Some business people feel that social media should remain a personal activity and corporations should stay as far away from the selfies, game invites, and drama as possible. However, in avoiding sites such as Facebook, companies are missing out.

Many major brands are getting followers, laughs, and new customers by using social media to their advantage. Taco Bell, for instance, often draws comments and retweets with their humors, edgy posts that many times draw in other major brands. And customers love that the company responds to their messages – in the most laughable way ever.

Use of Social Media for HR Professionals
Use of Social Media for HR Professionals

If brands are able to connect with their customers on such a personal level, it is certainly feasible for human resources managers to connect with employees in such a manner that it boosts conversations, generates ideas, and increases engagement. But how do you get to that point? How do you encourage a culture of openness, fun, and hard work?

Don’t Just Use Social Media to Snoop

Far too often, HR representatives and hiring managers use sites such as Facebook and Twitter to find out about a new hire or even review the top candidates’ profiles prior to making a decision.  Thallen Brassel, of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, says that doing social media searches can “open a Pandora’s box, because you might find out more information than you necessarily wanted to know.”

Even when accessing this public information, it is essential that HR professionals know the law and stay within the legal guidelines to prevent ending up in court. “Conducting social media searches on candidates is definitely prudent, but the information found must be treated according to applicable laws, and sometimes taken with a grain of salt,” according to Jeff Butts in What You Should Know About Searching a Candidate’s Social Media Profiles.

Allow Employees to “Chat”

Encourage employees to engage with each other using office chat systems, such as Slack. Social interaction within the organization is essential and with the rise of work-from-home and non-traditional hours, many workers don’t even know their colleagues. HR managers need to find a method of overcoming this hurdle and maintaining or improving communication within the workplace, even if that workplace extends over timezones. Butts wrote about the mandatory two-week work-from-home experiment attempted by TimeHop, which ended with mixed results.

Millennials, in particular, are extremely social and often do not differentiate between personal and professional time online. Randy Emelo, President and CEO of River Software, says, “They have effectively been posting, uploading, sharing, following, friending, networking, connecting, publishing and tagging their entire lives.  Unlike members of previous generations who may have to put thought into how they might engage with others via social channels, Millennials are innately social.”

Engage on Social Media

Interacting on social media is essential to business success, whether you are responding to clients, potential candidates, or current staff. “Remember, they aren’t just potential new hires but customers as well.  Your employer brand depends on your ability to interact with an audience. Interacting not only responding to questions, but asking them in order to better understand top candidates, passive talent, and the competition.