What can internal communications learn from Social Media?
The bigger a company gets the more complicated it is to communicate. And yet, there are platforms we all use on a daily basis that connect us to hundreds of people in our social networks. From Linkedin to Instagram, Pinterest to WhatsApp – it’s now normal behaviour to have multiple conversations with multiple groups. What’s more, within those groups we manage to organise events, share stories, swap documents and brainstorm solutions to problems.
So, this got us thinking: if we can all keep on top of everything that’s going on in our social spheres – why can’t we do it the same way in our work lives? A little bit of digging and looking back at our experience with social, we uncovered 6 key learnings from Social Media that can be applied to internal communications:
1. Geography means Jack
Just because you count your departments in countries not counties, doesn’t mean borders have to be raised. Recently, we helped the MET Office drum-up employee support of a centralised cloud-like system that gave employees from across the globe access to the same documents, the same forums and the same social networks regardless of time zones. So, if a bright idea popped into an employee’s head outside the regular 9-5, they were able to share it on any device, even in the Arctic.
2. Engage en masse
Collaboration benefits everyone. By creating social forums that allow employees to connect, chat, offer advice and share resources, great ideas can reach more people. When helping our partners establish and run innovation workshops, we create Pintrest communal boards accessible by all attendees. It not only helps us review content prior to the workshop, but it means everyone works together rather than individually.
3. Move faster, more effectively
Social networks aren’t just about linking people together, they can also establish easy access to sharable content. Did your Paris office create a sales kit a rep in London could benefit from? Save time and hassle resending documents over email by creating a centralised digital base where content can be uploaded and shared anywhere.
4. Share Success Stories!
Ever noticed the biggest likes on Instagram are for positive success stories? That’s because small wins matter. Instagram has also taught us the-feel-good factor can be a quick hit of short, sharp and sharable news stories.
If you check out our own Taxi Studio account, you’ll see a whole series of stories shared, liked and celebrated by our own team. No one is telling them to do it, our team just like to get good news out there! And it isn’t always our own work either, we use internal Show & Tell channels to share everything and anything we think could inspire top quality creative. More positive news = more inspired workforce.
5. Be creative with your content
If you really want messages to hit home - you’ve got to think more creatively. Twitter forces us to say exactly what we mean in 140 characters and Instagram puts the focus on visual communications. We suggest you do both: say what you need to in fewer words and consider how visuals can support a message.
A creative approach to internal communications is crucial when translating important information into actions. Which is why we took a different tack with Mondelēz. To stop marketers reinventing the wheel when it came to insights, campaigns and creative, we helped them establish ‘The Wire’ – a social platform to plug in, share content and break down conventional silos. And to make sure the new platform was really used, a teaser campaign involving tattoos said just enough to make sure the message landed (and stayed) in marketers’ minds.
6. Above all, be credible
Something Social Media is crap at. Whether it’s fake news or celebrities endorsing products that seem totally random, Social Media is a hot-bed of inauthentic voices. Really there are two big lessons from Social Media’s cruddy credibility: 1. Only use channels that are relevant for you and 2. don’t talk about things you can’t back up. Because it might work for the stars of Love Island to claim their six-packs are purely down to super-green, super-gross protein shakes, but brands can and will get caught out by false truths.
All in all, internal communications doesn’t have to be a tricky beast – it doesn’t have to mean endless emails or killing messages with a corporate tone. So next time you need to get the word out, consider how you would do it in a social sphere.