Social Media in the Workplace: A Guide
Social Media is no passing trend. Websites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest are here to stay, and if small businesses want to keep up with changing times, then they'll need to learn how to utilize these services from a business perspective. Below, we offer a guide for each one of these sites, and outline the aspects that could benefit businesses, as well as a few that could prove harmful if used incorrectly.
Let's start with LinkedIn, which is by far the most popular business-oriented social media website. LinkedIn was designed specifically to help professionals network, build their companies, tap new employees or get the word out about their services. The site can benefit both individuals and businesses, so if you run a company, it's a good idea to list it on the site.
The key to using LinkedIn effectively is transparency. It should not be used by business owners to "keep tabs" on current employees, though it is useful when looking for information on potential recruits' work history. Likewise, individuals who are seeking a new job should either disclose this with their employer or else keep any job-seeking activities on the site private.
Best Professions for LinkedIn: Lawyers, executives, marketing and advertising agents, freelancers
Twitter may seem like a service just for celebrities and their fans, but there are many useful aspects of the site for those who have more everyday jobs. Tweeting allows you to connect in a quick, concise way, and can be used to get the word out about deals and promotions, reach out to potential customers, keep up with industry trends or communicate with others in the same field.
Like LinkedIn, Twitter accounts can be tailored for individuals or businesses as a whole. If using the account for personal purposes, remember that it is a very interactive website, and any of your "followers" can see what you post - so Tweet with care. Refrain from sharing any personal information that could compromise your employee privacy, as there are unscrupulous people on the site who are specifically looking to prey on honest tweeters.
Best Professions for Twitter: Journalists, agents, authors, artists, actors
Pinterest is somewhat of a newcomer to the field, but its rising popularity should signal to business owners that it's likely to be a big player in the future. Instagram has been around a bit longer, and is also becoming more ubiquitous among social media users. Both of these services are all about visuals, so it's best suited for businesses that work with aesthetics. However, Instagram is popular on mobile devices, which means it can also be used by "active" businesses.
Best Professions for Pinterest: Retailers, merchandisers, event planners, photographers, fashion designers
Best Professions for Instagram: Travel and tourism agencies, real estate agents, architects, adventure groups
Facebook is an old favorite in the world of social media, and for good reason. It's popularity means that a business' visibility on the site is likely to be high from the start, and it has many features that make it a useful tool across a variety of industries. Facebook was once designed for personal use only, but now allows businesses to create "pages" rather than profiles, allowing them to keep personal communication and professional communication separate. Many people choose to keep two personal profiles as well - one that lists their personal information and is only available to friends, and another that lists professional information including their second mobile number, business contact and work experience.
Best Professions for Facebook: Almost any profession can use this site to their advantage!
As you're building your business social media presence, allow this list to be your guide. You'll likely find that the process is much less overwhelming.