This recent study makes the claim that using Facebook at work just might make you a better employee. And for many of us, this survey validates the time we spend secretly lurking on Facebook at work – while nervously glancing over our shoulders to make sure the boss isn’t watching.
But it seems that increasingly, companies are putting measures in place to block employees from viewing social networking sites at the office. This is often the result of misconceptions and negative connotations around the ramifications of using social networking sites. Organizations need to stop being afraid of keywords like “blogging” and “twittering” and learn how to develop a strong online presence and visibility for the company. There is so much opportunity and apparent business benefits of social networking online – your audience is already there and so are your competitors.
Today’s customers expect some level of online communication with companies beyond just a website. Interacting with customers through online forums provides a sense of loyalty, support and a positive experience for the customer. Social networking sites are also an easy way for companies to sidestep expensive forms of communication, like advertising and marketing, to reach customers. Bottom line: it’s a win-win situation for both the customer and company.
When the Internet initially took off and companies began creating corporate websites, these same negative perceptions existed. People were intimidated by the vast capabilities of the Internet and its freewheeling ability to disseminate messages to a large audience. Similar misconceptions exist with corporate blogs, Facebook and Twitter accounts – the fear of the unknown. But if you were slow to trust the Internet and make the jump to a corporate website then, you probably can’t afford to miss on the opportunity to get involved in the social media network now. Although the future of social media remains to be seen, you won’t get anywhere by sitting around and waiting for others to try it first.
We’re seeing more journalists and even CIOs tapped into online sites like Facebook and Twitter and actively contributing to these forums. Companies are cluing in to the fact that their audiences are online, and in order to reach these audiences, they need to increase their presence in the online space.
So instead of worrying about employees “playing around” on Facebook, companies should be more concerned about engaging their online audience.