Leveraging Social Media in Unexpected Ways
I was reading a recent article on ccjdigital.com called FedEx Helps Benchmark Best Practices in Social Media and the concept mentioned around engaging employee audiences using social media caught my eye. The example was given that a corporation’s intranet might be redesigned with social networking and community elements built into it. Although smaller companies may not have an intranet, the basic implication is that your audience for using social media doesn’t have to be external customers only – your internal customers and your direct team members could benefit too. So how can you use social media to better serve internal audiences?
New Ways to Leverage Social Media
Current uses for social media tend to be about reaching large audiences external to the company and are often used for marketing, research, campaign monitoring, PR, or providing technical support to customers. That doesn’t mean that social media can’t have a place in your department! You might lead HR, Accounting, Product, Account Management, or any other type of team that doesn’t typically use social media in the course of doing business each day.
But what if there were ways your team could provide support more effectively to your internal customers, or the team members themselves, using a social media platform?
If you’re a manager, how might you facilitate better communication and collaboration among your team members through a social media component?
Is there a way to use social networking that would increase morale, keep team members current on information that impacts how they do their jobs, provide best practices, and facilitate more enthusiasm for reaching team goals?
Consider the potential of Facebook or a private LinkedIn Group to benefit your internal customers or team members. Of course you’d want to keep the page or group reserved to just those team members (“friends”) so that it’s not wide open. However, you need to assume anything and everything could find its way into public eyes, so confidential information should not make appearances on such platforms. Aside from that caveat, how would you use your departmental Facebook page or LinkedIn Group? You could post reminders about your holiday hours, book reviews and blog articles your audience may find interesting, and upcoming webinars or events pertaining to your industry or profession. Thought leadership content could be provided as Facebook Notes. Adding team member pics and bio’s, especially when team members are spread out around the country or globe, helps to put a face to a name for everyone.
You can even create opportunities for team members to vote on new product feature releases to share their prioritization for how they (or their customers) would want to use that product. And the video possibilities could be really useful – team members could share best practices with each other, processes and procedures could be provided via video, and it could be used for any array of informative content that facilitates learning (remember not to post confidential content!).
Setting up a Departmental Social Media Game Plan
As I further explore the uses of a social networking platform with my own team I know I have to remember the big picture! Most companies want to tie together their overall social media strategy with some cohesion and synergy, even if individual teams will have unique requirements and uses. Don’t run around like a rogue agent ignoring all the efforts of those who have been leading social media for marketing or research purposes! If you have a corporate social media program and a social media policy, those will need to be taken into consideration for your team’s program, even if it is internal customers who you want to engage with. In fact, a social media policy is a good idea no matter what your objectives or audiences are. The Zen of Social Media Marketing has some great guidelines on creating a social media policy, plus you can find several resources and examples online.
Your department’s game plan will need some key components to give the program structure. While it doesn’t have to be as comprehensive or potentially complex as an overall corporate social media program, you’ll want to consider the following key components. To add a healthy serving of fun to the plan, have your team come up with a theme for the program and a hip name!
- Mission: Your team’s unique mission and principles need to really drive the program.
- Strategy and Goals: Determine what social media approach will help the team maintain their core principles and achieve our mission. The SMART goals will ensure you can track the impact of your efforts.
- Routines: This is where you get clear on the roles and responsibilities each of the team members will play and what specific actions will be taken.
- Results: The team needs to regularly assess its social media efforts against the initial goals and make refinements along the way to support their mission.
Round up the Troops and Get to Brainstorming!
In a smaller company, adding a social media component to support internal clients or team members will be a matter of learning from those who are already leading social media efforts within the organization and just making sure everyone’s on the same page. The larger the company, the more rules you may need to follow and the more guidelines that will already be available. Whatever your circumstances may be, why not bring it to your team for some brainstorming on the subject? People get very creative and jobs become a lot more intriguing when you all work together to find new, innovative ways to add value to your customers, yourselves, and ultimately to your company. I’ll keep you posted on my account management team’s progress. I’m definitely jazzed about the possibilities!
Vicki Blair, A Social Media Yogi in the Making
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