privacyword of mouth

Is your company ready for “Facebook Friday?”

By February 27, 2009 9 Comments

Is your company ready for "Facebook Friday?

Over the last year, I’ve fallen into the habit of talking with companies about their use of social media, and one of the most polarizing discussion topics is how open a company should be in allowing employees to use social media sites.

While some companies lock down all social sites, others encourage their use.

So it’s no surprise when more than a few mucky-muck eyebrows are raised when I mention “Facebook Fridays,” the increasingly popular policy some companies have adopted allowing employees to spend an hour or so on the social networking site on Fridays.

With 800 of its 900 employees now connected on Facebook, Serena Software has become the poster-child for Facebook Fridays. Jeremy Burton, the CEO of the once-stodgy old school mainframe company, on the policy:

It’s been a game-changer for us to go from an insular culture that doesn’t communicate much to a more collaborative culture…and it’s free!

So what’s all this have to do with Responsible Marketing?

If employee productivity and privacy outweigh the benefits of an open and collaborative culture, Facebook Fridays might not be for you.

But I’ve never met a CEO that didn’t want everyone in their company to be doing a little marketing, all of the time.

Consider this:

  1. The most effective form of marketing is word of mouth.
  2. A referred prospect is five times more apt to become a customer than one that isn’t.
  3. Your friends and friends of friends can help you deliver your brand, key messages, offers and more.

Does your company do seminars or lunch-and-learns? Your employees can share that with their network. Offers? Easily shared. VIP events? Yep.

While clearly Facebook Fridays aren’t for every company, now you can open your culture and help your company in a tangible way—at a very low cost.

So what do you think of Facebook Fridays?

Comment below to weigh in, and/or friend me on Facebook.

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. . .
Image: Chris Jackson/Getty Images via The Guardian

Join the discussion 9 Comments

  • Natalie says:

    hehe, i don’t see that flying at companies that are talking layoffs. Though I can’t stress how important it is important to be social media savvy to people I work with!

  • Val Nelson says:

    I think Facebook Fridays (or even Daily Tweeting) is a brilliant idea for so many reasons. The marketing potential is fantastic, not to mention the morale boost for staff. I would only do it if there is some employee training on the ideal ways to use social media tools to help the brand and avoid hurting it. A good training would include privacy issues, branding, and how to avoid pitfalls.

    I’m helping a company start up a Twitter account that multiple employees will post to. I’m going to lead the training soon and the employees are looking forward to it. At the same place, many of the employees have their own Facebook accounts (of course) which adds to the business networking.

    Thanks for the topic Patrick.

  • Tara says:

    I thought about this over the weekend, and I’m going to have to say no. Definitely no.

    So many people in my industry (telecom) suffer from the “if there is internet, it MUST be surfed in favor of anything else” syndrome. Allowing access to social networks in it usually results in employees spending more time updating status, chatting about non-work topics and whatnot, so when you ask an employee who is clearly not doing anything except spending time on social networks to help out with a deadline, they answer with “sorry, I’m busy” and restore the browser window.

    As a user of a few social networking sites and twitter, I feel that they definitely have some value… but open access and encouragement shouldn’t be provided by some companies until they are sure their employees can use these tools responsibly.

    I put in between 50 and 60 hours a week at work and get a lot done. Yet when I walk around here, I see others frantically alt-tabbing between windows. If you’ve got something to hide, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it at work, you know?

    I feel the same way about instant messaging. I think it can be very valuable in some industries, but in others (like telecom), many folks require you use it, but then treat it as a tool to get in your face. We’re in telecom, but no one uses the phone anymore.

    If used properly and in moderation, I think that social networking tools can be a great resource. But it is going to take a lot of training (and possibly a lot of big brother oversight) to make sure that they are not being overused, or inappropriately used.

  • I am a major proponent of internal communication. I think online collaboration can be helpful and have its place. There must be guidelines that remind employees not to include disparaging comments about employees, customers, vendors or the company. I would also be concerned about Facebook Fridays replacing face to face conversation. It’s too easy to sit in front of a screen and not get up or pick up the phone. See my post on http://www.allbusiness.com of February 26th, “Did you read what that employee wrote on Facebook?”

  • I am an internal communicator, who is experiencing that certain issues arise if social media tools are introduced into a corporation, which still live in the old command and control era. How the introduction is possible if the management do not want it? It’s simple. I am working for a Japanese company in Hungary. And the European HQ strive to introduce social media into the internal communications. Well, I am quite happy about it but I see many challenges because my Hungarian superiors are not familiar with the theme and as I see they do not want to (that’s the bigger problem).

    So in my case social media will be used only for internal communications but just in that case I will face with many challenges. Imagine the fear of the superiors: the subordinates can easily solve the tasks thanks to the social networking for example (I mean European-wide). Now, the superiors cannot pretend that they were the brains behind the solution because the colleagues at an other location of the group company will exactly know, who is the one, who solved their problem.

    Alright, I only wanted to show that social media could be a threat to certain people within the enterprise. So if that means a threat to them inside why would they want it to spread outside…

  • I find myself using Facebook for more personal use than business.

    However, I have identified myself as an employee of Pinstripe, Inc. without hesitation. One of the reasons, being that I could post my ‘web sites’ as Pinstripe sites – and that is one of the simple boosts to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) that I can do! one of the ‘rating’ factors is on how many various servers and sites a web site is listed – adding my site address to Facebook helps boost us just a bit more!

  • I am so glad to be self-employed. I don’t know what I’d do if I had to ask for a hall pass, go the lavatory, or social mix on Facebook on Fridays.

    What I do recall is that people are on Facebook every day even from work. They will just socialize PUBLICLY at work on Facebook Fridays.

    As an employer, I would make it part of the Marketing Dept for perhaps 1-3 hours a day. As we all know (you twitterites) it can all get rather addicting. How is a person to get any work done?

    Half the country (US) is unemployed sitting at home socializing on Facebook now. 20 years ago there would have been an uproar. As long as they can afford to pay the internet DSL bill all is well. Can people pay for their phone/internet connection with food stamps?

    Just chatting.

    Lee
    http://www.Chat2Text.mobi

  • I think allowing employees to spend an hour or so working on non-conflicting social media sites is a good idea – it is likely a more productive practice than much of what occurs on Fridays within many companies – you know that casual Fridays for instance are usually less productive than any other day of the week.

    Employers can empower their employees to build strong networks that can help to grow moral and grow business assuming there is a strategy behind the effort. It will be interesting to see how this idea catches on.

    Great comments!

    James
    http://www.Twitter.com/AskJamesHolmes

  • Shamar Hunter says:

    SHE IN A TRANS LOL

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