Use of digital communication and social media is poor, is social media important for IC, and how can things be improved?
Social media is a relatively new phenomenon and its potential benefits are not entirely understood or implemented as it is very much an area in its infancy. Very basic internal communications (IC) in the past have simply consisted of a regular newsletter or staff email, but advancements in technology have changed this.
There are multiple reasons why effective IC can strengthen a business both internally and externally. A company that invests time and resources into establishing IC can benefit across the board including increased productivity, higher employee retention levels and more informed decision making at all organisational levels.
The current state of social media in businesses
There are many companies who have effectively harnessed the potential of social media to establish a more cohesive and integrated business at all levels. However, it appears that this may be something of a rarity, as VMA’s Inside Insight 2016 Report found that only 7% of IC professionals rated their use of social media as ‘Excellent’ or ‘Cutting Edge’, suggesting that many companies are flagging in this area.
In the same survey, while a whopping 91% of participants used Intranet-based communication systems, only 40% reported utilising social media networks to communicate. Conventional methods were also heavily relied upon including posters (79%) and team briefings (74%).
One reason why this could be the case is that an effective, well-designed social media platform designed specifically for internal communication within businesses may not be so readily available as other generalised social media platforms are, meaning that only the most technologically advanced companies are making inroads in this area.
How social media could help communication
The telecommunications company Nokia have shown that a well-developed social media system within an organisation can work wonders. Their system, BlogHub, allows employees to upload their own content and interact with each other, increasing communication and understanding between employees and also allowing executives at the top to get an insight into all levels of the business.
Social media could also be an excellent method of increasing happiness and work satisfaction. It can be a great way to facilitate friendships between employees across departments as well as giving employees the feeling that their ideas and grievances will be heard.
The future of social media in businesses
As more and more companies start to utilise social media as a form of IC, we may find that many companies begin to jump on the bandwagon, especially as more experience and knowledge is gained about how to harness social media as an effective tool of IC.
We could also start to see some of the more conventional and dated methods of IC phased out, as many methods such as posters and bulletins can simply be integrated into a social media system.