- ‘We don’t know if our workforce will be excited about social media’
A very valid concern. Sometime employees might just not be ready to embrace social media and its toolss. However, one needs to remember, that most of the younger workforce have already embraced social media to a large extent and the others will too, given time and encouragement.
It might make sense to start the reluctant workforce on some simple social media tools, hand hold them and provide continuous encouragement and demonstrate the value. Tough isn’t it… but who said life was easy?
Other ways to ensure participation would be to encourage top management to actively use social media and be ‘visible’ in their efforts. Develop internal ‘evangelists’ to demonstrate the benefits and spread the good word on your behalf.
Make sure any successes achieved from the use of social media are celebrated. Incentivise the use of social media internally. For e.g. reward and recognise top bloggers in the organisation. It won’t take long for others to follow and see the benefits. Promote interesting themes and spark of interesting discussions that pique the curiosity of reluctant employees.
- ‘We don’t know if it makes business sense for us’
Defining a quantifiable value using social media is the toughest part of being a pro-social media internal communicator. The management is not interested in ‘increased dialogue’ and ‘community building’ unless there is a tangible attached. Sometimes you really need to show them the money.
To help deal with sceptical bosses you can pitch it as an inexpensive way for teams to collaborate and for cross-learning to take place. Draw attention to the fact that social media project can help achieve specific business and communication objectives.
Start with a pilot and get internal champions to participate and share their positive experiences, so you have something tangible to report back to management.
- ‘But will we be able to measure success?’
Yes you will, provided you give it even time and effort. Help yourself by quantifying the value of social media tools that you put into use. Decide what you want to achieve and how social media is going to help the organisation.
Include well-thought out goals, build in guidelines and rules and you should be able to measure success. Gather quantitative and qualitative data to support your claims. Some things you can use to measure success are – has employee satisfaction gone up, have innovative business ideas and solutions come out of the use of social media, has employee productivity gone up, have more issues been identified and resolved due to use of social media.
Hope this will help you start on the path of using social media in your internal communication plans. Keep in mind the golden rule of communication – ‘Communicate, communicate, communicate’
Start the dialogue and keep listening to and analysing the comments. Spot opportunities within the organisation where social media could provide a good fit. Start small and learn from your mistakes. Understand management concerns and address them. And get some internal influencers on your side before you start. After all, everybody needs a little help!
Here’s wishing you a very Happy New Year!