I did get messages from those who wanted to agree with me but couldn’t publicly, and I also had some DM conversations with people who felt that it was the C-suite who were the barrier in their organisations – again they were unable to say so publicly. If anyone is up for it, I would be really keen to publish anonymously from any guest who wanted to write about their experiences.
One question that I’m often asked at conferences and events is how to get employees using social channels for business. It’s one thing getting buy in at either C or management level and sometimes another to get people using it effectively.
I gave a presentation at the recent Social Media Results Conference on some of the ways to get user generated content, with a particular emphasis on internal involvement.
My advice is to keep it simple and keep to the 3 E’s…Empower, Enable and Encourage.
Pretty much everyone in your organisation has some kind of digital footprint. Without going generationalisationist I think you can pretty much guarantee that any Millenial, Gen Y, Gen X type (and older ones too, now) will have a Facebook page as a minimum. Anyone in a client facing role or a specialist area – sales, marketing, finance, technology, HR, customer service – will almost certainly have a LinkedIn profile too. So don’t tell me that there’s no social capability in the company!
They know the tools to use; they just need the green light to use them. So let them! Remember its guidelines not policies, and conversations not targeted conversions. And make twitter accessible too.
Of course, there’s a big difference between posting a picture from this morning’s dog walk, or adding something to your key skills section, and sharing something about what your company does. So in addition to giving people the green light to use social channels you need to up-skill them too. In a way that makes it easy and fun, not a chore.
The last thing you want is for people to get the impression you’re increasing their workload so this has to be natural, let them have the tools and have some fun with it.
It’s not a test with a right and wrong answer. People won’t always get it right at first, which is why you need to encourage. Most early tweets can be embarrassing, so let people develop their own voice and style. Nothing will turn someone off quicker than being told they’re not doing it right…immediately it will feel like a measurable task , and if it isn’t in their job description then they won’t want to do it!
Be social to get social
I hold a monthly lunch – the Social Lunch – and get a group of colleagues together who want to find out more about social networks and how they can use them. I get some pizzas in and we talk about social, particularly how the can use it for themselves. Everyone is keen to know more about Twitter, so that’s where much of the focus has been. Some months we get someone else along from the business to talk about how they use the networks. We’re creating a blog too that everyone will contribute to.
It’s been going for a year and we have a loyal group that, crucially, keeps getting added to. People are talking about being the twitter champions for their teams, and more people from their teams want to find out what’s happening.
The pizza element is important. It needs to be fun and social, and there needs to be something in it for them, else it becomes a missable training session. Remember…
‘Is that cheese, tomato and lettuce on malted brown? I’ll have one of those please’. Said. No-one. Ever.
‘Is that a Chicken Supreme with extra mushrooms? I’ve never tried that before, I must have a slice’. Says. Everyone.
So make it fun and sociable and everyone will be keen to help share your message.
After all, your employer brand is what your past and present employees say about you, so why give them a bad experience of using the channels through which you need them to communicate it?