Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Beyond status updates: 11 ways to get your *real* work done on Facebook

I see Facebook as part of my work, but too many organizations see Facebook as a tempting timewaster, and they've been successful at discouraging its use: Just 29 percent of Americans report using Facebook at work every day, and it leads a list of banned social media sites in a survey that shows that some 20 percent of Americans cannot access Facebook at work. This may be an overreaction, as only five percent of employees report Facebook and other social sites as office timewasters, and an even more recent analysis suggests that it's your free time that the Internet is really taking over. But what if you reframed that problem and started using Facebook to make your team more productive?

Here are 11 ways to go past status updates to get your "real" work done on Facebook. It's not an exhaustive list, but should be enough to get you started:
  1. Convene a committee: Use a closed Facebook group to convene a task force or committee, while keeping their posts private. Members can share news, ideas and articles as well as post issues and comment on others' posts efficiently.
  2. Get an agenda: Start adding work events to your Facebook calendar, then go to your events page and click on "list" to show them integrated as a list by date. You'll also see birthdays and personal events integrated on the list. Or, export your calendar into any of several commonly used calendar programs.
  3. Chat behind the scenes: Might sound obvious, but I still see many work teams that leave Facebook to use email or IM, when those functions are built right into the site. Coordinate with your team and get agreement to share info behind-the-scenes using these functions.
  4. Store and edit your photo stash: You're already storing photos somewhere on Facebook. Add the in-Facebook app for PicMonkey--one of my favorite photo editing tools--and it will pull all your Facebook photos into one place, while letting you alter, crop, adjust, add words and filters and much more. You can also upload and alter photos stored on your computer or elsewhere, right from the app.
  5. Work the mailroom: Manage UPS deliveries from the UPS My Choice app on Facebook.
  6. Create a store: Ecwid helps you add a shopping cart to your Facebook page that can support multiple languages and currencies, among many features. If your business or organization sells any kind of merchandise to your customers, members or supporters, why not do it here?
  7. Confer with colleagues worldwide on Skype: All of Skype's text, image-sharing and voice and video calling services are available via the Skype Facebook app. No need to leave Facebook to make a call.
  8. Build your mailing list: Constant Contact's FB app lets you encourage easy sign-ups for your email marketing lists, right from your Facebook page and Contact Me makes it easy to let fans get in touch or sign up for your lists. Ditto for AWeber, another popular email marketing service.
  9. Talk to customers, hold open office hours or find out what your audience is thinking: Add LiveChat for fan pages to do all that. Customer service can happen right here.
  10. Book a business lunch: The OpenTable app lets you find and book reservations at restaurants around the world, which means you can use it for those local networking lunches as well as your business travel meals, right from Facebook. Event planner? Many restaurants on OpenTable now list private dining options and rooms or tables for big groups.
  11. Locate contact info: The Truecaller app on Facebook connects you with this collaborative contact directory--a global option for looking up ways to get in touch with business colleagues and prospects.
Are you working on Facebook, beyond status updates? Leave your tips in the comments.

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