Most small businesses now have a social media policy in place but new research finds that there is a significant difference between what managers expect and what employees actually do.
A study by Digimax has found that 72% of SMEs have an active social media policy in place for their staff. However, only a quarter (28%) of employees say that they are happy with their employer's stated policy.
The findings show that few employees are sticking to the rules when it comes to social media - although 36% of employers say that they don't allow personal use of social media during work hours, 74% of workers say that they regularly check their accounts at work.
Digimax reports that, on average, Brits have 7.6 active social media accounts and spend 116 minutes a day looking at them.
Although 18% of those that use social media during business hours say it is work-related, that still leaves 82% that admit that they are using social media purely for their own entertainment.
The findings also reveal that 81% of employers believe that their employees' online content can have a detrimental effect on their business brand, because of inappropriate comments or behaviour. Because of this, 33% of small business managers say they regularly check their employees' social media content. Nine out of ten employees believe that this is intrusive behaviour.
Shaz Memon, Digimax ceo, said: "Social media has become such an integrated part of modern life that most people use it without even thinking. And that's the difficulty for employers. If a prominent staff member says or does something they maybe shouldn't on their social media pages, it does have the potential to have a negative impact on a business.
"Employees using social media isn't, in my view, necessarily a bad thing and can even be used to a business's advantage, especially when it comes to spreading the word on new products or promotions. But as with everything I believe there has to be a balance and with SMEs enforcing their company policies it's a great way to get transparency to ensure both parties are happy."