Facebook, Twitter: genius, or waste of time?

24 Jun 2010
Property Council
Property Council of Australia

We all have gripes with our building and facilities managers. Whether you care to admit it or not they’re responsible for your thermal comfort; the revolving door turning too slowly and sometimes when the cleaners miss parts of your tenancy; what ever it is, you as the tenant care about these things and want someone – hopefully the person responsible; to know about it when it happens and for a solution to be provided.

This is where social networking tools can come in; they provide a vehicle for real time communications and can be used to facilitate multiple dialogues between up and downstream customers to achieve positive outcomes.

Williams suggests that through careful management tenants can become the most important advocates for your building.

They are the main users and have the most physical interaction with what is essentially one of your most valuable assets. They’re your best customers, loudest critics and most ardent suppliers of cash flow to your business.

They can promote the amenities you worked so hard to provide, and they’ll voice their discontent just as loudly. So let’s face it. These free interactive technologies are freely available and being used readily.

How do you as a building owner (or any other business professional for that matter), tap into this interaction to implement new and improved ways of managing the public space.  You can:

If your tenant just tweeted or facebooked the following comment:

Elevator broken, had to climb the stairs - took me 10 minutes to get up to my floor during peak hour…

You could:

  1. Ignore it, continue to let these things be said about your building, brand and business and watch your tenant move out at the end of the lease,
  2. Interact and accept that there are grievances, and utilise the free feedback mechanism to make targeted changes and improvements to your business (and in turn receive twit kudos (where one posts a follow up comment to a previously aired complaint) for your responsiveness allowing them to continue on their merry way.

Regardless of your resources, reach or capacity for generating eyecandy, the take-home message is simple.

But what about security, you hear your IT people say….? Williams will probably ask if your IT people are concerned about security protocols because they have a better understanding of online security than the Google, Facebook and Twitter IT experts but frankly it comes down to his message of the night.

Not all users are the same, not all technologies are the same and sometimes the best outcomes are learnt through doing and through trial and error.

Scribd, wikis, twitter, blogger and coverflows are various examples of the freely accessible tools that you can use to connect with your tenants and customers.

Williams explained a situations where he has created and used these technologies in disaster management to help rebuild towns. For example, Flowerdale in Victoria after the bushfires swept through.

He created a twitter, program relief to rebuild the village in Flowerdale after having family members affected by the fires.

He utilised twitter to seek out assistance from other communities around the globe who have been involved in similar situations and then used blogger to self-organise and disseminate information.

With the use of technologies you are able to get in contact with people all over the world who can offer advise, donate or simply support those in need.

Take outs:

  • There is so much you could be doing
  • A lot of stuff is really cheap and easy to implement
  • Think about the community in your buildings
  • Engage your customers
  • Tell people what is happening
  • Try some cool stuff with your lead customers

Source: @rexster

If your building could talk… what would it say?

By Emily Nguyen, Zenith Interiors and Gina Chan, Property Council of Australia.