Facebook works

18th February 2016

A few years ago, I was sitting in a board meeting at the company I worked for at the time.

“What are we going to do about Facebook?” was the topic at large.

This wasn’t about how we could be using it for our clients.

It was about our people.

Our younger employees were spending hours every day on the social network.

Chatting to friends.

Sharing pictures and jokes.

“Poking” (remember that?)

It was the early days of social media.

And it was becoming a major distraction.

We were exploring a policy to reduce the amount of time people spent on Facebook.

Lunchtime only?

Only with your manager’s approval?

How things have changed.

Facebook is now All Grown Up, with a truly global scale.

As communications people, we have grasped its potential for so many different applications for brands.

Using Facebook in clever, creative ways has transformed engagement with consumers for many of our clients.

And the platform is set to unveil its latest innovation: finally, it is entering the workplace as a legitimate business tool, rather than a distraction.

Its new product has a new mission.

Connecting people in the workplace.

Lots of companies have tried to reimagine this space.

But Facebook’s soon-to-launch tool could be the gamechanger.

It’s called Facebook at Work.

A social platform for a workplace setting.

A new way to collaborate and share with colleagues across regions, timezones and continents.

Its beauty is that it’s based on the original Facebook, so most people will intuitively know how to use it.

No need for exhaustive training programmes.

And the signs are that people want to play.

Over 50,000 companies across the globe enquired to be part of the Beta trial.

That’s huge!

It demonstrates the level of demand for a better way of working.

Facebook included just 300 out of the 50,000 in the trial.

And at Weber Shandwick, we are proud to be one of the 300 partners selected: we’re the first global agency to use Facebook at Work.

So we have put over 1,000 people from our offices around the world on Facebook at Work to experiment with the platform.

And so far, so good.

We are seeing better engagement levels than any other digital internal communications platform we have used in the past.

People are sharing images, links and experiences with their colleagues across the globe.

Teams are setting up groups for all kinds of things.

From the serious: pitches, client projects and recruitment.

To the fun: best hummus joints in the area (MASSIVE engagement), running clubs and industry gossip.

It is visual, with people sharing images in real time of what they are experiencing and working on.

And it’s really social, with people commenting, liking and tagging.

(Fortunately there is no poking – as that may not sit too well with HR…)

Facebook at Work is a million miles away from an old-school intranet.

And far more engaging and dynamic than email.

Facebook has always been an ambitious disruptor. When Zuckerberg et al do something, they go all in.

If I were going to back something to disrupt the status quo, then my money would be on Facebook.

So, all these years later, I now find myself in similar meetings, but with the opposite agenda.

How are we going to get our people to use Facebook at Work more?

The irony….

Our fourth Tech Talk sees Adam Clyne in conversation with Julien Codorniou, Director, Platform Partnerships & Facebook at Work about the imminent global launch of Facebook at Work, the changing shape of employee communications and connecting the workplace.