e1Building a Social Media Strategy for your Employee Networks

Global Employee Networks and Employee Resource Groups must broaden their technology reach to leverage communication and collaboration opportunities in their networks to continuously fuel employee engagement and contribute to business results. Companies like UBS, Credit Suisse, and Microsoft have numerous employee networks that span the globe while a large number of US based firms have Employee Resource Groups that cater to their North America base.  Most of these groups have a good handle on internal communication vehicles but must embrace the use of external technologies to communicate with those in their communities that don’t have access to computers whilst at work and to create additional connection points with external audiences for competitive advantage.  One such example would be to support talent acquisition teams by building rapport with potential hires by allowing them the opportunity to be connected and in the know of employee experiences within the organization.  Another would be to allow linkages to external organizations that can provide consumer insights for your business.  This technique could also be valuable in achieving employer-branding goals.

In order to take advantage of external communication avenues, a social media strategy should be a part of the Employee Network and Employee Resource Group Leaders toolkit. The following are tips on how to build a Social Media Strategy for your Employee Network or Resource Group.

- Take stock of what you are currently doing to keep the lines of communication open within your network community. Pay particular attention to potential gaps or opportunity areas.  Be sure to document your findings.

- Do some research to gain an understanding of what the available choices are in the social media landscape.  Visit the following site as a point of reference for the various social media sites.  Mashable.com is another good source for social media information.  – You can also use Google to search for other educational sites on social media.

- Evaluate each of the various sites to understand where you will get the best bang for your buck in addressing the gaps outlined.  – Go where your audience is.  Creating a Twitter account is a great idea but your audience may not be Twitter savvy and as a result be slow to adopt this technology.  There are lots of folks who say, “I don’t know what to tweet and I am not comfortable about tweeting what I’m doing”.   Now a younger set of your community would be more open to leverage Twitter technology.

- Start small by identifying 2-3 social media sites to create a presence in.  I say this because I had a full-blown plan that was challenged by availability of resources to maintain the sites.  Keep in mind that you are dealing with volunteers so your site communication may take a back burner to business needs.

- Once finalized, be sure to shop your strategy around to key stakeholders for appropriate challenge and builds.  One such stakeholder is the Corporate Communications team.  They need to be comfortable with your strategy and most likely will take the opportunity to talk to you about enforcing guidelines for communications.  I was lucky in that guidelines had been created at a corporate level so it was easy to share it with the community.  Speaking of the community, it is also a must to share the strategy with your community.  This is useful to note any additional gaps and to also win over volunteers.

- Create an editorial calendar up front for whatever social media sites you’ve elected to create a presence in.  Be knowledgeable of where you are sourcing your content from.  Don’t forget that you don’t have to create all the content yourself.  You can use content that already exists.  Perhaps there is a thought leader that has created content that is relevant to your audience.  When I was creating my content calendar, I found that Diversity Best Practices and DiversityInc had really good content that was useful to building community awareness.  You can link to the content on their site.  I recommend you identify a content manager to manage the overall process for the site.  It’s a good idea to also have a back up.

Building and implementing a Social Media Strategy will elevate the credibility of the group.  Should you decide to proceed, it is wise to ensure policies are in place and shared with the communities before the fire hose of external communications is turned on.

About The Author:

simoneSimone Morris | MBA

Simone served as an ERG Member, Co-Chair, Chair and advisor to Employee Resource Group Leaders.  She has been recognised for her exemplary Employee Resource Group Leadership skills by her previous employer Diageo North America, Diversity Best Practices, and Diversity MBA Magazine.

You can follow Simone on Twitter at @jubileetown.

December 3, 2013 in Recruitment