An important characteristic of the internet is it’s accessibility, that is to say anyone can access the internet at any time but sometimes it’s inappropriate. An issue emerging around social media is it’s use and roles in a workplace environment. Most companies now have a social media policy that not only covers whether or not social media is accessible at work but the expected behaviour of it’s employees on social media, even during their off hours.
Companies That Say No
A study by Mindflash and Column Five, shown in the infographic above, shows that in 2011 70.7% of workplaces actively restricted access to social media at work but 72.6% of workplaces claimed to not monitor employee social media use. In the last few years Companies have gotten stricter and smarter about their social media policies, 43.4% agreed social media misuse in the workplace is an issue that needed attention in 2011. On the surface it seems like a reasonable idea to simply stop employees using social media around work at all, but this has the risk of influencing employees to respond by; becoming docile and accepting the restrictions, Trying to cheat the system by finding ways around the restrictions or loopholes in the policy, or become paranoid and stressed about always being monitored.
Companies That Say Ok
Larger companies are finding it more effective to not just block social media but to offer training and set guidelines on appropriate social media use for its employees (Smaller companies can afford not afford the training). When simply blocking access to social media, companies run the risk of employees disregarding rules and misusing social media as a result.
This advertisement for employee social media training highlights the importance of education over the set and forget approach of outright blocking social media access.
The Companies Themselves Use Social Media
Considering the widespread use of social media, companies are more and more being drawn to marketing and public relation on social media. A good example of a business using social media to it’s potential is Biltwell Inc. for their facebook page. On their page they feature competitions, handouts, communicate with customers and generally advertise the brand in a positive, effective way. As Sonny Ganguly identifies about social media marketing, “Social networks are a good option for advertisers because of the advanced targeting options, reliable conversion tracking, and prevalence on mobile devices” (Ganguly, 2015).