The way the world has so rapidly developed means that social media in the workplace is inevitable. At work, it’s used in so many different ways. It can be used for employees to connect and socialise outside of work, it can be used to promote the company, it can be used to create polls, and it can also be used for critical market research.
Two of the most important parts of organisations today are social capital and trust with regards to social media use.
To start with, social capital refers to certain networks between people who work and thrive in a particular society. The importance of social capital is that it enables societies to function effectively and efficiently. Trust on the other hand, is important in the world of social media as it means that integrity can be maintained and individuals can have confidence while using social media
In relation to using social media, social capital and trust are critical in ensuring good working relations with fellow colleagues and for the overall image of the company. Social capital can help with knowledge sharing, which leads to the company operating effectively.
However, no company can run efficiently without trust between employees, employees and managers, and trust in the company itself. Trust is essential for any business to have as when it comes to social media, knowledge sharing is so important for ensuring the company is aware of what is going on and also ensures that employees feel comfortable sharing information with each other.
As with anything, there will always be issues and challenges with implementing and adopting social media into the workplace. The main thing that any business must ensure is that these concerns are addressed in a timely fashion and a contingency plan is created for future issues.
Probably the main issue that businesses will have with social media is employees using platforms such as Facebook and Twitter at work for their own personal use, as opposed to for business purposes.
Other issues can be that incorrect or classified information is released accidentally on social media by employees. It is critical that businesses make sure that their employees are safe and protected while on the internet and to make sure that their social media use is monitored at work.
~ Quite possibly, the most negative aspect that can arise from using social media would be that a negative rumour could spread though various social media networks which could negatively impact the brand image of a business.
~ Intellectual Property rights can come into play with social media as some third party websites could be posting negative information about a business. This could bring about a legal battle.
Some ways to mitigate negative aspects of social media usage can be:
~ For starters, it is most important to be aware that as long as a business is on social media, there are always going to be imminent risks. This is why it is always important to pro-actively manage the pages the business runs on social platforms. By staying away from social media, this will not mitigate the risks at all.
~ It is imperative that the business has a solid business plan, and also a contingency plan, for how to run their social media accounts, and also how to protect themselves from negative issues.
~ It is critical to ensure that businesses empower their employees with regards to using social media for the business. By empowering the employees within the business, it will automatically and outwardly empower the brand that the business is trying to positively advertise.
~ One of the most important points here is to be VERY careful as to who is allowed to represent the business on social media. Obviously a freshly hired employee is not necessarily going to be the best person to promote the business online, as they have not had the chance to fully integrate the business standards into their psyche.
The role of culture within an organisation when it comes to adopting and implementing social media in a business is critical for empowering employees and also improving the business as a whole. There is a huge complex that only younger generations of people can be ‘social media savvy’ and therefore this can make businesses who are run by older people less likely to put their business online. This is where training days are particularly important as this gives the younger members of staff to interact closely with their often older colleagues and build better relationships with them. It also gives those who are not used to dealing with social media a chance to learn and be a part of improving the business.
Bouzdine, T., & Bourakova-Lorgnier, M. (2004). The role of social capital within business networks: Analysis of structural and relational arguments. For The Fifth European Conference on Organisational Knowledge, Learning and Capabilities, 5-6 April 2004, Innsbruck, Austria. Retrieved from: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/wbs/conf/olkc/archive/oklc5/papers/e-3_bouzdine.pdf
Merrill, T., Latham, K., Santalesa, R., & Navetta, D. (2011). Social Media: The Business Benefits May Be Enormous, But Can the Risks-Reputational, Legal, Operational-Be Mitigated. ACE Limited, 13. Retrieved from: http://www.acegroup.com/us-en/assets/ace-progress-report-social-media.pdf
Moore, P. (2014). Social Media Policy & Governance: 17 Tips to Mitigate Social Business Risk. Retrieved from: http://www.pammarketingnut.com/2014/05/social-media-policy-governance-17-tips-to-mitigate-social-business-risk/