Internal communications professionals willing to embrace a changing role can turn Enterprise Social technology to their advantage.

As an internal comms manager, you might be forgiven for thinking of the deployment of technology such as Yammer or Jive as a terrifying prospect.

Walk On By?

Firstly, there are fears about loss of control. Internal comms has been a broadcast mechanism – from the top down and from the centre out. Enterprise Social democratises communications, flattening out hierarchies and giving communications responsibilities to everyone that uses it.

As if that weren’t bad enough, the technology brings new levels of accountability. No-one can prove that a traditional newsletter isn’t merely gathering dust around the company; but, with Enterprise Social you know precisely how many people opened a particular piece of content, and views and opinions can be shared within seconds.

And it’s easy to regard running a social network as yet another item on a do-do list.

Given all this, isn’t it just easier to ignore the problem? Well, no.

What’s new, Pussycat?

First of all, this issue isn’t going to go away. To quote Euan Semplethere is no point trying to be Web 2.0 outside the organisation if you’re not even Web 1.0 on the inside; and, if you’re not already feeling strong pressure to make your enterprise more social then you soon will be.

Also, communication, like nature, abhors a vacuum and employees will be using social media to share information – with or without your participation.

What’s it all about, Alfie?

So, what will the implementation of Enterprise Social technology mean for you?

The democratisation of the communications process is very real – but, equally the sourcing of corporate information becomes a responsibility shared by the entire company. The internal comms function therefore moves from creating content towards curating content and from informing communities towards managing communities.

You will become more accountable for the utility of what is being shared but, equally, you will have much greater insight into the information that people truly value: the network can be a powerful listening tool, allowing you to uncover and address the real concerns of your audience.

Finally, embedding Enterprise Social into your normal work practices will offer you a more efficient means of managing your existing workload rather than becoming an incremental addition to it.

Make it easy on yourself

So, whether you view an Enterprise Social network as an opportunity or a threat is your call but it is not better to lead the change than be led by it?

For more information on this topic, take a look at a blog post from our own Constantine where he discusses some of the findings from his research on Enterprise Community Management or to see some practical tips, view this slide deck developed by our friend Virpi Oinenen.

Author: Iain Halpin

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