Social media transforming communications, inside and out

[ Social media transforming communications, inside and out ]

June 03, 2009 | By Jeromy Lloyd | Comments

Nothing is changing the field of internal communications faster than social media, according to research from National Public Relations .

The PR firm conducted interviews with representatives of 30 organizations to “better understand the role dialogue plays in internal communications,” said Carolyn Ray , vice-president, employee engagement at National.

The resulting research paper “Start the Dialogue: Employee Engagement in Tough Times” shows 88% of respondents listed social media as the most influential trend affecting internal communications at their organizations.

Most employees value face-to-face communication with management, Ray said, but social media can help connect management teams with employees in a similar way.

“When we talk about social media, most people refer to Facebook and Twitter. Those tools might be valuable internally, but what I’m seeing more often is more homegrown tools or new companies creating new tools for internal use only.”

While many companies have created policies for external social media communications, Ray said most are still experimenting with such tools for internal use.

However, the two fields are closely linked. Poorly thought-out internal communication policies can affect a brand’s external reputation.

“The lines between internal and external communications are blurring, which is one of the reasons organizations are looking at this,” she said. “[Organizations are] starting to realize that anything they say internally will eventually make its way outside. They need to make sure their employees know what’s going on before they start communicating outside or else it won’t be credible.”

Ray also believes such policies should be developed before the economy improves “because if employees aren’t feeling inspired—and communication has a lot to do with that—they start to feel disconnected from the business.”

To see how social media is affecting communications from a public relations perspective, see “24 Hour PR People” in Marketing ’s June 15 special issue dedicated to digital marketing and new media, on streets and online Monday June 8.

Source: Marketing Magazine