If you are a communications professional, a project manager or an org leader – you’ve probably already found out by now that your social collaboration platform is changing the way you work at a very fundamental level. In addition to being a ‘communicator’ – you are now a blogger, a curator, a viral marketer, a librarian ,etc. Your responsibilities and the skills required to be successful look vastly different than they did a few years ago.
Three key shifts explain the transformation in internal corporate communications:
1. From ‘Communication’ to ‘Conversations’
Traditional communication tools enabled you to inform your audience about a change, but didn’t offer much to engage them in a discussion. If you use newsletters or web-mailers, you need to closely manage your mailing list. Currently there are no means to determine if an email or virtual message has been filtered, deleted, or even worse, unsent to specific people. Click-through statistics might give you a rough idea on the effectiveness of a content – but there is very little feedback on how the audience actually responded to a message.
Your social platforms can offer a fresh new way to bridge this engagement gap. Something as mundane as an org announcement can evoke feedback (likes, shares, congratulatory messages!)
2. From ‘Communicator’ to ‘Curator’
If you manage communications for an organizational unit, you need to stay on top of the trending discussions and blogs written by employees. It is key to remember that not all content on the community site needs to be written by professional communicators or org leaders. You will find noteworthy content emerge from across the organization – and your job is to curate, and bubble up the best.
Tap into what employees are saying: in their blogs, in discussions and in smaller teams. Highlight the right conversations that add value to the discussion and give them visibility on your community page. Promote diversity of opinion and support your organization’s efforts in ensuring that all voices are heard.
3. From ‘Newsletters’ (publisher’s push) to ‘Newsfeeds’ (consumer’s pull)
This is by far the biggest change that you need to deal with and embrace when you adopt the enterprise social network for business communication.
When the newsletter was the tool of choice, you, as a communicator, were empowered to ‘push’ content to recipients that you had personally identified and chosen. In social communication, the paradigm shifts. The consumer now decides what content to follow and when to view it.
If your organization chooses to make your social platform the primary communication vehicle, you need to use traditional channels (web mailers, website etc) to invite org members to ‘follow’ your community. Monitor the count of followers, and reinforce the ‘get in or get left out’ message with the primary target audience. Eliminate willful ignorance. Deliberately ignoring the subscribe button is no excuse to plead ignorance about the information.
Once you hit the enrollment numbers, you will start seeing the benefits of the ‘pull’ model. You will get very “real” feedback on readership, ‘likes’, ‘shares’ and of course, ‘comments’. Your content could ‘go viral’ when primary readers share with their extended network. Over time, you will get a much better pulse on content consumption patterns than you might not have had with past tools.
I feel it is a particularly exciting time to be an internal business communicator. The cornerstones of communication strategy include: content, audience and channel. The social communication channel can bring about connectivity and engagement via human interactions like never before. All the best.
To continue the conversation, would love to hear your insights in the comment below.