Thursday, January 13, 2011

Staying Savvy: Social Media Reminders

Staying savvy about social media can be challenging when the platforms and applications are constantly changing, so it’s important to occasionally regroup and discuss best practices and tips.  With this in mind, I recently attended a Publicity Club of Chicago luncheon to discuss some hot topics in social media.  Here were some reminders that bear repeating:
  • Take advantage of “geo-location” tools.  This tool, most popular on FourSquare, allows users to virtually “check in” their locations in real time.  The feature is handy for companies or organizations for many reasons.  You can identify and reward your most frequent guests, offering specials or coupons for those checking in.  Or you can use the "check in" process for a promotion.  At retail, for example, you could hold a grand opening contest, awarding the first 100 customers to check in with a discount or prize.  Once you know where customers are, there are countless ways to reach them.
  • LinkedIn isn’t just for individuals.  A corporate LinkedIn page increases your company’s search engine optimization and allows you to manage hires, referrals and view recommendations.  The page also allows employees to become brand advocates by linking their individual pages to the company’s, creating even a wider range of awareness for your company.
  • Go social beyond Facebook and Twitter.  There are many niche social media sites tailored toward specific interests.  For example, there are social networks dedicated to entrepreneurs and small business owners, such as Biznik and Fast Pitch. Meanwhile, those in the janitorial industry gather at MyCleanlink.  And consumers meet in more specific ways, too, with sites like CafeMom and BlogHer bringing moms together.
Follow these tips to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your social media platforms!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Focus on the Basics to Improve Employee Communication

What does it take for employees to feel that the communication in their workplace is effective? After completing more than a dozen employee communication assessments in the last three years for a variety of large companies and professional associations, our research results show one thing over and over again: they just want the basics.

Using advanced analyses, we’ve learned that the most basic attributes of employee communications are often key factors influencing employees’ perceptions. Those rising to the top?
  • Complete. Employees want communications that tell the whole story.
  • Current. They want up-to-date information.
  • Timely. They want information and news to be shared quickly.
  • Relevant. They want information that is meaningful to them.

In addition, these basic attributes have a high correlation with desired employee outcomes, like speaking positively about their organizations and helping them do their jobs well.

Importantly, we have found these basics to be more influential than other criteria we have investigated – from the usefulness of information topics like organizational updates, to a variety of communication vehicles like an intranet, e-mail and newsletters. We’ve also looked at the influence of communications from senior leaders and direct supervisors as possible drivers of employees’ negative or positive views about internal communications. Although these factors are important and useful, it’s the more basic attributes of communications that greatly influence how employees view overall communications in their organizations.

At a time when organizations are focusing on connecting business and communication strategies, it is evident from our work that the basics of communication are essential to the foundation of internal communication planning.