Social Media: How It Can Benefit Your Business

In an age where everyone has a Facebook, Twitter and/or LinkedIn, among a plethora of various other social media accounts, time quickly becomes consumed with checking statuses or adding new updates. How does this effect time spent in the workplace? Well, these social media platforms¬† aren’t the time gobblers that they seem to be … in fact, utilizing them efficiently may benefit your business. A new article from Talent author Craig Laviano provides some insight on how to best manage social media at work.

It’s become a common predicament for talent managers to figure out how to manage employees’ constant online presence, from personal tweets to online shopping, people are always in-the-now online while at work. It’s a proven fact that employees visit Facebook while working more than any other website.

So what are those employees thinking? Not as much about their employers as they should, according to a 2009 Deloitte LLP study, which showed nearly 40 percent of employees never take into consideration what their employers would think about their social media site postings.

It’s largely understood that social media is a big part of everyday life for a majority of employees and many organizations are placing guidelines on this usage – as much as 68 percent of companies now have social media policies in place. The big question is how do employers make sure that employees understand and comply with these policies? Personal and professional usage of these sites has become intertwined, and it may not be a bad thing. Instead of just viewing it as a waste of paid time and energy, try to look at how this activity could benefit the organization. This could allow for a whole new type of connection with customers that could increase organizational growth and employee engagement.

In lieu of banning social media usage, offer employees these tips to enhance their social media interactions while at work:

Gain intelligence on clients, prospects and vendors: This can help workers prepare for meetings and give them insight on how to interact.

Gain insight from the virtual crowd: Today’s work environment is also more collaborative.

Gain industry intelligence: It is important to remind employees to not reveal proprietary information about their employer or customers. Employees should be encouraged and instructed how to find industry experts, discover new ways to solve problems and gain market advantage.

Find high-performing employees: In the old world of recruiting, finding the right candidate was extremely expensive. Utilize this new method of finding employees by posting casting calls through sites like LinkedIn and Twitter.

Instead of blasting a social media “don’ts” email, find time to discuss with employees how social media can be positively utilized for the organization. Be sure to make adamant note of the cons of this method as well, like revealing too much information. It’s crucial that employees understand that posting personal comments may have an impact on the organization, and once the word is out, there’s no way to really take it back.

There are numerous business perks to allowing employees to use social media in a professional context. But, it’s also a good idea to consider letting employees have some allotted personal social media time while at work. A little mental break in the midst of so much happening within a business day is an effective way to manage the social media conundrum. Each workplace consists of different levels of confidentiality – defense and financial institutions must deal with social media differently than marketing or advertising organizations.

Another idea is to create a social media site for your organization.

This option gives companies the opportunity to balance social freedom with corporate responsibility and stewardship by keeping the conversation focused on the work at hand. For example, if a large global hospitality company created a Facebook-type site for its general managers, they could become part of groups based on their location and type of property, and all communications would be open to everyone in the group.

This can help managers across a business geographic to communicate about best practices. It could be used to communicate successes, problems, and other information pertinent to anyone working within that specified type of business. This idea could create a community of members working together for the betterment of the industry as a whole, letting people discuss industry-wide problems and innovative ideas. There are many pro’s and con’s to using social media within the workplace, but with the rampant usage of such sites among workers, talent leaders should focus on how to utilize social media to create a positive face for the organization. Let’s focus on the benefits and not the risks – there’s an abundance of positive possibilities. Click here to read the full article.

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