Social Media in the Workplace

What percentage of employees use social media while they work? How does social media affect employees? How can companies foster a positive online culture? 3BX Creative Ops investigates!

Person taking a selfie on cell phone from a high up vantage in a city

Harnessing The Power of Social Media While Managing Its Challenges

Many creatives enter the corporate world and manage a traditional “nine to five” career while simultaneously managing their artistic side-hustle. For many, this means frequent social media use as a means for marketing both their artwork and themselves. Where does “outside-of-work” social media overlap with professional social media use and what does this mean for the people leaders, IT professionals and cybersecurity teams in charge of monitoring it?

Should Social Media be Used at Work?

Social media has become an integral part to much of the world’s population. It influences how individuals and groups connect, communicate and share information as well as events.

As a result, social media has spread from being a phenomenon outside of the office to becoming commonplace there. Like every shift in the past in terms of the improvements in communication and the types of media out there, social media presents both opportunities and challenges for businesses and employees.

In this blog post, we will explore the pros and cons of social media in the workplace and provide insights. This insight might be true now, but since things shift so rapidly in the work environment it will soon be overshadowed by something else, I am sure.

3BX creatives use social media while they work in marketing

What Percent of Employees Use Social Media While at Work?

The 2021 article from Post Beyond discusses how social media is being used in the workplace and its benefits are discussed. Typically, social media use is vague and nonspecific. Yet in the workplace, making posts on Facebook or tweeting about things occurring at work happen often, not forgetting about the footprint on the world has grown from your social media post.

In recent studies from Tunisia and Korea, researchers have found that social media in the workplace and its usage has had a positive impact on employee performance. According to Zippia:

  • 77% of workers use social media at work1
  • 98% of workers have social media for their own personal use1
  • 45% of companies have no social media policy for their employees1
  • 32% of workers report that their employer has no regulations about how their staff presents themselves on social media1
  • The average employee spends 12% of their working hours using unproductive social media applications1
  • The average internet user spends 145 minutes per day on social media1

It is noteworthy that social media in the workplace continues to be a topic of discussion and occasional controversy today. Issues like how social media use affects mental health are getting more attention.

How Social Media Affects Employees

As expected, employers have noticed negative impacts of social media usage. Many companies now have social media strategies in place and policies concerning healthier social media habits. Things to enhance work-life balance and potential negative social media impact on the companies themselves.

Balancing the interests of the employer and the individual can be challenging, especially since the line between work and home is blurring. Finding the right balance between protecting company interests and respecting employee rights remains important.

Staff looks at social media on a work break

Because of the rampant spread of misinformation and how social media can be a key factor in that, it is increasingly important to emphasize the importance of critical thinking and digital literacy skills to minimize the harm caused by bad information.

Establishing Clear Social Media Policies in the Workplace

It is important to establish clear social media policies in your organization. Develop comprehensive social media policies that outline acceptable use, expectations, and guidelines for employees regarding their social media activity in the workplace. Communicate these policies effectively and ensure employees are aware of their responsibilities.

Balancing Personal Social Media Use with Professional Social Media Use at Work

Remember to balance personal and professional use and draw boundaries between the two. Encourage employees to maintain a clear separation between personal and professional social media accounts. Clarify guidelines on how employees should represent themselves and the company online, emphasizing the importance of professionalism and discretion.

Protecting Data Security and Privacy in Social Media Accounts in the Workplace

Everyone needs to protect their personal and corporate data alike. Security and privacy are key, specifically as social media phishing attacks remain on the rise1.

Educate employees about the risks associated with sharing sensitive company information or personal data on social media. Emphasize the importance of protecting confidential information and adhering to data privacy regulations. Encourage employees to use privacy settings effectively and be cautious about sharing sensitive information.

A shark jumps out of the phone to represent cyberbullying at work and phishing

How Can Companies Foster a Positive Online Culture?

