Social Media in the Workplace
It seems like every day there is a new social network to keep up with, a new hashtag trending, and growth in all things social media. As someone who works exclusively in this field and runs a fabulous blog, I can say that it’s exhausting. However, with the rise of social media came jobs, such as mine. Careers in blogging, social media analyzing and much more are based solely around the social media boom.
For those in this field, it’s a no-brainer: social media on the job is necessary and critical. However, for the rest of the workforce, there are a number of questions being asked about its use within the office:
- Will businesses suffer or flourish from allowing social media use?
- Should workplaces invite it?
- What do businesses stand to lose by restricting it?
With these questions in mind, social media in the workplace can be explored through the three outlets I in which I see it used every single day: Customer, business and employee.
Social Media: For the Customer
There are a number of fields in which social media is critical. While it’s obvious that dot com businesses should be heavily involved in social media throughout the workday, it stands to reason that almost every other business will lose out if they aren’t as well. While I spend most of my workday scouring the web for business blogs, I know other departments are regularly keeping in touch with high priority clients through email and other outlets.
Think about it: Most companies are on Twitter, run a blog, or have a Facebook page. This has quickly become a space for social customer service: Interacting and engaging with customers online. Because of this, it’s critical that these social outlets are maintained on a daily basis.
If not for the employees, it’s important for the customer.
- Close relationships with clients are maintained via email
- Potential customers are found on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook
- Customer conflicts are resolved with the use of online forums
Social Media: For the Business
Businesses now work predominantly online, from customer relations to marketing. Companies that refuse to acknowledge this risk losing out on valuable information and have already lost out on a number of great opportunities that the internet has afforded businesses large and small.
For example, Twitter has become a source for up-to-the minute information. You, me, your sister and best friend heard the breaking the news of Whitney Houston’s death on Twitter, 27 minutes before any traditional reporting source.
It’s important to acknowledge the benefits of having work-time spent wandering the web.
- Twitter allows businesses to keep tabs on competitors
- Niche news sites provide updates on new trends and technology
- Business blogs provide critical traffic, SEO and content information
Social Media: For the Employee
There are few people more connected than the members of Gen Y, and as a professional blogger, I can attest to that statement. Most blogs I write for are run by tech savvy kids younger than me – and I am the ripe old age of 23.
Thus, as the Gen Y-ers flood the office space, changes are being made in terms of social media use. It’s how they connect with friends, and serves as a platform to do the same with coworkers. 64% of Gen Y workers add an average of 16 coworkers connect with co-workers via Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Because of this, businesses are now playing to the desires of their Gen Y employees in an attempt to regulate high turnover rates and poor salary. Cisco’s Connected World Report found, “64% of college students ask about social media usage policies during job interviews and approximately 24% says it would be a key factor in accepting the offer.”
With that said, employees connecting on social media can play a huge role in unifying an office, and inviting community. Businesses that refuse to acknowledge this are putting themselves at a disadvantage. Why?
- It fosters unity within the workplace
- It connects employees on a level outside of work, which leads to higher job satisfaction
- It helps keep employees engaged in the case of low salary or lack of benefits
As the internet evolves and becomes an all encompassing aspect of business, it’s harder to keep social media out of the workplace. Thus, companies that accept the changing work environments, and acknowledge the necessity of social media for their customers, business and employees will be the ones that continue to flourish in the face of change.
Jessica Sanders is a professional blogger, writing for a variety of publications about small business and personal wellness. She helps women stay healthy as the editor and chief of WillRunForFood.net and you can follow her insightful ramblings on Twitter.