As my University project has now been marked and collected, I would like to share with you some of my research and key findings. To break this information up, I have written a series of blog posts, providing a brief overview of each section. However, if you would like to find out more details, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post.
As we all know, social media has developed dramatically over the past few years, transforming the way many people communicate and interact with each other on a day-to-day basis. This has not only affected individuals, but also businesses. 79% of Fortune Global 100 companies have been reported to use at least one of the most popular social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or Corporate blogs, with businesses seeing this as a way to communicate with their customers, increase brand awareness and boost sales. Social media can also be used internally, as a communication tool, to start discussions, share knowledge and information, as well as to keep up-to-date with job related news.
Despite the avenues social media has created for companies, it can also create issues. A number of publications look in-depth at the impacts of companies using social media externally (e.g. damaging a company’s reputation), however, when starting this project, there was very limited research on using and managing these sites internally. This left a number of answered questions, such as:
- What is the impact on businesses, of staff using social media sites whilst at work?
- Should access to these sites be allowed at work?
These questions encouraged me to carry out “An investigation into the Key Business Implications for UK Small & Medium Enterprises, of Employees using Social Media whilst at Work”.
Internal Effects of Social Media
It is clear that internally, social media can have both positive and negative effects, but as of yet there is no standard company procedure to follow. Some companies see social media as beneficial, because it motivates their staff, improves communication and collaboration. However, many companies restrict or ban its usage, due to beliefs that it distracts staff, wastes time and can create privacy problems. A study has revealed that 54% of U.S. companies have chosen to ban workers from using social media sites at work, whilst 19% of companies allow social media to be used for business purposes only and 16% for limited personal use.
For managers, deciding whether to allow social media at work, is a complex decision to make. Fully banning social media may not be straight forward. With social media being increasingly used for business purposes, certain employees may need to use these tools to do their job. Also, with the convenience and popularity of smartphones or working from home, employees will still be able to gain access to the sites. However, if staff are given the permission to use social media for work purposes, it will be very difficult to make sure it is not being used for personal use.
I would love to hear your experiences of this subject and your views on whether social media should be allowed at work!
Also, please come back to my blog soon, where my second post will share with you some interesting social media facts and figures.