Do they ‘like’ it?

How do you measure the impact of your internal social networks? What does success look like within your organisation when it comes to social media? Tony Stewart is Internal Comms Executive at Aviva Investors and he shared his thoughts on how Yammer is being used within the company with readers of Diary of an internal communicator in April.

I’m pleased to say that he’s back to update readers on how it is going and how the impact of their internal social networks is being measured.

This week Yammer published an infographic on how to introduce it to organisations which is pretty smart. If you choose the images on this page, it will open larger so you can see the whole thing.

Over to you Tony…

Measuring impact
There are many companies using social networks within their business. Indeed here at Aviva Investors we have a large community of colleagues posting, sharing and connecting every single day. But how do you know when it’s working? And if it is, how you convince the ‘powers that be’ to continue to invest in the community? A considered method of measurement will really help you here. And if done right, will also help you gain tremendous insights into your network, helping you develop it in ways you hadn’t maybe thought of before.

First off, setting the objectives for your digital community is key. How will you know if the network is a success, unless you know what the success looks like? A good place to start is to look at the objectives of your business, and see how your social media platform can help you achieve these goals.

For example, here at Aviva Investors, our business strategy includes delivering on ambitions to be a globally integrated asset management company. We also aspire to develop a dynamic and modern investment culture, as well as find efficiencies in what we do, to help us work smarter and save money. It makes sense then, that our objectives for Yammer are to help us connect our global colleagues, to encourage the sharing of information, ideas and leadership, and help us identify where we can share the expertise and resources that we have within the business to use them effectively.

If you don’t have a network yet, then setting the objectives at the start is a great idea to help focus your approach and not instead try to run with, and potentially trip over, the enormous amount of tools and features included in the likes of Yammer, Chatter and their ilk. And even if you’re already some way in the rollout of your network, setting a focus and building objectives where there isn’t any will help give the network a structure, and importantly something to measure against.

Measurement methods
Next you’ll have to do some thinking around what meaningful measurements will provide the evidence of your network’s effectiveness at delivering against your objectives. So if you have global connectivity ambitions like us, measurements might look like:

  • The number of colleagues who login in from your global locations
  • How many users say they feel ‘more connected to their global colleagues’ as a result of the network
  • The regional membership mix of your groups and discussions.

You’ll want to measure the ‘data and numbers’ and the ‘affinity and culture’ to paint the overall picture. Most internal networks already come equipped with analytics tools to capture the numbers, like how many members your network has, the engagement activity on the network, messages sent etc. And the culture can be captured through surveys, and asking for honest feedback from your users. And don’t forget to engage with your community on the measurement piece too.

We created a ‘Yammer Measurement Project’ public group on Yammer, and here I shared the network objectives and our survey ideas. A few interested individuals got involved, and helped us build the questions for the survey, extending the ownership of the network and giving us a few new ideas to include in our approach too.

We then put our survey out, capturing where people are (both geographically and departmentally), and ensuring there were questions that captured the thoughts of those who are not yet members, to gain an insight into why they haven’t taken the plunge. We were sure to share the survey through Yammer of course, but also via our other Internal Communications channels, to ensure we had the widest response and were capturing the non-members too.

Results to actions
We gave the survey a couple of weeks to run, after which we spent a bit of time making sense of the results; looking at the insights they provided and discussing them with my Internal Comms colleagues. It was quite obvious from the results where we were hitting our targets, and where more work was needed. And once we had our story, we pulled together our findings report and created a short video summary, to help engage with the audience and create a bit of discussion around the results.

Aviva Investors – Yammer Summer Survey results 2012 from Tony Stewart on Vimeo.

It’s early days, but we’ve already made some progress in acting on our results; encouraging group use for themed conversations and started a ‘group gardening’ process to keep the network tidy. The more complex stuff, like encouraging our execs to share more and encouraging our global colleagues to engage more will take a bit of time, but without the survey and the measurement we simply wouldn’t have been aware of these areas for development, or understood the kind of success we were having with the platform.

In around six months time, we’ll re-run the survey and we’ll be able to compare our results to this benchmark, to really see how Yammer is helping us with our strategic ambitions and connect our company – it’s a pretty exciting time!

Thank you for your article Tony, great to discover how you’re getting on with Yammer at Aviva Investors and the journey you’ve been on. I love the style of video too, a really good example of effective comms on a budget, well done. What do you think about what he’s written? You’re welcome to comment below or tweet me @AllthingsIC

Do you have a story to share with other comms pros? What’s your experience of introducing an internal social network in your organisation? If you would like to write for Diary of an internal communicator, read my guest article guidelines and do get in touch. Thanks again Tony, Rachel.

Post author: Tony Stewart

Illustrations/infographic by Virpi Oinonen. You can view his website here.

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