I thought I would share how I incorporated social media into an internal communications strategy at a company at which I once worked. Now, let’s be clear – this was back in the 2000s when blogging was brand new. Although, not much has changed when educating and pitching business leaders around a new idea.
Deciding to start small, I researched how to incorporate a blog into the strategy. I had done this at a previous job, but incorporated it as a communications piece. This time, I took a hard look at the business case and ensured the blog would help the business achieve its goals. This time, the leaders would take turns blogging.
My business case for the blog included the following factors:
- Employees want two-way communication
- Employees are spread out across the globe
- Five generations make up the workforce
- Help the business achieve its goals
Employees want two-way communications: Findings from an employee survey proved that they wanted two-way communications. While town halls and other forums are used, they aren’t always successful in that people are not always keen on asking questions in public venues – for a variety of reasons.
Employees are spread out across the globe: As with many corporations, employees work in different countries and time zones. This is one way to encourage interaction and discussion without waiting for a formal opportunity.
Five generations make up the workforce: If you haven’t considered this, you should. The generation entering the workforce uses and has been using social media tools as part of their normal, everyday lives. It is one of their main communication tools, just as my husband lives for his cell phone (he is in sales). A major discussion point is the so-called “generation gap”. One goal is to ensure that even if there is a generation gap, messages and conversations are not missed out on because only one vehicle is used. It takes many vehicles with the same message to reach more of your audience.
Help the business achieve its goals: This is key. We already know that educating and persuading leadership on social media and how to use it is a hurdle. Showing how the blog would be a strong way to engage employees in a less formal way and educate them on the various projects and initiatives that the business as a whole was deploying was key. If employees understand how the projects will affect them and help them do their jobs so that the business is successful, the idea is that they will be more engaged.
What Did I Do?
The social media portion was included in the overall communication plan from the beginning. I sat down with each leader and walked them through the plan. When pitching the blog, I took a positive approach, but kept it all about the business. (Getting giddy is not impressive to management.) I committed to them that I would measure participation on the blog. For the most part, they were skeptical, but agreed to give it a try.
I educated them that this was a new behavior that was being learned and it wasn’t going to happen overnight.
When measuring, I originally focused on the number of unique views as well as the number of comments. (Just as in the blogosphere, some posts resonate more than others.) These numbers supported the fact that people were reading the posts and staying up-to-date on what was happening with specific initiatives. (And, they didn’t have to wait once quarter for an update from a leader.)
By taking the time to do the research and present a solid business plan, buy-in was much easier to get. Following through with measurement added to the leadership’s growing belief in this one form of two-way communication, which was truly pushing the envelope for them.
Let me know what you think!
(Oh – the picture is one I took when in a breakroom. It cracked me up that people were having a conversation with post-it notes regarding the drink machine not working. Just reminded me of a Twitter conversation.)
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