Today’s facility manager is more focused on people than it is places. No longer is the FM just tackling AC issues and office moves, they have become the Ambassador of the workspace, acting as executive liaison for everything pertaining not only to the building but also to how people work inside.
This change is being driven by the evolution of the overall marketplace. Technology provides the ability for employees to work form anywhere and the office environment is being re-purposed to facilitate the mobile worker. Another significant factor, however, is the workforce itself. The workforce age demographics are changing significantly. Baby Boomers are retiring in large numbers and Gen X and Millennials are assuming the majority of the workforce. This generation has grown up in the digital age. They access information and resources and socialize online. As a result, social media is a major component of their daily life. Because social media plays such an increasing role in the way employees interact with the world around them, a mastery of social media can become an especially powerful tool for FMs.
The Advantages of Using Social Media in Facilities Management:
1) Instant Communication
Though it began as a forum for trivial interaction, social media has emerged as a major player in the way the world gets its news. That’s true for CNN and the like, but it’s also true for in-house corporate communications all over the world.
Webpages, email blasts, and newsletters take time to compose, and people don’t always read or receive them right away. With social media, FMs can reach out to tenants and the workforce with maintenance updates, new service announcements, job openings, and more. Faster communication means faster action.
2) Better, Faster Feedback
FMs must engage the people who work in their facilities. When employees believe they’re working in the best possible environment, their performance tends to improve. Accordingly, managers are encouraged to designate a social media account speciﬁcally for ﬁelding and responding to feedback from workers, tenants, and the public.
For example, an airport FM might launch an @airportcares Twitter account and encourage both the airport’s retailers and its travelers to tweet the FM with any questions, compliments, or concerns. It’s an effective way of delivering rapid response for unexpected problems while promoting the services/solutions an FM can offer
3) It's "Legit"
The Millennial generation has learned to associate business legitimacy with an active online proﬁle. In their eyes, anyone who isn’t online is automatically suspicious — and the less active & prominent its social accounts, the less impressive the business seems. Social media demonstrates that the FM truly cares about his or her job. It’s a great way to earn trust and respect from both the customer base and the workforce.
4) Every Facility Needs a Face
Regardless of the industry, customers like to do business with people they can trust. Social media can make facility management feel personable and believable. After all, it’s easier to talk to a human than a building, and a social presence can put a friendly face on an otherwise austere facility. Social channels make a location feel hospitable and inviting, which helps to attract major event reservations and high-value tenants.
5) Keep Current & Connected
Just as FMs can use social media to distribute news, they can use it to stay on top of the latest buzz themselves. A social media feed can keep FMs in the know about emerging technologies, trends, and industry activity. In fact, a number of social network groups exist solely to interconnect FMs (as well as commercial real estate executives & office administration professionals) for sharing tips, opportunities, and ideas.