Why social media isn’t working for your company

simple-ways-to-improve-sales-on-social-media-3Social networks at work need work.

A recent study conducted by Dan Schawbel with the help of American Express, takes a look at 1,000 Millennials and 1,000 of their managers and reveals some interesting findings about how seriously social media is being taken in the workforce when it comes to promoting careers. The results of the study are fairly surprising. But are they being taken seriously?

It turns out, even the Millennials aren’t taking their social media skills to work.

Where’s the conversation?

Only a small percentage of Millennial employees, 17%, view building their social media skills and using them as a means to drive business forward as very or extremely important. Using social media to get involved with industry-based conversations is something that could be, but is not happening at a lot of companies.

In fact, 26% of companies are still blocking social media sites at work. It’s going to be hard to prove yourself as an industry leader to those online if, say, Twitter or Facebook are both blocked at work. Not that it matters much if nearly 80% of managers and Millennial employees don’t see using it to promote the company as being all that important anyway.

The tools are there. Employees have the skills. Why aren’t managers capitalizing on this? Your greatest brand advocates can be your employees if you give them the chance.

Why aren’t we friends?

Millennials see social media as a way to build relationships and network in their personal lives. But this isn’t necessarily bleeding over into career advancement. Seventy-six percent of Millennial are uncomfortable connecting with their managers on social networking sites. And, they’d be met with resistance if they did try because only 14% of managers are “very to extremely comfortable” connecting with employees online, according to Schawbel’s study.

Sure, Millennials see their managers as people to go to for wisdom, mentoring and experience, and they even believe they offer valuable assets. But Millennials aren’t comfortable connecting on social media with their superiors.

What’s everyone so afraid of? Although those stories of Millennials getting fired for posting photos of themselves licking tacos are sensational, they really aren’t that common. Perhaps everyone expects everyone else is looking them up online, so they are careful about what they post, but it doesn’t matter; no one’s looking. Schawbel’s study found that 81% of managers don’t go online to look up information about their employees.

You’re all missing an opportunity.

If managers and Millennial employees are afraid to connect online, and Millennials build relationships online, will there be a breakdown of trust for management? Could stronger relationships be built with an added online element? If managers aren’t connecting with employees in a way that is meaningful to them for networking, it’s going to be harder to build loyalty for the companies these members of the younger generations work for.

As more Millennials move into management positions, it’s likely that we’ll see more social media being used to drive business and promotions. I find it rather surprising that these numbers are still as low as they are. Managers should be thinking about how they can use social media tools, and their employees who understand them, to gain a competitive edge both in recruiting new talent and making their business stand out above the competition.

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