Clattering through the Chatter

Every week I receive messages from comms pros who are looking into using social media for internal communication. They typically have lots of questions, are hunting for ideas or want to know if I can work with them in an consulting capacity to offer advice and guidance on all things internal communication.

The topic of enterprise social networks (esn) is increasingly being searched for on my website. I have written numerous articles and linked to hundreds of case studies including 68 on using Yammer, which is proving immensely popular.

Search terms show that you’re looking for information to help you make smart decisions about communication in your organisation and my list of hundreds of social media policies is also proving popular.

With that in mind, I spotted on Twitter that Craig Love, @craigloveHW Marketing Executive at Hanson Wade, who produce corporate events across a number of industries aiming to put ‘the right people together at the right time’ was tweeting about using Chatter, and I asked him to write for my blog.

If you’ve not come across Chatter as an enterprise social network before, you can see an overview here and I’ll link to some case studies at the foot of this page. I thought it would be good to highlight esn in action:

How is Craig (pcraig loveictured) using it in his workplace and what’s the reality of using an enterprise social network inside an organisation? I’ll hand over to Craig so he can share his experiences so far with us…

Chatter a booking to learn

“So I think it’s only fair that I’m upfront with you, I’m (currently) far from a social media guru. Six months ago my experience with social media platforms went little further than Facebook and the odd foray into Twitter. To which I would leave slightly more informed at the eating habits of a random celebrity but ultimately unimpressed with my experience.

However, fresh from the trials and tribulations of a 2013 post-university job hunt, I was thrust into the world of business, upon which I was confronted with social media in an entirely different context. It must have been my first or second day at Hanson Wade when I was asked to “chatter a booking”.

It was a difficult 10 seconds. For all those who shared my confusion, Hanson Wade uses an internal communication platform called Chatter which, broadly speaking is similar to an internal Twitter. Users can post content and comments that are visible to everyone internally which can then be liked and commented on by other users.

It was introduced to the company about two years ago following a brief flirtation with Yammer, a similar platform to Chatter but with a name that sounds like a robot talking (never thought of it like that! – Rachel).

Chatter was initially trialled by management then adopted company-wide quickly after that. And aside from a residual attachment to the previous name, a smooth transition to the new software ensued. The switch was motivated by functionality rather than one of dissatisfaction, as Chatter runs through Salesforce, our CRM software, it made sense to have everything in one place.

If I’m honest, it’s not the sexiest platform. When I first started using Chatter, the social media cynicism reared its pessimistic head again and it initially seemed to entrench rather than challenged my initial perceptions of social media. I simply didn’t see the point.

Fortunately the penny didn’t take long to drop.

Facilitating collaboration

chatterAs a company we are split across two floors and six departments but involved in an industry that demands departmental and individual collaboration.

Chatter is a platform that helps us facilitate this. All bookings, deals and event speakers are shared company wide. It sounds simple, but live updates are incredibly useful and not only instantly shows you how your event is doing but gives you a clear picture of the work happening across the business.

Success doesn’t occur in a vacuum and mustn’t be celebrated in isolation. It should be shared and enjoyed no matter how big or small and this is exactly what Chatter allows us to do.

I am certain there is more we could be doing with Chatter, as of yet it has no link to any external platforms and more could be done make it provide a holistic function within the business.

Promoting internal dialogue

There are plans to expand the service later this summer to facilitate work within event project teams, developing it into a place where event progress, analysis and strategy can be developed as a team. It will be this that will push the platform towards a place where troubles as well as triumphs can be shared. Allowing the technology to become a tool to combine the collective knowledge within the company, so it can be focused in on the places where we can use it best.

I’ve come far from my social media seclusion. Unfortunately, I can’t give Chatter all the credit, but it did open my eyes to the value of promoting internal dialogue.

Like many companies in 2013, we are still getting to grips with the potential inherent in a fully integrated system of internal and external social communication and we are all aware we have some distance to go. But it’s nice to know we’re going in the right direction.”

Post author: Craig Love

How does Craig’s experience relate to your own? Are you using Chatter? Do Tweet me @AllthingsIC if you have a story you’d like to share, or comment below. I have published 60 guest articles and you can view them as an archive on my website.

As promised, here are the Chatter/Salesforce case studies I mentioned, Rachel

Bayer Pharmaceutical case study
Belkin case study
Bespoke Collection case study
BMC Software case study
Burberry case study and video
Canon case study
Caesar’s Entertainment case study
CareerBuilder case study
Carlo’s Bakery case study
Coca-Cola Enterprises article and video
Chipotle case study
Commonwealth Bank of Australia case study
Delta Airlines case study
Dunkin’ brands case study
Electronic Arts (EA) case study
Facebook case study and video
Financial Times case study
FireclayTile case study
First Mile case study
GE overview and video
Kimberly-Clark overview
KLM Airlines overview
L’Oreal USA case study
NBC Universal case study
Open Table overview
Thomson Reuters case study and video
Toyota overview and case study
Virgin Amercia case study
Yamaha case study
Wells Fargo case study and overview


  1. […] On my blog: How Coca-Cola Enterprises uses Chatter On my blog: Clattering through the Chatter at Hanson Wade […]

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