Countdown to Christmas: Day three – Google+

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Countdown to Christmas: Day three – Google+

To mark Advent and celebrate success in the world of internal communication, I’m highlighting a story a day by internal communicators via my blog as a Countdown to Christmas.

Today it’s the turn of Mark Travis in an article I first published in February this year about how Google+ is benefitting a disabled staff network here in the UK…

How Google+ is benefitting a Disabled Staff Network

How can Google Plus be used by a group of employees to connect, communicate and share ideas?

I’m proud to introduce Mark Travis as a guest writer to my blog. He answered my call for stories from commnicators about how they are using Google Plus (written as Google+ or G+) after I published an article about how you can Google for internal communication.

Mark TravisOver to you Mark…

I am an internal communication officer for Leeds City Council in the UK. Wait, come back! I’m a bit of a social media floozy too – peppering @lccinternalcomm with tweets alongside an, evidently, unhealthy online-addiction as @marktravisinfo!

If you are short of time, don’t get me started on Down syndrome. But do give a glance to this Google+ eulogy below via Rachel’s blog.

(I am a proud owner of a Shabang Theatre company 2014 calendar after spotting Mark’s tweets in support of the fantastic arts centre @shabangtheatre for children with disabilities/additional needs – Rachel).

Most fairytales love to beat the odds.

DSN_1Like a little motley crew at Leeds City Council, I’d like to tell you about.

The Disabled Staff Network (DSN) is a volunteer-run group that furthers the aims of the council’s many disabled staff.

In 2014 we – I’m not disabled, but they are my friends – are going big on internal communication and, particularly, social media. These are unchartered waters for the DSN, muddied somewhat by my steering.

You see, we are using Google+ via gplus.to/lccdsn.

My more cynical comms colleagues have suggested a shipwreck, run aground among the rocks of ‘Who uses G+?’.

They are wrong. This ship has set sail for success.

Here’s the rub, Google+ is A-OK and something no comms pro should discount.

The Disabled Staff Network needs to spread the word and interact with Leeds council staff and others further afield.

I love that – not only because it’s a perfect example of blurred internal and external comms – but it’s a need that calls for Google+.

Google+ is the heartbeat of Google’s app suite and, subsequently, much of the web – welded as it is inside the likes of Gmail, YouTube, Maps, authorship, business listing, etc.

I know many are wary of this, but for the DSN and any communicator, think of the wonderful possibilities. Like, a better profile on mobile and desktop searches.

There’s also the convenience. I’d always recommend any organisation doing the ‘gear on the table routine’ to get a handle on how people like their digi-comms dished up. Now, this network’s members can already do all of their G+ work on their own equipment, if they wish to.

The DSN also rocks some untraditional local authority artwork already (with video, video, video on the agenda too).

The artwork is pumped out superbly from the beautiful, boundless user interface of Google+. It also comes with an ability to exhibit whopping, hi-res pics using zoom editing and HDR Scape tweaking. Auto-enhance really does what is says.

And when I want to do something old fashioned – like a PDF-based supplement, for example – I can still use unrelated, but G+ friendly, tools.

dsn_2Take a peek at issuu.com/lccdsn. Early DSN days, yes, but these tools know they have to mesh with social media to kick on.

All of this means, shortly, I’ll be able to jump ship tech-wise and let the Disabled Staff Network steer matters, with a gentle eye on G+ proceedings from me.

This is excellent personally and rather rewarding for members looking to do it for themselves. The feedback from DSN members is immediately positive.

Tech that and party!

I think Google+ is also better for internal comms than any intranet I’ve seen. Or indeed Sharepoint. Yammer too. Leeds council has a good intranet but you have to be realistic: Google’s boffins will always steal a march on any internal IT team.

As such, the DSN are using G+ to complement our existing channels and spread the word wider, deeper, faster, better.

Upcoming disability roadshows are bringing in outside experts. G+ is perfect for this in terms of messaging, events and hangouts.

All open, not requiring membership, visible and engaging. Perfect.

Further advice on using Google+
Rachel’s prior G+ post goes into far greater tech detail than I can explain adequately. Instead, I’d like to point you in the direction of some other great G+ guys dishing out free, packed but simple help on the medium.

The guy who got me into this is Pan Aveyard of 2 Yards Media up here in Yorkshire. His A-Z on Google+ is worth a read, whatever your abilities. Jump in and that way you, like me, can be part of – I’m sorry – Pan’s People.

Then there’s Martin Shervington. Another G+ goodie who, without knowing it, has held my hand through my initial fumblings. And finally, among the many groups out there I’ve just signed up with are G+ Expertise. 

So what have I learned?
Many other platforms do some, maybe a lot, of what G+ does. But to me, not many match the levels of general engagement. I’d be interested to see how, for example, Employee Engagement develops on G+ in comparison to its other residences. At its core Google+ offers vitality… the real reason I think it’s the second best social media tip to get on.

Best tip? That would be telling. Away with the fairies even. Uberflip-ping ridiculous, in fact.

Instead, it’s all good for the good ship Disabled Staff Network in G+ waters.

Joy ahoy!

Post author: Mark Travis

Thank you for sharing your story Mark. I found it interesting to see how you’re overcoming perceptions about G+ and making it work for you by choosing what to use. Love the visuals too, do keep us posted with how you get on.

Have you got a story you think other communicators would be interested in knowing? See my guest article guidelines and list of archived guest posts to see what works for my blog.

Do contact me or tweet me @AllthingsIC. You can of course also find me on Google+.

Rachel

Further reading on my blog
How to use Google for internal communication
Why use enterprise social networks for internal communication?
Why invest in an enterprise social network?

First published on All Things IC February 2014 and republished December 2014.

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