Posts Tagged 'Social Media'

Using social media to connect with employees to promote engagement, learning & innovation

We're extinct? I must have missed the newsletter.

“We’re extinct? I must have missed that newsletter.”

There are tons of articles and proposals out there that tout the benefits of using social media at work to enable communication and collaboration. Companies that are early adopters and embracers of social media for these purposes have learned lessons that can help the rest of us implement social media practices more effectively. These pioneers have help answer some of the questions and arguments against. All the answers are not there, but the dialogue for usage has begun.

If I were to propose social media usage to my own group or department, I would want to have a good picture of how it can be used to help the company meet its business goals. I started exploring this topic a year ago and recently spent the time to develop a brief informational presentation to outline my learning. You can view a .pdf by clicking the image below.

An obvious use for social media in the work place – communicating news

Hopefully the use of social media platforms at work will drive that monthly or quarterly newsletter into extinction. Use of social media platforms as a news delivery tool may provide an more timely effective news channel for employees. Those traditional newsletters that come via email often get shuffled into mail folders or are simply ignored or deleted. I’d like to be able to search for news, past & current, on certain company-wide initiatives via a search engine rather than having to spend 5-10 minutes scratching my head as I wonder where I saw that particular newsletter with the info I’m looking for.

Other uses for social media in an enterprise environment

Traditional leaders may see social media as a mere distraction, but in reality, it provides powerful opportunities to connect with employees and leverage their knowledge. Statistics show that growing numbers of the world’s population see it as a common way to get the information they need or connect with others professionally as well as privately. According to a 2013 Pew survey, 82% of 30-49 year olds and 89% of 18-29 year olds use social media. For these people, it’s not odd to get news or connect with others this way. Consequently, they would be open to a growing number of uses for social media in a business environment:

  • Carefully guided but authentic application of social media tools such as polling and discussion can empower change management initiatives in an organization
  • It can also be an effective tool in building employee engagement by sharing business goals and asking employees to demonstrate or showcase where they fit in to these goals. Providing sounding boards for authentic discussion and opportunities for executives to listen and respond can build goodwill and engagement in the workforce. (This requires leaders who understand how to effectively communicate using these channels)
  • Highlight and build employee culture
  • Promote interdepartmental collaboration that can lead to innovation
  • Attract new talent (both from sources that are external and internal to the company). Having an outdated social media policy may deter younger talent from applying.
  • Sharing media, information and microblogging can promote learning of concepts, processes and methods within and between departments

Before social media usage is adopted, some homework needs to be done

It seems that successful implementation of SM requires the company to ask change management questions before implementing or even selecting a tool.

  • Are there enough people out there who are willing to experiment but then use it regularly going forward?
  • If not, do you have a set of super users and ‘mavens’ who would effectively model and proliferate the adoption of the platform?
  • What guidance would we include in our social media usage policy both for external & internal sharing? What sort of things are appropriate for sharing? What are not? What language will you use to communicate these rules to employees?
  • Is the company culture and leadership prepared to provide and use the transparency social media allows? Are they effectively trained in how to do so authentically?
  • What strategy will be used to engage employees and organizations at all levels of the company?

These are just a few questions that can be asked as part of a needs analysis. The presentation I’ve linked below examines some possibilities for engaging all levels of a company (Slide 5). Thanks to a very helpful article/whitepaper from EY Performance started a matrix of social media tools that can be used in an enterprise environment (Slide 11). I would caution any group or decision makers who are looking at implementing a social media strategy not to look for that ONE tool or platform that does everything. From my own experience and research it seems that there is not a one-stop-shop (at least today).  In the future, to continue this exploration, I’d like to outline some best recommended practices for both selecting a social media toolset and then recommendations for training all levels of a company in how to use social media effectively and safely.

I’m also working on developing most of the content from the slides shared below into an infographic. Creating simple infographics is another item on my own personal development checklist.

Screen Shot 2014-12-07 at 3.52.28 PM

Using Social Media at Work to Connect with Employees – Google Slides

My top tools for learning & design

I tend to explore tools and software selectively, but after I’ve discovered their uses, I like to work the heck out of them.  Christy Tucker inspired me to write a post on my favorite tools for learning and instructional design. The only ones that are new to my repertoire from over five years ago are Twitter & Storyline.

To enrich my own learning

Twitter – through hashtags & twitterchats I still am able to remain connected to new or trending conversations in my field. I also get to explore and hear other’s voices on topics I care about or am interested in. Yes, sometimes it seems that the chats provide a meeting ground for those who want to collect followers, but they do allow me to connect with others on Twitter who have similar interests.  While engaging in a few MOOCs I found the Twitter backchat most helpful in getting help or being directed to help during the class. The backchat also provided a great channel for starting conversation about topics.

