Many corporate entities are currently looking to digitalise their internal comms. External comms may have been digitalised many moons ago and it’s finally time for its, often overlooked, ‘little brother’ to receive the digital treatment.
We have a case study on how we digitalised the internal comms for chemicals and coatings giant PPG and how we engaged with their 16,000 staff across EMEA. You can access the case study here. If you’d rather skim our highlights and take aways, read on…
Start with your content strategy, especially if you’re moving from a quarterly printed magazine to an online platform. You need to understand that digital works a lot quicker than print and you may find yourself with some very thirsty digital platforms to water and not enough content to quench them. Also, consider article length, where a printed magazine or newsletter may have lent themselves to sprawling two-page spreads on deep subject matters, you’ll learn you need to keep things brief when using digital platforms.
It’s best to set up your blog on a platform like WordPress or even Squarespace or Wix. This means the CMS is super simple and can be operated by anyone. Unless you’re looking to create some all-singing, all dancing content hub with various different types of outlandish features, I’d keep it simple and go with a template-led site. There’s not a lot of reason to invest in a bespoke build in your first foray into digital.
You can then think about what you’d like to do with social media channels, think about the types of stories you’re likely to share and what platforms may be relevant. For example, you may want to consider using LinkedIn for Business updates and staff promotions. Your CSR and culture building activities may find themselves more at home on Facebook or Instagram. Make sure you have some professional eye-catching imagery and focus on the people, that’s what users want to see on social.
But if you’re just starting out on social media for internal communications from scratch, you may find it hard to develop a fledgling audience, social media platforms are very much pay to play, so you may also consider delegating some budget to your social media advertising campaigns.
Social Media Advertising
Social media advertising is heavily under-utilised for internal communications and employee engagement yet it could be the key that unlocks an engaged and informed workforce.
Here are some of the stumbling blocks we’ve come across when looking to implement social media advertising campaigns:
Fear – if there is no precedent, there are no rules and some comms teams fear they’re going to do it wrong
Confusion – Looking at the advertising dashboard on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook (and consequently Instagram as you use the Facebook dashboard for both) can seem daunting to a beginner
Budgets – Again, if there’s no precedent, for the activity there’s often no budget carved out for it either , communication professionals are again then met with the fear of squandering the budgets they do manage to obtain
Cynicism – There’s some skepticism in general as to the effectiveness of social advertising
Cynicism may have grown as social media advertising has recently become synonymous with the world of ‘fake news’, but there are ways to use the platforms for good and engender trust.
In most marketing and communications, internal or external, campaigns usually work best if the content is considered properly, the old adage - content is king. For social media advertising campaigns to work well for internal comms, the content you’re using need to show honesty, authenticity, integrity and it be a celebration of staff and culture.
One of the best outcomes of digitalising your internal comms is the amount of information you’re able to take out of social media and blog platforms. You’re privy to unprecedented data sets with metrics not only on reach but engagement, meaning employee engagement is no longer a one-sided conversation.
You can also pull statistics from all of your social media platforms, every business page has statistics, in-platform and access is free! We’d also suggest looking at the qualitative metrics alongside the quantitative. Instead of simply using engagement numbers on your posts to gauge their success, read the comments and replies and aim to contextualise them.
If content is king then refinement is queen. It’s great to use all of the above KPIs in monthly reports to show that employee engagement is improving but the real value from reporting comes in their use in the refinement of your strategy going forward.
Learn how we digitalised the Internal Comms for a Fortune 500 here. Or get in touch if you’d like to discuss your internal communications strategy.