How to conduct an effective internal social media listening exercise
HOW TO CONDUCT ANEFFECTIVE INTERNAL SOCIALMEDIA LISTENING EXERCISEStrategies to get smarter with your internal social media engagementRead complete content at: http://wp.me/p1MKF-jVAniisu K VergheseInternal Communications Leader, Career Coach and Authorwww.intraskope.comwww.intraskope.wordpress.com
Disclaimer Due care has been taken while preparing this presentation but the author cannot be held responsible for any misuse or misrepresentation of information. The views expressed in this presentation are those of the author and do not reflect those of the organization he works for. Data for this presentation has been drawn from various sources and is gratefully acknowledged.
Why do you need this?• Many organizations now include enterprise social networks or internal social media in their strategies to engage employees• Conversations inside the firewalls that can become minefields if not actively ‘listened’ to• Opportunity to mine sentiments to craft suitable and timely interventions.
When will you need this?• Anytime.• After a sensitive event or a key business decision that impacts most employees
What does it entail?• Internal social media listening can range from the basic (using free tools) to the advanced (with paid tools and deeper analytics).• Whichever format you adopt, learning by listening is a great way for the internal communications team to stay current and relevant.
Have a plan• Know what you need to be ‘listening’ for and where.• Get to know where employees usually vent their frustrations. If there isn’t an internal forum such as distribution lists, discussion boards or blogs in your organization you may want to create a space to further the dialogue.• List the pain points that gets surfaced so that it informs leaders who can speak directly on those topics.• Ensure also that all key team players are on the same page with the plan.
Be prepared• Be aware that internal communications may get forwarded outside the organization and related conversations can occur on social media channels.• Be prepared for media attention and interest – which is normal.• Don’t react to any posts and ‘throw’ policy at employees. It can cause more heartburn.• Look for trends in the overall ‘mood’ instead and review if the communication has attempted to address these concerns.• Be aware that some countries have laws protecting conversations about organizations taking place outside.• Know that listening actively to issues when they surface can help in reviewing, analyzing and preventing it snowballing into larger crises.
How to begin• Have a dedicated resource added to forums where you expect comments getting raised.• Remember to identify the different levels of ‘listening’ – is it ‘conversations’, ‘chatter’ or ‘noise’ depending on the level and type of inputs coming out?- ‘Conversations’ can be simple comments related to the issue at hand,attempting to gauge impact and outcomes from others.- ‘Chatter’ can be animated discussions and recommendations that employeeswant the organization to consider.- ‘Noise’ is the highest level of dissonance where employees feel victimized and sound like they will undermine the brand and put the organization at risk.• Classify what each of these categories mean. For example, ‘conversations’ can be between 10-50 comments and ‘chatter’ can be 50-100 perspectives.- If there is a deluge of comments, synthesize the key themes, identify the career levels of the employees conversing and parse content for key words used.
What to consider• List out possible scenarios that may occur and how the team will respond.• Create an escalation matrix and arrive at an informal agreement on response time.• Prepare a set of messages that will be used for both internal and external and have it signed off.• Provide a broad series of listening channels; 1:1 meetings, informal conversations and from employees you have a strong relationship.• Have a plan to guide disgruntled employees to discuss issues offline with their managers and leaders. You may consider posting a neutral response stating that the organization is noting the issues raised and provide guidance on how impacted employees can be addressed in conversations.• Prepare leaders with material and frequently asked questions as well as themes that emerged from internal social listening.
What to avoid• Appreciate varied perspectives and understanding among core team members on the subject of social media listening.• Therefore, avoid words that can be misconstrued. Know that words like ‘noise’ can cause panic and knee-jerk reactions.• If there are negative comments do not remove or disable links. It will only fuel more resentment and make the organization appear as one which is insensitive and fearful.
Consider a reporting rhythm• If you are working with cross-cultural and geographically distributed teams have a steady rhythm for reporting status. It can be the number of comments, type of inputs (positive, negative, neutral).• Are conversations turning into ‘noise’?• Are there prevalent themes that seem to be bothering employees?• List key themes emerging and if there is a need to tweak key messages.• Translate content written in local languages or summarize the pain points in a common language understood by the team so that they know the context and can make suitable interventions.• Finally, use your learning in each situation to get better at the next social listening exercise you undertake.
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