decade of its popular existence – both good and bad. Identifying talent and promising content has led to uncovering new entertainers, while social communication has led to a revolution in how businesses talk to customers.

Another new trend has emerged in the workplace – using social media as a hiring tool. This has been happening for some time, with various pieces of research showing prospective employers look up applicants’ social profiles – some even took the step of asking for Facebook passwords.

A new study shows there is a correlation between a user’s social media profile and their work performance. The study from Old Dominion University found personality traits from a Facebook profile are an indicator of job performance, and that correlations between the two are stronger than if the candidate took a personality test. The profiles even had a stronger correlation with grades.

According to the study, “social media footprints have an advantage over personality tests because they often contain records of behaviour stretching back years”.

This may not be a surprise to many, with employers having used social media profiles for hiring purposes. But it represents just how integrated social media has become in revealing personal habits and actions.

For businesses, the implication of this study needs to be understood in the context of a long-term customer. How can previous interactions and transactions indicate future performance?

This isn’t just about examining the types of communication made through sales. Instead, businesses need to incorporate all the available data – while maintaining strict security parameters – about the history of a customer’s interactions. Only then can it gain a fuller picture of that customer’s needs, wants and future preferences.

The always-on customer demands a personalised experience. By simply paying attention, digitally-enabled businesses will be able to provide it.