Raz Chorev | Socially Acceptable..
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5 Common resistance points – social media in the workplace

I’m sure there are good reasons NOT to allow people in an organization to use social media in the work place. So far, I haven’t heard any. [good ones, I mean]. These are the most common comments I get from employers, when discussing Social Media in the workplace:

  1. Objection: “They [my employees] will spend all their time on Facebook, and won’t do any work!”Reply: Sure Facebook is addictive. The average Facebook user spends 23 hours per month on the site (excluding time spent on Facebook mobile applications). So what? Don’t  your people have targets and KPI’s to meet? If they meet their targets, what do you care what else they do? Would you prefer a smoke brake instead?
  2. Objection: “What’s Twitter got to do with Business? What do I care what someone had for lunch??”Reply: Twitter is a social network. If the people in your social network (the people you chooseto follow) are just sharing arbitrary and un-interesting comments, you have a choice to un-follow them. Create a network of people who you could learn from, and engage with them. There are, of course, other reasons and purposes to use twitter: Market research, brand monitoring, customer service, keeping on top of industry news, just to name  a few…With [the numbers change all the time, but as far as I know] 175 million Twitter accounts, choose the one that are relevant to your business/industry/interests, and follow their updates.
  3. Objection: Company Blog – What do I have to write about?”or “who’d be interested in what I have to say?”Reply: a blog can be used in so many different ways. The same material you distribute through company newsletter [btw – how many people do you think actually read them?], can be put on the blog, and as frequently as you see fit. Your interpretation of your market, company updates [moving to new offices, new employees, new product or services, etc], industry updates [regulations, new players in the market, emerging companies who can effect your market, etc.] can all be used as blog posts. This could be a very effective way, not only to engage customers and potential customers with your company, but also employees, industry professionals, and people interested in your industry. Blogging is not really an option anymore, if you’d like to stay at the forefront of your profession/industry.
  4. Objection:  LinkedIn – “if my employees are on LinkedIn, they’ll get poached by my competition!”Reply: In this case I have a few cards in my sleeve:a. There’s an old saying I quote often – “I’d rather train and educate my employees and they’d leave, than not train them and they’d stay”. Employees come and go. Researches over the years have shown that most employees leave because of their manager, than any other reason. It’s your job, as the manager/owner of the employee, to make them feel there’s no better place to work for, other than your company.b. It’s the biggest compliment for your company, to have other companies trying to steal your staff. Look at that this way, and make your employees so desirable to other companies!c. In Australia, there are currently over 2.2 Million linkedin accounts. This means, that in a workforce of just under 10 Million, that most white collar workers have a Linkedin account. It also mean, that there’s a good chance that your staff members already have a Linkedin account. Assuming your employees changed their current employment status to be associated with your company, it is in your interest to make sure their profiles are complete, up-to-date, and attractive. As a collective, they reflect on your company’s presence on LinkedIn.
  5. Objection: Brand Management: “What if my people write nasty things about me and my company?”
    Reply:  This is a real concern [understandably] for many companies. The thing is, people can [and do] say nasty things, criticize, make judgements on your company and/or you and/or your products, regardless of your participation in social media. If you don’t allow employees to use social media during work hours (or on work computers), they can always use their smartphones and their own ipads/laptops during and after work. Wouldn’t you like to be able to respond to a disgruntled employee or customer, before s/he goes on a rampage to bring you and your company down? [see http://vodafail.com/for example]. Vodafail – the musicalParticipating in these discussions, having your finger on the pulse [so to speak] will allow you to fight smaller fires, before they get out of control. Or, you can just shove your head in the sand… It’s up to you!
    A subset of this, could be : “what if the employees mis-represent the company”
    Reply: Putting a social media policy in place, as part of the employee hand book, and keeping the employees informed about what can and can’t be shared on the social networks, can save a lot of grief. Also needs to be kept in mind – your employees represent you and your company wherever they go, online and offline. Everyone need to be reminded about this, every now and again…
Any more objections? Do you have better replies? Do tell…
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  • http://www.unhub.com/waynemansfield Wayne Mansfield

    Raz

    Great summary of the hassles for companies thinking about how they treat Social Media… eventually they will see it like personal phone calls… and amazingly I know some companies still ban them!!

