Employees with social media access more likely to promote the company

At Rabbit we have a very simple argument for organisations wanting to stop worker Facebook or Twitter access.   With more people set to go online via their mobiles than desktops within four years (this stat via Ben Kunz), your efforts are likely to be futile.  Much better to have an internal social media policy in place instead.

Here’s another reason:  Allowing workers to use social media won’t result in them talking you down, just the opposite actually.    Forrester came out with pretty damning research among 5500+ information workers in North America and Europe, to find out whether they’d be more likely to be ‘detractors’ or ‘ambassadors.’

Half of (49%) of information workers are detractors, and only 27% are promoters, or a net score of minus 23%.   Not surprisingly, directors are promoters but workers – and also supervisors – are detractors.   So forget the notion of middle management always being on your side.

However at the same time, this statistic is worth nothing.   According to Forrester analyst Josh Bernoff in AdAge:

“In case you’re wondering if you should allow employees onto social networks (and trust me, you can’t stop them), try this fact on: workers who use social media are among the most positive. 48% would strongly recommend a company’s products and services and only 22% were detractors, for a net score of 26% — among the highest of the groups we surveyed.”

My theory for why this is, is two-fold.   First of all, in a lot of companies still adopting an attitude that’s at least five years out of date, only marcoms professionals whose job it is to actually monitor and respond on social media, are given access.

Secondly, I wonder if an instinctive reflex to defend your ‘tribe’ kicks in.  So you might proactively mouth off about your boss or the stuff your company makes to friends and family, but seeing a stranger criticise them online is different.

I’d also agree with Ann All of IT Business Edge, letting workers use social media shows that you trust them to act responsibly.    Another reason for bosses to stop treating workers like children when it comes to social media access.    If you treat them like adults, they’ll more often than not respond in kind.

(Image from m4r003nd)

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