Every organization will most probably have an internal social media platform to engage employees on. Also, the role of the internal communicator will be to help create awareness and raise the profile of the channel so that employees use it appropriately. Very often, internal communicators find it tough to get traction in terms of usage and to get employees excited among newer forms of media. Even more leaders balk at the idea of updating messages on a live internal social channel. In this post, I share perspectives that internal communicators can use to get the most of the channel and raise the engagement levels.
Get familiar yourself: Unless you are strong with the fundamentals it will always be tough to get others to view your perspective as credible. Take a tour of the channel and understand usage rates and patterns. If there are examples within your organization – great! If not, look outside and seek case studies of how some organizations have made the most of the platform. Get access to the analytics page and review trends. Maybe conduct a poll to gauge employees’ preferences. Talk to leaders and understand the reasons for introducing the channel in the first place. Was it to collaborate, mine knowledge, transfer information, partner across boundaries?
First things first – get introduced: To get started, help employees to share a bit more about themselves their current role, what they love doing and how others can benefit from their experiences. Guide them to keep it short and relevant to the company context. Nothing irks other employees than to see a blank profile and image!
Identify your goals: Like every social media platform you need to know what you can give and take from it. As an internal communicator who has definite priorities to engaging, inspiring and recognizing employees and your internal social media strategy is crucial for the success of the overall plans. You need to outline what and how you want to organization to make the most of it. Here are some recommendations: solving business problems collectively, surfacing experts from among employees, building knowledge hubs for thought leadership in the future and benefitting from the wisdom of crowds.
Know what you can do: Every internal tool will provide you with most of the functionalities that most other social media sites provide – posting, adding files, updating statues, finding experts, searching for content etc. You can make announcements, praise employees, follow others and choose to join communities of interest or create one yourself. The platform may also give you an app so that you can access the platform from anyplace.
Help employees and leaders overcome their fears: Often employees hold back thinking ‘what if I post something that doesn’t make sense?’ To address this conundrum begin by asking they what is that they would love to see on the internal social media platform as a user. If they are keen to understand best practices in their domains or interested to know what it means to have attended an industry workshop then it is possible that they may also have something similar to share!
Build a rhythm: To use any internal social media channel effectively you need to have a plan. One off posts won’t do much for building employees’ online presence. Help employees and leaders build a calendar in which they spend 2-3 times a week to read up the conversations online, post content or respond to posts. Also help them think of work and any key learning others can benefit from. Show them how to add those to their pages. Encourage them to join communities that they can add value to – if they can’t devote time, recommend that they don’t join!
In short, every internal social media channel is easy to use and as intuitive as what is available outside. What matters is how you want to leverage it for the benefit of the organization. Know the role you can play and what you can’t possibly do.