Facebook: A Business Nightmare or Employer's Best Friend?
As with anything between apples and zoology, there is an up and downside to Facebook. Because Facebook has 1/3 of the Earth’s attention and active participation, employers and businesses are finding out – and finding out quickly – that either Facebook will benefit long-term goals, or shoot them dead.
In this segment, we shall examine Facebook and leverage the upside and downside to using it for daily business, including how employees could actually sink corporate interests through rumors.
This is the biggest and probably most serious problem when it comes to companies joining Facebook. Even if all the security in the world is made use of to protect data and make it secure, there is nothing that can be done with the people working there.
Many employers feel that giving access to Facebook is dangerous because it is possible for company employees to share sensitive information with their network most of whom would not be employees of the same organization.
Hoffman Electrical, Tampa's solution for residential and commercial electric repairs, utilizes Facebook to keep people informed of various changes in their atmosphere. Since their customer base surrounds Tampa, they know Facebook is an excellent way to enact word-of-mouth advertising. But they know, too, that building rapport means answering positives and negatives with tact.
Building rapport means more to businesses like Hoffman Electrical because their reach isn't as large as Walmart, Cisco or Levi-Strauss. Facebook is, albeit questionably, the place to build smaller-scale rapport.
Some of the biggest problems to come up with Facebook are those that deal with employees ranting and raving about their organization on Facebook. Many employees have found that their comments about their job have even cost them their job. Yet, this is a small irritant when it is compared to other bigger problems.
For instance, there are a number of organizations that forbid the use of phones inside the office, and employees are not allowed to access their mail. However, they may be online and access the Internet because their work calls for this. A corporate firewall usually enforces this.
Although a corporate Facebook account can be useful to send messages to others within the same organization, and even share information, making their workplace a little fun too, it is dangerous because this network is connected to the outside world. If any employee discusses information that may not be restricted within the company, but is not meant for the general public, they may be putting their organization at risk. This is more so for publicly listed companies than for privately held ones.
It was not that long ago that the Internet was not given to employees, and before that, computers were thought of as a security risk. Now, even though phones are thought of as the same, most organizations do not have any problems with phones that do not have cameras. It is only when you have a camera phone that they have a problem.
Most of these restrictions have passed away, and so maybe in the future the restriction on Facebook will as well. It is therefore good to plan for that day because it will come. Many people thought that giving Internet connections to people would mean inside information going out. Now, most companies have realized that there is no such fear, and education employees on what can and cannot be disclosed to non-employees has had better returns that restricting access to the Internet.
In fact, the only reason why companies even restrict mail access is not so much that it is a security risk but that they feel that employees will spend too much time checking their personal mail rather than working.
Tone of Voice
This may sound a little odd, but a number of small businesses are finding it hard to modify their marketing to take advantage of Facebook. They have been accustomed to the traditional methods of advertising like newspapers, TV commercials and/or radio ads. When it comes to Facebook, the same formal voice that was used for so many years successfully just does not work.
Facebook prefers a more casual type of communication, and many users just ignore anything that even resembles formal communication. This means that all your researching and targeting of your audience will come to naught if you are not able to market the way the Facebook users prefer.
This is not a big hurdle, yet is one that must be crossed. Social suggestion is the future, and sticking to “Tried and Tested” systems of marketing will not work in the years to come. Marketing in itself is dynamic and with the pace of progress online, it is even more dynamic. It is the person who stands out from the crowd who will be noticed.
With Facebook offering such a cheap way to advertise, many small businesses are taking advantage of this. This means that unless your advertisement is striking, it will be lost along with everything else, and not net you any benefit.
Life online is really fast, and things happen in minutes. In the real world, life is a little slower. Most marketing managers are not necessarily tech savvy and it therefore takes them time to find out things and learn. They expect certain stability in their business relationship, and having things so dynamic that they will have to once again start from scratch and learn a new technology is putting them off.
Although Facebook has taken hackers seriously, simply because there are so many users it is a little difficult to check each and every user. Many hackers use Facebook to gather a lot of personal information about people and companies that use Facebook. A number of high profile cases have come up in the past couple of years when hackers were able to put in their own code into a page and get even information that was blocked from public view. This has left a bad taste and there are a number of forums that are dedicated to anti Facebook people.
While this has no direct impact on a business as such it is still important because hackers can use your Facebook page to obtain information. This is an even bigger problem because Facebook will automatically find your page to be the culprit and block your page. If you are actively using Facebook in your marketing strategy you cannot afford to have your company page go down for a week while Facebook decides whether you were genuinely taken advantage of, or if you were deliberately doing something illegal.
One example of this was when a dating service put up pictures of topless models in their ads. Not only were their ads not delivered, their page was blocked. The company was not only a genuine one; it was a paid advertiser on Facebook.
The Final Word
Even specialty niches are capitalizing on Facebook. CPI Shine, masters of a specific glass & cutlery polishing machine process that not many can duplicate, gets plenty of word of mouth consumers and direct online contact, thereby bypassing the rigorous efforts that social media require.
There are both advantages as well as disadvantages to using Facebook, and it may well be true that it has still not reached the sophistication of other more established online names. However, with their popularity only increasing and showing no signs of diminishing, it would be rash not to include Facebook into the overall marketing strategy.
It is important to remember that with all their imperfections, Facebook still offers a compelling reason for every business to be there. It is cheap and you can even do everything you want to for free, if you so choose; just make sure that you perform due diligence before using the social network titan for everyday business.
Dave, navigating the cantankerous quagmire one calls life with startling persistence, offers his experience and love for general news to all interested people of our galaxy. Writing about the flows of life at The Daily Flows, watching the Cubs piss away another season and randomly dialing telemarketing companies is among his favorite things. Twitter stalk all of his travails and even drop ...
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