When it comes to social media in the office, many employers will immediately think of employees wasting time chatting to friends or looking up videos of cats dressed up as Darth Vader. However, there is much more to social media than an endless supply of memes and pointless conversations about Justin Bieber.

With a number of social networks offering a slightly different approach to sharing, interaction and communication, there’s a platform available for all strategies and business types.

With an expected 2.44 billion people to be using social media by 2018, can you afford to ignore it as a resource of marketing, recruitment and engagement?

Here’s 7 examples of how social media in the office can help your brand to grow:

1. Social media’s great for company culture

People know how to use social media and are comfortable with it. Allowing employees to interact with each other through a social medium is a great way to enable a cohesive culture and encourage individuals to communicate with each other from disparate locations.

New starters can easily start to get a picture of the business and talk to employees from any department though an online network. Profile photos allow new members of staff to put a name to a face and find out who they are and where they work, though the information they provide in their profile.

Business leaders are also able to remain engaged with their employees by sharing updates with all employees quickly and easily, reducing the disruption often caused by calling a company-wide meeting.

The ability to embed updates with imagery, video and audio is an advantage over other communication mediums.
Providing information in an easily digestible format means that all employees are kept up to date with company news in an efficient way.

2. Social media provides a channel for advocacy

Allowing the use of social media by employees can provide a brand with an advertising channel that is not only free, but very influential. For example:

With the above in mind, if your competitors are embracing social media as an advocacy platformand you’re not, then they have the advantage.

Ensuring that you work to achieve a strong employer brand and provide employees with plenty of great news to share about the company, you will help to maintain a consistent stream of positive messaging to benefit from.

In order for advocacy to be effective, employees must be well informed and feel recognised, fulfilled and happy in the their roles.
It is worth taking note of the following stats, published by marketingprofs.com, as it sheds light on the areas you should concentrate on if you wish for employee advocacy to flourish.

3. Social media improves collaboration

Although many assume that social media is only for non-work related interaction, the functionality included is often extremely useful for business collaboration.
The ability to share data in any form, quickly and easily (and often for free), with a large number of people or specific teams, makes social media an invaluable tool for collaboration.

Being able to use social media on various devices means that employees can share information from anywhere and at any time. This both improves productivity, but also allows a greater flexibility in where and when employees choose to work.

4. Social media’s a great way to network

Any productive employee will want and need to network with other people, whether internal or external.
Sales is all about networking, whether this is with an existing lead or sourcing new ones. Business leaders can nurture opportunities for business partnerships and relationships. Marketing can build and manage the company’s brand online. Recruiting teams can search for and engage with talent, both active and passive.

To grow a business, everyone needs to have the trust, ability and tools necessary to do so. If a company is completely insular, then it will be quickly surpassed by its competitors that are embracing new technologies and strategies using social media.

Of course, there is always the risk that employees will be networking with alternative employers, but this will happen regardless of whether or not you’re embracing social media as a networking medium for your brand.

Trust is a big part of a social strategy.

5. Social media provides sales leads

As mentioned above, many leads are unearthed as a direct result of networking and social media is designed primarily for this purpose.

Networks such as LinkedIn have services specifically designed for sales teams to take advantage of its members, to find and nurture sales leads. For example:

The sheer number of people using social media means that a business can get their brand in front of a vast audience relatively simply. From this audience, relationships can be forged and future business leads created.

Showing the social side of a brand, and that real people are behind it, is a great strategy to enable a brand to show that it’s not just another faceless corporation. Dealing with real people is much more attractive to prospective customers.

6. Social media improves recruitment

Social recruitment is not only a highly effective way to attract top talent to your brand, it also reduces recruiting costs. With free access to passive and active talent it’s easy for a business to build a talent pool of candidates that it can draw on, rather than having to use agencies and pay the expensive fees they charge.
By allowing your employees to share and promote vacancies through social media, you can tap into their networks and attract a greater number of applicants to choose from.

As most businesses now have an online presence and website, it’s easy for your employees to direct interested candidates to an online recruitment portal to begin the process.

Social media can also form part of the onboarding process, enabling new employees to research the business and its employees prior to their start date. The ability to put a name to a face makes the first few days in a new role easier and integration a more pleasant experience.

Employees who experience a well-constructed onboarding process are less likely to leave in the short term and quickly become productive in their new role.

7. Social media provides a window into the future

Allowing employees to use and monitor social media is a great way to ensure that you’re always aware of future trends and opportunities for your brand.

Social media is often the first place for new ideas and shared news, and being ahead of the curve can differentiate you from your competition.

Encouraging your employees to share interesting news, with the relevant people within the business, improves your ability to be agile where your marketing and product/service development are concerned.

Social media updates will also provide you with an insight into what developments your competition are promoting or conducting market research about. This information is invaluable when planning for the future.

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