An aspect of social media execution that I think often gets lost in the shuffle is communicating among your internal team. It's so very critical to doing this stuff (okay, any business stuff really) well, but it's like the shoemaker's kids having crummy shoes. We forget to take care of our own.
So let's talk about this in two pieces; the things you're going to want to communicate about and why, and then a few tools you ought to consider to help you do that.
The Information Highway
On a daily basis, there's so much happening across the company that it's nearly impossible to sort the wheat from the chaff, and know what your colleagues and compatriots need to know. It's not the minutia that matters so much as the things that could potentially affect the way someone else does their job, for better or worse. Especially as it relates to social media, the intelligence that needs to be shared is the meaty stuff that influences how your team interacts with your customers and community. Just a few examples:
Sales and Biz Dev:
- New account wins
- Significant account losses
- Sources of new leads
- Upcoming significant pitches/presentations
- Significant decision drivers for prospects/customers
- Goals, both short term and long term
Support and Product Development
- FAQs and recurring issues among customers, including which are being looked at for implementation
- New product/service updates/schedules
- Testimonials/Use Cases/Feedback
Community and Communications
- Share of Voice vs. Competition
- Overall sentiment for the brand
- Media Coverage (traditional and social)
- Testimonials/Use Cases/Feedback
- Upcoming events/speaking engagements
Executive and Management
- New Hires, Promotions, other HR
- Changes to compliance, regulatory or legal issues/policies
- Strategic Planning & Business Goals
- Partnerships and Alliances (and their purposes)
- What you need from other team members/expectations
- What other team members are doing that's valuable (not sunshine blowing, truly meaty feedback)
- Ideas for other team members outside your role
- Cultural issues: the positives that keep you coming to work and the challenges that make your job harder
All in all, this is a guidepost. It's not meant to be comprehensive, but rather to get you thinking about what might be important in your company. And I'm not advocating that you churn out dozens of reports and spreadsheets and graphs and sit around the conference table looking at PowerPoint slides. I'm suggesting that in the format that works for you and your culture, you need to be talking to each other: regularly and openly. Social media is about communication, after all. Don't ignore each other.
The Power Tools
Communication really isn't about the technology, it's about the intent and the effort. But having some of the right tools around you can be super valuable. Let's talk about a few things that are available so you can consider what might work for you.
Micromedia Platform: With the explosion of Twitter, there's a strong movement for similar products that are meant to be used internally. At Radian6, we use Yammer for quick bursts of internal communication, and mostly to share news like media coverage, interesting links, or sales wins. Another application that serves a similar purpose is SocialCast, though I can't speak to it's capabilities. These tools are helpful for many-to-many communication and useful for sharing quick bites of information that would otherwise clog people's email inboxes.
Instant Messaging: When IM arrived, email volume for me dropped dramatically. It's great for the one-off ping to someone. The downside is that it's not captured in an archive (unless you deliberately do so) and it's only one-to-one communication, but sometimes, that's all you need. I'm a fan of Adium, an IM client that integrates all the popular platforms into one easy to use interface.
CRM and Engagement Tracking: Let me disclose one more time that I work for Radian6, so my comments come from that perspective. Our platform happens to have a feature that allows each user to respond to and track responses to posts and comments across the social web, as well as post comments to internal team members about specific posts so we can talk to each other about how to respond (or how to disseminate important feedback). This kind of audit trail is invaluable, because you can not only track what you're doing, but report on it later. Whether or not you're using Radian6, you'll want to devise a system for tracking and capturing the interaction your team members have online.
You've also got to have a solid system in place for tracking your customer and client relationships. Don't skimp here; if you're small, find a system that you can grow into. We use and like Salesforce, but there are literally dozens on the market, all the way up to enterprise-level (and incredibly complex) software like SAP. It's pretty straightforward, but you MUST be able to keep track of the path of communication with, among, and between your customers and prospects, and have it available for everyone to see.
Blogs: Internal company blogs can be a compelling way to disseminate content and information around the enterprise, but they also take a dedicated effort by the team (read: time and access to information). But they can be a streamlined way to share information, stories, ideas and challenges, again without cluttering the email system. Since they're readable on the reader's schedule and allow for comments, blogs also serve as a great archive of information and resources across the company. Dell and Best Buy have done amazing things with their internal blogs, everything from innovating new product and service ideas to simply sharing news and successes. Platforms like WordPress are easy to install and integrate into secure areas of your company website or intranet.
Social Networks: These are going to be overkill for some companies because they take significant human, capital, and technical resources to make them work well. But companies like IBM, Deloitte, Microsoft and Best Buy have been leveraging the power of social networking internally for sharing everything from employee-generated ideas to communication among disparate offices and collaborating on product and service innovations.
There are enterprise providers like Awareness Inc. and Jive's ClearSpace that offer compelling and robust white-label social network platforms, but even something like a private network on the Ning platform can be a great starting point for companies looking to take the next step toward internal and multi-channel social communication.
The Old Fashioned Way: Please, please don't underestimate the importance of our "old school" tools like the phone and email, or even the (gasp) in-person meeting. I'm not a big fan of meetings for the sake of them, but with a purpose and a clear agenda, there's no substitute for taking time out of your day to get together and communicate with voice. You can only digest so much in text before you tune out. But don't just use your meeting to report in to each other, use it to tackle a particular question or challenge and aim to come away from the meeting another step closer to the solution. Distance in the way? No worries. That's why they invented GoToMeeting and Skype.
So. What are you communicating about amongst your team? What do you WISH you were communicating about more? What's signal and what's noise, and what makes your job easier? I want to hear your input in the comments so we can all learn and think alongside you.
Link to original post