The use of social media in the workplace is a controversial topic, but there are advantages when it comes to convenience. Social media websites allow employees to communicate with co-workers, clients and staff who might be a few doors down or on the other side of the world. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumbler, Google Plus and other social media sites are easy to maneuver and operate, so communication isn't complicated. Telephone calls and email can be time-consuming and cumbersome forms of communication, but social media is well-suited for many fast-paced business needs.
Many social media websites have instant messaging features that make real-time communication and instant information-sharing possible. Some social networks allow employees to organize virtual work teams and compare ideas on centralized message boards. Even though email allows workers to communicate electronically, messages often get lost in junk-mail boxes and transmission can be delayed. If you need to send out a short, quick message or want an instant reply, social media is one of the best real-time options.
Social media allows you to target specific audiences for marketing purposes. It also gives employees a platform for advertising to a large group of consumers at once. For example, Facebook allows you to target your friends, your friends' friends or a group of people, based on age, gender, geographic location or interests. Because social networking is so widely accepted, most people don't feel pressured to respond unless they're truly interested in purchasing a product or service.
Social networks provide a convenient method for responding to customer requests. Even though you can't complete financial transactions on social media websites, you can do all the leg work necessary to finalize a transaction. For example, you might use social media to discuss size charts, color options and value packages. Or, you might use social networking to schedule in-home consultations or advertise industry-related webinar presentations. Social networks are also a low-key and less stressful way to handle customer complaints.
Social media offers companies the flexibility and convenience of sending out information to a large group of employees in a fast and efficient manner. This is especially beneficial if an emergency situation arises and upper management needs to notify employees immediately. It also makes training, calendar changes, employment surveys and company updates a quick and reliable process. Co-workers also use social networks to schedule team meetings, work lunches and company outings.
- George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images