Banning social media won't keep team members off the Internet


Employees continue to use Facebook and Twitter on the job-despite company policies.

If you've instituted a ban on social networking sites while employees are on the job, you might want to rethink the policy. Chances are, it's not working like you had hoped.

A study from security solutions provider nCircle found that 60 percent of U.S. security and IT professionals say their company has a social media policy-and 40 percent of those ban all usage of social media while on the job. But according to Small Business Trends blogger Lisa Barone, nearly 24 percent of Facebook users say they log on to the site “all the time” while at work, and 35 percent say they access the site occasionally.

With social networking becoming a daily part of life for many team members, much like e-mail and text messaging, wouldn't you like them to use it responsibly? Barone says that instead of banning social media, you should educate your employees. Here are a few of her tips for doing just that.

> Define what “social media” is and which sites fall under that category.

> Talk about what can't be discussed, like company finances, team meetings, or client information.

> Share social media policies from other organizations. Here's an online database to get you started.

> Explain how social media can help the company-like when team members connect with and educate clients. Then show them how to do it.

Team members aren't going to stop using sites like Facebook, so you might as well encourage them to use it productively. See the related links below for more on social networking and how you can use it to benefit your practice.

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