Most companies are not getting sufficient value out of enterprise social networks because they are stuck doing the same thing on a new technology. They do not innovate how they work.
Last week I wrote an article about the maturity levels we see when leaders use social networking technology as a leadership instrument.
This article discusses the maturity levels we see when communication professionals use the platform.
On September 6th we will be hosting a masterclass on maturity levels in enterprise social networking. You can subscribe here.
For communications departments social communication and collaboration platforms can be a game changer. However, many failures of enterprise social networks were caused by communications departments remaining in low maturity levels and not understanding the potential the platform has both for themselves as well as for other stakeholders.
The most profound change to communication professionals is this:
In the past when you created your piece of content and had pressed the ‘publish’ button you were done. Using a social network once you press ‘publish’ your work starts.
It’s no longer just about content. The dialogue following the content has far more impact.
For the communications function we also see distinct maturity levels.
The first level of maturity is focused on using the social network to push content to people. Often large communications oriented groups or communities are formed in which more or less the content that used to be in news letters, on the old intranet, and in ‘all company emails’ is posted. Engagement is measured by how many people see and like to content. Often old channels, mostly intranets, are turned off.
Companies where communications departments do not move past this maturity level see engagement levels drop over time.
In the second maturity level communications department start to make better use of the technology to transform their old content into content with a richer experience. Activating elements like video or polling are used to create more engagement.
The content starts to get more traction in the form of likes and responses. Responses generally take the form of compliments, people showing they are in agreement, or people sharing opinion.
Communication departments start to use bots and polls as a means to collect quick feedback from audiences after an event or an article.
Faster and more agile
In the highest maturity state communications professionals start to understand how much more powerful dialogue can be compared to publishing content. Although they still publish content, there will always remain a need to publish content, they are much more focused on facilitating purposeful dialogues. Here are some examples of new activities for communication departments that happen at this maturity level:
They help leaders or problem owners run successful Challenges and Jams.
They activate and engage employees on certain topics.
They design dialogue plans that will drive change through the organisation.
They will organise dialogue to improve awareness and understanding of important company topics.
They will monitor the platform for people doing interesting things and amplify those to more people.
Communication departments also start using bots as an integral way to have ‘1 on 1 conversations at scale’ where content can be tailored and delivered to specific audiences much more precisely. Bots are also used to run sophisticated continuous surveys where people are asked one or two questions based on events taking place at that time (e.g. what is the impact of a bad press article on morale) or running surveys that measure employee engagement in general.
Next week I'll describe the maturity of teams using social networks for their work.