Should You Allow Social Media Access In Your Small Business?

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Do you remember the days when the internet was banned in the workplace?

I do.

It was regarded as a time-waster.  A distraction that stopped employees doing what they should be doing: their work.

Now, I can’t think of a workplace that doesn’t allow internet access.  I’m sure there are some, but they are few and far between.

The same debate occurs with access to social media. The argument goes that staff spend all their time on Facebook and not enough time doing what they are paid to do.

A recent post on Mashable highlighted this and generated lots of debate on Facebook for both sides.  Some allow it, some don’t, but the view of the article was that it should be allowed for a variety of reasons.

The post reminded me of a conversation I had with a business owner a few years back on this very issue.

Sometimes Access Is A Good Thing

You see, his business had started trying to build a presence in social media. Their ideal customers were heavy users of social media and they had young and enthusiastic employees who were very passionate about the business.

I asked the client how they were using their Facebook page and Twitter feed at the time. They had no real objectives; they were just broadcasting and not really engaging with anyone.  They were wondering if it was all really worth it.

Whilst chatting about social media, I asked if I could look at their Facebook page. As the business owner tried to log in, his request was blocked.  He then said,” Oh, Facebook is blocked apart from my computer.  We’ll have to look at it on my laptop”.

“Why do you block Facebook on your employees’ computers?” I asked. “To stop them wasting time on Facebook”, he responded.

I told him “I think I just found out one reason social media isn’t working for you”.

Look For The Marketing Opportunity In Front of You. 

This situation is common in many small businesses.  You see, my message to this business owner was that ALL of his employees should be a part of the social media team.

I told him he should encourage staff to like, comment and share anything that is posted on the businesses Facebook page and they should be able to do so during business hours.  I also said his employees should be encouraged to retweet and comment on any Twitter posts the company makes.

You see, the aim of allowing employees to do this was to broaden their social media reach.   All of his employees sat firmly within his ideal customer profile and he was missing a great opportunity to take his brand to this audience.

Set some ground rules

One thing I also did say was that he should make sure employees understand what the business wants to achieve in social media.  To set some ground rules for access, but encourage them to share, comment and support the businesses social media efforts.  In effect, he needed to develop a social media policy that outlined the expectations for access and use.

I’m glad to say the business owner did take my advice and opened up social media access to staff as well as educating them on the marketing objectives.

Now two years on, they have a social media presence that is an effective marketing channel for their business and employees that feel trusted and empowered to be a part of their success.

About the author

Chris Dale Chris Dale is the founder and Managing Director of MarketingHQ. He is a Certified Practising Marketer with over 15 years senior marketing experience. He helps small and medium sized businesses create great marketing strategies and systems that grow their businesses. You can connect with him on or on LinkedIn.

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