5 specific tips for business leaders to succeed on Facebook

Alot of business executives are asking the same questions these days. What should we do on Facebook? How can our company take advantage of Facebook and other social media platforms? How can we improve relationships with customers/partners/employees/suppliers using new technology? How can we use Facebook to sell more, improve processes and cut costs!!

The principles for success are simple. The  challenge is (and has alway been) how to implement in real life!

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg gave us some advice when he was asked at the World Economic Forum in Davos a few years ago about how companies can succeed with Facebook. Here´s a revised summary of Zuckerberg´s response:

“Your customers, employees, partners, suppliers already doing what they want to do. What you need to focus on is to make it easier for them to do what they already do.” (Details are on page 48 of the book WWGD written by Jeff Jarvis).

Facebook can help your business in many ways. It’s not about creating Facebook pages. It´s not about writing status updates, posting pictures and running competitions. Don´t  outsource the task to  “social media experts” and communications advisers. As a business you need to focus on how you can make life easier for your customers, employees, competitors and partners to “connect”.

Your job as a leader is to point out the direction, make sure you have the right people on the job and move in the right direction. Management Guru and longstanding CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch, says that strategy is about choosing a general direction and implement like hell. This mindset has worked for many companies for over 30 years. It will work well for your  Facebook activities as well. The details will fall into place after the first activities have been implemented! Therefore, the main advice is to get started! Just do it!

If you don´t know what to to, here are five specific tips for business leaders who want to succeed with Facebook.

1. Don´t block Facebook for your employees

How can your business succeed on Facebook, if you deny your employees access? Some companies have chosen to block Facebook for employees at work because they think employees waste time on Facebook or because IT says it´s a security problem. This is almost never smart. If you treat your employees like kids, they will behave like kids.Denying access to Facebook can become a frustrating annoyance – especially for young people. Most people have smartphones where they can use Facebook anyway. If you want motivated employees you should treat them as adults. If your employees are spending too much time on Facebook, Facebook itself may not be the problem!

2. Create an informal intranet for your employees on Facebook

Most of your employees are already on Facebook without you having to invest in expensive IT systems, boring training sessions and costly internal meetings. Take advantage of it. Create a closed Facebook group for your employees and let your employees communicate with each other there. You will be amazed by the benefits. Suddenly old and new employees can get to know eachother easier than before. People who know each other work better with eachother and often deliver better results (ref: Goretex and Dunbars number ). Just like there are formal and informal rules in the lunch room, you can introduce some simple rules for the closed Facebook group.

3. Create closed groups for better collaboration

E-mail is the biggest time waster in many companies. E-mail is, believe it or not, an outdated form of communication. Facebook (and other social platforms) work better in many cases. Think how many times you’ve received an e-mail CC and a long discussion dialogue on e-mail. Is it effective? Also check how your kids communicate on Facebook. A simple “like” is often easier and better than responding to all that you have read and agree but you have some questions. An e-mail from you can often end up stealing several hours working time from your staff! Explore how your business can use the modern social tools (not necessarily Facebook) instead of wasting time on e-mail!

4. Create open groups for your customers

People are talking about your company and your products already. Your business can use Facebook to gather customers in one place.  Pick up valuable feedback from your customers and use the feedback to improve your products, customer service and marketing. There are of course other ways to do this, but why not use a tool that most people are familiar with already? You don´t need to invest in complex IT systems and expensive contact management software. Test it out on Facebook. If it works on Facebook, you can consider other options. Create an open group for your customers.

5. Create a Facebook page for your business

A company Facebook page is the tip of the iceberg. Facebook gives companies opportunities to market products and services. To get started with this you need to register a Facebook page and start producing relevant content for your audience. The content will often come as a result of the first 4 tips in this article. When people begin to communicate internally, relevant content and good ideas often bubble up to the surface.

Good ideas alone are worthless. To be successful, both the ideas and the capacity to implement be present. So therefore: Point out the direction and follow up with an extreme focus on implementation. This is according to Jack Welch, the recipe for success in business. Success on Facebook is about the same principles.

Focus on implementation: Make it easier for people to do what they already do!

Sources:
* Bringing elegant organization to the work place: http://tribes.no/2012/11/02/bringing-elegant-organization-to-the-workplace/
* Ideas are worthless without action: http://stammen.no/effektivitet/ideer-er-verdil% C3% B8se-no-action
* How to get 100,000 fans on Facebook: http://www.inma.no/ARTIKLER/Blogg/innlegg/Hvordan-fa-100-000-Facebook-fans-pa-under-ett-ar