Risks and Benefits of Social Media Use in the Workplace

There are a host of benefits to social media use in the workplace, but there are risks as well… 90% of companies now use social…

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Sheldon Mills

January 23, 20175 minutes read

There are a host of benefits to social media use in the workplace, but there are risks as well…

90% of companies now use social media for business purposes, according to the Proskauer global survey, Social Media in the Workplace Around the World 3.0. For most firms, this growth is driven from acceptance by senior management, and this acceptance varies between internal and external social media. The focus of this post will not be on external social media, as the majority of organizations today already agree that social media is essential for externally facing activities, such as marketing, customer service, and customer interactions–and that it gives companies a great opportunity to push their ideas, content, and brand further than ever before. Countless companies have proven that a strong outward-facing social media presence can create a strong brand and a community that rallies around that brand.

In contrast to its external counterpart, not all companies openly embrace using social media for internal business functions such as collaboration and communication between employees. According to Osterman Research, there are two main reasons for this:

  • There is a fairly widespread perception that Facebook and Twitter are used by employees to waste time in non-productive work, while LinkedIn is often used by employees to network so that they can find a better job.
  • Consequently, many decision makers have not yet been presented with a strong business case for the adoption of enterprise-grade social media

While these are valid concerns, to pass off internal social media as useless is to forfeit all of the benefits that it can offer. The purpose of this post is to analyze these problems and offer solutions. As decision makers become more aware of the benefits of using social media tools for decision support, expertise discovery, and intra-company communications, more companies will embrace social media in their workplace.

Benefits of Social Media Use in the Workplace

Consider this: If decision makers were willing to view social media tools as an integral component of their larger corporate culture, they could create an environment where users could improve project communication, collaborate more often, and could enhance the quality of corporate decisions. The speed and quality of customer service could also improve. These tools could provide a means of information sharing and gathering that was simply not possible, or simply not as efficient, as other corporate tools. And when managed properly, these communication methods can also provide a competitive advantage to the organization. Social media has a great potential to create a sense of community and affirmation for employees, business partners, and others in virtually any organization. This lends credence to the notion that enterprise social software and services would become a large market. Two case studies done in recent years back up this idea:

A 2015 a study by Pew Research Center shows that:

  • 20% of workers have used social media to gather information to solve work-related problems
  • 12% asked work related questions to people inside and outside of their organization
  • 17% used it to build and strengthen relationships with coworkers
  • 56% believed that Social Media helps their job performance, while only 22% believed that it hurts. The rest either felt it didn’t have an impact or felt it is both an advantage and disadvantage

A 2016 study of business social media use in the European Union shows similar results. It reinforces the fact that, while social media’s main use in business is branding and marketing, other uses are on the rise.

Graph: Internal Social Media gaining popularity in European Union

Risks and Solutions

With social media use in the workplace increasing at a brisk pace (59% of social media users surveyed had seen an increase in their use of work-related social media), the risks are also increasing. In 2014, businesses reported a 100% increase in having to discipline employees for misuse of social media.

The solution to this misuse is to get out in front of the swell and to put a social media policy in place. This policy will set expectations and guidelines for employees, allowing your organization to benefit from it as a tool while avoiding the damage that it can cause. This policy will be much more effective when paired with a system that can manage, archive, and mitigate the risk of social media messages being sent by employees.

Micro Focus has partnered with ArchiveSocial to deliver this solution – Retain with Archive Social. It is fully equipped with features such as authentic capture and social media replay, which capture the posts in their native format and allow you to replay them as they actually occurred. To help mitigate the risks, ArchiveSocial offers risk management and analytics features that are compatible with Retain. Included are features such as keyword notification and privacy protection, which alert you when sensitive information could potentially be shared. In fact, features such as these have convinced important organizations such as the Office of the President of the United States to archive their social media posts using ArchiveSocial. Adding Retain Social is the icing on the cake, delivering the most powerful and capable solution for Social Media on the market today.

ArchiveSocial and Retain allow you to archive the following social media for your company:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Flickr
  • Vimeo
  • YouTube


Good corporate use of social media will: Result in better communication and collaboration, increase thought leadership, boost sales, increase referrals, and help to provide better customer service. Is your organization prepared? We would love to offer you a demo of Retain Social with ArchiveSocial as a management and social media archiving solution to protect your organization’s data.

Download a FREE 30 day evaluation of Retain.

Photo Credit: The Art of Social Media by mkhmarketing is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Sheldon Mills

Sheldon Mills is a Senior Product Marketing Manager with Fortify for OpenText cybersecurity. Whether it’s Application Security by day, or co-hosting his podcast on habit building by night, he has a passion for helping people solve problems and get from where they are now, to where they want go.

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