Rules of Engagement

Return on Engagement or ROE is getting more attention in the social media space.  Where as ROI, or return on investment has been the norm in analytical settings more companies are looking to engagement as the best outcome.  Social media doesn’t guarantee  hits, or viewers as traditional advertising does.  But, it can reach thousands in niche spaces that a company, product or service, so desires.  It  can also reach to employees within a company to communicate fitness, positive behavior, social corporate responsibility and more.

At a recent #BDI (business development institute) event focusing on social media and internal communications the focus and take away from most of the presentations were around engagement.  One company used social media for their healthcare program.  Their health insurer #AETNA partnered with a company called #Shape-Up who asks employees to keep a page on their site and post health tips, tune-ups and various information.  This is measured and even when someone has left the company you can see on their page how much influence they had with other employees.  Influence measured by re-posts, comments, and likes.

Can you directly measure in dollar amounts the value of social media?  The simple answer has been no.  What you can measure is engagement, involvement to a certain degree.  On Twitter you have followers and you can see how many you have. The same case on Facebook but they are called – friends or likes for pages.

 Engaging Software: #Salesforce’s Chatter  has been making a buzz around the internal communications pool.  Lauded for it’s easy layout, and companies worried about regulations such as banking, finance like #Newsgator by Jive software for their control mechanisms.

Software can measure engagement, influence.

Employee reviews now can take into account employee influence.

Start Internally

Many companies mentioned that starting internally is a lot safer than immediately going to Twitter or Yelp.  Choose employees to Tweet on behalf of the overall company is a great tool especially when you have  a limited staff  Xylem and Wells Fargo said they utilized this practice.  Wells Fargo also gave an example of having a Twitter Chat while one of their executives was live on CNBC which netted them additional interviews with  The Wall Street Journal and others.

The focus on getting engagement from their employees has paid off.  At Xylem which makes solar water pumps they reward their employees with trips where their product is in use – primarily third world countries.  While not everyone wants to go those that do get to take pictures, tweet about it and when they come back tell their story on the company Blog.  CSR is taken very seriously at this company and the rewards are welcomed by the employees.

5 Take Aways for Social Media Engagement inside a Company

1) Empowering employees to make positive changes in their lives whether it’s weight loss or fitness.

2) Building morale, community and teamwork amongst employees.

3) Increase in employee engagement for the company and a feeling of increased value for the employee.

4) Effecting positive behavior changes in employees from unengaged to engaged.

5) Cost effective across the entire company.

Number five is probably what most people feel will sell it to the company.  It really takes very little to manage and the effects can be far-reaching.  So from what was the intranet to social media for internal communication the bridge has been crossed.  More software is being developed to gain chatter and measure influence.


Internal or External the focus is the same

Yet another social media conference came and went focusing on internal communications but the same message.  Be clear and concise in your communications.  Social media for internal audiences started with the advent of intranets and sharing of rides, recipes and promotions within companies.  Now some companies use corporate ambassadors that will Tweet or post on Facebook.  Extremely useful for those short of staff to take on the communiques that otherwise would take all day to execute and then monitor.  In the same way there is a control for intranets the same for social. Lots of software, Jive, Newsgator, among others make it easier for companies to embrace a controlled social media.  Financial and other companies have a concern for regulation and the software has control factors that those in charge can keep tabs on.

It’s great to have corporate ambassadors, employees of a company helping put a face and feel outside the corporate walls.   But,  just like branding guidelines, writing guidelines need to be adhered to too.  And with social media it is not so much ROI, but ROE, that is return on engagement. More on that next…