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Social Media Use Inside Your Organization

By Roman KniahynyckyjMar 1, 2010

Despite the popularity of Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr, social media, whether in the form of internal discussion groups, corporate Wikis, or Communities of Interest, has existed for some time within corporations. Further, with the growth in use of tools like Skype and Yammer, social media within organizations continues to evolve.

It's important to help members of Executive Management understand that social media tools can provide benefits both inside and outside an organization. Internally, social media tools can speed work flow and allow powerful ideas to become actionable quicker. Externally, whether through inbound marketing or other techniques, social media can connect you more intimately with your customers and help extend your brand reach. 

Social Media Inside Your Organization

Specific to the use of social media inside your organization, here are some keys to success you should consider: 

  • Executive Sponsorship - Clearly, you'll need to get buy-in and support from upper management. They are the folks signing your checks and paying for your time. Whether it's the potential of refining your current products or services or through the generation of new ideas, your social media efforts should be designed around bringing value to your organization as a whole. This doesn't mean you can't start with a grassroots pilot discussion group or website as a proving ground. Ultimately, however, you will need to present the data from your pilot efforts to your managers in support of a larger internal social media effort. Upper management sponsorship will also help avoid potentially redundant efforts across an organization. 
  • Consistent Moderation - Moderators help drive conversations and contributions. Whether it's through guiding a Wiki discussion or serving as an expert on video calling with Skype, allocating a resource dedicated to internal social media use underlines an organization's commitment to this sort of collaboration. It's relatively easy to set up the technical infrastructure for many of these tools. It's much harder to assure your employees understand them and are engaged in their use.
  • Rewarding Contribution - Employees who regularly contribute to conversations, offer their social media expertise, or submit valuable content, should be rewarded. Whether it's company-wide recognition as a thought leader or even a gift certificate for a dinner out, being noticed engenders a tremendous amount of goodwill and encourages fellow employees to participate. 
As your organization ramps up its social media monitoring efforts or builds out its social media team, remember to focus both externally and internally. Using social media to reach out to your customers is certainly necessary, but using social media inside your company to share ideas, create goodwill, and build wisdom is just as valuable.
 
photo: Robert Scoble 
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