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The Pros and Cons of Co-Workers on Social Media

March 16, 2014 No Comments

Featured article by Ken Wisnefski, webimax

As a business owner, there are extreme pros and cons when it comes to co-workers connecting through social media. On one hand, the fact that social media brings people together and helps boost morale in and out of the office is undeniable. On the other hand, these connections have the potential to interfere with productivity and posts between co-workers could hurt the company’s image depending on the content they’re sharing.

A recent Philly.com article explores the impact that social networking has on personal relationships with co-workers. The article concludes that sharing common interests, photos, and hobbies through social media sites is overwhelmingly positive and creates stronger workplace bonds.

But it’s important to know the risks, too.

My situation is especially complex because I founded an online marketing agency that uses social media websites daily on behalf of clients. Some employers block social sites altogether, but that’s not an option for WebiMax. Plus, with smartphone usage at an all-time high, employers need to be realistic about how easy it is to access Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social networking sites from their mobile devices.

Furthermore, we encourage employees to share blog posts and help build the WebiMax brand through social media. With over 100 employees, social media is an opportunity for us to get the word out about our services through the very people who believe in them the most. As an agency that offers social media marketing services to clients, I see how powerful a strong social media presence can be – for us, it’s important to have employee involvement in that way.

So how can business owners encourage employees to use social media responsibly to connect with their co-workers and help with brand building while reducing risk all at the same time? The answer lies in being aware of what transpires on networking sites and creating a clear and comprehensive social media policy to protect both employers and employees.

First, it’s important to understand the risks:

  • * The first risk employers must face is using social media during work hours.
  • * Another risk is employees sharing company information improperly.
  • * Social media changes constantly. It’s important to keep up with changes in the industry and update policies accordingly in order to stay fully protected.

Whether business owners are creating a social media policy for the first time or they’re updating an existing one, every policy should include:

  • * The consequences of spending too much working time for personal social media usage.
  • * Clear differences between helping promote the company versus posts that could potentially hurt the company’s image.
  • * Consistent updates that reflect changes in social media and also the culture of the company.

The biggest mistake business owners make when it comes to developing a policy is being too restrictive. Employees appreciate freedom and flexibility and they don’t like being told what to do and what not to do in their personal time. However, when their “personal time” is spent writing about the company publicly, there need to be some guidelines. Make sure you thoroughly explain the purpose of the policy, answer questions in detail, and be consistent when it comes to enforcement. That way your employees can enjoy sharing photos online and employers can ensure the company is well protected.

ken headshot 150x150 The Pros and Cons of Co Workers on Social Media

Ken Wisnefski is a seasoned web entrepreneur and a respected leader in the online marketing industry. He is the Founder & CEO of WebiMax (www.webimax.com), an Internet marketing agency that specializes in SEO & social media marketing. You can find Ken on Twitter @KenWisnefski

Featured Articles, Fresh Ink, SOCIAL BUSINESS

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