When you log in to Facebook and look at your news feed, what do you see? I’ll wait while you go do that, just remember to come back…
Oh hello, nice to see you again! Did you get distracted by an article someone shared titled “21 Signs You Know You’re From [insert city/state]?” A crazy basketball trick shot video? One of your friends going on a political rant? Maybe it was a “What Animal Are You?” quiz. (For the record, I’m told I’m a hedgehog. So I got that going for me, which is nice.)
My point is, Facebook has turned into a mess of noise. I had an account since the site’s early, college-only days. Where Facebook was once a coffee shop, it’s now an 8th grade cafeteria. You have to scream and/or throw food to get noticed. Everything else gets drowned out in the noise. Maureen’s last blog about the effectiveness of the Ice Bucket Challenge is a perfect example of the fight to get noticed on Facebook.
When you have something to say or a message you really want to get across, it’s tough to cut through the noise. And it’s not just on Facebook, it fills our lives. Junk mail catalogs, spam email, and telemarketers all add to the mess.That is why I deactivated my account. I just couldn’t stand the amount of garbage flooding my news feed (no offense, friends) and realized I wasn’t even being entertained or informed. Facebook wasn’t serving any kind of purpose for me, so it was time to cut it loose.
Early this year, our company was tasked by a client to cut through the noise in an effort to enroll as many participants as possible in its smoking-cessation program. It was a job that required careful planning to elevate our message above said noise while keeping costs minimal. And so far it’s been a success; enrollees in the program as of this summer were up 300% year to date. When planning your own messaging and you want to get your message across, here are three things to keep in mind.
Timing: Choosing the best time to distribute communications is vitally important. It’s also not a one-size-fits-all variable, and can be dependent on the subject matter.
Delivery Method: How you distribute materials is key in determining whether your communications are even noticed at all. Sending an email during peak work hours could mean it gets put on the backburner and doesn’t get noticed. Messages don’t make an impact when they aren’t read.
Points of Contact: How are you touching base with your audience? It’s helpful to try to reach out through various channels to ensure you’re heard loud and clear.
It’s 30 seconds of sheer torment for a good cause that went viral. I personally know at least 20 people who took the ALS Ice Bucket challenge. And I watched every one of their videos on FaceBook. Every one of them.
Neighbors, friends, family. Each video had its own personality, its own setting, its own rules. No professionally developed script, no fancy camera work, no sizzle reel. Just a bucket of ice, a cell phone camera, and a willing participant.
As of September 22nd, the ALS Foundation reported receiving $115 million for the cause as a result of the challenge, with literally millions of people participating.
The shocking part of this phenomenon is that so many people wanted to dump an ice bucket over their heads. Imagine harnessing the same kind of energy to rally employees around a good cause! Picking a cause that’s worthwhile and challenging employees to a fun, easy activity is a great (and inexpensive!) opportunity to bring the personality and culture of your business to life and support teamwork.
So why was the Ice Bucket Challenge a game so many wanted to be part of?
In a recent Forbes article about the science behind the success of the challenge, contributor Rick Smith identified three traits that make ideas go viral:
“…Big ideas get noticed; Selfless ideas inspire action; Simple ideas write us into the story. Understand how to make your ideas big, selfless and simple and you will be able to control growth.”
Big. In a culture of media and information overload, only the really big (ubiquitous) ideas gain any traction. Because there was a feel that everyone everywhere was watching someone dump an ice bucket over his head, a sense of shared experience grew up. Ask yourself how you can use your communications channels in creative ways to pump up enthusiasm and get everyone in on the game.
Selfless. Empathy stirs us to action when we see someone else doing something selfless. And there may be more selfish motives as well. Ever heard of “the audience effect?” That’s what neuro-scientists call that urge to donate or help out when someone else is looking. That’s why video and images of team members taking your challenge on social media, in your newsletter, on your message boards, are so important to getting everyone involved.
Simple. Asking people to do something that’s not too complicated increases participation. Simplicity also gives everyone the opportunity to make the activity their own and be creative if they want to be.
You may already have some great ideas for a cause-worthy employee challenge running around in your head. Here are some (maybe a little of corny) ideas to bounce off of:
A Throw Back Thursday contest where employees donate when they post their pics to the company intranet.
How about prizes for the biggest ‘80s hair or the widest bell-bottoms?
Everyone loves a most beautiful baby contest particularly when team members supply their own baby pictures.
You can probably think of a lot of ideas more relevant to your culture. Give us a buzz at Insight! We’d love to hear what you think and help you execute your big idea to boost employee engagement!
Social media is changing the way we communicate. We’re learning a new language with new phrases and symbols. Businesses are speaking directly, to larger audiences than ever before. With these new opportunities, you need to ask yourself a few questions. What should I share with my audience? What platforms should I use and how can I utilize those platforms? What should my social media strategy be?
When deciding what you want to share through social media, you must first establish a voice that is consistent with your company. What is the overall objective of your social media plan? Don’t blog, post or comment about legal matters at your company. Ensure that employee social media use complies with your company culture and ethics. Don’t use photos unless you have the rights to use them. It is very important that you trust the people who are in charge of controlling your social media because once something is posted into the public domain there is no turning back. If you’re not careful you could end up with a very public dilemma on your hands (e.g. US Airways this past week).
Facebook is the most used social media website in the world. Because of this, Facebook is a great place to start. Use Facebook to interact with your audience and share information. Encourage them to sign up for e-mail updates or contests. Ask your followers questions and track their feedback. Facebook can also be used as “home base” to promote your other social media platforms. One tip to consider when using Facebook is to keep posts short (80 characters or less), if your post is too long your audience will glance over it. A second tip is to consider the timing of your post. To get the most engagement from you post, post it between the hours of 8 pm-7 am and post on the weekends. At the time of this blog post, statistics show that posts made during these times will get the most engagement.
Twitter is another social media platform that you can use to your advantage. Again timing is a key factor when deciding when to post. Twitter “followers” are almost 20% more likely to engage with your tweets on weekends, yet only about 20% of brands tweet on weekends. Hashtags can be used like “campfires.” Users can search your hashtag to view what others users who have used your hashtag are saying.
A few companies that are excelling at social media include Zappos and Groupon. Both have found the value of using social media not only to sell, but to engage customers in conversation. They interact, collect feedback, and discover what their customers really want. Take some time to explore social media and find the right mix of platforms and tactic for your business.
A wise man once said, “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.”
Technology is constantly changing the way we do business. Bulletin boards and memos are being replaced with social networks and instant messages.
This may be a good time to take a minute and assess what your company is doing to utilize social media to tell your story. It might seem like a daunting task to modify your internal communications methods with all the new technology that is available, especially to those of you who may not be particularly tech savvy. Don’t fear! Technology is your friend.
New social tools can enhance employee engagement, improve internal communication and promote teamwork. Here are a few inexpensive, easy-to-use tools that will help your company increase efficiency and consistency.
Social Networks- Social networks are not just for your customers: they give employees a venue to collaborate and share information instantaneously with large groups of people. Some other useful features include event planning, networking, and promotion.
Podcasts- Podcasts are an effective way to add a personal touch to your internal communications. Some useful applications for using a podcast include instructional messages, information sharing and tutorials. Slides and graphs can also accompany podcasts to improve comprehension.
Video Conferencing- As business goes global, video conferencing has become more widely used. Face to face communication keeps your audience more engaged and can also incorporate any non-verbal messages.
Instant Messaging- Instant messaging is a highly efficient form of communication when collaborating with other employees or co-workers. IM’ing is popular, especially with young team members, and reduces wasted time responding to emails and waiting for responses.