How To Safely Use Social Media At Work

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Don’t worry about minimizing that Facebook or Twitter page that’s been open on your computer every time your boss walks by.

It turns that the use of social media in the office is on the rise and businesses are using it to their advantage.

A study by Robert Half Technology which asked 270 CIOs in Canada about their social media policies shows that 44% of companies allow social media networking for business use in the workplace.

“It’s only very recently that organizations are understanding how to make use of social media for business purposes.” 
Lara Dodo, Regional Vice President, Robert Half Technology

This is double the 22% who answered the same in 2009.

That being said, the number of companies that allow social media in the workplace for personal use has remained at a flat 3% since 2009.

Companies want individuals to use these networking tools to help promote the business through interacting with customers and clients and actively representing the brand.

So what caused this change?

Technology is constantly evolving so there’s a logical step forward from the 22% to 44%,” says Lara Dodo, Regional Vice President of Robert Half Technology. “It’s only very recently that organizations are understanding how to make use of social media for business purposes. I would anticipate that the 44% would only escalate.”

As for how to cope with integrating social media into the workplace, Lara offers advice for employers and young professionals: “From both ends you want to make sure that communication of your corporate social media policies is very clear and easy to understand.”

Once you know what you can and cannot do, employ these four tips for using social media while at the office:

Know the rules of the road

Make sure you’re clear about what type of social networking use is permitted within your organization. Not sure? Ask your manager if you have a social media policy and read it carefully if you do.

Exercise discretion

Never share sensitive or confidential company information or post negative comments about your employer, or current or potential clients and customers.

Get the scoop

If permissible, use social media sites at work to connect with customers and clients, follow thought leaders in your field or gather industry news.

Play it safe

If you use social media on behalf of your company, make sure you protect your feeds by creating secure passwords, refraining from clicking on questionable links and limiting access to select employees.

Photo credit: Facebook by Alex Computer on Flickr
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About the author

Alanna Glass is a Media, Information and Technoculture (MIT) student at Western University who completed an internship at TalentEgg in Summer 2011. She is a Food Network junkie and a lover of all things media.