Millennials, Social Media

Five Myths & Realities When Using Social Media Inside The Company

With Facebook now at 500 million users, and The Social Network a number one movie on everyone’s A list, it’s pretty clear that social media has moved beyond a “fad for the insiders” and into the mainstream.  What does the future hold for social media inside organizations?  Here are a few myths that should give us some clues as to how social media will soon become mainstream inside most organizations.

#1 MYTH: Social media is a time waster at work and should be banned.

Reality: Millennials have grown up searching out and connecting to their tribe in order to ask questions, network with colleagues and look for new career opportunities. Some forward thinking companies, with a large and growing Millennial workforce, have recognized this and are using Facebook to source, network and recruit new talent.

#2 MYTH: Social Media is a fad and will fade away in a few years.

Reality: This couldn’t be further from the truth. While the face of social media will certainly evolve in the future, using social networks will only grow in importance as the Millennial generation becomes 50% of the workplace in 2020.

#3 MYTH: If you build it, they will come

REALITY : Wrong, wrong, wrong. Social media is a not an add-on or an accessory to communications or learning. It’s not a widget that can easily be plugged in when needed. To be successful, social media needs to be part of and aligned with a company’s strategic priorities, employer brand, messaging and the workflow of each and every employee.  Until change goes viral, implementing social media requires thoughtful planning. Companies like Cerner and CA Technologies have created new job roles called Ambassadors to communicate value of social networking at work.

#4 MYTH: My employee population is too old to deal with social media for learning.

REALITY: The fastest growing segment on Facebook is people between the ages of 50-64 years old, according to recent research as profiled in the New York Times article, Seniors Outnumber Teenagers in Job Force. Seniors now actually outnumber teenagers at work. Think about that. And if they are working most likely they are networking online and offline.

#5 MYTH: Social media is difficult to measure in terms of a return on investment.

Reality: Start with specific business goals such as increases in new hire retention, employee engagement scores or employee productivity.

The myths about social media illustrate how the market is still in the early stages of its development and maturity. Over time, these myths will start to disappear as companies and people get a better appreciation of what’s really involved and how social media can be integrated into the strategic priorities of the company.

We call companies that have integrated social media tools internally “uber-connected,” and they are experiencing increases in internal collaboration, innovation and employee engagement as a result of creating a corporate social network.

So we asked some leading professionals what they think about using social media inside the company and here is a preview of their responses:

  • JWT: Rob Quish, chief operating officer, JWT North America, and chief executive officer, JWT Inside, an employee marketing communications agency, proposes organizations should think of social media differently. Think of it as “Utility Media” – digital workforce platforms to drive engagement. Such tools can be used for: 1) recruitment relationship marketing; 2) enterprise learning; 3) and employee engagement.
  • BTS: Jim Bowles, Ed.D., managing director of BTS USA’s Leadership and Management Practice, suggests that business processes be integrated around social media to ensure alignment with business needs. A balanced approach to social networking—in which employees are encouraged to stay connected with others on their own time is an appropriate business decision.
  • MasterCard Worldwide: Matthew Breitfelder, vice president Global Talent Management and Organizational Development, MasterCard Worldwide, states that organizations should consider using social media tools as problem-solving tools to address persistent company issues. At MasterCard Worldwide they are making the most of social media, both externally with customers, consumers and industry influencers, as well as internally with their employees. Across the company, employees are tweeting, blogging, friending and You-Tubing.
  • SelectMinds: Anne Berkowitch, CEO, SelectMinds, outlines a series of steps for implementing a social media plan. She believes that a strong understanding and use of social media in business can be an influential selling point for job seeks and that it can allow individuals to maximize their own personal networks to drive business growth.
  • PepsiCo: Chris Hoyt, talent engagement & marketing leader, PepsiCo, discusses how there are many social communication tools and networks that can be used when designing your social media plan. At PepsiCo, Hoyt pushes the boundaries on recruiting talent internally and externally. Smart and savvy companies have moved past anxiety over social media and network phenomenon and have embraced their use for more than just customer interaction.

To read the entire article and to learn more about how these organizations are adopting social media technologies visit the October 2010 issue of People & Strategy.

But what do you think? Share with me here!

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About Jeanne Meister

Jeanne C. Meister is a best selling author of three books, internationally recognized consultant and keynote speaker. Jeanne is Partner of Future Workplace, a consulting firm dedicated to assisting organizations in re-thinking, re-imagining and re-inventing the workplace. Jeanne was recently voted by her peers as one of the 20 top influential training professionals in the United States. Jeanne’s name is synonymous with the establishment and institutionalization of global corporate universities. Jeanne is the author of three books, Corporate Quality Universities and Corporate Universities. Jeanne’s latest book is, The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop & Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today (Harper Collins, 2010) is in its 10th printing.No information is provided by the author.


  1. IE Ries

    Social media has pros and cons, as does all technology. Its effects on social interaction is notable because large segments of our society continues to move away from the direct, interpersonal relationships of the past and increasingly towards interaction in large part conducted through electronic media (phone > email > SMS > ?). In short, we are becoming more personally isolated in many instances while increasing our impersonal forms of contact, and this has a noticeable impact on social skills – or lack thereof. Impersonal, social media applications really do benefit business because colleagues are more productive and efficient using these modes of communication because no preparation or travel is required, whether it is a walk down the hall or a flight to another city for a meeting or consulation. All of it can be accomplished now easily, synchronously, and immediately – and perhaps without ever meeting our counterparts in person. Will this impact how we develop our relationships and build trust, respect and integrity? Possibly; it’s worth considering that while social media may increase efficiency, it may also inadvertently produce what sociologists refer to as social alienation, social isolation, and a false sense of self or persona as presented to others (two selves). Masquerading online isn’t new, but it’s coming to a workplace near you, potentially.

  2. Beneficial info and excellent design you got here! I want to thank you for sharing your ideas and putting the time into the stuff you publish! Great work!

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