Original Post: Social Media and the Internal Brand
Here’s my take on why companies are using social media internally:
1. To inform employees. In its most straightforward way, social media can be just another medium to communicate and inform employees. Blogs in which departments inform their staff, a newsletter with options for employees to give comments, twitter as a micro instant communication channel to employees.
2. To create a shared vision. This takes internal communication to the next level. Using social media to engage with your employees with the objective to embed the company’s mission, vision and values. A CEO internal blog in which he discusses the vision, seeks feedback for improvement and explains how staff can become internal brand ambassadors.
3. To increase productivity. This is all about using social media as a collaboration tool. Social media helps bringing documents, people and planning together. in the form of sharing documents, sharing feedback and synchronising project tasks.
4. To engage employees. Engaging in open conversations is the essence of social media. Like companies are opening themselves to their clients, with using social media for internal communications, management are opening themselves for their employees. Which means that employees are enabled to talk about how they feel, what they like to do and how they like to work together. Management has to actively engage in these discussions.
5. To support the strategy. Bringing all of the above together, using social media for internal communications should ultimately drive the implementation of the company’s strategy. Which can be measured in terms of revenue, cost reduction, profit or market share. This means that implementation of an internal social media programme follows the same steps as an external programme. Who am I targeting, how can I group them, what content is relevant for them, what social media tools do I use, how do I engage with them and how do I measure the effectiveness.
By using social media internally, companies open up their brand as much as they use it externally. By engaging with their employees, management can make the mission, vision and brand values come to life. Which in turn transforms employees in brand ambassadors. A role which they will take when talking to stakeholders outside the company. That’s why it is important to bring all social media activity together in the company’s social media hub. An internal website, or network of web site, that employees can go to to share, publish and engage and giving them access to all the social media tools the company makes available.
Finally, by using social media internally, companies can start to learn the concepts of content creation, sharing and engagement, in a “protected” environment. And when they feel confident, they can then leverage their experiences externally and use social media to engage with their customers.