Planning to get your organization on the social media map? There are factors which I learnt along the way that is needed to get completely immersed. Read more about the do’s and don’ts of kick-starting your firm’s social media communication. Understand also how you can leverage internal communication context and content.
The power of social networking sites can’t be ignored and communicators may be worried if your stakeholders are being actively engaged on them. If your organization believes that social media is meant only for the Marketing or Public Relations department to handle, they may be missing a great opportunity to maximize the power of your employees and internal communication.
I believe the boundary between the external world and the internal environment is blurring rapidly. Internal communicators who spot this opportunity can maximize the value social media offers. Extending an organization’s reach is today an avenue for collaboration between internal communication and external media teams.
If you are for instance starting out on a social media campaign, here are some ideas to translate the great work you do internally to feature as your organization’s effort to hire, engage and collaborate with their stakeholders.
a) Study the scope and environment: You may not be the first to get on any of the well known social networking sites such as Facebook, Linkedin or MySpace. That does not take away anything from getting what you want to achieve by starting out now. Understand what others in your field have done in terms of content, engagement, methodology and monitoring feedback.
b) Define how your organization can engage: Do you expect the page to be an extension of your website? Is it a channel to provide support for your products or services? Are you hoping to hire the right candidate? Should you be showcasing your culture? Do you believe your customers will share their practices and pain points on your page? Document the precise objectives and measurement criteria. Get a legal point of view – it never hurts to know what can get you in trouble and out of it!
c) Get an enthusiastic team in place: This is a cross pollination project – not an individual initiative. Have employees from different departments to play leading roles in the administration, content generation and maintenance. Some of the best ideas can come from those fresh out of college – since they use this medium the most!
d) Create a site-map before you tackle the content: Are you clear about how the site will look? Are you sharing a lot more than what you bargain for? By getting a buy-in on the structure and outline, you hold the key to the best outcome from your content.
e) Articulate the rules of engagement: So you expect your prospects to visit your site? Will you allow them to use it for their personal marketing objectives or do you want them to focus on what you have defined? Do you have a set of ‘do’s and don’ts’ called out?
f) Content matters: Every organization has a lot to share ranging from their culture, values, ethics, policies, their work, client wins, industry awards, employee testimonials, office imagery and fun events. Choose how you want your organization to be perceived. Content once published can always be replicated in no time across the web world.
g) Pilot a site: Having got your site live, you can begin by getting your employees to test drive it first, get feedback, have them as fans and improvise.
h) Get leadership to promote it: Nothing works more than the commitment of your senior leaders. Request a senior leader to officially announce the page open, seek participation and drive traffic.
So now that you have your company’s social networking page live, how can you keep it current?
Invest time to brainstorm ideas such as leveraging ‘internal writers’ to contribute, getting employee profiles, running a contest, having your recent employee fest showcased or an upcoming event highlighted. Also give the site mind space on your intranet.
Other thoughts to keep in mind while keep your organization’s social networking page buzzing.
a) Be open: You may have feedback which is scathing and embarrassing. Step back and understand the context of the feedback and take action if merited.
b) Start small: Begin with the basics and evolve as the page take shape. Remember social media is about collaboration and your employees and other stakeholders can help make it robust.
c) Monitor progress: Understand that having a page on MySpace or Facebook is not the end but a start of the social media journey. Keep a finger on the pulse and monitor posts, comments and inputs coming on the page.
Go ahead, let the power of ‘six degrees of separation’ maximize the potential of your organization’s social media plunge.