In our second Social Media Success Stories virtual event, we talked about how to keep employees engaged using social media and social walls. Our experts in this conversation were Clemens Arnold, Business Development Manager at Staffbase, and Thu-Trang Ho, Senior Social Media and Communications Manager at Scout24.
Staffbase offers an employee app and has integrated Walls.io as part of its many features customers can use for internal communications. Scout24 operates ImmoScout24, an online platform for real estate, and uses a Walls.io social wall as part of its social recruiting efforts, for example, by linking to it in job ads.
If you didn’t have time to watch the talk live, here’s a quick recap of it. Of course, if you want to watch the whole thing, you can find the recording on YouTube — and that of our previous Social Media Success Stories talk as well.
We talked to Thu-Trang and Clemens to find out everything we could about how social media (and social walls) can help keep employees happy and attract new talent. Here’s a quick recap of the things we learned from this virtual talk (with the answers condensed for better readability).
Business Development Manager at Staffbase
Senior Social Media and Communications Manager at Scout24
So, why should we even use social media for internal communications?
Social media might not be the first thing people think of when they consider internal communications at a company. But it can become quite a helpful tool if you use it right.
Clemens: “Once it becomes a conscious strategic decision to invest in external communications on social media, one question necessarily emerges: Why aren’t we putting the same level of energy into communicating with the target audience that is 100% specified by the fact that we are paying them and they are working for us?”
By building social media into your internal communications tools, you give employees an easy and natural way to interact with the company.
Clemens: “Interacting with social media is intuitive to most employees. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel on how people consume and interact with content.”
It has external benefits
Clemens: “The first obvious benefit is that it gives people an authentic overview of what is happening around your company.”
But also internal benefits
Integrating social media into internal communications lets employees see the interactions the company’s content is getting on social media and, through that, see that their work, too, is valued.
Clemens: “Having the feeling that what you do on a daily basis matters is an integral part of a good employee experience, which is what we want to create at Staffbase and for our customers, obviously. It goes far beyond a free coffee or something like that.”
But, really, internal communications is all about culture
Likes, shares, interactions — all these are valuable currency on social media. So it’s easy to focus on those metrics when it comes to internal communications as well. But don’t be so fast! What matters is that you’re sharing openly with them.
Clemens: “Even if engagement in your internal comms app drops from time to time, you’ve got to be aware that employees love transparency, just because you are sharing information with them. Not every post by your CEO will be honoured with crazy amounts of appreciation. But over time, it adds up to the right kind of culture. And this is what you want.”
So, we’ve mentioned that Scout24 uses social media in job ads. Of course, the goal is to get more job applications. But Thu-Trang knows that even if that main goal doesn’t always work out, the content isn’t wasted because you’re spreading your message and communicating your company culture.
Thu-Trang: “I’m not saying that because it doesn’t work out, we shouldn’t do it. Because at the end of the day, it’s not only about the number of job applications. So if we don’t get any at all, it’s not that bad. We would still consider that as a good chance to spread the message, share our stories with the world and improve our employer branding.”
Okay, but what if your company is hesitant about social media?
We’ve all been there. Some companies are weird about social media. They don’t want employees to use social media at work, especially not personally. They worry about slackening productivity or are afraid someone might make the company look bad. We who work in social media know that this is almost always a completely unfounded fear that comes from a lack of familiarity with technology. But what do you do when you’re in a company that isn’t very open about social media use?
Fortunately, that’s a situation Thu-Trang has faced in a previous job, and she has a good solution for it.
Thu-Trang: “I totally understand the problem that employees are not very fond of it. And the management is not very fond of it. And a lot of people think it’s just a waste of time. In this case, you have to be a bit pushy. You have to do some kind of a roadshow to show people what’s going on with social media, why you need it, explaining the value of social media. And the second point is that you should identify some early adopters or social-friendly people in the company and work with them to create some pilot projects. And then, hopefully, if those pilot projects turn out to be successful, you can convince the rest of the company that it’s worth using social media for external communications.”
Let’s be honest. Employees are most likely already using social media outside the office and often within working hours as well, so companies would be smart to make good use of that rather than fighting it tooth and nail.
Clemens: “If you know they’re doing it anyway, maybe add a component that can be useful to you as a company. Why shouldn’t you attach some benefit or some recognition to it? ‘Hey, thanks, Marcus for sharing content X, Y, and Z. Our company’s seeing that and we really like it.’”
Small things like that can make employees feel valued and seen. And who knows, if you embrace social media as an internal communications tool, you might even get some really awesome user-generated content out of it that you can then use to raise your profile as a company.