Social media received mass adoption from Millennials early on and now is in widespread use among all generations. But Generation Z, who uses up to five different social channels per day, will have a stronger dependence and expectation to use social media at work.
More and more social-media-inspired communication tools like Slack, Yammer, and Workplace by Facebook are gaining high adoption thanks to ubiquitous connectivity and the surge of Millennials and Generation Z into the workplace.
Four-time New York Times best-selling author and CEO of Vaynermedia, Gary Vaynerchuk, had this to say about the importance of social media,
Every year the world becomes a little smaller, a little more social, a little more connected. Creating content that allows us to share our experiences, thoughts, and ideas in real time is becoming an intrinsic part of life in the 21st century, in fact, it's getting to the point that we're making a statement when we don't share or choose not to connect.
For Generation Z, the benefits of using social media at work include: streamlined communications; efficient collaboration; effective relationship building; brand building (personal and corporate); talent scouting; info gathering; and promoting products, services, events, and so on.
However, according to CareerBuilder, 28 percent of employers report that they've fired people for using the Internet for nonwork activity (such as using social media) during the workday, and 18 percent have dismissed employees because of something posted on social media.
The risks of social media at work that Generation Z needs to be aware of include: misinterpreted posts, a high level of distraction, oversharing of personal information, company misrepresentation, replacement of face-to-face communication, and sharing of sensitive or illicit content.
Here are some social media dos and don'ts to emphasize with your social-savvy Generation Z employees.
The Dos of Social Media at Work
- Be respectful. Intent matters. Have the right intent and treat others as you want to be treated.
- Know and follow your company's social media guidelines. Neglecting the guidelines can get you fired, sued, or both. Also, consider the company's code of ethics.
- Proofread before posting. Correct poor grammar, unnecessary slang, or misspelled words.
- Use a disclaimer (if your name is closely associated with your employer). Make it clear when you are posting your personal opinions.
- Check privacy settings. Decide what accounts might need to be private or set up a separate business or personal account.
The Don'ts of Social Media at Work
- Don't complain. Don't complain about work over social media (no matter how private the account). Consider discussing your work challenges with friends or colleagues face-to-face.
- Don't share confidential company info. Keep information such as budget, future plans, rumors in the office, etc. confidential. Also, be aware that sensitive info does not sneak into the backdrop of a photo.
- Don't fight with customers on social. Handle complaints and criticism calmly and respond with the type of positive, empathetic words that you would like to receive if you had an issue.
- Don't post illicit content. Don't post anything that could damage you professionally.
- Don't spend too much time. Don't spend more time on social than is necessary for productive work.
As a Millennial and Generation Z keynote speaker and trainer, I help companies lead, engage, and sell to the emerging generations. If you'd like help solving tough generational challenges inside your organization, click here.