Big business and small business have one thing in common: they’re not sure about where to draw the line with social media in the workplace. Some companies prefer to keep social media out of a professional business environment, while others think integrating modern tools within a corporate social framework benefits their business.
One of the biggest advantages social media brings to the corporate table is that it offers team members a central hub to connect. It’s this feature that companies find attractive when considering whether they should include a business social network to their existing structure. Outside of creating a business social profile and encouraging employees to connect at that destination, there’s a big fuzzy grey line when it comes to creating a distinction between social behavior and professional behavior.
Executives and managers can’t really benefit from business social media pros if those pros come with a string of cons attached to their coat tails. Yet, this is precisely the duality business owners are facing when evaluating enterprise social media. Along with the pros come barrages of cons that act as detriments to a corporate community, to efficiency and to progress in the workplace.
Take for example the security issues that come with exploring business on the same social channels employees use for personal work. Despite best efforts, managers cannot control transmission of sensitive data and private information. For example, will Susan’s husband or teenage children gain access to the private communications Susan engages in her role as payroll coordinator? Was information privy to her role shared there accessible to her co-worker/friend in the off-hours? There’s no guarantee when you mix social media with social business.
Then there’s the issue of content ownership. Who owns the content your employees post on the company’s social network? Imagine your employee frequents Twitter and uses it as a means to communicate with clients and staff. In their five year employment with your firm, they may have amassed a considerable follower list. Now consider what happens to that portal once your employee leaves? What happens to all the data they shared and external resource links they’ve provided? And what if this employee just accepted a role at a rival firm?
Many employers are hesitant to weave in social media for these reasons and more. Yet at the same time, leaving a social network out of the workplace can be detrimental; your business cannot move forward if you’re keeping it from evolving with the times.
In addition to an extensive list of cons, there’s one that’s often left out and remains completely unrecognized by employers – and that’s what social media was designed to do. While social media offers a connected hub, it was originally designed to keep eyeballs on the screen. Social media promotes consumer behavior patterns rather than a business behavior approach; the latter focuses on increasing efficiency and productivity within a business framework. The right solution is taking a business approach through a private social network.
In pulling from the best of social media and filling the gaps where needed, the right private social network provides business-friendly corporate social networking. Instead of inundating activity streams, the solution needs to be focused discussion threads. Instead of generic outreach to all followers, users should be able to reach out to their specific group of followers in need of what you have to offer – or who may have what you need.
Social media is great, but for business to get it right there really needs to be a social media designed just for business. Enter the private social network. Instead of being impeded by useless updates and distracting chatter, employees can get in, get what you need and move on.