Companies may actually be losing money when they block social networking sites like Facebook. Many companies block access to Facebook because they fear employees will waste time socializing, or share too much information about their company.
These companies may believe they are gaining an edge on employee productivity, but what they’re actually doing is eliminating powerful marketing, advertising and recruiting mechanisms. Facebook is one of the most trafficked sites on the Web and smart companies are taking advantage of that. Social networking can easily segue into social marketing with the right techniques.
Many companies benefit from creating a company profile on Facebook. Retail giants, like Nordstrom and Abercrombie & Fitch, use their profiles to create awareness in their apparel and accessories. Web only companies like Zappos and Bluefly also have Facebook pages dedicated to conversation about clothing.
Small business owners and service providers are also jumping onboard.
Jackie Lowry is a Real Estate Agent in the greater Seattle area. She uses social marketing on Facebook to raise awareness of her listings and to get business contacts; establishing new leads in the process.
“It’s fun and takes a little time, but it’s basically free,” said Lowry. “I noticed early on not to focus on selling but to concentrate on connecting with as many people as possible. I let them know what I do and how I can help, and if they’re interested they have a way to get in contact with me.”
Some corporations are even partnering up to provide better service to clients. Salesforce.com recently teamed up with Amazon and Facebook to form Force.com Sites. The site enables the building and hosting of Web pages built with Salesforce apps and data, and to morph their platforms together.
Companies that block Facebook access should reconsider. Creating a company page, link to employee blogs, and regularly updating your status creates an active presence on the Web. Facebook is a powerful tool for social networking and marketing – without it employees can’t be expected spread the good word on the company. In today’s high-paced web environment, social networking isn’t going away. The companies that embrace it will be the ones who will benefit in the long run.