Doing the things I do now, it has been much discussed and oftentimes asked if agencies (or by clients companies) the use of social media should be restricted.
Suffice to say that almost always I have advised against restricting the use. I do agree with the potential problems that may arise – loss of productivity, personal time using company resources, procrastination and missed deadlines, etc, and the list can go on.
But are all these really a negative if they can be turned into a positive?
- Communication Has Evolved – Communication happens everywhere on digital. Social media happens to be the medium that people use. Once there were the written letters, hand delivered by messengers. Then there were the typewritten ones, sent via mails, then telex, faxes and emails. Now since the email, the ways people communicate and send memos have exploded. Because technology has allowed it to be so. Things really do happen (almost) at the speed of thought. Rather than say “please use this specific tool for communication”, ask ourselves “how else can we use new tools for faster, better communication?”.
- Talents Has Evolved – We were once workers of the land. Then the industrial revolution came and we became workers of machines. Technological revolution came and our ability to produce get shared into physical and virtual items. Our production capabilities have shifted from just doing, into more thinking. Thinking requires research. Social media is where the data are. You do not have to quantify insights with data. A sharp scanning of behaviour patterns on social media pages is good to give a general hunch. Smarter people as a result of smarter working, with social media.
- Marketing Has Evolved – Digital and social has opened up so many more ways that a brand can talk to its consumers. A LOT. The whole marketing mix is no longer about media adspend anymore. It extends into conversations, video content, engagements, shares, likes, etc etc. These just mentioned goes far beyond what media buying can buy. Granted, media and conversations are not mutually exclusive but rather should be augmenting each other. When you let your staff participate in social media, you are inadvertently creating consumer experts in every one of them. In-house consumer experts that you can look to in order to get insights on what can make campaigns and conversations successful on digital.
- Socially-Aware Staff – When you take away the right to social media, you absolved them of the need to be socially-aware or responsible for their online behaviour that may, directly or indirectly affect your company’s brand or reputation. It becomes easy for them to say they say or did thing at their own time in their own personal space, after working hours. When you afford them the right to social media during work, you are in a way extending your company’s right to ask your people to behave in a socially-responsible manner in and out of work. They will in effect, be representing your company’s image everywhere.
So the landscape has evolved. Companies and company policies must deal with it and learn to adapt just as much as they expect their people to change and evolve. Everything, not just social media has their harms and goods. It comes down to removing our fears of the negatives and looking at the positives that can make the adoption of social media in a corporate environment a fruitful one.