HotSpot: Employee Communications Blog

Using Social Media for Employee Communications – Some Do's and Don’ts

Posted by Jessica Palazzo on Aug 10, 2016, 2:28:40 PM
Using Social Media for Employee Communications – Some Do's and Don’ts

Did you know that 75% of all Internet users use social media?

(Source: PewResearch Center)

For years, the use of social media in the work place was frowned upon for the fear that it would distract employees and negatively affect productivity. While the use of social media for external communication has become a no-brainer, employers are now realizing the benefits of using social media channels for internal communications, too. There’s no denying that the use of mobile devices and social media is a way of life – maybe even an addiction – for many of us.  In fact, 91% of adults keep their phone within arm’s reach (Source: Morgan Stanley)

Many companies have been relying on LinkedIn for recruiting purposes and brand recognition for years. But, now a growing number of employers – more than half (according to a Towers Watson report) – are expanding the use of social networks for internal communication. The opportunity to share information, news, and events through mobile devices and social channels is a powerful way to amplify your message and increase awareness. But, before you go out and launch your company Facebook, Yammer, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube accounts, be sure you are considering your audience, culture and communication needs. 

We’ve compiled a list of do's and don’ts as you consider expanding the use of social media channels for your internal communication strategy.

Do:

1. Accept that social media is a viable and effective form of communication. 

It's a great way to communicate with your employees.

 

2. Consider your employee demographics and generational preferences.

While Facebook and LinkedIn may be popular with your Baby Boomers, your Millenials may be more likely to tune in to Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Be sure that you understand your audience, and their work habits. Survey your employees to find their preferred channels.

 

3. Communicate the same message on multiple platforms.

When you consider the different needs of your work force, you’ll see that there’s no “one size fits all” communication solution. Reach the broadest audience by using a variety of communication vehicles and social media channels.

 

4. Get ready to engage in conversation.

One of the biggest benefits of using social media as part of your internal communications campaign is that it enables companies to have real-time conversation with employees all over the globe. Whether you are using a company blog or create a company intranet on LinkedIn, your employees can connect and participate in conversation and sharing knowledge.

 

5. Commit to a policy for employees' use of social media and communicate it to everyone.

While they may seem like common sense rules for “playing nice in the sandbox,” it’s important to establish guidelines for appropriate information sharing on company accounts, so the user experience is suited to your culture.

Don’t:

1. Be seduced into using every new slick social media. 

New apps and technologies are always popping up, but don't be seduced without understanding how it works and who it will reach. It’s important that you do your research and take a focused approach.

 

2. Forget who may be listening.

Remember, that by using social media channels (even private accounts), you are not only talking to your employees, but their friends may be listening too. The same advice we give our teens about using social media applies here. You are talking to thousands – and, depending on the channel, your communication may be shared beyond your intended audience. So be sure your posts and responses are carefully crafted. It’s important to be authentic to your brand and to be as transparent as possible.

 

3. Talk “at” your employees.

When you are using social media, communication is a two-way street, so be sure you are listening and responsive to ideas and feedback. This open communication will instill trust and respect with your audience.

 

4. Be surprised by negativity.

You will most likely receive some not-so-positive or unplanned responses to posts – this is a given when you are asking for input. Have a plan in place for responding to both desired and unwanted comments, or even sharing of inappropriate content. With the right response, you can turn a negative comment into a positive one.

 

5. Try to spin the message.

Maintaining transparency can have tremendous effects on building respect and morale within your company. Your audience will know when you are sugar coating the message – and they will be quick to point it out.

Is your company making the most of social media as an internal communication platform? Consider posting an open enrollment reminder on your company’s internal Facebook page, or maybe a short burst on Twitter about your upcoming Town Hall meeting. The possibilities are endless. 

Tell us…how are you using social media to communicate with your employees?

Tags: Spitfire Communications, Employee Communications, hotspot, social media

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