By Colin Mudd, CEO, Scredible

Social media – like it or not, is a phenomenon that has transformed the way individuals communicate all over the world, but most importantly, has revolutionised how we do business. Despite its integration into our daily lives, many professionals are still sceptical about its use in the workplace.

In fact, our recent research revealed British professionals are lagging behind the U.S in recognising the true potential of social media. Only a third (39%) of Brits recognise that social media will be important for their careers in 5 years’ time, compared to over half (54%) of Americans. The study also found that Brits are apprehensive about posting on social media during the working day due to busy schedules and are concerned about the lack of good content clogging up social streams.

Adapting to the new digital age is more important than ever for businesses to recognise and educate employees. The potential of social media in the workplace is an efficient tool that can help them to grow and develop.

Boosting your brand

Knowing how to capitalise on your brand's social media presence is essential for growth. It is a great way for businesses of any size to connect with customers and potential partners all over the world, and to drive traffic to the company website.

Posting engaging topics on platforms such as LinkedIn can raise social authority and showcase your business and its employees out as experts in the field. If you are sharing focused and relevant content, it can boost both professional profile and company image.

Having a reputation that is visible online produces an immediate transparency, ultimately encouraging communication, reliability and trust. Social media is now key to your personal brand, as knowing how to tailor your online profile allows you to convey your professional appeal and adapt to your target audience.

Upgrading your employees’ career prospects

Using social media is one of the fastest ways to grow a business entity, as it is both cost-efficient and extremely flexible. Businesses can use social platforms to promote open communication between employees and management, enabling employees to discuss project ideas and work in teams effectively. Sharing knowledge and experiences is a very useful tool in this modern mobile age.

It seems that the most successful approach in appealing to the majority of workers is engagement via mobile or desktop platforms. By banning social media in the workplace, many businesses are limiting a wealth of available resources that can shape both the company and its employees.

As well as boosting the reputation and progression of a business, social media can also be used as an extremely valuable tool for headhunting and recruitment. With countless professionals’ profiles and experience available online on sites such as LinkedIn and CareerSushi, businesses have access to a wealth of choice, ultimately making employment easier and more efficient.

Increasing communication in the workplace

One of the many benefits of social media is the ability to connect people in both a professional and personal capacity. Applying a clear social media plan in the workplace can regulate the time between work and play. Employee and company use of social platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn can be used positively to promote open communication between personnel and management. This can also facilitate networking and knowledge sharing with other business professionals from all corners of the world.

Social media is one of the most inexpensive methods of marketing and advertising. Using a tool such as Twitter can help a small business with little funding to reach a huge audience with very little effort or costly promotion. Using social media to join interesting industry-related groups or discussions can demonstrate expertise in a field and raise professional awareness, possibly even attracting new business and future revenue by communicating collaboratively between current and potential customers. As the key factor for the success of social media is conversation, many businesses that have harnessed social networking as a means of gaining an enhanced presence online have discovered a much broader audience than they might have otherwise.

Growing your business

In the digital age, social media has revolutionised the way we do business. The ability to access a multitude of opportunities for both organisations and professionals has transformed the way we connect, and all at the touch of a button. Under the right guidance, social media use can be used to grow and develop both businesses and individuals in many ways. Enhancing reputation, building brand, facilitating influential networking and generating useful content to increase industry expertise are all part of the package.