Social media for internal communications

Last Wednesday, March 31st, we offered our third webinar. Some great companies were in attendance with good questions.

We’d like to extend a special THANK YOU! to our guest speakers, Abi Signorelli (@abisignorelli), Communications Specialist (Former Director Internal Comms, Virgin Media) and Richard Dennison, Internal Communications Specialist at BT (British Telecom). Both contributed with great insights.

As promised, we compiled all the relevant info below:

  • Full recording of the webinar
  • The slides
  • The conversation thread under the Twitter hash tag #smic
  • Questions & Answers (in the comments below)

Subscribe to Channelship’s You Tube channel

You may also download our slides from our Slideshare account!

Find below, also the conversation generated LIVE on Twitter

Thanks very much to everyone that helped us spread the word in the different social networks.

(Don’t miss the questions and answers below)

We’re looking forward to have you on our next free monthly webinar:  “Social Media for B2B

Don’t miss the questions and answers below!!!

Comments ( 19 )
  • Michael says:

    What communications have not worked in SM? Do you post HR/Legal/Regulatory announcements? How do you ensure you reach non-tech employees, foreign language speakers, and those with limited language skills?
    Also, how do you control access to the social media sites your using for IC to ensure your internal audience can access it but keep competitors and media out?

  • Jonathan says:

    Richard has talked about the importance of getting value out of social media activity. In his experience what have been the key areas/examples of value derived?

  • Benito says:

    Richard: Where do you see Internal Communicators adding value in the future?

  • Benito says:

    Abi: when opening up social media tools internally. What advice do you have in handling open dissent? How does internal comm and social media help shape the culture of the company? Should a company first alter it's culture before opening up social media tools or will the tools help shape the culture?

  • Diana says:

    How much is too much? Corporate blogs, yes, collaboration, yes, but, where is the limit for corporate social media? Videos and pictures uploaded by employees?, not-work related information (during work), chats? After a crisis and so many cuts, people have huge amounts of work and no time. I believe internal communication is changing, yes, but in the corporate enviroment not everything can be implemented, specially consider all the cultural differences and how people interact.

  • Christina says:

    Many companies have blocked access to social media sites due to the amount of time spent online – is this something you monitor internally? How do you separate personal from business?

  • Miriam says:

    How do you get unbeliever Baby Boomer and earlier leaders & managers to accept social media as a legitimate comms tool, not time waster?

  • Channelship says:

    Good question Diana,
    Remember that social media is something new and it's a challenging job when it comes to implementing it internally in big companies. I guess it would be convenient not to approach it from a “limit” perspective. Why? because the end game is to improve communication and collaboration, not use as many tools as possible to finally find harmony.
    It is crucial that you test some tools (before they go live to the entire department or enterprise). It doesn't matter if you only use 1 tool, what's important is that you take the task one step at a time, otherwise it will become a very overwhelming challenge.
    The tools that you select and then decide to keep will have to b e in line with your company's structure and maybe culture. Based on this, every organisation will not have the same approach or will select the same tools.
    We are currently working with a big multinational. English speaking countries are their main audience so we planned everything around that and worked on the phase 2, to deploy localized blogs for the other regions at least 6 months later, after the entire marketing and communications team learned enough about the experience.
    Every step requires a learning curve. As a result, you will need to take the time to select, test and approve the right tools. Only by taking these steps, you will be able also to demonstrate that it's worth for employees to invest time learning the tools. It will be of benefit to them and the company.

  • Channelship says:

    Thanks for the question Christina.
    There're a lot of opinions on this one. I strongly believe that it is a lot easier for an organisation to make the first step to implement social media guidelines so the entire enterprise is on the same page about how to interact in social networks, dos and don'ts, etc. There is a very thin line between “personal and business”. For example: the employees' mobile phones will not be banned. What stops them from sharing information straight from their mobile devices? If you have guidelines, you can tackle that.
    In terms of blocking the platforms, some companies do it purely from a productivity perspective, other do it because they're afraid that their employees will share something confidential. If it's the latter, these companies need to ask themselves one question: How sustainable is this?
    Some companies will never adopt any social media tool internally or externally. However, they find themselves battling the topic 24/7.

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  • abisignorelli says:

    Hi Diana – great comment. As I mentioned in my presentation, there's no one-size fits all approach. So, I think it's really a case of looking at your own organisation and working out what's best for you. There are so many things that may influence your approach – company objectives, geography, demographics, culture, brand etc. For some companies, a whole suite of social tools and techniques may be appropriate – for others, it may just be a simple blog. For me, social media enhances communication, collaboration and engagement opportunities – so, looking at your current approach, if you can see an opportunity to enhance and extend how you communicate, then it's worth doing.

  • abisignorelli says:

    Hi Michael. As you know, with any message, it's best to work out which of the channels to use to get the message out – in my view, exactly the same thing applies with social media (SM) channels. It could be that you use the SM channels to alert people to a new announcement that's perhaps posted on your intranet. Or, you may want to hear feedback from your employees about a new HR policy – so perhaps you could use a forum.

    Reaching non-tech employees is always tough – whatever the environment. Here you could potentially look at podcasts or multi-way conferencing facilities that they could get involved in just by using a phone. There are some great systems out there that allow you to interact with multiple people – resulting in getting that social communication going.

    Regarding your questions about access, it really depends on your approach. There are a whole host of tools where you can restrict access with users requiring a log in. There are others that you can host behind your firewall. But, as with companies like Asda, some companies are leaving access completely open, while using a moderation facility. Hope that helps

  • abisignorelli says:

    Hey Benito. My approach is always one of openness and transparency. I'd encourage discussion around any issues – whether that's positive or negative – you will often find that these things self-moderate.

    Obviously there are many many things that contribute to and influence company culture. Internal comms and social media definitely are just a part of the overall picture – but a very important part at that. In my view, the openness, transparency and freedom related to social communication can have a huge impact on employee engagement. Employees feel they have an opportunity to air their views, ask questions, get involved, innovate, share and so on – resulting in having a positive impact on company culture.

  • abisignorelli says:

    Hi Miriam. In my experience, “the proof's in the pudding” and very quickly, it's easy to demonstrate the power and effectiveness of social comms. So, I'd always recommend going ahead with a trial to get that proof available for the less inclined.

  • bsegovia says:

    Great info! Thank you Abi.

  • richarddennison says:

    Key areas of value in my experience are:

    – SM tools flatten organisational structures (actually, they can make them almost irrelevant!) allowing people to connect/communicate/collaborate from top to bottom and side to side on a needs basis
    – connect together like-minded people and people working on similar projects reducing duplication and allowing communities to develop inside which change and innovation can happen
    – getting people to invest more of themselves into the business which I think increases their engagement and makes leaving our organisation a much bigger deal – the more you invest, the more you have to lose
    – giving individuals a voice to express how they are feeling is VERY powerful
    – and for comms people and management, getting some REAL feedback on the stuff they are doing/communicating from the people actually affected.

  • richarddennison says:

    Funnily enough, I wrote an article about the future of internal comms a couple of years ago (…) – I think the comments within it are still relevant so I won't duplicate them all here – take a look … I'd be interested to know whether or not you agree …

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