Five reasons FMs must start thinking “outside the building” and better engage employees through social media.
In the current era of social media ascendancy, facilities managers must think outside the building and become executive liaisons not just in matters regarding their facilities, but also in the very business conducted inside and outside of them. Customers and employees are using social media to interact with public spaces, and FMs can use it to engage new customers, network with employees, and enhance company operations.
A crash course through the social media toolbox
- Facebook gives you an identifying and dynamic Web presence. It’s a “home” on the Internet for FM organizations and professionals. In a decade, Facebook has gained more than 1.3 billion registered users and includes more than 50 million company pages. FMs can stay updated on trends and connected with peers on Facebook sites like “Today’s Facility Manager (TFM)” or the International Facility Management Association (IFMA)
- Google+ is similar to but not yet as widely used as Facebook. It boasts 500 million registered users, half of whom are active monthly. FMs can quickly form or enlist like-minded networks via its unique “circle” feature. Google +, like Facebook, can be used by FMs to inform constituents (i.e., employees, students) about events like impending construction schedules, power outages, road closures, and other useful information.
- LinkedIn also resembles Facebook, but has a more professional than personal flair. It has become a resume and official networking site for nearly every professional industry, including FM. Two new people join LinkedIn every second and 40 percent of users check LinkedIn at least once daily. A LinkedIn presence can engage potential tenants, employees, and employers. The Facilities Management Group, for example, with 30,000 members, is one of many professional networks FMs can join. Others of special importance to FM professionals include the Facilities Management Association, Facilities Management Professionals International, Integrated Facility Management, and the International Facilities Management Association.
- Twitter is essentially a community that builds itself by networking “tweets,” or text-based entries of 140 characters or less submitted on the site. Approximately 14,000 FM professionals tweet everything from upcoming conferences and training opportunities to unbiased industry news. For instance, FM and procurement professionals are following the Twitter site FM Forum at @FMForum in order to source service providers and to better understand the FM Industry.
- YouTube enables viewers to access and post videos online including FM-related videos like “Meet iOffice”, and “Facilities Management”, by the Pratt Institute. FMs can upload and share videos, providing free exposure for themselves and their facilities.
FMs should use as many of these social media sites as they can effectively maintain. Check out the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) presence on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn on the IFMA website for a comprehensive cross-media sample targeted at FM professionals.
Five reasons every FM should be using social media
1. It allows instant communication
Though it began as a casual forum, social media is now instrumental for corporate communications. Creating webpages, email blasts, and newsletters takes time and people don’t always read or receive them immediately. With social media, FMs can reach out instantly to tenants and the workforce with maintenance updates, service announcements, job openings, and other vital information. This faster communication often leads to quicker and more reliable responses.
2. It improves and expedites feedback
When FMs engage the people who work in their facilities, these people believe they’re working in the best possible environment, which helps improve performance. Managers gain benefits from designating a social media account specifically for soliciting and replying to feedback from workers, tenants, and the public.
3. Your employees think it’s “legit”
The Millennial generation—which now outnumbers the Baby Boomer generation—associates business legitimacy with an active online profile. They’re suspicious of anyone without a robust and prominent online presence. Customers and employees trust and respect the FM who creates a “with it” image via social media.
4. It gives facilities a “face”
Social media can give facilities management a personality, making FMs feel more relatable. A hospitable and inviting social media presence can attract major event reservations and high-value tenants.
5. It helps you stay connected
FMs can use social media to stay on top of the latest news, emerging technologies, trends, and industry activities. Several social network groups mentioned earlier exclusively interconnect FMs (as well as commercial real estate executives and office administration professionals), who communicate tips, opportunities, and ideas amongst themselves.
All in all, FM professionals who grasp the benefits and effectively adopt the tools of social media will lead their companies and their careers in a new direction that has gained undeniable momentum. They will grow alongside this phenomenon, which promises new and often better ways of getting work done.