Saturday, August 7, 2010

What’s Going On With Social Media At Work?

Social Media can be a boon for any business when it’s used to promote products and a company. For many entrepreneurs it is free marketing. Clients get to know the company on a personal level and feel connected. A Facebook Page brings customers to a website to find out more information or to contact the business owner.

Marketing businesses understand that emailing potential clientele during business hours can result in building stronger relationships that will eventually bear fruit with more business. Collaboration and creativity improves office morale and sparks participation in online communities such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Govloop. Staff in this environment are treated as mature adults not disobedient children who are constantly monitored by their bosses.

Yet, employees using social media can create problems for some business owners. Executives say they block social media sites because of breeches in security and the belief that social media leads to lack of productivity. Others think that employees spend too much time updating their profiles rather than working.

Computer World reported in 2009 that 54% of companies in the USA banned social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and My space; Nineteen percent allowed only social networking sites for business. And only 10 % of 1400 CIO’s  are allowed full access during office hours. In a more recent study of companies that have 1000 employees – 8% percent of them have been fired because of their behavior on social media sites. Some got caught on-line revealing confidential information about the business or clients.
Social media critics take a negative approach and say that using social media as a strategy takes too much time to bear fruit and that it removes marketing resources and taking them away from other marketing plans. And, most important customers are annoyed by emails.

Social media in the private or the governmental arena has become a management problem. Social media sites are currently in place at every Government site. GAO, for example, performed a study that showed that these technologies could actually expose government records and sensitive data. Privacy issues may be compromised until methods are established for protecting and managing personal information. A balance must be achieved where networks are protected from threats and intellectual properties maintains compliance with internal and government regulations. Every employer should be prepared to develop management policies ahead of time regarding social media. What has been your experience using Social Media in the office?

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