Social media and corporate persona: net-etiquette revisited


When social meets corporate

As intranets and other employee communications evolve, adding new social capabilities for collaboration, the question about how to get the right behaviours in this “new” digital environment keeps coming up (it has been around since the invention of email, so not exactly new).

It’s probably because there is no one answer fits all. It depends on corporate culture, your personal background, where you are located. I’m Brazilian, living in the UK and deploying a corporate social network in a global environment (Workplace by Facebook in this case). I can see clearly the cultural background influencing what each one engages in the digital corporate environment. It was a pleasant surprise to learn how engaged my colleagues in Pakistan and Egypt are, just as my fellow Latinos.


New sharing platforms

I’m lucky enough to be part of a global roll-out of Workplace by Facebook, a fairly new product. Being around for some time, I had the chance to deploy different platforms, see how the social intranets have evolved and see the new and old blockers.

A quick win that I can see straight way is adoption curve. Because Facebook is a well-known platform, Workplace seems familiar and no specific training is required to access it. It’s easier to get people through the door. The real challenge is to turn it into a work tool, embedded in the business, and it demands a clear plan.


Collaborate with clarity

The first step is to tell people about the expected behaviours. Collaboration is the trend in corporate world, you are expected to contribute to discussions and help solve issues, but people don’t know exactly what to do. They need to understand that it’s not about the technology, it’s about getting the work done, faster and better.

The days of holding back information to maintain the status quo or working in silos are coming to an end, especially at organisations that will succeed in the 4.0 industrial revolution.

The big risk is we become great sharers, but with low adoption of best practices and no collaboration to solve problems together. Leadership plays the key role in getting the right behaviour, proposing challenges, asking questions and recognising new ways of working.


Introducing Facebook Workplace

As a new tool, Workplace is still evolving and learning to service the corporate world. A concern that I constantly heard from some users is about the noise it created, especially in the early deployment days.

Any new tool or process can lead to more communication and ‘noise’ in the first instance, and that can be overwhelming. Often users need guidance on aspects of any tool such as notifications and preference settings.

In this instance, although training was not required, drop in sessions and clinics, tutorial videos, etc were more than welcome and received positive feedback.

Now, the algorithm from Workplace is changing and users will see only the topics and people they chose, not the company trending topic – this, for instance, is a practical and welcome addition.

Another feature coming soon is for content administrators, giving more control and options to highlight relevant content to targeted audiences, which should help us communicators.


Personal v corporate profiles

When comparing social and enterprise networks, identity is the main difference to consider.

While some people hide behind anonymity in social networks and sometimes develop a completely different persona, there is no such a thing in the corporate environment. People know who you are in your company and expect to see the same person in the meeting room or on a digital platform.

You can still choose if, and how, you give your opinion on company issues or share your thoughts. You can express yourself with emojis and GIFs, you can ask for recommendations. Common sense tells you shouldn’t write or post on the digital workplace if you wouldn’t feel comfortable to do it face to face, so no changes to the old net-etiquette.

The big opportunity that corporate social networks create is for you to lead the way and inspire others, no matter where you sit in the organisation. Now it’s just up to the individuals to accept the challenge.


By Claudia Damato