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Social Media in the Workplace

Insights and strategies for building your brand and attracting talent

by Jeff Howland

Ever wish you could spend your workday scrolling through your Facebook feed or Pinterest boards? Some people think that’s all we do here at Dream Local Digital, and while we do tend to spend a bit more time than most perusing social media (after all, that’s a huge part of our business), we decided to see how other businesses handle the ever growing need for people to stay connected while working. What policies are put in place, how does it affect hiring, have there been any issues with employees posting inappropriate content, how do they handle after-hours posting?

Software Advice, located in Austin, Texas, is a team of consultants who help businesses choose software solutions. We connected with them through, how else, social media, and threw some of these questions their way. Erin Osterhaus, an HR Analyst for Software Advice who also contributes to The New Talent Times blog, was nice enough to give us her take on these hot topics.

Software Advice  primarily uses social media to connect with other companies, as well as potential candidates for open positions. While the company culture is pretty laid back with a healthy sense of humor, they keep pretty tight controls on their public-facing social media accounts to ensure a professional profile. This is helped by providing new employees with a set of guidelines outlining proper social media use and also by having only a few people with access to the accounts for posting, and a review process to see what’s being shared.

While at work, employees don’t really use social media that much, as it doesn’t relate directly to their work. This likely holds true for most companies we encounter at Dream Local Digital. This type of insight is good to hold onto, as it reminds us that not everyone is watching Twitter all day like us.

While off the clock, social media again, really doesn’t play a huge roll into how peers and colleagues interact at Software Advice. While chatting on Facebook and Twitter does play a small part – they have a private Facebook group, where employees share non-company related events and news that might be of interest to the team, they are a close-knit team and their relationships tend to be face-to-face, allowing them to spend time together, rather than primarily through social media. Again, another great insight when we think about how we frame our content for small businesses. It is important to remember how people interact in real life, not just on Facebook.

When talking with Erin about how other businesses can use social media in a positive way to improve culture and collaboration, she first highlighted how effective Twitter can be for recruiting and for simply building a buzz around your brand, to help get on the radars of potential new clients, customers, and employees. However, as seen in a recent blog, ‘What Happens When Water Cooler Talk Hits the Web,’ her colleague walks through the importance of maintaining internal controls and knowing what’s going on with your employees online.

 “Have your departments work together to monitor the conversations — get HR and marketing to work together.”

As we wrapped up our conversation, we talked a little bit about some companies she’s noticed, who are using social media effectively. I was happy to hear her mention Taco Bell, mainly because I love burritos, however also because I agree. They do a great job of building their brand online, using several quirky Pinterest to highlight their products, employees, and overall culture.

Hearing how Software Advice uses social media during the workday, after-hours, and how they keep internal controls that limit, but still allow social media use, gives us good insight into how we can better tailor our strategies to both recommend our services and to manage the services for our clients.

Thank you to Erin and to Software Advice for sharing some of their insights with us. Find out more about Software Advice here and check out their blog here.


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