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Sunday
Apr102011

« What is your Social Communications Transitional Strategy? »

I was recently contacted by the managing director of a large enterprise asking for advice on what was the most effective way to communicate to his employees.

This was pleasing on two fronts:

  1. He was starting to question that maybe traditional communication channels, (e.g. email, newsletters etc...), are no longer the most effective way to reach his employees
  2. This strategic thinking was coming from the top

His assessment of the situation within his organisation was also spot on:

  • email and SMS are the most widely used today
  • newsletters are no longer read in any great detail
  • internal social applications (e.g. Twitter style interface, RSS, social networking etc...) are only used by a small minority of the employees

So applying Forresters' P.O.S.T methodology (People, Objectives, Strategy, Tools) to his situation I began to build up a picture to of what his long term goals were and it was clear that ultimately he needed to be on a social platform.

As the style of communication he wanted to send to his employees was short key announcements highlighting key deals they had just won, changes to his organisation etc... the internal Twitter application seemed the best fit and gave many advantages over email:

  • Ability to reach a much wider audience (i.e. people in your network will retweet to others in their network, and so on)
  • Ability for users to discuss and comment openly on those announcements
  • Ability to send, and for users to receive, the messages through the Corporations' Instant Messenger tool – providing ease of use as majority of people already use Instant Messaging
  • Messages are stored centrally and accessible by all employees
  • Ability to embed communications onto a portal page / website providing real-time updates with zero admin

But the challenge was how to move the employees from email to this Twitter style application. What was needed was a Social Communications Transitional Strategy.

So this is what I recommended:

  1. Set a date for the transitional period (say 3 - 6 months) and use both email and the internal Twitter style application to send your messages - this is duplication, but a necessary step in the transitional strategy
  2. In each email that is sent, highlight that there is an alternative communication channel (i.e. the Twitter style application) that people can choose to receive these announcements other than via email. Also provide links to any training material or step-by-step guides to help them with any setups that are required
  3. Six weeks prior to the end of your transitional period, clearly highlight in each subsequent email that these announcements via email are about to come to an end. Emphasise that if they want to continue to receive these announcements then they must transition over to the Twitter style application immediately
  4. At the end of the transitional period, stop sending any announcements via email and use only the Twitter style application

At the end of this transitional period, you will end up with only those employees subscribing to these announcements who find them of value. Those that don't won't subscribe. You have avoided spamming people unnecessarily long term.

So if you are finding it difficult to reach your audience through traditional communication channels, don't be put off by social communications channels just because they are not widely used yet in your organisation. Just use the P.O.S.T method and plan your Social Communications Transitional Strategy.

1.       Use both email AND OraTweet initially for a set period of time (say 3 - 6 months)

2.       In each weekly email communication, highlight that there is also a social platform (OraTweet) that users can use to receive these communications, and instructions of how to do this and how to integrate it with PidGin (my team can help you in this)

3.       In the last 6 weeks, start encouraging people to transition over to OraTweet and highlight that these email communications will stop after this time

References (16)

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    Response: doggy
    What is your Social Communications Transitional Strategy? - Blog - STS
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    Response: telefonsex
    What is your Social Communications Transitional Strategy? - Blog - STS
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    What is your Social Communications Transitional Strategy? - Blog - STS
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    What is your Social Communications Transitional Strategy? - Blog - STS
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    I found a great...
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    Response: pest control
    What is your Social Communications Transitional Strategy? - Blog - STS
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    A medium and a beneficiary, despite the fact that the collector does not need to be available or mindful of the sender's aim to impart at the time of correspondence; consequently correspondence can happen crosswise over unlimited separations in time and space.
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    What is your Social Communications Transitional Strategy? - Blog - STS
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    What is your Social Communications Transitional Strategy? - Blog - STS
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    Response: Adam Hultz
    What is your Social Communications Transitional Strategy? - Blog - STS
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    Response: Adam On Facebook
    What is your Social Communications Transitional Strategy? - Blog - STS
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    What is your Social Communications Transitional Strategy? - Blog - STS
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    Most of the people can using emails and sms for their communication purposes. For the style communication we are send short key announcements highlighting. Number of companies using email to communicate. Why because emails are used for only transfer the data but some of other social networks having extra entertainment future. ...
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    Response: finance.yahoo.com
    What is your Social Communications Transitional Strategy? - Blog - STS
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    Response: finance.yahoo.com
    What is your Social Communications Transitional Strategy? - Blog - STS

Reader Comments (3)

I must admit that I've been struggling with this one recently. I sometimes wonder about those who are left behind when the transition is made from email, or those who come new into the team and maybe aren't aware of the Social Tools but are on email.

The more I read about reaching your audience - posts like http://www.chrisbrogan.com/dont-market-lazy/ - the more I'm uncertain about abandoning any communication channel. I do believe that email and specifically newsletters don't work, mainly because people are not using them correctly.

One of my biggest gripes, are newsletters that don't give you the option to easily unsubscribe from the Mailing List, or even worse those that do give you the option, but even after you think you've unsubscribed you still continue to get the newsletters. If that happens I'm straight into my email filters and blocking the sender.

April 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFrank Bradley

I agree no communication should be ignored but we also need to think about what is our objective when communicating and what environment we are communicating in.

Chris Brogan is right in his post but he is looking at an open environment (outside the enterprise), where social communications are not really the normal, and most importantly there is no leadership group / initiative in place to drive to a more effective, more efficient style of communication. It's a scatter gun approach to generate as many leads as possible.

In a closed environment (inside the enterprise), where social communications are beginning to become established, and where there is a leadership / support group in place to drive to a more effective, more efficient style of communication, then email distribution lists have no place long term. And in this particular case the benefits of utilising an established social network will allow key information flow beyond the boundaries of what an email distribution list can provide.

It's never as clear cut as a yes or no in these cases, there are other factors that have to be taken into consideration to determine what and how effective social communications can be in the enterprise.

April 13, 2011 | Registered CommenterDavid Christopher

Thanks for your feedback David. I guess I am struggling in making the distinction between the open (outside) environment, and the internal (enterprise) environment, as quite often there is a lack of leadership and support for individuals and teams, when they try to drive change using Social Media.

April 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFrank Bradley

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