Social Media Enters the Workplace. A Positive or Negative?

13 May

Progressive Media Concepts - Social Media Marketing and Management Social media in the workplace seems to be controversial at times, as the opposite view points on this matter can be both backed by valid arguments. If you are the CEO, manager or bottom shelf employee working your way up the corporate ladder, chances are you have used social media during work hours. Whether it’s on your phone, tablet or computer, admit it, you at least sneak a few peeks per day on your social networks. But let’s take a deeper look into whether allowing social media for personal use leads to increased or decreased productivity by employees.

Social media was once primarily used for personal social interaction, as there wasn’t much to offer businesses on a marketing standpoint. But over time, these social networks have integrated more and more ways for businesses in a broad range of industries to market their products to consumers. From a business owner’s viewpoint, I can see how using social media to market and engage your consumer is a positive aspect of these social networks. We have steered away from outsourced phone calls and emails that take weeks to get a response and shifted towards direct and sometimes immediate responses. Whether it is a positive or negative remark, comment or question, managers of these social platforms are always connected to these sites thanks to modern technology.

When talking about social media as a personal gateway to the virtual world, we are more than aware of the abilities it offers us. It can almost become “creepy,” as we are so interconnected with our peers. Social media usage at work for personal reasons is a double-edged sword of sorts. We all know a happy employee is a productive employee. You can’t expect one of your employees who are having a day from hell to perform up to par. Social media enables that person to vent to a friend or family member efficiently and effectively, getting it off their chest so they can refocus their newly freed mind on the task at hand.

On the other end of the spectrum, the argument I hear most involving the negatives of social media is the distraction it causes. Granted, it is a valid reason because it is common that people spend too much time on social sites for personal reasons; it’s just so addicting. Another concern is the privacy of the company and any business done within the confines of the doors. Leaking of news is a big issue in today’s world, as avenues to release information are so readily available. The problem is also if an employee makes a comment on a social site that may imply business is being done, either shadily, effectively, or secretly, the cat is now out of the bag. Businesses should have policies in place to safe-guard the use of social networks to prevent lowered production and performance, and ensure no employee “leaks” any news or information that may be sensitive material.

In the UK, roughly 48% of businesses have banned the use of social media networks during work hours. It may seem like a very steep reaction to the increased popularity of social sites, but it is important to remember social media in the workplace needs to be used professionally and productively. In the US we see things slightly different. About 69% of companies and organizations do not have well-written social media policies in place. Businesses are also beginning to push employees to become a part of social networks, and not for personal reasons, but for business reasons. Since the realm of media and sharing of information has gone online, being engaged with these social media sites is vital to understanding how your target consumer views your company. Here is a well done video explaining how social media in the workplace is beneficial to your success.

The benefits social media can offer a business stretch from marketing and advertising a targeted demographic, to posting job classifieds and building relationships with other businesses. LinkedIn provides a very well structured platform for B2B interaction, as well as marketing for your company. Enabling employees to use social media for the good of the company will create a unique personality for the business in the eyes of the consumer, and help increase brand awareness and loyalty.

Social media is something we all need to embrace. It’s here, it’s relevant and will soon make traditional methods of marketing and advertising somewhat obsolete. If you decide to brush off social media and the abilities it enables your company and employees, you may soon find yourself wondering why business has become stagnant. If you decide to embrace social media use in the workplace, make sure, you may see the moral and performance of your company increase. If not, at least your employees are happy.

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