As of September 2017, a jaw-dropping 30% of time spent online for all digital consumers is spent on social media websites. For employers, that number may be worrying. While social media use may seem like a productivity killer, it can also be a valuable asset to your company. We’re here with another round of HR tips on how to make social media work for your business.
1. Blocking Social Media Doesn’t Work
It may be tempting to solve a potential productivity problem by just banning social media use on the workplace network, but doing so is almost always a waste of time. With smartphones, tablets, and other personal devices, chances are that employees will be able to access social media sites regardless of whether or not you block them on your company network. In addition, aside from the money and labor to block websites on your network, banning social media may end up costing even more wasted time as employees search for methods to get around the block.
2. Some Social Media Use Can Be Good
Banning social media is also short sighted in terms of your company’s competitive edge. Social media is the new water cooler, combined with a completely free marketing platform and networking opportunities. Employees can get to know their coworkers on a personal level, keep up to date with the outside world, and become brand advocates and sales people, all while taking a break from their day-to-day work. When improving worker retention and company culture are at the top of talent management to-do lists, allowing some social media use throughout the workday can help keep employees – and your company – happy.
3. Put a Social Media Policy in Place
In a survey of employees who use social media at work, 40% said they used social media to take breaks between work in companies that do not have a social media policy, as opposed to 30% in companies that do. Taking breaks is not necessarily a bad thing, as some people work better when they can clear their heads between tasks, but social media for leisure is certainly not the most practical use for your company. Creating a social media policy helps your employees understand what is expected of them, both in terms of the frequency of their use and how the company should be represented online.
4. Train Your Employees in Social Media Etiquette
Whether it is their intention or not, employees that post about their work online contribute to that company’s online presence and reputation. Your social media policy should cover best practices such as crediting sources and adding disclaimers to work-related posts stating that all views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the company. In addition, make it clear that any non-disclosure agreements or expectations of confidentiality apply to all online activity, including those often thought of as anonymous, such as Wikipedia.
5. Turn Everyone in Your Company into Brand Ambassadors
Because employees on social media can and should become informal representatives of your brand, consider implementing training to help everyone become well-versed in company values, missions, and goals. Personal social media can be a great marketing platform: marketing and sales platform HubSpot reports that consumers are 71% more likely to make a purchasing decision based on referrals from social media. By ensuring that everyone in your company is a competent and excited brand ambassador, you are mobilizing a gigantic, passive marketing initiative for little or no cost.
With a little work, you can turn social media in your office from a potential problem into a growth-driver. Work with your employees to create a set of social media expectations that works for everyone!
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