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Social Media in the Workplace

Having received many questions on this topic, from businesses both small and large, Public & Private, I decided it might be time to give social media in the workplace its own blog. With Social Media & Digital Technologies redefining how we engage with one another and how we communicate the use of digital technologies particularly, social media in the workplace is one which subject has sparked debates at all levels within organisations – just how do we control it?

Well put simply, you cant…You can try all you want to get your IT Department to lock down access to Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and other popular social media platforms,but what benefit will it have. With the explosive growth of Smartphones, users now have a new way to access content and social media platforms on the move.

Right about now senior managers and CEOs eyes start to roll.. Not having control of their brand or businesses communication message is a big problem. The communication game has moved to a whole new level, now more than ever, everyone and every employee have a voice and what’s more they have a channel in which to communicate that voice to a sizable if not global audience.

Businesses need to understand this.

Businesses & organisations need to look at ways to harness the power of social media and look at the potential benefits enabling social media within the workplace as a form of communication.

I’ve given 5 pointers which organisations need to consider & implement to ensure social media within the workplace is working for them:

  1. Strategy is key – within any businesses or organisations strategy plays an important role in how the business meets it goals or objectives. Social Media needs a strategy, many businesses are confused just to what a social media strategy is their business and how they implement. That being said the strategy will ultimately depend on what and where the businesses is hoping to get with their social media.
  2. Training is fundamental – the digital landscape is changing all the time and many businesses jump on the social media bandwagon for the sake of it, or perhaps because everyone else is using it. Staff at all levels within the businesses need to be aware of social media, its benefits and indeed its drawbacks, everyone from the CEO right down to junior and new members of staff need to receive training. Social media has become such a core way in which we communicate not only within work but also outside of work on our own time that it is vital employees and businesses understand what discussions are acceptable and which are not, how they can benefit and also affect the business in which they operate in. Starting by making employees aware of the boundary between public and private spaces will help with selecting the right medium to communicate with their customers.
  3. Respect Privacy – We live in a society now more than ever where things we come across we share – just look at the explosion of Pinterest and how it has changed the game for how we share content online. Many of the comments which we send out are to public spaces like Google + or Twitter which are indexed by Google meaning they WILLl appear in search results. If you are reposting or resharing make sure the original source has allowed you to do so, always exercise caution and respect the privacy of users within your community or space.
  4. Have a Social Media Policy – it amazes me how many businesses or organisations today still don’t have a social media policy or guidelines – IT’S ESSENTIAL. In its simplest format a social media policy will help clear any grey areas between an employee and employer on what is and what’s not acceptable when using or engaging with social media. There is no one type fits all when it comes to social media policy and depending on the size & nature of the business will determine the policy needed.
  5. Take care when mixing personal and professional – There is nothing worse personally as a consumer of online activity of coming across company jargon on social media platforms What I am referring to here is company speak and the use of company lingo to communicate with your customers or audience. As humans we like to feel when we engage socially online we are engaging with another human therefore your communication needs to have personality. For many businesses and brands when they move online they seem to lose their personality so much so that they run the risk of becoming not authentic to their customers. Just as we spoke earlier in the blog that the strategy is key it’s at this point in which we must determine what the company’s personality is online and just how it should be communicated.

There are of course other areas which need to be considered in relation to social media and its usage within the workplace but one thing that is for sure – Social Media is here to stay, its been a fundamental shift in the way we communicate both personally and professional and also the way we do businesses –it can’t be ignored and is an area which businesses both small and large need to hae a clear understand of.

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