Promote a culture of respect and professionalism in online interactions. Encourage employees to engage in constructive discussions, avoid offensive or discriminatory content, and represent the company’s values positively. Monitor social media platforms to address any inappropriate behavior promptly.

According to Forbes, workplace cyberbullying is a common problem. An English study even cites that eight out of 10 adults have reportedly encountered cyberbullying at work in the past six months.

Read this guide about cyberbullying risk management in the workplace to discover helpful tactics for your team.

Employers Must Provide Training and Education About Workplace Social Media Use

Offer regular training sessions to educate employees about social media best practices, including how to navigate potential risks, identify phishing attempts and protect their online reputation.

Companies need to provide guidance on responsible social media use and the potential consequences of inappropriate behavior. Employees must practice discretion when posting about work-related matters on their personal social media accounts.

Encourage the use of disclaimers to clarify that personal opinions expressed are not representative of the company’s official stance. This involves additional work by companies to monitor regularly monitor social media platforms for mentions of the company, its employees, or potential issues that may arise. Establish protocols for addressing and resolving any concerns or complaints raised through social media channels.

Creatives at a small business or SMB receive training on social media use at work to meet compliance

Encouraging Staff to Become Brand Advocates

The employees and everyone need to be brand advocates by sharing positive company news and accomplishments; this benefits the companies and, by association, the employees.

Both companies and the public in general need to stay updated on legal and regulatory requirements. Keeping abreast of legal and regulatory requirements related to social media usage in the workplace and how it affects them.

By considering these factors, organizations can harness the benefits of social media in the workplace while mitigating potential risks and challenges. Effective management and clear guidelines are key to promoting responsible and productive social media use within the organization.

The Pros and Cons of Using Social Media in the Workplace

There are several “pros” and several “cons” to using social media in the workplace. When it comes to social media in the workplace, there are several important factors to consider. Here are some key points to keep in mind.

The Pros of Social Media Use at Work:

  • Communication and Collaboration: Social media platforms enable easy and instant communication among team members, facilitating collaboration and knowledge sharing. They can help employees connect, exchange ideas, and work together more efficiently.
  • Networking and Relationship Building: Social media provides opportunities to network and build professional relationships both internally and externally. It allows employees to connect with industry peers, potential clients, and partners, expanding professional networks.
  • Brand Promotion and Marketing: Social media platforms offer a cost-effective way for businesses to promote their brand, products, and services. Companies can engage with their target audience, share valuable content, and build brand awareness and loyalty.
  • Employee Engagement and Advocacy: Social media can foster a sense of belonging and engagement among employees. It allows them to share company updates, celebrate achievements, and contribute to the company’s online presence, becoming brand advocates.
  • Enhanced Communication and Collaboration: Social media platforms provide efficient and convenient channels for communication and collaboration within teams and across departments. Instant messaging, group chats, and project management tools facilitate real-time interactions, enabling smoother workflows and improved teamwork.
  • Amplified Brand Awareness and Marketing: Social media offers a powerful platform for companies to showcase their brand, products, and services. By leveraging social media channels, businesses can reach a wider audience, engage with customers, and promote their brand effectively, often at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing strategies.
  • Strengthened Employee Engagement: Integrating social media into the workplace can foster a sense of community and enhance employee engagement. Internal social networks and collaborative platforms create opportunities for employees to connect, share ideas, recognize achievements, and build stronger relationships within the organization.
  • Increased Networking and Professional Development: Social media allows professionals to expand their networks, connect with industry peers, and engage in discussions with thought leaders. Employees can leverage social media platforms to learn from others, stay up to date with industry trends, and build their personal brand, contributing to their professional growth.
A video production professional markets their content using social media

The Cons of Using Social Media in the Workplace:

