Once upon a time there were clear lines of demarcation between business concerns and your social life.
That has all changed with the advent of one of the most transformative phenomena of the modern age: social media. Nowadays every organization, from corporate giants to one-person enterprises, requires the oxygen of a web platform.
The Internet is crucial for customer engagement or for keeping in touch with potential stakeholders through sites such as TopOffers network. Without this connectivity your business may well undergo virtual asphyxiation. Analogies aside, social media actually underscores why it is so important to maintain clear boundaries between business and pleasure.
We all love social media because it is such a convenient way of touching base with colleagues. Our first port of call is no longer that long list of email contacts but pages where we can interact with groups, experience live chats, and share information around as many people as we consider necessary.
But much as this easy and informal communication is tailor-made for your social circle, it is not the most ideal way for conducting business. Companies use Facebook to reach out for customers, whether they form part of their existing base or they are reaching out to new ones. The advertising rates are considerably more cost effective than the previous scattershot approach of poster campaigns and blanket email. But there is a danger when the company page nestles alongside those same pages we all navigate when seeking gossip with friends.
Customers might be concerned about issues such as security when getting in touch with an organization. Platforms offer the option of private messaging if you feel the business under discussion wouldn’t be appropriate for a public posting. As well as Facebook pages, companies will still operate websites containing contact details for personal emails or telephone communication.
But the issue can be cultural more than anything else. There should be clear dividing lines between the way you approach social sites, whether this is Facebook, or others such as Instagram or Twitter. If a company employee has just spent the weekend posting items about their social life, they might well remain in ‘flippant mode’ when posting content at work. We all spend so much time on social media that it can be quite difficult to formalize how we address people on these platforms during the day job. Whether subconsciously or not, there may be a temptation to message business contacts as if they are part of your friend circle and adopt informal tones. ‘Dear sir’ gives way for ‘How you doin’?’
That social media has spread into so many niche area brings new complications. What if an employee has spent the previous evening getting to know someone on some england dating site? Whether subliminally or not, they might remain in overly flirtatious mode when discussing financial reports with some young executive in London. Once emojis, textspeak and slang make the leap from friendship groups to your virtual workplace, then your professional image will disappear into the ether.