Fame Foundry - A Charlotte Website Design and Marketing Firm

Tuesday, 1st November, 2011 | By Jeremy Hunt | Category: Efficiency and Productivity

Management 2.0: How to Use Social Media to Boost Productivity

Social media: it’s not just for marketing anymore

Usually, when companies talk social media, the discussion revolves around how these networks can be used to strengthen connections and facilitate communication between their brand and their customers.

However, what most companies almost never consider is how social media platforms can also be used internally to strengthen connections and facilitate communication between management and employees.

In fact, more often than not, the use of social media in the workplace is a hot-button topic for managers who fear the specter of distraction and idleness.

So is it really possible that social media – with its reputation as the ultimate time-waster – can actually promote productivity? Let’s take a look:

Facebook

As a manager, when you think of employees using Facebook at work, you probably imagine cubicles filled with people frittering away valuable company time posting status updates, commenting on friends’ photos and playing games like Farmville.

But have you considered how you could use your employees’ affinity for Facebook to your advantage to foster better internal communication? By using the “Secret Group” setting, you can create a group that is visible only to its members. This option – along with the new Group Chat feature that allows multiple people to participate in a topic thread – make Facebook a great tool for far-flung teams to use for collaboration and brainstorming.

Twitter

In the world of social media, Twitter has perhaps the worst reputation as a forum for the inane.

However, it’s also an invaluable weapon in the competitive arena. Never before has it been easier to keep tabs on your competitors, your customers and the trends that are shaping your industry and business today. Following the right companies, people and media outlets creates an infinite stream of information to cull for ideas and inspiration. Encourage your employees to keep their radar up and to share interesting finds with one another, and you may just find that the seeds of your Next Big Thing spring from Twitter.

In addition, consider setting up a private Twitter account for your company, selecting the “protect my tweets” option to limit the visibility of your tweets only to those you allow to follow the account (i.e., your employees). Suddenly Twitter becomes a very useful tool for broadcasting company-wide updates and announcements – particularly if you’re managing a virtual workforce whose members are scattered across a number of different physical locations.

Google+

While brand pages for Google+ have yet to be unleashed, the ability to use the platform as an internal communication tool is already here. Specifically, the Hangout feature offers a free and easy-to-use group video chat platform. From remote presentations to meetings between colleagues who are traveling to impromptu discussions – there are a myriad of potential uses for Hangouts.

And since Google+ is built into the Google suite of products, it won’t be a hard sell to your employees, since chances are good that they’re already using a number of other tools like Gmail, Docs and Reader.

New tools for a new workforce

As clichéd as the saying may be, when it comes to social media and productivity, it’s time to start thinking outside the box.

These are tools to be embraced, not feared. Social media networks are where people live online today. Your employees use social media; they like and are familiar with its platforms and their conventions. So if you’re looking for new tools to promote productivity, improve communication and foster innovation among the members of your team, why not start with the ones that are already an integral part of their lives?

Still not sold? Just remember this: at one point email was considered a waste of company time and money…and we all know how that turned out.

Jeremy Hunt
Jeremy Hunt is a writer, communicator and social media grunt who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. He currently serves as the manager of corporate social media for Novant Health. Keep up with all that he finds cool in the world at jeremyhunt.tumblr.com or follow him on Twitter: @jehuthehunt.