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Should you ban social networks at your company?

By Lisa Goldsberry

35139615_s.jpgHow your decision will affect your online success

A staff member takes to social media to complain about your customers after a particularly stressful day at work. It seems that your employees spend more time checking their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and online dating sites than they do on work. With such a huge potential for disaster, you may be ready to ban social networks at your company altogether.

It’s likely that you already prevent employees from accessing certain sites at work, such as those that contain malware, so why not social network sites as well? After all, doing so should make employees more productive and focused. However, before taking such a drastic action, it’s important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of social networks for business.

Drawbacks of social media at work

It is addictive. With all the available games, status updates and applications, there are numerous reasons for employees to check in often.

It is not private. Anyone can access information posted on social media. Therefore, it leaves the door open to bullying, harassment and over-sharing.

It can be dangerous. There is always the possibility for leaks of confidential information. With social media, it’s easier for someone to inadvertently share sensitive information with just a quick status update or damage a company’s reputation with a negative post.

3 reasons why a social media ban at work won’t work

It is very tempting for CEOs and managers to believe that all employee issues will magically disappear if social networks are banned. On the contrary, prohibiting social media will only be the beginning of your problems.

1. Can you say smartphone? Just because they won’t be using company computers to access social networks, doesn’t mean employees will stop altogether. They will just sneak around using different devices.

2. Social media is not the root of all evil. We may want to blame social networks for all employee distractions, but the truth is that people have been finding reasons to be off-task since jobs were created. Even if employees are not on social media, there are still dozens of ways to waste time – and you can’t ban them all.

3. It demonstrates a lack of trust. Your employees may feel that they are being treated like children. As long as work gets done and goals are met, there should be no need for employees to account for every minute of their time.

How to make social media work for you

  • Encourage staff to be active participants in social media, including liking, commenting and sharing company posts.
  • Provide social media training for employees so they learn the dos and don’ts of professionalism and success with this vital tool.
  • Create a social media policy, which clearly communicates how you expect employees to behave online and consequences for non-compliance.
  • Hire a public relations agency to manage it for you. Overall, social media is about relationships, engagement and communication, and these are tasks best managed by PR professionals.

At Axia Public Relations, we can show you how to leverage social media activities to increase visibility, improve your online reputation and build your brand. Contact us today to request our social media guidelines and policy template or download our e-book, The Essential Social Media Management Guide, to learn more.

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Lisa-G-Color-SM.jpgLisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business and technology PR. Lisa has worked for Axia since December 2013. Learn more about Lisa Goldsberry. Connect with Axia on Twitter @axiapr or tell us what you think in the comments below.






Featured image credit: 123rf.com

Topics: public relations, online reputation management, shared media

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