Social Media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and even Instagram are becoming the part of a modern worker’s every day life. These tools are no longer just for personal use since many people use them in their professional lives as well. In the workplace, these social sites are being used for purposes such as marketing, employer branding, and corporate social responsibility; recruiters use LinkedIn to find and connect with candidates, and many employees use Google + for the chat feature to connect instantly with colleagues or conduct Hangouts. As HR consultants, we are often asked about the pros and cons of allowing social media in the workplace when developing workplace policies.
Pros Vs. Cons of Social Media in the Workplace:
- Recruit/source potential candidates
- Corporate brand awareness/employer branding
- Increased brand loyalty and engagement
- Low cost investment
- Ability to reach a wide audience/ mass promotions
- Targeted marketing
- Networking capabilities
- Ability to conduct research and focus groups
- Training and Development
- Decreased productivity/ lack of focus
- Security and privacy concerns
- Inappropriate online behavior
- Brand reputation risks from review sites
If your company does not have a social media policy, it’s a good idea to consider putting something in place. Here are some of the reasons why we recommend one.
The Best Reasons to Have a Social Media Policy:
- To communicate what is and is not acceptable social media use;
- To educate employees on safe social networking practices; and
- To protect the company from misuse by employees in ways that could jeopardize the company’s reputation or negatively affect its operations, such as posting confidential company information.
Once you have explained the boundaries of the policy, make sure to monitor and update it regularly as trends regarding social media are constantly changing. As an HR best practice, the policy should be reviewed and revised annually.
For additional information about current policies, refer to the National Labor Relations Board’s guidelines to limit restrictions on employee’s social media usage and my colleague’s article on Risk Vs. Rewards of Social Media in the Workplace.