It's Time to Embrace Social Media at Work

Posted on August 29, 2012.

I’ve been pretty vocal about the need for companies to embrace social media, not block it.  So it was nice to come across a Forbes’s article, where digital expert, Erik Qualman, discusses the 4 things companies need to do in the digital future.

Of the four items he discusses, the two that any company and any team could employ today are:

1.    Adjusting your business model.  Qualman suggest too few companies harness customer feedback. I would suggest that if you embed twitter and other social media outlets directly into your online applications, you would receive real time feedback and then could adjust your model accordingly.  Instead of sending out those annoying surveys that no one wants to complete, send a link to your website or facebook page that invites them to “like or comment.  Yes, you will get more complaints than praise, but you can gauge the feedback by the sheer volume of responses you get or how many “likes” you receive. Even if you manage a small team, you can build in the ability for clients to express themselves. And the nice thing about an app like Twitter is that your client can remain anonymous.

2.    Embrace employee engagement. Qualman rightly suggests that social media is not just for clients. Why do so many companies block twitter, facebook and other social media outlets?  They should be harnessing them as tools for gauging employee satisfaction. Again, instead of sending out pre-fabricated, multipage online associate surveys, you can gauge the level of satisfaction but monitoring twitter accounts. And again, they can create their own user names and remain anonymous. Think of the message it would send that you care about how they feel all the time instead of just once a year in a survey that’s quickly ignored.

I understand the fear that companies have about social media. They think their employees will spend more time playing around than working.  I would suggest that if you’re that worried about the work ethic of your staff, you’ve hired the wrong people.  Why not start small and let everyone on your team set up a twitter account that you follow.  Ask them to give you real time feedback on new policies, goals, or other changes. Make it clear that you won’t always be able to address their concerns, but knowing that you’re listening and concerned should increase employee engagement and satisfaction.