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Five Top Tips for Connecting with your Staff Through Social Networking

It really is all the rage now – social networking.  If the ‘seven degrees of separation’ paradigm seemed a bit far fetched before, it certainly isn’t now.  The minute you register a new friend on Facebook or colleague on LinkedIn, you are hit with a barrage of ‘other people you might know’ from your new friend/colleague’s contact list – and chances are you know at least some of them.

That means that these social networking mediums present a real opportunity within organisations to improve their awareness, image and importantly, their communication with staff.  Given that this is probably the first thing that staff list as a weakness in any company, the benefits should not be ignored.  But it is important to do it right, so here are our 5 tips to make your social networking effective: 

  1. Maintain a good, balanced mix of light hearted fun and getting the more serious messages across; 
  2. Make it attractive to join, but not compulsory.  Don’t be offended if not all staff join – don’t forget that while you might want to share stuff with them on Facebook; by becoming your ‘friend’ they are letting you in to their private life as well – what they think of their mother-in-law, the wardrobe dilemmas they are facing this weekend and how much they hate getting up on a Monday morning are probably not things they want you to read about;
  3. Make it a two-way medium – one way to do this is having mini ‘polls’ – again keep a good mix of light hearted fun (“Is Shane Warne punching above his weight with LH?” Y/N) as well as using it as a tool to gather instantaneous feedback from your team (“Which would you value the most: a monthly Friday arvo BBQ/your Birthday off”)
  4. Keep it active - whatever you use (Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter/Blogs or your own intranet), make sure you are constantly updating it, creating new postings and generally keeping it interesting; and finally...
  5. Never, EVER let online social networking replace the good, old fashioned, face-to-face connection that you must have with your people.  Staff love (or hate) where they work based on the relationships they have with the people they work with, not the relationship they have with a faceless entity on a computer screen.
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