Should you allow employees to check social media at work?

Here are 4 reasons why we think you should!

Several studies have been conducted on the amount of time employees “waste” on social media at work. One study estimates that over $15 billion in productivity is lost annually due to workers flipping through Instagram photos or browsing Facebook updates while on the job. Additional research concludes that employees between the ages of 18-34 spend 70 minutes EACH DAY on their mobile devices!

These numbers are downright alarming to a small business owner.

But do these studies mean you should rush out and purchase the latest software to monitor and regulate your employees’ social media habits? We say “not so fast.” There are other factors to consider before pulling the plug on social media in the workplace. In fact, we’ve found that you can use the time your employees spend on social platforms to actually promote your company. You just need to offer a little guidance on how it should be done.

Here are 4 reasons why we think it’s wise to allow your employees to check social media at work.

1). They’re Going To Do It Anyway

Let’s be honest, for many of us browsing social media has become a part of our daily lives. We wake up, hop in the shower, have a cup of coffee, and click on our favorite social app to see if we have any important updates.

If we went all day without checking social feeds our heads would likely explode. Employees need their fix so that their minds aren’t distracted thinking about all they’re missing. Give them a few minutes a day of “free time” to log on and see what’s happening in their digital worlds. But encourage them to be brief.  Having an open dialogue with your employees about social media at work can go a long way in boosting employee morale.

2). Create Brand Ambassadors

Most small businesses do not have large marketing budgets. So why not allow your employees to promote your business for you? According to Shannon Gausepohl, “content shared by employees gets eight times more engagement, on average, than content shared by brand channels- and is re-shared 25 times more frequently.”

That’s because posts shared by personal accounts often reach a higher percentage of people than messages shared on your business page. Furthermore, people tend to respond better towards personal endorsements than they do sales pitches from companies.

Just be sure to coach your employees on what they should and should not post to prevent sensitive company data and private information from being shared. (Read more about having the proper social media privacy policy in place).

3). Recruit New Talent

Employee-oriented platforms such as LinkedIn offer valuable personal networking assets not only for people searching for jobs, but also for companies looking to hire the right employees. Social media platforms allow you to reach a large audience through your job postings and can also help you zero in on specific candidates.

Your employees are likely already networking with like-minded professionals in their similar fields. So if you’re looking to hire a new outside salesperson, for example, look no further than your current outside sales team and their social media connections. Your employees already know the right people to recruit through their online social interactions with peers at other businesses.

4). Focus On Your Own Work

Trying to monitor the time your employees spend on social media at work can being expensive and tedious. Your time is much better spent growing your business and building your client base than babysitting your staff’s online behavior.

By putting the proper social media privacy policies in place, coaching your team on what they should and should not post, and giving them a little leniency when it comes to allowing them to spend a few minutes seeing what their friends are up to, you’ll have more time to dedicate to running your business.

For more small business tips please check out the PCR Business Systems blog.