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The Executive's Guide to Enterprise Social Media Strategy: How Social Networks Are Radically Transforming Your Business by David B. Thomas, Mike Barlow

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CHAPTER 14

Internal Communications

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.

—George Bernard Shaw

Most of the enterprise social media examples that get attention involve external communications and marketing. We hope you haven’t forgotten that one of your most important constituent groups is made up of your own employees. If we acknowledge the value of using social media tools to communicate with people outside the firewall, why not inside?

Studies from people like The Aberdeen Group and McKinsey have shown that companies that adopt social networking and collaboration tools perform better than those that don’t.

In addition to espousing the value of social media for PR, communications consultant Shel Holtz sees the benefits internally as well. “It’s incredibly valuable inside the organization,” he says.

For example, social collaboration tools can be used by employees to create their own communities of practice internally, sharing information and best practices and eliminating duplication of effort. That’s the kind of thing, Shel says, that companies used to pay outside consultants to figure out for them.

Messaging tools like Twitter or Yammer (a Twitter-like microblogging platform that has often been called “Twitter for the enterprise”) provide a quick and easy way for employees to ask questions of one another.

The ability to say “I’m looking for somebody inside the organization who has this particular ability” is extremely valuable. We ...

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