Using Social Networking within the Small Business Environment

Small businesses in general tend to deter against employees using social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter during the company’s time in order to keep the office as productive as possible. Websites like Facebook, Twitter, Bebo and mySpace to name a few of the most popular social networking destinations on the web are often banned by the business, to an extremes even added to a black list within the Internet gateway.

Why can’t social networking sites like Facebook be used for positive purposes?

Trends in Internet, communication and technology have led us to where we stand today; we have a medium capable of connecting us to the furthest corners of the globe at lightning speed. Yet consider that many small businesses are both fighting against the trend of social networking technology, and embracing it at the same time to represent their brand – it is difficult to see the positive use where an employee is concerned. Social networking is flourishing with possibilities which could revolutionise the way in which the business operates and introduce a whole new way of doing business, externally and internally.

Is it possible to utilise social media habits to a business’s advantage?

Currently, I don’t think the infrastructure is in place with sites like Facebook and Twitter, they were not really built for a business to communicate within such a closed environment, but they are getting better and I hope someday soon that they will provide all that is needed for this operation.

Interestingly I was investigating a social networking service called Yammer recently which can be utilised for your business as a social networking platform.

Some of the features I liked best about Yammer

It has most of the benefits of Facebook and twitter as well as multiple reciprocates, much like carbon copy on an email and ensures that everyone is kept in the loop. This method is great for letting the entire organisation know of any changes, new clients and other general messages.

Yammer allows response in the form of feedback and brainstorming and collaboration which is something which just isn’t possible over the mainstream social networking sites.

Social media gives every member a profile which puts a face to a name, consider that you might never meet another member of the team as they work in a different part of the country, this provides a more personal way of interaction with those you may never meet. Much like other social media sites, you are able to share videos, images and statuses.

And all of this without having to use your personal Facebook or Twitter handles, allowing employees to interact with their fellow co-workers without the distraction within other social media sites.

Yammer stores the company information each employee enters, it can be useful as a means of contacting others in different departments.

All in all, this platform has great potential for use internally within growing businesses and in fact companies such as eBay have implemented into their internal communications, so it can’t be that bad can it?

About Dean Saliba

Dean Saliba is a freelance writer, professional blogger, media enthusiast, dirty football player and huge professional wrestling fan who covers a wide range of subjects and niches including, making money online, traffic generating, pro wrestling, blog reviews, football, how-to guides, music, internet marketing and more.

26 thoughts on “Using Social Networking within the Small Business Environment

  1. Business in Pakistan

    The main benefit of using social media is advertising because you can advertise your business free of cost through social media. You get a very good ROI through social media. Excellent article.

  2. Business Loans

    Many businesses still aren’t taking advantage of the power of social networking sites. The way how business works is now changing. Though TV ads are still most effective, time will come when business have to adjust the way to promote products.

    BTW, Looks like there are some spammy kids starting to invade..
    Dean I think you wanna check some of your posts and clean them up.

  3. Bertrand

    Yes I think it’s ok if people use social media during their business hours. Or at least, we should have dedicated periods of time to be social, and others to work. But to use Facebook as an internal communication tool as did eBay doesn’t seem to be the solution.

    • Dean Saliba Post author

      I think the problem is that businesses don’t wish to pay for their workers to use Facebook because then they are not working. 🙂

  4. fred | finally fast

    >>>Currently, I don’t think the infrastructure is in place with sites like Facebook and Twitter, they were not really built for a business

    Interesting and unusual viewpoint.. I would tend to argue that in fact Twitter and even now Facebook are basically essential to business at this point, and that in 2011 every business should have a Twitter and Facebook icon prominently displayed on the side of all their pages, just as necessary as the contact info..!

    freddy

  5. Title Loans

    Interesting topic. Since people are trying to find more ways to making money online and networking, I don’t see how these social sites are bad for businesses. Everything is about “who you know” and referrals. Why not take advertising online as well as offline?

  6. Best WordPress Plugins

    I think any business, small or large can benefit from social media.. as long as they have a solid strategy for doing so.

    But they also have to monitor what comments are being made about them as social media can easily contribute in a businesses downfall.

    Some companies monitor twitter for mentions of their name, and then message back addressing the persons concerns, it seems like a nice way to attempt to put out any potential fires.

    But in all honesty, I just don’t think some people can handle having access to social media sites at work, this doesn’t apply to all people, however social media sites are very distracting and some people just can’t cope with the distraction, then productivity goes down etc.

    So I can definately see why some small businesses don’t allow it, but I think they should always have some sort of strategy for it, maybe enabling only a few employee’s access to these sorts of sites or something.

    • Dean Saliba Post author

      That is exactly the problem. If you allow people to access Facebook or Twitter then work will slow down as mos people can’t do both. 🙂

  7. Greg

    It is going to be a very very long time before use of social networking is going to be acceptable during work hours. I am a small business owner and can understand its virtues but are people who are payed a salary going to spend work time promoting my business or promoting what interests them.

    • Dean Saliba Post author

      That’s the reason why companies do not allow access to Facebook or Twitter. People will probably spend more time yakking to friends than promoting your business.

  8. Shoes Online

    Most businesses don’t fail because of inadequate training though. As you pointed out, it’s more about lack of planning. I ran my own small businesses for a few years, and I made sure to only hire people that didn’t need any training!

  9. organic seo company

    Its an interesting article, Dean. Small business are still short sighted about the benefits that a business can derive from a social media site. I also faced the same issues with blocked access to social media sites in my previous job. I think they are still oblivious to the benefits. Linkedin is another good business and professional networking sites, but I wish they could some more features to make it more interactive.

  10. Suzanne Grey

    The beauty of social media is that it let’s you share and connect with the people around you in real time.

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