When you think about social media and work, you might imagine employees spending languid hours on Facebook when they should be getting through their to-do lists. With today’s constant contact model of communication, it’s only natural that managers would be concerned about employees spending precious work hours posting and sharing on their social networks. But the reality is that in today’s digitally connected society, people are using social media on their phones, tablets, and computers, while at home, work, and everywhere in between. There is even an emerging trend called Employee Advocacy where brands openly collaborate with their employees to leverage social channels.
So what if you could utilize your employee’s natural propensity for social media to improve productivity while also boosting your company’s digital presence? A recent study by the University of Melbourne found that employees with access to social networks were actually more productive than employees at companies where social media was blocked. That’s all fine and good, but you might still be worried that their focus might shift if they have too much freedom to use social media at work. So how do you find common ground of allowing your employees to use social media at work while maintaining productivity in the workplace?
1) ACKNOWLEDGE THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
If you pretend that you’re not aware your employees are on Facebook, you’re missing both an opportunity to encourage efficient work habits and a chance to promote your company. Since your employees are probably always connected to their social networks, encourage them to share company news, customer wins, and promotions, instead of just posting personal updates.
The benefits of this are two-fold: This will allow you to increase your company’s digital presence by connecting with your employees’ social networks and tap into huge potential customer base. This will also boost morale and let your employees know that you trust them and value them as advocates of your brand. It’s a win-win situation!
2) SET SOCIAL BOUNDARIES
It’s always a good idea to work with your team to come to a mutual understanding about your company’s social media expectations. Checking in on Foursquare at work with the status “Another miserable day” is probably not a good idea, yet it’d be great if your employees “liked”, followed, and engaged with your social media channels. Have a thorough discussion about what’s okay and even encouraged when talking about work on social media, and what shouldn’t be posted.
And even though you probably don’t need to spell it out, remind your team that blatantly offensive posts about the company’s goals, ideas, policies or other employees will not be tolerated. Better yet, create and implement a social media policy so that everyone will be on the same social page. While it’s cool that a company like Zappos can have a simple policy that just states, “Be real and use your best judgment,” your company might need a policy that’s more substantial. Check out our social media policy template to get started on implementing a social media policy in your organization.
3) ENCOURAGE COLLABORATION AND INTERNAL COMMUNICATION
Some organizations don’t have a full-time social media manager at their disposal. If you’re one of these, encourage your staff to send relevant links, pictures, and stories that they come across to a designated social media person. Having a lot of eyes out there in the social media sphere is important in gathering curated content. This type of content is the most powerful because your employees know your customers, company, and industry best.
Even if you do have a social media manager on staff, encourage your employees to send them internal wins as well as any curated content. For example, maybe a long-time customer has a great anecdote about using your cleaning products when their baby is trying spaghetti for the first time. Or maybe a new customer snapped a picture of herself wearing your brand’s shoes while climbing Mount Everest. Encourage your team to be active and contribute what they’ve seen, heard, and experienced on social media.
By implementing these simple steps, both managers and employees can get on the same social page. Harness the power of social media and increase positivity and productivity in your employees while boosting your company’s digital presence.
And if you’re looking to go beyond basic collaboration with your employees on social media there are some great tools available. An Employee Advocacy Platform will drive awareness, increase reach, build engagement and grow revenue by turning your employees into actively engaged brand advocates.