Three and a half months ago, Weber Shandwick became the first global marketing agency to test out Facebook at Work. It put 800-plus employees on the collaborative social platform, which was first unveiled more than a year ago and aims to compete with similar software programs from marketers like Slack and Yammer.
Today, Weber Shandwick is rolling out Facebook at Work to all of its 3,500 staffers worldwide. The agency indeed has been impressed with the system, which, like its rivals, wants to seamlessly facilitate business communications and to lessen individuals' email backlog.
"[It] has improved our ability to collaborate and connect our employees around the world," said Chris Perry, Weber Shandwick's chief digital officer. "It allows us to collectively stay on the pulse of daily changes in media and social platforms. It gives us a place to present new business partners and talent we've brought on board. It provides a forum for sharing our creative and emerging best practices."
"And most importantly, it bonds people from different disciplines and regions together," Perry said. "In one poll we did of employees in the pilot program, nearly half said their top benefit was feeling more connected to their global colleagues."
Perry said his team has given Facebook feedback on how the program can be improved, specifically in the areas of document sharing and real-time editing functionalities. He said that Facebook at Work isn't replacing systems such as Slack or Microsoft Outlook at his agency but instead will be complementing them.
In concerns to getting more than a few thousand employees on-boarded in the coming days, Perry stated: "We've learned some things from the pilot program, so we've put together some best practices/guidelines and will offer training sessions for our people, but the large majority of the pilot group had very little problem getting up-and-running on the platform because it functions so closely to regular Facebook."
Three-hundred brands have been testing the system, including Heineken, Century21, Royal Bank of Scotland and Telenor. Facebook wouldn't share when Facebook at Work will become more widely available, but when it does, other large companies will likely try the system.
Here are a two other things that Perry suggested companies do to integrate Facebook at Work:
1. Get folks on the same digital page
"Having full teams and working groups on the platform is incredibly important in order to increase momentum. It's one of the key pieces of feedback we received," he said. "Our employees felt that the platform was limited if the people they communicate with most didn't have access."
2. Emphasize the app
"Mobile use is essential so companies should encourage employees to download the app," Perry suggested.