When Hurricane Irene hit, the power went out at Dr. Ernie Ward's home. But he was still able to communicate with his employees,
coordinate staffing at his practice, check on patients, and even take pictures of the storm using two simple tools: Facebook
and his smartphone.
Dr. Ernie Ward
Dr. Ward, owner of Seaside Animal Care in Calabash, N.C., credits his team's private Facebook page with the smooth flow of
information during the storm. And his team members use their locked Facebook page for other purposes too, from calling in
sick before the practice opens in the morning to sharing updates about Dr. Ward's blog and newspaper articles.
"When I write for newspapers or magazines, I'll post the article on our private team page on Facebook a few days before publication,"
Dr. Ward says. "This way, team members are prepared when clients call to ask about the topics I wrote about."
Creating a private group is simple. On the Facebook Newsfeed page, click on Groups. Your Groups page lists the groups you're
already a member of, and a link at the top right-hand side of the page invites you to create new groups. When you click "Create
Group," Facebook invites you to pick a name, invite members, and choose privacy settings. The privacy settings are critical,
because your goal for a private Facebook page is similar to an intranet—for employees' eyes only. You'll want to choose "Secret"
group. This means the group won't show up publicly anywhere on the web, and you won't need to turn away clients who don't
understand the difference between your public marketing page and your private team-only page. An important note: Employees
must be invited by a page administrator to join the group, and if an employee is fired, you can remove the person from the
group with a single click.
"We interact on our private page all the time," Dr. Ward says. "It's so easy to create these secure pages, and it's a great
way to communicate with your team."