Social Media was high on the agenda at last week’s Melcrum Digital Communications Summit in London. When delegates, predominantly senior internal communication decision makers, were asked what their current priorities for corporate digital communications are, the overall consensus was driving internal social media adoption and behavioral change as well as figuring out where true business value lies.

79% of Melcrum attendees actually said they are already actively working on developing better social networks by creating their own internal business collaboration tools. Many organizations are making their social space their default home page for employees. They see their enterprise social network as a meeting room and, while they define how to use it by setting guidelines, they want to inspire employees to use it for what they want. Social media gives people a voice but also the chance to express feelings. It gives people the means to choose their own collaboration channels and decide what news they are interested in instead of being bombarded by emails. If the news is important to you, it will find you.

Employees, who are the essence of any firm’s brand, should be mobilized both internally and externally so that they can become credible voices of the organization and improve day-to-day working. They should connect to share objectives they are passionate about and which benefit business. Employee engagement ultimately enhances customer experience and hence financial results.

IT people are uniquely positioned to bring about this change because they are trusted advisors as official channels of the firm. Corporate Social Media can however be perceived as too radical, so how do you bring the change-resistant on board?

These are some of the barriers IT professionals encounter when trying to adopt social media tools, including video:

  • Tyranny of email
  • Misconception about how long it takes to upload videos
  • Misconception about how secure corporate video is
  • Lack of anonymity
  • Difficulty on-boarding new people driven by the age and function gap. Some people find social media divisive as they are simply not socially engaged.
  • Policing
  • Amount of IT support needed for the change, especially if it is on a big scale
  • Smart phones also pose a challenge: too small for social media Apps to work well – so how does social media fit with the push for mobility?

How should change be brought about then? You could for a start begin by connecting small groups if mass adoption scares you and by eliminating intranet waste and stagnant sites. Educate your employees on the advantages of social media and on how enterprise video really works and on how it can make you “work out loud”. Find out what your employees’ motivators are and integrate them into your social media strategy.

Video, in particular, is human, authentic, genuine and engaging. It can make people feel as if “they were there”. Management video announcements can be delivered on a daily basis and this makes management more approachable and visible.

Clarity of communication is another benefit, as words can be misinterpreted. They can have different meanings in different countries – if they are delivered via video, in person, facial expressions remove the possibility of misunderstanding. It is easier to express feelings and not just opinions via video’s direct approach.

Video also helps build a reputation, provides training and has a positive impact on the environment, minimizing travel and printing.

In conclusion, people are not going to feel engaged if they do not have a voice. Give them that voice via social media and why not go a step further by putting a face to that voice – create video communities. Move from a fixed desk to a flexible desk environment – create dialogue over broadcast and increase cross-functional working. Join the conversation and learn from each other.

The networked world we live in brings us all closer together. We cannot ignore the impact of social media on how we communicate. The fact that most companies now have a Social Business Manager, a role that did not exist only a few years ago, is evidence of this.

Social media is not merely a destination since the days of the typewriter; it is a journey we should all embark on sooner or later.