Contrary to Popular Belief: Five Ways Social Media Can Boost Productivity

“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.” —Jeff Bezos, CEO of

In most businesses, it’s standard policy to restrict and discourage the use of social media during work hours. An average of just ten minutes of social media use daily, over the course of a year, adds up to over one week of work time (just under 42 hours). This may seem astonishing, but you can’t argue with the math. Almost 90% of us sneak occasional peeks, but moderation remains key here: don’t set out to break your organization’s social media policy, and set some personal rules even if you do have permission to indulge.

There’s no doubt that when used irresponsibly, social media can damage productivity; however, in some circumstances and to some extent, social media can increase individual, team, and organizational productivity. Here are five simple ways your social media usage can boost productivity:

  1. It lets you blow off steam and improve morale, especially in this era of “always on” workers. If you work long hours as a salaried employee, it can help immensely to occasionally check in on your regular life on breaks to help cleanse your mental palate, connect with friends and family, and maybe get in a laugh or two. Considering all the times you’ve answered work emails at midnight or stayed up late the night before a presentation, an occasional sanity break won’t matter in the long run.

  2. It helps with problem solving. Quickly jumping on social media can allow you to access a global network of experts, as well as your own personal network of friends, family, and co-workers. This lets you seek advice and feedback from others on problems and supports internal collaboration. For example, you can create a specific group on Facebook just for you and your team members, wherever they may live and work, allowing you to interact easily. I often ask my colleagues for resources in our various groups.

  3. It helps you generate ideas. While you can use social media to solicit ideas, per the above point, studying social media posts can also provide leads for you or your co-workers to research, stimulating creativity. It can even reveal the mood of your clientele, including what’s missing in their lives that you can work toward providing. Or, you can simply ask people what they want, without going to the expense of consulting focus groups and conducting other marketing research. This can provide at least general ideas for your consideration.

  4. You can easily contact vendors, clients, and partners. Social media allows your organization to connect not just with individuals, but also with large numbers of people at once, potentially increasing the efficiency of your business processes and networking. You can share more information with venders, customers, and partners with ease, and use existing social media platforms to provide simple, cheap customer service and, in some cases, fulfilment. Social media also provides another way to manage customer relations (including damage control).

  5. You can use it as a sales platform (or at least an adjunct to one). Social media already allows you to communicate with a very wide audience. While they don’t always let you advertise your services, at least not for free, some (like Facebook and LinkedIn) offer access to demographics information and keywords that can help you target specific interests. You can also conduct contests to attract attention to your brand, create special groups for your clientele, or offer incentives to participate.

A Vast Wasteland?

In a 1961 speech advocating more public and educational television, FCC Chairman Newton Minow called commercial television of that decade a “vast wasteland” compared to what had gone before, and what it had the potential to become. Today, many would agree with his rarely-quoted earlier statement: “When television is good, nothing — not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers — nothing is better.” The medium has the potential to be extraordinary: thought-provoking, entertaining, and educational.

Many consider social media a vast wasteland today, packed with drama and self-absorbed citizens whose mere persistence on the platforms has made them celebrities. But like television, at its best it can be much better, connecting us in ways never thought possible, helping us sell our products, do research, and network effectively…while allowing in little rays of sunshine to brighten our lives during stressful times.

About Laura Stack, your next keynote speaker:

© 2019 Laura Stack. Laura Stack, MBA, CSP, CPAE is an award-winning keynote speaker, bestselling author, and noted authority on employee and team productivity. She is the president of The Productivity Pro, Inc., a company dedicated to helping leaders increase workplace performance in high-stress environments. Stack has authored eight books, including FASTER TOGETHER: Accelerating Your Team’s Productivity (Berrett-Koehler 2018). She is a past president of the National Speakers Association, and a member of its exclusive Speaker Hall of Fame (with fewer than 175 members worldwide). Stack’s clients include Cisco Systems, Wal-Mart, and Bank of America, and she has been featured on the CBS Early Show and CNN, and in the New York Times. To have Laura Stack speak at an upcoming meeting or event, call 303-471-7401 or contact us online.

Here’s what others are saying:

“What I enjoyed most about your presentation was that it was not only engaging but also practical in application. I’ve read everything from Covey’s system to “Getting Things Done,” and you presented time management in a way that is the easiest I’ve seen to digest and apply. Thank you for helping our system today!”
—John-Reed McDonald, SVP, Field Operations, Pridestaff

“Laura is an incredible speaker who takes practical information to improve productivity and efficiency and makes it interesting and fun! She has a great sense of humor and completely engaged our corporate and sales team. Laura motivated everyone to take steps to make their lives more productive and efficient.
—Molly Johnson, Vice President Domestic Sales, Episciences, Inc.

“Ms. Laura Stack’s program received the highest scores in the 13-year history of the Institute for Management Studies (IMS) in Cleveland! From the 83 participants, the workshop received a perfect 7.0 for “Effectiveness of the Speaker” and 6.8 for “Value of the Content.” Managers especially valued learning about task management, how to minimize interruptions, organizing with Outlook, prioritizing, effectively saying ‘no,’ how to set boundaries, and recognizing self-imposed challenges to time management.”
—Don Gorning, Chair, Institute for Management Studies Cleveland