Firms must engage with social media

TONY YORKE, PRINCIPAL CONSULTANT, THINK STRATEGICALLY
TONY YORKE, PRINCIPAL CONSULTANT, THINK STRATEGICALLY

To many, social networking is a medium they don’t understand. As a result, managers try to prevent staff from accessing websites such as Facebook. Yet the medium is here to stay. And as some organisations have demonstrated, it can enhance corporate reputations as well as the bottom line.

Facebook has changed the rules of engagement, and lenders and brokers need to adapt. Blanket bans in the office do not prevent staff gaining access to sites via their mobile phone or home computer, nor do they influence what they share about themselves or their workplace.

One firm I know is the subject of an unflattering site featuring almost 500 active members who call themselves slaves.

These employees of the firm speak in derogatory terms about their conditions of work and poor managers.

For months, this company attempted to stop colleagues using Facebook. But instead of reducing interest in the site, this approach heightened awareness and more people joined the group.

Had the organisation adopted a more engaged approach, it might have achieved a different outcome.

Managers must start operating outside their traditional comfort zones and stop fearing social media.

They need to recognise it for what it is – an innovative communication tool that helps business to engage with staff and customers, and that will become a big part of our thinking in the future.