How to Protect Employee Privacy When Your Business Uses Internal Social Media

Feb 15, 2013 20:18:23Posted by John Skorick, MyAKA Founder & CEO

How to Protect Employee Privacy When Your Business Uses Internal Social Media

If you run a small business, you probably know websites like Facebook, Twitter or Google can help improve your brand's perception among your customers. But did you know that social media can also serve a useful purpose if employed internally? Many businesses utilize in-house social media pages to help staff members keep in touch with one another, and the result is often an enhanced working environment. However, with this development comes certain security issues, so before diving into the social media game, make sure your business knows how to protect employee privacy.

The Two Types of Internal Social Media
When considering your options for an internal social media page, you essentially have two options. The first is to use one of the already established websites, like Twitter or Facebook. You can have employees create their own work profiles on these sites, and create one for each branch or department within the industry. Your other option is to tap your IT team to create a unique social media page that is only used by employees for work-related purposes.

How to Use Your Internal Page
You must make it explicitly clear to your employees that your internal social media page is a professional space. It should be used to spread information about the goings on of the business, not to distract workers or cut into productivity. Of course, you'll want your employees to have a bit of fun with the site - otherwise the social aspect would be lost - but the overall purpose should be to drive business.

The Pros and Cons
These two options come with their own unique sets of pros and cons. When using an established site, you have to contend with the fact that many of your employees probably already have a profile on the service, which could cause problems down the line. You may find workers are resistant to creating a new profile, but allowing them to use their personal page to make comments and share information could cause headaches as well.

In terms of an internal page, you will need to take extra measures to make sure your site is user-friendly and engaging for your employees. A well-run social media page can't be created in a day, so be prepared for a slow start when you launch your site.

The Solutions
If you're going the traditional route of using a site like Google or Twitter, then you must make it easy for employees to separate their personal life from their work. Providing everyone with company-based email addresses is a good start. If you employ a bring-your-own-device policy, you can equip your workers with a second mobile number they can use solely for business purposes, which will help them focus on work during office hours and protect their personal privacy.

Before building an entirely new social media site, spend some time looking at those that are already successful. You can learn a lot from the examples already out there. You may also want to ask your employees for feedback during the initial rollout of your social media page.

There's no denying that social media can help a company grow externally, but using these applications in-house can make for better business as well.