Overview – Social Media
Social media are online technologies that facilitate interactive, conversation-based and personalised communication on a many-to-many basis. Social media include blogs, wikis, networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, video-sharing media such as YouTube, podcasts, vlogs, RSS feeds, and three-dimensional virtual-networking worlds such as Second Life.
For organisations, social media blur the lines between external and internal communication. It has ‘democratised’ publishing by making it very easy for anyone in the
‘Employees→ Customers→ Shareholders →Community’
causal chain to express their opinions about the organisation to a global audience. Social media’s capabilities have now been adapted for employee communication. At the time of writing, vendors include companies such as Jive Software, Yammer, Socialtext and SnapComms.
This tactic is useful for:
✓ Sharing knowledge, ideas, and opinions; fostering collaboration.
✓ Finding subject matter experts; forming communities of practice.
✓ Accelerating information exchange between user groups.
✓ Archiving the video library.
✓ Presenting training programs and presentations virtually.
✓ Providing a listening post for employee insights.
✓ Recruiting employees; undertaking research.
✓ Increasing engagement of Gen Y and Millennial employees.
Things to consider:
⇒ Social media fit better where the culture is democratic and open.
⇒ Investigate ways that social media can increase collaboration, knowledge sharing, innovation and productivity.
⇒ Consider how social media may help cut down on internal email traffic.
⇒ If management is worried about the project’s success, pilot the project.
⇒ Overcome compliance issues by initially deploying social media in areas where the risks are minimal.
⇒ Set behavioural guidelines for acceptable usage. For example, stipulate that no anonymous communication is permitted.
⇒ Leverage social media tactics to engage Gen Y and Millennial employees.
⇒ Social or social media is often confused with collaboration tools, they are not the same and should not be treated the same.
Internal social media is not a silver bullet. Have clear objectives, set realistic expectations and be intentional about its use. Encourage social media uptake through culture change initiatives. Seed online discussions with interesting initial content. Create a hot-spot that actively attracts viewers.