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.
But what do you think? Share with me here!