Magenta publishes research into social media use in FM

Magenta has published exclusive research into how the facilities management sector uses social media as a communications tool.

Based on the academic research Magenta MD Cathy Hayward undertook for her Post-Graduate Diploma in public relations, the research explores: what organisations in the facilities management sector have done to date in their use of social media (through an in-depth analysis over a test period) in terms of frequency of use and timing; the audience; the content published; and the maintenance of the conversation.

The research, which was presented for the first time at the ThinkFM conference on 10 June, revealed that overall the social media presence of the top facilities management companies is weak. “With some notable exceptions, many organisations clearly have no social media strategy, budget or team. The impression is of a tool that was set up in a fit of enthusiasm one afternoon, and managed for a few weeks or months until the enthusiasm waned, or other tasks became more pressing. The result is sites which are either dormant or not regularly updated, with stakeholder queries left unanswered,” explained report author Hayward. Download your free copy of the report at:

The report is particularly critical of organisations which use social media as a publishing, rather than a conversational tool; those that fail to maintain their chosen channels, leaving stakeholder queries unanswered; businesses which use only text content; and those that fail to promote their social media channels, making them difficult to find.

The research concluded with some key recommendations for the top facilities management companies, and others within the sector.

✽✽ Before setting up social media channels, write a social media strategy, outlining what you are looking to achieve through social media, how it will be managed, including a budget and resources, and how performance will be measured. Do not set up channel on a whim. And do not set up a social media channel just because it’s there. It has to be right for your business.

✽✽ List your social media channels prominently on your website, corporate literature (including business cards) and press releases to ensure your audience knows where to find you.

✽✽ If your organisation uses multiple channels, for different parts of the business, ensure they are well signposted. Ensure there is some form of centralised control over official company accounts so they look and feel part of a family, and are managed in a similar way.

✽✽ Encourage your senior team to tweet regularly under their own accounts. People buy from people, not companies, and people also have more interesting things to say than companies. Offer plenty of freedom while ensuring people stick to a social media policy.

✽✽ Once a channel has been set up ensure it is well-managed with regular news, comments and conversations. If this no longer becomes possible because of a change in strategy or direction, either close down the account, or at the very least ensure it is monitored so any queries can be responded to.

✽✽ Don’t use social media only to talk about your business. Adhere to the one in 15 marketing posts theory and aim to become a trusted source of information about facilities management, sharing material from a range of sources, offering advice, asking questions and generally being a great conversationalist.

✽✽ Listen as much as you talk. Ensure your followers to followed ratio is broadly 1.1 Engage with journalists and industry leaders. Search for keywords such as #facilitiesmanagement and join in, and start, debates.

✽✽ Tweet and post pictures and video links at least as much as you tweet statuses, if not more.

✽✽ Tweet more in the afternoon, when retweeting activity is higher, and later in the week and don’t forget the weekends for Facebook.

✽✽ Measure what you do, and find out what generates the most engagement. And do more of that.

✽✽ Take time to personalise your social media channels and make them look part of your brand.

The 2013 research will be published in November.

Cathy Hayward