    • http://www.razchorev.com Raz Chorev

      Thanks for your comment, Wayne. Like with everything new, it does take time for big organizations, to consider all possible implications of using new technology. However, I don’t really see it as technology. What I suspect (or want to believe) that those large companies actually understand that social media actually revolutionizes the way we do business, with everything is so quickly shared, everything is transparent and out-in-the-open. Now this could be the scary part, and the underlying concern behind the above mentioned.

  • http://saasu.com/blog Tony Hollingsworth

    Hi Raz

    Thanks for sharing this. I found myself nodding and agreeing with every point. At Saasu, we rely on connected media so much – as a service and sales channel particularly – so when I hear objections I often direct them to observe what we are doing and take away what they can from that.

    Last week after I posted on “Business Communications – Twitter” ( on our blog: http://bit.ly/j7ukga ) a serendipitous moment occurred. One of our customers contacted me (via a blog comment) and asked if I would speak to them about how to use Twitter for their business. I was glad to! The reason why strikes at the heart of your points here. We are both using blogs and Twitter to build awareness about our brand, engage with our commnunities, be helpful and memorable.

    How can this not be good for business? Your readers might find it useful too, as I talk about the way we use Twitter in business. See (from the customer’s blog) http://bit.ly/mDEPNl

    Cheers
    Tony Hollingsworth

  • http://melanie-minnaar.blogspot.com Melanie Minnaar

    Hi Raz, great summary of phobic reaction to new media and more importantly the modern ways in which consumers interact with brands and organisations. Sadly, we find ourselves at the dawn of a new age comparative to the introduction of Television where until the medium finds a place in common routine it will always have to defend itself against the traditional (read tried, tested and understood) media channels. The challenge for marketers or social media advocates will be to side step the theory and deliver results using the new media – through proactive exercises/projects – until the tipping point in the organisational psyche is achieved.

    • http://www.razchorev.com Raz Chorev

      Thank Mel. I believe the results have already presented themselves – there are hundreds (if not thousands) of case studies available publicly, on the positive results of social media participation. There are companies dedicated to monitoring social media activities, who can deliver reports on the success (or failure) of companies’ social media presence and activity. There should be no excuses anymore, but obviously there are…
      How’s the uptake of Social Media in your company, Mel?

  • http://www.iggypintado.com.au Iggy Pintado

    Great summary as usual, Raz. Will forward to a few people in companies I know :)

    Cheers, Iggy

  • http://www.mastermindmusings.com.au Trish Barry

    Great post Raz! Agree with all your points above but can’t stress the importance of a social media policy being implemented across a company enough. If you don’t communicate to your employees about the guidelines and your expectations then what course of action do you really have when something goes wrong. Being transparent helps with many of these issues and everyone is clear where they stand.

    • http://www.razchorev.com Raz Chorev

      Wholeheartedly agree, Trish…

  • http://www.paulwallbank.com Paul Wallbank

    Good points, Raz, but I’d take issue with Vodafone Australia being an example of social media fail.

    Vodafone failed on fundamental customer service, or rather fundamentally failing to provide any service to many of their dwindling number of customers.

    While I think their social media efforts have been lukewarm at best, I doubt even the best run social media team could have done anything to avoid their slow motion train crash.

    Cheers,

    Paul

    • http://www.razchorev.com Raz Chorev

      You’re right there, Paul. Vodafone really try their hardest (I want to believe) with their social media efforts. The point I was trying to make, wasn’t about Vodafone not being involved in social media, but rather the possible effect of a disgruntle customer, and how they can use social media to amplify their message. As far as I know, Vodafone hasn’t responded publicly to the Vodafail movement. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  • http://tribecount.com.au/ Larisa

    Great post! Only one bit I have to add – trying hardest is not good enough these days – you need to try ‘smartest’! Those how just do ‘hardest’ bit will spend lots of human hours and report that social media does not work… at list in their ‘industry sector’!
    So it is a necessity to smarten up

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