We often discuss ways that Facebook can be used to promote and market your business, but Facebook can also be a great platform for collaboration. I have successfully managed a team of interns on the other side of the country with a combination of Google Docs and Facebook features, along with many hours spent on the phone. I really wish Skype and Facebook had announced their partnership a year and a half ago! Here are some Facebook features that can be utilized for collaboration:
- Friend Lists: Friend lists are key in letting you segment all of your Facebook “friends” into different categories based on how know them. By putting all of your coworkers into a friend list you can set your privacy settings according to that group. That way you can complain to your friends about your coworkers on Facebook without your coworkers knowing (NOTE: I’m half-kidding. It’s never a good idea to complain about your coworkers on Facebook). Friend lists are also really helpful with Facebook Chat. During the workday you can make yourself available to your coworkers while appearing to be offline to everyone else. You can answer a teammate’s question and not be bothered with interrogations from your mother (Hi Mom! Love you!). The reverse is also true. If you don’t want to be bothered with work-related questions on the weekend then simply click “Go Offline” for that friend list. More on Facebook chat in a bit…
- Facebook Groups: Facebook Groups are the ideal tool to serve as home base for a department or even a short-term project. If you really don’t want to be Facebook friends with your coworkers, you can still be part of the same Facebook Group. You can adjust the group settings to adjust how often you receive email and Facebook notifications about the group and how often updates show up in your home navigation (what we like to call your News Stream). You have the ability to post links, photos, videos and questions in the group and you can even create events, which are great ways of sending out meeting reminders. If you need more than 420 characters then you can create a Doc, which is similar to the Notes function on a Facebook Page. For when you’re on the go you can send an email to the group email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) and it will post in the group. You can easily add and remove members as your team changes over time.
- Facebook Chat: Facebook has recently made some “awesome” updates to Facebook chat. It was already a great way for me to correspond with coworkers quickly and easily. Ignoring my calls and emails are you? Oh look you’re available on Facebook Chat “Hi you!” Now Facebook archives the conversations as part of the Facebook Messages function so you don’t have to remember what was said, you can just look it up! They’ve also added the ability to add friends to the chat so if you need to have a discussion with just three coworkers rather than one at a time or the entire department, you now have that option.
- Skype: Facebook also announced an “awesome” integration with Skype that will allow you to make Skype calls to anyone of our Facebook friends regardless of whether or not you have a Skype account. So if you need to have a more in-depth discussion than Facebook Chat simply send a request to connect with a Skype video call and voila you’re now talking face-to-face. (NOTE: If you work from home like I do, you may want to make sure the upper part of your body is presentable before having a video call.) This truly would have saved me a lot of money on my phone bill had it been integrated earlier.
Are there any other Facebook features you find helpful when collaborating with a team? Share your ideas in the comments below.