Internal Vs External Social Media

That’s simply it, it’s not a cause for argument it’s an attribute that both communities utilise, having the empowerment and ability to share information.

Social media can be defined simply as “any tool or service given that uses the internet to facilitate conversations” (Solis, 2011).  However, as technology continues to evolve and progress in different mediums, so has the use of social media. Social media is now not only used in organisations for external marketing purposes and raising brand awareness. It is now much more than that, and increasingly being utilised within every part of the business including internal communications. Internal communications use social media as a tool to enhance employee engagement, create a clearer channel of communication, provide a fluid method of information sharing and create an open internal networking environment. Internal social media or more commonly known within comms professional terminology as ESN which @AllthingsIC Rachel Miller has explained brilliantly in her Internal Communications Glossary. 

Now what do both internal and external social media platforms have in common…?  They are both forms of communication that is key, but vitally they provide employees with the ability to share information.
However, traditionally there is a lot of competition within organisations as to which part of the organisation is most important. Which department weights the most, deserves or demands the most budget (Or which ego stands out or shouts the loudest). However with budgets continuing to be squeezed it is vital that departments within organisations stop, look around them, and think.
We all work in the same organisation, promoting the same brand, thriving to achieve the companies overall goal. The reason we’ve been bought into this company is for our talent and ability to work towards achieving the businesses overall goal. Now we live in a connected and sharing environment we need to embrace this….
We now live in a world of social business, and as technology continues to evolve we to need to adapt in order to become successful within business.
As highlighted above “The key to a successful business is communication” (Anderson, 2013). Internal and external social media are now key components within organisations and key drivers of communication and business success.
An example of an internal social communication platform is Yammer, known as the enterprise social network or ESN tool, Now used within 85% of the fortune 500 companies it is one of the leading global internal social media sharing platforms. Yammer has provided and proven itself as a successful internal social media platform in many case studies. One in particular that stands out is Westfield Group.
(More examples including British Airways, Telefonica and  Marks & Spencer can be found:https://blogs.office.com/yammer/)
Not only is it a fantastic internal social media success story, it supports the argument that it’s not a question of internal Vs external social media.  Westfield Groups successful internal communications are clearly visible via their external social media platform success.
Twitter – Following 81.7K
Facebook – Likes 353,085
Instagram – Followers 19.9K
YouTube – Subscribers 811
Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 21.15.09Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 21.14.59
The clips and stats above highlight Westfield Groups success at external social media enabling them to reach their target market, though social media platforms gaining extensive levels of engagement and interactions with their audience.
What stands out about these social media success stories is clear and consistent messaging. In order for external social media to be successful it has to be clear and consistent, the same must be applied for internal social communication channels. If an organisations internal social communication channels are clear and consistent this will reflect on it’s external social media platforms. An organisation that is “singing off the same hymn sheet” as the old phase states has no reason to not be a successful business.
So the question isn’t really which department is most important, who deserves the biggest budget, who screams the loudest wins, external social media or internal social media. It’s the collaboration of the workforce, working in a clear communication environment, utilising the different talent within it to achieve the organisations goal and ultimately business success.
It is in fact the marriage of the two internal and external, which creates a successful business.
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