Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and now the new Google + seem to be the hot topic on everyone’s lips, from tweens to top business owners and businesses. Social networking provides an unmitigated smorgasbord of social interaction, though is it something that should be taken so lightly as just social interaction? These sites can be seen as a great detriment to the office environment, as they are often seen as a waste of time; that is, time that should be spent doing the work that you are getting paid for. Many offices now have a “Facebook” policy, along with mobile phone and personal emails policies.
There are other ways to integrate social interaction when face-to-face interaction is hard to do, due to office set-up or a high workload. Google Talk, or other instant messaging systems are a popular tool for creating social interaction within the office, as long as you differentiate between social and important business discussions. It is a proven way to increase a bit of banter within the office, when it is not so easy to communicate face-to-face.
Social networking sites can be used to the business’s advantage and the results can be fantastic. There are many websites that sport tips for utilising Facebook, for example, which is currently the most popular social networking site (Top10 Reviews), to your business’s advantage, though the crux of it is outlined below:
- Either create a separate professional profile,or have a limited profile and place restrictions on what is being seen on your profile or home page;
- Make a Facebook Page, which can be created for your professional business profile and people who are interested in the company can “become a fan” and receive any live feed updates;
- If you are using a personal profile and you have colleagues or potential clients as your friends, be wary of what you post and portray across your page – it may be ok for your close friends, but it is very unprofessional to show a picture of yourself at last year’s Christmas party, a little worse for wear!
- Investigate posting an ad on Facebook - with facts such as of 50% of active users of more than 750 million people log on to Facebook in any given day (Facebook, 2011), the possibilities are endless – there are also ways to limit and focus your ad on certain demographics and place a spending limit on your ad and account.
Social networking, despite what people may think and feel, is a massive part of society and ignoring it will not make it go away, so why not utilise it to your advantage, by either integrating it into your office or organising some advertisements that will reach over 750 million people! As long as you have restrictions and policies on how it is to be used within the office, it can definitely be an advantage to your company.