The good, the bad, and the ugly of workplace social media use

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The good: One benefit Facebook offers for business is it lets the customers and potential clients know your company on a personal level. Clients come to you for a relationship. They assume you know how to take care of their needs. Being accessible on social media sites helps your clients and customers feel connected to your company.

A Facebook page can also help bring people to your website. Customers will look for your presence on the Internet and a Facebook profile is just another way they can find you, leading them to your website to find out more information and possibly contact you.

Facebook can be a tremendous networking tool. In addition, if you have a Facebook business page link on the opening page of your website, potential clients can feel that they know you and your office before coming in for their new customer experience.  Several companies have gained new clients simply because of their Facebook page.

The bad: A recent study of companies with 1,000 employees found that 8% of their employees have actually been dismissed for their behavior on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.  That’s double from the previous year! Companies have also fired employees for sharing sensitive details about the business and their clients.  In addition, team members have been sanctioned and fired for making unprofessional remarks about their boss via social networking sites.

The Ugly: Realize that even if you use Facebook privacy settings, you may still be in danger. Remember going to high school and doing things you thought your parents would never know about and yet somehow they always found out? The same is true of social media. Avoid bad -mouthing your boss, co-worker or anyone in your professional life in such a public way on a public forum.

Every business should have specific guidelines that apply to social media use.  There are two factors at work here: employers need to be closely monitoring social media sites and employees need to use common sense when posting about work life.  Employees need to be careful about sharing sensitive information as well as making foolish remarks about their employer.

The owner needs to set the vision and goals for the office regarding social media with the help of the team with the development of a mission-driven ethical use policy.

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