Category: Facebook

4 Things You Should Know About the New "Facebook at Work" Coming in 2015

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 11.01.40 AM The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Facebook will soon launch an enterprise-focused tool called “Facebook at Work.” According to the Journal, Facebook at Work will allow employees to message with colleagues, connect with professional contacts, collaborate, and possibly even share documents and data in an intranet-like fashion within an organization. And it all may be available as early as January of 2015. Like most managers within the enterprise, you have probably recognized the potential value of an intranet collaboration tool of this type. Implemented and used correctly, such a tool can go a long way toward heightening communication, streamlining the development and testing of ideas, serving as a valuable base of industry and company knowledge, and flattening company hierarchies through increased transparency between departments and teams. But is Facebook at Work the right choice for your unique business? And if not, how can you navigate the selection and integration of any enterprise social networking tool into your organization successfully?

Below are four things to carefully consider before you make that important choice:

1. You most likely agree that the words “Facebook” and “productivity” do not belong in the same sentence. You’ve also no doubt seen statistics like those discovered through a Kansas State University study, and published last year in the journal Computers in Human Behavior: your employees may spend as much as 60% to 80% of their time on the internet at work for personal reasons. Many IT departments have already blocked the use of Facebook within their companies to cut out the distraction altogether. On the other hand, so many of your employees are already familiar with Facebook and its use, which should make transitioning to a Facebook at Work solution fairly fast and efficient. Is bringing in a tool that carries a brand notorious for stifling productivity, but is highly familiar and immediately usable, right for your company? You will have to decide the potential drawbacks and advantages of that move, and be open to considering alternatives that offer the same benefits but aren’t associated quite as fully with your employees’ personal lives. 2. It is widely known that a great deal of Facebook’s growth is due to their aggregation and intelligent manipulation of the personal data of its users. It has also been widely reported that Facebook at Work will utilize an entirely different server platform, and will most certainly keep an employee’s personal information separate from any professional data they may be sharing, about both themselves in a professional capacity and the company at which they are employed. By nature, a social collaboration tool encourages the sharing of information. But it only makes sense that you should be able to freely -- and very specifically -- choose what information about your employees and your business should be shared, and when and how it is appropriate for that sharing to occur. 3. Your employees already have policies, practices, and procedures in place that represent the way they work on a daily basis. You should want your social collaboration solution to match and enhance those practices, not change or convert them. There are many fine social collaboration solutions available that can be implemented, but if, in order for that implementation to fully occur, your employees have to essentially change the way they work, the move will be met with frustration -- at the very least initially. A good enterprise collaboration solution should take into consideration not only the way your employees already work, but how they as individuals and groups enjoy working. Only then will the implementation be embraced and extensively adopted in your unique workplace. 4. A number of social collaboration solutions may be right for your company today. But is it flexible and elegant enough to adapt to how your business might change and grow in the future? Make a point of evaluating any solution based on its ability to be customized according to the natural work rhythms and preferences of your entire organization as they exist today, and also able to adapt to the inevitable and unexpected twists and turns your company will experience as it flexes with a fast-moving marketplace and grows with success. The revisions and adaptations should be quick and easy to make, and not require extreme expertise for the slightest change.

The Bottom Line on Facebook at Work and Other Social Collaboration Tools

Once all of the hype dies down, you will have to decide whether Facebook at Work -- or any other enterprise collaboration tool -- is right for your company. By evaluating the solution based on its effect on productivity, its ability to operate securely, its potential for customization based on your unique company attributes, and its potential to grow and change as your company does the same, you’ll be able to leapfrog the pitfalls that enterprise social networking can bring, and enjoy the real advantages the concept can offer now, and in the future. About the Author: Tim Eisenhauer is a co-founder and president of Axero, developer of Communifire, a widely popular social business platform used for implementing social intranets, collaboration spaces, and social knowledge management. He is also the author of the popular eBook, 22 Surefire Ways to Boost Employee Engagement, a research-backed and data-driven look at 22 practices that will help you better engage your workforces, boost company productivity, and increase employee engagement. Download Now

Facebook Tightens Privacy Controls – How This Could Affect Your Marketing

As Facebook has exploded in popularity over the past 10 years, it has been dogged by issues regarding the privacy of user information. To make matters worse, Facebook also has a knack for sabotaging their own cause, as was the case when a researcher at Facebook released a study on emotional contagion -- the transfer and manipulation of others' emotions via the Facebook News Feed. And that's just the beginning. Earlier this year, Facebook was forced to retire its ‘Sponsored Stories’ feature – an extremely popular advertising option among brands on Facebook – due to an uproar about using user profile pictures and information in Sponsored Stories without explicit approval from the concerned users. In August 2013, it paid $20 million in a settlement of a class action suit filed in California over how its Sponsored Stories program overstepped users’ right to privacy. The F8 conference that Facebook hosted in April this year shone the spotlight on a slew of privacy changes that Facebook was making to avoid similar situations in the future. Read on to see what these changes are and how they could affect your social media marketing.

