5 ways to engage staff through social media

paper dolls holding hands

You can harness the potential of social media to change the engagement with (and between) your people by creating an open and encouraging usage policy.

One in every 4.5 minutes spent online in Australia is spent on social media. It is a social phenomenon and has fundamentally changed the way that we converse and connect with one another. You can harness its potential to change the engagement with (and between) your people by creating an open and encouraging usage policy.

However, using social media channels to genuinely engage staff needs more thought than simply opening a Facebook Page and letting them loose. Listed below are five simple tips to help you build a better approach to social networking and create internal networks that will add to the value of your organisation:

  • Trust your own people. Giving your people access to social networks will not impact productivity and if your team really wants to jump online they can do it through their mobile or tablet anyway.
  • Ask your team what they want. The easiest way to find out what your people would find useful and how they would like to engage with each other is to ask them.  You can do this creatively through a poll hosted on a social network to set some early expectations.
  • Use internal communications to start the ball rolling. Think about changing your internal communications tools to include SaaS versions of social networks.  Yammer, for example, is a great SaaS version of Twitter which I guarantee will re-invigorate your internal comms.
  • Social networks are not just about words. Don’t forget that images and videos share literally hundreds of times better than written posts or links, so consider how harnessing the power of photography or film clips might work inside your organisation.
  • Curate, don’t just create content. You don’t have to create all the content your share with your team. The internet is full of useful and valuable content, not least, competitor information, market research and customer feedback. Find and share some of this content with your staff to demonstrate the reach of the medium and equally, encourage them to find and share content with their colleagues.

Finally, it’s important to remember that engagement isn’t just about hierarchical communication and you will need to find ways to encourage your people to get involved to help increase dialogue.

  • Hamish

    Great article Richard,
    I just finished reading an article about a recent Mindjet study which spoke to the importance of collaboration in the workplace. Social Media potentially fits nicely into this space in part, as part of an ongoing business evolution. I think the future is in social business.

    In addition to your articles recommendations, I would offer another solution up more multipurpose than Yammer. It’s called Deputy and it fits really nicely into organisations with multiple locations/different shifts. It allows the businesses to communicate via a chat stream, post photo’s, see photo’s of who they work with, set shifts, manage time sheets (and requests for leave) and much more. And it is all done via smart phone, tablet or PC.

    Just wanted to throw it into the mix, as I think businesses should not only be looking at social media, but looking at how they can use social business tools.

  • Luisa

    I agree with Hamish, it is a very interesting article.

    Hamish – could you possibly post the link for the Mindjet study you were reading? I’d like to read a little more about the results.