Outside-in social media skills
With the continued growth in both volume and influence of social content inside organisations, how should internal comms managers respond?
How can an internal comms manager keep up with the buzz in social channels inside their organisation?
You can try to use technology to monitor the buzz, but the only really effective way to keep up with what’s going on is to be in the thick of it yourself … connected to those with the greatest influence and to those who comment about the bits of the business for which you have responsibility. Internal comms managers need to be the super-networkers inside an organisation … the alternative is to become out-of-touch and irrelevant.
Social content is a rich seam of intelligence for the internal comms professional … for example: it offers real-time feedback (no need for any more employee surveys!); provides the seeds for future campaigns and messaging; allows you to see the REAL impact of what you communicate; and makes you accountable for what you communicate … in real time. Why wouldn’t you want to have access to all this …?
How should an internal comms manager engage with employees in social spaces?
I believe we should adopt the same tactics being played out on the internet by marketing and PR people representing brands in public social spaces. As an internal comms manager, you are effectively a spokesperson for your organisation … inside your organisation. The same basic rules apply whether you represent your company to external stakeholders or internal stakeholders … i.e. employees.
There are loads of great case studies on the internet for how to do social stakeholder engagement well … and an equal number illustrating vividly the dangers of getting it wrong. While these case studies might not be exactly transferable inside an organisation, the underlying principles are identical:
- set goals
- target the influential – get connected
- monitor what is being said and by whom
- do some experimental engagement adopting an appropriate tone and see what happens
My top-tip for becoming a super-networker is get in early. As soon as a social channel appears on your intranet, get involved as a user straight away … get connected to as many people as you can (you can tidy up your connections later) … build up trust and a strong personal brand as quickly as you can.
In social channels, influence comes from being part of the conversation … not part of the establishment!