Social Amplification: The Digital Workplace tool you’re missing
Much hot air, waffle and expert thought-leadership has been shared on the topic of Digital Workplaces. Despite a multitude of definitions, including my own, there are some common themes: it’s the tools and services that an employee needs to do their job. It’s not every day that we get to discuss a new potential member of the suite.
So what are we talking about here?
Social amplification tools were initially designed to give employees ready access to the company’s social output, including Twitter and Facebook, and then make it easy for them to on-share those updates with their own social networks. The message then reaches more than simply those who follow the company: utilising the power of the network, the message potentially reaches vastly higher numbers. Sometimes referred to as employee advocacy applications, these simply facilitate a process that many employees already complete. Do employees need a tool that helps them retweet the company twitter account? We think they do – and here’s why.
How do they work?
There are many companies operating in this space, each with their own market differentiation and much like intranets, there is no “one size fits all” application. As with every Intranetizen post, don’t expect a platform recommendation here – that’s not our game – but Google and you’ll find them.
Regardless of the vendor, the process is reasonably similar.
- Import content. This could be from your company’s social feeds, websites or specifically created materials for this channel
- Surface content: Content is presented for consumption in an app or desktop application
- Content share: The employee selectively and voluntarily chooses content to share with their own social networks thus extending the reach of the materials beyond the company’s natural followers
Ok, but where’s the value here?
Superficially, this could appear loaded in favour of the company – after all, they get to piggyback on the huge reach of their own employees for a modest investment. However, this hides an important nuance to this story that is ultimately a game-changer for employee and employer.
The key aspect is that this is a voluntary process – the employee needs to choose to open the app, choose the content and choose to share. So why would they choose? For employees to go through this process, they need to value the content itself; it needs to ‘sing’. It must be enriching, engaging and interesting. In short, it needs to be everything that company communication often fails to be.
Faced with the need to make content appealing enough to be both read and shared, companies who want to leverage their employees’ networks and forced to up their content game. The company only derives value if the employee regularly uses the tool and they won’t do that unless they’re provided with exemplary content.
And there’s a second benefit for employees: Professionals are increasingly aware of the need to curate and manage their own reputations online. By giving their employees sharable content that they can use to build their reputations and position themselves as experts, companies support that personal brand-building and minimise their own reputational risks, all while extending the reach of their messaging with relevant audiences.
Not convinced? There’s more.
Many of these tools are most at home on the mobile and tap in to native notification facilities. Despite almost ubiquitous smartphone distribution, getting instant messages to employees is still ridiculously difficult – but via social amplification tools, there’s now a way to message them.
In addition to the communication materials, most have video capabilities, some have polling, some have commenting facilities. These tools could be a ready-made mobile intranet solution, something that many organisations are crying out for.
Social amplification tools are a new piece of the digital workplace and are operating in that strange space between internal and external communications. They’re mobile ready, notification ready and and, given that they only succeed if the content really works for the employee, there’s a nice balance of power.
Take a look and let us know what you think.