I began using Twitter five years ago and I still seem to be engaged with it.  I have wondered what my choice in primary social media says about me, and apparently according to this article: “long-time Twitter users are found to use the site for cognitive simulation by uncovering information w/o much socialization.”  Considering my introversion this makes sense. Though to be frank, I have been attracted to the character restriction on Twitter because it forces you to be concise and pointed in your use of language. I imagine masters of literary wit from the past loving Twitter. How would Mark Twain or Dorothy Parker used it to hone their sharp observances or comebacks?

Dorothy Parker

What would Dorothy tweet?

Diigo

I still use Diigo to curate and organize resources I find on the Internet, especially when I’m trying to make a case for something I’ve tried using it to share resources with others, but I really only have one or two peers who gets the use of this tool, so I haven’t used it collaboratively.

LinkedIn

I’ve started using linked in more, to learn about what my professional peers and connections are interested in and sharing. I have used the discussion and participated in groups in the past, but not as much today.

For Design/Creativity

Articulate Storyline is my primary tool for developing online courses. The software itself allows me to easily create paths and experiences for learning content. It allows Instructional Designers like myself to focus more on design and delivery rather than programming functionality. Thankfully there’s a highly active learning community out there supported by Articulate and its users.

PowerPoint, like my former colleague, Christy Tucker, I use it for storyboarding course content. To some extent I’ve used it to create simple designs for online course backgrounds. I’m not a graphic designer by trade, but I appreciate the ability to create simple yet somewhat aesthetically pleasing backgrounds and containers for my content without a lot of fuss. No it’s not perfect by design standards, but it will do in a pinch and I can easily import into Storyline.

Sample of course page designed in PowerPoint

Sample of course page designed in PowerPoint

For Creativity Outside of Work

SlideShare – Slideshare allows me to port and share my presentations to the public and also apply audio to them. I also use the entire site as a resource for design inspiration in creating and developing presentation and course content visuals. And While Prezi seemed at first to have a slicker design & delivery, I eventually got tired of using it because the constant zooming left me a little motion sick. I never bothered to figure out a way around it.

Lessons learned from my Twitter activity in the past few months

I’m sure some sage individual in the past has noticed that humans are most excellent at making order out of chaos as well as vice versa.  For most people who first encounter Twitter, when they hear that it’s just about people barking statements in less than 140 characters about the goings on in their lives, they immediately decide that the tool amounts to nothing but horsefeathers and mindless chatter.  A little over two years ago I too was skeptical about using Twitter. Now I have a great appreciation of what a powerful tool it is for connecting with people who are interested in the same things you are. More than that it’s a great way to learn from others and find people in your field to learn from.

While others may lament the 140 character limit, I believe that the limit forces you to ‘prune your words’ or carefully think out what you will share.  The medium itself is, after all, only designed for short bursts of conversation. If you want a longer discussion that’s  less constricted go find a forum on the same subject.  The great thing about Twitter is it’s a large body of information sharing, but you can still make relative sense of it by using the search or accessing what YOU want to hear or learn about by using the hashtags (examples: #baseball, #knitting, #instructionaldesign). You don’t have to dig through individual communities and forums to find what people are saying about a topic.

Again it’s difficult to engage in a deeper conversation from just following the hashtags, but groups can hold guided discussion by centering the Twitter exchange around a set of guiding questions which people in the group respond to individually. In the next few posts I’ll be sharing more about my own attempt to learn how to use Twitter as a tool have an ‘actual conversation’ with like minds. I’ll review the preparation &  steps needed to hold a Twitter chat, and I’ll also take some time to analyze the benefits & drawbacks of this format of conversation. Finally, I would like to take a deeper look at some of the Twitter tools out there that help both faciliators and participants.

Using twitter as a conversation tool can still pose challenges and seem restrictive, but if you leverage it’s strengths and adopt a Zen approach to absorbing with wave of content and thoughts from others, it’s actually a great window into how others feel about the topics you care about.

You’re Somebody When You’re Online (to Marketing Researchers)

Remember this clip from The Jerk?

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOTDn2A7hcY]

You may laugh but, when I started blogging a few years ago, I had this scene from that movie playing through my head. Of course, I realized that I was assigning myself way too much self-importance. Who would come after me? But on the other hand… sometimes a certain level of paranoia is justified.

All this bruhaha about privacy settings on Facebook has caused a number of people I know to trash their Facebook accounts.  I myself am looking for a way to completely delete my account.  Here’s what I found:

How to Completely Delete Your Facebook Account

Instructions for Facebook Deletion on Wiki How

I love having a connection to friends and people, I also like learning more about the things I’m interested in both professionally, culturally and hobby-wise, but Facebook’s intricate privacy protocols actually irritate me. I’m pretty much aware of the fact that if you have any sort of online presence, you’ve become a gold nugget for marketers who are mining for info.  I think I’ll stick to Twitter for now. I’m really enjoying the sort of coffee-break distraction and quick fix I get from reading my Twitter feeds.


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