Time to SMILE

Enterprise Social Networks (ESN) are everywhere; you can’t move in the comms world at the moment without coming across a seminar or training course about them. I’ve featured them a number of times on my blog and included an overview and explanation here. Do you want to read more about ESN? As ever I welcome your feedback, so please tweet me @AllthingsIC or comment below.

On Monday, Social Media in the Large Enterprise (SMILE) took place, organised by simply-communicate.

I participated remotely via live-stream. Comms and Social Media Expert Silvia Cambié spoke and she has published a white paper on Unicredit‘s journey through internal social networking. Sound good? Want to read it? Well as a Friday treat, here is a link to it. Thank you to Silvia for sharing.

SMILE featured speakers including Matthew Banks from Newsgator, Mike Grafham from Yammer, Martin Blackmore from Socialcast and  Chris Leonard from Snapcomms.

I spotted on Twitter that Emma McNicoll-Norbury was attending, so asked her to write her thoughts for readers of Diary of an internal communicator. Emma is an account manager at theblueballroom (@theblueballroom), a full service comms agency based in Surrey looking at every aspect of comms – inside, outside and across businesses, and has also posted her report on their blog.

The image on this page was created during the event by Tim Ruscoe of Ruscoe Swabey Associates based on the coversations that took place. Over to you Emma…

Time to SMILE
SMILE… no, not at the camera…‘Social Media In the Large Enterprise’ – an event that I attended on Monday 1 October hosted by simply-communicate.

Having spoken to fellow delegates, it seemed that the use of social intranets in organisations was new territory. Luckily, any jargon that we use day to day was the first item on the agenda and those who weren’t familiar with ‘ESN’ (Enterprise Social Networks) were hoping to be well on their way to understanding so much more about it soon after.

Lots of organisations already have intranets and wikis, but in line with the increased use of social media externally in our personal lives, now is the time to consider the use of it internally too.

As Tom Barton, Head of Communications UK at Capgemini said: ‘It’s mixing external and internal.’ This is something we at theblueballroom know a lot about, and see a lot from our clients.

However, the decision to implement a social network sometimes comes with great uncertainty. Just what is the return on investment (ROI) for spending on ESN? Will it be taken seriously and how do you encourage adoption with yet another tool? Throughout the day, some of these were addressed and good ideas for adoption were shared:

  • Hold an event – put the platform out there, create a buzz, get staff talking about it and wanting to interact with it
  • Use a platform for internal communications – use it to communicate key business messages, gain feedback from employees and address them. One idea that stuck out a mile was Capgemini’s ‘Is it just me?’ forum; a place where employees can complain without censorship. This idea was emphasised later in the day with Mike Grafham of Yammer presenting ‘Internal Social = a way to hear, engage, respond and be heard’
  • Obtain support from senior management – even better if it’s in Finance or IT. Diageo mentioned that their new social intranet, Mosaic, was well supported by their Chief Information Officer. We have seen this, if you can get support from each business function and management this impacts on employee adoption, just so long as the content is relevant!
  • Give your social site a makeover – recently I’ve been part of a project to brand a social intranet for a global sports retailer, we got to know our client and gave it a name as well as a concept which was applied to a suite of collateral that formed part of the launch event. I was keen to see that Diageo had done the same with Mosaic with their SharePoint and Newsgator integration
  • The psychology of ‘liking’ – it’s simple, it’s quick and you would be surprised how much employees value their posts being liked, or how much feedback can be ascertained from a new policy being posted

With all that in mind, I hope that attendees came away from the day feeling more positive that these platforms can be adopted and successful.

The case studies presented proved this and from my experience, I certainly believe it. We are all very creative and can give intranets a look to  encourage engagement. We also have the experience in meeting new expectations of communicators through various channels.

However one thing that we didn’t come away with was a distinct guide to each platform presented. Look out for theblueballroom’s guide to ESN in due course! Thanks to simply-communicate for a great day, Emma.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and I look forward to seeing your guide. Do you have any feedback for Emma? What would you like to see addressed in the publication?

Smiling remotely
Being able to participate remotely works well for me as I’m on maternity leave at the moment. I was impressed with the facilities simply-communicate put in place for SMILE. As well as watching via live-stream, I could ask questions, use the dedicated Yammer environment and feel part of the conversation. After all that’s what we’re all trying to achieve isn’t it? Certainly made me smile.

Have you attended an event or training course recently that you think other comms pros would benefit from reading about? If so, or you have an idea for a guest article you’d like to see or write, do get in touch, Rachel

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