We do a fair amount of speaking, often to professionals who work for government-run departments or non-profit agencies. One comment we hear over and over is, “We can’t use social media; all of the web sites are blocked at work!”
So here are a few arguments to bring back to your managers as to why social media shouldn’t be blocked in your place of work:
- Even if YOU aren’t using social media, most people are and they’re spending less and less time reading newspapers and watching tv. Your organization needs to have access to where people are spending their time, if it wants to reach them. For those in any kind of marketing, communications, outreach, or community building role, this is especially important.
- Today’s audiences expect more than just information, they expect entertainment, they expect relationships, and they expect it regularly. You can’t deliver without access to the ever-evolving tools found online - at least not easily.
- The conversation is happening whether your organization participates or not. Instead of avoiding social media to prevent negative feedback or other issues, be there to tackle the issues and add your expertise to what is already happening. (Policies, planning and setting expectations with your audience will help prevent issues from cropping up.)
- Social media is full of useful and interesting information and gives employees access to answers that could help them in their jobs. Imagine how many other organizations around the world face similar challenges day to day. The potential for collaboration is infinitely valuable for professionals.
- If the only point of the blocking these sites is to prevent employees from accessing email, Facebook and YouTube while at work, the increasing prevelance of smartphones means no organization is going to succeed.
While I can understand that not every employee needs access to social media to do their job, there is a strong argument for trusting your employees to use the tools responsibly and give them the opportunity to access the wealth of knowledge online. Not to mention that, with comprehensive training and policies designed to empower, your employees can become your biggest ambassadors of the work you do.
What do you think? Leave a comment and let us know if you are blocked from social channels at work and if you have any arguments to add to the list!