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Aug 5, 2013

The immense proliferation of mobile devices combined with the permanence of social media in our lives means that more social media users than ever before are accessing their accounts via their personal devices – including your employees.

You need to take advantage of their connectivity and use social media to engage, collaborate and communicate with your workforce.

A 2012 survey by Nielsen and NM Incite found that we spend almost one third of our online minutes perusing our social media accounts from mobile devices – compared to the 20 percent of online time spent visiting social networks from PCs.

Going mobile in the workplace

It’s no wonder that we prefer our personal devices over our computers when it comes to scanning our Twitter feeds or checking in at a favorite restaurant — mobile is easy, convenient and present at all times, whereas computers are tethered to cables and don’t fit as easily in our pockets. Even portable laptops require a stable surface — smartphones just need a hand.

According to the survey, from July 2011 to July 2012 – a single year – social media usage grew from 88 billion minutes to 121 billion minutes. 63 percent of that time was spent on mobile devices, via both apps and websites. That a majority of the growth in social media connectivity is happening on personal devices testifies to the popularity of social media and the strength of mobile as a preferred portal.

Employees are not immune to this upward trend. A recent SilkRoad survey found that 75 percent of employees reported browsing their social media accounts at least once a day, and 60 percent visit multiple times. Interestingly, practically half of those surveyed frequent their social media networks in order to stay in touch with co-workers.

Mobile and social media are here to stay, and you need to capitalize on their power and appeal, and integrate the two as collaboration tools in the office.

How to incorporate mobile and social media

Here are five (5) important ways you can incorporate them into your workplace:

  1. Communication: Platforms like Google+ and LinkedIn groups offer the perfect platform from which teams and managers can stay on the same page about projects, tasks and internal team briefings. Video chats, instant updates and group postings make it simple to touch base from anywhere with a large number of people. Calendar tools (like Outlook and Google Calendar) enable easy synchronization of important meetings and conferences.
  2. Collaboration: With social collaboration tools like Google Drive or Wiggio, teams can instantly create, share and manage documents with any number of co-workers. Collective editing is a breeze, and documents are secure. Chat options also allow for on-the-spot discussions.
  3. Check-in: Short “I’m here!” Twitter or Foursquare posts from industry events or company outings are an excellent way to maintain awareness of goings-ons within the company and out. For co-workers who are together at a conference, it’s a fun way to keep up the team spirit (like taking a group photo). For employees’ external networks, it is a great employer brand demonstration — it puts your company on their radar screens, and shows that staying on top of latest trends and having a presence is a priority.
  4. Internal news: For longer updates of general company happenings, share news about recent hires, post photos and videos from company event and fundraising activities on social media sites. This also gives employees the opportunity to share this content with their own social networks – another way to improve employer branding.
  5. Business activities: Enterprise apps (like the GooodJob Mobile app for employee referral programs) leverage employees’ tendencies to connect to social media from their mobile devices.

Connecting to social networks via mobile devices is fast and accessible, and it on its way to becoming as common a communication form as the telephone and email. For that reason, think of it as a tool that can empower employees and increase productivity in the workplace.

Accepting this fact will pave the way for inclusive BYOD policies, and position your company as one which is forward-thinking in employee engagement.