Social media - what's being used in your business / what are you finding effective?

Hello everyone,

 

I've been working on the development of my company's first global e-learning system for the past few years. This has taken us a while with little top-down leadership and, (in some areas) with an aging workforce that are not particularly IT savvy. Gradually we are getting there!

 

This has been a big cultural change to some, but my colleagues and I realise that our e-learning system is just the tip of the iceberg.

 

I'm aware that lots of companies are using many different tools for all sorts of business benefits as well as staff development and so i'm trying to put a simple discussion document together listing the different technologies /software that are available & the typical business uses so we can establish if there is anything that could help us too.

 

So basically I’m interested in hearing what sorts of systems you are using, what you are using them for, and if you are seeing the benefits!

 

Any comments or words of wisdom will be appreciated - this is all very new to us.

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Catherine

 

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Hi Catherine,

We had a brief, but extremely successful, bottom-up experiment with Yammer. We saw connections made across silos that would not otherwise have been made - connections that had real business benefits.

It was so successful that a Group project was setup to implement an officially sanctioned enterprise micro-blogging solution. We're still in the early stages of getting it setup, but are hoping to see the same effect that Yammer had.

Regards,

Mark
Thanks for taking the time to reply, Mark.

So Yammer is like Twitter for business? Do you mind sharing some examples of how employees used it within your business? What benefits did you see?

I'm also interested in hearing from people who use internal wikis, video sharing, collaborative learning etc. I've only just heard about linked in (maybe I live a sheltered life!) What differences have these things made to employees day-to-day?
Hi Catherine,

It's like Twitter for business, but far easier to derive immediate benefits from than Twitter.

I've done some quite full writeups on my blog:

Using Yammer - best practice guide
Using Yammer
From formal courses to social learning

Employees used it primarily to ask questions and to raise items of interest (both social and business related). The benefits we saw happened when a question was asked that was answered by a person in a similar situation in a completely separate part of the Group.

For video sharing look at the BT experience: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtVYkEdGtfo

Regards,

Mark
Thanks for posting those links they are really useful to me! I do think we could definitely benefit from something like Yammer within our organisation. We have close to 7000 employees globally and no real way to link everyone up. The standard organisation chart on our intranet site doesn't cut it.

Youtube is blocked here at the moment, but I'll have a look at the BT experience from home.

Thanks again :)
Happy to help Catherine,

Get in touch if there's anything more I can do.

Mark
Hi,

We use Flowplayer to share videos on the intranet. The quality was not that great and the code needed to be tweaked to improve the video quality.

We have also used wiki's to varying success.

Sharepoint is also widely used for documents, some video and open e-lessons, as well as surveys.

With the flowplayer particularly, there is the ability to comment on videos and discuss the content. However, it seems that it is very hard to get people to use this facility, either because they don't want to share their thoughts, or don't have the time. The videos we show range from instructive, informational and special events.

Cheers

Tim
Thanks Tim,

We actually have a sharepoint intranet site, and one of my colleagues has recently filmed, edited and uploaded some short video how-to guides to see how easily it could be done. They are only in WMV at he moment so this obviously has limitations for the user.

I will have a look at Flowplayer. The idea that users can generate discussions about the videos by commenting on them like Youtube would be great.

How did you create your wikis?
Hi Catherine,

Have you looked at Jambok? It's sold in the UK by Fusion-Universal.

I blogged about it recently.

Mark
I will certainly have a look at this. I have been reading a few of your blogs - really helpful.

Thanks again!
Coming back to this I can now see that there are many different technologies and softwares created by lots of companies.

Before I start spending a lot of time looking at individual programs etc. I think it would be a good idea for my to be able to present a document on the types of technologies available and their uses in general terms, before drilling down into the details of who provides what and how it is different to their competitors.

Conversely if anyone thinks some types of new media have disadvantages that would help too!

So I can think of:

Wikis - knowledge at your fingertips. Helps share experience around organisation. Info needs to be verified by experts?
Internal video libraries - again sharing knowledge around the organisation, video aids are extremely useful for how-to guides, quick to create, immediate distribution. Quality can be affected by internet connection, & depending on how videos are streamed it may need users to have a particular video player installed. Also depending on how professional the organisation wants the videos to look it can cost money for decent editing sofware. Staff may need to be trained to use the software / hardware.
Internal Social Networking - increases visibility of employees, aids searching for 'experts', can keep employees up to date with latest ideas and changes, encourages discussions company wide. Information transfer and networking made simpler.
Virtual Classrooms - links up employees on similar learning paths, encourages interaction between experts and learners, can be combined with other forms of learning as part of a holistic process etc.

Limitations on all include employees being able to access PCs.

Do you think I’m on the right track? Am I missing any glaringly obvious benefits, or any other types of new media being used today?

Hope I’m not pushing my luck here!

Thanks again.
Hi

You could add to your list:
Blogs
Microblogs such as Twitter and I would thoroughly recommend Posterous - as you can send items by email and on the move to your Posterous - add multimedia easily and share with others.
Social bookmarking such as Delicious to share links and content

There are many collaborative tools available e.g. if you're looking for efficient creative planning there is Mindomo, sharing files using DropBox etc. Of course Sharepoint has many features too but if you want to engage and motivate staff I'm sure it's not by using Sharepoint ;)

What type of activities do you envisage?

If you're looking for support in encouraging the less enthusiastic colleagues then I'd recommend looking at Concise Training's e-book entitled 'Tips to Start with Social Media. An extract below:

""Businesses of all sizes are using a wide range of Social Media to build their brand, talk to their customers, provide customer service, build relationships, increase their internet presence and expand their contacts. Each tool available - Social networking (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook), blogging, video, podcasts, wikis, internet forums can form part of the mix. The first thing is to understand who your audience is and what you are saying. I know a restaurant who has made 6 figures through using Twitter for 6 months, a dentist who made 4 figures through Twitter, an accountant who has seen a 100% increase to her website hits through the use of a variety of Social Media tools. All these businesses recognised why they wanted to use Social media and who their audience was."

Mary Thomas delivers various social media training to SMEs and many large organisations across the country - http://www.concisetraining.net/


Di
Di - I'm sorry about the late reply to this.

We're a 'global' company - in the sense that we are located all over the globe, but I think we could certianly improve our communications throughout the organisation, and most importantly make sure we are sharing our experiences gained elsewhere in the company - so we can learn from them!

We also have many classroom courses going on along with our e-learning system, and we are keen to expand on the various types of learning we can offer, so our employees have every opportunity to develop in ways that meet their needs.

I'm just digesting all the information in this thread. Thanks for taking the time to reply. I'll update when we've I've had the chance to have a proper discussion with my colleagues.

Catherine

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