For nearly every manager and supervisor, “social media” and “the workplace” are two terms that are regarded like oil and water. Few business owners view the use of platforms like Facebook and Twitter as anything more than an idle social pursuit, and some have even expressed concern at the media’s capacity to leach productivity out of employees.

As Bob Dylan said, the times, they are a-changing, and that goes for the relationship between social media and the office as well. Not only is employee social media activity not bad, but workers who don’t maintain an active presence on these platforms may actually be putting themselves at a professional disadvantage.

Out of sight, out of mind?
They say that 90 percent of success is simply showing up. In a world that’s increasingly tied to the Internet, your physical presence and your online presence are one and the same. Web spaces are increasingly where recruiters are spending more of their time scouting talent, and not maintaining an accessible profile means you’re effectively removing yourself from the recruiting equation. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 35 percent of recruiters surveyed indicated that they would be less likely to hire or even interview an applicant that couldn’t be found online. In this day and age, your resume and cover letter only tell part of the story. The real workplace wizards know that to be is to be Googled, so if your personal search results don’t return any values, think about what that may be doing to employee career chances.

Meet and e-greet
The allure of social media is that it bills itself on the ability for users to make personal and social connections across the platforms. Twitter followers, Facebook friends and other services’ metrics and analytics have become integral parts of our social identity these days. As an employer, you should take this into account when scouring the Web for potential talent. It’s not enough to just find the perfect candidate – you need to make an introduction. Send a friend request on LinkedIn or a follow request on Twitter. According to the SHRM, 35 percent of employers request online “friendship” with candidates they are scouting, and most of them are added to the recruit’s social network.

Navigating the social space can feel odd and counterintuitive. If you’re a small-business owner who has yet to get a handle on the increasingly online world of the job market, consider working with PEO companies to refine your recruiting strategy to fit in with today’s workplace trends.