There’s a very good chance that almost everyone who works for your business has some sort of social media presence, whether it’s on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn personal profile, or Twitter. Even if they don’t post regularly, they almost certainly check their feeds from time to time. In fact, nearly 500 million people visit Twitter without logging on.
Social media now has become a part of daily life. Instead of calling friends and family, we use Facebook to send personal messages. Instead of picking up a newspaper, we head to our Twitter feed. Instead of emailing photos, we upload them to Pinterest and Instagram.
Social media is a huge part of today’s modern culture, and this raises a question: Should employees be allowed to access it at work?
The answer is: “Of course they should.” And here’s why.
Employees Who Feel Valued Work Harder
You are a child and your parents told you that you couldn’t eat any more sweets, what did you want to do? You wanted to eat more sweets, of course!
Limiting or forbidding the use of social media at work not only lowers morale but, in many cases, it creates feelings of resentment for you in the minds of your team. Employees today want to work for fun, modern businesses run by a forward thinking visionary, not some stodgy old curmudgeon. By forbidding access to social media in the workplace, you may unintentionally breed contempt, disloyalty, and attrition.
Employees Improve Their Skill Sets
Had someone told you five years ago that Facebook or Twitter would be the number one place for you to generate leads, you would have thought they were mad. Nevertheless, social media has now become a vital sales, marketing, and customer service channel, and employees who understand the ins-and-outs of Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram, can help you leverage those tools.
As your business grows, you may at some point need an entire department to handle each social media channel. By allowing your team to use social media at work, less (maybe even zero) training will be needed in the future.
Social Media Makes Work Fun and Promotes Team Bonding
When deciding whether to allow social media use at work, it might be helpful to look at how other, larger companies respond. For instance, Google is currently the world’s biggest brand. Not only do they allow social media, but they also offer their employees free shuttle service, pool tables, think pods, food, games, bowling alleys, and much more. Although it may not be feasible for your business to offer employees all of the above, allowing access to social media costs you nothing but helps you build a fun working culture.
Employees who read trending topics on Twitter and discuss them at work tend to develop stronger relationships with colleagues. This contributes to increased company loyalty and reduces the formation of a “silo mentality,” a situation in which employees become insular and reluctant to share information between departments.
nline is not cheap, so when you encounter an opportunity to get your brand in front of potential customer for free, you should grab it with both hands.
How does social media provide free advertising? Firstly, you can turn your employees into web-surfing billboards for your company.
Every employee who is active on social media has friends and followers, sometimes hundreds or thousands of them, who can see the employee’s profile. Facebook and LinkedIn let users list their current employer on their profiles, and Twitter provides a section for a short bio and a website address. The more active your employees are on social media, the more your brand can reach prospects at no cost.
The best thing is that your employees probably use social media outside of work, too, so they advertise your business to their followers and others they interact with at all hours of the day, for absolutely nothing.
Don’t Let Your Employees Run Wild on Social Media
Although I fully support the use of social media in the workplace, you must enact rules and guidelines that are easy to understand and to follow. For example, if an employee is spending half the day on Facebook, you clearly have a productivity issue. Additionally, an employee who berates a presidential candidate or shares inappropriate content on Twitter with a link back to your website in their profile can have an undesirable impact your brand.
Employees should be trained on how to use social media to correctly represent your brand, what they should and shouldn’t say, and how they are allowed to access it during work hours (e.g. on their lunch break, and not during a team meeting).
Once guidelines are in place and clear for all to follow, employees should feel more comfortable knowing how and when they can use social media.
The average person checks Facebook 14 times per day, and just under half use their mobile phone as an alarm clock. This means that from the moment we wake up to the second before going to bed, social media is only one click away. Stop fighting it, and embrace it to propel your business forward. Start by asking yourself how your business and employees can leverage social media create a better working environment and grow your business at the same time.
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