Monthly Archives: July 2015

The Content Curators – latest CIPR csuite podcast on Internal Communications

My latest podcast for the CIPRSM discussed the role that Social Media plays within Internal Communications and I was fortunate to have three really engaging guests in the markettiers4dc studio with me, which I also added to with two interviews I recorded at the recent PR Week Internal Communications Europe event I attended in Amsterdam, courtesy of translation experts Conversis, who sponsored the event given the amount of work they do in this particular area.

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Nicola Green, Director of Communications and Reputation at O2, kicked off the show by talking about O2 Amp, which is how the organisation gets employees to be brand ambassadors.  Nicola explained that O2 have a list of their top 50 employees who share content and they brief them just as they would journalists so that they can share company content externally, which is one method she uses to communicate with other employees, a theme that certainly cropped up throughout the podcast.

LinkedIn’s Senior Internal Communications Manager for EMEA, Natasha Gowans then talked through her company’s Bring in your Parents Day, which centred on the fact that, according to LinkedIn’s own research, 1 in 3 parents didn’t know what they ‘grown-up’ children did at work!  They had around 1,800 parents of LinkedIn staff take part, as well as other business getting involved too, but the key outcome was that their employees took to social media to share the initiative externally, which Nicola agreed is a great way to expand the message to a wider audience, resulting in a great positioning for the brand too.

[Download Natasha’s presentation from the PR week event]

My third guest in the studio was Sarah Ogden, who is a Board Director at 3 Monkeys Communications, and reflecting on those initial two case studies, she felt that they showed social media is both a tool for communication and engagement from an internal comms point of view but also it’s a platform for collaboration, where you can bring employees together to build things, whether it’s product ideas, thinking about innovation in the workplace and how as a business you can be better beyond communications.

I asked though, whether embracing social media in the workplace also brings with it some rather difficult challenges, and highlighted the issue HSBC had only earlier that week, when employees posted an incredibly inappropriate on Social Media of a mock ISIS execution, taken at a team building event.  To be fair to HSBC, they’d handled the situation extremely well by sacking the individuals involved immediately.  However, Sarah said that opportunities always bring challenges and that it’s about how it’s managed.  Nicola added that this also comes down to trust and O2 do a lot around educating their employees around the power of social media and the potential issues they could fall into the traps of.

Continuing the theme of creating internal content that is shared externally, in the second of the two interviews I recorded at the PR Week Europe event, Heineken International’s Global Channels Manager for Internal Communications, Holly Bostock talked about their Green Room project, which I recommend taking a look at.  It was Holly that described her team’s role in the project as ‘Curators of the Content’, which I thought was an excellent description.  She explained that from their own research, 78% of their own employees talk to their social circles about Heineken, and 30% share something on social media every month, but rather than just sharing the latest adverts, she thought the project enabled them to share something different, like company CSR stories.

[Download Holly’s presentation from the PR week event]

Sarah said the importance of this kind of comms by the fact that if an individual shares something about a brand or a business it will get much higher levels of engagement than if the business posted it.  Natasha backed this up with the fact that according to LinkedIn’s own research, employee networks are 10 times bigger than the corporate network and seen as more authentic too.

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Paid Social – the latest CIPR Social Media Panel csuite podcast

Trying to cover off such a huge topic of Paid Social in a half hour podcast is quite a task, but last week, I managed to get through a number of aspects within this important element of social media with Farhad Koodoruth, Managing Director of Threepipe, and Vikki Chowney, Director of Content & Publishing Strategies at H+K Strategies in Show 10 of the CIPR’s Social Media Panel c-suite podcast series.

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The areas covered off in the show included, amongst others:

  1. Promoted posts and tweets on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  2. Paying influencers such as YouTubers
  3. Content discovery platform, Outbrain
  4. LinkedIn

Farhad explained that the reason why paying to amplify posts is so important is because organic reach on platforms such as Facebook are in the single percentages. [For some good stats on Facebook organic reach, see socialbakers report from earlier this year.] He also added that paying for social reach of content also enables them to track the activity about what people look at, click on and pages they visit and loop it back into a broader marketing plan in terms of reengaging those users later on, highlighting his company’s NatWest T20 Blast Cricket campaign as a successful case study.

However, the impact that paid for posts are having on the user experience was highlighted by a blog post we discussed from Stephen Waddington’s 16 year old daughter, Ellie, called ‘The not-so-secret Internet diary of a Gen Z teenage girl’, where she wrote that one of the reasons she likes Instagram so much is that ‘the apparent lack of advertising allows it to stand out from other social media sites because almost all of the content you come across is personal, as opposed to the hundreds of sponsored posts and spam videos that you have to trawl through on Facebook.’  Unfortunately for Ellie though, Farhad said that Facebook had announced that small to media sizes businesses will be able to advertise on Instagram from September, but he agreed that the commercial imperative for all platforms is one they will have to work out in terms of getting the right balance between what they can commercialise and not ‘pissing off’ their users to the point of how Ellie described her experience.  Vikki said she wasn’t surprised to hear Ellie’s views and that it’s a trap that most of the platforms have fallen into at some stage or another.

This led us onto a discussion about paying influencers such as YouTubers, something, that I’m hoping to dedicate an entire podcast to.  Vikki talked in depth on this but made the important point that it’s our responsibility as marketers to use the data and tools that are available to us to track people with real influence, and not just the ones who are the biggest names [in this space] and not be so lazy and use the same people time and time again.

In the meantime, my recommendation to anyone who still hasn’t quite got their head round how influential some of them can be, particularly for that younger audience like Ellie, is to watch the film ‘The Creators’, which premiered on The Drum in March, and follows Zoella and a few other YouTubers behind the scenes in terms of them creating content and events that they attend.

The final areas we discussed were how platforms such as Outbrain and Linkedin, help drive traffic to blog content, both for B2B as well as B2C activity, with Farhad highlighting work Threepipe are doing with fashion retailer, Reiss, and Vikki talking through campaigns she works on for Intel.

You can keep the conversation going on twitter around these podcasts using #ciprcsuite.

Finally, if you are interested in getting involved in this series of podcasts, please use this form, or twitter using #cirpcsuite