This is the second post on the Internal Social Business for Leaders series. The first one covered the most basic activity there, getting your profile done. After finishing that, you’re likely having that feeling of getting in the middle of a party by yourself and wondering if you should leave. Please don’t leave, nobody is looking at you (yet). The first thing you should do now is get familiar with your surroundings. You don’t need to know every single detail of the internal social platform your organization uses, but you do need to get the basics right. Keep reading to find how to get your feet wet.
- Browse: Start with the home page. What is showing up there? A well designed home page should give you a good glimpse of what is happening in the social platform. Think of it as the front page of a newspaper: you don’t need to read everything that’s there, but by skimming through it, you can get a high level idea of how others are using the platform. Click on a few items you find interesting, or check what conversations are trending. The party analogy works here: there’s a certain etiquette that takes time to absorb, so observing the nature of the conversations and the dynamics of the interactions goes a long way in feeling comfortable with being there.
- Search: one thing in which enterprise social networking platforms are much better than Facebook is searching. While searching for content in Facebook is almost useless, they tend to be quite effective in the mainstream products used by most corporations. So try to find content related to the areas you are responsible for or that you may want to explore. As you find interesting items, follow or bookmark them using the social platform actions, so that you can get back to them later.
- Follow people and places: who from your immediate network are active in the platform? Are other leaders using it? Make sure you follow or “friend” them – don’t worry, they won’t find it creepy. It’s more like LinkedIn’s invites, rather than Facebook’s “add friend.” Are there any teams in your part of the organization using the platform effectively? Join or follow their communities. The social platform streams get much more interesting when they show activities relevant to you, as opposed to the fire hose of everything happening across your organization.
- Show others you are there: Be brave. You don’t need to start writing like a pro right away, but leave some evidence that you’ve been there. As a leader, others want to know what you think and what is important to you. The easiest way to start with this is by “liking” items that you are important for you: content, comments, people, and places. Don’t underestimate the power of your “likes;” they are a huge driver of behaviors. Others will see that you are consuming the content they create, and that is a big incentive for them. If you feel bold(er), add small comments or short questions to keep conversations going.
- Ask for help: In your organization, there will be plenty of people who feel very comfortable with using a social platform at work. Among the active people you see there, find somebody you trust, and invite them to show you the ropes. They will be glad to help, and can accelerate your journey to get comfortable with the platform. It’s almost like having a very good friend in that party bridging you to what’s going on and introducing you to others.
Come back next month for more on this topic!