  • Productivity and Distraction: Social media can be a significant source of distraction in the workplace, impacting employee productivity. Excessive or unregulated use of social media during work hours can lead to time wastage and decreased focus on tasks.
  • Data Security and Privacy Risks: Using social media at work increases the potential for data breaches, especially if employees access personal accounts or share sensitive information online. Organizations need to establish policies and educate employees about data security and privacy risks.
  • Legal and HR Concerns: Social media usage in the workplace can give rise to legal and HR issues. Inappropriate content, harassment, or disclosure of confidential information on social media platforms can lead to reputational damage, legal consequences, or internal conflicts.
  • Blurring of Personal and Professional Boundaries: When employees use social media for both personal and professional purposes, it can blur the line between personal and professional lives. This can impact work-life balance and potentially create conflicts or misunderstandings.
  • Difficulty of Setting Clear Guidelines: To effectively leverage social media in the workplace, organizations should establish clear guidelines and policies regarding its usage, provide training on responsible social media conduct, and monitor and manage potential risks. It’s important to strike a balance that maximizes the benefits while mitigating the drawbacks associated with social media in the workplace.
  • Distractions and Decreased Productivity: The allure of social media can lead to distractions and reduced productivity in the workplace. Constant notifications and unregulated usage can divert employees’ attention from their core responsibilities, affecting their efficiency and overall work performance.
  • Data Security and Privacy Risks: Using social media at work increases the potential for data security breaches and privacy concerns. Employees may inadvertently share sensitive information, fall prey to phishing attacks, or expose the company to reputational risks. Organizations need to establish guidelines and educate employees about best practices for data security and privacy protection.
  • Legal and HR Challenges: The unregulated use of social media in the workplace can give rise to legal and HR issues. Inappropriate content, harassment, or disclosure of confidential information on social media platforms can result in legal consequences, damage the company’s reputation, and strain internal relationships. Robust social media policies and regular training can mitigate these risks.
  • Blurring of Personal and Professional Boundaries: The integration of social media in the workplace blurs the lines between personal and professional lives. Employees must navigate the fine balance between using social media for work-related purposes and maintaining appropriate boundaries. Clear guidelines can help employees understand the expectations and responsibilities associated with their social media presence.

The Best Practices for Social Media Use in the Workplace

  • Establish Clear Policies and Guidelines: Develop comprehensive social media policies that outline acceptable use, guidelines for personal and professional accounts, and guidelines for representing the company online. Ensure employees are aware of these policies and provide regular training on responsible social media use.
  • Encourage Responsible Usage: Educate employees about the potential risks associated with social media and the impact of their online behavior. Emphasize the importance of professionalism, privacy, and respectful communication when using social media both inside and outside of work.
  • Foster a Positive Company Culture: Promote a culture that values open communication, collaboration, and engagement. Encourage employees to share relevant content, celebrate achievements, and contribute positively to the company’s online presence.
  • Monitor and Respond: Regularly monitor social media platforms to address any inappropriate content or potential security breaches promptly.

Social Media Use at 3BX

3BX (BooksBeatsBox), is a company founded by independent creators, for independent creators. That is why 3BX management encourages appropriate personal and professional social media use, offers group, individual and personalized social media trainings to staff — and seeks to educate and empower creators both inside and outside of our 3BX family through the use of social media.

About the Author

Dr. Christopher Peacock is the Chief Architect at 3BX. A dynamic visionary leader ahead to the wave, Dr. P, as he is known amongst the 3BX family, boasts 30+ years of innovative, entrepreneurial and strategic thought leadership experience. Outside of his work at 3BX, Dr. P has been a martial arts practitioner for 40+ years, is a published author who has taken creative and technical writing by storm. Dr. P comes from a long line of armed service professionals, his father having served for over 25 years in both the US Air Force and the US Navy. Peacock himself served in the U.S. Army while simultaneously working as an entrepeneur in the video gaming industry. After decades working as a Chief Technical Officer and Chief Information Officer, Dr. P has embraced his role as Chief Architect at 3BX to further ignite his passion for the arts.

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