Getting execs’ buy-in for your internal social network

Key aspects of social media are ideal for internal communications.

From intranets to interactive platforms such as Yammer, there are multiple ways to engage employees and encourage productive, collegial exchanges.

Getting buy-in from the higher-ups? That’s another matter.

Becky Graebe, senior manager of communications at SAS, has some essential solutions. She helped set her company’s path to an internal social media network.

A passionate advocate of social employee communications, Graebe will be sharing SAS’ successful techniques for creating a vibrant employee network as part of Ragan Communications’ upcoming conference, The Role of Communications in Creating an Engaged, Collaborative Workforce.

Her keynote address, “How to Make the Social Enterprise Case to Your C-suite,” will be a highlight of the event, taking place Feb. 5-6, 2015, in Tempe, Arizona.

As an early glimpse into the knowledge and experience she’ll be sharing, Graebe offers three secrets about winning support from your organization’s key stakeholders to enhance employee communications.

Secret No. 1: In order for the C-suite to endorse an enterprise social network, she says, “executives need to be engaged in the right conversation. Instead of focusing on fear-of people leaking confidential information-you need to talk about what we risk if we don’t use social media internally.”

The SAS communications team made the case that in order to attract and keep the best and brightest staff, “We need to do what works to bring millennials, Gen X and Gen Y on board,” Graebe says. That meant bringing a social media aspect to internal conversations.

Secret No. 2: Graebe believes another key to the SAS success story is by “dabbling” before graduating to a bigger endeavor. They started with an internal blogging and a simple intranet-before graduating to more than 700 active blogs.

“That helped people get used to sharing ideas,” Graebe says. “Management would also honor people who did the blogs.” That helped staff realize top execs valued their participation.

Secret No. 3: To ensure employee participation in the internal network, Graebe and her team went companywide to enlist representatives during the planning stage. When the project was ready to launch, communicators urged the development team and top management to post on the platform and share their posts with as many colleagues as possible.

“By the end of the first month, more than 1,400 people had joined the network. Within six weeks we had 5,000 opt-ins,” Graebe says.

To learn more from Graebe and 13 other expert speakers, join us in Tempe this February. Register here!  

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