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Tips for using social media in the workplace

By Kiwi Commons:

As more and more businesses realize the importance of maintaining a public profile on the Internet, more employers allow and encourage the use of social media in the workplace. Still, it’s a relatively new phenomenon, and rules are not yet set in stone across the board. While some businesses have adopted specific social media policies in their company handbooks, most businesses don’t have guidelines that govern the use of Facebook or Twitter, and if they do, they are not necessarily followed.

In this murky social media environment, what’s an employee to do? Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:

1) If a social media policy exists, read it thoroughly and adhere to its guidelines as best as you can.
This is perhaps the most important rule concerning social media in the workplace. As noted, not all companies will have a specific social media policy, but do read your handbook thoroughly and look for sections that discuss the use of the Internet. And just because no one follows these rules doesn’t mean you should go ahead and break them. It might just come back to bite you later.

2) If you have a personal blog or profile, and you’ve broadcasted where you work, set up a disclaimer.

Even if your social media presence is exclusively private and not work related, you are always representing your company no matter where you go. And this representation does not stop when it comes to the Internet. If you have a blog, profile, or any online platform which you use to offer opinions of any sort, no matter how innocuous, and it’s clear where it is that you work, don’t forget to set up a disclaimer. Something as simple as “the opinions expressed are mine and do not reflect the opinions of Company X” will do.

3) Don’t ever badmouth your company, bosses, or colleagues directly or indirectly on any social media site.

As tempting as it might be, and as secure as you think your social media sites are, never, ever criticize any person or policy from your company. Even if no-one from work reads your whining, it reflects very poorly on your level of prudence and tact. If you were ever to apply for a new job, hiring managers may access these criticisms, which will almost surely disqualify you. No one likes a backbiter or complainer.

4) When using social media at work, keep it professionally focused.

Of course, there will be times during work when you aren’t completely busy and you may have a few minutes to kill. While checking your Facebook profile or News Feed may sound like just the right thing to do to waste some time, it’s very easy to become completely engulfed in the process. Instead of using Facebook for personal purposes, use your free time to update the company profile, or add a blog post to the company website. Anything you do to add to your company’s social media presence will be a boon for your career.

5) Brainstorm interesting ways you can use social media to benefit your company.

The use of social media for branding purposes is relatively new, and in some industries, it’s brand-spanking new. If there is no-one who is specifically in charge of social media at work, volunteer your efforts to brainstorm different ways it can be harnessed to benefit the company and its brand. If your employers or supervisors are completely clueless about social media, offering your expertise and lobbying for the use of social media will help enormously in growing the company’s positive public presence.

The above article is reproduced from Kiwi Commons, a news, and information weblog dedicated to providing readers with the most relevant and up-to-date resources available on Internet safety, cyberbullying, social media and digital legacy.

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