smb-tech-trendsDon’t worry if your employees are spending time on social media for reasons other than customer engagement and building your small business brand. In fact, you might want to encourage them to Tweet or use Facebook at work. That’s because a recent study indicates that your most socially connected employees might be the most productive.

The study conducted by data analytics firm Evolv focused on hourly call center employees. It concluded that employees who belonged to more than five social networks were more productive, demonstrating higher sales in less time than their counterparts. Socially active employees had a 1.6 percent higher sales conversation rate than their associates and a 2.8 percent lower average call time.

The Evolv study also determined that employees who used one to four social networks stayed in their jobs longer – an average of 11 days longer than those who didn’t use social media. However, use of more than four social networks did not result in longer job tenure.

Why socially active employee are more productive at handling customer interactions may stem from the fact that they are inherently more social individuals and that they are more technically savvy and so more efficient on their jobs, Evolv suggests. Whatever the reason, as we’ve said in our Big Trends Report, social media is not going away. While you want to encourage social media interaction, you need to set guidelines about what is acceptable as it relates to your small business.

Set a social media policy

Social Media PosterIn “How to Create a Social Media Policy for A Small Business,” Amanda Webb recommends as a start, your policy should address how employee refer to your small business when they update their own social media channels. Enabling your employees to talk about your small business in their social media channels can help boost your brand visibility. You just need to be clear what the rules are.

Employees need to know if they are allowed to mention the company and colleagues as well as company customers, partners and even competitors in their personal social media posts. By the same token, you need to establish if company posts will include a mention of them, for example, participating in a company or industry event, winning an industry award or starting a new company initiative. You also want to be sure to let your employees know how you are monitoring social media, which may include the social channels in which they are active.

When it comes to what can be posted in company social media networks, your policy should cover:

  • What company information can be shared or discussed online and what is confidential
  • Who can post
  • How to maintain consistency with your brand in terms of type of content posted, language and imagery
  • How to avoid copyright infringement
  • Consequences of failure to adhere to your social media policy

Include your policy in your employee handbook and also consider having a company meeting to review it and answer questions. You want your employees to be engaged in social media channels – you just want to make sure it’s win/win for everyone.