Although you might think that allowing employees to use social media at work might create an undeniable distraction, new research indicates that workers who are encouraged to tweet, chat, and like things on Facebook at work are among the most productive employees (Warner). The study found that workplaces that encouraged the use of social media approached it as a way for employees to collaborate, solve problems, and build team-morale, as well as share information about the brand.
While allowing and encouraging employees to tweet and facebook at work could seem like a risky business, like anything there is also the potential for amazing payoffs. Understandably, you do not want your employees writing about how much they hate their job on Facebook, or blasting other employees, but encouraging them to participate in a social media discussion about your brand can make them ambassadors. Here are some reasons why employee social media participation is a good thing for your business.
1. Boosts Workplace Morale
Social media has been a great equalizer, allowing workers from all over an office or a company to connect with each other. A lot has been said about the value of workplace morale, but it really has an effect on the quality of work that employees produce. Collaboration and teamwork help to get creative juices flowing, and give people the opportunity to showcase their best skills to produce the best content possible, but this isn’t possible if people do not really like each other or interact with each other.
Social media and chatting enables coworkers to get to know each personally, and combined with workplace activities and events can really help foster friendships that translate to high-quality work. A team that works well together is a team that is connected and unified, and while social media has the potential to distract, coworkers it also provides a medium for employees to get to know one another and work together.
2. Creates Brand Ambassadors
While you may have a dedicated social media person or team that handles all your social media accounts and coordinates updates and strategies, having other employees support your social media efforts is key. Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm displays posts and updates according to their number of likes, so having office staff that are engaged in liking and favoriting updates can boost your EdgeRank score.
In addition, many employees update their social media accounts with information about their employment, and while this can be dangerous if they are not satisfied with their work or the company, if they have good things to say this can be a very powerful way to engage a larger audience. Since commitment is one of the most important attributes of a good employee, and is somewhat contingent on what a company has to offer in return, this exchange can be a very beneficial long-term situation. Employees that feel committed and well-treated are going to say good things about the business and help you to grow.
Although I don’t advise you to require employees to interact with your brand on social media, or to post positive messages, if they feel so inclined this can be incredibly productive in terms of your social media reach and presence. So, in short, while allowing employees to use social media at work may present risks, it can also be beneficial to your business and social media strategy.
Warner, Bernhard. “When Social Media at Work Don’t Create Productivity-Killing Distractions.” Bloomberg Businessweek. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-04-01/when-social-media-at-work-dont-create-productivity-killing-distractions. (29 May, 2013).
“3 Reasons Why Your Company Should Pay Employees to Use Social Media.” Hootsuite Blog. http://blog.hootsuite.com/pay-employees-to-use-social/. (29 May, 2013).