Going social? The best social media platforms bring people together and provide smart tools for sharing and developing ideas. So it’s not surprising that many companies are setting up their own internal social media platforms. But platforms without users are useless! Here are our top tips for persuading people to take the plunge and go social.
• Involve others in the process
If people feel involved in a decision-making process, they’re more likely to support its final conclusions. Ideally, you should involve people from as many levels of the company as possible. Send out surveys to identify needs and wishes, set up focus groups to assess the results – and communicate about these activities across all your channels.
• Use the platform yourself
If you don’t know how the new platform works, you won’t be able to sing its praises or react to criticism. Make sure you log on and experiment with all the features – and not only the basic ones. Plus, using the platform to link with your communications network will help build knowledge and buy-in among your direct colleagues.
• Get managers on board
When managers start using the platform, their team members are more likely to follow them. Put together a quick 30-minute workshop tailored specifically for team leaders and/or middle-managers. Focus on what will get them quick results to encourage further activity.
• Connect with early adopters
Your system will almost certainly be equipped with an advanced metrics dashboard. Mine the data and identify which teams or individuals are the first to use the new platform – these are the “early adopters”. They will tell everyone what they think about the platform – and their opinions will probably be trusted more than your news items about it! Get in touch, ask for their feedback, and keep the conversation going. Give an “Advanced Users” workshop, and offer to take them through some of the snazzier functions of the new platform. Also, connect with IT to answer any criticisms as thoroughly as possible.
• Use the platform for competitions
Where persuasion fails, temptation may work. Set up an internal competition that’s exclusively hosted on the new platform. Even better, choose an existing internal competition that complements your new platform – for example, one focused on ideation, cross-selling or innovation.
• Build critical mass
Above all, the success of your platform will depend on quickly attracting a critical mass of users. You need to keep watch of how many people are using it, and how quickly that number is rising. Stay nimble, proactive and flexible – if momentum drops, be ready with a contingency plan!
For examples of how different companies are putting these ideas into practice in their internal communications, see this blog post from All Things IC.