‘Friends’ instead of ‘Public’ default visibility setting for all posts by new users

In the past, if a user had not specified their privacy settings for their posts, they would by default be open to public viewing. Typically, this would happen to new Facebook users who hadn’t discovered the right privacy controls for their profile yet. This practice has been labeled exploitative and has come under sharp backlash from privacy supporters. Facebook, which till now ignored this altogether, did an about face in May and limited the display of all posts by new users to their ‘friends’ unless specified otherwise. This means two things. One, the user data that used to be mined by various social media apps will drastically drop, hence reducing the ability to tailor your marketing content to user profiles. Two, discovering new content on Facebook will be harder as keyword searches and hashtags will only pick up content specifically labelled for public consumption.

‘Privacy Check’ for existing users

In a corollary to the default ‘friends’ setting for all posts by new users, Facebook will allow existing users to choose their audiences much more easily. People who haven’t updated their privacy settings in a while will get automated messages asking them to carry out a ‘Privacy Check’ for all their older posts and renew settings for future posts. In a nod to the rising use of social media via mobile devices, the Facebook app for iPhone features a simplified audience selector making it equally easy to maintain privacy while surfing Facebook on iPhones. This is increased control over post visibility is another spoke in the quantity and quality of data social apps and advertisers will have at their fingertips.

Users can now alter their Ad Profiles

In an attempt to soothe the growing distrust that users have started to develop towards Facebook thanks to increasingly intrusive Facebook ads, each user will now have access to their own Facebook Ad Profile. Users can now see the records of their likes, interests and usage behavior that Facebook maintains about them. They can also add, delete or modify information on these ad profiles directly. This is a huge blow to advertisers, as it reduces the objectivity of the user profile data that Facebook now offers. The new ad profile data is likely to be less rich, less accurate and less in quantity than before; hence making decisions regarding Facebook advertising even more difficult for brands.

Users can block out your ads

Users can now block specific ads or advertisers that they find irrelevant or irritating, directly from their timeline on Facebook. (Source: Facebook) Facebook serves ads to its users not just based on their profile information, but also based on their browsing behavior outside of Facebook. Many users have protested against this practice calling it overtly intrusive, as a result of which Facebook now offers users an option to opt out of retargeted ads as well. While awareness of this measure is low among average users of Facebook, advertisers can expect to see some drop in the number of quality and quantity of retargeting data available on Facebook for advertising.

Anonymous Social Login

Social logins are popular among users who want a seamless user experience between the various websites they use on an everyday basis. Social login allows users to log in to websites using their social media credentials, doing away with the need to remember dozens of username-password combinations. In the process, it allows the owners of those sites to gain access to the user’s social media information. Acknowledging the uneasiness that many users feel in sharing their profile information with random apps and ecommerce sites in return for the convenience of seamless login, Facebook will now allow users to log in to partner sites in incognito or ‘anonymous’ mode, thus restricting their access to the user’s profile and post information. This feature is being rolled out slowly for now and will apply to all apps and sites in the near future. Great news for users, but definitely bad news for sites that use social login apps and plugins.

More informative App Control Panel

The newly redesigned app control panel offers users a bird’s eye view of what apps have access to their information and what information they have access to. It also helps them modify, add or delete the personal data that can be accessed by external apps easily. Another example of the reduced data access that apps and marketers can foresee once users start using this feature more extensively.

Final words

Facebook has always lived in a grey area between privacy controls and privacy intrusion of its user base. As more and more people become aware of the various ways in which their personal information is up for sale by social media platforms like Facebook, they lash out against what they see as privacy transgressions by digital media. With Facebook taking every step possible to minimize the negative PR that its privacy issues create, the extent and quality of data available to marketers will definitely reduce. Our job as marketers is to ensure that we remain updated about every way in which we can maximize Facebook marketing without getting on the wrong side of our users. Rohan Ayyar works for E2M, a premium digital marketing firm specializing in content strategy, web analytics and conversion rate optimization for startups. His posts are featured on major online marketing blogs such as Moz, Search Engine Journal and Social Media Today. Rohan hangs out round the clock on Twitter @searchrook – hit him up any time for a quick chat.    

Google vs. Facebook: Who Will Come Out on Top? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Facebook and Google: they are, inarguably, the two giants in the Western world (and arguably the entire world) when it comes to technology and the Internet. They make big moves, and they do so with confidence and purpose, even if that purpose isn't apparent to the layman. This infographic from Who Is Hosting This? highlights the "tech cold war" these companies have been in since around 2009, including:
  • Company acquisitions,
  • Developments,
  • Innovations, and
  • "Doctrine."
Who do you think will come out on top? Check out the infographic here: