How can organisations make the best use of social media, and what makes for a successful rollout of an internal social network like Yammer?
These were the questions posed by Jenny Burns, Global Head of Brand and Social Media at insurance company RSA, at the Let’s Get Social event organised by internal communications consultancy Harkness Kennett.
Six Golden Nuggets of Effective Social Media
Jenny’s presentation focused on six ‘golden nuggets’ of effective social media management:
1. Slick behind-the-scenes processes and systems: the kind that allow Ocado, for example, to target responding to every tweet they receive within 60 seconds.
2. Social not anti-social media: injecting the right balance of personality and humour that’s congruent with your brand.
3. Right place, right time: there are prizes for being nimble. The artwork for the Oreo ‘you can still dunk in the dark’ tweet during the Superbowl blackout, for example, was produced and tweeted within 18 minutes of lights out.
4. Linked to business objectives and strategy: being clear on how social media supports your goals makes planning tactics a lot easier.
5. Internal culture to scale up: do we need to expand responsibility for social media across the organisation? Social channels are continuing to grow at a staggering rate. Take Twitter. It’s growing by over 40% a year and broke another record during the World Cup final when fans made over 600,000 tweets in a single minute. We’re fast moving beyond the capacity of social media teams to cope with these increasing volumes, and organisations like O2 are responding by training a network of employees to assist the social media operation.
6. Content is King: social media is just another channel, and content still reigns supreme. Tune into everyday events, make your content unpredictable, and focus on the sort of content that gets interaction.
Top tips for introducing Yammer
Jenny then turned to the internal perspective, looking at how RSA had introduced Yammer.
For every successful Yammer case study there seems to be another where its rollout was a damp squib and take-up is poor. But RSA achieved an impressive 84% sign-up rate and 10,000 posts a month in little over a year. These are my key learning points from their experience:
- Have a clear initial purpose: RSA launched Yammer with the initial purpose of improving customer service.
- As a comms function, don’t get too actively involved at the beginning: let it grow organically with few, if any, rules.
- Keep senior leaders away at the start so it doesn’t feel like a corporate mouthpiece. RSA allowed its leaders to get involved only after it had 3000 users. Even then, they were allowed only to ‘like’ and comment on existing posts, not create their own. Cleverly, RSA measure their leaders not on how many followers they have on Yammer, but on how many colleagues they’re following, to emphasise that their role is all about listening.
- Coach and support non-Generation Y employees. As mentioned at the Big Yak, reverse mentoring can be a great way to share skills and experiences between generations, and break down barriers.
For me, it’s clear that social media and a changing generational mix are driving a cultural change that is still unnoticed by many leaders.
We can no longer control the message, whether external or internal. But we can direct, influence and participate in conversations. And if we do that effectively, and have the courage to be more open and personable, we can create positive experiences for both our customers and our employees.
Find out more about the event at http://www.harknesskennett.com.