In an increasingly social media saturated world such as our own, where everything from personal commentary on NFL games to employer history can be made available to the semi-public eye, it can be hard to maintain separation between the professional and personal realms of our lives. This potential blurring of the lines between our personal and our professional lives can make it difficult to determine whether or not social media has a practical spot in the workplace. While living and working in a such a technologically advanced world has its advantages, there is no denying that modern careers requiring a significant amount of work to be done on computers, smart phones and tablets makes room for distraction during the work day.
Despite the potential distraction that social media poses in the work place, if used responsibly, utilizing certain social media platforms can prove an effective way to reach wide audiences, from prospective clients to prospective employees. Here is a brief who, what, where, when, why and how to consider when determining social media’s role in the workplace.
Who should be using social media in the workplace? While it goes without saying that anyone using their personal social media outlets in the workplace is remiss, depending on company policy, a more important element to consider is who within your company has access to the company Facebook, Twitter, and so forth. Deciding whether only the higher-ups, all employees, or a designated social media coordinator has access to publishing content on the company’s social media platforms is a good way to ensure that content posted is consistent, appropriate, and grammatically correct for audiences. Regardless of who is given access to publish content, it is crucial to ensure that whoever is posting, tweeting, or Facebooking has solid grip on what your company’s mission is and how that mission is to be achieved.
What content should and should not be posted? While the answer to this question will likely vary from company to company, it goes without saying that all content published on professional social media outlets should be just that: professional. Thought the line between personal and professional in the social media world can easily be potentially blurred, it is absolutely necessary to ensure that personal opinions, views, stories, photos, videos and so on remain on personal social media platforms, not professional ones. Though websites like LinkedIn, that focus simultaneously on the individual and the professional, leave room for sharing personal information, it is important to keep shared personal information professional.
Where in the social media spectrum should your company reside? With such a large array of social media platforms available, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vine being just a few, it is helpful to consider which social media platforms actually have the potential to benefit your company. Where some social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter may be of use to one company, more visually focused outlets such as Instagram may be helpful to others. Rather than spreading your company thin across the social media spectrum, it is often helpful to pick one or two social media outlets that have the most potential to help grow your company, and to strengthen your presence on those chosen few.
Why is it important to have a social media presence, if at all? Whether we like it or not, social media plays a largely significant role in our very modern age. Not only does it allow us to share our personal stories, it often delivers our news and provides us with an abundance of opinions and viewpoints that we may not otherwise have access to. Moreover, it allows us to reach out to a wide audience of people from all over the country, and on a much larger scale, the world. If used the right way, social media can play an integral role in seeking the kind of people and ideas that can help a company flourish.
How can your company most effectively utilize social media? Responsibly; make your presence known without overdoing it by only sharing stories and opportunities worth sharing. That being said, it is helpful also to be consistent; don’t let weeks go by without your platforms being updated. And more than anything, keep the personal, personal, and the professional, professional.