Talking to Shel Holtz about Enterprise Social Media, Part 4


This is part four of my series on enterprise social media, featuring a recent conversation with Shel Holtz. Today’s post explores the intrinsic value of Facebook in strengthening business and working relationships.

Today, a sizable number of business people in management positions still think there is no business value in Facebook. The largest and most successful social media platform to date, Facebook is primarily viewed by many as an avenue for playing games and posting family photos.

Shel gave examples of organizations like Zappos (273,956 “Likes”) and Sprint (893,250 “Likes”) with high employee engagement in their Facebook communities, which represents a sizable payoff. Employees are posting about corporate social responsibility, products and branding thereby strengthening their relationships with each other and the company’s relationship with its customers.

Shel concluded: “To suggest that there is no business value in Facebook is ridiculous…General Motors [415,925 “Likes”] is tracking the number of cars that are being sold based on employee recommendations to their Facebook pages.”

The value of Facebook is recognized by forward-thinking leaders in many fields, like Paul Levy, the former CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Paul was a pioneer blogger when secrecy was considered vital to running a successful hospital. His blog, “Running A Hospital,” was controversial and widely read.

Shel remembered that in an October 2009 post, Paul shared a memo from a competing Boston-area hospital announcing that it was blocking Facebook. Paul’s response was “Limiting people’s access to social media in the workplace will mainly inhibit the growth of community and discourage useful information sharing. It also creates a generational gap, in that Facebook, in particular, is often the medium of choice for people of a certain age. I often get many useful suggestions from staff in their 20s and 30s who tend not to use email.”

The next post in this series will cover enterprise blogs, so stay tuned!

Shel Holtz, ABC (Accredited Business Communicator), is principal of Holtz Communication + Technology. Shel’s expertise includes strategic communications planning, change management, organizational culture, business initiatives and communications research.

Further reading

Shutting down social media? Not here. By Paul Levy

Not Running A Hospital Paul Levy’s blog

Series Part one: How the use of free platforms like Facebook’s closed groups expand the definition of enterprise social media

Series Part two: How the bulletin board, one of enterprise social media’s predecessors, enabled collaboration like the established networking capabilities of companies like IBM and Dell today

Series Part three: The issue of productivity and social media

Series Part five: Enterprise blogs

Series Part six: The deployment of social media platforms

Series Part seven: Where enterprise social media (ESM) might be headed in the future

Originally published on the New York Women in Communications blog Aloud.

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Categories: Communication, Enterprise Social Media, Social Media
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